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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

June 01, 1862

Robert E. Lee Placed in Command of Army of Northern Virginia

Robert E. Lee was named commander of the Confederate army in Virginia after Joseph E. Johnston was injured at the Battle of Seven Pines. The battle ended on this day when Lee ordered a halt to the attack. He renamed the army the Army of Northern Virginia.

His opponent, George McClellan, when he heard the news of Lee being placed in command, made one of the worst observations in history: “I prefer Lee to Johnston. The former is too cautious and weak under grave responsibility – personally brave and energetic to a fault, he yet is wanting in moral firmness when pressed by heavy responsibility and is likely to be timid and irresolute in action.”