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Mechanicsville in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Gaines’ Mill
Richmond Battlefield

— Richmond Nat’l Battlefield Pk – 1862/64 —
 
Gaines’ Mill Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
1. Gaines’ Mill Marker
 
Inscription. The action here on June 27, 1862, was the second-largest battle in American history up to that time. One day earlier General Robert E. Lee had pried the Union Fifth Corps from its position at Beaver Dam Creek. Here he brought 65,000 Confederate soldiers to bear against that same corps, which stood on this ground with its back less than two miles from the Chichahominy River and with its front protected by the steep ravine of Boatswain Creek. A vigorous defense by the Union Fifth Corps repulsed several Confederate attacks until very late in the day, when a determined assault across a two-mile front succeeded in breaking the Federal line in two places. Sunset saved the Fifth Corps from possible destruction on the banks of the river.

The Battle of Gaines’ Mill is notable as Lee’s first major victory of the Civil War. It also illustrated that direct frontal assaults, while costly, did not always fail. General Fitz John Porter’s Fifth Corps suffered 6,000 casualties in defense of this extended ridge, and Lee’s army sustained 9,000 causalities. Gaines’ Mill proved to be a landmark battle in several respects. It produced soaring confidence among Southern soldiers and civilians. It also showed that Civil War battles had the potential for greater violence and destruction than previously supposed.

Touring the Battlefield
The
 
Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
2. Gaines’ Mill Battlefield
Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter' Fifth Corp established a line here, overlooking the banks of the Boatswain Creek. The Watt House in the background was Porter's headquarters during the battle.
 
site of Confederate General John B. Hood’s Texas Brigade’s decisive breakthrough point can be reached by following this trail. Along the way are surviving rifle pits, artillery positions, and a monument to an Alabama brigade that played a significant role in the attack on June 27, 1862. The historic Watt House, standing nearby, is not open to the public.
 
Erected by Richmond National Battlefield Park - National Park Service.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Battlefield Trails - Civil War marker series.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 37° 34.464′ N, 77° 17.45′ W. Marker was in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker was on Watt House Road (Virginia Route 718), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in the Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park. Marker was in this post office area: Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named Gaines' Mill (a few steps from this marker); Seven Days Battles (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Gaines' Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); The Watt House (within shouting distance of this marker); Springfield Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); Lee’s First Victory: At a Huge Cost (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Pursuit (within shouting distance of this marker); Powerful Position (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Mechanicsville.
 
Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
3. Gaines’ Mill Battlefield
This was the position of the Union artillery during June 27, 1862 Battle of Gaines' Mill. The line was broken by the Confederates late in the day.
 

 
More about this marker. The left side of the marker features a map of Richmond National Battlefield Park, with the location of Gaines’ Mill indicated. The bottom right of the marker contains a battle map of the fighting at Gaines’ Mill.

This marker was replaced by a new one also named Gaines' Mill (see nearby markers).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a Virtual Tour by Markers of the Gaines' Mill Battlefield Loop Trail.
 
Also see . . .
1. Gaines’ Mill. CWSAC Battle Summaries website. (Submitted on January 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Places To Go in Richmond National Battlefield Park. National Park Service website. (Submitted on January 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Seven Days Battle. HistoryCentral.com website. (Submitted on January 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

4. Gaines' Mill Podcast. 8-stop, 1.5-mile walking tour narrated by NPS historian, Robert Krick. (Submitted on February 27, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Richmond National Battlefield Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
4. Richmond National Battlefield Park
Marker is in the Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park.
 
 
Gaines’ Mill Battle Map from Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
5. Gaines’ Mill Battle Map from Marker
The climax of the battle saw the Union defenders overwhelmed across a two-mile front by surging Confederate infantry.
 
 
Richmond Battlefield Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
6. Richmond Battlefield
The national battlefield park contains sites relating to three separate events of the Civil War: the Seven Days Campaign of 1862, the Overland Campaign of 1864, and the late-war fighting north of the James River.
 
 
Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Loop Trail along Boatswain's Creek below the Watt House Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, February 23, 2009
7. Gaines’ Mill Battlefield Loop Trail along Boatswain's Creek below the Watt House
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,655 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   7. submitted on February 26, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
 
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