collage: battle painting, photo after battle, photo of battlefield today



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general irvin mcdowellUnion General Irvin McDowell

general irvin mcdowellConfederate General Pierre G. T. Beauregard

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First Battle of Manassas or Bull Run: "Stonewall" Jackson

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Links to Civil War Topics.

Civil War 1.0

The Confederate unit at the Stone Bridge soon realized the attack was not the main event. So a small force was left to hold the bridge, and the remainder of the men rushed to Matthews Hill in time to check McDowell’s lead units.

Reinforcements from the brigades under Generals Barnard Bee and Francis Bartow marched to assist, but the Confederate line collapsed and southerners fled in disorder toward Henry Hill. Trying to rally his men, Bee used General Thomas J. Jackson’s newly arrived brigade as an example of disciplined troops standing their ground.

general stonewall jackson

Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson

Pointing to Jackson, Bee shouted, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” Thus General Jackson received his famous nickname of “Stonewall Jackson.” Generals Johnston and Beauregard then arrived on Henry Hill, where they assisted in re-forming the shattered brigades and redeploying fresh units that stopped the Union assault.

By noon, there was a lull that lasted for an hour as the Union army reorganized for a new attack, but it gave the Confederates enough time to reform their lines. Then the fighting began again with each side trying to force the other off Henry Hill. The battle continued until just after 4p.m., when fresh Confederate units crashed into the Union right flank causing McDowell’s tired and discouraged soldiers to retreat.

At first the retreat was orderly, but as the Union army withdrew across Bull Run, they found the road to Washington jammed with the carriages of congressmen and others who had driven out to watch the fight. Panic now seized many of the soldiers and the retreat became a rout. The Confederates were too disorganized as well to follow up on their success. The morning of July 22 found the defeated Union army back behind the stout defenses of Washington.

Link to Fort Ward and the accessible interpretive programs and trails involving Washington D. C.’s defensive network.

Link to accessibility features at Manassas National Battlefield Park

The First Battle of Manassas was such a triumph, there had to be a sequel.

Second Battle of Manassas, fought in 1862, cleared the way for General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. Union forces under General John Pope retreated to Washington, D. C.  General Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac into Maryland near Frederick; the invasion was thwarted at Antietam.

Click here to learn about how Stonewall Jackson returned to the scene of his first success, beat the Pope (not the one in the Vatican), and why there was a food fight.

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