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Army of the Potomac
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Armies - Union
July 22, 1861 George B. McClellan [US] ordered to Washington to take command of the Army of the Potomac following the defeat at Bull Run
  George McClellan
  Army of the Ohio
  Washington D. C.
July 26, 1861 George McClellan appointed commander, Army of the Potomac, replacing Irvin McDowell. Some sources give the date as July 27, the day he received the orders
  George McClellan
  Irvin McDowell
August 15, 1861 General George McClellan assumes command of the Army of the Potomac
  George McClellan
March 11, 1862 President Lincoln relieves George McClellan as General-in-Chief of the U. S. Army. He continues as commander of the Army of the Potomac
  General-in-Chief, U. S. Army
  George McClellan
  Abraham Lincoln
September 2, 1862 General John Pope is replaced by Ambrose Burnside, following the disaster at Second Bull Run, combining the Army of Virginia with the Army of the Potomac under George McClellan
  George McClellan
  John Pope
  Antietam
  Army of Virginia
  Ambrose Burnside
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 Northern Virginia
  George Meade
  Lafayette McLaws
  Antietam
  Edwin Vose Sumner
November 7, 1862 Ambrose E. Burnside assumes command of the Army of the Potomac, relieving George B. McClellan
  George McClellan
  Ambrose Burnside
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 Northern Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  Ambrose Burnside
  Lafayette McLaws
  Fredericksburg
  William B. Franklin
  Edwin Vose Sumner
  Jubal Anderson Early
  John Reynolds
  Joseph Hooker
January 25, 1863 Abraham Lincoln relieves General Ambrose Burnside [US} from command of the Army of the Potomac, replacing him with General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker.
  Joseph Hooker
  Abraham Lincoln
  Ambrose Burnside
February 5, 1863 General Joseph Hooker reorganizes the Army of the Potomac appointing J. F. Reynolds, Darius Couch, Dan Sickles, George Meade, John Sedgwick, W. F. Smith, Franz Sigel and Henry Slocum in command of individual corps. George Stoneman is named his cavalry chief. Smith's Ninth Corps is assigned to Newport News to increase pressure on Richmond
  Joseph Hooker
  George Meade
  William Farrar Smith
  John Sedgwick
April 30, 1863 Army of the Potomac forces set up camp in The Wilderness surrounding the Chancellor family home after crossing the Rappahannock River Virginia
  Chancellorsville
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 Northern Virginia
  Lafayette McLaws
  Chancellorsville
  John Reynolds
  Darius Couch
  George Stoneman
June 28, 1863 George Meade [US] assumes command of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Joe Hooker.
  George Meade
  Battle of Gettysburg
  Joseph Hooker
  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 Northern Virginia
  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 Northern Virginia
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 Northern Virginia
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 Northern Virginia
March 12, 1864 Three days after it happened, the order making Lieutenant General Grant general-in-chief is announced. General Henry Halleck is relieved of duty at his own request.
  Henry Halleck
  General-in-Chief, U. S. Army
  Ulysses S. Grant
March 23, 1864 Some congressmen request George Meade be removed as commander of the Army of the Potomac
  George Meade
May 4, 1864 The final Spring Campaign of the Civil War began as the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River in Virginia and three smaller armys (Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland) pushed deeper into Georgia. Georgia
Virginia
  Army of the Cumberland
  Army of the Tennessee
  Army of the Ohio
June 12, 1864 Finally admitting defeat at Cold Harbor, Ulysses S. Grant begins crossing the James River Virginia
  Ulysses S. Grant
May 23, 1865 Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac


From its beginning as the Army of Northeastern Virginia, The Union Army of the Potomac was the largest of all armies engaged in The Civil War. At the Battle of Bull Run more than 30,000 men were ready for duty under the command of Irvin McDowell. Slightly less that four years later, at the Surrender at Appomattox more than 125,000 men were under the command of George Meade. In between, Generals George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker also served as its commander.

The opposing Confederate Army, known as the Alexandria Line, The (Confederate) Army of the Potomac, and finally the Army of Northern Virginia never totalled more than 85,000 men. Except for Lee's advance into Maryland in September, 1862 and into Pennsylvania in June, 1863, the two armies fought exclusively in Virginia.

Following the defeat at Bull Run, George McClellan was summoned from western Virginia (present day West Virginia and given command of the Army, although Winfield Scott was still General-in-Chief, U. S. Army. That would change following the disaster at Ball's Bluff. With McClellan in command he worked on preparing his men for battle. Leaving Irvin McDowell and his corps to protect Washington D. C., McClellan moved most of the remaining troops to Virginia's lower peninsula.

After advancing to the outskirts of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign against Joe Johnston, the Army of the Potomac withdrew in the Seven Days Retreat. When the army withdrew to the Potomac River, some corps were reassigned to John Pope's Army of Virginia. Lincoln and Stanton never told McClellan of the change and left him guessing his role for two weeks. Following a major defeat at Second Bull Run the Army of Virginia was incorporated into the Army of the Potomac and command return to McClellan.



Links appearing on this page:

Ambrose Burnside
Army of Northern Virginia
Ball's Bluff
Battle of Bull Run
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army
George McClellan
George Meade
Irvin McDowell
Joe Johnston
Joseph Hooker
June, 1863
Maryland
Peninsula Campaign
Pennsylvania
Second Bull Run
September, 1862
Seven Days Retreat
Surrender at Appomattox
The Civil War
Virginia
West Virginia
Winfield Scott

Civil War Encyclopedia >> Armies - Union

Army of the Potomac was last changed on - February 5, 2007
Army of the Potomac was added in 2005




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