The Civil War, Day by Day

The Grandest Charge Ever Seen (detail)

Seven Days Campaign Begins

This series of confrontations was highly publicized in the media, warning that the rebel forces were heading toward Washington, D.C. However, the campaign resulted in disappointment on both sides - the Union failed to take Richmond, and the Confederacy suffered a devastating defeat at Malvern Hill.

Two days after Lee’s initial attack, his army broke through the Union soldiers’ lines and pursued them as they moved toward Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. By June 28, the fighting grew so intense that the Union was forced to pull away from Richmond. Later that night, McClellan wrote a letter to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, complaining that he had not sent McClellan enough soldiers to win Richmond. “If I save this army now, ” wrote the angry General, “I owe no thanks to you.”

McClellan entrenched his forces at Malvern Hill, north of the James River, and blistered the disorganized Confederate forces under Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet. The final battle scene of July 1 was described by a Southern soldier as “one of the most desperate combats that ever took place in any war. . . everything seemed lost.”

Several years later, Confederate General Dan Hill went a step further in his assessment: “It was not war - it was murder.”

Mort Künstler painted this dramatic battle scene, a detail from The Grandest Charge Ever Seen, which typifies the fighting during the Seven Days Campaign.

July's Archived Features:

Wednesday July 1, 2020
Thursday July 2, 2020
Friday July 3, 2020
Saturday July 4, 2020
Sunday July 5, 2020
Monday July 6, 2020
Tuesday July 7, 2020
Wednesday July 8, 2020



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.