Tuesday, July 1, 1862
The Seven Days Battles ended with a Confederate attack at Malvern Hill, the current position of the Union army in their retreat to Harrison’s Landing. The high ground at Malvern Hill afforded the Union army the advantage in the ensuing fight.
General Robert E. Lee planned a frontal assault on the Union line led by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, with attacks by Generals John Magruder and Benjamin Huger in support. Generals James Longstreet and A.P. Hill, who had been heavily engaged in the previous day’s fight at Glendale, were held in reserve.
Lee’s battle plans were poorly executed again, and the forces of Jackson, Magruder, and Huger were ordered to await the Confederate artillery barrage before attacking. The Union artillery commander, Colonel Henry Hunt, attacked first, disabling most of the Confederate artillery. Regardless of this setback, Lee ordered his infantry units to attack. By nightfall the Confederate attacks had been repulsed with heavy losses on both sides, but the Confederates suffered nearly two-to-one in casualties compared to the Union forces.
The Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment was not engaged at Malvern Hill.1
1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 132-136. Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 152.