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The Army of the Potomac

In July 1861 the untrained Union Army of the Potomac suffered disaster at Manassas (Bull Run) in the first attempt to drive into Virginia and capture Richmond. President Abraham Lincoln then appointed Gen. George B. McClellan the new commander of the demoralized army. McClellan reported: "I found no army to command * * * just a mere collection of regiments cowering on the banks of the Potomac."

To this chaotic situation he brought order and discipline. During the long winter months, the raw recruits were marshalled and drilled into an efficient fighting machine of over 100,000 men—the largest army ever commanded by one man in the history of the western hemisphere. By the spring of 1862 this army was ready for the supreme test—the goal was Richmond.

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Last Modified: Mon, Mar 4 2002 10:00:00 pm PDT

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