July 1st, 2012: Malvern Hill

Posted on: 06/29/2012

July 1st, 1862 was the final day of the Seven Day’s Battles and the effective end of the Peninsula Campaign.  After battering the larger Army of the Potomac into a position of perceived weakness, Robert E. Lee took one last shot at annihilating his foe.  Unfortunately for Lee and his men the Union army was on Malvern Hill, a high, gently sloping piece of open ground which was an ideal setting for Union artillery.  Despite unflinching bravery the Confederate were repulsed with heavy lost on all fronts, but the greater goal of saving Richmond had been accomplished.

“Battle of Malvern hills fou[ght] on Tuesday July 1st in which the federal forces gained a complete victory over the rebel army, led by Genl's Magruder and Jackson” is the caption for this sketch.  Occurring 367 days before Pickett’s Charge, Malvern Hill was a frontal assault with a similar result.  An ineffective attempt by confederate artillery to reduce their federal counterparts was followed up by a large infantry assault across open ground into the teeth of Union defenders.

Adding to the Union firepower at this fight were several Union gunboats in the James River behind the Union lines. While the Union held fast and maintained a strong position they made no serious effort to push back.  After Malvern Hill the focus of the war would shift to the north towards Northern Virginia, where the frustrated Lincoln Administration created a new army to take on Richmond from the north.

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