George McClellan, Portrait

On July 25, 1862, U.S. War Department merged the Department of Northeastern Virginia with the Department of Washington to create the Division of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George B. McClellan. McClellan commanded the Division of the Potomac and the Army of the Potomac from July 26, 1861 to November 9, 1862. [Wikimedia Commons]

Army of the Potomac (USA) Facts

1861–1865

Key facts about the Union Army of the Potomac.

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Formation Date

  • July 26, 1861

Dissolution Date

  • June 28, 1865

Commanders

Significance

  • The Army of the Potomac traces its roots to the the Department of Northeastern Virginia, and the Army of Northeastern Virginia.
  • Brigadier General Irvin McDowell commanded the Army of Northeastern Virginia (which later became the Army of the Potomac) from May 27 to July 25, 1861.
  • Confederate forces defeated The Army of Northeastern Virginia (which later became the Army of the Potomac) at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861.
  • On July 25, 1862 U.S. War Department combined the Department of Northeastern Virginia with the Department of Washington to create the Division of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George B. McClellan.
  • Major General George B. McClellan commanded the Division of the Potomac and the Army of the Potomac from July 26, 1861 to November 9, 1862.
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Peninsula Campaign (March 17–August 14, 1862).
  • The Army of the Potomac reinforced Major General John Pope’s Army of Virginia during the Northern Virginia Campaign (July 19–September 1, 1862).
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Maryland Campaign (September 4–September 20, 1862) and the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862).
  • Major General Ambrose E. Burnside commanded the Army of the Potomac from November 9, 1862, to January 26, 1863.
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Fredericksburg Campaign (November–December 1862) and the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11–15, 1862).
  • Major General Joseph Hooker commanded the Army of the Potomac from January 26 to June 27, 1863.
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Chancellorsville Campaign (April – May 1863) and the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30–May 6, 1863).
  • Major General George G. Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac from June 27, 1863, to June 28, 1865.
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Gettysburg Campaign (June 3–July 23, 1863) and the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–July 3, 1863).
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Overland Campaign (May 5–June 24, 1864).
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Petersburg Campaign (June 1864–March 1865).
  • The Army of the Potomac participated in the Appomattox Campaign (March 29–April 12, 1865).
  • The Army of the Potomac paraded in the Grand Review of Union Armies in Washington, DC on May 23, 1865.
  • On June 28, 1865, General George G. Meade issued General Orders No. 35 announcing that the Army of the Potomac “as an organization, ceases to exist.”
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Army of the Potomac (USA) Facts
  • Coverage 1861–1865
  • Author
  • Keywords army of the potomac
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 2, 2021
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