Talk:Siege of Yorktown (1862)

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Numerical figures

I've found a wide variety of numbers listed for the troops (from 11,000-13,000 confederate, 32,000-145,000 US) and casualties (from 320-482). I finally settled on the source listed because they gave precise values for everything. These might not be accurate, however, so if anyone can find correct values, please replace. --[[User:Brian0918|brian0918 talk]] 18:35, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Lee's Mill

I just returned from a trip to the Virginia Peninsula where I consulted with historians from Richmond Battlefield National Park. Apparently, "Lee's Mill" and "Dam No. 1" are not synonyms for the same battle. My original source for this was Sears, but these historians denigrated the accuracy of his account. The National Park Service, which does not include Lee's Mill in its CWSAC program, asserts that it occurred on April 5. The confusing aspect is that both battles happened within less than a mile of each other and both involved troops from Vermont. I will do some more research on Lee's Mill and update the article accordingly as soon as possible. Hal Jespersen 03:15, 25 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have updated the article to fix this. Hal Jespersen 17:33, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What were the goals of the North and the South when they fought the battle of york town? If you read this please edit this page to tell me. Nowhere else has it on their website, or at least i cant find it.

I think the actual article contains the answer to your question, but the Northern goal was to move up the Virginia Peninsula and capture Richmond. The Southern goal was to prevent that from happening, by stopping the Union advance in front of the Confederate entrenchments at Yorktown. Hal Jespersen 18:11, 9 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There are several citations to a publication called "ORA", but the links they go to are dead because Cornell has moved its collection to HathiTrust, and I can't figure out what this is supposed to be. howcheng {chat} 16:35, 3 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move 26 October 2021

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: not moved. There is a clear consensus not to move the article as of now. —usernamekiran • sign the guestbook(talk) 04:00, 2 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Siege of Yorktown (1862)Battle of Yorktown – I believe that reliable sources use both "Battle" and "Siege" to characterize this part of the Peninsula campaign, possibly with "Battle" being used more often. Technically, it was really more a battle than a siege, as there were Union attacks on the Confederate position and eventually the Confederates simply retreated up the Peninsula, not usually the outcome of a siege. The lead also uses "Battle of Yorktown" as the primary title in spite of the page name. The proposed target is currently a redirect to Siege of Yorktown as a primary redirect per a recent requested move discussion regarding that article as the primary topic for "Siege of Yorktown". If this move is supported as proposed, we can then use "Battle" and "Siege" as natural disambiguation between the two topics and avoid the need for parenthetical disambiguation, continuing to use hatnotes between the two topics. An alternative would be to maintain the Revolutionary War topic as the primary topic for "Battle of Yorktown" and move the Civil War article to Battle of Yorktown (1862) (currently a redirect here) if we still favored the use of Battle instead of Siege. Mdewman6 (talk) 01:20, 26 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose. I don't know much about the American Revolutionary War, but I know that the Siege of Yorktown was a pivotal event. If I see a reference to the Battle of Yorktown, I'm going to assume that it's related to the 1781 siege (maybe even the naval battle between French and British), and people aware of the 1781 siege but not really knowledgeable could easily guess that there was a battle along with it. So even if there weren't a significant battle related to the 1781 siege, people are more likely to look for this title when looking for the 1781 siege rather than a rather minor 1862 engagement. (talk) 16:11, 26 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per the 64. IP, any reference to a Civil War engagement at Yorktown will need disambiguation to make clear it is not about the far more prominent Revolutionary War engagement. SMALLDETAILS will not cut it. User:力 (power~enwiki, π, ν) 20:25, 26 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Without prejudice since there were no sources or any other tangible evidence given to back up a page move. I would be willing to reexamine my position if there were any references or sources to support this move.--JOJ Hutton 21:09, 26 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as proposed. As already established, the AWI engagement is easily primary and is also referred to as the Battle of Yorktown. Battle of Yorktown (1862) would be okay if that's its common name. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:40, 27 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Claim Regarding Magruder And His Deception Tactics

The subsection of Battle entitled Union Advance and Lee's Mill contains this claim:

It has been claimed that Magruder attempted to deceive by moving infantry and artillery in a noisy, ostentatious manner to make the defenders seem a much larger forces than their actual numbers. ... However, his reports do not mention this and no reference before 1988 can be found claiming this, except for Shelby Foote's three volume history of the Civil War, first published in 1956. ...

There is abundant anecdotal evidence from Magruder's soldiers about his deception tactics, such as can be found on pages 37-38 pf Stephen Sears's To The Gates Of Richmond. TH1980 (talk) 01:17, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Due to the abundant evidence that Magruder did use deception tactics at Yorktown, and because the above is partially original research, I propose that the section quoted above be removed and replaced with a section that reflects the evidence deception tactics were used.TH1980 (talk) 01:35, 8 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are there any objections to this proposed change? TH1980 (talk) 04:17, 15 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support a change to this text. Everything I've read mentions Magruder's use of tactics to give the impression his force was larger than it actually was. Regardless, the current text in the article leaves much to be desired, especially no reference before 1988 can be found claiming this, except for Shelby Foote.... I get the desire to have contemporaneous sourcing for this, but overall this sounds like an effort to escape the reliable sources that exist, or cast Foote as not reliable, without offering any RS that directly refute the claim. Mdewman6 (talk) 19:14, 15 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would suggest we keep the point that Magruder's reports do not mention this, if we can source those. Mdewman6 (talk) 19:18, 15 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am having a hard time locating those reports. Does anyone know where Magruder's reports might be posted online?TH1980 (talk) 01:38, 12 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I stil am having a tough time finding Magruder's reports online, but I've come up with this compromise text for the article:

Anecodtal evidence from Magruder's soldiers indicate he marched his troops back and forth throughout his lines as a ruse to make his forces look stronger, though Magruder's own reports do not mention this.

Thoughts, anyone? TH1980 (talk) 01:17, 10 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have gone and made the edit, retaining all the sources in that section. Discussion is still welcome, however. TH1980 (talk) 22:47, 16 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also removed this erroneous statment from the footnotes: The first mention of Magruder's theatrics is in McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pg. 426, but is unreferenced. Writers before McPherson, such as Bruce Catton, discussed Magruder's ruse at Yorktown in their books. (See for example Catton, This Hallowed Ground, pg. 129.) TH1980 (talk) 22:57, 16 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry for the late comment, but the change to the text is definitely an improvement in my view. I think it would be good to cite instances where the deceptive tactics were mentioned, including Catton, Foote, and McPherson, regardless of any perceived problems with the citations or lack thereof regarding the matter in those sources- we'd merely be stating that those works by historians reported on the use of deception, and not stating any instances where RS have refuted the claim, because we are not aware of any. It is concerning that modern historians seem to be perpetuating the idea with no evidence of any primary sourcing, but it's not our job to fix that. Mdewman6 (talk) 00:05, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about a quote or two from the soldiers who recorded being used in deception tactics in their letters and diaries? Stephen Sears's To The Gates of Richmond contains a couple. TH1980 (talk) 03:32, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds good to me. Anything that can be cited to support the claim would be helpful I think, especially if there are quotes of primary sources. Mdewman6 (talk) 03:39, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I added a quote derived from Sears's book which is from a Southern soldier who wrote about the deception tactics in his diary. TH1980 (talk) 01:40, 23 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I could also add a quote from Sears's book from Mary Chestnut's diary about Magruder's tactics. Is that okay? TH1980 (talk) 02:39, 31 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All sounds good to me. Mdewman6 (talk) 22:46, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]