Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Young's Mill

Young's Mill marker W-63 in Newport News, VAMarker No. W-63
City of Newport News, VA

Marker Text: Following the 10 June 1861 Battle of Big Bethel, Confederate Gen. John B. Magruder established a base at Young's Mill. This tide mill formed the right flank of Magruder's First Defensive Line, which reached across the Peninsula to Ship's Point on the York River. Extensive earthworks defended the crossing of the Warwick Road over Deep Creek. When Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan began his Peninsula Campaign on 4 April 1862 to capture Richmond, elements of Brig. Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes IV Corps led by Brig. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith advanced to Young's Mill. They skirmished with Confederate troops defending this mill dam crossing. The Confederates abandoned their position for a more determined stand on the Warwick River.  Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2002.

Second Young's Mill marker in Newport News, VAYoung's Mill
(Second Marker)

Marker Text: Since early colonial days Deep Creek has had a dam and pond here with a mill. Owned by the Mathews, Digges and Young families, grinding corn well into the 20th century. In the Peninsular Campaign, Federal forces of Gen. McClellan encountered strong confederate works nearby, the right flank of Gen. Magruder's first line of defense. The works were abandoned April 5, 1862. For a resolute stand 6 miles farther north at Lee's Mill. Erected by the N.N. Historical Commission in 1967.

Location: At the intersection of U.S. Route 60 (13035 Warwick Blvd.) and Old Grist Mill Lane, near Oyster Point Road. Marker grouped with another Young's Mill marker placed by the City of Newport News.

“We drove the enemy from a position they had fortified and that night occupied the place ourselves. The rebels left quite a village of huts or barracks, and from appearances, they had enjoyed much more comfortable quarters during the winter than we had ourselves.” Account by Union Private Wilbur Fisk while arriving at Young's Mill.

Two Young's Mill markers at the site of the Mill in Newport News, VA

The redoubts described by the markers are located in the wooded area behind the markers. Click any photo to enlarge.

  In April 1862, Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder was in command of directing the construction of the defense of the Warwick-Yorktown Line in order to delay the powerful Union advance against Richmond. Magruder established three defensive lines. Today's marker is about the location of the first defensive line on the right flank of the Confederate line. Young’s Mill became the western strong point of the First Defensive Line, which stretched eastward to Harwood’s Mill and followed the Poquoson River to Ship’s Point. This site also served as the winter quarters for the Confederates while they built the redoubts and earthworks defensive positions.

  Since the Colonial era, Deep Creek next to Young's Mill has had a dam and a pond here with a mill. The dam provided an important crossing over Deep Creek for the Great Warwick Road, a dirt roadway that connected Hampton, Newport News Point, and Warwick Court House with Williamsburg. This mill was built in the 1820s by local landowners, the Youngs, who owned nearby Denbigh Plantation.

Young's Mill along Warwick Blvd next to the two markers.

This is the old mill, Warwick Blvd and the old Warwick Road is to the right of the mill in the photo.

  Young's mill is one of the few remaining tidewater mills on the Peninsula. In the woods to the left or south of these markers are several redoubts and rifle pits. These fortifications are all that remain of the Confederate First Peninsula Defensive Line. I attempted to take photos of some of the redoubts, but due to vegetation and poor lighting, making out the earthworks is nearing impossible.

  When the Union forces began their advance against Richmond in what was to become the Peninsular Campaign, Union Gen. McClellan sent Brig. Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes’ IV Corps up the Warwick Road to flank the Confederate positions. Although rated formidable by Gen. Keyes, this defensive position was abandoned by Magruder's Confederate troops in favor of a more resolute position along their Second Defensive Line at Lee's Mill on April 5, 1862. Keyes’ troops moved through the Confederate entrenchments at Young’s Mill encountering little resistance.

  Additional photos about Young's Mill can be seen on the Historical Markers Database.

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