Battle of Oak Grove, 25 June 1862

The fighting at Oak Grove is now considered to be the first day of the Seven Days’ Battles. However, it does not really belong to that battle, launched by Robert E. Lee as a last ditch attempt to push General McClellan’s Union army away from the Confederate capitol of Richmond. The first of Lee’s attacks was launched on the following day, and marked his first emergence as a Confederate hero.

Oak Grove is better seen as the last offensive move of McClellan’s Peninsula campaign. Since early May his army had been moving into position ready to launch the final attack on Richmond. On 25 June McClellan moved part of Heintzelman’s corps forward from their positions held after Seven Pines, on his left flank, in preparation for a more significant attack further north, planned for the following day.

Heintzelman’s men encountered Confederate opposition during their move. Along most of their line, the Union troops advanced between one-quarter of a mile and a mile at a cost of 67 dead, 504 wounded and 55 missing. Confederate losses were lower, at 441. The ground lost was of no significance. Lee was planning to strike at the other end of the Union line, hoping to defeat Porter’s 30,000 men north of the Chickahominy River while the bulk of the Federal army was south of the river. The next day saw Lee launch the first of his attacks, at Mechanicville, marking the true start of his Seven Days’ Battle.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 October 2006), Battle of Oak Grove, 25 June 1862 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_oak_grove.html

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