Located in the historically rich, Virginia City of Newport News is a sublime, antebellum mansion with a direct connection to the Civil War; the “Lee Hall Mansion.”
What follows is a brief history of the mansion and what visitors to this outstanding piece of history can expect to find there.
Brief History of the Mansion
Completed in 1859, the Victorian style “Lee Hall Mansion” started out as the palatial home of a well to do planter and his family.
Unfortunately for the family of Richard Decauter Lee, the time spent in their newly completed home would be brief.
In 1862 the cataclysm of Civil War was brought right to the Lee’s doorstep and the family subsequently fled for safer ground.
The mansion then became the headquarters of the Confederate Army and Generals Joseph Johnston and John Magruder. The Confederate Generals retained control of the “Lee Hall Mansion” until May 1862 when a battle between them and fractions of the Army of the Potomac ensued.
During the battle, the Confederate Generals were forced to retreat resulting in the Union forces taking and keeping the mansion in their control until the war’s end.
It was not until the war was over that the Lee family was able to re-inhabit their beloved home.
Following the war the mansion changed hands several times eventually coming under the auspices of the City of Newport News and its cohorts.
The Civil War exhibits at the “Lee Hall Mansion” have great depth and breadth, but perhaps one of the more intriguing Civil War relics is a tablecloth salvaged from the famed Civil War battleship, the “USS Monitor.”
Commencing in March 2011, the “Lee Hall Mansion” staff will be hosting a succession of special events, many of which carry a Civil War theme.
The events include the following; a “Defending the Peninsula” tour on March 19th from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, “Capital of the Confederacy” tour on April 16th from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, “Easter Bunny and Great Egg Hunt” on April 23rd from 10:00 am until 11:00 am, “Eastern North Carolina: Land and Naval Operations of the Mosquito Fleet” program on May 21st from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, “Summer Celebration Wine Festival” on June 11th from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, “Lee’s Retreat” tour on June 18th from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, “York County in the Civil War” tour on July 16th from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm, “10th Annual Classics” car show on August 6th from 10:00 am until 3:oo pm and the “Antebellum Holiday” program from December 8th through the 30th.
Hours of Operation
As of January 2011 the mansion is open year round, except on major holidays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It is open on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and on Sundays from noon until 5:00 pm.
Visitors have two choices when it comes to admission fees. Adults may purchase admission to the “Lee Hall Mansion” for $6 or a combination ticket for $15.
The combination ticket includes admission to the “Lee Hall Mansion” as well as the nearby “Virginia War Museum”, and “Endview Plantation.”
There are discounts available for senior citizens and groups. Admission prices for children between the ages of 7 through 18 ranges from $4 up to $9. Children ages 6 and under are gratis.
As admission prices and hours of operation are subject to change without advance notice, would-be visitors are encouraged to call the mansion staff to confirm all details prior to their departure.
Those that would like more information on the mansion as well as other Civil War related attractions in Newport News should log onto the “Lee Hall Mansion” website.
Lee Hall Mansion
163 Yorktown Road
Newport News, VA 23607
Newport News Tourism Development Office, “Media Center” Newport News Tourism Development Office
City of Newport News, “Lee Hall Mansion Overview” Lee Hall Mansion
Encyclopedia Virginia, “Joseph E.Johnston 1807 – 1891” Encyclopedia Virginia