The Calvin Shedd Papers > Background > Yorktown


May 4, 1862
May 13, 1862
Date(s) of Letter(s) Boatner, Mark M. The Civil War Dictionary.  New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1959.  
The taking of Yorktown, Virginia,  encompassed almost a month, from April 5 through May 4, 1862.  The capture of Yorktown was planned as McClellan's first step in the Peninsular Campaign, although several events that delayed this action.   McDowell's troops were withheld, his maps were incorrect, and the navy did not feel it within their capabilities to silence the water batteries of Yorktown and Gloucester.   The Federals finally opened fire on the fort on May 1, 1862.  The confederate general Magruder's mission was to delay the Federals long enough to be sure Yorktown was their main effort and allow Richmond to reinforce.  On May 3, three days before McClellan planned his main assault of the fort, Magruder withdrew his forces.  When the Federal forces entered the abandoned fort, they encountered landmines, a then new tactic in warfare. (Boatner, pp. 952-953)