The Battle of Seven Pines, also known as Fair Oaks, took place May 31 – June 1, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia. 84,000 troops were engaged in this battle. On May 31st, CSA Commander Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attempted to overwhelm two Federal corps that appeared isolated south of the Chickahominy River. The Confederate assaults did manage to succeed in driving back the IV Corps and inflicting heavy casualties. Union reinforcements showed up and added more troops to the battle.
Supported by the III Corps and Sedgwick’s division of Sumner’s II Corps, they crossed over the engorged river on Grapevine Bridge, the Federal forces were stabilized. On June 1, the Confederates renewed their assaults against the Federals. Last-minute reinforcements saved the Union from a serious defeat; however, both sides claimed victory. This was one of the bloodiest battles ever over a two day period. There were 13, 736 casualties spread over the battlefield of Seven Pines; 5,739 Union and 7,997 Confederate. Commander Joseph Johnston, at the time, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, was seriously wounded. A day later, the job fell to Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Battle of Seven Pines, marked many epiphanies for both the Union and Confederate Armies. It was the last battle before the Peninsula Campaign became The Seven Days Retreat. It ended Joe Johnston’s command of the Confederate Army of the Potomac and started Robert E. Lee’s command of the Army of Northern Virginia. It can even be argued that it was the beginning of the end for George McClellan. Lee’s response was to call off any further fighting, and pull his army back into the defenses of Richmond, where he began to prepare for his own counterattack. That attack would be launched at the end of June, and resulted in the Seven Dayís Battles.