Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

McClellan’s Command

Who held the initiative in February 1862?

The North, in almost every respect. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac seemed ready, at last, to move. Grant and the Army of the Cumberland now occupied much of the river valley of that name. The Confederate defenders in the West had to pull back, almost 300 miles, to a line that was weakly defended. At sea, the disparity was even greater.

The Union Navy was at one hundred vessels of all sizes and climbing almost every week. The South had nothing other than privateer vessels with which to contest mastery of the ocean. And every week that passed showed yet another weak spot along the coast that the Union might assault.


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