McClellan’s Camp At Cumberland Landing

In May 1862, during the Peninsula Campaign, the Union Army of the Potomac under Major General George B. McClellan advanced up the Pamunkey River toward Richmond, while Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s army moved to defend the city. Cumberland Landing, just northeast of here, served as McClellan’s headquarters and supply depot from 13 to 16 May. Nearly 110,000 troops, possibly the largest American army assembled to date, camped nearby. James F. Gibson, a pioneer in Civil War photojournalism, captured striking images of the sprawling tent city, ships on the river, and formerly enslaved African Americans called “contrabands.”