Civil War at Jamestown

The Civil War will be the focus of a special tour at Historic Jamestowne on Saturday May 4, 2019. The walking tour will take visitors through the colonial town site and present insight into the importance of Jamestowne Island during the Civil War by noted authority David Riggs. Two interpretive programs marking the 157th anniversary of the Civil War begin at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. inside Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center.

Important to the English colonists in 1607 for its defensive position, Jamestown Island once again would be highly regarded for its strategic location. For the Confederacy it would involve the construction of gun batteries and troops quartered to defend not only the island but the Southern capital, Richmond. Lieutenant Catesby Jones, later commander of CSS Virginia in the battle with USS Monitor, would conduct ordnance experiments on armor plating for CSS Virginia (formerly Merrimack). Early in the Civil War, five earthworks would be created to control river traffic and protect the island. When the Union captured Jamestown it became an advanced outpost and communications link with an important telegraph station.

David F. Riggs is retired from the National Park Service. He served for 38 years, which included 14 years at Jamestown. His publications include the book Embattled Shrine: Jamestown in the Civil War. Schedule is subject to change.

Last updated: April 25, 2019

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