Confederate Armies & Departments in the Eastern Theater

< to April • May 1862to June >

The Army of Northern Virginia, formerly the Confederate Army of the Potomac under the command of General Joseph Johnston, fell back from its defensive positions at Yorktown. They fought a battle with the pursuing Federals at Williamsburg on May 5. Heavy rains slowed operations to a crawl and Johnston moved into defensive lines close to Richmond. But the flooded rivers offer opportunity as McClellan’s army was almost split in half by the flooded Chickahominy River. Johnston launched the Battle of Seven Pines o May 31 but was badly wounded by artillery.

The Army of the Valley District under Major General Thomas Jackson fought the Battle of McDowell on May 8. He was reinforced by Major General Richard Ewell’s Division. He then marched around Massanutton Mountain and surprised Banks by coming down the Luray Valley, overwhelming the union garrison at Front Royal on May 23. Banks was forced to retreat from his position outside Strasburg, was beaten in a sharp fight at Winchester on May 25, and retreated to the Potomac, closely followed by Jackson.
The Department of Norfolk under the command of Major General Benjamin Huger began evacuaing troops to Petersburg on May 1, leading to the destruction of the C.S.S. Virginia and the Federal occupation of Norfolk for the rest of the war. Huger’s troops would become Huger’s Division of the Army of Northern Virginia.