Civil War – Battles of Manassas / Bull Run

Manassas / Bull Run campaigns and battles

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1st Manassas
Battle Other name
Location
Date
USA CSA
Casualties
Results
Hoke’s Run Falling Waters, Hainesville Berkeley County, VA July 2, 1861 Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson US 23; CS 91
Blackburn’s Ford Bull Run Prince William County and Fairfax County, VA July 18, 1861 Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard US 83; CS 68 Confederate victory
1st Manassas First Bull Run Prince William County and Fairfax County, VA July 21, 1861 Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard & Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston 4,700 total (US 2,950; CS 1,750) Confederate victory
2nd Manassas
Battle Other name
Location
Date
USA CSA
Casualties
Result
Cedar Mountain Slaughter’s Mountain, Cedar Run Culpeper County , VA August 9, 1862 Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson US 1,400; CS 1,307 Confederate victory
Rappahannock Station Waterloo Bridge, White Sulphur Springs, Lee Springs, Freeman’s Ford Culpeper County and Fauquier County, VA August 22-25, 1862 Maj. Gen. John Pope Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson 225 total Inconclusive
Manassas Station Operations Bristoe Station, Kettle Run, Bull Run Bridge, Union Mills Prince William County , VA August 25-27,1862 Brig. Gen. G.W. Taylor Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson 1100 total Confederate victory
Thoroughfare Gap Chapman’s Mill Fauquier County and Prince William County, VA August 28, 1862 Brig. Gen. James Ricketts Lt. Gen. James Longstreet 100 total Confederate victory
2nd Manassas Second Bull Run, Manassas Plains, Groveton, Gainesville, Brawner’s Farm Prince William County , VA August 28-30, 1862 Maj. Gen. John Pope Gen. Robert E. Lee and Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson US 13,830; CS 8,350 Confederate victory
Chantilly Ox Hill Fairfax County, VA September 1, 1862 Maj. Gen. Philip Kearny and Maj. Gen. Isaac Stevens Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson US 1,300; CS 800 Inconclusive (Confederate strategic victory.)

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Manassas Campaign


 [July 1861]



Hoke’s Run

  



Other Names:

Falling Waters, Hainesville


Location:

Berkeley County


Campaign:

Manassas Campaign (July 1861)


Date(s):

July 2, 1861


Principal
Commanders:
Maj.
Gen. Robert Patterson

[US];
Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces
Engaged:

Brigades


Estimated
Casualties:
114
total (US 23; CS 91)


Description:

On July 2, regiments of Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade were slowly driven back by
Abercrombie’s and Thomas’s brigades.   Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson’s division
had crossed the Potomac River near Williamsport and pushed on towards to
Martinsburg. Near Hoke’s Run, when Jackson’s men were encountered. Since
Jackson’s orders were to delay the Federal advance he withdrew before
Patterson’s superior force. The following day, Patterson occupied Martinsburg
but then made no other aggressive moves for almost 2 weeks.  On July 15,
Patterson  declined to move forward but instead withdrew to Harpers Ferry.
Such retrograde movement took pressure off Confederate forces in the
Shenandoah Valley and thus allowed Johnston’s army to march in  support of
Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard who was at Manassas. Patterson’s inactivity
contributed to the Union defeat at First Manassas.




Blackburn’s Ford
  


Other Names:

Bull Run


Location:

Prince William County and Fairfax County


Campaign:

Manassas Campaign (July 1861)


Date(s):

July 18, 1861


Principal
Commanders:

Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell [US];
Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]


Forces
Engaged:

Brigades


Estimated
Casualties:

151 total (US 83; CS 68)


Description:

On 16 July, 1862, the untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell,
35,000 strong, marched out of the Washington defenses to give battle to the
Confederate army, which was concentrated around the vital railroad junction at
Manassas. The Confederate army, about 22,000 men, under the command of Brig.
Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, guarded the fords of Bull Run. On July 18, McDowell
reached Centreville and pushed southwest, attempting to cross at Blackburn’s
Ford. He was repulsed. This action was a reconnaissance-in-force prior to the
main event at Manassas/Bull Run. Because of this action, Union commander
McDowell decided on the flanking maneuver he employed at First Manassas.


Result(s):

Confederate victory

 


Manassas, First  


Other
Names:

First Bull Run

Location: Fairfax County and
Prince William County

Campaign: Manassas Campaign
(July 1861)

Date(s): July 21, 1861

Principal
Commanders:

Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell [US]; Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Brig. Gen.
P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces
Engaged:

60,680 total (US 28,450; CS 32,230)

Estimated
Casualties:

4,700 total (US 2,950; CS 1,750)

Description: This was the first
major land battle of the armies in Virginia.  On July 16, 1861, the
untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell marched from Washington
against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond
Centreville. On the 21st, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the
Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. Fighting raged throughout the day as
Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill.  Late in the afternoon,
Confederate reinforcements (one brigade arriving by rail from the Shenandoah
Valley) extended and broke the Union right flank. The Federal retreat rapidly
deteriorated into a rout. Although victorious, Confederate forces were too
disorganized to pursue. Confederate Gen. Bee and Col. Bartow were killed. Thomas
J. Jackson earned the nom de guerre “Stonewall.” By July 22, the shattered
Union army reached the safety of Washington. This battle convinced the Lincoln
administration that the war would be a long and costly affair. McDowell was
relieved of command of the Union army and replaced by Maj. Gen. George B.
McClellan, who set about reorganizing and training the troops.

Result(s): Confederate
victory


Northern Virginia
Campaign


 [August 1862]



Cedar Mountain
  


Other Names:

Slaughter’s Mountain, Cedar Run


Location:

Culpeper County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

August 9, 1862


Principal
Commanders:

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks [US];
Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces Engaged:

24,898 total (US 8,030; CS 16,868)


Estimated
Casualties:

2,707 total (US 1,400; CS 1,307)


Description:

Maj. Gen. John Pope was placed in command of the newly constituted Army of
Virginia on June 26. Gen. Robert E. Lee responded to Pope’s dispositions by
dispatching Maj. Gen. T.J. Jackson with 14,000 men to Gordonsville in July.
Jackson was later reinforced by A.P. Hill’s division. In early August, Pope
marched his forces south into Culpeper County with the objective of capturing
the rail junction at Gordonsville. On August 9, Jackson and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel
Banks’s corps tangled at Cedar Mountain with the Federals gaining an early
advantage. A Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill repulsed the Federals
and won the day. Confederate general William Winder was killed. This battle
shifted fighting in Virginia from the Peninsula to Northern Virginia, giving Lee
the initiative.


Result(s):

Confederate victory




Rappahannock Station
  


Other Names:

Waterloo Bridge, White Sulphur Springs, Lee Springs,
Freeman’s Ford


Location:

Culpeper County and Fauquier County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

August 22-25, 1862


Principal
Commanders:

Maj. Gen. John Pope [US]; Maj.
Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces Engaged:

Brigades


Estimated
Casualties:

225 total


Description:

Early August, Lee determined that McClellan’s army was being withdrawn from the
Peninsula to reinforce John Pope.  He sent Longstreet from Richmond to join
Jackson’s wing of the army near Gordonsville and arrived to take command himself
on August 15. August 20-21, Pope withdrew to the line of the Rappahannock River.
On August 23, Stuart’s cavalry made a daring raid on Pope’s headquarters at
Catlett Station, showing that the Union right flank was vulnerable to a turning
movement. Over the next several days, August 22-25, the two armies fought a
series of minor actions along the Rappahannock River, including Waterloo Bridge,
Lee Springs, Freeman’s Ford, and Sulphur Springs, resulting in a few hundred
casualties. Together, these skirmishes primed Pope’s army along the river, while
Jackson’s wing marched via Thoroughfare Gap to capture Bristoe Station and
destroy Federal supplies at Manassas Junction, far in the rear of Pope’s army.


Result(s):

Inconclusive




Manassas Station Operations
  


Other Names:

None


Battles
Associated with the Operations:

Bristoe Station, Kettle Run, Bull Run Bridge, Union Mills


Location:

Prince William County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

August 25-27,1862


Principal
Commanders:

Brig. Gen. G.W. Taylor [US]; Maj.
Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces Engaged:

Divisions


Estimated
Casualties:

1,100 total


Description:

On the evening of August 26, after passing around Pope’s right flank via
Thoroughfare Gap, Jackson’s wing of the army struck the Orange & Alexandria
Railroad at Bristoe Station and before daybreak August 27 marched to capture and
destroy the massive Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. This surprise
movement forced Pope into an abrupt retreat from his defensive line along the
Rappahannock River. On August 27, Jackson routed a Union brigade near Union
Mills (Bull Run Bridge), inflicting several hundred casualties and mortally
wounding Union Brig. Gen. G.W. Taylor. Ewell’s Division fought a brisk rearguard
action against Hooker’s division at Kettle Run, resulting in about 600
casualties. Ewell held back Union forces until dark. During the night of August
27-28, Jackson marched his divisions north to the First Manassas battlefield,
where he took position behind an unfinished railroad grade.


Result(s):

Confederate victory




Thoroughfare Gap
  


Other Names:

Chapman’s Mill


Location:

Fauquier County and Prince William County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

August 28, 1862


Principal
Commanders:

Brig. Gen. James Ricketts [US];
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet [CS]


Forces Engaged:

Divisions


Estimated
Casualties:

100 total


Description:

After skirmishing near Chapman’s Mill in Thoroughfare Gap, Brig. Gen. James
Ricketts’s Union division was flanked by a Confederate column passing through
Hopewell Gap several miles to the north and by troops securing the high ground
at Thoroughfare Gap.  Ricketts retired, and Longstreet’s wing of the army
marched through the gap to join Jackson. This seemingly inconsequential action
virtually ensured Pope’s defeat during the battles of Aug. 29-30 because it
allowed the two wings of Lee’s army to unite on the Manassas battlefield.
Ricketts withdrew via Gainesville to Manassas Junction.


Result(s):

Confederate victory




Manassas, Second
  



Other Names:

Manassas, Second Bull Run, Manassas Plains, Groveton,
Gainesville, Brawner’s Farm


Location:

Prince William County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

August 28-30, 1862


Principal
Commanders:

Maj. Gen. John Pope [US]; Gen. Robert E. Lee and Maj. Gen.
Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces Engaged:

Armies


Estimated
Casualties:

22,180 total (US 13,830; CS 8,350)


Description:

In order to draw Pope’s army into battle, Jackson ordered an attack on a Federal
column that was passing across his front on the Warrenton Turnpike on August 28.
The fighting at Brawner Farm lasted several hours and resulted in a stalemate.
Pope became convinced that he had trapped Jackson and concentrated the bulk of
his army against him. On August 29, Pope launched a series of assaults against
Jackson’s position along an unfinished railroad grade. The attacks were repulsed
with heavy casualties on both sides. At noon, Longstreet arrived on the field
from Thoroughfare Gap and took position on Jackson’s right flank.  On August 30,
Pope renewed his attacks, seemingly unaware that Longstreet was on the field.
When massed Confederate artillery devastated a Union assault by Fitz John
Porter’s command, Longstreet’s wing of 28,000 men counterattacked in the
largest, simultaneous mass assault of the war. The Union left flank was crushed
and the army driven back to Bull Run. Only an effective Union rearguard action
prevented a replay of the First Manassas disaster. Pope’s retreat to Centreville
was precipitous, nonetheless.  The next day, Lee ordered his army in pursuit.
This was the decisive battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign.


Result(s):

Confederate victory




Chantilly
  


Other Names:

Ox Hill


Location:

Fairfax County


Campaign:

Northern Virginia Campaign (June-September 1862)


Date(s):

September 1, 1862


Principal
Commanders:

Maj. Gen. Philip Kearny and Maj. Gen. Isaac Stevens
[US]; Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]


Forces Engaged:

Divisions


Estimated
Casualties:

2,100 total (US 1,300; CS 800)


Description:

Making a wide flank march, Jackson hoped to cut off the Union retreat from Bull
Run. On September 1, beyond Chantilly Plantation on the Little River Turnpike
near Ox Hill, Jackson sent his divisions against two Union divisions under
Kearny and Stevens. Confederate attacks were stopped by fierce fighting during a
severe thunderstorm. Union generals Stevens and Kearny were both killed.
Recognizing that his army was still in danger at Fairfax Courthouse, Maj. Gen.
Pope ordered the retreat to continue to Washington. With Pope no longer a
threat, Lee turned his army west and north to invade Maryland, initiating the
Maryland Campaign and the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Maj. Gen.
George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces around Washington.


Result(s):

Inconclusive (Confederate strategic victory.)

Source : National Park Service: Civil War Battle Summaries by Campaign

More Civil War books & resources:

Book – Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell

 

Orwell’s War in Spain

George Orwell gives a close up view of the attempt to set up anarchist and socialist governments during the 1930’s in civil war-torn Spain

Fragmentation of the Left in the Spanish Civil War

The danger was quite simple and intelligible. It was the antagonism between those who wished the revolution to go forward and those who wished to check or prevent it – ultimately, between Anarchists and Communists….
Given this alignment of forces there was bound to be trouble.”
Such is Orwell’s succinct analysis of the problems facing those who would resist Franco’s right wing coup in Spain in 1936.

Opposed to the Franco-led Fascists (supported by Germany and Italy) was the Popular Front, “in essential an alliance of enemies“. Further complicating the mix was the emerging fact that in Spain, “on the Government [ie, anti-fascist] side the Communists stood not upon the extreme Left, but upon the extreme Right. ” Orwell justifies this counter-intuitive claim with a detailed discussion, summarized by noting that the International Communist movement at this time had forsaken the goal of world revolution to chase the chimera of the completion of a revolution in the USSR. This Stalinist position (including alliances with capitalist democracies at the expense of workers and unions) caused Trotsky and others to seek other venues. Recently, the formerly Maoist (nee ‘Trotskyite’) rulers of China similarly shifted from totalitarian extreme left to authoritarian right (socialist ideals sacrificed to entrepreneurial capitalism, without significant political liberty.) [Compare similar ideas presented in China Wakes -The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power – Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn]

 

Why the Communists dominated

The Communists focused on winning the war no matter what –without collectivization that would alienate the peasants, or worker control of industry that would push the middle classes into Franco’s arms. Their stated goal was parliamentary
democracy, with strong central government, and a fully militarized government under central, unified command. The POUM position was that such talk was just another name for capitalism, and ultimately the same as fascism. Their alternative was worker control, with workers militias and police forces “If the workers do not control the armed forces, the armed forces will control the workers”. The Anarchists (actually a multitude of parties) had comprised in even considering this alliance, but insisted on direct `control over industry by workers, “government by local committees and resistance to all forms of centralized authoritarianism” Orwell’s summary of this bewildering political situation is “Communist emphasis is always on centralism and efficiency, the Anarchist’s on liberty and equality”. Combining forces seemed like a reasonable solution for the duration, “But in the early period, when the revolutionary parties seemed to have the game in their hands, this was impossible. Between the Anarchists and the Socialists there were ancient jealousies, the POUM, as Marxists, were sceptical of Anarchism, while from the pure Anarchist standpoint, the ‘Trotskyism’ of the POUM was not much preferable to the ‘Stalinism’ of the Communists.”

One example of how these rivalries frustrated an effective opposition to the Fascists:

.. the Russian arms were supplied via the Communist Party, and the parties allied to them, who saw to it that as few as possible got to their political opponents. …by proclaiming a non-revolutionary policy the Communists were able to gather in all those whom the extremists h ad scared. It was easy, for instance, to rally the wealthier peasants against the collectivization policy of the Anarchists. … The war was essentially a triangular struggle. The fight against Franco had to continue, but the simultaneous aim of the Government was to recover such power as remained in the hands of the trade unions. It was done by .. a policy of pin pricks…There was no general and obvious counterrevolutionary move.. The workers could always be brought to heel by an argument that is almost too obvious to need stating: ‘Unless you do this, that and the other we shall lose the war’.”

 

 

Spanish Civil War & the Cold War

Modern parallels, from the arguments made during the cold war to modern appeals by the Democratic party to its leftward elements and other progressives– ‘work with us or get something worse’. Or, in his descriptions of the Communist crack down on the other Leftist factions after the 1937 Barcelona street fighting, a comparison of the broad and unchecked abuses of a police force which has no worries about habeas corpus — why worry about producing evidence at a trial when it can merely arrest or ‘disappear’ opponents without any legal representation or outside communication.

But this book is also a very personal one, written less than a year after these events took place, Orwell paints indelible images of life in the muddy trenches, and even the moment when he is shot in the throat:

Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at the centre of an explosion. There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all round me, and I felt a tremendous shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shrivelled up to nothing. The sand-bags in front of me receded into the immense distance… I knew immediately that I was hit, but because of the seeming bang and flash I thought it was a rifle nearby that had gone off accidentally and shot me. All this happened in a space much less than a second. The next moment my knees crumpled up and I was falling, my head hitting the ground with a violent bang, which, to my relief, did not hurt. I had a numb, dazed feeling, a consciousness of being very badly hurt, but no pain in the ordinary sense.”

 

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Book – Newt Gingrich’s Gettysburg

 

What if Lee Won at Gettysburg?

Artillery firing, during Civil War battle reenactment Confederate soldiers advance, Civil War battle reenactment

A counterfactual history trilogy of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath consisting of:

  • Gettysburg
  • Grant Comes East
  • Never Call Retreat

The first volume covers the battle of Gettysburg, though with strategic maneuvers beyond anything contemplated by the actual participants. Like any successful counterfactual history, the authors are careful in their initial changes – in fact, most readers will not even be aware of the changes the authors introduce in the battle up to the end of the first day’s fighting. But by this point enough small changes have already occurred to allow Lee to produce a strategic masterstroke on a par with Jackson’s Chancellorsville march. From here the story rapidly diverges from what we know as history, but never beyond possibility, and it’s amusing to see various participants like Sykes, Sickles, Joshua Chamberlain and others perform in this parallel universe.
The battles scenes are excellent and provide a closeup look at the experience of individual soldiers. We witness how the opposing sides would arrange unofficial truces when the battles end. You’ll probably suspect that the climactic battle of the second book won’t resolve everything since there’s still that third volume! But that never subtracts from the tension & suspense of these books. Great
historical fiction – my only regret is that Gingrich didn’t start writing novels earlier, rather than spending so much time fighting other battles in Congress.
One small annoyance is the tendency of the authors to put anachronistic quotes in the mouths of their actors. The most prominent one was during a race between the armies towards the coast in which a general remarks “let the man on the farthest edge of the flanking troops touch the sea with his sleeve” – a statement actually made 50 years later in World War I by a German general during their flanking attack through Belgium. There are several more of these pillaged pedantries scattered thru the books, but their effect, fortunately, is minimal. One last quibble is why, (from laziness or publication schedule?) they chose to title the last book ‘Never Call Retreat’ – a title previously used by one of the masters of  Civil War history, Bruce Catton.

Even Lee can seem banal when words are put into his mouth:

“We turn this back into a battle of maneuver, gentlemen, the thing we have always done best, the thing that our opponents have never mastered. But let me say it before all of you quite clearly. I am not seeking a half victory. By abandoning this field, some will see that as an admission of defeat, something we have never yet done, completely abandon a field. In so doing we return to a war of maneuver. We cut their line of supply while at the same time continuing to secure our own line of supply by moving our wagon trains back down to Green­castle. The ultimate goal must be to force the Army of the Potomac into territory that we choose and then fight a battle to finish this once and for all”

He looked carefully at each one in turn. “That is what I will expect from you, what our country expects from all of us, and nothing less is acceptable.
We are here to win not just a battle.”

He paused for a moment.

“We are here to win a war.”

Gingrich is better in describing the details of Civil War close combat:

“… along that terrible, invisible line that seems to appear on a battlefront, a line that not even the brav­est will pass, knowing that to take but one more step forward is death.

Some were demoralized, clutching the ground; others, in shock, were cradling wounded, dying, and dead comrades. Most settled down to the grim task at hand. Raising rifles, taking aim up the slope, firing, grounding muskets, reloading and firing again.

In the coldest sense of military logic, this battered line was the shield, the soak off, having taken the first position and now stalling in front of the second. Their job was simply to absorb the blows, to die, to inflict some death upon those dug in until the second and third lines came up, still relatively unscathed, to push the attack closer in.

And so across the next ten minutes they gave everything they had, these volunteers turned professionals, the pride of the Army of the Potomac, the pride of the Republic. Thousands of acts of courage were committed, none to be recorded except in the memories of those who were there, the greatest courage of all simply to stand on the volley line, to fire, to reload, and all the time the litany chant in the background… “Pour it in to them. Close on the colors, boys. Pour it into them!”

Two hundred yards to the rear, the next assault wave reached the outh bank of the flood plain, their officers ordering a halt, letting the men catch their breath for a few minutes, to gulp down some water, while forward their comrades died.

Atop the crest the Confederate forces blazed away, some of the men, acknowledged sharpshooters, calling for others to load, to pass their guns up, making sure that every shot counted, though in the still air, now laced again by showers, the smoke quickly built to a hanging cloud of fog.

Men were falling in the trenches, though not near as many as down on the open slope. Rifle balls smacked into the loosely piled dirt, spraying the men; shots when they hit tended to strike arms raised while ramming or, far more deadly, in the chest or face.

A growing line of dead and wounded lay directly behind the trench, dragged out of the way so as to not be trampled under.

The Union artillery was again in full play, though aiming in most cases too high out of fear of striking their own battle line in the con­fusion. But enough shots were tearing in to do terrible damage…