Pamunkey River Project
Historical Background


Documenting Hull #1

Early in the Civil War, in the Spring of 1862, General George B. McClellan began moving his Union Army of the Potomac up the York and James rivers in an offensive known as the Peninsula Campaign designed to attack and take Richmond from the south.

McClellan used a stretch of the Pamunkey River as a staging area.   He assembled a fleet of barges, canal boats, schooners, and other vessels for use as transports.   It was a busy riverfront at one point.

White House Landing

But the offensive bogged down and the Pamunkey depot was abandoned.

Retreat from White House Landing

Union Retreat from the Pamunkey River

Later in the war, in 1864, Ulysses S. Grant passed though the area during his campaign on Cold Harbor, although his presence was not as extensive as McClellan’s.

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