Army of Virginia

The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E. Lee.

Army of Virginia
ActiveJune 26, 1862 – September 12, 1862
Country United States of America
BranchUsdowseal.jpg United States Army
TypeField Army
EngagementsBattle of Cedar Mountain
Second Battle of Bull Run
Maj. Gen. John Pope


Residence of Mr. Hudson, headquarters of Gen. Pope during the battle of Cedar Mountain LCCN2006683274
Gen. Pope's headquarters during the battle of Cedar Mountain

The Army of Virginia was constituted on June 26, 1862, by General Orders Number 103, from four existing departments operating around Virginia: Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont's Mountain Department, Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell's Department of the Rappahannock, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's Department of the Shenandoah, and Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis's brigade from the Military District of Washington. Maj. Gen. John Pope commanded the new organization, which was divided into three corps of over 50,000 men. Three corps of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac later were added for combat operations.

Radical republicans in Congress and the Cabinet saw the Army of Virginia as taking the lead in widening the goals of the war. The senior officers of the Army were stronger advocates of the abolition of slavery and the southern way of life and had a smaller proportion of West Point graduates than the contemporary Army of the Potomac.[1]

Banks's corps of the Army of Virginia fought against Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, gaining initial advantage, but was defeated by a Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill.

The entire army was soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run by Jackson, Longstreet, and Lee, and withdrew to the defensive lines of Washington, D.C.. On September 12, 1862, the units of the Army of Virginia were merged into the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Virginia was never reconstituted.


  • Major General John Pope (June 26 – September 12)


The first three corps were given numeric designations that overlapped with those in the Army of the Potomac. They were redesignated as shown for the Maryland Campaign and later.

  • I Corps, Army of Virginia; commanded by Franz Sigel (this corps had been the Mountain Department under John Frémont; it eventually became the XI Corps, Army of the Potomac)
  • II Corps, Army of Virginia; commanded by Nathaniel Banks (formerly known as V Corps and Department of the Shenandoah; later known as XII Corps, Army of the Potomac)
  • III Corps, Army of Virginia; commanded by Irvin McDowell (formerly known as I Corps and Department of the Rappahannock; reverted to I Corps, Army of the Potomac)
  • Cavalry Brigade, commanded by George Bayard

The following corps were attached for operations during the Northern Virginia Campaign:

Major battles


  1. ^ Matsui, John H. (June 2012), "War in Earnest: The Army of Virginia and the Radicalization of the Union War Effort, 1862", Civil War History, 58 (2): 185–187

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Army of the Mississippi

Army of the Mississippi was the name given to two Union armies that operated around the Mississippi River, both with short existences, during the American Civil War.

Army of the Potomac

The Army of the Potomac was the principal Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. It was created in July 1861 shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run and was disbanded in May 1865 following the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in April.

Battle of Chantilly

The Battle of Chantilly (or Ox Hill, the Confederate name) took place on September 1, 1862, in Fairfax County, Virginia, as the concluding battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign of the American Civil War. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's corps of the Army of Northern Virginia attempted to cut off the line of retreat of the Union Army of Virginia following the Second Battle of Bull Run but was attacked by two Union divisions. During the ensuing battle, Union division commanders Isaac Stevens and Philip Kearny were both killed, but the Union attack halted Jackson's advance.

Cedar Mountain Union order of battle

The following Union army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Cedar Mountain of the American Civil War. The Confederate order of battle is shown separately.

Chantilly Union order of battle

The following Union Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Chantilly of the American Civil War. The Confederate order of battle is shown separately.

Department of Virginia and North Carolina

The Department of Virginia and North Carolina was a United States Military department encompassing Union-occupied territory in the Confederate States during the Civil War. In 1863 it was formed by the merging of two previously existing departments: the Department of Virginia and the Department of North Carolina. In 1865 the two departments were once again separated.

Eastern Theater of the American Civil War

The Eastern Theater of the American Civil War consists of the major military and naval operations in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina. (Operations in the interior of the Carolinas in 1865 are considered part of the Western Theater, while the other coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean are included in the Lower Seaboard Theater.)

The Eastern Theater was the venue for several major campaigns launched by the Union Army of the Potomac to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia; many of these were frustrated by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee. President Abraham Lincoln sought a general to match Lee's boldness, appointing in turn Maj. Gens. Irvin McDowell, George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George G. Meade to command his principal Eastern armies. While Meade gained a decisive victory over Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, it was not until newly appointed general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant arrived from the Western Theater in 1864 to take personal control of operations in Virginia that Union forces were able to capture Richmond, but only after several bloody battles of the Overland Campaign and a nine-month siege near the cities of Petersburg and Richmond. The surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox Court House in April 1865 brought major operations in the area to a close.

While many of the campaigns and battles were fought in the region of Virginia between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, there were other major campaigns fought nearby. The Western Virginia Campaign of 1861 secured Union control over the western counties of Virginia, which would be formed into the new state of West Virginia. Confederate coastal areas and ports were seized in southeastern Virginia and North Carolina. The Shenandoah Valley was marked by frequent clashes in 1862, 1863, and 1864. Lee launched two unsuccessful invasions of Union territory in hopes of influencing Northern opinion to end the war. In the fall of 1862, Lee followed his successful Northern Virginia Campaign with his first invasion, the Maryland Campaign, which culminated in his strategic defeat in the Battle of Antietam. In the summer of 1863, Lee's second invasion, the Gettysburg Campaign, reached into Pennsylvania, farther north than any other major Confederate army. Following a Confederate attack on Washington, D.C., itself in 1864, Union forces commanded by Philip H. Sheridan launched a campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, which cost the Confederacy control over a major food supply for Lee's army.

III Corps (Union Army)

There were four formations in the Union Army designated as III Corps (or Third Army Corps) during the American Civil War.

Three were short-lived:

In the Army of Virginia, a temporary designation of the command better known as I Corps (Army of the Potomac)::

Irvin McDowell (June 26, 1862 – September 5, 1862);

James B. Ricketts (September 5, 1862 – September 6, 1862);

Joseph Hooker (September 6, 1862 – September 12, 1862)

In the Army of the Ohio:

Charles C. Gilbert (September 29, 1862 – October 24, 1862)

In the Army of the Cumberland:

Charles C. Gilbert (October 24, 1862 – November 5, 1862)The other, the III Corps, Army of the Potomac (March 13, 1862 – March 24, 1864), is the subject of this article.

II Corps (Union Army)

There were five corps in the Union Army designated as II Corps (Second Army Corps) during the American Civil War. These formations were the Army of the Cumberland II Corps commanded by Thomas L. Crittenden from October 24, 1862, to November 5, 1862, later renumbered XXI Corps; the Army of the Mississippi II corps led by William T. Sherman from January 4, 1863, to January 12, 1863, renumbered XV Corps; Army of the Ohio II Corps commanded by Thomas L. Crittenden from September 29, 1862, to October 24, 1862, transferred to Army of the Cumberland; Army of Virginia II Corps led by Nathaniel P. Banks from June 26, 1862, to September 4, 1862, and Alpheus S. Williams from September 4, 1862, to September 12, 1862, renumbered XII Corps; and the Army of the Potomac II Corps from March 13, 1862, to June 28, 1865.

Of these five, the one most widely known was the Army of the Potomac formation, the subject of this article.

I Corps (Union Army)

I Corps (First Corps) was the designation of three different corps-sized units in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Separate formation called the I Corps served in the Army of the Ohio/Army of the Cumberland under Alexander M. McCook from September 29, 1862 to November 5, 1862, in the Army of the Mississippi under George W. Morgan from January 4, 1863 to January 12, 1863 (which was the re-designated XIII Corps (ACW)), and in the Army of the Potomac and Army of Virginia (see below). The first two were units of very limited life; the third was one of the most distinguished and veteran corps in the entire Union Army, commanded by very distinguished officers. The term "First Corps" is also used to describe the First Veteran Corps from 1864 to 1866.

Irvin McDowell

Irvin McDowell (October 15, 1818 – May 4, 1885) was a career American army officer. He is best known for his defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run, the first large-scale battle of the American Civil War. In 1862, he was given command of the I Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He fought unsuccessfully against Stonewall Jackson's troops during the Valley Campaign of 1862, and was blamed for contributing to the defeat of United States troops at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August.

John Henry Caldwell

John Henry Caldwell (April 4, 1826 – September 4, 1902) was a U.S. Representative from Alabama.

Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Caldwell attended the common schools of Huntsville and Bacon College, Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

He taught school in Limestone County, Alabama, four years.

He moved to Jacksonville, Alabama, in 1848.

He was principal of the Jacksonville Female Academy 1848-1852 and of the Jacksonville Male Academy 1853-1857.

Edited the Jacksonville Republican in 1851 and 1852 and assumed the editorship of the Sunny South in 1855.

He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1857 and 1858.

He studied law.

He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and commenced practice in Jacksonville, Alabama.

During the Civil War enlisted in the Confederate States Army and organized Company A of the Tenth Alabama Regiment, from St. Clair and Calhoun Counties, and served throughout the war.

He was promoted to major and then to lieutenant colonel.

He served in the Army of Virginia.

Caldwell was elected solicitor for the tenth judicial circuit in 1863 but was deposed by the Provisional Governor in 1865.

He was reelected the same year, and in 1867 was removed from office for refusing to obey military orders.

Caldwell was first elected to congress on November 5, 1872 as a fusion candidate of the Liberal Republican and Democratic parties. He received 62.62% of the vote. He was elected to represent Alabama's 5th congressional district, which at the time encompassed the most north-eastern part of Alabama.

He was re-elected in 1874 as a straight Democrat with 59.19% of the vote. Caldwell was a member of the Forty-third and Forty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1877).

He served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture (Forty-fourth Congress).

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1876.

He resumed the practice of law.

He died in Jacksonville, Alabama, September 4, 1902.

He was interred in Jacksonville Cemetery.

John Pope (military officer)

John Pope (March 16, 1822 – September 23, 1892) was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief stint in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas) in the East.

Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1842. He served in the Mexican–American War and had numerous assignments as a topographical engineer and surveyor in Florida, New Mexico, and Minnesota. He spent much of the last decade before the Civil War surveying possible southern routes for the proposed First Transcontinental Railroad. He was an early appointee as a Union brigadier general of volunteers and served initially under Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont. He achieved initial success against Brig. Gen. Sterling Price in Missouri, then led a successful campaign that captured Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River. This inspired the Lincoln administration to bring him to the Eastern Theater to lead the newly formed Army of Virginia.

He initially alienated many of his officers and men by publicly denigrating their record in comparison to his Western command. He launched an offensive against the Confederate army of General Robert E. Lee, in which he fell prey to a strategic turning movement into his rear areas by Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson. At Second Bull Run, he concentrated his attention on attacking Jackson while the other Confederate corps attacked his flank and routed his army.

Following Manassas, Pope was banished far from the Eastern Theater to the Department of the Northwest in Minnesota, where he commanded U.S. Forces in the Dakota War of 1862. He was appointed to command the Department of the Missouri in 1865 and was a prominent and activist commander during Reconstruction in Atlanta. For the rest of his military career, he fought in the Indian Wars, particularly against the Apache and Sioux.

Manassas Station Operations (Stonewall Jackson)

The Manassas Station Operations included the operations known as Bristoe Station, Kettle Run, Bull Run Bridge, or Union Mills. It took place August 25–27, 1862, in Prince William County, Virginia, as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign of the American Civil War.

On the evening of August 26, after passing around Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's right flank via Thoroughfare Gap, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's wing of the army struck the Orange & Alexandria Railroad at Bristoe Station and before daybreak August 27 marched to capture and destroy the massive Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. This surprise movement forced Pope's Army of Virginia into an abrupt retreat from his defensive line along the Rappahannock River.

On August 27, Jackson routed a Union brigade near Union Mills (Bull Run Bridge), inflicting several hundred casualties and mortally wounding Union Brig. Gen. George W. Taylor. Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's Confederate division fought a brisk rearguard action against Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's Union division at Kettle Run, resulting in about 600 casualties. Ewell held back Union forces until dark. That night, Jackson marched his divisions north to the Bull Run battlefield, where he took position behind an unfinished railroad grade.

Northern Virginia Campaign

The Northern Virginia Campaign, also known as the Second Bull Run Campaign or Second Manassas Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during August and September 1862 in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee followed up his successes of the Seven Days Battles in the Peninsula Campaign by moving north toward Washington, D.C., and defeating Maj. Gen. John Pope and his Army of Virginia.

Concerned that Pope's army would combine forces with Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac and overwhelm him, Lee sent Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson north to intercept Pope's advance toward Gordonsville. The two forces initially clashed at Cedar Mountain on August 9, a Confederate victory. Lee determined that McClellan's army on the Virginia Peninsula was no longer a threat to Richmond and sent most of the rest of his army, Maj. Gen. James Longstreet's command, following Jackson. Jackson conducted a wide-ranging maneuver around Pope's right flank, seizing the large supply depot in Pope's rear, at Manassas Junction, placing his force between Pope and Washington, D.C. Moving to a very defensible position near the battleground of the 1861 First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), Jackson successfully repulsed Union assaults on August 29 as Lee and Longstreet's command arrived on the battlefield. On August 30, Pope attacked again, but was surprised to be caught between attacks by Longstreet and Jackson, and was forced to withdraw with heavy losses. The campaign concluded with another flanking maneuver by Jackson, which Pope engaged at the Battle of Chantilly on September 1.

Lee's maneuvering of the Army of Northern Virginia against Pope is considered a military masterpiece. Historian John J. Hennessy wrote that "Lee may have fought cleverer battles, but this was his greatest campaign."

Second Battle of Bull Run

The Second Battle of Bull Run or Battle of Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862 in Prince William County, Virginia, as part of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of the Northern Virginia Campaign waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia against Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia, and a battle of much larger scale and numbers than the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas) fought on July 21, 1861 on the same ground.

Following a wide-ranging flanking march, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson captured the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction, threatening Pope's line of communications with Washington, D.C. Withdrawing a few miles to the northwest, Jackson took up strong concealed defensive positions on Stony Ridge and awaited the arrival of the wing of Lee's army commanded by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet. On August 28, 1862, Jackson attacked a Union column just east of Gainesville, at Brawner's Farm, resulting in a stalemate but successfully getting Pope's attention. On that same day, Longstreet broke through light Union resistance in the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap and approached the battlefield.

Pope became convinced that he had trapped Jackson and concentrated the bulk of his army against him. On August 29, Pope launched a series of assaults against Jackson's position along an unfinished railroad grade. The attacks were repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. At noon, Longstreet arrived on the field from Thoroughfare Gap and took position on Jackson's right flank. On August 30, Pope renewed his attacks, seemingly unaware that Longstreet was on the field. When massed Confederate artillery devastated a Union assault by Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter's V Corps, Longstreet's wing of 25,000 men in five divisions counterattacked in the largest simultaneous mass assault of the war. The Union left flank was crushed and the army was driven back to Bull Run. Only an effective Union rear guard action prevented a replay of the First Manassas defeat. Pope's retreat to Centreville was nonetheless precipitous.Success in this battle emboldened Lee to initiate the ensuing Maryland Campaign.

Stonewall Jackson

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) served as a Confederate general (1861–1863) during the American Civil War, and became one of the best-known Confederate commanders after General Robert E. Lee. Jackson played a prominent role in nearly all military engagements in the Eastern Theater of the war until his death, and played a key role in winning many significant battles.

Born in what was then part of Virginia, Jackson received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848 and distinguished himself at Chapultepec (1847). From 1851 to 1863 he taught at the Virginia Military Institute, where he was unpopular with his students. During this time, he married twice. His first wife died, but his second, Mary Anna Morrison, outlived him by many years. When Virginia seceded from the Union in May 1861 after the attack on Fort Sumter (12 April 1861), Jackson joined the Confederate Army. He distinguished himself commanding a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run (21 July 1861) the following month, providing crucial reinforcements and beating back a fierce Union assault. In this context Barnard Elliott Bee Jr. compared him to a "stone wall", hence his enduring nickname.

Jackson performed well in the campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley during 1862. Despite an initial defeat due largely to faulty intelligence, through swift and careful maneuvers Jackson was able to defeat three separate Union armies and prevent any of them from reinforcing General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac in its campaign against Richmond. Jackson then quickly moved his three divisions to reinforce General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in defense of Richmond. His performance in the subsequent Seven Days Battles (June–July 1862) against George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac was poor, but did not inhibit Confederate victory in the battles. During the Northern Virginia Campaign that summer, Jackson's troops captured and destroyed an important supply depot for General John Pope's Army of Virginia, and then withstood repeated assaults from Pope's troops at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862. Jackson's troops played a prominent role in September's Maryland Campaign, capturing the town of Harpers Ferry, a strategic location, and providing a defense of the Confederate Army's left at Antietam on September 17, 1862. At Fredericksburg in December, Jackson's corps buckled but ultimately beat back an assault by the Union Army under Major General Ambrose Burnside.

In late April and early May 1863, faced with a larger Union army now commanded by Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville, Lee divided his force three ways. On May 2, Jackson took his 30,000 troops and launched a surprise attack against the Union right flank, driving the opposing troops back about two miles. That evening he was accidentally shot by Confederate pickets. The general survived but lost his left arm to amputation; weakened by his wounds, he died of pneumonia eight days later.

Military historians regard Jackson as one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history. His tactics are studied even today. His death proved a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and the general public. After Jackson's death, his military exploits developed a legendary quality, becoming an important element of the ideology of the "Lost Cause".

Troop engagements of the American Civil War, 1862

The following is a list of engagements that took place in 1862 during the American Civil War. During the summer and early spring of the year, Union forces gained several successes over the Confederacy, seizing control of Missouri, northern Arkansas, Kentucky, and western Tennessee, along with several coastal areas. Confederate forces defended the capital of Richmond, Virginia, from Union assaults, and then launched counter–offensives into Kentucky and Maryland, both of which end in Union victories.

XII Corps (Union Army)

The XII Corps (Twelfth Army Corps) was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The corps was formed by U.S. War Department General Order of March 13, 1862, under which the corps organization of the Army of the Potomac was first created. By that order, five different corps were constituted: one of which, composed of the divisions of Alpheus S. Williams and James Shields and commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, was designated as the V Corps. These divisions were then operating in the Shenandoah Valley. On June 26, President Abraham Lincoln ordered that "the troops of the Shenandoah Department, now under General Banks, shall constitute the Second Army Corps" of the Army of Virginia. On September 12, General Order 129, it was ordered that its designation be changed to that of the XII Corps, and that Maj. Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield be placed in command.

The XII Corps was small—only two divisions instead of the customary three—but was composed of excellent material. Among its regiments were the 2nd Massachusetts, 7th Ohio, 5th Connecticut, 13th New Jersey, 107th New York, 28th Pennsylvania, 46th Pennsylvania, 3rd Wisconsin, and others equally famous as crack regiments; all of them with household names in the communities from which they were recruited.

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