The May 31-June 1, 1862 fighting was a result of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston moving to defend Richmond, Va. from Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac.
Johnston’s attempt went sour from the outset, starting late and with only a fraction of the intended troops involved.
Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill’s division managed to push back McClellan’s IV Corps to there secondary defensive line at Seven Pines.
Hill, with reinforcements, pushed the Union units farther back.
On the night of May 31, Johnson took a bullet in the shoulder and shrapnel in the chest and was replaced by Lee, who renewed the attack on June 1.
Lee was unable to dislodge the Union troops from their positions but successful in blocking their advance on Richmond.
Each side lost about 1,000 killed among the 40,000 each army deployed. Confederate wounded numbered almost 5,000 and Union wounded were about 3,600.
The carnage sapped McClellan’s enthusiasm for battle and the successful block of the Union advance fueled Lee’s reputation.