The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days

By Sears, Stephen W. | The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days


Sears, Stephen W., The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days. Edited by GARY W. GALLAGHER. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. xvi, 272 pp. $34.95.

IN this seventh title in the Military Campaigns of the Civil War series, editor Gary Gallagher has gathered nine essays that elucidate finer points of what optimistic Yankees in 1862 christened the Grand Campaign. Gallagher leads off by documenting just how critically important Lee's defense of Richmond was to the struggling young Confederacy. "The `half-success' at Richmond," he writes, "had a seismic effect on the Confederacy's war for nationhood." Furthermore, Lee's emergence in the Seven Days "marked the most important watershed in the development of the Army of Northern Virginia..." (p. 19).

In offering up George Brinton McClellan distilled, John T. Hubbell reveals the pressures (mostly self-inflicted) that weighed on the Union commander, and their devastating effects on his psyche. Like Lee, this was McClellan's first campaign; unlike Lee, he broke under the stress. But before this, in the view of McClellan's engineering chief, the campaign ought to have been won by way of the Chickahominy crossings. "`General McClellan was not waiting for the bridges,"' insisted John G. Barnard, " `but the bridges were waiting for General McClellan"' (p. 56). William J. Miller employs engineer Barnard's arguments to illuminate the missed opportunity.

The Confederates, too, missed opportunities. Robert K. Krick investigates the mystery of Stonewall Jackson's zombie-like performance during the Seven Days, and convincingly demonstrates that the man was, both physically and mentally, exhausted. What remains mysterious is why Jackson never recognized the need to pace himself. The failings of John B. Magruder at Savage's Station and Malvern Hill are the subject of Peter S. Carmichael's investigation. He finds that Magruder had various problems and various excuses, but at base (like McClellan), the stress of command unhinged him and left him almost mentally paralyzed.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?