Peninsula Campaign Facts

Peninsula Campaign Facts
The Peninsula Campaign was the first major Union offensive in the Eastern Theater of operations during the American Civil War, which was intended to take the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The campaign took place from March through July 1862 and involved several battles as the Union army, led by general McClellan, slowly worked its way up the Virginia peninsula in southeastern Virginia. The conservative and cautious McClellan was successful against Confederate general Joseph Johnston, but when Johnston was replaced by general Robert E. Lee the campaign quickly turned in the Confederates' favor.
Interesting Peninsula Campaign Facts:
General McClellan was both commander of the Army of the Potomac and general in chief of all Union armies.
The campaign began as a large amphibious operation when McClellan's army was to travel by ships down the Chesapeake Bay to the mouth of the Rappahannock River in order to flank the Confederate Army near Manassas.
General Johnston anticipated the plan, or learned of it through spies, and withdrew his army to a more defensible position south of the Rappahannock River
McClellan then switched the plan to land near Fort Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula and march north to Richmond.
By the time the first battles began, Union forces number around 120,000 men and 300 canon, while the Confederates had about 40,000 men on the peninsula under Johnston and another 50,000 in the Shenandoah Valley under general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
Johnston was the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
The Siege of Yorktown (April 5-May 4) was the first major battle in the Peninsula Campaign. Although the Confederates were forced to withdraw, the long siege gave them time to regroup.
On March 9, the first battle of ironclad ships took place when the CSS Virginia fought the USS Monitor. Although the battle was a stalemate, the Monitor kept the Virginia from destroying any more Union transport ships.
The first "true battle" of the Peninsula Campaign was the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5. The battle was inconclusive: the Union Army took the objective and kept marching to Richmond, but the Confederate Army was kept intact and more defenses around Richmond were made.
After the battles of Eltham's Landing and Drewry's Bluff, both armies converged near Richmond to engage in the Battle of Hanover Court House on May 27. The battle was a conclusive victory for McClellan.
Thinking that Richmond could not survive a siege, Johnston counter attacked the Union forces May 31 and June 1 at the Battle of Seven Pines. Like many battles in the Peninsula Campaign, Seven Pines ended in a virtual stalemate.
Johnston was wounded at Seven Pines and then replaced as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia with general Lee by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The Seven Days Battles, which took place from June 25 to July 1, marked the end of the Peninsula Campaign for the Union.
The Seven Days Battles was a series of Confederate counter attacks led by Lee and although none were stunning victories for the Confederates, they forced the Union Army to retreat and to reconsider its overall strategy for the war.


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