Meeting of August 25, 2012

Hal Jespersen on the “Seven Days Battles”


Seven Days Battles

In the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan landed his Army of the Potomac at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and slowly advanced up the Virginia Peninsula in an attempt to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. At the indecisive Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), the Confederate commander, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was severely wounded and soon replaced with Gen. Robert E. Lee. In late June, Lee launched a series of attacks against McClellan that have come to be known as the Seven Days Battles, including the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines’s Mill, Glendale, Malvern Hill, and a few other (comparatively) minor engagements. Some historians describe the Seven Days as a campaign, others as a lengthy battle with daily engagements. If you subscribe to the latter view, the Seven Days ranks behind Gettysburg as the second bloodiest battle of the war, with approximately 36,000 casualties. Hal gave a brief overview of the initial movements and battles in the Peninsula Campaign, and then described each of the Seven Days in detail. He discussed the strategic importance of the campaign and gave his opinions on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the two opposing commanders.

man presenting on a patio

Picnic 2012

Hal Jespersen is the webmaster for the South Bay Civil War Round Table. He is a retired software industry executive and engineer who is currently busy as a freelance cartographer. You can visit his Civil War mapping website at, and his Civil War travelogues at

The Dorothy Miller Civil War Memorabilia Collection

Dorothy Miller was an avid collector of Civil War Memorabilia, ranging from documents and signatures (J. Davis, Halleck, McClellan, Sherman, etc.) to rare surgical tools (tooth extractor, bleeder), and personal items of Civil War soldiers (tobacco tin, photograph album, personal mirrors, etc.). The Collection also includes dozens of ribbons and pins from Union and Confederate Reunions dating back to 1895 as well as dozens of Civil War collector books, some signed, first editions. This collection has been donated to the South Bay Civil War Round Table and was on display.

Meeting Minutes August 2012