WIlliamsburg Road: Seven Days' Battle Historical Marker
This marker shows the path of Confederate troops who attacked McClellan's defensive earthworks near this location during the Seven Days' Battles. This attack helped to thwart the Union's plan to capture Richmond in 1862. The Seven Days' Battle were a series of battles around Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War from June 25 to July 1, 1862. The battles pitted the Confederate forces of General Robert E. Lee against the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by General George B. McClellan. Lee was determined to push McClellan back from the Confederate capital and proceeded to attacked his forces repeatedly at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Savage's Station, Frayser's Farm, and Malvern Hill. Though McClellan would seem to have won most of the battles, he retreated until he reached Harrison's Landing on the James River. The retreat was as much a detriment to Union morale as it was a boost to that of the Confederacy.
Backstory and Context
Lee attacked the right flank of the Army of the Potomac to begin the Seven Days' Battle . In spite of poorly coordinated attacks at Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill, Lee was able to push McClellan's forces away from Richmond. He then attempted to stage a decisive battle at Malvern Hill, but the well-fortified Army of the Potomac repelled multiple waves of Confederate advances. Of Lee's 20,000 casualties, 5,000 occurred at Malvern Hill.
The retreating Union forces reached the James River where they were supported by Union gunboats and Lee withdrew to tend to the defenses of Richmond. Subsequently, McClellan was relieved as General-in-Chief of the Union Army as President Lincoln felt he was too timid in the field. McClellan’s failure to capture Richmond and withdrawal of the Union’s Army of the Potomac from the Yorktown Peninsula ended of the Peninsula Campaign.