Army of Northern Virginia, army of legend,
Who were your captains that you could trust them so surely?
Who were your battle-flags?
Call the shapes from the mist,
Call the dead men out of the mist and watch them ride
Army of Northern Virginia by Stephen Vincent Benet
It's June 1, 1862. Gen Robert E. Lee's pen hovers over the document that
accepts his position as Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia... thoughts race
through his mind.
Since Lincoln issued the proclamation of war against the Confederate states,
Virginia and the rest of the border states were in a whirlwind of activity calling state
militias to arms for their defense. Lee himself was appointed Maj General of Virginia's
military forces by the new CSA's government.
The Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) didn't start out with that name, it was
originally the Confederate Army of the Potomac with PGT Beauregard in command from
June to July of 1861. In July, Beauregard gave up the leadership to Joe Johnston.
Throughout the rest of the year, units from other armies joined and merged, such as the
Army of the Shenandoah, the Army of the Northwest (northwestern Virginia.) and the
Army of the Peninsula. In March of 1862, the Army is renamed Army of Northern
Virginia, most likely because that was the name of its parent government department, but
it was also the place where most of its battles were fought. Regiments from all over the
south flock to join it, places like Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and even as far away as New
Mexico and Arizona.
Richmond is under threat, the huge northern Army of the Potomac approaches
Maj. Gen. Lee is in that city to help organize and keep order. He issues orders to
dig trenches while
Joe Johnston contends with McClellan on the outskirts of Richmond. This earns
Maj. Gen Lee the humiliating title "King of Spades".
When Gen Johnston is wounded at the battle of 7 Pines, President Jefferson
Davis drafts the orders...
The call to defend his home state is too loud for him to ignore. He puts pen to
paper to write his acceptance letter and begins the long road home from Richmond to