Colonial Williamsburg Research Division Web Site

Webography, Williamsburg and the Peninsular Campaign, 1862


Williamsburg lay halfway between federal-held Ft. Monroe on the tip of the Peninsula and Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. Confederate troops gathered in Williamsburg during the early months of the war, but after the Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862 federal troops occupied the town for the remaining years of the War. Fire and theft damaged many of the buildings in the City including the College of William and Mary.

This document provides information about the holdings of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library and links to web resources on Williamsburg and the peninsular campaign.

Resources from Colonial Williamsburg

Civil War Williamsburg, podcast May 24, 2010: Listen to "Civil War Williamsburg" with Carson Hudson

Colonial Williamsburg Journal

"How the Founders Sowed the Seeds of Civil War" by W. Barksdale Maynard.
“We Bow Our Heads to Yankee Despotism”: Occupied Williamsburg in the War Between the States" by Carson Hudson.
“The Battle of Williamsburg” by Edward R. Crews. Colonial Williamsburg Journal, 18(4) Summer 1996, 14-25 (not available online).
“Slavery, Freedom, and Fort Monroe” by Gil Klein. Colonial Williamsburg Journal, 32(1) Winter 2010, 68-74 (not available online).

Selected Books, Articles and Manuscripts in the Rockefeller Library

Brasher, Glenn David. The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans & the Fight for Freedom. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

Clement, Wallace. “Williamsburg and the Civil War.” Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter, May 1992,. 8-12
Dubbs, Carol Kettenburg. Defend This Old Town: Williamsburg During the Civil War. Baton Rouge, LSU Press, 2002.
Godson, Susan H. The College of William and Mary: a History. Williamsburg, VA: King and Queen Press, 1993.
Hudson, Carson O. Civil War Williamsburg. Williamsburg, VA: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1997.
Documents of the Civil War in Special Collections.

Search for more books in the Library catalog using these subjects:

Virginia – History – Civil War, 1861-1865
Peninsular Campaign, 1862
Williamsburg, Battle of, Williamsburg, VA., 1862
Hampton Roads, Battle of, Va., 1862
Seven Days’ Battles, Va., 1862

Other Internet Resources

Battle of Williamsburg - Encyclopedia Virginia
This illustrated article on the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5, 1862), the first battle of the peninsular campaign, includes a chronology of events.

Civil War Resource Guide – Library of Virginia
A guide to access Civil War materials within the collection of the Library of Virginia. This site also includes such records as Virginia Confederate Pensions, Virginia Confederate Disability Applications and Receipts, Virginia Military Dead Database, etc.

Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War
Presented by the Commonwealth of Virginia, this site has information about Civil War events that are taking place throughout Virginia in 2011. Also includes information relating to Virginia in the Civil War.

Pictures of the Civil War – National Archives
The National Archives has over two hundred images from the American Civil War on its website. To find images relating to Hampton Roads, search (Ctrl-F) the terms “Hampton Roads,” “James River,” “Norfolk,” “Yorktown,” and “Monitor.”

American Memory: Selected Civil War Photographs
This Library of Congress website provides over 1,000 photographs on the American Civil War. This collection can be searched by keyword, browsed by subject, or viewed on a time line.
     Battle of the “Monitor” and the “Merrimac”
     Peninsular Campaign

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
This is a searchable database of early American newspapers. Limit search to the years of the Civil War and search the terms Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Yorktown, “Fort Monroe” or “Fortress Monroe.” The May 13, 1862 Issue of the New-York Tribune has an extensive article on the Battle of Williamsburg.

Civil War Battle Summaries by Campaign - Peninsula Campaign [March-July 1862]
General descriptions about each battle in the American Civil War, including information on estimated causalities, commanders, forces engaged, etc.
      Battle of Sewell’s Point []
     Battle of Big Bethel

USS Monitor Center
The Mariners Museum has information about the Battle of Hampton Roads between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (Merrimac) and extensive information on the conservation of the Monitor.

Action between USS Monitor and CSS Merrimac 9 March 1862, Naval History& Heritage Command.
The Battle of Hampton Roads and images of the ironclads.

Fort Monroe History. City of Hampton
This brief history of Fort Monroe includes information on the Battle of the Ironclads, Jefferson Davis’ imprisonment at the fort, and Robert E. Lee’s early military service.

Documenting the American South
This collection of primary text and images from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a Southern perspective on American history and culture. The below documents have accounts of the Peninsular Campaign.
     The Story of a Confederate Boy in the Civil War by David E. Johnston of the 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment.
     Extracts of Letters of Major-Gen’l Bryan Grimes, to His Wife: Written While in Active Service in the Army of northern Virginia. Together with some personal Recollections of the War. . .
     A Belle of the Fifties; Memories of Mrs. Clay, of Alabama, Covering Social and Political Life in Washington and the South, 1853-66
     A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865: Being a Record of the Actual Experiences of the Wife of a Confederate Officer: Ed. By Myrta Lockett Avary. []

Yorktown in the Civil War. National Park Service:
Describes how the setting and siege of Yorktown played a role in the Peninsular Campaign.

Civil War Williamsburg – Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance
This website gives details about events in the Williamsburg area pertaining to the Civil War, maps/trails, and a detailed brochure.

Subscription Resources (available only to Colonial Williamsburg staff)

19th Century U.S. Newspapers
America: History and Life
America's Historical Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876