Media: Slideshow

Yorktown Siege Preparations and Confederate Retreat

Union Battery No. 4 Near Yorktown

Union officers of the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery pose beside thirteen-inch mortars, each weighing about 20,000 pounds, emplaced for a planned assault on Confederate forces at Yorktown on May 4, 1862. Aware of the Union's superior artillery and the impending bombardment, the Confederates withdrew to Williamsburg on the evening of May 3.

The photographer James F. Gibson took a series of glass-plate photographs of the impressive Union field works and heavy artillery set up near Yorktown for the intended bombardment.

Original Author: James F. Gibson

Created: May 1862

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Camp Winfield Scott

Union soldiers stand in front of Camp Winfield Scott, a tent encampment near Yorktown that served as the headquarters of Union general George B. McClellan. James F. Gibson took this glass-plate negative on May 3, 1862, one of a series of images he made of Union forces during the Peninsula Campaign.

Original Author: James F. Gibson

Created: May 3, 1862

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

South Carolina Cavalrymen

Brothers Stephen D. Boynton and Moses M. Boynton, both privates in the Confederate Company C, Beaufort District Troop, Hampton Legion South Carolina Cavalry Battalion, pose for an ambrotype in 1861 or 1862. Stephen Boynton was killed as Confederates retreated from the Yorktown line toward Williamsburg in the days leading up to the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. The Hampton Legion cavalrymen were protecting the rear of the retreating army when the fighting grew fierce. A report from the May 23, 1862, edition of the Charleston Mercury reported on the action:

The fight soon became a hand to hand one, the enemy making a stout resistance; but they had to yield to the superior courage of the cavaliers of South Carolina, although the enemy outnumbered them. Captain Lannauu, at the first blow, severed the head of a Hessian. Captain Sevier, Captain McFie and Lieutenant Butler, all were conspicuous in the charge for their coolness and gallantry. In fact, all of the officers acquitted themselves with spirit. In the charge we lost two killed: privates B. W. Boggs and Stephen Boynton, who fell in the front rank.

Created: Between 1861 and 1862

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

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  • Union Battery No. 4 Near Yorktown

    Union officers of the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery pose beside thirteen-inch mortars, each weighing about 20,000 pounds, emplaced for a planned assault on Confederate forces at Yorktown on May 4, 1862. Aware of the Union's superior artillery and the impending bombardment, the Confederates withdrew to Williamsburg on the evening of May 3.

    The photographer James F. Gibson took a series of glass-plate photographs of the impressive Union field works and heavy artillery set up near Yorktown for the intended bombardment.

    Original Author: James F. Gibson

    Created: May 1862

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Camp Winfield Scott

    Union soldiers stand in front of Camp Winfield Scott, a tent encampment near Yorktown that served as the headquarters of Union general George B. McClellan. James F. Gibson took this glass-plate negative on May 3, 1862, one of a series of images he made of Union forces during the Peninsula Campaign.

    Original Author: James F. Gibson

    Created: May 3, 1862

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • South Carolina Cavalrymen

    Brothers Stephen D. Boynton and Moses M. Boynton, both privates in the Confederate Company C, Beaufort District Troop, Hampton Legion South Carolina Cavalry Battalion, pose for an ambrotype in 1861 or 1862. Stephen Boynton was killed as Confederates retreated from the Yorktown line toward Williamsburg in the days leading up to the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. The Hampton Legion cavalrymen were protecting the rear of the retreating army when the fighting grew fierce. A report from the May 23, 1862, edition of the Charleston Mercury reported on the action:

    The fight soon became a hand to hand one, the enemy making a stout resistance; but they had to yield to the superior courage of the cavaliers of South Carolina, although the enemy outnumbered them. Captain Lannauu, at the first blow, severed the head of a Hessian. Captain Sevier, Captain McFie and Lieutenant Butler, all were conspicuous in the charge for their coolness and gallantry. In fact, all of the officers acquitted themselves with spirit. In the charge we lost two killed: privates B. W. Boggs and Stephen Boynton, who fell in the front rank.

    Created: Between 1861 and 1862

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division