Williamsburg, Va. – A replacement state historical marker for the 1862 Civil War Battle of Williamsburg will be dedicated on Saturday, April 2 at the sign’s location on U.S. Route 60 (Pocahontas Trail).
The “Battle of Williamsburg” historical marker replaces a 1948 marker of the same name that had stood along U.S. 60 in the vicinity of the new marker. The replacement marker provides more information about the battle and its context within the Civil War.
The Battle of Williamsburg occurred on May 5, 1862, when Federal forces under Gen. McClellan, “slowly advancing from Hampton Roads toward Richmond, encountered the rear guard of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston,” according to the marker’s text. “Confederates under Maj. Gen James Longstreet delayed the Union advance in a fierce, daylong battle in a driving rain,” the marker reads.
The battle involved nearly 41,000 Federal and 32,000 Confederate troops and resulted in about 4,000 casualties.
Virginia’s historical highway marker program began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1. Today it is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,500 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority.
The dedication of the sign is part of Williamsburg Battlefield Association’s scheduled activities for this year’s Park Day, an event co-sponsored with the Civil War Trust.
During the morning of the dedication, WBA members and volunteers will concentrate on removing trash, trimming undergrowth, and making other improvements on portions of the Williamsburg battlefield beginning at 10 a.m.