Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




This study examines Confederate military operations in Virginia from February 17-May 31, 1862, focusing specifically on the role of Joseph E. Johnston as commander of the Department of Northern Virginia. It includes a detailed consideration of Confederate grand strategy, Johnston's withdrawal from the Potomac River, the redeployment of the army to Yorktown, the siege of Yorktown, and the Battles of Williamsburg and Seven Pines.;In February, 1862, following the surrender of Fort Donelson, President Jefferson Davis reoriented strategy in Virginia from a defense of the frontiers to a closer defense of Richmond; he also recalled General Robert E. Lee from South Carolina to coordinate that defense. But the strategic concepts of Davis, Lee, and Joseph Johnston (the senior field commander in Virginia) often differed a great deal, leading to confrontation and discord.;This study concentrates on following Johnston's point of view during the campaign, especially on his role as a field army commander. The conclusion suggests that Johnston was a superior strategist, administrator, and operational commander, but suffered from serious deficiencies as in tactical supervision of his own subordinates and an inability to deal tactfully with his superiors.



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