The Creek Runs
June 26, 1862
On this ground raged the heaviest fighting of
the battle of Beaver Dam Creek. Fourteen
Union cannon on the ridge beyond the creek
blasted Dorsey Pender's and Roswell Ripley's
Confederates as they charged across the fields
behind you. Federal infantry --- Pennsylvanians
shielded by earthworks and a mill race --- ravaged
the gray lines with bullets as they waded into
the waist-deep stream. "To take the works,"
wrote a Southern officer, "was impossible."
Confederate attacks along a two-mile front
failed to dislodge the Federals from behind
Beaver Dam Creek; instead, one Confederate
said, the bottomland turned into a "valley of
death." McClellan rightly claimed Union victory,
but still he ordered Fitz John Porter's troops to
withdraw. The next morning the Federals dug
in around Gaines' Mill, five miles to the east.
Lee's Confederates would follow, bringing on
the bloodiest battle of the campaign.
Casualties: Confederate 1,481. Union, 361.