Top Menu

The Federals Meet Robert E. Lee: The Battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill

February 24, 2019

A 2019 BGES Day of History Program

Chickahominy River, Va. Bridge on Mechanicsville road
Courtesy Library of Congress

The ascendance of Robert E. Lee to command the Army of Northern Virginia in June 1862 redefined the war and quickly placed Lee in the pantheon of great generals. This quick program analyzes the essence of Lee’s plan to turn the Federal army out of its position along the Chickahominy River and destroy a portion of that army, while sending the remainder fleeing from the outskirts of Richmond to be destroyed before help could arrive. It was an audacious plan with Lee mustering more men on the battlefield at Gaines Mill than on any other battlefield of the war.



A historian, award-winning author, and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research, Robert M. Dunkerly holds a degree in History from St. Vincent College and a Master’s in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University. He has worked at nine historic sites and written seven books and over 20 articles. His research includes archaeology, colonial life, military history, and historic commemoration. Robert is currently a Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park. He has visited over 400 battlefields and over 700 historic sites worldwide.