Black and white photo of Irvin McDowell.

Brigadier General Irvin McDowell was the first and only commander of the Department and Army of Northeastern Virginia. [National Archives]

Army of Northeastern Virginia (USA) Facts

May 27, 1861–July 25, 1862

Key facts about the Union Army of Northeastern Virginia.

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Formation Date

  • May 27, 1861

Dissolution Date

  • July 25, 1862

Commanders

Notable Engagements

Significance:

  • On May 27, 1861, the War Department issued General Orders No. 20, creating a new Military Geographical Department which was subsequently referred to as the Department of Northeastern Virginia.
  • The Department of Northeastern Virginia encompassed “All that part of Virginia, east of the Alleghany mountains and north of James river, except Fort Monroe and sixty miles around the same . . . .”
  • Brigadier General Irvin McDowell was the first and only commander of the Department and Army of Northeastern Virginia.
  • The Army of Northeastern Virginia consisted of about 30,000 to 35,000 raw recruits.
  • Many soldiers of the Army of Northeastern Virginia were three-month volunteers.
  • The Army of Northeastern Virginia consisted of five divisions led by Brigadier General Daniel Tyler, Colonel David Hunter, Colonel Samuel Heintzelman, Brigadier General Theodore Runyon, and Colonel D. S. Miles.
  • There is scant historical evidence that The Army of Northeastern Virginia was ever officially ascribed that name.
  • On July 21 the Confederate Army of the Potomac, reinforced by the Army of the Shenandoah, routed the Army of Northeastern Virginia at the First Battle of Bull Run.
  • On July 25, 1862, the War Department merged the Department of Northeastern Virginia with the Department of Washington to create the Division of the Potomac.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Army of Northeastern Virginia (USA) Facts
  • Coverage May 27, 1861–July 25, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords army of northeastern virginia
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 2, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 2, 2021
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