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The Peninsula Campaign March-May, 1862

February 19-23, 2019

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

Seven Pines, Va. Twin houses on battlefield, with 32-pdr. field

Seven Pines, Va. Twin houses on battlefield, with 32-pdr. field howitzer in foreground
Civil war photographs, 1861-1865, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

From the start of the rebellion, perhaps no place held more intrinsic strategic value than the Virginia Peninsula. With the deep-water rivers of James and York pointing like daggers at the new-born Confederacy’s capital city of Richmond, the defense of the Virginia Peninsula was paramount in maintaining an independent Confederacy. Absent a navy, the Confederacy needed the ship-building capacity of the Gosport Naval Shipyard. And while the Confederacy had seized the shipyard, they had failed to subdue the nearby Federal Fort Monroe. Here, intrigues would play out until the federals moved to the peninsula and began their march inland in March 1862. This program will cover the campaign through the Battle of Seven Pines and will include Dam #1, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Eltham’s Landing, and Seven Pines.



Len Riedel is the Executive Director of the Virginia-based nonprofit, Blue and Gray Education Society. He is a transplanted Virginian who was raised in Norfolk, went to school at both VMI and Old Dominion University, and wrote his master’s thesis on the Defense of the Virginia Peninsula. The editor of the National Geographic’s best-selling guide, The Civil War, A Traveler’s Guide, he has lived 43 of his 65 years in Virginia.