Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Appearance of Robert E. Lee

How close were the Federals to Richmond?

They were so close that some of them could distinctly hear the clock bells of Richmond tolling the hours and that fashionable society persons in the city could see the federal entrenchments in the distance. Never had the capital been in such danger, and never had it been closer to disaster from within. The author of The Beleaguered City described the scenes after the Battle of Seven Pines:

“The ambulance corps was swamped by [the wounded]. People loaded the great vans of the Southern Express Company and went out to help bring them in. The hospitals, in spite of the dreadful lesson of Manassas, proved to be altogether inadequate. Wounded men—most of them shot above the waist on account of the abattis and thick brush through which the attack had been made—filled tobacco warehouses, warerooms, even stores on Main Street.” This kind of messy aftermath attended most Civil War battles, but it was the first time that Richmond—or any other major city, North or South—received so many of the wounded in its hospitals.


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