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Shelling Batteries at Yorktown, Virginia, Saturday May 4th, Connecticut Regiment Artillery

Object Number: 
1945.580.97
Date: 
1862
Medium: 
Graphite and black ink wash on paper
Dimensions: 
Overall: 10 x 14 1/4 in. ( 25.4 x 36.2 cm )
Inscriptions: 
Verso inscribed at upper left in graphite: "...sley's Creek shelling batteries at Yorktown Saturday May 4th / Worked by 1st Connecticut regt. Artillery"
Description: 
Civil War Drawings Collection. The Siege of Yorktown, Virginia, 5 April- 4 May 1862. In his initial assault on Yorktown, McClellan overestimated the Confederate's strength and the siege lasted throughout April. During that time, the Confederates were assured that McClellan was the primary threat to Richmond. On April 16, Union forces probed a weakness in the Confederate line at Lee's Mill Dam No. 1, resulting in about 309 casualties. Failure to exploit the initial success of this attack delayed McClellan for 2 additional weeks. On May 3, during the night, the Confederate army slipped away toward Williamsburg. Around midnight, the Confederate heavy guns had ceased their diverting fire, were spiked and left behind by the retreating army. On May 4, at dawn, the Union army discovered Yorktown abandoned. The Confederates were seeking more favorable circumstances in which to confront the Federals. The Federals surged forward in pursuit, and the Siege of Yorktown ended. The Confederate withdrawal was well planned and executed. A mile east of Williamsburg, they had built another fortified line. Johnston elected to delay the Union pursuit here. During the afternoon, the Battle of Williamsburg began, lasting into the next day. On May 6, Johnston resumed his march towards Richmond. By delaying the Union army for almost a month, the Confederates had obtained valuable time to assemble and organize the forces that eventually beat McClellan back from Richmond and thwarted the Union's Peninsula Campaign.
Credit Line: 
James B. Wilbur Fund
Provenance: 
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group