Battle of Seven Pines

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Battle of Seven Pines

Other Names: Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Station

Location: Henrico County

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-July 1862)

Date(s): May 31-June 1, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan [US]; Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Maj. Gen. G.W. Smith [CS]

Forces Engaged: (84,000 total)

Estimated Casualties: 13,736 total (US 5,739; CS 7,997)

Result(s): Inconclusive

Background: The Peninsula Campaign (also known as Peninsular Campaign) during the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, and it was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, was an amphibious turning movement intended to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond by circumventing the Confederate States Army in Northern Virginia. McClellan was initially successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of the aggressive General Robert E. Lee, who assumed command immediately following Seven Pines or Fair Oaks, turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a humiliating Union defeat. Although the Battle of Seven Pines was tactically inconclusive, it was the largest battle in the Eastern Theater to date (and second only to Shiloh in terms of casualties to date) and marked the end of the Union offensive, leading to the Seven Days Battles and Union retreat in late June.

Battle of Seven Pines Map
Battle of Seven Pines.gif
Civil War Peninsula Campaign Map

Peninsula Campaign Map of Battles
Peninsula Campaign Map.jpg
Peninsula Campaign Map of Battles

Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days Battles: The Peninsula Campaign [March-July 1862] consisted of the following battles: Hampton Roads, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Eltham's Landing, Drewry's Bluff, Hanover Court House, and Seven Pines. Often studied as a separate campaign, the Seven Days Battles (aka Seven Days Battles Around Richmond), however, were the final battles within the Peninsula Campaign, and included the following battles: Oak Grove, Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines' Mill, Garnetts & Goldings Farm, Savage's Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, and Malvern Hill. While McClellan and Joe Johnston opposed each other during the beginning of the Peninsula Campaign, Lee, having replaced Johnston, assumed command during the Seven Days Battles and delivered a severe blow to McClellan and the Union army, and saved Richmond.

Commanding Generals of the Peninsula Campaign
George B. McClellan and Joseph E. Johnston.jpg
George B. McClellan and Joseph E. Johnston

(About) Union Major General George B. McClellan and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, commanders of the Union and Confederate armies in the Peninsula Campaign.

Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles Civil War.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

Description: On May 31, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attempted to overwhelm two Federal corps that appeared isolated south of the Chickahominy River. The Confederate assaults, though not well coordinated, succeeded in driving back the IV Corps and inflicting heavy casualties. Reinforcements arrived, and both sides fed more and more troops into the action. Supported by the III Corps and Brig. Gen. Sedgwick’s division of Brig. Gen. Sumner’s II Corps (that crossed the rain-swollen river on Grapevine Bridge), the Federal position was finally stabilized.

(Right) "Grapevine Bridge and the Seven Days Battles."

Seven Pines Battle Map
Civil War Map of Seven Pines.gif
(Click to Enlarge)

(Left) Period Map of Union and Confederate army positions at dark on May 31, at the Battle of Seven Pines. Courtesy Confederate War Papers: Fairfax Court House, New Orleans, Seven Pines, Richmond and North Carolina.

Sumner, II Corps commander, heard the sounds of battle from his position north of the river. On his own initiative, he dispatched a division under the command of Sedgwick over the sole remaining bridge. The treacherous "Grapevine Bridge" was near collapse on the swollen river, but the weight of the crossing troops helped to hold it steady against the rushing water. After the last man had crossed safely, the bridge collapsed and was swept away. Sedgwick's men provided the key to resisting Brig. Gen. Whiting's attack. At dusk, Gen. Johnston was seriously wounded during the action, and command of the Confederate army devolved temporarily to Maj. Gen. G.W. Smith.

Battle of Seven Pines: First Day Map
Battle of Seven Pines.jpg
First Day at Battle of Seven Pines

Battle of Seven Pines Map
Battle of Seven Pines Map Civil War.gif
(Click to Enlarge)

(Left) Map of Union and Confederate troops maneuvering for position at Seven Pines.
 
Smith, plagued with ill health, was indecisive about the next steps for the battle and made a bad impression on Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, Davis's military adviser. After the end of fighting the following day, Davis replaced Smith with Lee as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.

McClellan Withdrawals
McClellan Civil War Battle Seven Pines.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

On June 1, the Confederates renewed their assaults against the Federals who had brought up more reinforcements but made little headway. The fighting ended about 11:30 a.m. when the Confederates withdrew, but McClellan and the Union Army did not counterattack. Both sides claimed victory at Seven Pines. Confederate brigadier Robert H. Hatton was also killed.
 
McClellan, "because of his battlefield inaction as well as his failure to follow up his battlefield successes," was eventually relieved of command and he became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election.
 
Aftermath: Despite claiming victory at Seven Pines, McClellan was shaken by the experience. He redeployed all of his army except for the V Corps south of the river, and although he continued to plan for a siege and the capture of Richmond, he lost the strategic initiative and never regained it.

 

Lee used the month-long pause in McClellan's advance to fortify the defenses of Richmond and extend them south to the James River at Chaffin's Bluff. On the south side of the James River, defensive lines were built south to a point below Petersburg. The total length of the new defensive line was about 30 miles (50 km). To buy time to complete the new defensive line and prepare for an offensive, Lee repeated the tactic of making a small number of troops seem larger than they really were. McClellan was also unnerved by Jeb Stuart's audacious (but otherwise militarily pointless) cavalry ride completely around the Union army (June 13–15). 

Battlefield of Seven Pines: Second Day Map
Battlefield of Seven Pines.jpg
Second Day at Battle of Seven Pines

Peninsula Campaign Map
Peninsula Campaign Map.gif
(Click to Enlarge)

(Right) Peninsula Campaign, map of events to the Battle of Seven Pines.

 

The second phase of the Peninsula Campaign took a negative turn for the Union when Lee launched fierce counterattacks just east of Richmond in the Seven Days Battles (June 25 – July 1, 1862). Although none of these battles were significant Confederate tactical victories (and the Battle of Malvern Hill on the last day was a significant Confederate defeat), the tenacity of Lee's attacks and the sudden appearance of Stonewall Jackson's "foot cavalry" on his western flank unnerved McClellan, who pulled his forces back to a base on the James River. Lincoln later ordered the army to return to the Washington, D.C., area to support Maj. Gen. John Pope's army in the Northern Virginia Campaign and the Second Battle of Bull Run. The Virginia Peninsula was relatively quiet until May 1864, when Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler again invaded as part of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. Continued below...

Recommended Reading: Fair Oaks 1862. Description: Following its humiliating defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, General George B. McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac. In the spring of 1862, having rebuilt his forces, the "Little Napoleon" devised a plan to end the war in a single campaign, the Peninsula Campaign. Transporting his army by sea to the Virginia Peninsula, he would outflank Confederate forces and march unopposed on Richmond, the Southern capital. Continued below…

Excessive caution squandered the opportunity, however, and on 31 May the Confederates struck at McClellan’s divided forces at Fair Oaks. This book details McClellan’s controversial Peninsula campaign and the southern attempt to halt the Union juggernaut. From the Publisher: Highly visual guides to history's greatest conflicts, detailing the command strategies, tactics, and experiences of the opposing forces throughout each campaign, and concluding with a guide to the battlefields today.

Seven Pines Battlefield Map
Battlefield of Seven Pines Map.gif
(Click to Enlarge)

Analysis: Both sides claimed victory, but neither side's accomplishment was impressive. George B. McClellan's advance on Richmond was halted and the Army of Northern Virginia fell back into the Richmond defensive works.

 

(Right) Vintage Map of Union and Confederate battlefield positions on the morning of June 1, at the Battle of Seven Pines. Courtesy Confederate War Papers: Fairfax Court House, New Orleans, Seven Pines, Richmond and North Carolina.

 

The battle was frequently remembered by the Union soldiers as the Battle of Fair Oaks Station because that is where they did their best fighting, whereas the Confederates, for the same reason, referred to it as Seven Pines. Historian Stephen W. Sears remarked that its current common name, Seven Pines, is the most appropriate because it was at the crossroads of Seven Pines that the heaviest fighting and highest casualties occurred.

Commanding Generals of the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles.jpg
Generals McClellan and Lee

Battle of Fair Oaks Station
Battle of Fair Oaks Station.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

Despite claiming victory, McClellan was shaken by the experience. He wrote to his wife, "I am tired of the sickening sight of the battlefield, with its mangled corpses & poor suffering wounded! Victory has no charms for me when purchased at such cost." He redeployed all of his army except for the V Corps south of the river, and although he continued to plan for a siege and the capture of Richmond, he lost the strategic initiative. An offensive begun by the new Confederate commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee, would be planned while the Union troops passively sat in the outskirts of Richmond.

 

The Seven Days Battles of June 25 through July 1, 1862, drove the Union Army back to the James River and saved the Confederate capital. The change in leadership of the Confederate Army in the field, from Joe Johnston to Robert E. Lee, as a result of Seven Pines had a profound effect on the war.
 
On June 24, 1862, McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac was within 6 miles of the Confederate capital of Richmond; Union soldiers wrote that they could hear church bells ringing in the city. Within 90 days, however, McClellan had been driven from the Peninsula, Pope had been soundly beaten at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and battle lines were 20 miles from the Union capital in Washington. It would take almost two more years before the Union Army again got that close to Richmond, and almost three years before it captured it.

Seven Pines Battle
Second Day at Battle of Seven Pines Civil War.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

McClellan, Peninsula Campaign, Civil War, and Lincoln
McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee's smaller army and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee's invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. As a result, McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, first as general-in-chief, then from the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, "If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time!"

Lincoln and McClellan in 1862
Lincoln and McClellan in 1862.jpg
(Library of Congress)

General McClellan also failed to maintain the trust of Lincoln, and proved to be frustratingly derisive of, and insubordinate to, his commander-in-chief. After he was relieved of command, McClellan became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election.

Lee, Seven Days Battles, and Civil War

At the outbreak of war, Robert E. Lee was appointed to command all of Virginia's forces, but upon the formation of the Confederate States Army, he was named one of its first five full generals. Lee did not wear the insignia of a Confederate general, but only the three stars of a Confederate colonel, equivalent to his last U.S. Army rank. He did not intend to wear a general's insignia until the Civil War had been won and he could be promoted, in peacetime, to general in the Confederate Army.

 

Lee's first field assignment was commanding Confederate forces in western Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and was widely blamed for Confederate setbacks.  He was then sent to organize the coastal defenses along the Carolina and Georgia seaboard, where he was hampered by the lack of an effective Confederate navy. Once again blamed by the press, he became military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, former U.S. Secretary of War. While in Richmond, Lee was ridiculed as the 'King of Spades' for his excessive digging of trenches around the capitol. These trenches, however, would play an important role in battles near the end of the war.

General Robert E. Lee in 1863
General Robert E. Lee in 1863.jpg
(Library of Congress)

In the spring of 1862, during the Peninsula Campaign, the Union Army of the Potomac under George McClellan advanced upon Richmond from Fort Monroe, eventually reaching the eastern edges of the Confederate capital along the Chickahominy River. Following the wounding of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at the Battle of Seven Pines, on June 1, 1862, Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, his first opportunity to lead an army in the field. Newspaper editorials of the day objected to his appointment due to concerns that Lee would not be aggressive and would wait for the Union army to come to him. Early in the war his men referred to him as "Granny Lee" because of his allegedly timid style of command. After the Seven Days Battles and until the end of the war, however, his men respectively referred to him as "Marse Robert." He oversaw substantial strengthening of Richmond's defenses during the first three weeks of June and then launched a series of attacks, the Seven Days Battles, against McClellan's forces. Lee's attacks resulted in heavy Confederate casualties and they were marred by clumsy tactical performances by his subordinates, but his aggressive actions thwarted McClellan, who retreated to a point on the James River where Union naval forces were in control. These successes led to a rapid turn-around of public opinion and the newspaper editorials quickly changed their tune on Lee's aggressiveness. Following his defeat at Gettysburg, Lee sent a letter of resignation to Pres. Davis on August 8, 1863, but Davis refused Lee's request. On January 31, 1865, Lee was promoted to general-in-chief of Confederate forces.

Map of Virginia Civil War Battles in 1862
Virginia Civil War Battles.gif
(Virginia Civil War Battlefields)

Order of Battle

Union Army
Maj. Gen. George McClellan
 
ILLINOIS
40th Infantry Regiment
===========================
MAINE
3rd Infantry
4th Infantry
11th Infantry
===========================
MASSACHUSETTS
1st Infantry
2nd Infantry
7th Infantry
10th Infantry
11th Infantry
15th Infantry
16th Infantry
19th Infantry
20th Infantry
22nd Infantry
===========================
MICHIGAN
2nd Infantry
3rd Infantry
5th Infantry
7th Infantry
============================
NEW HAMPSHIRE
2nd Infantry
5th Infantry
===========================
NEW JERSEY
Battery B, 1st Light Artillery
5th Infantry
6th Infantry
7th Infantry
8th Infantry
============================
NEW YORK
Battery A, 1st Light Artillery
Battery B, 1st Light Artillery
Battery D, 1st Light Artillery
Battery H, 1st Light Artillery
4th Battery
6th Battery
Battery G, 1st Light Artillery
Company K, 6th Cavalry
7th Infantry
8th Infantry
34th Infantry
36th Infantry
37th Infantry
38th Infantry
40th Infantry
42nd Infantry
52nd Infantry
55th Infantry
56th Infantry
57th Infantry
61st Infantry
62nd Infantry
63rd Infantry
64th Infantry
65th Infantry
66th Infantry
67th Infantry
69th Infantry
70th Infantry
71st Infantry
73rd Infantry
74th Infantry
81st Infantry
82nd Infantry
85th Infantry
87th Infantry
88th Infantry
92nd Infantry
96th Infantry
98th Infantry
100th Infantry
============================
PENNSYLVANIA
Battery C, 1st Light Artillery
Battery D, 1st Light Artillery
Battery E, 1st Light Artillery
Battery H, 1st Light Artillery
8th Cavalry
2nd Infantry
23rd Infantry
26th Infantry
31st Infantry
52nd Infantry
53rd Infantry
57th Infantry
61st Infantry
63rd Infantry
69th Infantry
71st Infantry
72nd Infantry
81st Infantry
85th Infantry
93rd infantry
98th Infantry
101st Volunteer Infantry
102nd Infantry
103rd Volunteer Infantry
104th Volunteer Infantry
105th Volunteer Infantry
106th Volunteer Infantry
============================
RHODE ISLAND
Battery A, 1st Light Artillery
Battery B, 1st Light Artillery
Battery G, 1st Light Artillery
2nd infantry

Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Seven Pines.jpg
(Historical Marker)

Confederate Army
Gen. Robert E. Lee; Gen. Joseph E. Johnston; Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith
 
ALABAMA
3rd Inf, Mahone's Brigade, Huger's Division
4th Inf, Whiting's Brigade, Smith's Division
5th Inf; 6th Inf * ; 12th, Rodes' Brigade, Hill's Division
8th Inf; 14th Inf, Pryor's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
9th Inf; 10th Inf; 11th Inf, Wilcox's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
13th Inf; 26th Inf, Rains' Brigade, Hill's Division
15th Inf
Battery, Garland's Brigade, Hill's Division
===========================
FLORIDA
2nd Infantry Regiment
===========================
GEORGIA
6th; 26th, Rains' Brigade, Hill's Division
2th; 28th, Featherston's Brigade, Hill's Division
3rd; 4th; 22nd, Blanchard's Brigade, Huger's Division
14th; 19th, Hampton's Brigade, Smith's Division
18th, Hood's Brigade, Smith's Division
35th, Pettigrew's Brigade, Smith's Division
===========================
LOUISIANA
1st, Blanchard's Brigade, Huger's Division
14th, Pryor's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
==========================
MISSISSIPPI
2nd Battalion, Featherston's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
2nd Infantry, Whiting's Division
12th Infantry, Rodes' Brigade, D. H. Hill's Division
13th Infantry, Griffith's Brigade, Magruder's Division
21st Infantry, Griffith's Brigade, Magruder's Division
17th Infantry, Cobb's Brigade, McLaw's/Magruder's Division
18th Infantry, Cobb's Brigade, McLaw's/Magruder's Division
19th Infantry, Wilcox's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
Jeff Davis Legion Cavalry, 3 companies: Gordon's, Martin's and Perrin's Division
============================
NORTH CAROLINA
4th Inf, Featherston's Brigade, Hill's Division
5th Inf; 23rd Inf, Garland's Brigade, Hill's Division
13th Inf; 14th Inf, Colston's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
16th Inf, Hampton's Brigade, Smith's Division
22nd, Pettigrew's Brigade, Smith's Division
34th Infantry Regiment
56th Infantry Regiment
==========================
SOUTH CAROLINA
5th Inf; 6th Inf; Palmetto Sharpshooters, Anderson's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
==========================
TENNESSEE
1st Inf; 7th Inf; 14th Inf, Hatton's Brigade, * Smith's Division
===========================
TEXAS
1st Inf; 4th Inf; 5th Inf, Hood's Brigade, Smith's Division
==========================
VIRGINIA
1st; 7th; 11th; 17th, Kemper's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
3rd, Colston's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
4th, Rodes' Brigade, Longstreet's Division
5th Battalion; 9th; 14th; 53rd, Armistead's Brigade, Huger's Division
8th; 18th; 19th; 28th; Battery, Pickett's Brigade, Longstreet's Division
12th, Mahone's Brigade, Huger's Division
24th, Garland's Brigade, Hill's Division
38th, Garland's Brigade, Hill's Division
47th, Pettigrew's Brigade, Smith's Division
49th, Featherston's Brigade, Hill's Division
Battery

Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Seven Pines.jpg
(Historical Marker)

Medal of Honor Recipients for the Battle of Seven Pines

THOMAS T. FALLON
Private, Company K, 37th NY Inf; entered service at
Freehold, NJ; place of birth: Ireland.  Participant in action at
Fair Oaks, VA, though excused from duty because of disability.

ALEXANDER A. FORMAN
Corporal, Company E., 7th MI Inf; entered service at Jonesville, MI;
place of birth: Scipio, MI.  Although wounded, he continued fighting
until fainting from loss of blood, he was carried off the field.
 
SAMUEL S. FRENCH
Private, Company E, 7th MI inf; entered service at Gifford, MI;
place of birth: Erie County, NY.  Continued fighting, although
wounded, until he fainted from loss of blood.
 
GABRIEL GRANT
Surgeon, US Volunteers; entered service at New York; place of birth:
Newark, NJ. Removed severely wounded officers and soldiers from the
field, while under a heavy fire from the enemy, exposing himself beyond
the call of duty, thus furnishing an example of most distinguished gallantry.
 
FRANK W. HASKELL
Sergeant Major, 3rd Maine Inf; entered service at Waterville, Maine;
place of birth: Benton, Maine.  Assumed command of a portion of the left
wing of his regiment, all the company officers present having been killed
or disabled, led it gallantly across a stream and contributed most
effectively to the success of the action.
 
OLIVER O. HOWARD
Brigadier General, US Volunteers; entered service at Maine; place of birth:
Leeds, Maine.  Led the 61st NY Infantry in a charge in which he was twice
severely wounded in the right arm, necessitating amputation.
 
JAMES R. O'BEIRNE
Captain, Company C, 37th NY Inf; place of birth: Ireland.
Gallantly maintained the line of battle until ordered to fall back.

HIRAM W. PURCELL
Sergeant, Company G, 104th PA Inf; place of birth: Bucks County, PA
While carrying the regimental colors on the retreat, he returned to face
the advancing enemy, flag in hand, and saved the other color,
which would otherwise have been captured.
 
WILLIAM R. SHAFTER
First Lieutenant, Company I, 7th MI Inf; entered service at Galesburg, MI; place
of birth: Kalamazoo, MI.  Lt. Shafter was engaged in bridge construction and, not
being needed there, returned with his men to engage the enemy, participating
in a charge across an open field that resulted in casualties to 18 of the 22 men.  At 
the close of the battle, his horse was shot from under him and he was severely
flesh wounded.  He remained on the field that day and stayed to fight the next day,
only by concealing his wounds.  In order not to be sent home with the wounded, he
kept his wounds concealed for another 3 days, until other wounded had left the area.

Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Seven Pines.jpg
(Historical Marker)

Seven Pines National Cemetery

Historical Information

Seven Pines National Cemetery is located in Henrico County, Va., approximately eight miles southeast of Richmond. The Battle of Fair Oaks (also known as the Battle of Seven Pines) took place in this region and the cemetery’s 1.9-acres are located on a portion of the Seven Pines Battlefield.

Seven Pines National Cemetery
Seven Pines National Cemetery.jpg
(Virginia)

Seven Pines National Cemetery
Seven Pines Cemetery Virginia Civil War Battle.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

(Right) Historical Marker: The Seven Pines National Cemetery was established in 1866 and is located on the "Civil War Seven Pines Battlefield." It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

 

After the close of the Civil War, Lieut. Col. James H. Moore, assistant quartermaster, was authorized to select a site for a permanent national cemetery for the interment of the battlefield dead. The original 1.3-acre site was appropriated in 1866, and later purchased, from Richard Hilliard. Two small plots of land were added to the site in 1874 and 1875. The cemetery name is derived from the seven pine trees planted along the inside of the cemetery wall in 1869.

Seven Pines Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg Address Civil War Seven Pines.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

(Left) Gettysburg Address Historical Marker at Seven Pines National Cemetery.

 

A program of concentrating the battlefield remains began in May 1866. More than four years had elapsed since the first casualties of the war had been hastily buried, however, and the remains were often difficult to identify. As a result, 1,216 interments were unknown here, compared to 141 known dead.

 

Monuments and Memorials

There are no monuments located at Seven Pines National Cemetery.

 

Burial Space

Seven Pines National Cemetery is closed to new interments. The only interments that are being accepted are subsequent interments for veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite.

 

Periodically however, burial space may become available due to a canceled reservation or when a disinterment has been completed. When either of these two scenarios occurs, the gravesite is made available to another eligible veteran on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Since there is no way to know in advance when a gravesite may become available, please contact the cemetery at the time of need to inquire whether space is available.

Seven Pines Marker
Civil War Seven Pines Battle History.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

Notes

The area surrounding Seven Pines National Cemetery was the location of the Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks. It was the largest engagement of the Civil War in the Eastern Theater up to that point, but the stalemate here led to the Seven Days Battles (six major battles) which took place to the east. Though the Confederates suffered heavy casualties during the battles, Lee's aggressive tactics eventually forced Lincoln to order Union forces to retreat.
 
Considering its location, therefore, it seems strange to find a copy of the Gettysburg Address at this cemetery. As recently as 2003, however, the unveiling of a statue in downtown Richmond, which was dedicated to Lincoln, was met with protests. Seven Pines, moreover, is not a Confederate or Union cemetery. It is a resting place for American soldiers who fought in the Civil War as well as other wars. Consequently, Lincoln's message is applicable to all, regardless of location or past circumstances.

(Sources listed at bottom of page.)

Recommended Reading: To The Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign, by Stephen Sears. Description: To the Gates of Richmond charts the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, General George McClellan"s grand scheme to march up the Virginia Peninsula and take the Confederate capital. For three months McClellan battled his way toward Richmond, but then Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate forces. In seven days, Lee drove the cautious McClellan out, thereby changing the course of the war. Intelligent and well researched, To the Gates of Richmond vividly recounts one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Continued below...

Publishers Weekly: Sears complements his 1988 biography of George McClellan with this definitive analysis of the general's principal campaign. McClellan's grand plan was to land an army at Yorktown, move up the Virginia peninsula toward Richmond, and fight a decisive battle somewhere near the Confederate capital, thereby ending the Civil War while it was still a rebellion instead of a revolution. The strategy failed in part because of McClellan's persistent exaggerations of Confederate strength, but also because under his command the Federals fought piecemeal. The Confederates were only marginally more successful at concentrating their forces, but Sears credits their leaders, especially Lee, as better able to learn from experience. Confederate victory on the Peninsula meant the Civil War would continue. The campaign's heavy casualties indicated the kind of war it would be.

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Recommended Reading: The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days (Military Campaigns of the Civil War), by Gary W. Gallagher. Description: The Richmond campaign of April-July 1862 ranks as one of the most important military operations of the first years of the American Civil War. Key political, diplomatic, social, and military issues were at stake as Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan faced off on the peninsula between the York and James Rivers. The climactic clash came on June 26-July 1 in what became known as the Seven Days battles, when Lee, newly appointed as commander of the Confederate forces, aggressively attacked the Union army. Casualties for the entire campaign exceeded 50,000, more than 35,000 of whom fell during the Seven Days. Continued below…

This book offers nine essays in which well-known Civil War historians explore questions regarding high command, strategy and tactics, the effects of the fighting upon politics and society both North and South, and the ways in which emancipation figured in the campaign. The authors have consulted previously untapped manuscript sources and reinterpreted more familiar evidence, sometimes focusing closely on the fighting around Richmond and sometimes looking more broadly at the background and consequences of the campaign. About the Author: Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has published widely on the Civil War, including six previous titles in the Military Campaigns of the Civil War series, and he is also a contributing Civil War historian for the History Channel.

 

Recommended Reading: Seven Days Before Richmond: McClellan's Peninsula Campaign Of 1862 And Its Aftermath (2009) (Hardcover) (728 pages). Description: This exhaustive volume, Seven Days Before Richmond, combines meticulous research with a unique perspective and examines the 1862 Peninsula Campaign of Union General George McClellan and the profound effects it had on the lives of McClellan and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as well as its lasting impact on the war itself. Continued below…

Rudolph Schroeder’s twenty-five year military career and combat experience bring added depth to his analysis of the Peninsula Campaign, offering new insight and revelation to the subject of Civil War battle history. Schroeder analyzes this crucial campaign from its genesis to its lasting consequences on both sides. Featuring a detailed bibliography and a glossary of terms, this work contains the most complete Order of Battle of the Peninsula Campaign ever compiled, and it also includes the identification of commanders down to the regiment level. In addition, this groundbreaking volume includes several highly-detailed maps that trace the Peninsula Campaign and recreate this pivotal moment in the Civil War. Impeccably detailed and masterfully told, Seven Days Before Richmond is an essential addition to Civil War scholarship. Schroeder artfully enables us to glimpse the innermost thoughts and motivations of the combatants and makes history truly come alive.

 

Recommended Reading: The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis (Hardcover). Description: The largest offensive of the Civil War, involving army, navy, and marine forces, the Peninsula Campaign has inspired many history books. No previous work, however, analyzes Union general George B. McClellan's massive assault toward Richmond in the context of current and enduring military doctrine. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis is an effort to fill this void. Background history is provided for continuity, but the heart of this book is in military analysis and the astonishing extent to which the personality traits of generals will often overwhelm even the best efforts of their armies. Continued below…

The Peninsula Campaign lends itself to such a study. In the book, lessons for those studying the art of war are many. On the waters, the first ironclads forever changed naval warfare (Monitor v. Merrimack). At the strategic level, McClellan's inability to grasp Lincoln's grand objective becomes evident. At the operational level, Robert E. Lee's difficulty in synchronizing his attacks deepens the mystique of how he achieved so much with so little. At the tactical level, the Confederate use of terrain to trade space for time allows for a classic study in tactics. Moreover, the campaign is full of lessons about the personal dimension of war. McClellan's overcaution, Lee's audacity, and Jackson's personal exhaustion all provide valuable insights for today’s commanders and for Civil War enthusiasts still debating this tremendous struggle. Historic photos and detailed battle maps make this study an invaluable resource for those touring all the many battlegrounds from Young's Mill and Yorktown through Fair Oaks to the final throes of the Seven Days Battles.

Sources: Bailey, Ronald H. and the Editors of Time-Life Books, Forward to Richmond: McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, Time-Life Books, 1983; Bailey, Ronald H., and the Editors of Time-Life Books, The Bloodiest Day: The Battle of Antietam, Time-Life Books, 1984; Beagle, Jonathan M., "George Brinton McClellan", Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., W. W. Norton & Company, 2000; Beatie, Russel H., Army of the Potomac: Birth of Command, November 1860 – September 1861, Da Capo Press, 2002; Beatie, Russel H., Army of the Potomac: McClellan's First Campaign, March – May 1862, Savas Beatie, 2007; Blount, Roy, Jr. Robert E. Lee Penguin Putnam, 2003; Burton, Brian K., Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles, Indiana University Press, 2001; Burton, Brian K., The Peninsula & Seven Days: A Battlefield Guide, University of Nebraska Press, 2007; Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac. Volume 1: Mr. Lincoln's Army. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday 1951; Carmichael, Peter S., ed. Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee Louisiana State University Press, 2004; Connelly, Thomas L., "The Image and the General: Robert E. Lee in American Historiography." Civil War History 19 (March 1973); Connelly, Thomas L., The Marble Man. Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977; Connelly, Thomas L., "Robert E. Lee and the Western Confederacy: A Criticism of Lee's Strategic Ability." Civil War History 15 (June 1969); Cooke, John E., "A Life of General Robert E. Lee" Kessinger Publishing, 2004; Dowdey, Clifford. Lee 1965; Eckenrode, H. J., and Col. Bryan Conrad, George B. McClellan: The Man Who Saved the Union, University of North Carolina Press, 1941; Downs, Alan C., "Fair Oaks / Seven Pines", Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., W. W. Norton & Company, 2000; Editors of Time-Life Books, Lee Takes Command: From Seven Days to Second Bull Run, Time-Life Books, 1984; Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001; Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001; Esposito, Vincent J., West Point Atlas of American Wars, Frederick A. Praeger, 1959; Fellman, Michael (2000), The Making of Robert E. Lee. New York: Random House; Fishwick, Marshall W. Lee after the War 1963; Flood, Charles Bracelen. Lee — The Last Years 1981; Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee, (4 vol. 1935); abridged one-volume edition, edited by Richard Harwell (1961); the standard biography; Gallagher; Gary W. Lee the Soldier. University of Nebraska Press, 1996; Gallagher, Gary W. Lee & His Army in Confederate History. University of North Carolina Press, 2001; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals, Simon & Schuster, 2005; Harsh, Joseph L., Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861–1862, Kent State University Press, 1998; Kennedy, Frances H., ed., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998; Martin, David G. The Peninsula Campaign, March–July 1862. Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Books, 1992; McCaslin, Richard B. Lee in the Shadow of Washington. Louisiana State University Press, 2001; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States), Oxford University Press, 1988; McPherson, James M., Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War, Oxford University Press, 2002; Miller, William J., The Battles for Richmond, 1862, U.S. National Park Service and Eastern National, 1996; Nevins, Allan, The War for the Union, Vol. I: The Improvised War 1861 – 1862, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959; Nolan, Alan T. Lee Considered, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC (1991); Pryor, Elizabeth Brown; Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters. New York: Viking, 2007; Rafuse, Ethan S., McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Indiana University Press, 2005; Reid, Brian Holden. Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005; Rowland, Thomas J., "George Brinton McClellan", Leaders of the American Civil War: A Biographical and Historiographical Dictionary, Ritter, Charles F., and Wakelyn, Jon L., eds., Greenwood Press, 1998; Rowland, Thomas J., George B. McClellan and Civil War History: In the Shadow of Grant and Sherman, Kent State University Press, 1998; Salmon, John S., The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide, Stackpole Books, 2001; Sandburg, Carl, Storm Over the Land: A Profile of the Civil War, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1942; Sears, Stephen W., Controversies and Commanders: Dispatches from the Army of the Potomac, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999; Sears, Stephen W., George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, Da Capo Press, 1988; Sears, Stephen W., Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, Houghton Mifflin, 1983; Sears, Stephen W., To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign, Ticknor and Fields, 1992; Smith, Eugene O. Lee and Grant: a Dual Biography, McGraw-Hill, New York (1991); Thomas, Emory Robert E. Lee W.W. Norton & Co., 1995; Webb, Alexander S., The Peninsula: McClellan's Campaign of 1862, Castle Books (reprint 2002), 1881; US History Encyclopedia; Webb, Alexander S., The Peninsula: McClellan's Campaign of 1862, Castle Books (reprint 2002), 1881; National Park Service; National Archives; Library of Congress; PBS; Civil War Preservation Trust; Richmond National Battlefield Park Historical Handbook; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Seven Pines National Cemetery.

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