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Gaines Mill, Virginia
Scenario Description
Following the defeat at Bull Run, Lincoln appointed George B. McClellan as the commander of the army. He quickly set about improving the army. The troops were drilled, equipment was improved, and soon the newly christened Army of the Potomac was a fighting force second to none. The troops admired McClellan and the press dubbed him “The Young Napoleon.” Despite organizing such a formidable force, McClellan was hesitant. Prompted to act by Lincoln, McClellan decided not to advance on Richmond directly. Instead he devised a plan to ship his army to the peninsula between the York and James Rivers. From here he would advance westward toward the Confederate capitol.
Following the battle of Seven Pines, during which General Joseph E. Johnston was wounded, command of the Army of Northern Virginia fell to Robert E. Lee. He decided to attack and drive the Union forces from the vicinity of Richmond. The series of engagements to follow became known as the Seven Days Battles. The first attack at the Battle of Mechanicsville did not go well for the Confederates, but McClellan decided to withdraw. The next day Lee attacked again. Porter occupied a new defensive position along Boatswain Creek. The Confederate assaults made little headway against fierce and determined resistance. At 7 p.m., Lee ordered an all-out assault on the Union positions. At first, the Union line held against the renewed attacks, but then crumbled in the center when one of A. P. Hill’s brigades broke through. Gaines Mill was the most costly of all the Seven Days Battles, with Lee losing almost 8,000 soldiers.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
Scenario Date
June 27, 1862
Gaines Mill, Virginia
Battle Name
Battle of Gaines' Mill
Battle Narrative
The Battle of Gaines' Mill, sometimes known as the Battle of Chickahominy River, took place on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as the third of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War. Following the inconclusive Battle of Beaver Dam Creek (Mechanicsville) the previous day, Confederate General Robert E. Lee renewed his attacks against the right flank of the Union Army, relatively isolated on the northern side of the Chickahominy River. There, Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter's V Corps had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain's Swamp. Lee's force was destined to launch the largest Confederate attack of the war, about 57,000 men in six divisions. Porter's reinforced V Corps held fast for the afternoon as the Confederates attacked in a disjointed manner, first with the division of Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill, then Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, suffering heavy casualties. The arrival of Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's command was delayed, preventing the full concentration of Confederate force before Porter received some reinforcements from the VI Corps.
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