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[photo] Lee Hall
Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Lee Hall survives as the only large pre-Civil War plantation house on the lower Virginia Peninsula. This impressive Italianate plantation house was constructed c. 1850 as the home of affluent tobacco planter Richard Decatur Lee and his wife Martha. Lee was placed in charge of the area's defenses during the Civil War. Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder made Lee Hall his headquarters from April to May 1862 during the Warwick-Yorktown phase of the Peninsula Campaign. From this home, Magruder and General Joseph E. Johnston directed the defense of the lower Virginia Peninsula against the Union troops of Major General George B. McClellan. During the Confederate retreat on May 3, 1862, there was a small skirmish with Union forces. The plantation yard includes the remnants of a fort from which a Confederate hot-air balloon was launched on April 17, 1862.

[photo] Close-up view of Lee Hall
Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Lee's support of the Confederate cause brought him financial ruin, and he was forced to sell the plantation in 1866. A village was established at the nearby rail crossing in the 1880s and took its name from the house. In the following century the property was bought and sold many times, until the 1996 purchase of the site by the City Of Newport News. The house was restored to its antebellum appearance and is now a museum interpreting the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the ways that the Civil War changed the fabric of American society.

Lee Hall is located at 163 Yorktown Rd. on the north side of Virginia Rte. 60 in the Lee Hall area of Newport News. The house is open 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday; closed major holidays, Tuesdays year-round and Wednesdays from January to March. There is an admission fee. Please call 757-888-3371 or visit the house's website for further information.

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