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Mechanicsville in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Lee’s First Victory: At a Huge Cost

 
 
Lee’s First Victory: At a Huge Cost Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 12, 2011
1. Lee’s First Victory: At a Huge Cost Marker
Inscription. “Yesterday evening we was in one of the hardest fought battles ever known. I never had a clear conception of the horrors of war until last night….In going round that battlefield with a candle searching for friends I could hear on all sides the dreadful groans of the wounded and their heart piercing cries for water…May I never see any more such in life…I assure you that I am heartily sick of soldiering.” A.N. Erskine, 4th Texas Infantry

By nightfall Union resistance on Turkey Hill had ended. Except for the wounded, most of the Federal forces recrossed the Chickahominy overnight and joined the remainder of the Army of the Potomac. In just two days of brutal fighting Lee audaciously divided his army, drove one Union corps across the Chickahominy, and successfully ended McClellan’s thrust to Richmond. The cost, however, was staggering. Both sides combined lost 15,000 casualties, the greatest loss in any battle of the entire Peninsula Campaign, and second only to Shiloh at that stage of the war.

Before the area could recover, the armies returned in the spring of 1864. The savage battle of Cold Harbor swept across some of these same farms, leaving miles of fortifications, 18,000 more casualties, and untold misery in its path.
 
Erected 2011 by Richmond National
Gaines' Mill Battlefield near the Watt House image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 12, 2011
2. Gaines' Mill Battlefield near the Watt House
Battlefield Park.
 
Location. 37° 34.433′ N, 77° 17.477′ W. Marker is in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from Watt House Road (Virginia Route 718) 0.7 miles south of Cold Harbor Road (Virginia Route 156). Touch for map. This marker is located in the Gaines' Mill Battlefield unit of the Richmond National Battlefield Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6283 Watt House Road, Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Pursuit (here, next to this marker); Seven Days Battles (within shouting distance of this marker); The Watt House (within shouting distance of this marker); Gaines' Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Springfield Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Artillery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of Gaines' Mill (about 300 feet away); Final Stand (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mechanicsville.
 
More about this marker. On the right is a photograph with the caption, "In April 1865, a photographer recorded this scene of unburied dead on the Gaines’ Mill battlefield. The lack of decent burials influenced the War Department to establish a system of national
Battlefield of Gaines Mill, Va. image. Click for full size.
circa 1865
3. Battlefield of Gaines Mill, Va.
Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-106283]
cemeteries. Five were constructed around Richmond."
 
Also see . . .
1. Richmond National Battlefield Park. (Submitted on June 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Gaines’ Mill. CWSAC Battle Summary (Submitted on June 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. The Battle of Gaines' Mill. Civil War Trust (Submitted on June 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 628 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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