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Robert E. Lee is appointed field commander of the Army of Northern Virginia

Robert Edward Lee, Brady image, circa 1865, detail
06/02/1862
Around sunset on the first day of the two day battle at Fair Oaks, Virginia, General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Confederate army defending Richmond in the engagement, had been badly wounded on the battlefield.  General G.W. Smith took command for the rest of the battle but the day after the fighting Confederate president Jefferson Davis made the momentous decision appointed his military advisor Robert E. Lee as field commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.  (By John Osborne)  
Source Citation: 
Alexander S. Webb, The Peninsula: McClellan's Campaign of 1862 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1881), 115. 

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