Visit the Museum on Friday afternoon to enjoy lunch in the Mariners’ Park Café and stimulating Civil War discussion with renowned historian, John Quarstein. There is no charge to participate. Lunch will be available for purchase at the café!
When Virginia left the Union on April 17, 1861, Major Gen. Walter Gwynn was assigned to construct fortifications designed to defend South Hampton Roads against Union naval attack. War of 1812 fortifications on Craney Island were immediately improved and other batteries were constructed at Sewell’s Point and Hospital Point. Defenses at Pig Point helped to defend the Nansemond River, and on Burwell’s Bay, Forts Boykin and Huger were expanded. When all of these fortifications were added to Major Gen. John Bankhead Magruder’s Peninsula defensive systems, the Federals at Fort Monroe, Rip Raps, and Newport News Point were virtually surrounded. Only access from the Chesapeake Bay enabled the Federals to maintain their outposts in Hampton Roads during the war’s first year.