After a year of fighting, armies on both sides of the American Civil War had abandoned their early optimism regarding a swift conclusion. Beset by military and political pressures, General George B. McClellan committed his Army of the Potomac to the Peninsula Campaign, with the ultimate goal of capturing Richmond and destroying the surrounding Confederates. Hampered by Lincoln's demand for troops to protect Washington, a limited Union Army engaged Confederate forces in a series of engagements in and around the community of Hanover Court House, Virginia, eventually forcing a Confederate retreat but missing the critical opportunity to press on and capture Richmond. It was an opportunity that would never come again, leading to three more years of protracted conflict, the rise of Robert E. Lee as Confederate commander, and a missed chance that haunted McClellan for the rest of his life. Researched from official reports as well as contemporary accounts, this is the first detailed look at the battle most widely known as Hanover Court House and Slash Church. The opening chapters set the stage for this crucial battle and outline the events that led up to May 27, 1862, and the high tide of the Peninsula Campaign. The book's main focus is the series of battles that took place between the forces of Union V Corps commander Fitz John Porter and Confederate general Lawrence O'Bryan Branch. Photographs of the battle's central participants are included, along with appendices featuring the official reports of commanders and lists of casualties from both sides.