Battle of Malvern Hill: Casualties and Summary

The Battle of Malvern Hill was the sixth day and the last day of the infamous Seven Day’s Battles. Also known as the Battle of Poindexter’s Farm, it had an involvement of more than 50,000 soldiers. On the 1st of July 1862, the Confederates that were retreating finally took a halt at the James River. The Federals, confident about their strength, invited for an attack from the Confederates. The repeated attacks of the Confederates started from June 25, 1862. Bewildered by the attacks of the Confederates, McClellan retreated to a secure base where he would get the support of the US Navy.

Leaders involved in the battle

Abraham Lincoln, George B. McClellan and Fitz John Porter were the leaders involved from the Union’s side. Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were holding the high ranks of the Confederates.

The combat

McClellan was planning huge as he began the Peninsula Campaign. He sailed around his rebels and landed on the top of the peninsula. A fierce battle developed and the plan of McClellan was highly successful. Confederates fended off the repeated attempts of McClellan to take over the city. The commander in chief of the Confederates was wounded and in his place Lee took the command and very soon initiated a chain of counterattacks. All these fights were collectively named as the Seven Days Battles.

battle-of-malvern-hill

On the 30th of June, Fitz John Porter held the position on top of the hill as a preparation for the battle. But, the final combat started on the following day. During the commencement of battle McClellan was not present as he had already sailed downriver. There were several mishaps that the Confederates had to face in this battle. They had to deal with bad maps as well as faulty guides, which made John Magruger, the Confederate General, arrive late for the battle. Even other Confederates were too cautious, which led to a delay in collecting the artillery of the Confederates. However, irrespective of all these problems, the Confederates were the ones who had struck first. The left flank of the Confederates’ artillery started firing upon the Federal’s line and in return the Federals also kept on counterattacking.

In this Battle of Malvern Hill, McClellan was highly criticized for being absent on the battle field. It not only affected him back then, but also during the Presidential election where he was running for the post. The Malvern Hill action brought an end to the peninsula campaign. Harrison’s Landing was the destination where McClellan forces were staying till the 16th of August. In order to prepare for the next operation, Lee retreated to Richmond.

Outcome and casualties

Both, the Union and the Confederates, had almost the same number of soldiers on either side. Around 54,000 to 80,000 soldiers were present on the Union’s side and about 55,000 to 80,000 soldiers were fighting on behalf of the Confederates. The outcome was in favor of the Union, but the casualties were high on both the sides. The Confederates recorded a casualty of 5,355 whereas the Union lost 3,214 soldiers.