Battle of Seven Pines–Fair Oaks
Freshly dug graves, in the foreground, are visible behind a pair of old frame houses in Fair Oaks, Virginia. More than four hundred soldiers were buried here after the Battle of Seven Pines–Fair Oaks which took place from May 31 to June 1, 1862, during the Civil War. The battle was an attempt by forces under Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston to prevent the Union Army of the Potomac under George B. McClellan from reaching the outskirts of Richmond. As a result of poor coordination, communications failure, and a confused command structure, the battle ended in a stalemate, with heavy casualties for both sides—approximately 5,000 for the Union and 6,100 for the Confederates. During the fighting on May 31 Johnston was severely wounded, first by a musket ball in the shoulder and then by artillery shell fragments in the chest. Confederate president Jefferson Davis took the opportunity to place his military advisor, General Robert E. Lee, in command of the Confederate army, a position he would retain for the remainder of the war.