Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Battle For New Orleans

Where were McClellan and the Army of the Potomac?

Given the practical flood of victories for the Union cause in the spring of 1862, it seemed as if McClellan would succeed and thereby end the war in that season. But McClellan was a foot-dragger.

It took McClellan until the first week of May even to attack the Confederate defenses in and around Yorktown, Virginia. The Confederates, wisely, got out just before the full weight of McClellan’s two hundred pieces of artillery were brought to bear. As the Confederates moved up the James Peninsula, McClellan followed at a snail’s pace. Those observers who remembered the British person who claimed the movement of the Army of the Potomac was akin to a giant now said it had become like that of an ant.


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