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Army of Northern Virginia
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Armies - Confederate
May 31, 1861 P. G. T. Beauregard ordered to assume command of the Alexandria Line Virginia
July 21, 1861 (First) Manassas (Confederate)
(First) Bull Run (Union)

About 25 miles southwest of Washington the first major battle of the Civil War pits Irvin McDowell [US] against P. G. T. Beauregard [CS] and Joe Johnston [CS].
Virginia
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  First Manassas - First Bull Run
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Irvin McDowell
  Joseph E. Johnston
  James Longstreet
  John B. Gordon
  Stonewall Jackson
  Richard Ewell
  Samuel Garland
  Ambrose Burnside
  Samuel Heintzelman
March 8, 1862 Joseph E. Johnston orders the Confederate Army of the Potomac to withdraw from Centerville/Manassas to the Rappahannock River based on reports from JEB Stuart of increased Yankee activity Virginia
  Joseph E. Johnston
  J. E. B. Stuart
April 12, 1862 Combining the Confederate Army of the Potomac with John Magruder's Army of the Peninsula and a large garrison at Norfolk, President Jefferson Davis creates the Army of Northern Virginia.
  Jefferson Davis
  Joseph E. Johnston
  Peninsula Campaign
  John Magruder
June 1, 1862 Jefferson Davis replaces wounded Army of Northern Virginia commander Joseph E. Johnston with Robert E. Lee
  Robert E. Lee
  Joseph E. Johnston
  Jefferson Davis
June 1, 1862 Robert E. Lee issue the first orders bearing the name Army of Northern Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
August 13, 1862 Robert E. Lee issues orders in preparation for the Army of Northern Virginia's movement north to engage John Pope's [US] Army of Virginia Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
August 17, 1862 J. E. B. Stuart assumes command of the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia
  J. E. B. Stuart
August 29, 1862
August 30, 1862
Second Manassas[CS]
Second Bull Run[US]

General John Pope [US] lost to General Robert E. Lee[CS]. General James Longstreet's [CS] 28,000 man assault on August 30 was the largest simultaneous assault of the war in this Confederate victory.

Union losses 13,830

Confederate losses 8,350

Also includes: Manassas Plains, Gainesville
Virginia
  James Longstreet
  Robert E. Lee
  Stonewall Jackson
  Second Manassas - Second Bull Run
  Fitz-John Porter
  Northern Virginia Campaign
  John Pope
  Gouverneur K. Warren
  John Reynolds
  Army of Virginia
  Joseph Hooker
  Samuel Heintzelman
September 5, 1862 Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia enters Maryland Maryland
  Robert E. Lee
  Antietam
September 6, 1862 Army of Northern Virginia enters Frederick Maryland
  Antietam
September 14, 1862 Battle of Turners Gap
Battle of Fox's Gap
Battle of South Mountain

Battle of Cramptons Gap

George McClellan reacts to finding Special Order No. 191 with attacks on the gaps in South Mountain, forcing Lee to reorganize at Sharpsburg
Maryland
  George McClellan
  Special Orders No. 191
  Antietam
  William B. Franklin
  Rutherford B. Hayes
September 17, 1862 Battle of Sharpsburg (Confederate)
Battle of Antietam (Union)
Army of the Potomac under McClellan [US] defeats the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee [CS], resulting in the bloodiest day in American history.

Union losses:12,401 men
2,108 dead
9,540 wounded
753 missing
Confederate losses:10, 406
1,546 dead
7,752 wounded
1,108 missing
Maryland
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Robert E. Lee
  George McClellan
  Stonewall Jackson
  Army of the Potomac
  George Meade
  Lafayette McLaws
  Antietam
  Edwin Vose Sumner
September 19, 1862
September 20, 1862
Skirmishes at Shepherdstown, Ashby's Gap, Williamsport, and Hagerstown, as Confederates under A. P. Hill covered the retreat of the Army of Northern Virginia from Sharpsburg. Lee would keep a heavy cavalry presence in the area until October. Maryland
Virginia
West Virginia
  Antietam
  A. P. Hill
December 13, 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg

General Ambrose Burnside and the Army of the Potomac is soundly beaten by Lee's Army of North Virginia.
  Army of the Potomac
  Robert E. Lee
  Ambrose Burnside
  Lafayette McLaws
  Fredericksburg
  William B. Franklin
  Edwin Vose Sumner
  Jubal Anderson Early
  John Reynolds
  Joseph Hooker
May 1, 1863
May 4, 1863
Battle of Chancellorsville

General "Fighting Joe" Hooker's Army of the Potomac is defeated by Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia as it crosses the Rappahannock on the way to Richmond

Union: 17,268

Confederate: 12,821
Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  Joseph Hooker
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Stonewall Jackson
  Army of the Potomac
  Lafayette McLaws
  Chancellorsville
  John Reynolds
  Darius Couch
  George Stoneman
May 25, 1863 Major General Dick Ewell's returns to the Army of Northern Virginia following the amputation of his leg after the battle of Groveton (Second Bull Run)
  Richard Ewell
May 30, 1863 Robert E. Lee completes the restructuring of the Army of Northern Virginia, creating three corps under James Longstreet, Dick Ewell and A. P. Hill.
  Robert E. Lee
  A. P. Hill
  James Longstreet
  Richard Ewell
  The Gettysburg Campaign
June 13, 1863
June 15, 1863
Battle of Winchester

Ordered to withdraw because of the approach of the Army of Northern Virginia, Major General Robert Milroy [US] tried to hold his position in Winchester. By afternoon on the 14th, he realized his mistake and decided to withdraw that evening. Dick Ewell [CS] ordered a division to camp north of the town to prevent such a move and Milroy found himself trapped. Confederates captured or killed the 6000 men in the city.
Virginia
  Richard Ewell
  The Gettysburg Campaign
July 1, 1863
July 3, 1863
Battle of Gettysburg

General Robert E. Lee [CS] advances into Pennsylvania where he meets George Meade [US]. First battling north of the city, by the second day Union forces had retreated south, forming a strong line as men arrived almost continuously. On the third day, the infamous Pickett's Charge marked the end of the Confederates hope for a victory

The bloodiest three days in American history
Pennsylvania
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Robert E. Lee
  John Bell Hood
  James Longstreet
  George Meade
  Army of the Potomac
  J. E. B. Stuart
  Lafayette McLaws
  Winfield Scott Hancock
  George Armstrong Custer
  Battle of Gettysburg
  Richard Ewell
  George Pickett
  John Reynolds
  The Gettysburg Campaign
  Early action at Herbst Woods
  James Archer
  George Armstrong Custer
  Jubal Anderson Early
August 2, 1863 Following Lee's retreat from Gettysburg, the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac establish lines with Virginia's Rappahannock River between them. Virginia
  Army of the Potomac
October 9, 1863 Robert E. Lee [CS] and the Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Rapidan in an attempt to outflank the Army of the Potomac. Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  Army of the Potomac
October 11, 1863 Heavy skirmishing breaks out across a wide front in Virginia as the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac clash between the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers. Virginia
  Army of the Potomac
May 5, 1864
May 7, 1864
Battle of the Wilderness

Ulysses S. Grant [US] is badly beaten on the field by Robert E. Lee [CS] but rather than retreat, Grant advances to Spotsylvania Court House.

Union: 17,666

Confederate: 7,750
Virginia
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Robert E. Lee
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Overland Campaign
  James Longstreet
  Winfield Scott Hancock
  A. P. Hill
  Richard Ewell
  Gouverneur K. Warren
  John Sedgwick
May 8, 1864
May 19, 1864
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

In an inconclusive battle, General Ulysses S. Grant [US] and Robert E. Lee [CS] battle for days southwest of Fredericksburg

Union 18,399
Confederate 9,000
Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Overland Campaign
  Richard Ewell
May 31, 1864
June 12, 1864
Battle of Cold Harbor

Robert E. Lee [CS] defeats General Ulysses S. Grant [US] and General George Meade [US]
Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  George Meade
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Gouverneur K. Warren
June 15, 1864
April 2, 1865
Siege of Petersburg Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Siege of Petersburg


Army of Northern Virginia

The earliest dispatches referring to this army called it simply "The Alexandria Line." The first name of the army was Army of the Potomac, but this was confusing because the Union Army in this area had the same name. Assigned to the Department of Northern Virginia under Joe Johnston's command, the name changed to the Army of Northern Virginia when Jefferson Davis combined the Army of the Potomac, The Army of the Peninsula and a garrison at Norfolk under Benjamin Huger on April 12, 1862. Johnston, however, continued to refer to his command as the Army of the Potomac. It was not until Robert E. Lee assumed command that the name appeared on orders.

It was called the Army of Northern Virginia until the end of The Civil War. Today, the Army is normally referred as the Army of Northern Virginia regardless of the time period. Three men commanded this army, P. G. T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee. G. W. Smith was in command for a single day, June 1, 1862, the second day of the Battle of Fair Oaks.

Links appearing on this page:

April 12
April, 1862
Battle of Fair Oaks
Benjamin Huger
Jefferson Davis
Joe Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
June 1
June, 1862
P. G. T. Beauregard
Robert E. Lee
The Civil War

Civil War Encyclopedia >> Armies - Confederate

Army of Northern Virginia was last changed on - May 17, 2007
Army of Northern Virginia was added in 2005




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