Author: Laura E. Lawfer

assistant director of interpretation at Stratford Hall, in Stratford, Virginia

Savage’s Station, Battle of

The Battle of Savage’s Station, fought on June 29, 1862, was the fourth major engagement of the Seven Days’ Battles during the American Civil War (1861–1865). After Union general George B. McClellan‘s Peninsula Campaign—an attack on the Confederate capital at Richmond from the southeast—stalled at the Battle of Seven Pines–Fair Oaks on May 31–June 1, 1862, Confederate general Robert E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Joined by Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson‘s forces from the Shenandoah Valley, he attacked McClellan first unsuccessfully at Mechanicsville (June 26), then successfully at Gaines’s Mill (June 27). McClellan withdrew his troops south over the Chickahominy River to consolidate them near a new supply base at Harrison’s Landing on the James River. Lee pursued and his troops engaged the Union rear guard at Savage’s Station. Confederates won a victory, but the bulk of the Army of the Potomac managed to escape. The next day, June 30, the armies would meet again at White Oak Swamp.


Mechanicsville, Battle of

The Battle of Mechanicsville on June 26, 1862, marked the beginning of the Seven Days’ Campaign during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Union general George B. McClellan had marched his Army of the Potomac up the Peninsula, his campaign against the Confederate capital at Richmond stalling out at the Battle of Seven Pines–Fair Oaks (May 31–June 1, 1862). When Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston was seriously wounded in the fighting, Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and went on the offensive, attacking McClellan’s forces on June 26 near Mechanicsville, along a creek known as Beaver Dam Run. Lee created a complicated battle plan that depended upon Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson‘s men meeting up with Confederate forces and signaling A. P. Hill to begin his attack. Unfortunately, Jackson was running late, and when Hill attacked anyway, Confederate forces were repulsed by Union troops who were well protected by the creek and artillery on the high ground. Despite his victory, however, McClellan decided to pull his troops back to Gaines’s Mill. Lee attacked and defeated him there the next day.