Peninsula Campaign Map
The Seven Days Battle
American Civil War
March to July 1862


When Union General McClellan reached the peninsula in early April he found a force of ten to fifteen thousand Confederates under Major General John B. Magruder barring his path to Richmond. Magruder, a student of drama and master of deception, so dazzled McClellan that instead of brushing the Confederates aside he spent a month in a siege of Yorktown. But General Joseph Johnston CSA, who wanted to fight the decisive action closer to Richmond, decided to withdraw slowly up the peninsula. At Williamsburg, on May 5, McClellanís advance elements made contact with the Confederate rear guard under General James Longstreet, who successfully delayed the Federal advance. McClellan again pursued in leisurely fashion, always believing that he was outnumbered and about to be attacked in overwhelming force by Johnston. By May 25 two corps of the Army of the Potomac had turned southwest toward Richmond and crossed the sluggish Chickahominy River. The remaining three corps were on the north side of the stream with the expectation of making contact with McDowell, who would come down from Fredericksburg. Men of the two corps south of the river could see the spires of the Confederate capital, but Johnston’s army was in front of them.

Drenching rains on May 30 raised the Chickahominy to flood stage and seriously divided McClellan’s army. Johnston decided to grasp this chance to defeat the Federals in detail. He struck on May 31 near Fair Oaks. His plans called for his whole force to concentrate against the isolated corps south of the river, but his staff and subordinate commanders were not up to the task of executing them. Assaulting columns became confused, and attacks were delivered piecemeal. The Federals, after some initial reverses, held their ground and bloodily repulsed the Confederates.

When Johnston suffered a severe wound at Fair Oaks, President Davis replaced him with General Lee. Lee for his part had no intention of defending Richmond passively. The city’s fortifications would enable him to protect Richmond with a relatively small force while he used the main body of his army offensively in an attempt to cut off and destroy the Army of the Potomac. He ordered Jackson back from the Shenandoah Valley with all possible speed.

The Union Invasion of Virginia March to July 1862 (part 1 of 3)

Part 2

The Seven Days' Battles

McClellan had planned to use his superior artillery to break through the Richmond defenses, but Lee struck the Union Army before it could resume the advance. Leeís dispositions for the Battle of Mechanicsville on June 26 present a good illustration of the principles of mass and economy of force. On the north side of the Chickahominy, he concentrated 65,000 men to oppose Brig. Gen. Fitz-John Porterís V Corps of 30,000. Only 25,000 were left before Richmond to contain the remainder of the Union Army. When Lee attacked, his timing and coordination were not yet refined. Jackson of all people seemed lethargic and moved slowly; and the V Corps defended stoutly during the day. McClellan thereupon withdrew the V Corps southeast to a stronger position at Gainesí Mill. Porterís men constructed light barricades and made ready. Lee massed 57,000 men and assaulted 34,000 Federals on June 27. The fighting was severe, but numbers told and the Federal line broke. Darkness fell before Lee could exploit his advantage, and McClellan took the opportunity to regroup Porterís men with the main army south of the Chickahominy.    continued below map

Killed Wounded Missing

Union Army: 15,849

Confederate Army: 20,614

Extraordinary Circumstances
Extraordinary Circumstances
The Seven Days Battles

One of the most decisive military campaigns in Western history, the Seven Days were fought in the area southeast of the Confederate capitol of Richmond from June 25 to July 1, 1862

Seven Days Battles Map

Seven Days Battles Map
Oak Grove      Mechanicsville       Gaines Mill       Savage Station       Glendale       Malvern Hill

Battles of the Peninsular Campaign

Hampton Roads
Fort Magruder
West Point
Drewry's Bluff
Hanover Court House
Fair Oaks Station
First Seven Days Battle
Beaver Dam Creek
Gaines' Mill
Garnett's Farm
Savage's Station
White Oak Swamp
Riddell's Shop
Malvern Hill

US Army Peninsula Campaign Map

The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide
Virginia was host to nearly 1/3rd of all Civil War engagements. This guide covers them all like a mini-history of the war. This guide organizes battles chronologically. Each campaign has a detailed overview, followed by concise descriptions of the individual engagements
The Seven Days Battles, Federal Troops Flanking the Enemy
The Seven Days Battles, Federal Troops Flanking the Enemy
24 in. x 18 in.
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Civil War Confederate
Suede Grey Kepi Hat

Civil War Union
Suede Blue Kepi Hat


The Seven Days' Battles

At this point McClellan yielded the initiative to Lee. With his line of communications to White House, his supply base on the York River, cut and with the James River open to the U.S. Navy, the Union commander decided to shift his base to Harrison’s Landing on the south side of the peninsula. His rear areas had been particularly shaky since Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart had ridden completely around the Union Army in a daring raid in early June. The intricate retreat to the James, which involved 90,000 men, the artillery train, 3,100 wagons, and 2,500 head of cattle, began on the night of June 27 and was accomplished by using two roads. Lee tried to hinder the movement but was held off by Federal rear guards at Savage Station on June 29 and at Frayser’s Farm (Glendale) on the last day of the month..

By the first day of July McClellan had concentrated the Army of the Potomac on a commanding plateau at Malvern Hill, northwest of Harrison’s Landing. The location was strong, with clear fields of fire to the front and the flanks secured by streams. Massed artillery could sweep all approaches, and gunboats on the river were ready to provide fire support. The Confederates would have to attack by passing through broken and wooded terrain, traversing swampy ground, and ascending the hill. At first Lee felt McClellan’s position was too strong to assault. Then, at 3:00 P.M. on July 1, when a shifting of Federal troops deceived him into thinking there was a general withdrawal, he changed his mind and attacked. Again staff work and control were poor. The assaults, all frontal, were delivered piecemeal by only part of the army against Union artillery, massed hub to hub, and supporting infantry. The Confederate formations were shattered, costing Lee some 5,500 men. On the following day the Army of the Potomac fell back to Harrison’s Landing and dug in. After reconnoitering McClellan’s position, Lee ordered his exhausted men back to the Richmond lines for rest and reorganization. His attacks, while costly, had saved Richmond for the Confederacy.

The Peninsula Campaign cost the Union Army 15,849 men killed, wounded, and missing. The Confederates, who had done most of the attacking, lost more: 20,614. Improvement in the training and discipline of both armies since the disorganized fight at Bull Run was notable. But just as significant was the fact that higher commanders had not yet thoroughly mastered their jobs. Except in McClellan’s defensive action at Malvern Hill, which was largely conducted by his corps commanders, neither side’s higher command had been able to bring an entire army into coordinated action.

Original Work
The Seven Days
By Joe Ryan

Echoes of Thunder
Echoes of Thunder
A Guide to the Seven Days Battles

This is a valuable and welcome addition to this series of battlefield guides. This book will provide you with a guide on the field or it will supplement reading about the American Civil War battle of The Seven Days.

Kindle Available
General James Longstreet

From Manassas to Appomattox: General James Longstreet
According to some, he was partially to blame for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg; according to others, if Lee had followed Longstreet's advice, they would have won that battle. He has been called stubborn and vain; and he has been lauded as one of the greatest tacticians of the Civil War

Joseph E. Johnston
A Civil War Biography

A biography of the public and private life of General Joseph E. Johnston, one of the most important Southern field commanders during the American Civil War
Click to enlarge Peninsula Campaign Map
Peninsula Civil War Campaign Map

Peninsular Campaign Map

Kindle Available

The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days
The Richmond campaign of 1862 ranks as one of the most important military operations of the American Civil War. Key political, diplomatic, social, and military issues were at stake as CSA General Lee and USA General McClellan met.
Campaigns of the Civil War
Civil War Exhibits
Timeline of the War
State Battle Maps
Civil War Navy Ships
Civil War Summary
Civil War Picture Album
Women of the Civil War
Confederate Commanders
Union Generals
Civil War Submarines

Joseph E. Johnston and the Defense of Richmond
The high-level conferences in Richmond to set strategy and the relationship of the Peninsula campaign to operations in the Shenandoah Valley and the western Confederacy. What emerges is a portrait of a general who was much more complex in thought and action than even his advocates have argued

American Civil War Book Titles
Kindle Available

Civil War Curiosities: Strange Stories, Oddities, Events, and Coincidences
This work was fascinating to read and was neither over dramatic or under written. The stories were lively and interesting and the additon of old photos and draqwings helped fill out the book.
Seven Days
To The Gates of Richmond
The Peninsula Campaign

For three months General McClellan battled his way toward Richmond, but then CSA General Lee took command of the Confederate forces. In seven days, Lee drove the cautious McClellan out, thereby changing the course of the war
McClellans Story
McClellan's Own Story

Born in Philadelphia on December 3, 1826, George B. McClellan graduated from West Point in 1846 before serving in the Mexican War. At the start of the Civil War, McClellan was put in a position of leadership and after a successful campaign in Virginia he was given command of the Army of Potomac, one of the Union's strongest armies. He led the Peninsular campaign with almost 100,000 troops under his command. marching toward Richmond.
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign Of 1862: Yorktown To The Seven Days

George B. McClellan got closer to Richmond than any previous Union general by a bold amphibious landing, but lost his advantage due to his own indecision and Robert E. Lee's superior generalship.
Kindle Available

Robert E. Lee
This book not only offers concise detail but also gives terrific insight into the state of the Union and Confederacy during Lee's life. Lee was truly a one of kind gentleman and American, and had Virginia not been in the south or neutral, he ultimately would have led the Union forces.
Four Years With General Lee
Walter Taylor was staff officer to General Robert E. Lee. His book first appeared in 1877. For many years a standard authority on Confederate history, it is the source for dozens of incidents that have now become a part of every biography of Lee.

The Civil War Papers Of George B. Mcclellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865
General-in-chief of the entire Union army at one point, he led the Army of the Potomac through the disaster at Antietam Creek, was subsequently dismissed by Lincoln, and then ran against him in the 1864 presidential campaign. This collection of McClellan's candid letters about himself, his motivations, and his intentions

George B. McClellan and Civil War History: In the Shadow of Grant and Sherman
The complex general who, though gifted with administrative and organizational skills, was unable and unwilling to fight with the splendid army he had created. In this book, Rowland presents a framework in which early Civil War command can be viewed without direct comparison to the final two years of the war

Civil War Video Games
Nation Divided
History Channel
Civil War A Nation Divided

Rally the troops and organize a counterattack -- Your strategic decision and talent as a commander will decide if the Union is preserved or if Dixie wins its independence
Sid Meiers
Sid Meier's Civil War Collection
Take command of either Confederate or Union troops and command them to attack from the trees, rally around the general, or do any number of other realistic military actions. The AI reacts to your commands as if it was a real Civil War general, and offers infinite replayability. The random-scenario generator provides endless variations on the battles
History Channel Secret Missions
History Channel Civil War
Secret Missions

There are about a half-dozen different small arms types, but the Henry is the best for rapid repeating fire and least reloading. The shotgun they give you is useless: you must aim spot-on to affect an enemy, so why not just use the rifle? Grenades are useful at times.
Robert E Lee video game
Robert E. Lee: Civil War General

The game comes with two types of battles to choose from, 45 historical battles and more than 100 alternative ones. The alternative ones are usually smaller versions of the historical ones. Of great interest is the way the game handles campaigns. Not only does it string together varying numbers of individual scenarios but puts the emphasis on how well or poorly your army performs during battle

United States Military Academy
US Army
Library of Congress
National Park Service