The Battle of Garnett's and Golding's Farms took place June 27–28, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Seven Days Battles (Peninsula Campaign) of the American Civil War. While battle raged north of the Chickahominy River at Gaines's Mill on June 27, Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Magruder conducted a reconnaissance in force that developed into a minor attack against the Union line south of the river at Garnett's Farm. The Confederates attacked again near Golding's Farm on the morning of June 28 but were easily repulsed. These "fixing" actions heightened the fear in the Union high command that an all-out attack would be launched against them south of the river.
The Seven Days Battles began with a Union attack in the minor Battle of Oak Grove on June 25, 1862, but Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan and his Army of the Potomac quickly lost the initiative as Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia began a series of attacks at Beaver Dam Creek on June 26 and Gaines's Mill on June 27. The Army of the Potomac began its retreat toward the James River.
Lee's cavalry reported that Union troops had abandoned their defense of the Richmond and York River Railroad and the White House supply depot on the York River. That information, plus the sighting of large dust clouds south of the Chickahominy River, convinced Lee that McClellan was heading for the James.
While Lee's main attack at Gaines' Mill was progressing on June 27, the Confederates south of the Chickahominy performed a reconnaissance in force to determine the location of McClellan's retreating army. Brig. Gen. John B. Magruder, who up to this time had engaged the Union forces on the Peninsula primarily with theatrical diversions, ordered Brig. Gen. Robert A. Toombs's brigade forward to "feel the enemy." Toombs, a Georgia politician with a disdain for professional officers, instead launched a sharp attack at dusk against Brig. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith's VI Corps division near Old Tavern at the farm of James M. Garnett. The attack was easily repulsed by the brigade of Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, inflicting 271 casualties among the Georgians.
On June 28, Toombs again was ordered to conduct a reconnaissance, but turned it into an attack over the same ground, meeting the enemy at the farm of Simon Gouldin (also known as Golding). Toombs took it upon himself to order his fellow brigade commander, Brig. Gen. George T. Anderson, to join the assault. Two of Anderson's regiments, the 7th and 8th Georgia, preceded Toombs's brigade into the assault and were subjected to a vigorous Federal counterattack by the 49th Pennsylvania and 43rd New York, losing 156 men.
Union casualties were 189, Confederate 438. These were the only attacks south of the Chickahominy River in conjunction with Gaines's Mill, but they helped to convince McClellan that he was being subjected to attacks from all directions, increasing his anxiety and his determination to get his army to safety at the James. Lee's pursuit of the main bulk of McClellan's army continued on June 29 at the Battle of Savage's Station.
- Kennedy, p. 97; Salmon, p. 109.
- Salmon, p. 64.
- Salmon, p. 107.
- Sears, pp. 247, 258; Salmon, p. 108.
- Sears, pp. 258–59; Salmon, p. 108.
- Salmon, p. 108.
- Kennedy, Frances H., ed. The Civil War Battlefield Guide. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998. ISBN 0-395-74012-6.
- Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8117-2868-4.
- Sears, Stephen W. To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1992. ISBN 0-89919-790-6.
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