Today's landscape makes it difficult to appreciate the many strengths of the Union position. The charging Confederates faced more obstacles than they could overcome: open fields, steep slopes, a broad and swampy creek, Union infantry using a millrace for protection, and powerfully positioned Union artillery crowning the ridge. These circumstances help explain how the Confederates lost 1,500 men here, the Federals only 350.
Despite the decisive victory here, army commander George B. McClellan decided to withdraw this exposed portion of his force on the night of June 26. Stonewall Jackson's Confederates stood poised to threaten the rear of this Beaver Dam Creek position. The first phase of the Confederate plan to drive the Union army away from Richmond by manueuver had succeeded, but only after a battlefield defeat.
"We were deployed at intervals of eight or ten paces, along the [mill]race?.A brigade of rebels in close column charged madly down the opposite hillside?.Rushing unhesitatingly across the narrow valley that intervened?they were about to ascend our hill, when one of our regiments?which lay concealed in a position near the base, arose and poured such a murderous volley into the rebel ranks that they broke and fled in dismay."
A. F. Hill, 8th Pennsylvania Reserves