Civil War Timeline and History, from January to June 1862

January 1, 1862–June 30, 1862

The American Civil War continued into January 1862, the second year of the war. This timeline covers important moments that took place from January to June, including military and political events that affected the course of the war and the history of the United States.

Civil War Timeline, History, January to June 1862, AHC Original

A timeline of the Civil War, featuring rare images from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated and Harper’s Weekly.

10 Moments That Shaped the Civil War

  1. January 31 — President Lincoln issued an order for all Union forces to advance by the end of February.
  2. February 6 — Confederate forces surrendered Fort Henry in Tennessee.
  3. February 16 — Confederate forces surrendered Fort Donelson in Tennessee.
  4. March 7 — Union forces won the Battle of Pea Ridge, ensuring control of Missouri.
  5. March 8 — The Monitor and Virginia, two ironclads, fought at the Battle of Hampton Roads.
  6. March 17 — General George McClellan launched the Peninsula Campaign.
  7. March 23 — Union forces defeated Stonewall Jackson at the First Battle of Kernstown.
  8. April 24–25 — Union forces took control of New Orleans, Louisiana.
  9. May 31 — General Joseph Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines and was replaced by General Robert E. Lee.
  10. June 25 — A series of battles started, known as the Seven Days Battles.

1862, January

January 3 — Battle of Cockpit Point in Virginia. The outcome was inconclusive.

January 5 — Hancock

Maryland — On January 1, General Stonewall Jackson led his troops from Winchester to Bath to disrupt the B & O Railroad and C & O Canal. By January 5, his force reached the Potomac River near Hancock, Maryland, and fired on the town from Orrick’s Hill. Despite his demands, Union commander General Frederick W. Lander refused to surrender. Jackson bombarded the town for two days but could not find a safe river crossing. The Confederates withdrew on January 7 and headed to Romney, West Virginia.

January 8 — Roan’s Tan Yard

Missouri — Rumors of Confederates in Howard County circulated for over a week, but Union troops were unable to find them. On January 7, 1862, they received information that Colonel John A. Poindexter and the Confederates were camped at Silver Creek, 14 miles northwest of Fayette. Union forces attacked and routed the Confederates, inflicting heavy casualties. Afterward, the Union forces destroyed the camp.

January 10 — Middle Creek

Kentucky — Confederate Colonel John S. Williams left Kentucky following the Battle of Ivy Mountain (November 8, 1861), and General Humphrey Marshall continued recruiting in southeast Kentucky. Operating out of Paintsvile, Marshall recruited more than 2,000 men but struggled to equip them. 

Union General Don Carlos Buell ordered Colonel James Garfield to force Marshall back into Virginia. Garfield took command of the 18th Brigade and marched south from Louisa to Paintsville, forcing the Confederates to retreat to Prestonsburg. Garfield’s progress was slowed by swamps and streams. He reached Marshall’s vicinity on the 9th, and on January 10, he attacked near Middle Creek

The fighting lasted most of the afternoon, with Union reinforcements preventing a Confederate assault on the Federal left. The Confederates retreated south and left for Virginia on the 24th. Afterward, Garfield moved his men to Prestonsburg and then Paintsville. 

January 19 — Mill Springs

Kentucky — Confederate General Felix K. Zollicoffer was guarding the Cumberland Gap, but in November 1861, he moved into Kentucky to strengthen control around Somerset. He fortified Mill Springs for winter quarters, guarding both sides of the Cumberland River. 

Union General George H. Thomas received orders to push the Confederates across the Cumberland River. Thomas waited at Logan’s Crossroads for General Albin F. Schoepf to join him. 

General George B. Crittenden assumed command of the Confederates at Mill Springs and decided to attack Thomas. The Confederates attacked at dawn on January 19 but were unaware of Schoepf’s reinforcements. 

Initially, the Confederates forced a retreat, but the Union defenses held. Union counterattacks succeeded, pushing the Confederates into a retreat to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

The Confederate losses at Mill Springs and Middle Creek weakened their grip in Eastern Kentucky. The Union victories opened the way for an advance into Middle Tennessee later in February while Braxton Bragg led a Confederate offensive into Kentucky in the summer.

During the battle, Zollifoffer was killed.

Battle of Mill Springs, 1862, Death of Felix Zollicoffer
This illustration depicts the moment Zollicoffer was shot. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

January 30 — The first U.S. ironclad ship, the Monitor, launched from Brooklyn.

January 31President Abraham Lincoln issued General War Order No. 1, ordering all U.S. forces to advance by February 22.

1862, February

February 1 — Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.

February 6 — Fort Henry Surrenders

Tennessee — Fort Henry was a Confederate fort on the Tennessee River. It was an earthen fort with outdated guns in danger of being completely flooded by the river. On February 4–5, General Ulysses S. Grant positioned his divisions in two locations: 

  • On the east bank of the Tennessee River to block the garrison’s escape.
  • On the high ground on the Kentucky side, ensuring the fort’s capture. 

Meanwhile, 7 gunboats under the command of Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote bombarded the fort.

Battle of Fort Henry, 1862, Grant's Forces in Kentucky
Grant’s forces in Kentucky. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

General Lloyd Tilghman, the fort’s commander, realized that Fort Henry’s fall was inevitable. He left some artillery in the fort to deter the Union fleet while he escorted the rest of his forces to safety on the route to Fort Donelson, 10 miles away. Afterward, Tilghman returned to the fort and surrendered to the approaching Union fleet, which had closed within 400 yards.

The capture of Fort Henry opened the Tennessee River to Union gunboats and shipping, allowing access as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama. 

February 7 — Roanoke Island

North CarolinaGeneral Ambrose Burnside conducted an amphibious operation, landing 7,500 troops on the southwestern side of Roanoke Island, launched from Fort Monroe. The following morning, with the support of gunboats, Union forces attacked the Confederate forts on the narrow waist of the island. They successfully pushed back and outmaneuvered the command of General Henry Wise. In this battle, the Confederate commander on the field, Colonel Henry M. Shaw, surrendered approximately 2,500 soldiers and 32 guns. Burnside’s victory secured a significant outpost on the Atlantic Coast, strengthening the Union blockade.

Battle of Roanoke Island, 1862, Union Advance
Union troops advancing during the Battle of Roanoke Island. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

February 16 — Fort Donelson Surrenders

Tennessee — After capturing Fort Henry, General Ulysses S. Grant advanced to lay siege to Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, following the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s encirclement, the 12,000-strong garrison of Fort Donelson surrendered without conditions

It was a significant victory for Grant and a setback for the Confederacy. It guaranteed Kentucky’s allegiance to the Union and opened the path for Northern advancement into Tennessee along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Grant’s success in this campaign earned him a promotion to major general and the nickname “Unconditional Surrender.”

The victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson gave the Union control of the Cumberland River and the Tennesee River, which became crucial to Union troop movements between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

Battle of Fort Donelson, 1862, Union Troops Advancing
Union troops advancing during the Battle of Fort Donelson. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

February 20 — Valverde

New Mexico Territory — Confederate General Henry H. Sibley led 2,500 men across the Rio Grande River, advancing along its eastern bank towards the Valverde Ford, north of Fort Craig, New Mexico. He aimed to disrupt Federal communications between Fort Craig and the military headquarters in Santa Fe. 

Union Colonel Erastus R.S. Canby, with over 3,000 troops, left Fort Craig to prevent the Confederates from crossing the river. When he reached the opposite bank, Canby initiated an artillery barrage and sent Union cavalry across the river, forcing the Confederates to retreat.

The Confederates stopped at the Old Rio Grande riverbed, a strong defensive position. Canby, after successfully crossing all his men, realized a frontal assault would likely fail. He repositioned his forces to flank the Confederate left. However, before executing this plan, the Confederates launched their attack.

Although Union forces pushed back a Confederate cavalry charge, the main Confederate force launched a frontal assault, capturing six artillery pieces and causing the Union battle line to break, with many soldiers fleeing. Canby was forced to order a retreat. 

Confederate reinforcements arrived, and Sibley was preparing for another attack when Canby requested a truce, signaled by a white flag, to remove the dead and wounded.

The Confederates claimed victory but suffered significant casualties. Despite briefly occupying Santa Fe, they were forced to leave New Mexico within four months.

February 20 — 11-year-old Willie Lincoln, the President’s son, died from a fever.

February 21 — Battle of Valverde in New Mexico Territory. Confederates defeated Union troops near Fort Craig.

February 22 — Jefferson Davis Inaugurated

Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the President of the Confederate States of America, a 6-year term.

1862, March

March 7 — Pea Ridge

Arkansas — Overnight, General Earl Van Dorn launched an operation to encircle the Union position near Pea Ridge, splitting his army into two columns. Upon learning of Van Dorn’s approach, Union forces headed north to engage him on March 7. 

The Confederate attack at Pea Ridge was disrupted by the loss of two generals — General Benjamin McCulloch and General James McQueen McIntosh.

Van Dorn led a second column to engage the Federals near the Elkhorn Tavern and Tanyard area. By nightfall, the Confederates gained control of Elkhorn Tavern and Telegraph Road. 

Battle of Pea Ridge, 1862, Final Advance of Union Troops
The final advance of Union troops at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Image Source: Harper’s Weekly, March 29, 1862.

The next day, General Samuel R. Curtis, after reorganizing and consolidating his army, launched a counterattack in the vicinity of the tavern. Through the effective use of his artillery, Curtis gradually pushed the Confederates back. As their ammunition supplies dwindled, Van Dorn decided to abandon the battlefield.

The Union victory ensured control of Missouri for the next two years.

March 8 — Hampton Roads

Virginia — On March 8, 1862, the Confederate ironclad Virginia — formerly the Merrimack — left Norfolk and entered Hampton Roads. There, it sank the USS Cumberland and ran the USS Congress aground. The next day, March 9, Virginia engaged the Union ironclad Monitor in the world’s first battle between ironclad warships. The two vessels fought to a statement, but ultimately, the Virginia withdrew from the battle.

March 8 — President Lincoln issued President’s War Order No. 2, reorganizing the Army of the Potomac (USA). It merged George B. McClellan’s 15 divisions into 5 corps. The President named Major General Irvin McDowell, Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner, Brigadier General Samuel P. Heintzelman, Brigadier General Erasmus. D. Keyes, and Major General Nathaniel P. Banks to command the five corps, respectively.

March 11 — President Lincoln issued President’s War Order No. 3, which consolidated 3 western departments, including the Department of the Ohio, into the Department of the Mississippi, commanded by General Henry Halleck.

March 13 — The U.S. government prohibited Union officers from returning fugitive slaves, effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.

March 13 — McClellan issued General Order No. 101 (Army of the Potomac) adopting the President’s organizational scheme and confirming Lincoln’s selections for corps commanders.

March 14 — New Berne

North Carolina — On March 11, the command of General Ambrose E. Burnside left Roanoke Island and met up with Union gunboats at Hatteras Inlet. Ambrose’s objective was an expedition against New Bern. 

On March 13, the fleet sailed up the Neuse River and disembarked infantry on the river’s south bank to approach the defenses of New Bern. The Confederate defense was under the command of General Lawrence Branch.

Battle of New Berne, 1862, Attack on Union Artillery
This illustration depicts Confederate forces attacking Union artillery at the Battle of New Berne. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

The next day, the brigades led by John G. Foster, Jesse Reno, and John G. Parke launched an attack along the railroad. After 4 hours of fighting, they successfully drove the Confederates from their fortifications, establishing a Union stronghold that was maintained until the end of the war, despite several Confederate attempts to reclaim the town.

March 23 — Fort Macon

North Carolina — In late March, the army led by General Ambrose Burnside advanced toward Fort Macon, a fort that controlled the channel to Beaufort, 35 miles southeast of New Bern. 

The Union forces surrounded the fort with siege works and, on April 26, started a bombardment that breached the walls. In a matter of hours, the fort started to crumble, prompting the Confederates to raise a white flag.

March 23 — Kernstown, First Battle

Virginia — Relying on inaccurate intelligence, which mistakenly reported that the Union garrison at Winchester numbered around 3,000, General Stonewall Jackson marched north with his 3,400-man division. However, he faced a force of 8,500 Federals under the command of Colonel Nathan Kimball. The engagement occurred at Kernstown, where the Union forces initially halted Jackson’s advance and then launched a counterattack, turning Jackson’s left flank and forcing him to retreat.

Despite the Union victory, President Lincoln grew concerned about Jackson’s threat to Washington and consequently diverted significant reinforcements to the Shenandoah Valley. 

Lincoln’s decision deprived General George B. McClellan’s army of these troops, and McClellan argued that the additional forces could have helped him to capture Richmond during his Peninsula Campaign.

Battle of Kernstown, 1862, Tyler's Charge
This illustration depicts Erastus Tyler leading Union forces in a charge at the Battle of Kernstown. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

March 26 — Glorieta Pass

New Mexico Territory — Glorieta Pass was located at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, southeast of Santa Fe, and along the Santa Fe Trail. 

In March 1862, a Confederate contingent of 200-300 Texans, led by Major Charles L. Pyron, established a camp at Johnson’s Ranch, at one end of the pass. 

Major John M. Chivington, commanding more than 400 Union soldiers, advanced to the Pass and attacked the camp on the morning of March 26. After noon, Chivington’s forces captured some of the Confederate advance troops and met the main Confederate force behind them.

Chivington pushed forward, but the Confederate artillery drove his forces back. He regrouped, divided his troops to both sides of the pass, caught the Confederates in a crossfire, and forced them to retreat. 

Pyron and his men withdrew about a mile and a half to a narrow section of the pass, where they formed a defensive line. Instead of a frontal assault, the Union forces flanked the Confederates and subjected them to enfilade fire. The Confederates retreated again. Union forces pursued them and captured the rearguard. 

Chivington withdrew and set up camp at Kozlowski’s Ranch. 

No fighting occurred the following day as reinforcements arrived for both sides. Lieutenant Colonel William R. Scurry and his men boosted the Confederate force to around 1,100, while Colonel John P. Slough arrived with approximately 900 Union troops. Both Slough and Scurry decided to initiate an attack and set out early on the 28th to do so.

As Scurry advanced down the canyon, he spotted the approaching Union forces. He quickly established a battle line, which included his dismounted cavalry. 

Slough’s forces engaged them before 11:00 a.m. The Confederates held their ground and engaged in multiple attacks and counterattacks throughout the afternoon. The fighting concluded as Slough withdrew to Pigeon’s Ranch and then to Kozlowski’s Ranch. Scurry also left the field, believing he had won the battle.

However, when Scurry returned to Johnson’s Ranch, he found Union forces had destroyed his supplies and animals. Scurry was forced to go to Santa Fe and then San Antonio, Texas.

The Union victory at Glorieta Pass ended Confederate incursions into the Southwest, securing the New Mexico Territory for the duration of the war.

1862, April

April 5 — Yorktown

Virginia — Marching from Fort Monroe, General George B. McClellan, and his army met a small Confederate force under the command of General John B. Magruder at Yorktown, positioned behind the Warwick River. 

Magruder’s maneuvers tricked Union forces into believing his defenses were strong. In response, McClellan stopped his advance up the Peninsula toward Richmond, opting instead to construct siege fortifications at Yorktown and bring heavy siege artillery to the front. Meanwhile, General Joseph E. Johnston sent reinforcements to help Magruder. 

Siege of Yorktown, 1862, April 5, McClellan's March
This illustration depicts McClellan’s army marching to Yorktown on April 5. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

On April 16, Union forces engaged the Confederate line at Lee’s Mill or Dam No. 1, resulting in approximately 309 casualties. However, McClellan failed to press forward, which led to a two-week delay in his campaign.

McClellan devised a plan for a bombardment of the Confederates at dawn on May 4. However, the Confederates slipped away during the night and moved toward Williamsburg.

April 6 — Shiloh

Tennessee — Following the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the regional commander, was forced to withdraw, relinquishing control of Kentucky, as well as significant portions of West and Middle Tennessee to Union forces.

Johnston chose Corinth, Mississippi, an important transportation hub, as the staging area for an offensive against General Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee. Johnston intended to attack Grant before General Don Carlos Buell arrived with his Army of the Ohio.

Following Johnston’s retreat, Grant devised a southern offensive along the Tennessee River, heading towards Pittsburg Landing. Grant received orders to await Buell’s Army of the Ohio at Pittsburg Landing. Rather than fortify his position, Grant focused on drilling his 40,000 men, many of whom were inexperienced recruits.

Johnston planned to attack Grant on April 4, but various delays postponed the offensive until the 6th. Despite the delay, the Confederate attack on the morning of the 6th caught the Union forces off guard.

Battle of Shiloh, 1862, April 6, Peach Orchard
This illustration depicts the Confederate attack on April 6. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

Although some Union troops fled, others were able to make a stand. By the afternoon, they formed a defensive line along a sunken road — known as the “Hornets’ Nest.”. 

Repeated Confederate attacks failed to dislodge the Union forces from the Hornets’ Nest, but the tide turned as Confederate artillery provided support. Confederate troops eventually surrounded the Union forces, resulting in the capture, killing, or wounding of most. Johnston was mortally wounded, and General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Confederates.

Grant established a new defensive line covering Pittsburg Landing, reinforced with artillery, and the battle continued into the night. 

The next morning, Confederates pushed forward two miles. Beauregard responded by ordering his men to attack, but he was unaware of Buell’s arrival. At first, the attack succeeded, but Union troops rallied and forced the Confederates to fall back. Beauregard ordered another attack, which halted the Union advance but did not break their line. Realizing victory was impossible, Beauregard decided to withdraw and return to Corinth. 

Battle of Shiloh, 1862, April 7, Union Advance at Shiloh Chapel
This illustration depicts the Union advance at Shiloh Chapel on April 7. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

On the 8th, Grant sent General William T. Sherman with two brigades and General Thomas J. Wood with his division in pursuit of Beauregard. They met the Confederate rearguard, commanded by Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest, at Fallen Timbers. A small battle took place and the Union forces were forced to fall back to Pittsburg Landing.

April 10 — Fort Pulaski

Georgia — Fort Pulaski was situated near the mouth of the Savannah River, effectively blocking upstream access to Savannah, Georgia.

On February 19, 1862, General Thomas W. Sherman sent an expedition under the command of Captain Quincy A. Gillmore, an engineer, to bombard and capture Fort Pulaski. Gillmore placed artillery on the mainland southeast of the fort and started the bombardment on April 10, after Colonel Charles H. Olmstead refused to surrender the fort.

In a matter of hours, Gillmore’s artillery succeeded in breaching the fort. When Union shells threatened to explode the fort’s magazine, Olmstead surrendered shortly after 2:00 p.m. on April 11.

Battle of Fort Pulaski, 1862, Union Bombardment
This illustration depicts the bombardment of Fort Pulaski. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

April 12 — Union volunteers stole a Confederate locomotive in an incident known as the “Great Locomotive Race.”

April 18 — Forts Jackson and Saint Philip

Louisiana — Early Union strategies revolved around the division of the Confederacy by gaining control of the Mississippi River. A pivotal step in this plan involved gaining access to the mouth of the Mississippi River, sailing up to New Orleans, and capturing the city, thereby sealing off the entrance for Confederate ships. 

In mid-January 1862, Flag Officer David Farragut embarked on this mission with his West Gulf Blockading Squadron. The path to New Orleans was relatively open, except the two forts, Jackson and St. Philip, located above the Head of the Passes, approximately 70 miles below New Orleans. In addition to these forts, the Confederates had strategically placed obstructions in the river. Further, several ships, including two ironclads, were deployed to bolster the defense of the area.

Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 1862, Union Bombardment
This illustration depicts Union ships bombarding Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

Farragut conducted his operations from Ship Island, Mississippi. On April 8, he assembled 24 of his vessels along with Commander David D. Porter and 19 mortar schooners near the Head of the Passes. Starting on the 16th and continuing for 7 days, the mortar schooners subjected Fort Jackson to relentless bombardment, however, they failed to silence the fort’s guns. On the night of the 22nd, some of Farragut’s gunboats managed to open a passage through the river obstruction.

In the early hours of April 24, Farragut sent his ships northward, aiming to navigate past the forts and advance toward New Orleans. Despite the Confederate attempts to stop the Union vessels, the majority of the Union ships successfully bypassed the forts and proceeded to New Orleans, where Farragut received the city’s surrender.

The garrisons of the two Confederate forts surrendered on the 28th.

April 19 — South Mills

North Carolina — After learning Confederates were building ironclad vessels at Norfolk, General Ambrose Burnside organized an expedition aimed at destroying the locks of the Dismal Swamp Canal. This move was intended to prevent the transfer of the ironclads to Albemarle Sound. The operation was entrusted to the command of General Jesse Lee Reno.

On April 18, Reno’s forces embarked on transports from Roanoke Island, setting sail for their mission. By midnight, they reached Elizabeth City and commenced the disembarkation of troops. In the early hours of April 19, Reno’s troops marched northward along the road leading to South Mills. However, as they approached the crossroads a few miles south of South Mills, elements of Colonel Ambrose Wright’s command engaged them, causing delays that extended into the evening.

Ultimately, Reno decided to abandon the mission. Under the cover of darkness, his forces withdrew to the transports stationed at Elizabeth City. Subsequently, Reno’s troops were taken to New Berne, where they safely arrived on April 22.

April 23 — The First Battle of Kernstown. Union victory. Stonewall Jackson’s only loss in the field during the war.

April 24–25 — Capture of New Orleans

New Orleans — A Federal fleet of gunships under the command of David Farragut captured New Orleans, the largest city in the Confederacy at the time. This victory gave the Union control of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

1862, May

May 5Battle of Williamsburg in Virginia. Inconclusive.

Battle of Williamsburg, 1862, Hancock's Charge
Battle of Williamsburg. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

May 8Battle of McDowell in Western Virginia. Confederate victory.

May 15Battle of Drewry’s Bluff in Virginia. Confederate victory.

May 15–17Battle of Princeton Court House in Western Virginia. Confederate victory.

May 20 — President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

May 23Battle of Front Royal in Western Virginia. Confederate victory.

May 25 — Winchester, First Battle

Virginia — Confederate General Stonewall Jackson won a key victory at the First Battle of Winchester, culminating his 1862 Valley Campaign.

May 31 — Seven Pines at Fair Oaks Station

Virginia — Confederate General Joseph Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines and replaced by Robert E. Lee, who renamed his command the “Army of Northern Virginia.”

Battle of Seven Pines, 1862, Union Charge
Battle of Seven Pines. Image Source: Harper’s Weekly, June 21, 1862.

1862, June

June 4 — Confederates evacuated Fort Pillow, allowing Union forces to capture Memphis.

June 6 — Memphis

Tennessee — Union forces won a key victory at the Battle of Memphis, which gave the Union control of the Mississippi River except for its course west of Mississippi.

June 8 — At the Battle of Cross Keys, Confederate troops under General Stonewall Jackson saved the Army of Northern Virginia from a Union Army attack on the James Peninsula.

Battle of Cross Keys, 1862, Union Advance to Start the Battle
Battle of Cross Keys. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

June 9Battle of Port Republic in Virginia. Confederate victory. 

June 16 — Battle of Secessionville in South Carolina. Confederate victory.

June 25–July 1 — Seven Days Battles

Virginia — General Lee’s army attacked General George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac in a succession of battles beginning at Mechanicsville on June 26 and ending at Malvern Hill on July 1.

June 25 — The Battle of Oak Grove started the Seven Days Battles. Inconclusive.

June 26 — The Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, also known as the Battle of Mechanicsville, was the first major battle of the Seven Days Battles. Union victory.

Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, 1862, Union Artillery Batteries
Battle of Beaver Dam Creek. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

June 26 — President Lincoln issued a proclamation creating the Army of Virginia (USA), commanded by Major General John Pope. Lincoln’s directive specified that “the troops of the Shenandoah Department, now under General Banks, shall constitute the Second Army Corps” of the Army of Virginia.

June 27 — Gaines’ Mill

Virginia — This engagement was one of the Seven Days Battles. On June 27, 1862, General Robert E. Lee attacked General Fitz John Porter and the V Corps, which had established a defensive line behind Boatswain’s Swamp, north of the Chickahominy River.

Porter’s reinforced V Corps held their ground throughout the afternoon, withstanding Confederate attacks while also inflicting casualties. Near dusk, the Confederates finally coordinated their efforts, mounting an assault that successfully breached Porter’s line and forced his troops to retreat in the direction of the river.

Under the cover of night, the Federal forces executed a retreat across the river. The Confederate victory at Gaines’ Mill prompted General George B. McClellan to abandon his campaign to advance on Richmond, instead opting to embark on a strategic withdrawal towards the James River.

Battles of Gaines' Mill, 1862, Union Artillery
Battle of Gaines’ Mill. Image Source: Harper’s Weekly, July 19, 1862.

June 27 — Garnett’s & Golding’s Farms

Virginia — As the Battle of Gaines’ Mill took place on the northern side of the Chickahominy River, Confederate General John Magruder executed a diversion by engaging the Union line south of the river near Garnett’s Farm. 

To avoid falling victim to crossfire from enemy artillery, the Union defenders under the command of General Samuel P. Heintzelman, part of the III Corps, adjusted their position along the river, essentially reforming their line.

On the following morning of June 28, the Confederates launched another attack near Golding’s Farm. However, this assault was met with resistance from the Union forces and was repulsed. These actions by Magruder, often referred to as “fixing” actions, intensified the concerns within the Union high command that a full-scale Confederate attack might be launched against Union positions south of the river.

June 29 — Savage’s Station

Virginia — This battle was one of the Seven Days Battles. On June 29, the primary body of the Union army initiated a general withdrawal towards the James River. 

In pursuit of the retreating Union forces, General John Magruder’s Confederate troops advanced along both the railroad and the Williamsburg Road. Their target was the Union rearguard, under the command of General Edwin V. Sumner.

The battle took place near Savage’s Station, where Magruder’s forces engaged Sumner’s Corps. Confederate General Richard Griffith was mortally wounded in the battle. Meanwhile, General Stonewall Jackson’s divisions were stalled on the northern side of the Chickahominy River.

As the Union forces continued their withdrawal across White Oak Swamp, they were forced to abandon supplies and leave behind more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.

Battle of Savage's Station, 1862, Union Troops
Battle of Savage’s Station. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

June 30 — Tampa

Florida — A Union gunboat entered Tampa Bay, positioning itself with its side facing the town. The gunboat promptly opened its ports in preparation for action. Subsequently, a launch sent from the gunboat, carrying 20 men and led by a lieutenant, displayed a flag of truce as it approached Tampa. 

The Union officer asked Confederate officials to surrender. However, the Confederates refused, and the Union officer said the bombardment would start at 6:00 p.m., allowing time for the evacuation of non-combatants from the city. The shelling carried on intermittently into the afternoon of July 1, until the Union gunboat withdrew.

June 30 — The Battle of White Oak Swamp took place in Virginia. The outcome was inconclusive.

Battle of Savage's Station, 1862, Union Troops
Battle of White Oak Swamp. Image Source: Frank Leslie’s Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War, 1894.

June 30 — Glendale

Virginia — The battle was one of the Seven Days Battles. During this engagement, Confederate divisions under the command of Benjamin Huger, James Longstreet, and A.P. Hill converged on the retreating Union army in the vicinity of Glendale, which is sometimes called the Battle of Frayser’s Farm.

Longstreet and Hill launched attacks that penetrated the Union defenses near Willis Church, resulting in the routing of the division of George A. McCall, with McCall himself being captured. In response, Union counterattacks led by the commands of Joseph Hooker and Philip Kearny divisions sealed the breach, preserving the Union’s line of retreat along the Willis Church Road.

Battle of Glendale, 1862, Union Forces
Battle of Glendale. Image Source: Harper’s Weekly, August 9, 1862.

Meanwhile, Huger’s advance was stopped along the Charles City Road. Stonewall Jackson’s divisions encountered delays due to the actions of General William B. Franklin at White Oak Swamp. Confederate General Theophilus H. Holmes tried to turn the Union left flank at Turkey Bridge but was bombarded by Federal gunboats from the James River.

Several casualties happened during this battle, including the wounding of Union generals George G. Meade and Edwin V. Sumner, as well as Confederate generals Joseph R. Anderson, Dorsey Pender, and Winfield S. Featherston. 

Lee hoped to sever the Union Army’s connection with the James River. However, McClellan was able to establish a strong position on Malvern Hill that evening.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Civil War Timeline and History, from January to June 1862
  • Date January 1, 1862–June 30, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords Civil War Timeline, Civil War History, Civil War 1862
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date February 27, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024

Civil War Timeline and History, from January to June 1862 is Part of the Following on AHC