Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 1862

June 25, 1862:  Eastern Theater, Peninsula Campaign - SEVEN DAYS’ BATTLES, Day 1:

Battle of Oak Grove – McClellan, at last moving forward, advances troops from two divisions of the III Corps to push the Confederates  back in order to get his lines close enough to mount his siege guns within range of Richmond.  He orders Gen. Joseph Hooker to advance three brigades from his division to advance across a large expanse of swampy ground and push the Confederate pickets back.  As Grover’s brigade advances, Wright’s Rebels push them back with heavy losses.  Sickles pushes his brigade forward, and likewise a Southern counterattack causes his troops to retreat.  Both sides throw in increasingly larger numbers of reinforcements until a stalement lulls the field into relative quiet.  McClellan finally visits the battlefield from his headquarters, and orders more assaults in the evening.  In the end, the Union gains 600 yards and puts the swampy ground behind them; the Rebels do not have to retreat one inch.  Although often counted as the first of the Seven Days’ Battles, Oak Grove is in no way connected with or a precursor to the movements by Lee that causes these battles to ensue.   Stalemate.

Losses:                                 Killed            Wounded    Missing        Total

Union                                   68                     503                 55                  626

Confederate                       13                     362                 66                  441

---Gen. McClellan, that night, sends Sec. of War Stanton this message: that he expects that Jackson has indeed reinforced Lee, and that he expects a Confederate attack---and adds that he desperately needs more troops.  Otherwise, McClellan indicates that he is perfectly prepared to resist the enemy or—if defeated—to blame the government for not getting enough troops:

PORTER'S HEADQUARTERS, June 25, 1862--10.40 p.m.
(Received June 26--3 a.m.)


Secretary of War:

The information I received on this side tends to confirm impression that Jackson will soon attack our right and rear. Every possible precaution is being taken. If I had another good division I could laugh at Jackson. The task is difficult, but this army will do its best, and will never disgrace the country. Nothing but overwhelming forces can defeat us. Indications are of attack on our front tomorrow. Have made all possible arrangements.


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