A Bloody Day at Gaines’ Mill

The Battlefield Debut of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 27, 1862


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SKU: 9781476673578 Categories: , Tags: ,

About the Book

In the summer of 1862, two great armies met outside of Richmond in a series of battles that would determine the course of the Civil War. The Union had time, men and materiel on its side, while the Confederates had mobility, esprit de corps and aggressive leadership. Untried General Robert E. Lee was tasked with driving the Yankees from their almost impregnable positions to save Richmond and end the war. Lee planned to isolate part of the Union Army, crush it, and then destroy the only supply base the remaining Federals had. To do so, he had to move thousands of troops hundreds of miles, bringing multiple forces together with intricate timing, all without the Yankees or their spies finding out. The largest and most important of these battles occurred at Gaines’ Mill.

About the Author(s)

Elmer R. Woodard, III is a criminal defense attorney in private practice whose ancestors served with the Currituck Light Cavalry, the 4th North Carolina Cavalry and on the C.S.S. Albemarle. He lives in Blairs, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Elmer R. Woodard, III
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 294
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, 19 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7357-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3342-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Prologue: When the Yankees Came 5
1. Operation Chickahominy 11
2. The Tocsin Sounds 20
3. The General and the Private View a Battle 28
4. They Were All Cut to Pieces 38
5. The Retreat to Gaines’ Mill 47
6. Geography 59
7. Porter’s Dispositions 68
8. If We Whip Them Before Richmond, We Shall Have Peace 78
9. I Confess I Did Not Know What Hard Times Were Until I Was Under Jackson 86
10. A Soldier Feels No Fear While Fighting 93
11. Then We Got Down to Our Knitting 99
12. Column After Column Melts Away Like Smoke 104
13. A Dense Woods and an Ugly Marsh 109
14. Fixed Bayonets in the Hands of Resolute Men 118
15. There Is Hot Work on That Hill Yonder 127
16. The Bullets Whistled Through the Leaves Like Fun 134
17. We Had Been Pretty Well Pounded Out That Afternoon 141
18. To the Wall of Death 151
19. At the Wall of Death 163
20. Beyond the Wall of Death 169
21. Respite from the Wall of Death 178
22. Return of the Wall of Death 180
23. Conquest of the Wall of Death 191
24. It Was Death to Stay and Cold Steel Was the Next Thing 198
25. I Have Got My Fill of Fighting 215
Afterword 229
Appendix I: Confederate Order of Battle 231
Appendix II: Union Order of Battle 237
Chapter Notes 241
Bibliography 267
Index 277

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Among all existing Gaines Mill treatments, this one is without peer when it comes to providing readers with a comprehensive interpretation of the entire course and flow of the battle at the small-unit level.”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “Biggest strength…is how thorough it is in recreating the overall flow of the battle…a valuable reference volume”—On Point