Harris, Public Information Officer, 804-365-6402
140th Anniversary Of Seven Days Battles
When the great armies of North and South met in Hanover County
in the summer of 1862, they encountered places familiar to today's
Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Valley left Ashland and moved down
Ashcake Road, passing Slash Church. A turn south to Pole Green Church
Road brought him near Mechanicsville, ultimately to join Gen. Robert
E. Lee's forces moving along the Mechanicsville Turnpike to attack
the Union army at Beaver Dam Creek.
At that time, Mechanicsville was "a modest crossroads village
of half a dozen shops and stables and two blacksmiths and an equal
number of houses," according to historian Stephen W. Sears.
"In a grove of oaks nearby was a beer garden where in better
times Richmonders enjoyed bucolic outings."
What happened between June 26 and July 2 was hardly bucolic. The
Battle of Mechanicsville began what is now famous as the Seven Days
Battles, the first two of which were fought in Hanover County.
On June 27, 1862, Lee achieved his first battlefield victory when
his troops broke through the Union lines at Gaines Mill. Only nightfall
saved the Fifth Corps of the Union army from destruction.
Parts of the Beaver Dam Creek and Gaines Mill battlefields have
been preserved and are maintained by the Richmond National Battlefield