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Battle of Oak Grove, VA
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
The seven days' battles in front of Richmond, an outline narrative of the series of engagements which opened at Mechanicsville, near Richmond..., by Edward Alfred Pollard (Correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial), 1862

Report of Henry M. Naglee, brigadier-general, of the part taken by his brigade in the seven days, from June 26 to July 2, 1862, Army of the Potomac, by Henry Morris Naglee, 1863

Union Battle Summary

Oak Grove, Va., June 25, 1862 - Army of the Potomac. Just at the close of the battle of Fair Oaks on June 1, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee rode upon the field, accompanied by Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, and assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia. At that time the Federal Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj.-Gen. George B. McClellan, was stationed along both sides of the chickahominy river, the advance being within 6 miles of Richmond. McClellan had been promised reinforcements, and this, with the almost impassable condition of the roads and the high stage of the water in the chickahominy, which had destroyed nearly all the bridges, caused a delay in getting his army together on the south side of the river for an offensive movement. Lee promptly took advantage of this delay to put his army in condition to withstand an attack, or to assume the offensive if opportunity offered. By June 20 the flood had abated, new bridges had been constructed, the roads had improved and a portion of the promised reinforcements had arrived. The Army of the Potomac was then organized for the final advance on the Confederate capital as follows: The 2nd corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. E.V. Sumner, consisted of two divisions, respectively commanded by Brig.-Gens. I.B. Richardson and John Sedgwick; the 3rd corps, under command of Brig.-Gen. S.P. Heintzelman, included the divisions of Brig.-Gens. Joseph Hooker and Philip Kearny; the 4th corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. E.D. Keyes, consisted of the two divisions under command of Brig.-Gens. D.N. Couch and J.J. Peck; the 5th corps, Brig.-Gen. F.J. Porter commanding, embraced three divisions under Brig.-Gens. G.W. Morell, George Sykes and G.A. McCall; the 6th corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. W.B. Franklin, included two divisions, commanded by Brig.-Gens. H.W. Slocum and W.F. Smith. In addition to this infantry force there were the artillery reserve of five brigades, under the command of Col. Henry J. Hunt, the cavalry reserve of two brigades, under Brig.-Gen. P. St. George Cooke, the volunteer engineer brigade of Brig.-Gen. D.P. Woodbury, and the headquarters guard and escort. Casey's division of Keyes' corps was on detached duty at the White House, guarding stores and preparing for the change of base to the James river. Lee's army was composed of the following commands: Jackson's corps, Maj.-Gen. T.J. Jackson commanding, including the divisions of Whiting, Jackson and Ewell; D.H. Hill's division; Magruder's corps, including the divisions of D.R. Jones, McLaws and Magruder; Longstreet's division; Huger's division; A.P. Hill's division; Holmes' division the reserve artillery under Brig.-Gen. W.N. Pendleton, and the cavalry under Brig.-Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. Various estimates have been made as to the relative strength of the two armies. Gen. A.S. Webb, who served with McClellan in the Peninsular campaign, fixes it at 92,500 men of all arms for the Federal forces and 80,762 for the Confederates.

From Richmond several road led to the Chickahominy river. Running nearly due north was the Meadow bridge road, which crossed the river near the Virginia Central railroad. Next was the Mechanicsville pike; then the Creighton, New Bridge and Williamsburg roads, the last named running almost due east and crossing the river at Bottom's bridge. Between the New Bridge and Williamsburg roads ran the Richmond & York River railroad. Leading toward the southeast were the Charles City and Darbytown roads, and the Osborne turnpike ran down the bank of the James river toward the south. Over the region traversed by these roads between the James and Chickahominy rivers and along the north bank of the latter stream were fought the Seven Days' battles. On the 25th Heintzelman, who occupied the line of works ar Fair Oaks and Seven Pines, was ordered to drive the Confederate pickets from the woods in his front, preparatory to a general forward movement the next day. At 8 a.m. Hooker's division advanced with Sickles' brigade in the center on the Williamsburg road, Grover's on the left and Carr's in reserve. At the same time Kearny on the left and Richardson on the right were ordered to push forward their pickets. Hooker found himself confronted by a superior force and sent back for reinforcements. Heintzelman ordered Birney's brigade of Kearny's division to the front, but just as Birney reached the field orders were received from Gen. Marcy, McClellan's chief of staff, directing Hooker to fall back. About 1 p.m. McClellan came to the front and ordered a renewal of the attack. Again Hooker advanced, this time supported by Palmer's brigade of Couch's division. De Russy's battery was run forward and opened with canister to the right and left of the road, forcing the enemy to retire from the woods and across an open field to another piece of timber some distance in the rear of his former position, closely pressed by the infantry who kept up a steady fire as they advanced. A strong picket line was then placed in the woods evacuated by the Confederates, but as it was almost dark further operations were postponed until the next morning. Hooker reported his loss as 28 killed, 262 wounded and 19 missing. This affair is known as the battle of Oak Grove, King's school-house or the Orchards.

Source: The Union Army, Volume 5, Cyclopedia of Battles, 1908


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