Chronology of the Peninsula Campaign

(with parallel treatment of Jackson's operations in the Shenandoah)

by

James F. Epperson

Each entry is "footnoted" to items in the bibliography. 

Bibliography: 

  1. Catton, Bruce, Mr. Lincoln's Army, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY,  1951.
  2. Harsh, Joseph L., Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862, Kent State University Press, 1998.
  3. Long, E.B.,  Civil War, Day by Day, Doubleday, 1971.
  4. Rafuse, Ethan S., McClellan's War, Indiana University Press, 2005.
  5. Sears, Stephen W., George B. McClellan, the Young Napoleon, Ticknor & Fields, 1988.
  6. Sears, Stephen W., To the Gates of Richmond, Ticknor & Fields, 1992.
  7. Webb, Alexander S., The Peninsula, The Archive Society, 1992 (reprint of original 1883 edition).
  8. Williams, Kenneth P., Lincoln Finds a General, Vol. One, Macmillan, 1949.
  9. Official Records,  Series 1, Vol. V (Guild Press CD-ROM).
  10. Official Records,  Series 1, Vol. XI, pt. 1 (Guild Press CD-ROM).
  11. Official Records,  Series 1, Vol. XI, pt. 2 (Guild Press CD-ROM).
  12. Official Records,  Series 1, Vol. XI, pt. 3 (Guild Press CD-ROM).

Date Event
Nov. 1, 1861
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan made General-in-Chief, supplanting Winfield Scott.  [1, pp.84-84; 3, p. 133--134; 4, pp. 144--146; 5, pp. 123--125; 6, p. 9; 7, p. 4; 8, p. 131; 9, p. 639]
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
Nov. 13, 1861 President Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward, and Lincoln's personal secretary John Hay, call on General McClellan at his Washington home, but the general is out.  The butler shows them into the parlor, where they wait.  After an hour, General McClellan returns home, and after being told who is waiting to see him, goes directly to bed.  [1, p. 92; 3, p. 139; 4, pp. 157--158; 5, pp. 132--133]
Abraham Lincoln
Dec. 10, 1861 McClellan rejects Lincoln's plan to move directly against the Confederate position at Manassas and remarks, "I have now my mind actually turned toward another plan of campaign that I do not think at all anticipated by the enemy ..."  [6, p. 9; 7, p. 14]
Dec. 15, 1861 Based on research from the Prince de Joinville, a French officer serving on his staff, McClellan privately proposes shifting the army to Urbanna, Virginia, in order to flank the Confederate position at Manassas.  [4, pp. 161--162]
François d'Orléans, Prince of Joinville
Jan 13, 1862 Lincoln appoints Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War, replacing Simon Cameron.  The appointment is confirmed by the Senate on January 15.  [3, p.  160; 4, pp. 171--172; 5, p. 142]

Edwin Stanton
Feb. 3, 1862 McClellan first officially proposes the Urbanna plan in a lengthy memo to the Secretary of War, suggesting the use of a force of between 100,000 and 140,000 men. [4, p. 178; 5, p. 149; 6, p. 11; 7, p. 18; 9, pp. 42--46 ]
Feb. 19--20, 1862 The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, his Cabinet, and General Joseph E. Johnston meet and discuss the necessity of withdrawing from the Manassas--Centreville position.  [6, pp. 12--13; 8, p. 155]

Jefferson Davis
March 7, 1862 Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston begins to withdraw from his position in Northern Virginia. [1, p. 101; 2, p. 35; 4, p. 192; 5, p. 163; 6, p. 16; 7, pp. 24--25; 8, p. 153]



Gen. Joseph E, Johnston
March 8, 1862 The Confederate ironclad Virginia, built on the hull of the scuttled Federal steamer Merrimac, sorties into Hampton Roads and destroys the USS Congress and Cumberland.  The Federal ironclad, Monitor, arrives on the scene after dark. [3, pp. 180--181; 5, p. 162; 6, p. 15; 7, pp. 29--30; 8, p. 152]

Union General George B. McClellan holds a "council of war" with his senior commanders at army headquarters on Jackson Square in Washington.  The question before the conclave is whether to support McClellan's plan to shift the army to Urbanna, Virginia, for an advance on Richmond.  The officers then meet with President Lincoln, who tells them he approves of the plan and is relieved to see it going forward.  At this same meeting, Lincoln names the corps commanders for the Army of the Potomac:  McDowell, Sumner, Heintzelman, Keyes, and Banks, and orders that no change of base for the Army of the Potomac be made unless the capital is rendered "entirely secure" in the opinion of McClellan and the corps commanders. [1, p. 94; 3, p. 181; 4, pp. 191--192; 5, p. 159; 6, p. 5--11*; 7, p. 23; 8, p. 145; 9, p. 18, p. 50]

*In his book on the Peninsula Campaign, Sears appears to suggest their were two meetings, on the 7th and 8th, but I think the reference to the 7th is a simple typo.
CSS Virginia rams USS Cumberland
March 9, 1862 The Army of the Potomac begins to advance on Centreville.  [1, p. 101; 3, p. 182; 4, p. 192; 5, p. 163; 6, p. 16; 7, p. 26; 8, p. 153]

Engagement between the Monitor and the Virginia. [3, pp. 181--182; 6, p. 16; 8, pp. 152--153]
Monitor vs. Virginia
March 11, 1862 Army of the Potomac occupies Centreville, discovers "Quaker" guns.  A New York reporter writes, "The fortifications are a damnable humbug and McClellan has been completely fooled." [1, p. 102; 3, p. 183; 4, p. 11; 5, p. 164; 6, p. 17]

McClellan relieved of command as Federal General-in-Chief.  He retains his position as commander of the Army of the Potomac.  [1, p. 103; 3, p. 183; 4, p. 195; 5, p. 164; 6, pp. 17--18; 7, p. 27; 8, p. 157]

Johnston's  Confederate army is now in position on the south bank of the Rapphannock, near Fredericksburg.  [7, p. 26]
March 13, 1862 Federal council of war at Fairfax Court House; McClellan proposes modifying the Urbanna plan to a campaign up the peninsula between the York and James Rivers.  Lincoln approves by telegram, on the condition that both Washington and Manassas be left "secure." [1, p. 103; 3, p. 184; 5, p. 166; 6, pp. 19--20*; 7, p. 27]

*Page 19 says the date was March 12, but this is evidently a typo.

The following order is issued from the Confederate Adjutant General:  [2, p. 49; 9, p. 1099]

General ORDERS, No. 14
ADJT. AND INSP. GEN'S. OFFICE,
Richmond,  March 13, 1862.
General Robert E. Lee is assigned to duty at the seat of government; and, under the direction of the President, is charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy·
     By command of the Secretary of War:
 S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General
Gen. Robert E. Lee
March 17, 1862 Army of the Potomac begins transfer to the Peninsula. [3, p. 186; 4, p. 198; 5, p. 167; 6, pp. 22--23; 7, p. 32; 8, p. 159]

Maj. Gen. John Wool, commanding at Fort Monroe, telegraphs that he believes the Confederate force holding Yorktown is between 15,000 and 18,000 men.  [6, pp. 29--30; 10, p. 7; 12, pp. 12--13]
Maj. Gen. John Wool
March 18, 1862 McClellan requests sufficient railroad rolling stock (cars and locomotives) to supply an army of 130,000 men plus 20,000 horses via the West Point and Richmond Railroad.   [7, p. 32; 12, pp. 15--16]
March 23, 1862 Battle of Kernstown, Virginia:  In the Shenandoah Valley, Stonewall Jackson attacks a lone Federal division just south of Winchester, but is repulsed, with loss.  This engagement, although a Confederate defeat, has far-ranging implications. [1, p. 105; 2, p. 41; 3, p. 187--188; 4, p. 201; 5, p. 170; 6, p. 32; 7, pp. 89--90]
Lt. Gen. T.J. Jackson
March 31, 1862 Abstract of return for the Army of the Potomac shows 179,000 (present for duty) in five infantry corps plus assorted garrison commands; aggregate present is 191,000. [13, p. 53]
April 1, 1862 McClellan  details the troops left to defend Washington and environs, in a report to the War Department; the numbers in this document will become, to say the least, controversial. McClellan then leaves for the Peninsula. [4, p. 202--203; 5, pp. 170--171; 6, pp. 33--34; 8, pp. 159--160; 9, pp. 60--61]
April 2, 1862 McClellan arrives at Fort Monroe.  [5, p. 172; 7, p. 33]

Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth, commanding the District of Washington, writes to Secretary of War Stanton that he only has slightly more than 19,000 men to defend the capitol, substantially less than what McClellan had indicated in his note of April 1.  [1, p. 106; 4, pp. 205--206; 5, pp. 171--172; 6, pp. 33--34; ; 7, p. 57; 12, pp. 60--61]
Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth
April 4, 1862 The Army of the Potomac begins to advance on Yorktown.  [3, p. 193; 5, p. 174; 6, p. 35; 7, p. 43; 8, p. 162] 

Magruder's force at Yorktown and along the Warick River amounts to about 11,000 men.  [1, p. 108; 7, pp. 49--50]

McClellan wires Stanton, "I expect to fight to-morrow, as I shall endeavor to cut the communication between Yorktown and Richmond."  [8, p. 162; 12, pp. 66--67]
Federal siege mortars at Yorktown
April 5, 1862 Yorktown works encountered.   [3, p. 193; 4, p. 206; 5, p. 174; 6, pp. 36--39; 7, pp. 44--46]

McClellan informed that McDowell's First Corps will be withheld to protect Washington.  [1, p. 107; 4, p. 206; 5, p. 175; 6, p. 39; 7, p.58; 8, p. 163; 12, p. 66]  

Skirmish at Lee's Mill/Dam #1.  McClellan declines to attack the Confederate works, and siege operations begin. [5, p. 175]

McClellan asks that Lincoln release Franklin's division of First Corps to him.  [12, p. 71]
Maj. Gen. Irwin McDowell
April 6, 1862 Generals Heintzelman and Hamilton urge a probe in the gap between the headwaters of the Warick and the Yorktorn lines, but McClellan orders that no action should be initiated until the Confederate line had been thoroughly studied. [6, p. 42]

Maj. Gen. W.F. "Baldy" Smith orders a probe of the Confederate lines by Brig. Gen. W.S. Hancock's brigade, but orders arrive to take no action until the engineers have studied the enemy position.  Hancock is withdrawn just as he has discovered a vulnerable spot that might be exploited.  [6, p. 42]

Lincoln wires McClellan, "I think you better break the enemy line from Yorktown to Warwick River at once."  [3, p. 195; 8, p. 165]
Maj. Gen. Samuel Heintzelman
 April 7, 1862 McClellan telegraphs to Lincoln, "It seems clear that I shall have the whole force of the enemy on my hands---probably not less than 100,000 men, and probably more."  [5,  p. 178; 6, p. 43;  10, p. 11]

The first brigades from Johnston's army begin to arrive at Yorktown.  [6, p. 45]
April 9, 1862 Lincoln writes to McClellan, "And once more let me tell you it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help this. You will do me the justice to remember I always insisted that going down the bay in search of a field, instead of fighting at or near Manassas, was only shifting and not surmounting a difficulty; that we would find the same enemy and the same or equal intrenchments at either place. The country will not fail to note, is now noting, that the present hesitation to move upon an intrenched enemy is but the story of Manassas repeated. I beg to assure you that I have never written you or spoken to you in greater kindness of feeling than now, nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as, in my most anxious judgment, I consistently can. But you must act."  [1, p. 109; 5, p. 178; 6, p. 43; 10,  p. 15]
April 10, 1862 The first division of Johnston's army, under D.H. Hill, reaches Yorktown.  [7, p.60]
April 11, 1862 Confederate General John B. Magruder, in command at Yorktown, reports having 31,000 men.  [5, p. 179; 12, p. 436]

Gen. Johnston reaches Richmond. [6, p. 46]

McClellan writes to Flag Officer Goldsborough, "Franklin's division is ordered to join me." [4, p.210; 12, p. 87] 
Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder
April 13, 1862 McClellan's force on the Peninsula (three infantry corps) amounts to about 101,000, present for duty.  [12, p. 97]
April 14, 1862 Johnston meets with Davis in Richmond, along with Secretary of War George Wythe Randolph, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Maj. Gen. G.W. Smith and Maj. Gen. James Longstreet.  Johnston, Smith, and Longstreet argue against a Confederate concentration on the Peninsula; Lee and Randolph argue in favor of it.  [1, pp. 36--37; 6, pp. 46--48]
April 16, 1862 McClellan orders a probe at the weak spot located by Hancock ten days earlier, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from strengthening their position.  A brigade of Vermonters forces a crossing of a millpond and seizes some of the Confederate works, but there were no plans to make a major push so Confederate reinforcements are able to drive them back.  [3, p. 200; 6, pp. 55--56; 7, p. 63ff]

The Confederate Congress passes the first conscription law in American history.  [3, p. 200; 4, pp. 220--221]
April 20, 1862 McClellan assesses the Confederate commanders in a letter to Lincoln: "I prefer Lee to Johnston," adding that Lee was "too cautious & weak under grave responsibility." [5, p. 180; 6, p. 57] 
April 22, 1862 Johnston writes to Lee (concerning the position at Yorktown):  "No one but McClellan could have hesitated to attack."  [1, p. 109; 5, p. 180; 6, p. 45; 8, p. 166; 12, p. 456]
April 23, 1862 Magruder's force of two divisions, plus assorted cavalry and artillery, reports about 13,000 men present for duty, and 19,000 aggregate present.  [12,  p. 460]
April 29, 1862 Johnston informs Lee that he intends to withdraw from Yorktown.  [2, p. 38; 6, p. 59; 12, p. 473]
April 30, 1862 McClellan's force on the Peninsula (three infantry corps plus one division) amounts to about 112,000, present for duty.  [12, p. 130]
May 1, 1862 Lincoln orders Shields's division detached from the Shenandoah Valley, to be added to McDowell's force at Fredericksburg.  This gives McDowell about 41,000 men.  [6, p. 102]
May 3, 1862 Johnston withdraws from Yorktown lines, under cover of an evening artillery barrage.  [2, p. 38; 3, pp. 206--207; 4, p. 211; 6, p. 60; 7, p. 68; 8, p. 167]

McClellan's "intelligence chief," detective Allen Pinkerton, reports the Confederate force at Yorktown at between 100,000 and 120,000 men; the actual size is more on the order of 56,000.  [6, pp. 60--61] 
May 4, 1862 The Army of the Potomac enters Yorktown.  McClellan, who did not believe the first reports brought to him at 6 a.m., is forced to improvise a pursuit.   [3, p. 207; 5, p. 182; 6, pp. 66--67; 7, p. 69]
May 5, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg:  Pursuing Federals under Hooker and Kearny clash with a Confederate rear-guard under D.H. Hill and Longstreet.  Hancock's brigade, guided by a contraband to a position on the Confederate flank, launches the decisive attack to drive the Confederates away.  McClellan is not on the field.  [1, pp. 111--112; 2, p. 39; 3, p. 207; 5, p. 183; 6, pp. 70--82; 7, pp. 69--77; 8, p. 168] 


Franklin's division begins embarking on transports for a landing up the York River near West Point.  [5, p. 183; 6, pp. 68, 84]
Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock
May 6, 1862 President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton, and Secretary of the Treasury Chase, arrive at Fort Monroe. [6, p. 89]
May 7, 1862 Franklin's division lands at West Point, on the York River, leading to the Battle of Eltham's Landing.  [3, p. 208; 5, p.184; 6, pp. 85--86; 7, pp. 81--82]
Maj. Gen. William Buell Franklin
May 8, 1862 Jackson wins the battle of McDowell, Virginia, against elements of Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont's command under the direct command of Brig. Gen. Robert Schenk.  [3, p. 208; 4, p. 215; 6, p. 97, 102; 7, p. 91]
May 9, 1862 Confederates evacuate Norfolk.  [3, p. 209; 5, p. 184; 6, p. 90]
May 10, 1862 Federal troops, led in part by President Lincoln himself, occupy Norfolk, which forces the Confederates to scuttle the Virginia the next day.  [3, p. 210; 4, p. 213; 5, p. 184; 6, pp. 90-92; 8, p. 170]

The main body of the Army of the Potomac links up with Franklin's force at West Point.  [6, p.  98]
May 15, 1862 Battle of Drewry's Bluff:  A Federal flotilla consisting of the ironclads Monitor and Galena, plus the wooden gunboats Naugatuck, Port Royal, and Aroostook, attack the Confederate Fort Darling atop Drewry's Bluff on the James River, some seven miles downstream from Richmond.  The Federal guns are unable to elevate enough to effectively hit the fort, and plunging fire from the Confederates inflicts substantial damage on the attacking boats.   [3, pp. 211--212; 4, p. 213; 5, p. 184; 6, pp. 93--94; 10,  p. 636]

Johnston orders the Confederate army to fall back behind the Chickahominy River.  [3, p. 212; 6, p. 94]
May 17, 1862 Johnston withdraws to near the suburbs of Richmond. [2, p. 39]

McDowell ordered to march to join McClellan as soon as Shields reaches him.  [3, p. 213; 6, p. 103; 8, p. 170]
May 18, 1862 McClellan re-organizes the army on the Peninsula into five corps of two divisions each, naming Maj. Gens. Fitz-John Porter and William B. Franklin as commanders of the new Provisional Fifth and Sixth Corps, respectively.  [1, p.  128; 5, p. 186; 6, p. 107; 8, p. 169; 12, p. 181]

McClellan is informed that McDowell's large First Corps will be released to join him, marching overland from Fredericksburg.  [4, p. 214; 5, p.187; 10,  p. 27]
May 20, 1862 The left wing of the Army of the Potomac reaches the Chickahominy River, and begins to cross.  [6, pp. 109--110]

McClellan's force on the Peninsula (five infantry corps plus assorted ancillary forces) amounts to about 102,700, present for duty.  [12, p. 184]

McDowell's force at Fredericksburg, consisting of four divisions plus some cavalry and artillery, has about 41,000 men.  [7, p. 85]
May 21, 1862
McClellan writes to Maj. General Ambrose Burnside, commanding Union forces in North Carolina, "I expect to fight a desperate battle in front of Richmond, and against superior numbers, somewhat intrenched. The Government have deliberately placed me in this position. If I win, the greater the glory. If I lose, they will be damned forever, both by God and men ... When I see the hand of God guarding one so weak as myself, I can almost think myself a chosen instrument to carry out his schemes. Would that a better man had been selected."   [5, p. 185, 189;  10, p. 392]


McDowell begins to move his 41,000 man force south from Fredericksburg.  [5, p. 188]
Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
May 23, 1862Jackson captures Front Royal, Virginia, near the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley.  While a small engagement, this meant that Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks's larger force was in danger of being cut off from the North and destroyed.  [3, p. 215; 7, p. 91; 8, p. 171]
Maj. Gen. N.P. Banks
May 24, 1862 Smith's division occupies Mechanicsville  [6, p. 110]

McClellan is informed that McDowell's movement to join him has been suspended, due to events in the Shenandoah.  [4, p. 215; 5, p. 190; 6, p. 110; 7, p. 92; 8, p. 172]
May 25, 1862 Jackson soundly defeats Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks at Winchester, Virginia.  [3, p. 216; 6, p. 110; 7, p. 91]
May 27, 1862 Porter is sent to remove the Confederates from the vicinity of Hanover Court House, precipitating a small but brisk fight.  [5, p. 192; 6, pp. 114--117; 7, pp. 93--96; 10,  pp. 680ff]

Stuart reports that McDowell has begun to march south from Fredericksburg.  [2, p. 45]
May 28, 1862 Johnston meets with his senior commanders to plan an attack on McClellan's exposed left wing south of the Chickahominy.  [6, p. 118]
May 31, 1862 McClellan's force on the Peninsula (five infantry corps) amounts to about 98,000, present for duty. [12, p. 204]
May 31, 1862 Battle of Fair Oaks/Seven Pines begins; Johnston attacks Fourth and Third Corps south of the Chickahominy, but his complex battle plan is botched by subordinates.  One Federal division is driven back in some disorder, but the most significant event of the day is Johnston's wounding.  He is first replaced by Gen. G.W. Smith.  [1, pp. 124--125; 3, pp. 218--219; 5, pp. 193--195; 6, pp. 121--138; 7, pp. 97--115; 8, pp. 183--185]
June 1, 1862 The battle continues, but continued Confederate attacks are repulsed by Federal reinforcements from north of the Chickahominy.  Jefferson Davis places Robert E. Lee, previously his military advisor, in command of the Confederate army.  Casualties for the indecisive two-day affair come to about 6,100 Confederates and 5,000 Federals.  [3, p. 220; 5, pp. 195--196; 6, pp. 138--145; 7, pp. 115--117; 8, pp. 185--186]
Gen. Robert E. Lee
June 3, 1862 Lee holds a conference with his senior commanders at "The Chimneys" on Nine Mile Road.  [2, p. 53; 6, p. 151] 
June 6, 1862 Brig. Gen. George McCall's division of McDowell's First Corps is ordered to join the army on the Peninsula.  [5, p. 197]
June 7, 1862 McClellan telegraphs Stanton, "I shall be in perfect readiness to move forward and take Richmond the moment McCall reaches here and the ground will admit the passage of artillery."  [1, p. 128; 5, p. 200;  7, p. 121; 10,  p. 46]
June 8, 1862 Battle of Cross Keys;  in the Shenandoah Valley, a division of Jackson's Valley army under Gen. Richard S. Ewell defeats a Federal force commanded by Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont.   [3, p. 224; 6, p. 153; 7, p. 92; 8, pp. 202]

McDowell writes to McClellan, "For the third time I am ordered to join you, and this time I hope to get through."  [4, p. 218; 12, p. 220]
Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell
June 9, 1862 Battle of Port Republic; elements of Jackson's command defeat Tyler and Fremont.  [3, pp. 224--225; 6, p. 153; 7, p. 92; 8, p. 202]
June 10, 1862 Lee instructs Stuart to scout the Federal right flank.  [6, p. 168]

McClellan writes to Stanton, "I have again information that Beauregard has arrived, and that some of his troops are to follow him. No great reliance---perhaps none whatever---can be attached to this; but it is possible, and ought to be their policy."   [5, p. 199;  10,  p. 45]

McCall's division begins to arrive at White House.  [6, p. 156] 

Mrs. Robert E. Lee, trapped behind Federal lines at Marlbourne, a plantation belonging to Edmund Ruffin, is escorted to the Confederate lines by Federal cavalry.  [6, p. 161]
June 12, 1862 Stuart's "ride around McClellan" begins.   [2, pp. 80--81; 3, p. 225; 6, pp. 168--174; 8, p. 217]

McClellan urges that McDowell be sent by water, rather than overland.  [4, p. 218]
Brig. Gen. J.E.B. "Jeb" Stuart
June 15, 1862 Stuart returns to Richmond with word that McClellan's right flank is unsupported.  [2, p. 81; 3, p. 226; 8, p. 217;]
June 16, 1862 Lee reconnoiters the Federal lines near Mechanicsville. [2, p. 87]

Lee writes to Jackson, "The sooner you unite with this army the better."  [6, p. 174; 12, p. 602]
June 17, 1862 Jackson's Army of the Valley begins to move to reinforce Lee near Richmond.   [3, p. 227; 7, p. 124]
June 18, 1862 McClellan writes to Lincoln, "After to-morrow we shall fight the rebel army as soon as Providence will permit."  [4, p. 219; 5, p. 200;  12, p.  233]
June 19, 1862 Congress passes a bill outlawing slavery in the territories.  [3, p. 228]

McCall's division takes position at Mechanicsville.  [7, pp. 124--125]
June 20, 1862 McClellan's force on the Peninsula (five infantry corps) amounts to about 114,700, present for duty, equipped.   [12, p. 238]

McClellan writes to Lincoln; in part, he says, "I would be glad to have permission to lay before Your Excellency, by letter or telegraph, my views as to the present state of military affairs throughout the whole country."  [10, p. 48]
June 21, 1862 Brig. General George Meade, serving in McCall's division, calls on McClellan along with Maj. Gen. W. B. Franklin and Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith.  According to Meade, McClellan "talked very freely of the way in which he had been treated  ... and said positively that had not McDowell's corps been withdrawn, he would long before now have been in Richmond."  [5, p. 203]
Maj. Gen. George G. Meade
June 23, 1862 Lee holds a final conference with D.H. Hill, A.P. Hill, Longstreet, and Jackson, at the Dabbs House.  The offensive would begin at 3:00 a.m. on June 26.  (Jackson had been riding since 1:00 a.m. that morning.)  [2, p. 87; 3, p. 229; 6, pp. 175--177]
June 24, 1862 McClellan informs Commander John Rodgers, USN, that he hopes to advance enough in the next few days so as to take Fort Darling from the rear and therefore enable the Navy to assist in the final attack on Richmond.  [5, p. 202;  12, p. 250]

During the last week of June, the Army of the Potomac is generally disposed as follows: Porter (Fifth Corps) on the right, north of the Chickahominy River, three divisions (Morell, Sykes, McCall);  on his left, Franklin (Sixth Corps) two divisions (Smith and Slocum);  then Sumner (Second Corps) with Richardson and Sedgwick; Heintzelman (Third Corps), with Kearney and Hooker; then Keyes (Fourth Corps) with Couch and Peck.  According to some maps [6, p. 171, 198], Porter's corps was significantly further east than the rest of the army (south of the Chickahominy).  Lee's Army of Northern Virginia has AP Hill, Longstreet, and DH Hill on the left, in front of Porter, with Magruder, McLaws, Holmes, and Huger on the right, in front of those Federals south of the Chickahominy.  Jackson's reinforced command from the Valley is marching toward the Federal rear.  [7, pp. 119--120] 
June 25, 1862
McClellan writes to Burnside, commanding in North Carolina:  "Reports from contrabands and deserters to-day make it probable that Jackson's forces are coming to Richmond and that a part of Beauregard's force have arrived at Richmond. You will please advance on Goldsborough with all your available forces at the earliest practicable moment. I wish you to understand that every minute in this crisis is of great importance. You will therefore reach Goldsborough as soon as possible, destroying all the railroad communications in the direction of Richmond in your power."  [6, p. 190; 12, pp.  252--253]


The Seven Days begin: Battle of Oak Grove;  McClellan advances Third Corps, along with parts of Second and Fourth Corps, to within about four miles of Richmond proper.  [1, p. 131; 3, p. 230; 5, p. 205; 6, pp. 184--189; 7, p. 120; 8, p. 224]

In the evening, McClellan writes to Stanton, saying (in part),   "I incline to think that Jackson will attack my right and rear. The rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson and Beauregard. I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds if these reports be true; but this army will do all in the power of men to hold their position and repulse any attack.

"I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of re-enforcements; that this was the decisive point, and that all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here. I will do all that a general can do with the splendid army I have the honor to command, and if it is destroyed by overwhelming numbers, can at least die with it and share its fate. But if the result of the action, which will probably occur to-morrow, or witinn a short time, is a disaster, the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs."  [5, p. 205;  6, p. 190; 10, p. 51]

Jackson's force takes position at Ashland,  on McClellan's right flank and rear.  [6, p. 193]
June 26, 1862 Lee's total force is estimated at 112,220 men, "present for duty."  [2, p. 84]
June 26, 1862 Battle of Mechanicsville (or Beaver Dam Creek):  Jackson's column is supposed to advance on Porter's right and rear, but fails to arrive on schedule.  At 3:00 p.m., A.P. Hill crosses the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge and attacks McCall's division of Porter's Fifth Corps, which occupies a strong position behind Beaver Dam Creek.  Jackson was supposed to attack Porter's right flank, but failed to do so, and the Confederate attack failed.  But with Jackson threatening his right flank, Porter has to retire, which he does, to a position near Gaines' Mill.  [1, p. 133; 2, p. 92; 3, pp. 230--231; 4, p. 221; 5, p. 209; 6, pp. 200--209; 7, pp.  124--127; 8, pp. 225--226;]

Casualties are estimated at 1,475 Confederates, and only 361 Federals.  [6, p. 208]

Pope given command in Northern Virginia [3, p. 236; 4, p. 237;  5,  p. 215]
Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill
June 27, 1862 Battle of Gaines Mill:  Multiple Confederate formations attack Porter's position behind Boatswain's Swamp, and are repulsed.  As darkness threatens to end the engagement, John Bell Hood's brigade of Texans charges Porter's main line and breaks through.  McClellan decides to retreat.  [1, p. 133; 3, pp. 231---232; 4, pp. 221--225; 5, pp. 211--213; 6, pp. 210--248; 7, pp. 128--135; 8, pp. 226--228;]

Casualties are estimated at 6,837 Federals, and 7,993 Confederates [6, p. 249]

Magruder feints magnificently south of the Chickahominy, convincing the Federals that the enemy line is stronger than it is. [5, p. 210; 6; 7]

Hooker and Kearny want to attack the Confederate lines in their front, but McClellan insists on retreating. [1, p. 136]
Maj. Gen. Fitz-John Porter
June 28, 1862 Shortly after midnight, McClellan telegraphs to Stanton:  

"I now know the full history of the day. On this side of the river (the right bank) we repulsed several strong attacks. On the left bank our men did all that men could do, all that soldiers could accomplish, but they were overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers, even after I brought my last reserves into action. The loss on both sides is terrible. I believe it will prove to be the most desperate battle of the war.

"The sad remnants of my men behave as men. Those battalions who fought most bravely and suffered most are still in the best order. My regulars were superb, and I count upon what are left to turn another battle, in company with their gallant comrades of the volunteers. Had I 20,000 or even 10,000 fresh troops to use to-morrow 1 could take Richmond, but I have not a man in reserve, and shall be glad to cover my retreat and save the material and personnel of the army.

"If we have lost the day we have yet preserved our honor, and no one need blush for the Army of the Potomac. I have lost this battle because my force was too small."   [3, p. 233; 5, p. 213; 6, p. 251; 10, p. 61]
June 29, 1862 Battle of Savage's Station:  Sumner, Heintzelman, and Smith (of Franklin's Sixth Corps) fight a rear-guard action against the divisions of Magruder and McLaws, who were supposed to be supported by Jackson, who was delayed by the necessity of rebuilding a bridge so he could cross the Chickahominy.   McClellan spends the battle five miles away directing wagon traffic, leaving no one in command of the battlefield. [3, pp. 233--234; 4, p. 226; 5, p. 217; 6, pp. 265--275; 7, pp. 137--143; 8, pp. 235--236;]

Casualties are light---444 Confederates, 919 Federals.  [6, p. 272]
Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner
June 30, 1862 Battle of Glendale:  Lee's best chance to destroy the Federal army with strong attacks from the front, flanks, and rear, fails to succeed through a combination of command dysfunction, strong Federal fighting, and simple bad luck.  McClellan spent most of the day on the gunboat Galena, having left no single officer in charge of the action.  [1, pp. 138--140; 3, p. 234; 4, pp. 226--227; 5, pp. 218--220; 6, pp. 277--307; 7, pp. 143--152; 8, pp. 237--239]

Casualties come to 3,673 Confederates, and 3,797 Federals.

A political cartoon about McClellan's Glendale boat-ride
July 1, 1862 Battle of Malvern Hill:  The Federals continue their retreat to James River, taking up a position on Malvern Hill, a large eminence that dominates the Confederate approaches.  A series of disjointed and uncoordinated Confederate attacks are easily beaten off, mostly by massed artillery supported by naval gunfire from James River.  The Federal army continues its withdrawal after the fighting ends.  McClellan again spends part of the day on the Galena, but returns about 3:30, before Lee attacks.  Before hearing Porter's report of the Confederate repulse, McClellan orders a retreat to Harrison's Landing.   [1, p. 140; 3, p. 235; 4, pp. 228--229; 5, pp. 220--222; 6, pp. 308--336; 7, pp. 153--167; 8, p. 239;]

Confederate losses are estimated as 869 dead, 4,241 wounded,  and 540 missing, for a total of 5,650.  Federal losses were 314 killed, 1,875 wounded, and 818 missing, for a total of 3,007.
 July 2, 1862 The Army of the Potomac retreats to Harrison's Landing    [1, p. 146; 3, p. 236; 5, p. 223; 8, p. 239;]

Total casualties for the Seven Days come to 15,855 Federals and 20,204 Confederates.  [6, p. 343]
July 3, 1862 Jeb Stuart bombards the Federal camps at Harrison's Landing from Evlington Heights.  [5, pp. 223--224; 6, p. 340; 7, p. 167]
July 4, 1862 McClellan issues an address to his army, saying (in part), "Your achievements of the last ten days have illustrated the valor and endurance of the American soldier. Attacked by vastly superior forces, and without hope of re-enforcements, you have succeeded in changing your base of operations by a flank movement, always regarded as the most hazardous of military expedients."  [5, p. 225; 6, p. 345; 12, p. 299]
 July 8, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln arrives at Harrison's Landing to discuss further operations with McClellan. McClellan hands Lincoln a letter advising him on the general direction of the war, partly in response to McClellan's note to Lincoln of June 20.  [3, p. 238; 4, pp. 232--233; 5, p. 226; 10, p. 48, pp. 73--74]


July 11, 1862 Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck, currently commanding in Tennessee and Mississippi, is appointed by Lincoln to the (vacant)  position of General-in-Chief.  [3, p. 238; 4, p. 242; 5, p. 229]
Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck
 July 20, 1862 Abstract of field return shows Lee's force of seven divisions, plus assorted cavalry and artillery, as having about 70,000 present for duty, and 94,700 aggregate present.  [12,  p. 645]
 July 25, 1862 Halleck arrives at Harrison's Landing.  If reinforced, McClellan proposes to move against Petersburg.  Halleck does not like the idea.  McClellan proposes to advance on Richmond with 30,000 more men; Halleck tells him he can only offer 20,000.  [4, p. 245; 5, pp. 239--240; 12, pp. 337--338] 
 July 26, 1862  McClellan tells Halleck that he is "willing to try" to take Richmond with the offered 20,000 additional troops.  The Petrersburg idea appears to have been dropped.  [5, pp. 239--240; 13, pp. 337--338] 
 July 27, 1862 Halleck returns to Washington, where he receives a letter from McClellan saying that 20,000 additional men would not be enough, he needs all of Burnside's force, plus Hunter's troops from along the Atlantic coast, plus 15,000--20,000 from the West; this amounts to about 50,000 to 55,000 men, quite a bit more than the 20,000 he had agreed upon.  [5, pp. 241--242; 12, pp. 333--334]
 July 30, 1862 Halleck orders McClellan to send off all his sick and wounded from the Peninsula.  [3, p. 245; 5, p. 242; 10, pp. 76--77]
 August 1, 1862 Confederate batteries (43 guns) positioned at Coggins Point on the south side of the James fire over a thousand shells at the Federal camp, inflicting minimal casualties.  In response, small federal forces are dispatched across the river to break up the gun emplacements and discourage further bombardments.  [4, p. 248; 10, p. 76; 11,  pp. 931, 934--946]
 August 3, 1862 Halleck orders the army withdrawn from the Peninsula to the line of the Rappahannock.  [3, p. 247; 5, p. 242; 10, pp. 80--81]

Coggins Point occupied by a small Federal force, and 300 cavalry are sent raiding through the surrounding countryside.  [10, p. 76]
 August 5, 1862 In response to word from Pope that deserters said Richmond was being evacuated, McClellan sends Hooker with two infantry divisions plus cavalry to occupy Malvern Hill.  [5, p. 243; 6, p. 354; 10, p. 76, 77]

McClellan reports an enemy force of 20,000 men "about 6 miles back from" Coggins Point.  [10, p. 78]
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
 August 6, 1862 McClellan orders Hooker to withdraw from Malvern Hill.  [5, p. 244; 6, p. 354; 10, p. 78]
 August 14, 1862 The Army of the Potomac begins to withdraw from Harrison's Landing for Fort Monroe, to take ships for Northern Virginia.  [5, p. 245]
August 23, 1862 McClellan and staff board the City of Hudson to go north to Aquia Creek, ending the Peninsula Campaign.  [5, p. 247]
March 6, 1863 Lee submits his report of the campaign to the Confederate Secretary of War.  The report contains the comment, "Under ordinary circumstances the Federal Army should have been destroyed."  [11, p.  497]