"TO THE ARMY OF THE PENINSULA: The long war of the Revolution culminated at length in victorious triumph on these very plains of Yorktown. These frowning battlements on the heights of York are turned in this second war of liberty against the enemies of our country. You breathe the air and tread the soil consecrated by the presence and heroism of our patriotic sires. Shall we, their sons, imitate their example, or basely bow the neck to the yoke of the oppressor? I know your answer."~ John Bankhead Magruder, Major General, Commanding
|George B. McClellan|
|John B. Magruder|
The Confederate defenders of Yorktown, led by General Magruder, initially numbered only 11–13,000 men; the rest of the Confederate forces, under the overall command of General Johnston, remained spread out across eastern Virginia. Magruder constructed a defensive line from Yorktown on the York River, behind the Warwick River, to Mulberry Point on the James River (even taking advantage of some trenches originally dug by Cornwallis in 1781) to effectively block the full width of the Peninsula, although he could adequately man none of the defensive works at that time. This became known as the Warwick Line.
|"In Front of Yorktown", by Winslow Homer|
|Union Artillery at Yorktown|
|Scene during Yorktown Siege|
Yorktown remained in Union control for the rest of the war and was maintained as a military garrison until the summer of 1864. Later in 1864, during the start of the Petersburg siege, Major General Ulysses S. Grant ordered Yorktown abandoned.