The war in the East. The first major engagement of the war was a disaster for the North. At the First Battle of Bull Run in Virginia, thirty thousand Union troops were routed by a smaller Confederate force as politicians and their families from Washington picnicked on the hills above the battlefield. The defeat prompted Lincoln to put General George McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan spent the next nine months transforming his men into welltrained and disciplined soldiers but then seemed reluctant to let them fight. The army suffered another defeat when it finally did go into the field during the Peninsula Campaign (March–July 1862), an attempt to take Richmond by sea. In September, the South went on the offensive. The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee moved into Maryland and met the Union troops at the Battle of Antietam. The bloodiest
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