Question of the Week: 4/22-4/29/19

Last week’s question opened a discussion about significant battles or skirmishes in the Peninsula Campaign, but excluded the Seven Days Battles.

Now, in you opinion which battle during the Seven Days was most significant and important? Why?

6 Responses to Question of the Week: 4/22-4/29/19

  1. The most significant battle was fought between Joseph Johnston style tactics aggressive Robert E Lee tactics. After the Seven Days, Confederate commanders believed that agressive tactics were the only way to achieve victory. As history shows, Lee, Bragg, Hood, just to name a few, consistently lost more casualties than they inflicted with their aggressive tactics.
    The realities of a Civil War era combat were that defenders, even when greatly outnumbered, had an almost unassailable advantage. It was Generals like George Thomas who mastered both the power of defense & tactics that led to sledge hammer victories that won the war.
    Lee’s Pyric victories during the Seven Days guaranteed that the kind of disciplined, well thought out strategic defense that was the Confederacy’s only hope for victory could never happen. The futile bloodbaths at Atlanta & Franklin that destroyed the Army of Tennessee were a direct result of Lee’s victory over conservatives at the Seven Days.

  2. OK, I know it isn’t officially part of the Seven Days, but I’m gonna volunteer the clash at Linney’s Corner that was part of JEB Stuart’s legendary ride around McClellan;s army. Had Stuart stopped when he had the information that Lee had tasked him to get, which was locate where the Union right flank was, and what was its condition, i.e., was it ‘anchored’, how many troops in the area, etc., his mission would have been a success. But seeing how Stuart did press on to completely circumvent the Union army, he brought detailed information that facilitated the planning Lee put forth to aggressively attack McClellan and try to destroy his forces. Stuart’s ride had quite a lot to do with what became Lee’s offensive.

    THAT SAID, if we’re going to be concerned with the actual battles, I will say the battle at Mechanicsville was the key. For various reasons it reinforced McLellan’s belief that he was grossly outnumbered by Lee;s forces, and it was also where he abandoned any more thought about offensive operations against Richmond. After Mechanicsville he was purely on the defensive.

  3. I’ll go with the too obvious candidate – Glendale. That was the one battle in which Lee had the opportunity to attack McClellan while his army was in the process of moving and was most vulnerable to an attack. McClellan’s foolish abandonment of direct command and control, his failure to designate any subordinate to act in his stead, and the ad hoc mixture of units from different commands at the crossroads were the recipe for a significant defeat. That it didn’t happen was a result of Confederate ineptitude and failure to execute – primarily Stonewall, Magruder, and Huger.

  4. My votes goes for Gaines Mill on 27th June. The Federal loss there wrecked McClellan’s campaign, and changed the Seven Days form a positional battle before Richmond into a fluid retreat to the James River.

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