Confederate General Joseph Eggleston Johnston was criticized by Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a lack of aggressiveness. He was the senior commander at the First Battle of Manassas, and was defending the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia in 1862 against a superior number of Union troops commanded by Major General George B McClellan. Facing greater numbers Johnson wanted to concentrate his force in fortifications around Richmond, but was overruled by Davis. First he prepared for a siege at Yorktown, but then withdrew to Williamsburg where he fought a battle on May 5th 1862. On May 7th 1862 Johnson’s men turned back an amphibious attack at Eltham’s Landing. Each movement however placed Johnson’s army closer to Richmond, until he was only about six mile away.
A part of the Peninsula Campaign, at the Battle of Seven Pines Johnson was operating on the offensive. Seeing that McClellan’s army was divided by the flooded Chickahominy River, he attacked on May 31st 1862. The battle was a tactical draw, but it halted McClellan’s advance. Johnson was wounded about dusk, in the right shoulder and chest by an artillery shell. He was evacuated to Richmond, Virginia. That day, June 1st 1862 the command of the Army of Northern Virginia was turned over to his West Point classmate Robert E Lee.