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Kampanja na poluostrvu 1862

Kampanja na poluostrvu 1862


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Kampanja na poluostrvu 1862

Uvod
McClellanov plan
Yorktown i Williamsburg
Izvan Richmonda
Sedam dana
Zaključak

Uvod

Kampanja na poluotoku 1862. vjerojatno je bila najambicioznija operacija Unije u američkom građanskom ratu. Kako bi se nadjačala snažna odbrana Konfederacije u sjevernoj Virdžiniji, vojska od preko 100.000 ljudi premještena je morem na poluotok između rijeka James i York, istočno od glavnog grada Konfederacije Richmond. Zaobišavši tu odbranu, vojska, pod generalom Georgeom B. McClellanom, mogla bi brzo napredovati protiv Richmonda, bez potrebe da se suoči s ukorijenjenim protivnikom.

Neuspjeh kampanje na poluotoku bila je jedna od najkontroverznijih epizoda građanskog rata. McClellan se kretao polako, zadržale su ga relativno male snage Konfederacije, i unatoč tome što je stigao unutar nekoliko milja od Richmonda, nikada nije napravio ozbiljan napad na glavni grad Konfederacije. McClellan je sam okrivio zlokobne snage u Washingtonu što mu nisu pružile dovoljno ljudi ili podršku, uprkos tome što je zapravo nadmašio njegove protivnike tokom cijele kampanje.

Na strani Konfederacije, kampanja na poluotoku je doživjela pojavu Stonewall Jacksona i Roberta E. Leea kao zapovjednika velikog ugleda i sposobnosti. Richmond je izgledao kao da će pasti, prije nego što su ih Jackson i Lee zajedno odgurnuli.

McClellanov plan

General McClellan je više puta precjenjivao broj vojnika Konfederacije s kojima se suočio. Nakon prve bitke za Bull Run/ Manassas (21. jula 1861.), Konfederacije su ostale na svom mjestu blizu bojnog polja. Tamo su stvorili utvrđenu liniju, sa sjedištem oko Centrevillea. McClellanov šef obavještajne službe, Allan Pinkerton, procijenio je snage Konfederacije u Centervilleu na 115.500 ljudi sa 330 topova. Zapravo, Joseph Johnston nije imao više od 45.000 ljudi za pozivanje, a samo polovica ih je bila u blizini Centervillea.

McClellan je želio iskoristiti moć Unije na moru kako bi zaobišao ovu obranu. Dana 3. februara 1862. pisao je Lincolnu opisujući svoj plan. Njegova je namjera bila poslati vojsku s rijeke Potomac u Urbanu na rijeci Rappahannock. Odatle bi vojska Unije mogla marširati do Richmonda gotovo bez protivnika. Johnston u Manassasu bio bi predaleko da bi efikasno intervenirao prije pada glavnog grada Konfederacije.

Ovo je bio potencijalno dobar plan, ali da bi uspio, McClellan bi morao pokazati brzinu i odvažnost. Inače, kako je Lincoln istakao, sve što bi našao bili bi isti protivnici, u sličnim utvrđenjima. Ipak, do kraja februara, Lincoln je odobrio McClellanov plan, a ratno ministarstvo je počelo otkupljivati ​​pomorske transporte.

Kampanju su poticali loši odnosi između McClellana, Lincolna i ratnog sekretara Stantona. McClellan je bio pod velikim pritiskom da iskoristi impresivnu vojsku koju je stvorio. Na zimu je odgovorio šutnjom - jedna od njegovih mana bila je nesposobnost (ili nespremnost) da shvati političke pritiske koji su utjecali na Lincolna. Poznato je da je McClellan zagovarao velikodušan mir, ostavljajući južne institucije netaknutima. Čak je postojala i zabrinutost da je njegov plan na poluotoku osmišljen tako da Washington ostane osjetljiv na napad Konfederacije, dopuštajući mir postignut putem pregovora.

Na neki način o sudbini kampanje na poluostrvu odlučeno je 8. marta, skoro mesec dana pre prvih borbi. Tog dana, Lincoln je zatražio od McClellana da sazove sastanak svojih dvanaest divizijskih zapovjednika kako bi utvrdio da li podržavaju plan. Osam od dvanaest je uspjelo, pa je Lincoln odobrio plan. Međutim, izdao je tri naredbe zbog kojih je McClellan osjetio veliku ljutnju.

Prvo je vojska bila podijeljena u četiri korpusa i imenovani su zapovjednici korpusa (McDowell, Heintzelman, Sumner i Keyes). Tri od ovih ljudi protivila su se planu, dok ga je Keyes uslovno odobrio. Iako je podjela na korpus savršeno prihvatljiva, teško je razumjeti zašto su zapovjednici korpusa imenovani bez savjetovanja s McClellanom.

Drugo, McClellan i zapovjednici korpusa dobili su naređenje da se dogovore koliko je ljudi potrebno za osiguranje Washingtona i da ostave toliko ljudi da brane glavni grad. To je kasnije izazvalo ozbiljan raskid između McClellana i Lincolna.

Treće, McClellan je smijenjen s mjesta vrhovnog generala, uz potpuno ispravnu osnovu da nije mogao zapovijedati vojskom na terenu, na određenoj udaljenosti od Washingtona i s mogućnošću prekida komunikacije u svakom trenutku, i takođe efikasno upravljati svim ostalim operacijama. Problem s ovom naredbom bio je u tome što je McClellan saznao da je uklonjen s ovog mjesta u novinama.

Istog dana kada su se sastali zapovjednici korpusa i kada je Lincoln izdao njegova naređenja, događaji na Hampton Roadsu ugrozili su cijelu kampanju. Otkad su zauzeli mornaričku bazu u Norfolku, Konfederati su radili na pretvaranju U.S.S. Merrimac, fregatu od 3.200 tona, u željeznu oklop C.S.S. Virginia. Nasuprot Norfolka, usidrena na Hampton Roadsu, mornarica Sjedinjenih Država održavala je nervnu blokadu, strahujući od dana kada je Virginiabi se pojavilo.

Taj dan je došao 8. marta. The Virginiaopravdao sva očekivanja. Potopila je dva broda Unije - šleper Cumberlandi fregatu kongres - bez ikakvih značajnih oštećenja. Njen gvozdeni oklop štitio ju je od vatre Unije, dok je njeno naoružanje bilo više nego sposobno da potopi drvene brodove. Vijest je ubrzo stigla u Washington i izazvala osjećaj gotovo histerične propasti.

Lincoln je sljedećeg jutra sazvao hitnu sjednicu vlade. Gotovo se očekivalo da će neki od članova kabineta Virginiada se u svakom trenutku pojavi u Potomacu! Samo je sekretar mornarice Welles bio miran. Znao je da je sindikalna gvožđa, U.S.S. Monitor, bila je na putu za Hampton Roads, i bila je uvjerena da će se moći odbraniti Virginia.

The Monitor bio je zaista revolucionarni ratni brod. Njena paluba bila je gotovo u ravni s vodom. Sve što se zaista moglo vidjeti bila je njena kupola. U ovoj rotirajućoj kupoli, Monitor nosio dva pištolja od jedanaest inča. Za poređenje, Virginia bio mnogo teže naoružan, s deset topova. Međutim, Monitor bilo daleko upravljivije. The Virginia moglo bi potrajati čak četrdeset minuta da se okrene, i bila je potrebna relativno duboka voda.

Dana 9. marta dva gvozdena klada sastala su se u borbi. Ovo je bila prva borba između dva gvozdena ratna broda (iako nije bio prvi put da je gvozdeni brod ušao u borbu - Francuzi su koristili rane oklopne brodove u Krimskom ratu). Pokazalo se da dva broda nisu u stanju jedna drugoj nanijeti ozbiljnu štetu. Nakon šest sati gotovo stalnih borbi, dva broda su se razdvojila. Prva bitka Ironclada bila je neriješena, ali zapravo je to bilo sve što je Uniji bilo potrebno. The C.S.S. Virginia nastavio je proganjati umove sindikalnih ljudi još neko vrijeme (svaka nezgoda s notorno nesposobnim za plovidbu Monitor ostavio bi flotu ponovo izloženu). Prijetnja je uklonjena tek kada je Virginiaposadu je 10. maja, nakon pada Norfolka, ostavila bez baze.

Istog dana kada je Monitor se borio protiv Virginia, Konfederacije su nanijele još jedan udarac McClellanovom planu. Odlučivši u februaru da je njihov položaj oko Manassas Junction previše ranjiv, general Johnston se odlučio povući. Njegova briga bila je da bi vojske Unije oko Washingtona mogle marširati nizvodno uz Potomac, preći u Virginiju kod Fredericksburga i postaviti se između njegove vojske i Richmonda. Ovo nije bilo daleko od McClellanovog prvobitnog plana. U skladu s tim, Johnston se pripremio za povlačenje, pa je 9. marta vojska Konfederacije napustila svoju odbranu oko Centervillea.

To je McClellanu uzrokovalo dva problema. Prvo, to je značilo da je morao napustiti željeni plan slijetanja na Urbanu i usvojiti svoj rezervni plan slijetanja u Fort Monroe na poluotoku između rijeka James i York. Drugo, ubrzo je postalo jasno da položaji Konfederacije oko Centervillea nisu bili ni blizu tako impresivni, a vojska Konfederacije koja ih je branila nije tako velika kao što je McClellan tvrdio. Većina strateških koristi koje je McClellan tvrdio za svoj plan nestale su s trupama Konfederacije. Ipak, svaki pokret bio je bolji od nijednog, a sa snagama koje mu je na raspolaganju, McClellan je i dalje imao vrlo dobre šanse da zauzme Richmond.

Broj tih snaga ubrzo se smanjio. McClellan je sada bio siguran da je Washington na sigurnom i čini se da nije prihvatio Lincolnov zahtjev da prijestolnica treba biti potpuno sigurna onoliko ozbiljno koliko je trebao. Njegovi zapovjednici korpusa preporučili su da će za očuvanje sigurnosti Washingtona biti potrebna snaga od 55.000 ljudi. McClellan je ostavio oko 38.000 ljudi da brane Washington i prilaze. Međutim, mnogi od 19.000 ljudi bliskih Washingtonu bili su novoprimljeni, loše vođeni i neiskusni.

McClellanova vojska kretala se u korpusu. McDowell -ov korpus, koji je prvobitno trebao biti preseljen, još uvijek je bio blizu Washingtona. Shodno tome, početkom aprila Lincoln je naredio da ostane blizu glavnog grada. McClellan je za to saznao istog dana kada je otkrio da odbrana Konfederacije na poluotoku nije bila ono što je očekivao.

Yorktown i Williamsburg

McClellan je očekivao da će glavne snage Konfederacije pronaći na poluotoku u Yorktownu, mjestu odlučujuće bitke američkog rata za nezavisnost. 1781. Britanci su utvrdili Yorktown sa 7.500 ljudi. 1862. Konfederacije su utvrdile liniju preko cijelog poluotoka, s 11.000 ljudi, a ipak je McClellan oklijevao. To je dijelom bilo zato što je očekivao da će general Magruder kopirati Britance i utvrditi grad. Delimično su krive pogrešne informacije. McClellanova karta poluotoka pokazala je da rijeka Warwick teče paralelno s Jamesom, ali umjesto toga presijeca gotovo potpuno poluotok, pružajući odličnu odbrambenu liniju.

Vojska Unije započela je svoj pohod na poluostrvo 4. aprila. Sljedećeg dana napredne jedinice vojske pronašle su odbranu Konfederacije duž rijeke Warwick, a napredovanje je naglo zaustavljeno. U ovom trenutku, Magruder je imao oko 10.000 ljudi, a McClellan preko 50.000. Unutar linija Konfederacije očekivao se trenutni napad, ali do njega nije došlo.

Umjesto toga, McClellan se smirio na redovnu opsadu. Pregledao je linije Konfederacije i zaključio da su previše jake da bi riskirale napad. Jedan napad je izveden, na Lee's Mills (16. travnja), iako je to više bilo izviđanje na snazi ​​koje se razvilo u manji napad nakon što se pokazalo da je artiljerijsko bombardiranje natjeralo Konfederate s njihovih položaja. Nakon toga, McClellan se koncentrirao na izgradnju svojih opsadnih topova.

Konfederacije nisu mirovale. Magruder je ubrzo ojačan, sve dok nije bio siguran da može izdržati svaki napad. Poznat kao 'Princ John' Magruder zbog svojih pozorišnih sklonosti, uspio je uvjeriti McClellana da je zapravo nadmašen!

S pojačanjem su došli i viši oficiri. Kako su se jedinice iz njegove vojske kretale da blokiraju napredovanje Unije, general Joseph Johnston preuzeo je komandu nad snagama koje su branile Richmond. Kako se McClellan razvijao u pripremama za bombardiranje, Johnston se spremao nazadovati prema Richmondu. 4. maja, upravo kad je trebao započeti bombardiranje, McClellan je otkrio da su branitelji Konfederacije Yorktowna otišli.

Karta bitke za Williamsburg

Ostatak tog dana potrajao je u pokušaju Unije da uhvati korak sa povučenim Konfederacijama. Sutradan se dogodila bitka kod Williamsburga (5. maja 1862.). Zadnji stražar Longstreet-a uspio je zadržati savezničku prethodnicu dovoljno dugo da omogući artiljeriji i opskrbnim vozovima Konfederacije da se povuku nazad u Richmond, prije nego što je brigadni general Winfield Scott Hancock (zapovjednik Prve brigade, Druga divizija Keyesovog četvrtog korpusa) organizirao i poveo napad koji je natjerao Konfederate da se povuku sa odbrambenog položaja koji se mogao razviti u drugi Yorktown.

Izvan Richmonda

Unatoč McClellanovoj sporosti i smanjenju njegove vojske, u danima nakon Williamsburga savezna vojska uspjela je zauzeti položaj toliko blizu Richmonda da su ljudi mogli čuti gradska crkvena zvona.

Iako je položaj Konfederacije izgledao zastrašujuće, u stvari je inicijativa uskoro prešla u njihove ruke. To je dijelom bilo posljedica njihovih vlastitih napora, ali McClellan je također bio veliki krivac. Nakon Williamsburga, vojska Unije bila je koncentrirana na sjevernoj strani poluotoka, u blizini rijeke York, sa bazom u pristaništu Bijele kuće. U svojim kasnijim radovima, McClellan daje zadivljujuću izjavu da se „sada postavilo pitanje o redoslijedu operacija koje treba slijediti“. Ideja da nisu napravljeni planovi za konačni pristup Richmondu u ovoj kasnoj fazi kampanje je zapanjujuća, i ako bi bila istinita, to bi se jako loše odrazilo na McClellana.

Imao je dva izbora. Jedan je bio premještanje na rijeku James i približavanje Richmondu duž južne obale te rijeke. Drugi je trebao krenuti zapadno od slijetanja Bijele kuće, preći gornju rijeku Chickahominy i napasti Richmond sa istoka. Ovo je bio najdirektniji put, i unatoč McClellanovim kasnijim izjavama, sigurno je planirao koristiti ovu rutu.

Razlog za to je prilično jednostavan. Iako je C.S.S. Virginia bila spriječena u uništavanju flote Unije, ona se i dalje skrivala u rijeci James, učinkovito blokirajući tu rijeku snagama Unije i spriječivši McClellana da koristi tu rutu. Tek 11. maja je Virginia uništila je njezina posada nakon gubitka Norfolka, otvorivši rijeku James za brodove Union. McClellan je mogao ozbiljno razmisliti o prelasku kod Jamesa nakon ovog datuma, skoro sedmicu dana nakon što mu je bitka kod Williamsburga dopustila da pređe na James.

McClellan je kasnije okrivio administraciju za neuspjeh svoje kampanje. Ironično, njegov stalni poziv na pojačanje doveo je do događaja koje je trebao upotrijebiti za odbranu tog neuspjeha. Dana 18. maja obaviješten je da će McDowell -ov korpus krenuti na jug iz Fredericksburga da mu se pridruži. McClellanu je naređeno da produži svoj desni bok prema sjeveru kako bi zaštitio McDowellov put i da se pripremi za njegovo snabdijevanje sa slijetanja Bijele kuće.

Kao rezultat toga, McClellan je morao koristiti sjeverni put do Richmonda, zapadno od slijetanja Bijele kuće. Upravo je ovaj izbor rute okrivio za neuspjeh cijele ekspedicije. Međutim, za sve osim sedmice nakon 11. maja, ovo je morala biti McClellanova planirana ruta. McClellanov nedostatak brzine ispred odbrane Yorktowna omogućio je Johnstonu da vrati svoju vojsku natrag ispred Richmonda, a Stonewall Jacksonu je dao priliku da dodatno poremeti kampanju.

Thomas Jackson je komandovao drugom velikom konfederacijskom vojskom u Virginiji, u dolini Shenandoah. Dana 8. svibnja nanio je prvi u nizu poraza snagama Unije u dolini (bitka kod McDowella). Dana 23. maja osvojio je svoju drugu pobjedu (Bitka kod Front Royala) i počelo je izgledati kao da bi mogao ugroziti Maryland i Washington. Sljedećeg dana, McDowell je trebao krenuti na jug, kada je dobio naređenje da se umjesto toga preseli na zapad. Iako se McDowell žestoko bunio protiv ove odluke, McClellan se uvjerio da je McDowell još jedan od njegovih neprijatelja. Jedna od tri McDowellove divizije već se pridružila McClellanu, druge dvije nisu imale nikakvu ulogu u kampanji za poluotok.

Bez obzira na to je li odluka o zadržavanju McDowella bila ispravna, ona je ostavila McClellanovu vojsku u potencijalno opasnom položaju. Njegov put između Bijele kuće Landing i Richmonda vodio je preko močvarne doline rijeke Chickahominy. Vlažno proljetno vrijeme značilo je da rijeka teče neobično visoko, pa je bilo teško premostiti je. Do kraja maja, McClellanova vojska je pregazila rijeku. Keyesov i Heintzelmanov korpus bili su na južnoj (desnoj) obali rijeke, druga tri na sjevernoj (lijevoj) obali.

Čini se da je obavještajna služba Konfederacije bila malo bolja od McClellanove. Dana 27. maja Johnston je primio vijest da je McDowell na putu prema jugu i odlučio je da mora napasti McClellanova tri korpusa sjeverno od Chickahominyja prije nego što se dvije savezne vojske spoje. Sljedećeg dana stigle su točne informacije o McDowellu, a plan Konfederacije se promijenio. Sada je umjesto toga Johnston namjeravao krenuti u napad na dva izolirana federalna korpusa.

Rezultat je bila dvodnevna bitka (Sedam borova ili Fair Oaks, 31. maja-1. juna 1862.). Bitka je loše vođena na obje strane, ali posebno na strani Konfederacije. Uprkos izvjesnom uspjehu 31. maja, izolirani savezni korpus nije uništen, a 1. juna McClellan je imao najbolje borbe. Federalni gubici bili su 790 poginulih, 3.594 ranjenih i 647 zarobljenih (ukupno 5.031). Gubici Konfederacije bili su 980 poginulih, 4.749 ranjenih i 405 nestalih (ukupno 6.134).

Sedam dana

Među ranjenicima Konfederacije bio je i general Johnston. To je predsjedniku Davisu dalo priliku da ga zamijeni svojim vojnim savjetnikom, Robertom E. Leejem. Dok je McClellan sjedio na svojim položajima oko Chickahominyja, pozivajući pojačanje i čekajući točno vrijeme za početak svog napada, Lee se počeo pripremati za pokretanje svoje prve velike ofenzive.

Imao je izuzetan izvor informacija o McClellanovoj poziciji. Jeb Stuart je 12. juna poveo 1.200 konjanika u raciju oko cijele McClellanove vojske. Zaobišao je sjeverni bok savezne vojske i otkrio da je Porterov peti korpus još uvijek sjeverno od Chickahominyja i da nema jak desni bok. Otkrivši to, nastavio je s leđa McClellanove vojske, prešavši natrag na teritorij Konfederacije 16. lipnja.

Naoružan ovim podacima, Lee se pripremio za napad na McClellanovo izloženo desno krilo. Jackson je završio kampanju za dolinu u Port Republicu (9. juna), a sada je krenuo da se pridruži Leeju u Richmondu. U skladu s tim, postavljeni su planovi za zajedničku ofenzivu nakon što je Jackson stigao do Richmonda. Njegov cilj je bio odgurnuti McClellanovu vojsku od Richmonda, uništavajući je ako je moguće.

Rezultirajuće borbe postale su poznate kao Sedmodnevne bitke (25. juna-1. jula 1862.). Stvari nisu išle u potpunosti kako je Lee planirao. Sedam dana započelo je borbama u Oak Groveu (25. juna), tokom federalnog izviđanja. Drugog dana bio je prvi Leejev napad (Mechanicsville, 26. juna). To je trebao biti zajednički napad, koji je počeo rano ujutro napadom Jacksonovih ljudi iz Shenandoaha. Međutim, Jacksonova "pješačka konjica", poznata po svojoj brzini u dolini, jasno se približavala iscrpljenosti, kao i njihov zapovjednik. Kada je A.P. Hill konačno pokrenuo napad kasno u toku dana, Jackson je bio na nekoliko milja, ali nije uspio poslati nikakvu pomoć, pa je napad s lakoćom odbijen.

Uprkos jasnoj pobjedi u Mechanicsvilleu, McClellan je sada odlučio premjestiti svoju bazu iz Bijele kuće koja slijeće na jug do rijeke James. Porterovom korpusu je naređeno da se povuče sa svojih jakih pozicija u Mechanicsvilleu. 27. juna napadnut je na svom novom položaju (bitka kod Gaines's Mill -a). Još jednom je napad Konfederacije bio loše organiziran, ali ovaj put Lee je konačno uspio pokrenuti koordinirani napad, a Porterova linija se srušila.

Uvjeren da je sada u velikom broju, McClellan je nastavio povlačenje prema Jamesu. Gaines's Mill bio je vrhunac Leejevih sedam dana. Pokušao je još tri puta da napadne saveznu vojsku koja se povlačila, ali svaki je završio neuspješno. Planirani napad na Savageovu stanicu (29. juna) praktično nije bio događaj. Složeni plan za 30. jun rezultirao je borbama koje su bile toliko razdvojene da imaju najmanje tri imena (Glendale, Frayserova farma ili močvara bijelog hrasta). Oba dana Jacksonov doprinos je bio zanemariv.

Konačno, 1. jula Lee je započeo gotovo potpuno uzaludan napad na vrlo jaku saveznu poziciju na Malvern Hillu. Čini se da je Lee bio uvjeren da je savezna vojska demoralizirana i da je skoro pred kolapsom. Pogriješio je i 1. jula njegova vojska pretrpjela je 5.500 žrtava, dvostruko više od saveznog broja.

Od šest odvojenih angažmana koji su činili bitke za sedam dana, samo je Gaines's Mill bio pobjeda Konfederacije. Uprkos tome, Lee je uspio u svom glavnom cilju. McClellan je bio odgurnut od Richmonda i na trenutak je glavni grad Konfederacije bio siguran. Vojska Konfederacije možda nije bila vojska Unije, ali Lee je svakako pobijedio McClellana.

Zaključak

Nakon Sedmodnevnih borbi nije sve izgubljeno. McClellanova vojska je još uvijek bila netaknuta i pretrpjela je manje gubitaka od Konfederacija. Na Harrison's Landingu, vojska se uspjela oporaviti od napora, opskrbiti se i reorganizirati nakon napora u posljednjih nekoliko tjedana.

Problem sa kojim se suočio Lincoln bio je šta dalje učiniti. U idealnom slučaju, mogao bi pojačati McClellana i Vojska Potomaka bi nastavila svoju kampanju protiv Richmonda. Međutim, ovo bi funkcioniralo samo ako bi se moglo pouzdati u McClellana u stvarnom napadu. Nakon događaja u posljednjih nekoliko sedmica, to više nije bilo sigurno. I sam McClellan je zatražio 50.000 pojačanja, zatim 100.000.

Početkom avgusta, general Halleck, novoimenovani vrhovni general, posjetio je McClellana. Tamo je McClellanu ponudio 20.000 pojačanja. McClellan je iznio plan napada na Petersburg, ali s toliko malo povjerenja da je Halleck došao do neizbježnog zaključka da je kampanja na poluotoku propala. McClellanu je 3. avgusta naređeno da se povuče s poluotoka.

Neuspjeh na poluotoku ostavio je Washington ranjivim. Kad je postalo očito da se McClellan povlači, Lee je mogao slobodno premjestiti svoju vojsku na sjever prema novoosnovanoj Armiji Virginije pod generalom Popeom. Ako se McClellan kretao polako, onda je Papina vojska bila u velikoj opasnosti. Ironično, Papa je uspio obuzdati svoje protivnike iz Konfederacije sve dok ga vojska Potomaca nije počela stizati, prije nego što je pretrpio težak poraz u Drugoj bitci za Bull Run ili Manassas (29.-30. kolovoza 1862.). Velika ofanziva Unije 1862. nije samo uspjela zauzeti Richmond, već je i izložila sjever porazu kod Bull Run -a, a nakon toga Leejevoj prvoj invaziji na sjever.

Postoje dva McClellana. Prvi je veliki general, tragično iznevjeren od neprijatelja u Washingtonu i u vojsci, koji nikada nije dobio odgovarajuću podršku, nijekao je ljude koji su mu potrebni, izdao naređenja koja su uništila njegove velike planove i još uvijek spasilac njegove zemlje. Stvorio je veliku vojsku Potomaca, dva puta spasio Washington od skorašnjeg zauzimanja i porazio velikog generala Leeja na sjevernom tlu. Da je nakon sedam dana dobio potrebnu podršku, rat bi bio završen 1862.

Drugi McClellan je paranoičan, trom, moguće čak i izdajnik. Nije simpatizirao Lincolnove ratne ciljeve i želio je što je moguće umjereniju pobjedu, ostavljajući netaknuto ropstvo na jugu. Suočen s nizom velikih prilika da okonča rat, ili barem da porazi Leeja i zauzme Richmond, propustio ih je sve. Nije se mogao potpuno kretati brzinom. Svoju vojsku je smatrao premalom, suviše loše opremljenom, vremenom previše vlažnim, putevi preslabim. Nikada nije shvatio da njegovi protivnici imaju iste probleme.

Istina je naravno negdje između ove dvije krajnosti. McClellan je bio odličan organizator. Trenirao je vojsku Potomaca tako dobro da je mogla izdržati ponovljene poraze pod manje sposobnim ljudima. Njegovi ljudi su ga voljeli i bio je popularan na cijelom sjeveru. Međutim, sporo se kretao. Bilo na poluotoku, ili su se preselili da presretnu Leeja u Marylandu, njegove su se vojske kretale presporo.

Ni Lincoln ni McClellan nisu dobro podnijeli kampanju na poluotoku. Međutim, treba se sjetiti da nijedan od njih nije imao iskustva u vođenju velikih vojnih operacija. Linkolnovi zapovednici na zapadu verovatno su imali sreću da su bili udaljeni od Vašingtona dok je on učio kako da vodi rat.


Kampanja poluotoka

Kampanja na poluotoku, vođena tokom proljeća i ljeta 1862., bio je pokušaj glavnog generala Unije Georgea B. McClellana da zauzme glavni grad Konfederacije u Richmondu s jugoistoka tokom Američkog građanskog rata (1861–1865). Na pritisak predsjednika Sjedinjenih Država Abrahama Lincolna da započne ofenzivu - snage Unije bile su u mirovanju od prethodnog srpnja - McClellan je upario svoju vojsku Potomaca niz zaljev Chesapeake, iskrcao je kod Fort Monroea i marširao uz poluotok između Jamesa i Yorkove rijeke. U Yorktownu suočili su ga konfederati pod vođstvom Johna B. Magrudera, koji je uvjerio McClellana da su snage Konfederacije jače nego što su bile. Slijedom toga, 5. aprila McClellan je započeo opsadu, a ne napad, dajući vremena dolasku vojske Sjeverne Virdžinije Josepha E. Johnstona. Snage Unije i Konfederacije zatim su se međusobno borile u Williamsburgu 5. maja. Tada je Johnston iskoristio činjenicu da je McClellanova vojska uhvaćena s obje strane kišom nabujale rijeke Chickahominy, napavši ga u bitci za Sedam bora-Fair Oaks u svibnju 31. Johnston je ranjen u dvodnevnoj bitci, a Robert E. Lee preuzeo je komandu nad snagama Konfederacije, napavši McClellana tri sedmice kasnije i, u kampanji Sedam dana, otjeravši ga s poluotoka i spasivši Richmond.


Poluostrvska kampanja 1862

Ono što se danas naziva poluostrvska kampanja bilo je to dok je trajao američki građanski rat, to je bio pokušaj koji nije uspjela vojska Unije dok su napredovali prema Richmondu. Poluotočna kampanja započela je u travnju 1862. godine, nakon što je general George B. McClellan odlučio preseliti svoje vojnike od oko 110.000 ljudi, a trupe su premještene u područje koje se nalazi između rijeka James i York. Odgovor generala McClellana izazvan je pritiskom predsjednika Abrahama Lincolna na njega. Predsjednik Lincoln je prethodne godine tijekom bitke za Bull Run, pozvao svoje generale da brzo djeluju i pripreme svoje vojnike protiv snaga Konfederacije iz Potomaca, a mogli su se dobro pripremiti za napad na Richmond, koji je tada bio glavni grad Konfederacija (Dougherty, 30).

General McClellan pripremio je plan kampanje koji ima svoje prednosti: vojska kojom je komandovao napredovat će u ratu jer ih štite topovnjače Unije koje su ih čuvale, što je po njegovom mišljenju djelovalo na slabljenje jake obrane trupa u Richmondu (Gallagher , 77). Plan kampanje imao je svoje slabosti: bilo bi teško poduzeti zajedničke manevre, posebno s kretanjem ogromnih trupa koje bi se trebale poduzeti, izvođenje operacija koje su bile kombinirane bilo bi vrlo teško.

Iako su u planu postojale ozbiljne slabosti, general McClellan odlučio je voditi svoje trupe u mjesecu aprilu 1862., oni su sišli na obalu ispod Yorktowna i u roku od mjesec dana uspjeli su zauzeti grad. General Konfederacije koji je bio zadužen u Richmondu bio je general Joseph Johnston, odlučio je premjestiti veliki dio snaga konfederacije na jug kako bi osigurao da brani Richmond (Gallagher, 56). Poslao je trupe na poluostrvo kako bi zaustavio napredovanje vojske generala McClellana, pobrinuo se da snage koje je poslao budu gotovo iste kao i McClellanove. General McClellan je također mislio da će mu general Irvin McDowell priteći u pomoć i pomoći mu sa svojom snagom od 40.000 vojnika. To se nije dogodilo jer je predsjednik Jefferson Davis savjetovao generala Roberta Leeja da pošalje generala Stonewall Jacksona u dolinu Shenandoah. To je čin koji je doveo do preusmjeravanja 40.000 vojnika generala McDowella.

General Johnston iz Konfederacije odlučio je napasti McClellana u Fair Oaksu krajem maja i početkom juna 1862. godine, ovo mjesto je malo udaljeno istočno od Richmonda. Borbe koje su uslijedile bile su ogromne i dovele su do ranjavanja generala Johnstona i nekih njegovih vojnika koji su gurnuti u pravcu Richmonda. To je potaknulo predsjednika Davisa da djeluje, naredio je trupama Konfederacije da budu pod generalom Leejem, a također je napravio i plan koji ga je doveo do napada na McClellana.

To je dovelo do bitke koja je u Sedam dana od 26. juna do 2. jula 1862.), u kojoj je general Lee upotrijebio svojih 85.000 vojnika za borbu protiv 100.000 snaga generala McClellana (Miller, 50). Bitka se agresivno vodila s obje strane, ali su zbog dobrog plana generala Lee nanijele velike gubitke trupama generala McClellana i dovele do vlasti u Washingtonu da narede da se kampanja zaustavi zbog toga što su njihove trupe jako oslabljene. Vojska se povukla u bazu Union, što je značilo da je kampanja završena, a McClellanove trupe propale.

Kampanja u divljini 1864

Bitka kod divljine bila je bitka koja se vodila u regiji između okruga Orange i Spotsylvanije, područje je prostrano i ima ogromnu šikaru i vrlo veliko drveće. Zbog svog gustog okruženja to je razlog zašto se bitka nazivala Bitka za divljinu, područje se nalazi približno 10 milja od Fredericksburga u Virdžiniji. Bitka je bila vrlo divljačka jer je dovela do velike smrtnosti jer je veliki broj vojnika izgubljen u ovom ratu. Bitka se vodila između snaga Unije kojima je zapovijedao general Ulysses S. Grant i Konfederacijske vojske koju je vodio iskusni vojnik, general Robert E. Lee. Bitka se vodila od 5. do 7. maja 1864.

S povećanjem broja trupa Unije u odnosu na trupe Konfederacije, došlo se do osjećaja da bi trupe Unije sada mogle dominirati trupama Konfederacije. Početak bitke kod divljine bio je plan koji je razvio general Grant, a kasnije je odlučio napasti konfederate uz pomoć vojske Unije kojom je zapovijedao. General Grant borio se protiv generala Roberta Leeja koji je bio iskusni general Sjeverne Virdžinije. Počeli su slanjem 5. maja preko 100.000 vojnika Unije u borbu protiv vojske generala Lee koja je imala manje od 70.000. To je dovelo do gubitka više od 18.000 vojnika generala Granta dok su se borili, ali je Grant čak i uz ogroman gubitak naredio svojim trupama preko Meadea da nastave borbe i krenu prema Sudskoj kući Spotsylvania. No, to nije donijelo bolje rezultate jer je do 18. svibnja u akciji izgubilo živote 14.000 ljudi. To nije obeshrabrilo generala Granta, ali on je ustrajao, nastavio je borbu protiv vojske generala Leeja, ali je doveo i do gubitka dodatnih 13.000 muškarci koji su poginuli tokom akcije između 3. i 12. juna (Cannan, 25).

Ogromni gubici trupa bili su uzrok velikog šoka u Washingtonu, ali general Grant je smatrao da strategija koju je postavio za kampanju funkcionira unatoč velikim gubicima. General Grant mogao je priuštiti pojačanje iz ogromne vojske Unije, ali general Lee nije si mogao priuštiti više pojačanja. Although the union army suffered huge casualties, they still continued in their campaign to capture Richmond and the campaign continued to Spotsylvania.

Similarities between Peninsular Campaign of 1862 and Wilderness Campaign of 1864

In both campaigns it was a conflict between the Confederate and the Union Armies, another similarity in the campaigns is that in both campaigns the Union attempted to capture Richmond. Also General Lee was involved in both campaigns also the Union always had huge number of troops and they in both instances suffered huge casualties compared to the Confederates as they lost most soldiers.


Like many people at the time, McClellan opposed the outright abolition of slavery, though he was committed to the preservation of the Union.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he accepted command of the volunteer army of the state of Ohio. His skill at training the Ohio Volunteers won him favor in Washington, and he was soon promoted to the rank of major general in the regular army.

In the spring and summer of 1861, McClellan won a series of small battles in western Virginia and gained the nickname “The Young Napoleon.”

But after the sobering Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run under the command of Brigadier General Irvin McDowell, McClellan was called to Washington and given command of forces that he organized into the famed Army of the Potomac.

McClellan once again demonstrated his skill at marshalling his troops into a solid fighting unit, and his early command was marked by a period of high morale. By November 1861, McClellan had assembled an army of 168,000 troops and fortified the capital of Washington, D.C.

That same month, McClellan succeeded Winfield Scott as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Despite having assembled a massive fighting force, McClellan was wary of the Confederate Army—which he believed, through faulty intelligence, to be much stronger than it actually was𠅊nd was reluctant to mount a mass offensive.

His inaction annoyed President Abraham Lincoln and newly appointed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and in January 1862 they issued a general order instructing the Army of the Potomac to move south into Confederate territory. Lincoln removed McClellan as general-in-chief in March of 1862, stating that McClellan needed to focus his full attention on an attack on the South.


Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days' Battles: The Significance and Overlap

Kongresna biblioteka

The Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days’ Battles of 1862 are characterized as two separate engagements during the Civil War. These two events, however, were fought as one sweeping campaign that lasted from early April to July 1st of 1862. Initiated by Union Major General George B. McClellan, the purpose of the Peninsula Campaign was to advance on and capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, via the Virginia Peninsula situated between the James and York rivers.

In preparation for the offensive, McClellan had the Army of the Potomac transported by boat to Fort Monroe, Virginia in April of 1862. From the end of April and into May, McClellan moved his forces north into Yorktown, Virginia, where a small force of 13,000 soldiers were protecting Yorktown. McClellan laid siege to Yorktown and did not move forward defying President Abraham Lincoln’s orders to continue onto Richmond. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston waited to see what McClellan’s next moves would be. On May 4th, after careful consideration, Johnston ordered the 13,000 troops back toward Richmond. The next day, Union and Confederate forces clashed near Williamsburg, as the rebel forces withdrew closer to their capital.

The Virginia State Capitol had to accommodate the new Confederate Congress as well as the state legislature. The two legislative bodies met in this building until 1865, when it was captured by Union soldiers like these, who paused on the portico for a picture.

On May 31st, Johnston led Confederate forces in an attack on McClellan’s forces south of the Chickahominy River, six miles east of Richmond. General Johnston was severely injured during the two-day battle s of Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. Confederate President Jefferson Davis quickly replaced Johnston with Robert E. Lee: a West Point graduate and veteran of the “Old Army.” Lee’s appointment changed the course of the campaign and the course of the war.

Lee was ready to strike at the Union hard and push them back down the peninsula. Throughout June, Lee began devising plans of counterattacks. In the meantime, Lee had his men dug defenses around Richmond and called in reinforcements from other parts of the Confederacy. Lee planned to launch his operation on June 25th, however, McClellan attacked first at Oak Grove, located west of Richmond, starting the Seven Days’ Battles.

June 26th began with Lee’s plan to split his army into four separate divisions in an attempt to overwhelm McClellan on multiple fronts, and to cutoff and destroy pieces of McClellan’s army. Lee anxiously waited for General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s divisions who were behind schedule. Lee decided to continue without Jackson, fearing that they had lost the element of surprise. Major General A.P. Hill and his men assaulted the Union and pushed them east through Mechanicsville. As the Union retreated further and further, more Confederates moved with them not giving them room to breathe. The Confederates suffered more than 1,500 casualties, while the Union losses numbered some 450 casualties.

The following days saw an unrelenting series of attacks that cost Lee dedicated soldiers and resulted in tactical defeats. However, the battles gave Lee strategic victories as McClellan continuously retreated after every battle despite having superior forces. On June 27th, the Confederates led costly and uncoordinated charges throughout the day at Gaines’ Mill, causing McClellan to begin falling back on his supply line. On June 28th, the Confederates led a failed reconnaissance mission on Golding’s Farm. On June 29th, there was a failed attempt at striking the Union’s rear at Savage’s Station. On June 30th, the Battle of Glendale was a minor Confederate victory in which a Union division and commander was captured. However, the Confederate’s advances were stopped after the Union engaged in counterattacks. With McClellan on the run, constantly falling back toward the James River and his supply base at Harrison’s Landing, on July 1st Lee was focused on destroying McClellan’s army and securing Richmond. The Battle of Malvern Hill was a tactical defeat for the Confederates. Lee ordered an all-out frontal assault on the Union position. The Confederates suffered over 5,000 casualties just on Malvern Hill alone. While again victorious, McClellan nonetheless withdrew, ending the campaign. During the Seven Days’ Battles, the Confederacy sustained 20,614 casualties, while the Union casualties numbered15,849. Combined with the casualty figures from the Confederacy suffered 50,214 casualties during the two campaigns, while the Federals suffered 39,749 casualties.

The Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days’ Battles signified a turning point for the war. Where once the Confederacy had been on a moral decline in the Eastern Theater, Robert E. Lee’s appointment and overall strategic victory during the campaign secured Richmond for the short term and gave the Confederates the strategic initiative in the east. Lee earned a new reputation for audacity, and he would use this to his advantage in future engagements. The Union’s morale dampened significantly after the battles. The Union had Richmond within its grasp, and they lost it due to McClellan’s hesitation. The end of the four-month-long campaign also overshadowed Union victories in the western theater, and Lincoln began to recognize this oversight. Over the next few months, Lee carried the war away from Richmond’s back door, and to nearly the outskirts of Washington, DC.


The Peninsula Campaign

This painting shows how close the two ironclads were during their famous duel. Mariners' Museum

By early April 1862, the Army of the Potomac — over 120,000 strong — had been transported to the tip of the Virginia peninsula between the York and James Rivers and was in position to move on the Confederate capital of Richmond. The training was over this would prove the ultimate test.

George B. McClellan Library of Congress

George Brinton McClellan, often fondly called "Little Mac" or the "Young Napoleon," seemed to have the magic touch when he arrived in Washington in August 1861 following the Union debacle at Bull Run. The 34-year old major general, fresh from his victorious campaign in western Virginia, radiated success and quickly transformed the demoralized Army of the Potomac into the most powerful army ever witnessed in America. McClellan provided his troops with the best training, armaments and organization then known to military science and had replaced the aged Winfield Scott as General-in-Chief of the Union army. Yet by late 1861, "Little Mac" had not given any indication of how or when he might strike against the Confederate army nearby at Manassas. President Abraham Lincoln, who purportedly quipped, "If General McClellan and does not intend to use his army, may I borrow it?", pressed the general into presenting some plan of action against the Confederate capital in Richmond. McClellan's response would set in motion one of the war's most pivotal events — the Peninsula Campaign. McClellan believed that Richmond held the fate of the Confederacy, yet he eschewed the notion of marching overland toward the Confederate capital. This direct approach, McClellan rationalized, would enable the Confederates to use their interior lines to develop a defensive concentration, which would result in extensive Union casualties. Instead, the Union general initially purposed an indirect strategic movement whereby he would interdict his army between the Confederate forces arrayed throughout Virginia and Richmond by way of Urbanna, located on the Rappahannock River. Before McClellan could put his plan into motion, General Joseph E. Johnston pulled his Confederate army from Manassas to Fredericksburg on March 7, 1862. Johnston's withdrawal invalidated the strategic strengths of McClellan's Urbanna plan. Nevertheless, the Union general immediately offered a second amphibious operation to strike at Richmond by way of the Virginia Peninsula.

Northern and Southern leaders alike had recognized from the war's onset the Peninsula's strategic position. The Virginia Peninsula, bordered by Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay as well as the James and York Rivers, was one of two major approaches to the Confederate capital at Richmond. Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler was the first Federal commander to try to exploit this avenue of advance against Richmond. Even though Butler's troops blundered their way to defeat during the June 10, 1861 Battle of Big Bethel, Union actions had secured Fort Monroe and Camp Butler on Newport News Point. Fort Monroe, the largest moat-encircled masonry fortification in North America, was the only fort in the Upper South not to fall into Confederate hands and commanded the entrance to Hampton Roads. Even though the Confederates maintained control of Norfolk and Gosport Navy Yard, Fort Monroe became a major base almost overnight for Federal fleet and army operations.

Joe Johnston's retreat ruined the Urbanna Plan's prospects. McClellan thought that by "using Fort Monroe as a base," the Army of the Potomac could march against Richmond "with complete security, altho' with less celebrity and brilliancy of results, up the Peninsula." McClellan's plan was a sound strategic concept as it employed a shrewd exploitation of Union naval superiority gunboats could protect his flanks and river steamers could carry his troops toward the Confederate capital.

As McClellan shared the merits of his plan with Lincoln and strove to allay the President's fears for the defense of Washington, his campaign started to unhinge The emergence of the powerful ironclad ram C.S.S. Virginia on March 8, 1862, sent shockwaves through the Union command. The Virginia was converted from the U.S.S. Merrimack, scuttled when the Federal forces evacuated Norfolk in 1861. The ironclad's construction was a remarkable test of Confederate ingenuity and resources. In one day, the Virginia destroyed two Union warships, the U.S.S. Congress and U.S.S. Cumberland, threatening Federal control of Hampton Roads. Lincoln viewed the March 8 events as the greatest Union calamity since Bull Run, and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton feared that the Virginia would attack the Federal capital yet, as the burning Congress brightened the harbor with an eerie glow, the novel Union 'ironclad U.S.S. Monitor entered the stage. The next day, the Southern ironclad fought the Monitor to a standstill, yet the Virginia was unable to destroy the Union fleet as anticipated. While both North and South claimed victory, the presence of the Virginia blocking the James River would continue to delay and alter McClellan's campaign.

This painting shows how close the two ironclads were during their famous duel. Mariners' Museum

Nevertheless, McClellan, confident that the Monitor could hold off any advance against his transports by the Confederate ironclad and facing Lincoln's deadline to move against the enemy, proceeded with his campaign. He began shipping his 121,500-strong army with all of its supplies and armaments to Fort Monroe on March 17, 1862, intending to move against Richmond by way of the York River. The Army of the Potomac was the largest army to conduct an amphibious operation in North America. The grand army was bigger than any city in Virginia.

Confederate prospects looked bleak as McClellan moved his massive army to the Peninsula. Brigadier General Ambrose Burnside's troops were finalizing their conquest of eastern North Carolina and Union forces appeared invincible along the Mississippi River. Many Southerners feared that if Richmond were to fall, the Confederacy might collapse. Confederate hopes were pinned on the ability of the C.S.S. Virginia to hold Hampton Roads, and Major General John Bankhead Magruder's small "Army of the Peninsula" to delay the Union juggernaut's advance toward Richmond.

On April 4, 1862, McClellan's army began its march up the Peninsula, occupying abandoned Confederate works at Big Bethel and Young's Mill. The next day, the Army of the Potomac assumed its march only to find its path to Richmond slowed by heavy rains, which turned the already poor roads into a muddy morass. The army then was blocked by Magruder's 13,000-strong command entrenched along a 12-mile front. Brigadier General John G. Barnard, the Army of the Potomac's chief engineer, called the comprehensive series of redoubts and rifle pits arrayed behind the flooded Warwick River "one of the most extensive known to modern times." The Union army halted in its tracks as "Prince John" Magruder, despite being heavily outnumbered, created an illusion of a powerful army. He "played his ten thousand before McClellan like fireflies," wrote diarist Mary Chesnut, "and utterly deluded him."

The events of April 5 changed McClellan's campaign. Not only were his plans for a rapid movement past Yorktown upset by the unexpected Confederate defenses along the Warwick River, but also by Lincoln's decision not to release Irwin McDowell's I Corps to his use in a flanking movement against the Southern fortifications at Gloucester Point. Lincoln feared for Washington's safety and held McDowell near the Federal capital. The U. S. Navy, too, refused to support McClellan's advance. Flag Officer Louis Goldsborough thought that the C.S. S. Virginia might attack the Union fleet while it attempted to silence the Confederate guns at Yorktown and Gloucester Point. Since McClellan's reconnaissance, provided by detective Alan Pinkerton and Professor Thaddeus Lowe's balloons, confirmed his belief that he was outnumbered by the Confederates, he besieged their defenses.

As McClellan's men built gun emplacements for the 103 siege guns he brought to the Peninsula, General Joseph E. Johnston began moving his entire Confederate army to the lower Peninsula. Johnston thought the Confederate position was weak, noting that, "no one but McClellan could have hesitated to attack." McClellan's men did make one attempt to break the midpoint of the Confederate line. Brigadier General William F. "Baldy" Smith sent soldiers of the Vermont Brigade across the Warwick River to disrupt Confederate control of Dam No. 1. The poorly coordinated and supported assaults on April 16, 1862, failed to break through this Confederate weak point.

The siege continued another two weeks even though Johnston counseled retreat. Johnston advised that "the fight for Yorktown must be one of artillery, in which we cannot win. The result is certain the time only doubtful." Finally, just as McClellan made his last preparations to unleash his heavy bombardment on the Confederate lines, Johnston abandoned the fortifications during the evening of May 3.

Joseph E. Johnston Wikimedia Commons

McClellan was surprised by the Confederate withdrawal. The Union commander immediately attempted to cut off Johnston's retreat, ordering Brigadier General Edwin V "Bull" Sumner to attack the Confederate rearguard. The result was the bloody, indecisive May 5 Battle of Williamsburg. The battle was fought along the Williamsburg Line, a series of 14 redoubts built between Queens and College creeks. Fighting raged in front of Fort Magruder (Redoubt #6) all day. The Confederates repelled the first Union assaults and then pressed the Federals back down the Hampton Road. By mid-afternoon the Union lines were in disarray when Brigadier General Philip Kearny personally led his command into the fray shouting, "I am a one-armed Jersey Sonof- a-Gun, follow me!" While Kearny's charge stabilized the battle lines at Fort Magruder, it was Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock's flanking move into several unmanned redoubts on the Confederate left that forced the Confederates to abandon the Williamsburg Line. The Battle of Williamsburg, called by McClellan "an accident caused by too rapid a pursuit," was an opportunity to destroy Johnston's army before it could reach the Confederate capital however, success slipped away from the Army of the Potomac. The Union victory at Williamsburg was marred by the Federal command's inability to aggressively grasp the tactical opportunities made available by the Confederate retreat.

McClellan did not arrive on the Williamsburg battlefield until dark, when the engagement was ending. He had been in Yorktown supervising the embarkation of Brigadier General William B. Franklin's move up the York River, which threatened to block Johnston's withdrawal to Richmond. Although able to secure a beachhead at Eltham's Landing on May 6, Franklin's timid move inland on the next day was halted by elements of G. W. Smith's command led by William C. H. Whiting and John Bell Hood.

Lincoln, disenchanted with what he deemed McClellan's general lack of initiative, arrived at Fort Monroe May 6. Since the Confederate army was now in retreat toward Richmond, Lincoln sought to open the James River to the Union's use. The only obstacle was the C.S.S. Virginia.

The Confederate retreat from the lower Peninsula exposed the port city of Norfolk to Union capture. Lincoln directed Flag Officer Louis N. Goldsborough and Major General John E. Wool to end the Virginia's control of Hampton Roads by occupying its base. Major General Benjamin Huger, threatened by the Union advance, was forced to abandon the port city on May 9. Without its base, the ironclad's deep draught made the vessel unable to steam up the James to Richmond. Consequently, the Virginia was destroyed by its crew off Craney Island on May 11, 1862. "Still unconquered, we hauled down our drooping colors . and with mingled pride and grief gave her to the flames," Chief Engineer Ashton Ramsay reflected. The door to the Confederate capital via the James River now lay open. A Union fleet, including the ironclads Galena and Monitor slowly moved up the river to within seven miles of Richmond. On May 15, 1862, hastily constructed Confederate batteries perched atop Drewry's Bluff repelled the Union naval advance. Obstructions limited the mobility of Federal vessels as plunging shot from Confederate cannons severely damaged the Galena.

Despite the repulse given to the Federal fleet's thrust up the James River, McClellan's army neared the outskirts of the Confederate capital by the end of May. McClellan had established a major supply base near West Point and appeared ready to invest Richmond with his siege artillery. However, his delays on the lower Peninsula once again altered his plans. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's operations in the Shenandoah Valley threatened Washington, prompting Lincoln to continue to withhold McDowell's Corps at Fredericksburg. McClellan, extending his right flank to meet the expected reinforcements, found his army divided by the swampy Chickahominy River.

Taking advantage of heavy rains, which made the Chickahominy nearly impassable, Johnston attacked McClellan's army south of the river at Seven Pines/Fair Oaks. The poorly coordinated assaults on May 31 failed to destroy the exposed Union corps. Johnston was seriously wounded riding across the battlefield. The next day, June 1, 1862, Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Confederate forces around Richmond.

The Southern assaults at Seven Pines confirmed McClellan's opinion that his army was outnumbered. Rather than striking directly at the city, his primary goal was to reach Old Tavern on the Nine Mile Road and entrench. He was confident a classic siege would result in Richmond's capture. Lee, formerly Jefferson Davis's military advisor, recognized McClellan's siege mentality and transformed the sluggish, yet seemingly victorious Union advance into a vicious Confederate counteroffensive, known as the Seven Days' Battles. Lee's offensive, although costly in men, achieved its objective — Richmond was saved.


To Hell or Richmond: The 1862 Peninsula Campaign

In the spring of 1862, George McClellan and his massive army were slowly making their way up the Virginia Peninsula. Their goal: capture the Confederate capital and end the rebellion. &ldquoTo Hell or Richmond&rdquo one Federal artillery unit vowed, sewing the words onto their flag.

The outnumbered and outgunned Confederates under generals &ldquoPrince John&rdquo Magruder and Joseph E. Johnston kept pulling back, drawing McClellan away from his base at Fort Monroe and further up the peninsula&mdashexactly the direction McClellan wanted to go. But if they could draw him just far enough, and out of position, maybe they could attack and defeat him.

As McClellan approached the very gates of Richmond, a great battle was brewing. Could the Confederates save their capital and, with it, their young nation? Could the Federals win the war with a single fatal blow?

In To Hell or Richmond: The 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Doug Crenshaw and Drew Gruber follow the armies on their trek up the peninsula. The stakes grew enormous, surprises awaited, and the soldiers themselves had only two possible destinations in mind.

Doug Crenshaw is an Emerging Civil War Series author who has written a number of books on the Civil War in Richmond, including Richmond Shall Not be Given Up: The Seven Days Battles, a prelude to To Hell or Richmond: The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. A volunteer for the Richmond National Battlefield Park, Doug is a member of the Richmond Civil War Roundtable and a board member of the Richmond Battlefields Association. Drew Gruber is the executive director of Civil War Trails and the Interim Director of the Williamsburg Battlefield Association. He lives in Williamsburg with his wife and two cats.


  1. The Influence of Napoleon on the Civil War.
  2. Smoothbore vs Rifled Muskets
  3. The Minie Ball and the impact it and rifled muskets had on tactics —
  4. How a typical infantryman fired
  5. The role of cavalry
  6. Artillery – various types (solid shot, case shot, canister, grapeshot)
  7. Entrenchments became increasingly important.
  • Change in Command
      1. Recall that the Confederate army commanded by P. G. T. Beauregard and Joseph Johnston soundly defeated the Union army under Irvin McDowell, which retreated to Washington in disarray.
      2. Beauregard was sent west to aid Albert Sidney Johnston, leaving Joseph Johnston in sole command of the Confederate army at Manassas.
      3. After the debacle at Bull Run, Irvin McDowell was demoted to a division commander.
      4. Lincoln replaced McDowell with George B. McClellan (mini bio: West Point, Mex War, observer in Crimean War, business experience, early success in WV)
      5. McClellan reorganized the army and whipped it into shape. He also renamed it the Army of the Potomac. By November the army had grown to 168,000.
      6. McClellan was extremely popular with his troops, who called him “Little Mac.”
      7. In November, Winfield Scott announced his retirement. Lincoln named McClellan as his successor, which meant McClellan was General in Chief of the entire U. S. Army as well as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
      8. When Lincoln warned McClellan that having these two jobs would be extremely difficult, McClellan replied “I can do it all.”
      • Lincoln and McClellan
          1. McClellan was a Democrat who believed in slavery and just wanted to restore the Union to the status quo ante bellum.
          2. He had no respect for Lincoln, calling him an idiot and “The Original Gorilla.”
          3. One night, Lincoln and Seward went to see McClellan. The butler told them McClellan was out. When McClellan came home, he went straight to his bedroom. When Lincoln asked to see him, the butler said “He has gone to bed.”
          4. Lincoln put up with all this because he thought McClellan would bring a Union victory.
          • Fall – Winter 1861
            1. Despite Lincoln’s urging, McClellan refused to march the army toward Johnston. The summer and fall passed, and then winter set in, when campaigning was nearly impossible.
            2. In October, McClellan sent a small force toward Leesburg. This force was defeated by a Confederate force at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
            3. As a result of Ball’s Bluff, Congress formed a Joint Committee to Investigate the War. They investigated officers, particularly Democratic ones.

            Peninsula Campaign

            "Southern Cross" Don Troiani, www.historicalartprints.com

            By June of 1862, following its slow advance up the Peninsula, McClellan's army was so close to Richmond Union soldiers could hear the church bells ring in the city. The end of the war seemed near at hand. But in a bold stroke, Robert E. Lee took the initiative, attacking the Union army in what would be known as the Seven Days' Battles.

            During the battle of Glendale, members of Camdus Wilcox's Alabamians took Randol's Federal battery. Don Troiani's painting, Southern Cross, captures the intensity of the fighting that was typical that day.

            "Southern Cross" Don Troiani, www.historicalartprints.com

            The wounding of Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston at Seven Pines signaled the start of a new era in Virginia — the Robert E. Lee years. Vigor replaced turpitude, aggression supplanted terminal caution. Within the first 100 hours of his regime, Lee unveiled his plan to break the Union grip on Richmond. Writing to President Jefferson Davis on June 5, Lee expressed his concerns about a passive defense. Instead, he explained, "I am preparing a line that I can hold with part of our forces in front, while with the rest I will endeavor to make a diversion to bring McClellan out. He sticks under his batteries & is working day & night." For the next three weeks, Lee concentrated his energy on executing that plan.

            A mile or two to the east, George B. McClellan wielded the largest army in American history With nearly 125,000 men, he outnumbered Lee almost two to one. But the Army of the Potomac struggled with an immense supply line stretching from White House Landing on the Pamunkey River to the front lines nearly a dozen miles to the west, and McClellan had so positioned his five corps that the swampy Chickahominy River bisected his front. On the other hand, McClellan had momentum he and his army had dictated the pace of events in May.

            Lieutenant General T. J. “Stonewall” Jackson Library of Congress

            Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson proved to be the key piece in Lee's plan. After mopping up three separate Union armies in the Shenandoah Valley, the singular Stonewall pointed his 20,000-man army toward Richmond. Lee hoped that Jackson's force would be the maneuver element, sweeping in upon the Federal army's exposed upper flank northeast of Richmond. To prepare for that event Lee dispatched his chief of cavalry, Brigadier General J. E. B. Stuart, on an expedition around McClellan's right. Departing on June 12 with 1500 horsemen, Stuart rode a complete circle around the Union army, examining the approaches to McClellan's flank that would be so important when Jackson arrived two weeks later. His raid did much to prop up the morale of the South.

            The real fighting began two weeks later. Historians continue to argue about the correct definition of the Seven Days' battles. The traditional interpretation has the week of battles beginning on June 25 and ending on July 1. Popular Confederate historian Clifford Dowdey argued 40 years ago that the campaign as an entity more properly began on June 26 and ended on July 2. Either way, fighting certainly began on June 25. McClellan launched a local attack that day along the Williamsburg Road just east of Richmond, his stated purpose being "to drive in the enemy's pickets from the woods." This exploded into a larger affair known variously as the Battle of King's School House, Oak Grove, or French's Farm. It ended indecisively.

            The next day Lee countered with his elaborate scheme to drive off the Union army. His initial goal was to force McClellan to fight for possession of his supply line, which would entail abandonment of the lines immediately in front of Richmond. Ideally, this would lead to an open field contest away from Richmond — a circumstance infinitely more preferable to Lee than siege warfare. With Stonewall Jackson sweeping in from the northwest, Lee gathered most of his infantry on the south bank of the Chickahominy River. Jackson would clear the north bank of the river, permitting Lee to join him there and assemble a force of 60,000 troops to cut the railroad line. There were two flaws in this plan. Only 25,000 Confederates would remain in the entrenchments before Richmond (facing the bulk of the Army of the Potomac), and the success of the overall plan hinged on too much movement. It was no simple task to bring numerous columns together at a single point across miles of wooded landscape.

            Confederate Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill Library of Congress

            Lee learned this the hard way. Despite vigorous marching on the 26th, Jackson progressed slowly. Eventually division commander A. P. Hill, now recognized as one of Lee's more impetuous subordinates, crossed to the north bank of the Chickahominy River without orders, triggering the start of the Confederate plan. The Federal Fifth Corps, ably led by Brigadier General Fitz John Porter, willingly abandoned Mechanicsville in favor of a superb position behind Beaver Dam Creek. Defending two miles of front from behind entrenchments, Porter welcomed Lee's twilight attack on June 26. Although Lee recognized the folly of attempting to storm across the creek, he felt obliged (as he said after the war) to do something to divert McClellan's attention from the weakness of the stripped-down Confederate defenses, east of Richmond.

            He need not have worried about McClellan. That officer determined on the night of June 26, while Porter's Fifth Corps thrashed the Confederates at Beaver Dam Creek, to abandon the supply line at White House Landing in favor of a new base on the James River. Although he inflicted 1500 casualties on the Confederate army that night, in contrast to only 300 for Porter, McClellan correctly reasoned that the arrival of Jackson above Beaver Dam Creek would signal the end of that position. Forced to either concentrate his army for a climactic fight for control of the railroad, or abandon the lines in front of Richmond altogether, McClellan took the conservative route and retreated. From that point onward the campaign consisted of the Federal army trying to save itself and its supply system from an energized Confederate army in close pursuit. June 26 decided the outcome of the campaign the next six days would determine the extent of the Union defeat.

            Ruins of White House Landing, VA, after the Federal abandonment Library of Congress

            McClellan left the trusty Fifth Corps behind when he abandoned his railroad. Porter established a powerful position behind Boatswain's Creek, just east of Gaines Mill, on June 27. There he was to hold Lee at arm's length, buying time for the withdrawal to get started south of the Chickahominy. Lee united with Jackson's army and together they assaulted Porter's line on the afternoon of the 27th. The ensuing Battle of Gaines Mill surely was one of the fiercest of the war. Repeated assaults failed to dislodge Porter. Only when Lee combined all his troops in an enormous attack was he able to fracture the Union line just before sunset, too late to achieve a total victory. John Bell Hood and his Texas Brigade won on that field the first of their many accolades. Students of the war who are unalterably critical of frontal assaults would do well to study Gaines Mill. Unable to find a flank to get around, Lee's men instead broke three consecutive Union lines by direct attack. They incurred 9000 casualties in the process (inflicting 6000 on Porter), but they also won the first full-fledged Confederate victory in Virginia since First Manassas. Gaines Mill was Lee's largest single attack of the war, and it was his first victory.

            June 28 proved to be a pivotal day. McClellan's retreat gained a head start southward because Lee could not deduce the Union army's exact intentions, and was stalled on the wrong side of the river. Once he learned of McClellan's retreat, Lee launched his pursuit. On June 29 the Federal rearguard under Edwin V "Bull" Sumner successfully repulsed a tepid attack delivered by Confederate General John B. Magruder at the Battle of Savage's Station. While Magruder and Sumner dueled, the head of McClellan's column approached the James River.

            A.P. Hill's attack at Glendale, June 30, 1862.

            Many histories of the Seven Days identify June 30 as one of the great Confederate opportunities of the war. Confederate memoirist E. Porter Alexander wrote in an oft-quoted sentence: "Never, before or after, did the fates put such a prize within our reach." Alexander referred to the bottleneck at the Riddell's Shop intersection, more commonly called Glendale or Frayser's Farm. The better part of seven Federal divisions occupied a semi-circle around the junction of four roads. Four converging Confederate columns approached the intersection that day. Viewed on a map, it seems those Southern infantrymen had a chance to insert themselves between McClellan's army and its secure base on the James River. Three of the four Confederate columns stalled — Stonewall Jackson most unexpectedly — and the resulting battle pitted only the men of James Longstreet and A.P. Hill against several Federal divisions. In the Long Bridge Road and south of it, men grappled and ducked among long lines of Federal artillery. Waning daylight ended this fight after 7500 men had fallen killed or wounded.

            Glendale ensured a successful escape for the Army of the Potomac. McClellan's divisions moved two miles farther south and established a position atop Malvern Hill, a mini-Gibraltar studded with cannon that dominated open approaches and excellent vistas. Lee saw the power of the position and did not intend to attack directly. He tried to establish an artillery crossfire to suppress the Union cannon. That ended in disaster for the Southern cannoneers, as the superior metal brought to bear by Union gunners soon silenced them. False intelligence and wishful thinking helped lure Lee into an attack anyway. Wave after wave of gray-clad infantry swept up the gentle slope of Malvern Hill to be greeted by tornadic blasts of canister and musketry. No Confederates reached the artillery, and an enormous swath of dead and dying littered the slopes. More than 8000 men fell killed and wounded at Malvern Hill, elevating the cost of the Seven Days battles to approximately 35,000 men.

            On July 2, McClellan reached his new base at Harrison's Landing on the James. Lee called off the pursuit, recognizing his inability to injure the Union army any more. The moral effect spread to the distant corners of both countries. A cheering victory that saved the capital city energized the South and gave it another hero in R. E. Lee. The Union defeat injured McClellan's standing with Lincoln, stalled the first campaign to take Richmond, and ultimately led to the evacuation of the Union army from the Richmond area. No campaign of the war before 1865 had so many consequences of such far-reaching importance.

            This article originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue Hallowed Ground, the quarterly membership magazine for the Civil War Trust.


            PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN

            PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN (1862), an advance against Richmond, began on 4 April 1862, when Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan departed from Fortress Monroe with his Union army of approximately 100,000 to attack the Confederate capital by way of the peninsula formed by the York and James Rivers. McClellan had counted on a larger force and aid from the navy on the James River. The administration withheld 45,000 troops to protect Washington, D.C., and the navy was unable to help because of the menace of the Merrimack and Confederate shore batteries.

            The campaign unfolded in three phases. The early Union advance was marked by Confederate resistance behind entrenchments across the peninsula from Yorktown. On 5 April McClellan besieged Yorktown, which was evacuated on 3 May. He then pushed slowly forward, fighting at Williamsburg on 5 May, reaching and straddling the Chickahominy River on 20 May and facing a strengthened Confederate force under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.

            Help expected from Union Gen. Irvin McDowell's 40,000 men was lost to McClellan in May when Confederate Gen. T. J. ("Stonewall") Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign scattered or immobilized the Union armies before Washington. The first phase of the campaign ended with the indecisive two-day Battle of Fair Oaks (or Battle of Seven Pines), 31 May and 1 June. Johnston was wounded on 1 June and Robert E. Lee succeeded to his command.

            After Fair Oaks came the second phase, three weeks without fighting, marked by Confederate Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's spectacular cavalry raid around the Union army, from 11 to 13 June.

            McClellan, reinforced, intended to retake the offensive, but Lee forestalled him and opened the third phase of the campaign by attacking the Union right at Mechanicsville on 26 June. This began the Seven Days' Battles, during which McClellan changed his base to the James River, fending off waves of Confederate attacks as the Union Army retreated to its base at Harrison's Landing. With the appointment on 11 July of Gen. Henry W. Halleck to command all land forces of the United States, the Army of the Potomac began its withdrawal from the peninsula.

            Union casualties in the campaign were approximately 15,000, with 1,700 killed Confederate losses were about 20,000, with 3,400 killed. The Union forces greatly outnumbered the Confederate at the start of the campaign toward its close the opposing forces were nearly equal.


            Pogledajte video: Jacksons Valley Campaign 1862 (Maj 2022).