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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Big Bethel, battle at. (search)
d himself with taking possession of and fortifying the important strategic point of Newport News. He sent (May 27. 1861 ) Colonel Phelps thither in a steamer with a detachment to fortify that place. He was accompanied by Lieut. John Trout Greble, Map of the battle at Big Bethel an accomplished young graduate of West Point, whom he appointed master of ordnance, to superintend the construction of fortifications there which commanded the ship-channel of the James River and the mouth of the Nansemond. The forced inaction of the National troops at Fort Monroe, and the threatening aspect of affairs at Newport News, made the armed Confederates under Col. J. B. Magruder bold, active, and vigilant. Their principal rendezvous was at Yorktown, on the York River, which they were fortifying. They pushed down the peninsula to impress slaves into their service, and to force Union men into their ranks. At Big and Little Bethel (two churches on the road between Yorktown and Hampton) they made f
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Craney Island, operations at (search)
asp of the Americans, a wind sprung up from the northeast, and two vessels lying becalmed below came to the Junon's assistance, and by a severe cannonade repulsed them. In this affair the Americans lost one man killed and two slightly wounded. This attack brought matters to a crisis. The firing had been distinctly heard by the fleet, and with the next tide, on a warm Sunday morning in June, fourteen of the British vessels entered Hampton Roads, and took position at the mouth of the Nansemond River. They bore land troops, under General Sir Sidney Beckwith. The whole British force, including the sailors, was about 5,000 men. Governor Barbour, of Virginia, had assembled several thousand militia, in anticipation of invasion. Craney Island, then in shape like a painter's palette, was separated from the main by a shallow strait, fordable at low tide, and contained about 30 acres of land. On the side commanding the ship-channel were entrenchments armed with 18 and 24 pounder cannon.