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The Battle of Malvern Hill was the last of the Seven Days’ Battles.  The Seven Days’ Battles were a series of battles that took place during the summer of 1862.  The Confederates, under General Robert E. Lee, were trying to drive the Union troops, under George McClellan, away from Richmond.  It was also Lee’s hope to defeat them before they reached the protection of the gunboats waiting in the James River.  On this last day of the battle, July 1, 1862, the Union had almost retreated to the safety of the James River.  They occupied the top of a hill called Malvern Hill.  In order to attack them, the Confederates had to run uphill across an open field.  The Union cannons were able to shoot most of the advancing Confederates before they got close enough to use their guns. But a few brave Confederates avoided the deadly explosions long enough to kill or wound 3,214 Union soldiers. Nevertheless, the Confederates suffered 5,355 casualties and lost the battle without making any gains.  One of the Confederate generals in the battle, DH Hill later wrote, “It wasn’t war.  It was murder.” In the end, McClellan and his Union troops made it to the James River and sailed away.  Lee and McClellan would meet again a few months later at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, the bloodiest battle in American history.

Updated 9/4/2011