Media: Slideshow

The Battle of Williamsburg

Battle of Williamsburg Va. May 5th 1862.

In this pro-Union lithograph produced by Currier & Ives in New York City, a mounted Union officer urges his troops forward during the Battle of Williamsburg. The subtitle of the print reads: "Victorious charge of the gallant Soldiers of the North and East, under Genl McClellan, the invincible leader of the Army of the Potomac." Though the May 5, 1862, battle was under McClellan's overall command, he arrived late in the day so that the field command fell on a number of his divisional and brigadier generals.

Original Author: Currier & Ives

Created: ca. 1862

Medium: Hand-colored lithograph

Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Hookers division engaging at the battle of Williamsburg

In a crude on-the-scene pencil sketch, Union infantrymen and artillerymen (at lower right) under General Joseph Hooker are depicted during the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. The artist Alfred R. Waud, a wartime correspondent for Harper's Weekly, made notes on various parts of the sketch so that a more detailed engraving could later be made for the magazine. Among Waud's notations were descriptions of the weather ("Gloomy day rain falling heavily. all hazy."); the fighting conditions ("Guns deep in mud. Men and horses the same"); the foot soldiers' dress ("soldiers with pants rolled up some with high boots, and some with socks drawn over pants"); the commanding officers' dress ("General and Staff in overcoats and india rubber ponchos"); and the general terrain ("Woods mostly pine trees"). The finished engraving was published in Harper's Weekly on May 24, 1862. 

Original Author: Alfred R. Waud

Created: May 5, 1862

Medium: Pencil and Chinese white drawing

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Rifle Used During the Battle of Williamsburg

This weapon, a three-band Enfield rifled musket, was taken on the battlefield during or after the Battle of Williamsburg, which took place on May 5, 1862. Both Confederate and Union soldiers used this type of rifle, an imported 1853 British model, though it was more commonly used by the Confederates. The rifle weighed about nine and one-half pounds, was fifty-five inches long, and used paper cartridges. It is not known who retrieved this rifle, which is part of the collections at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Original Author: Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, England

Created: ca. 1853–1862

Medium: British three-band Enfield musket

Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Zoom In
  • Battle of Williamsburg Va. May 5th 1862.

    In this pro-Union lithograph produced by Currier & Ives in New York City, a mounted Union officer urges his troops forward during the Battle of Williamsburg. The subtitle of the print reads: "Victorious charge of the gallant Soldiers of the North and East, under Genl McClellan, the invincible leader of the Army of the Potomac." Though the May 5, 1862, battle was under McClellan's overall command, he arrived late in the day so that the field command fell on a number of his divisional and brigadier generals.

    Original Author: Currier & Ives

    Created: ca. 1862

    Medium: Hand-colored lithograph

    Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

  • Hookers division engaging at the battle of Williamsburg

    In a crude on-the-scene pencil sketch, Union infantrymen and artillerymen (at lower right) under General Joseph Hooker are depicted during the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. The artist Alfred R. Waud, a wartime correspondent for Harper's Weekly, made notes on various parts of the sketch so that a more detailed engraving could later be made for the magazine. Among Waud's notations were descriptions of the weather ("Gloomy day rain falling heavily. all hazy."); the fighting conditions ("Guns deep in mud. Men and horses the same"); the foot soldiers' dress ("soldiers with pants rolled up some with high boots, and some with socks drawn over pants"); the commanding officers' dress ("General and Staff in overcoats and india rubber ponchos"); and the general terrain ("Woods mostly pine trees"). The finished engraving was published in Harper's Weekly on May 24, 1862. 

    Original Author: Alfred R. Waud

    Created: May 5, 1862

    Medium: Pencil and Chinese white drawing

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Rifle Used During the Battle of Williamsburg

    This weapon, a three-band Enfield rifled musket, was taken on the battlefield during or after the Battle of Williamsburg, which took place on May 5, 1862. Both Confederate and Union soldiers used this type of rifle, an imported 1853 British model, though it was more commonly used by the Confederates. The rifle weighed about nine and one-half pounds, was fifty-five inches long, and used paper cartridges. It is not known who retrieved this rifle, which is part of the collections at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    Original Author: Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, England

    Created: ca. 1853–1862

    Medium: British three-band Enfield musket

    Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation