United States Armies in the East


The Army of Virginia was created to coordinate the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and in the northern part of Virginia that protected Washington and confronted Confederate Major General Thomas Jackson. The army combined three existing departments and troops from a fourth into three corps with a total strength of over 50,000 men.

The forces that went into the Army of Virginia included:
– The Mountain Department under General John C. Freemont (who resigned his commission in protest)
– The Department of the Rappahannock under Major General Irvin McDowell
– The Department of the Shenandoah under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks
– The brigade of Brgadier General Samuel Sturgis from the Military District of Washington

Union Major General John Pope

Major General John Pope

Monthly Organization of the Army of Virginia

June 1862 • July 1862 • August 1862 • September 1862

Timeline of the Army of Virginia in 1862

June 26 The Army of Virginia under Major General John Pope was created through General Orders Number 103
August 9 Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Army of Virginia’s Second Corps under Major General Nathaniel Banks attacked 24,000 Confederates under Major General Thomas J. Jackson and was defeated after initial success.

August 28 & 29 Second Battle of Bull Run

Pope was lured into a trap by Jackson and badly defeated in a combined assault by Jackson and Longstreet as Lee brought the remainder of his army north from Richmond. Reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac were moved from the Virginia peninsula but did not merge well with Pope, leading to the court martial and eventual dismissal of Union General Fitz John Porter.

September 1 Battle of Chantilly, also known as Ox Hill

Pope, reinforced by three corps from the Army of the Potomac, fought off an attempt by Jackson to flank him and get between the Army of Virginia and the safety of the Washington defences. Jackson’s attempt was stopped, but at the cost of two Union generals. Pope retreated to safety, giving Lee the freedom to begin the Maryland Campaign.

September 12 The department was abolished. Its three corps joined the Army of the Potomac as the First, Eleventh and Twelfth Army Corps. Major General John Pope was exiled to the the Department of the Northwest in Minnesota, where he fought the Sioux in the Dakota War.