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Second Battle of Manassas Map:

Download map showing Union and Confederate positions.

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Second Battle of Manassas or Bull Run: Prelude

Link to download map of the Battle of Second Manassas.

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Civil War 1.0

After the Union defeat at Manassas in July 1861, General George B. McClellan took command of the Union forces from the aging General Irvin McDowell and organized them into a formidable fighting machine which he called the Army of the Potomac. In March 1862, leaving a strong force to cover Washington, DC, McClellan shifted his army by water to Fort Monroe on the tip of the York-James peninsula, only 100 miles southeast of Richmond. Early in April he advanced toward the Confederate capital.

general george mcclellan

Union General George B. McClellan

The war strategy become like a giant chess match, which each army moving to get a better position. Anticipating such a move, the Southerners abandoned the Manassas area and marched to meet the Union forces. By the end of May, McClellan’s troops were within sight of Richmond. Here General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate army attacked the Union at Seven Pines. Johnston was wounded, and President Jefferson Davis placed General Robert E. Lee in command.

general robert e lee

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Seizing the offensive, Lee sent his force, which he called the Army of Northern Virginia, across the Chickahominy River and, in a series of savage battles, pushed McClellan back from the edge of Richmond to a position on the James River. With naming his troops the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee was broadcasting where he planned to fight.

At the same time, the scattered Union forces in northern Virginia were organized into the Army of Virginia under the command of General John Pope, who arrived with a reputation freshly won in the war’s western theater in Mississippi.

general john pope

Union General John Pope

Link to learn more about General Lee's big gamble, how Stonewall Jackson strikes again and gets into a food fight.


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