Late in May heavy rains swelled the Chickahominy so that communication between the two wings of McClellan's army became precarious. On May 31, Johnston moved against the left wing (on the south side of the river), where the lines extended to Fair Oaks, a railroad station c.6 mi (9 km) east of Richmond. In the ensuing battle of Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines (May 31–June 1, 1862), the Confederate attack, led by James Longstreet, was badly executed. With the help of some divisions of the 2d corps, which managed to cross the river, the Union left wing held its ground. Johnston, severely wounded on May 31, was succeeded on June 1 by Gen. Robert E. Lee, who withdrew the Army of Northern Virginia to Richmond. Lee's subsequent counteroffensive in the Seven Days battles led to McClellan's withdrawal and the close of the campaign. Union forces did not again come so close to Richmond until 1864.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.