“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Related Historical Markers

Take a Virtual Tour by Markers of the Gaines' Mill Battlefield Loop Trail.
Gaines' Mill Marker (left panel) image, Touch for more information
By Bernard Fisher, February 11, 2011
Gaines' Mill Marker (left panel)
1Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Gaines' Mill1862 Seven Days' Battles
(left panel) Visiting Richmond National Battlefield Park The concentration of Civil War resources found in the Richmond area is unparalleled. The National Park Service manages 13 sites, giving visitors an opportunity to examine the . . . Map (db m40249) HM
2Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Gaines’ MillRichmond Battlefield — Richmond Nat’l Battlefield Pk – 1862/64 —
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 . . . Map (db m15022) HM
3Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Battle of Gaines’ Mill
Although victorious at Beaver Dam Creek on June 26, 1862, Union General George B. McClellan believed Stonewall Jackson’s 25,000 Confederates threatened the Union right flank. The next morning, June 27, McClellan ordered Fitz John Porter’s Fifth . . . Map (db m14999) HM
4Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — A Powerful Postion
General Porter held an impressive defensive position above Boatswain’s Creek. The first line of battle stood at the base of the hill to your front. The second line was posted nearby, and the third was along the crest behind you, where most of the . . . Map (db m16393) HM
5Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Battle Begins
Porter’s soldiers rested their muskets across a make-shift breastwork of felled trees, bales of hay, and knapsacks. A Union soldier remembered “an ominous silence” that covered the battlefield moments before Lee launched his first . . . Map (db m16392) HM
6Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Intensity of Battle
“By the time we had gotten across, the front line, broken by our fire, frightened … which sounded like forty thousand wild cats, had reached their second line, … confusion, and they, panicstricken, left their works and croded to the top of . . . Map (db m43320) HM
7Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Decisive Moment
“Dashing up the steep bank, being within thirty yards of the enemy’s works, we flew towards the breastworks, cleared them, and slaughtered the retreating devils as they scampered up the hill towards their battery.” Decimus . . . Map (db m43337) HM
8Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Confederate Grand Assault
“All was disorder and excitement; the field was full of men running for their very lives, and it was almost impossible to make any resistance to the tide of humanity pressing down upon us.” John E. Stewart, 44th New York . . . Map (db m56493) HM
9Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Union Left Flank
This loop trail visits the left of the Union line. Along it you will learn about the charge of General Pickett’s Confederate brigade; see more of the ground stubbornly defended by General Morell’s division; learn of the bravery displayed by an . . . Map (db m16394) HM
10Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Pickett’s Brigade, CSA
“As soon as this advancing brigade reached the summit of the hill it was met by a storm of shot and shell I never saw exceeded except in the famous charge of Pickett’s men at Gettysburg.” Col. Eppa Hunton 8th Virginia Infantry . . . Map (db m16397) HM
11Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Morell’s Division, USA
“The rebels rushed down the hill in line of battle, but it wasn’t quite so easy rushing across a swamp, waist deep in thick mud, and as they tried it we tried Sharp’s rifles at eight rods, firing as fast as we could put in cartridges, the . . . Map (db m16398) HM
12Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Wilcox’s Brigade, CSA
“A private by the name of Jones….seized the colors, his right arm was soon broken, he then held it with his left hand, and he was soon shot through both legs no broken bones, and then his left arm was wounded and the colors fell, were . . . Map (db m16399) HM
13Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade,Longstreet’s Division, — Army of Northern Virginia, CSA —
Brigadier General Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade, Longstreet’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia, CSA Near here on June 27, 1862, three Confederate brigades under General Cadmus M. Wilcox ascended this hill, broke . . . Map (db m16391) HM
14Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Union Rifle Pits
These well-preserved rifle pits probably mark the far end of the Union line. The 16th Michigan Infantry or 44th New York Infantry likely built them on the morning of the battle to guard the western flank of the army. Although some Federal soldiers . . . Map (db m16400) HM
15Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Mistaken Identity
“It was now sun down and the air was dense with smoke, so that we were realty not certain whether the column before us were friends or enemies….Their banner was furled, and we could not get any clue from that….Just at this time Colonel . . . Map (db m16401) HM
16Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Cavalry Charge
“In as short while we felt the ground begin to tremble like an earthquake and heard a noise like the rumbling of distant thunder. It was a regiment of United States cavalry charging us….When they were within about forty yards of us, we . . . Map (db m16402) HM
17Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Battle Ends
This panoramic view reveals many of the key scenes associated with the close of the battle. The landscape here has changed very little. When the left of Porter’s line disintegrated just before sunset, much of it fell back through this ground. . . . Map (db m16395) HM
18Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — The Federal Collapse
“All was disorder and excitement; the field was full of me running for their very lives, and it was almost impossible to make any resistance to the tide of humanity pressing down upon us….It seemed as though the air was full of bullet, . . . Map (db m16403) HM
19Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — 8 — Whiting's AdvanceApproximate Line of Whiting's Advance
Near this point, between the brigades of Martindale and Butterfield, Confederate forces first penetrated the main Federal position in the Battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862. The Fourth Texas Regiment led the charge.Map (db m14204) HM
20Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Hood's Attack
Fitz John Porter's troop had repulsed Confederate attacks throughout the afternoon. With daylight waning, Lee turned to John Bell Hood to spearhead the final assault. Personally leading the 4th Texas and the 18th Georgia, General Hood instructed his . . . Map (db m16396) HM
21Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Final Stand
Civil War artillery was a splendid defensive weapon, particularly when the battlefield landscape offered the gunners open fields of fire. At Gaines’ Mill the woods plagued the Union artillery. Several gaps in the trees however, offered a direct line . . . Map (db m43334) HM
22Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Union Artillery
Porter posted his batteries intermittently along this ridge. Most of his guns were twelve-pounder Napoleons like the two here. “The woods were full of smoke,” wrote a Massachusetts artillerist, “and thicker and thicker . . . Map (db m15234) HM
23Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Confederate Pursuit
By nightfall Porter’s force had safely retreated across the Chickahominy. Lee had sustained nearly 9,000 casualties in his first victory of the war, while the Federals lost close to 6,000. “I could hear on all sides the dreadful groans of . . . Map (db m15233) HM
24Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — PA-25 — Seven Days BattlesGaines’s Mill
Along the slopes of Boatswain Creek, facing north and west, extended Porter’s position in the afternoon of June 27, 1862. The line was held by Sykes’s division facing north, and Morell’s facing west. Later McCall was thrown in to assist Morell. At . . . Map (db m15008) HM
25Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — 7 — The Watt HouseGaines' Mill Battlefield
Entrenched in three lines on this plateau, the right wing of McClellan's army, withdrawn from Beaver Dam Creek, resisted Confederate attacks on June 27, 1862 until driven back at nightfall by a general assault.Map (db m14201) HM
26Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Watt Farm Road
Modern snake-rail fencing and shallow depressions carved out long ago by wagons and livestock mark the location of one of two thoroughfares that passed through the plantation. This road led from the Watt Farm to the New Bridge crossing of the . . . Map (db m43333) HM
27Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Lee’s First Victory: At a Huge Cost
“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 . . . Map (db m43335) HM
28Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Springfield Plantation
In 1862 this farmhouse was home to the widow Sarah Watt, her granddaughter, Mary Jane Haw, and a maid. It was a typical Hanover County plantation of several hundred acres with some 28 slaves who produced a modest income from grains, potatoes, and . . . Map (db m34618) HM
29Virginia (Hanover County), Mechanicsville — Watt Family FarmGaines’ Mill – 1862 — Richmond National Battlefield Park —
Civil War armies selected battlefields without regard to the civilians who made their homes there. The resulting death and destruction affected the residents’ lives for decades. The Watts lived here for nearly 60 years before the battle. They owned . . . Map (db m15232) HM
Sep. 21, 2021