Seven Pines (May 31-June 1, 1862) – Also called the Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station, the encounter occurred in Henrico County, Virginia, on May 31 and June 1, 1862. On May 31, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston attempted to overwhelm two Federal corps, under the command of Major General George B. McClellan, 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 Sedgwick’s division of Sumner’s II Corps (that crossed the rain-swollen river on Grapevine Bridge), the Federal position was finally stabilized. General Johnston was seriously wounded during the action, and command of the Confederate army devolved temporarily to Major General G.W. Smith.
On June 1, the Confederates renewed their assaults against the Federals, who had brought up more reinforcements but made little headway. Both sides claimed victory. Confederate brigadier Robert H. Hatton was killed. Of the approximately 84,000 men engaged, the Union lost approximately 5,738 and the Confederate, 7,997.
Oak Grove (June 25, 1862) – Also known as the battle of French’s Field or King’s School House, this event also took place in Henrico County. The first of the Seven Days’ battles began on June 25th when Major General George B. McClellan advanced his lines along the Williamsburg Road to bring Richmond within range of his siege guns. Union forces attacked over the swampy ground with inconclusive results, and darkness halted the fighting. McClellan’s attack was not strong enough to derail the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, that already had been set in motion. The next day, Lee seized the initiative by attacking at Beaver Dam Creek north of the Chickahominy. In the end, 516 federal soldiers lost their lives, as well as 541 Confederates.
Beaver Dam Creek (June 26, 1862) – Also referred to as Mechanicsville and Ellerson’s Mill, this second of the Seven Days’ Battles took place in Hanover County, Virginia, on June 26, 1862. General Robert E. Lee initiated his offensive against McClellan’s right flank north of the Chickahominy River. A.P. Hill threw his division, reinforced by one of D.H. Hill’s brigades, into a series of futile assaults against Brigadier General Fitz John Porter’s V Corps, drawn up behind Beaver Dam Creek. Confederate attacks were driven back with heavy casualties. However, Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley divisions were approaching from the northwest, forcing Porter to withdraw the next morning to a position behind Boatswain Creek just beyond Gaines’ Mill. With almost 32,000 troops engaged, the battle resulted in a Union victory, with a loss of 400 federal men and 1,300 Confederates.
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Gaines’ Mill (June 27, 1862) – Also called the First Battle of Cold Harbor, this Confederate Victory was the third of the Seven Days’ Battles. General Robert E. Lee renewed his attacks against Brigadier General Fitz John Porter’s V Corps, which had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain’s Swamp north of the Chickahominy River. Porter’s reinforced V Corps held fast for the afternoon against disjointed Confederate attacks, inflicting heavy casualties. At dusk, the Confederates finally mounted a coordinated assault that broke Porter’s line and drove his soldiers back toward the river. The Federals retreated across the river during the night. Defeat at Gaines’ Mill convinced McClellan to abandon his advance on Richmond and begin the James River retreat. Gaines’ Mill saved Richmond for the Confederacy in 1862. This large battle encompassed more than 90,000 troops, of which 6,800 Union and 8.700 Confederates lost their lives.
Garnett’s & Golding’s Farms (June 27-28, 1862) Taking place in Henrico County, Virginia, Major General George B. McClellan and Major General John B. Magruder continued the Seven Days Battles. While the battle raged north of the Chickahominy River at Gaines’ Mill on June 27, Magruder demonstrated against the Union line south of the river at Garnett’s Farm. To escape an artillery crossfire, the Federal defenders from Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman’s III Corps refused their line along the river. The Confederates attacked again near Golding’s Farm on the morning of June 28th but were easily repulsed. These “fixing” actions heightened the Union high command’s fear that an all-out attack would be launched against them south of the river. An estimated 830 total lives were lost in the skirmish.
Savage’s Station (June 29, 1862) – Also taking place in Henrico County, Virginia, the Savage Station battle was yet another in the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 29, the Union army’s main body began a general withdrawal toward the James River. Confederate Major General John Magruder pursued along the railroad and the Williamsburg Road and struck Major General Edwin Sumner Corps (the Union rearguard) with three brigades near Savage’s Station. Confederate Brigadier General Richard Griffith was mortally wounded during the fight. Jackson’s divisions were stalled north of the Chickahominy. Union forces continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital. When the smoke cleared, some 4,700 men were dead, and the 2,500 federal wounded were captured.