Second Battle of Bull Run

Second Battle of Bull Run

Overview


The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862, as part of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 Gen. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 against Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 Maj. Gen. John Pope
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

's Army of Virginia
Army of Virginia
The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E...

, and a battle of much larger scale and numbers than the First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas , was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas...

 (First Manassas) fought in 1861 on the same ground.

Following a wide-ranging flanking march
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

, Confederate Maj.
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The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862, as part of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 Gen. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 against Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 Maj. Gen. John Pope
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

's Army of Virginia
Army of Virginia
The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E...

, and a battle of much larger scale and numbers than the First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas , was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas...

 (First Manassas) fought in 1861 on the same ground.

Following a wide-ranging flanking march
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

 captured the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction
Manassas, Virginia
The City of Manassas is an independent city surrounded by Prince William County and the independent city of Manassas Park in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Its population was 37,821 as of 2010. Manassas also surrounds the county seat for Prince William County but that county...

, threatening Pope's line of communications with Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 Withdrawing a few miles to the northwest, Jackson took up defensive positions on Stony Ridge. On August 28, 1862, Jackson attacked a Union column just east of Gainesville, at Brawner's Farm, resulting in a stalemate. On that same day, the wing of Lee's army commanded by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

 broke through light Union resistance in the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
The Battle of Thoroughfare Gap, also known as Chapman's Mill, took place on August 28, 1862, in Fauquier County and Prince William County, Virginia, as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign of the American Civil War. Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. James Longstreet successfully drove back Union...

 and approached the battlefield.

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 Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter
Fitz John Porter
Fitz John Porter was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War...

's V Corps, Longstreet's wing of 25,000 men in five divisions counterattacked in the largest, simultaneous mass assault of the war. The Union left flank was crushed and the army was driven back to Bull Run
Bull Run (Occoquan River)
Bull Run is a free-flowing tributary stream of the Potomac River that originates from a spring in the Bull Run Mountains in Loudoun County, Virginia, and flows south to the Occoquan River...

. Only an effective Union rearguard action prevented a replay of the First Manassas disaster. Pope's retreat to Centreville
Centreville, Virginia
Centreville is an unincorporated community in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as a Census Designated Place , the community population was 71,135 as of the 2010 census and is approximately west of Washington, DC.-Colonial Period:Beginning in the 1760s,...

 was nonetheless precipitous.

Background and opposing forces


Key Union commanders
Key Confederate commanders


After the collapse of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

's Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

 in the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

 of June 1862, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 appointed John Pope to command the newly formed Army of Virginia. Pope had achieved some success in the Western Theater
Western Theater of the American Civil War
This article presents an overview of major military and naval operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Theater of operations:...

, and Lincoln sought a more aggressive general than McClellan.

The Union Army of Virginia was divided into three corps of 51,000 men, under Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel
Franz Sigel
Franz Sigel was a German military officer, revolutionist and immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 (I Corps); Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks (II Corps); and Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell was a career American army officer. He is best known for his defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run, the first large-scale battle of the American Civil War.-Early life:...

, who had led the losing Union army at First Bull Run (III Corps). Parts of three corps (III, V, and VI) of McClellan's Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 and Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

's IX Corps (commanded by Maj. Gen. Jesse L. Reno
Jesse L. Reno
Jesse Lee Reno was a career United States Army officer who served in the Mexican-American War, the western frontier, and as a Union General during the American Civil War...

), eventually joined Pope for combat operations, raising his strength to 77,000.

On the Confederate side, Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was organized into two "wings" or "commands" of about 55,000 men. The "right wing" was commanded by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet, the left by Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson. The Cavalry Division under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart
J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was a U.S. Army officer from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as "Jeb", from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use...

 was attached to Jackson's wing.

Pope's mission was to fulfill two basic objectives: protect Washington and the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

; and draw Confederate forces away from McClellan by moving in the direction of Gordonsville. Based on his experience fighting McClellan in the Seven Days, Robert E. Lee perceived that McClellan was no further threat to him on the Virginia Peninsula
Virginia Peninsula
The Virginia Peninsula is a peninsula in southeast Virginia, USA, bounded by the York River, James River, Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay.Hampton Roads is the common name for the metropolitan area that surrounds the body of water of the same name...

, so he felt no compulsion to keep all of his forces in direct defense of Richmond. This allowed him to relocate Jackson to Gordonsville to block Pope and protect the Virginia Central Railroad
Virginia Central Railroad
Virginia Central Railroad was chartered as the Louisa Railroad in 1836 by the Virginia Board of Public Works and had its name changed to Virginia Central Railroad in 1850. It connected Richmond with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Gordonsville in 1854, and had expanded westward past the Blue...

.

Lee had larger plans in mind. Since the Union Army was split between McClellan and Pope and they were widely separated, Lee saw an opportunity to destroy Pope before returning his attention to McClellan. He committed Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill to join Jackson with 12,000 men. On August 3, General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck directed McClellan to begin his final withdrawal from the Peninsula and to return to Northern Virginia to support Pope. McClellan protested and did not begin his redeployment until August 14.

On August 9, Nathaniel Banks's corps attacked Jackson at Cedar Mountain
Battle of Cedar Mountain
The Battle of Cedar Mountain, also known as Slaughter's Mountain or Cedar Run, took place on August 9, 1862, in Culpeper County, Virginia, as part of the American Civil War. Union forces under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks attacked Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J...

, gaining an early advantage, but a Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill drove Banks back across Cedar Creek. Jackson's advance was stopped, however, by the Union division of Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts
James B. Ricketts
James Brewerton Ricketts was a career officer in the United States Army, serving as a Union Army general in the Eastern Theater during the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

. By now Jackson had learned that Pope's corps were all together, foiling his plan of defeating each in separate actions. He remained in position until August 12, then withdrew to Gordonsville. On August 13, Lee sent Longstreet to reinforce Jackson.

From August 22 to August 25, the two armies fought a series of minor actions along the Rappahannock River
Rappahannock River
The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia, in the United States, approximately in length. It traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River.An important river in American...

. Heavy rains had swollen the river and Lee was unable to force a crossing. By this time, reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac were arriving from the Peninsula. Lee's new plan in the face of all these additional forces outnumbering him was to send Jackson and Stuart with half of the army on a flanking march to cut Pope's line of communication, the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Pope would be forced to retreat and could be defeated while moving and vulnerable. Jackson departed on August 25 and reached Salem (present-day Marshall
Marshall, Virginia
Marshall is an unincorporated village and census-designated place located in the hunt country of northwestern Fauquier County, Virginia. The population as of the 2010 Census was 1,480. Marshall was originally known as Salem. The town became Marshall after a short-lived incorporation...

) that night.

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
Bristow, Virginia
Bristow is an unincorporated town in Prince William County, Virginia, United States. The population was 8,910 in the 2000 census, and the 2009 estimate was 15,137....

 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. During the night of August 27–28, Jackson marched his divisions north to the First Bull Run (Manassas) battlefield, where he took position behind an unfinished railroad grade below Stony Ridge. The defensive position was a good one. The heavy woods allowed the Confederates to conceal themselves, while maintaining good observation points of the Warrenton Turnpike, the likely avenue of Union movement, only a few hundred yards to the south. There were good approach roads for Longstreet to join Jackson, or for Jackson to retreat to the Bull Run Mountains if he could not be reinforced in time. Finally, the unfinished railroad grade offered cuts and fills that could be used as ready-made entrenchments.

In the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
The Battle of Thoroughfare Gap, also known as Chapman's Mill, took place on August 28, 1862, in Fauquier County and Prince William County, Virginia, as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign of the American Civil War. Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. James Longstreet successfully drove back Union...

 on August 28, Longstreet's wing broke through light Union resistance and marched through the gap to join Jackson. This seemingly inconsequential action virtually ensured Pope's defeat during the coming battles because it allowed the two wings of Lee's army to unite on the Manassas battlefield.

August 28: Brawner's Farm (Groveton)


The Second Battle of Bull Run began on August 28 as a Federal column, under Jackson's observation just outside of Gainesville, near the farm of the John Brawner family, moved along the Warrenton Turnpike
U.S. Route 29
U.S. Route 29 is a north–south United States highway that runs for from the western suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, to Pensacola, Florida. This highway's northern terminus is at Maryland Route 99 in Ellicott City, Maryland...

. It consisted of units from Brig. Gen. Rufus King's division: the brigades of Brig. Gens. John P. Hatch, John Gibbon
John Gibbon
John Gibbon was a career United States Army officer who fought in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars.-Early life:...

, Abner Doubleday
Abner Doubleday
Abner Doubleday was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war, and had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was his finest hour, but his...

, and Marsena R. Patrick
Marsena R. Patrick
Marsena Rudolph Patrick was a college president and an officer in the United States Army, serving as a general in the Union volunteer forces during the American Civil War. He was the provost marshal for the Army of the Potomac in many of its campaigns.-Early life:Patrick was born in Hounsfield,...

, marching eastward to concentrate with the rest of Pope's army at Centreville. King was not with his division because he had suffered a serious epileptic attack
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

 earlier that day.

Jackson, who had been relieved to hear earlier that Longstreet's men were on their way to join him, displayed himself prominently to the Union troops, but his presence was disregarded. Concerned that Pope might be withdrawing his army behind Bull Run to link up with McClellan's arriving forces, Jackson determined to attack. Returning to his position behind the tree line, he told his subordinates, "Bring out your men, gentlemen." At about 6:30 p.m., Confederate artillery began shelling the portion of the column to their front, John Gibbon's Black Hat Brigade (later to be named the Iron Brigade
Iron Brigade
The Iron Brigade, also known as the Iron Brigade of the West or the Black Hat Brigade, was an infantry brigade in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. Although it fought entirely in the Eastern Theater, it was composed of regiments from Western states...

). Gibbon, a former artilleryman, responded with fire from Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery. The artillery exchange halted King's column. Hatch's brigade had proceeded past the area and Patrick's men, in the rear of the column, sought cover, leaving Gibbon and Doubleday to respond to Jackson's attack. Gibbon assumed that, since Jackson was supposedly at Centreville (according to Pope), and having just seen the 14th Brooklyn Zouaves of Hatch's Brigade reconnoiter the position, that these were merely horse artillery cannons from Jeb Stuart's cavalry. Gibbon sent aides out to the other brigades with requests for reinforcements, and sent his staff officer Frank A. Haskell
Frank A. Haskell
Franklin Aretas Haskell was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War who was killed during the Battle of Cold Harbor. Haskell wrote a famous account of the Battle of Gettysburg that was published posthumously....

 to bring the veteran 2nd Wisconsin Infantry
2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 2nd Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent most of the war as a member of the famous Iron Brigade of the Army of the Potomac.-Service:...

 up the hill to disperse the harassing cannons. Gibbon met the 2nd in the woods saying, "If we can get you up there quietly, we can capture those guns."
The 2nd Wisconsin, under the command of Col.
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 Edgar O'Connor, advanced obliquely back through the woods the Federal column was passing through. When the 430 men emerged from the woods on John Brawner's farm they were quietly formed and advanced up the hill. Upon reaching the plateau, they deployed skirmishers who drove back Confederate skirmishers. They soon received a heavy volley into their right flank by 800 men of the fabled Stonewall Brigade
Stonewall Brigade
The Stonewall Brigade of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, was a famous combat unit in United States military history. It was trained and first led by General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, a professor from Virginia Military Institute...

, commanded by Col. William S. Baylor. Absorbing the volley from 150 yards (137.2 m), the 2nd Wisconsin did not waver, but replied with a devastating volley at the Virginians in Brawner's orchard. The Confederates returned fire when the lines were only 80 yards (73.2 m) apart. As units were added by both sides, the battle lines remained close together, a standup fight with little cover, trading mass volleys for over two hours. Jackson described the action as "fierce and sanguinary." Gibbon added his 19th Indiana
19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was one of the original regiments in the Army of the Potomac's Iron Brigade.-Service:...

. Jackson, personally directing the actions of his regiments instead of passing orders to the division commander, Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell
Richard S. Ewell
Richard Stoddert Ewell was a career United States Army officer and a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He achieved fame as a senior commander under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E...

, sent in three Georgia regiments belonging to Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton's brigade. Gibbon countered this advance with the 7th Wisconsin
7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent most of the war as a member of the famous Iron Brigade in the Army of the Potomac.-Service:...

. Jackson ordered Brig. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble
Isaac R. Trimble
Isaac Ridgeway Trimble was a United States Army officer, a civil engineer, a prominent railroad construction superintendent and executive, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War, most famous for his leadership role in the assault known as Pickett's Charge at the Battle of...

's brigade to support Lawton, which met the last of Gibbon's regiments, the 6th Wisconsin
6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 6th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent most of the war as a member of the famous Iron Brigade in the Army of the Potomac.-Service:...

.

After Trimble's brigade entered the action, Gibbon needed to fill a gap in his line between the 6th Wisconsin and the rest of the Iron Brigade regiments. Doubleday sent in the 56th Pennsylvania and the 76th New York, who advanced through the woods and checked the new Confederate advance. These men arrived at the scene after dark and both Trimble and Lawton launched uncoordinated assaults against them. Horse artillery under Captain John Pelham was ordered forward by Jackson and fired at the 19th Indiana from less than 100 yards (91.4 m). The engagement ended around 9 p.m., with Gibbon's men slowly retreating backwards still firing, making their line at the edge of the woods. Doubleday's regiments retired to the turnpike in an orderly fashion. The fight was essentially a stalemate, but at a heavy cost, with over 1,150 Union and 1,250 Confederate casualties. The 2nd Wisconsin lost 276 of 430 engaged. The Stonewall brigade lost 340 out of 800. Two Georgia regiments—Trimble's 21st and Lawton's 26th—each lost more than 70%. In all, one of every three men engaged in the fight was shot. Confederate Brig. Gen. William B. Taliaferro
William B. Taliaferro
William Booth Taliaferro , was a United States Army officer, a lawyer, legislator, and Confederate general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 wrote, "In this fight there was no maneuvering and very little tactics. It was a question of endurance and both endured." Taliaferro was wounded, as was Ewell, whose left leg was shattered by a Minié ball
Minié ball
The Minié ball is a type of muzzle-loading spin-stabilising rifle bullet named after its co-developer, Claude-Étienne Minié, inventor of the Minié rifle...

 and had to be amputated.
Jackson had not been able to achieve a decisive victory with his superior force (about 6,200 men against Gibbon's 2,100), due to darkness, his piecemeal deployment of forces, the wounding of two of his key generals, and the tenacity of the enemy. But he had achieved his strategic intent, attracting the attention of John Pope. Pope wrongly assumed that the fight at the Brawner Farm occurred as Jackson was retreating from Centreville. Pope believed he had "bagged" Jackson and sought to capture him before he could be reinforced by Longstreet. Pope's dispatch sent that evening to Maj. Gen. Philip Kearny
Philip Kearny
Philip Kearny, Jr., was a United States Army officer, notable for his leadership in the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. He was killed in action in the 1862 Battle of Chantilly.-Early life and career:...

 stated, in part, "General McDowell has intercepted the retreat of the enemy and is now in his front ... Unless he can escape by by-paths leading to the north to-night, he must be captured." Gibbon conferred with King, Patrick, and Doubleday as to the next move, because McDowell was "lost in the woods." Per Gibbon's recommendation, the only remaining Federal force still between Lee and Jackson moved out at 1 a.m. heading east on the pike towards Centreville.

Pope issued orders to his subordinates to surround Jackson and attack him in the morning, but he made several erroneous assumptions. He assumed that McDowell and Sigel were blocking Jackson's retreat routes toward the Bull Run Mountains, but the bulk of both units were southeast of Jackson along the Manassas-Sudley Road. Pope's assumption that Jackson was attempting to retreat was completely wrong; Jackson was in a good defensive position, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Longstreet to begin attacking Pope. Despite receiving intelligence of Longstreet's movements, Pope inexplicably discounted his effect on the battle to come.

August 29: Jackson defends Stony Ridge


Jackson had initiated the battle at Brawner's farm with the intent of holding Pope until Longstreet arrived with the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia. Longstreet's 25,000 men began their march from Thoroughfare Gap at 6 a.m. on August 29; Jackson sent Stuart to guide the initial elements of Longstreet's column into positions that Jackson had preselected. While he waited for their arrival, Jackson reorganized his defense in case Pope attacked him that morning, positioning 20,000 men in a 3000 yards (2,743.2 m) line to the south of Stony Ridge. Noticing the build up of I Corps (Sigel's) troops along the Manassas-Sudley Road, he ordered A.P. Hill's brigades behind the railroad grade near Sudley Church on his left flank. Aware that his position was geographically weak (because the heavy woods in the area prevented effective deployment of artillery), Hill placed his brigades in two lines, with Brig. Gen. Maxcy Gregg
Maxcy Gregg
Maxcy Gregg was a lawyer, soldier in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War who was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg....

's South Carolina brigade and Brig. Gen. Edward L. Thomas's Georgia brigade in the front. In the center of the line, Jackson placed two brigades from Ewell's division (now under the command of Brig. Gen. Alexander Lawton
Alexander Lawton
Alexander Robert Lawton was a lawyer, politician, diplomat, and brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 following Ewell's leg amputation), and on the right, William B. Taliaferro
William B. Taliaferro
William Booth Taliaferro , was a United States Army officer, a lawyer, legislator, and Confederate general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's division, now commanded by Brig. Gen. William E. Starke
William E. Starke
William Edwin Starke was a wealthy Gulf Coast businessman and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

.

Pope's intention was to move against Jackson on both flanks. He ordered Fitz John Porter to move toward Gainesville and attack what he considered to be the Confederate right flank. He ordered Sigel to attack Jackson's left at daybreak. Sigel, unsure of Jackson's dispositions, chose to advance along a broad front, with Brig. Gen. Robert C. Schenck
Robert C. Schenck
Robert Cumming Schenck was a Union Army general in the American Civil War, and American diplomatic representative to Brazil and the United Kingdom. He was at both battles of Bull Run and took part in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, and the Battle of Cross Keys...

's division, supported by Brig. Gen. John F. Reynolds
John F. Reynolds
John Fulton Reynolds was a career United States Army officer and a general in the American Civil War. One of the Union Army's most respected senior commanders, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac to the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the start of the battle.-Early...

's division (Heintzelman's III Corps) on the left, Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy
Robert H. Milroy
Robert Huston Milroy was a lawyer, judge, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War, most noted for his defeat at the Second Battle of Winchester in 1863.-Early life:...

's independent brigade in the center, and Brig. Gen. Carl Schurz
Carl Schurz
Carl Christian Schurz was a German revolutionary, American statesman and reformer, and Union Army General in the American Civil War. He was also an accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and orator, who in 1869 became the first German-born American elected to the United States Senate.His wife,...

's division on the right. Schurz's two brigades, moving north on the Manassas-Sudley Road, were the first to contact Jackson's men, at about 7 a.m.

The actions in Sigel's attack against A.P. Hill's division was typical of all the battles near Stony Ridge that day. Although the unfinished railroad grade provided natural defensive positions in some places, in general the Confederates eschewed a static defense, absorbing the Union blows and following up with vigorous counterattacks. (These were the same tactics that Jackson would employ at the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

 a few weeks later.) Schurz's two brigades (under Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig
Alexander Schimmelfennig
Alexander Schimmelfennig was a German soldier and political revolutionary, and then an American Civil War general in the Union Army.-Early life and career:...

 and Col. Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski) skirmished heavily with Gregg and Thomas, with both sides committing their forces piecemeal. As Milroy heard the sound of battle to his right, he ordered two of his regiments to assist Schurz. They achieved some success, and the 82nd Ohio breached the Confederate lines in a ground depression known as the Dump, but were eventually repulsed. Schenck and Reynolds, subjected to a heavy artillery barrage, answered with counterbattery fire, but did not advance their infantry.

Assuming that Kearny's division of the III Corps was poised to support him, Schurz ordered another assault against Hill around 10 a.m. Kearny did not move forward and the second assault failed. Historians have faulted Kearny for his actions that day, blaming a personal grudge that Kearny held against Sigel.

By 1 p.m., Sigel's sector was reinforced by the division of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

 (III Corps) and the brigade of Brig. Gen. Isaac Stevens
Isaac Stevens
Isaac Ingalls Stevens was the first governor of Washington Territory, a United States Congressman, and a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War until his death at the Battle of Chantilly...

 (IX Corps). Pope also arrived on the battlefield, expecting to see the culmination of his victory. By this time, Longstreet's initial units were in position to Jackson's right. Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood had a reputation for bravery and aggressiveness that sometimes bordered on recklessness...

's division straddled the turnpike, loosely connected with Jackson's right flank. To Hood's right were the divisions of Brig. Gens. James L. Kemper
James L. Kemper
James Lawson Kemper was a lawyer, a Confederate general in the American Civil War, and the 37th Governor of Virginia...

 and David R. "Neighbor" Jones. Brig. Gen. Cadmus M. Wilcox
Cadmus M. Wilcox
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox was a career United States Army officer who served in the Mexican–American War and also was a Confederate general during the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

's division arrived last and was placed into reserve.

Stuart's cavalry encountered Porter, Hatch, and McDowell moving up the Manassas-Gainesville Road and a brief firefight halted the Union column. Then a courier arrived with a message for Porter and McDowell, a controversial document from Pope that has become known as the "Joint Order". Historian John J. Hennessy described the order as a "masterpiece of contradiction and obfuscation that would become the focal point of decades of wrangling." It described the attacks on Jackson's left, which were already underway, but was unclear about what Porter and McDowell were supposed to do. Rather than moving "to" Gainesville and striking Jackson's supposedly unprotected right flank, it described a move "toward" Gainesville and "as soon as communication is established [with the other divisions] the whole command shall halt. It may be necessary to fall back behind Bull Run to Centreville tonight." Nowhere in the order did Pope explicitly direct Porter and McDowell to attack and he concluded the order with "If any considerable advantages are to be gained from departing from this order it will not be strictly carried out," rendering the document virtually useless as a military order.

Meanwhile, Stuart's cavalry under Col. Thomas Rosser deceived the Union generals by dragging tree branches behind a regiment of horses to simulate great clouds of dust from large columns of marching soldiers. At this time, McDowell received a report from his cavalry commander, Brig. Gen. John Buford
John Buford
John Buford, Jr. was a Union cavalry officer during the American Civil War, with a prominent role at the start of the Battle of Gettysburg.-Early years:...

, who reported that 17 regiments of infantry, one battery, and 500 cavalry were moving through Gainesville at 8:15 a.m. This was Longstreet's wing arriving from Thoroughfare Gap, and it warned the two Union generals that trouble lay to their front. The Union advance was again halted. For some reason, McDowell neglected to forward Buford's report to Pope until about 7 p.m., so the army commander was operating under two severe misconceptions: that Longstreet was not near the battlefield and that Porter and McDowell were marching to attack Jackson's right flank.

As Longstreet's men were placed into their final positions, General Lee ordered an offensive against the Union left. (Longstreet later remembered that Lee "was inclined to engage as soon as practicable, but did not order.") Longstreet, however, saw that the divisions of Reynolds and Schenck extended south of the Warrenton Turnpike, overlapping half of his line, and he argued against making the attack at that time. Lee eventually relented when Jeb Stuart reported that the force on the Gainesville-Manassas Road (Porter and McDowell) was formidable.
Pope, assuming that the attack on Jackson's right would proceed as he thought he had ordered, authorized four separate attacks against Jackson's front with the intent of diverging the Confederates' attention until Porter delivered the fatal blow. Brig. Gen. Cuvier Grover's brigade attacked at 3 p.m., expecting to be supported by Kearny's division. Grover was fortunate to accidentally strike through a gap in a line that opened between Thomas and Gregg. His spirited bayonet charge was successful temporarily, but Kearny once again did not move forward as ordered and Pope did not intend to support a major attack. Brig. Gen. Dorsey Pender
William Dorsey Pender
William Dorsey Pender was one of the youngest, and most promising, generals fighting for the Confederacy in the American Civil War. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.-Early life:...

's brigade beat back the attack.

Reynolds was ordered to conduct a spoiling attack south of the turnpike and encountered Longstreet's men, causing him to call off his demonstration. Pope dismissed Reynolds's concern as a case of mistaken identity, insisting that Reynolds had run into Porter's V Corps, preparing to attack Jackson's flank. Jesse Reno ordered a IX Corps brigade under Col. James Nagle
James Nagle
James Nagle was an officer in the United States Army in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. During the latter conflict, he recruited and commanded four infantry regiments from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and led two different brigades in the Eastern Theater...

 to attack the center of Jackson's line again. This time Brig. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble's brigade was driven back from the railroad embankment, but Confederate counterattacks restored the line and pursued Nagle's troops back into the open fields until Union artillery halted their advance.
At 4:30 p.m., Pope finally sent an explicit order to Porter to attack, but his aide (his nephew) lost his way and did not deliver the message until 6:30 p.m. In any event, Porter was in no better position to attack then than he was earlier in the day. But in anticipation of the attack that would not come, Pope ordered Kearny to attack Jackson's far left flank, intending to put strong pressure on both ends of the line. At 5 p.m., for the first time in the battle, Kearny's fierce offensive reputation was realized and he surged forward with ten regiments, striking A.P. Hill's depleted division and threatening to roll up Jackson's left flank. During the most severe fighting of the day, counterattacks by the brigades of Brig. Gens. Lawrence O'Bryan Branch
Lawrence O'Bryan Branch
Lawrence O'Bryan Branch was a North Carolina representative in the U.S. Congress and a Confederate brigadier general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of Antietam.-Early life and career:...

 and Jubal A. Early repulsed the Union advance.

On the Confederate right, Longstreet observed a movement of McDowell's force away from his front; the I Corps was moving divisions to Henry House Hill
Henry House Hill
Henry House Hill is a location near Bull Run in Virginia. Named for the house of the Henry family that sits atop it, the hill begins near the road of Centreville, Virginia, after Warrenton, Virginia, to the today's U.S. Route 29, the Warrenton Turnpike. It is a slow, constant rise toward the south...

 to support Reynolds. This report caused Lee to revive his plan for an offensive in that sector. Longstreet once again argued against it, this time due to inadequate time before dusk. He suggested instead that a reconnaissance in force could feel the position of the enemy and set up the Confederates for a morning attack. Lee agreed and Hood's division was sent forward. At the same time, Pope, who maintained his delusion that the Confederates were retreating, sent the division of John P. Hatch west on the turnpike to pursue. Hood and Hatch collided briefly at the Groveton crossroads, but the short, violent confrontation ended at darkness and both sides withdrew. Longstreet and his subordinates again argued to Lee that they should not be attacking a force they considered to be placed in a strong defensive position, and for the third time, Lee canceled the planned assault.

When Pope learned from McDowell about Buford's report, he finally acknowledged that Longstreet was on the field, but he optimistically assumed that Longstreet was there only to reinforce Jackson while the entire Confederate army withdrew; Hood's division had in fact just done that. Pope issued explicit orders for Porter's corps to rejoin the main body of the army and planned for another offensive on August 30. Historian A. Wilson Greene argues that this was Pope's worst decision of the battle. Since he no longer had numerical superiority over the Confederates and did not possess any geographical advantage, the most prudent course would have been to withdraw his army over Bull Run and unite with McClellan's Army of the Potomac, which had 25,000 men nearby.

One of the historical controversies of the battle involves George B. McClellan's cooperation with John Pope. In late August, two full corps of the Army of the Potomac (William B. Franklin
William B. Franklin
William Buel Franklin was a career United States Army officer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He rose to the rank of a corps commander in the Army of the Potomac, fighting in several notable early battles in the Eastern Theater.-Early life:William B. Franklin was born in York,...

's VI Corps and Edwin V. Sumner's II Corps) had arrived in Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

, but McClellan would not allow them to advance to Manassas because of what he considered inadequate artillery, cavalry, and transportation support. He was accused by his political opponents of deliberately undermining Pope's position, and he did not help his case in history when he wrote to his wife on August 10, "Pope will be badly thrashed within two days & ... they will be very glad to turn over the redemption of their affairs to me. I won't undertake it unless I have full & entire control." He told Abraham Lincoln on August 29 that it might be wise "to leave Pope to get out of his scrape, and at once use all our means to make the capital perfectly safe."

August 30: Longstreet counterattack, Union retreat



The final element of Longstreet's command, the division of Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson
Richard H. Anderson
Richard Heron Anderson was a career U.S. Army officer, fighting with distinction in the Mexican-American War. He also served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, fighting in the Eastern Theater of the conflict and most notably during the 1864 Battle of Spotsylvania Court House...

, marched 17 miles (27.4 km) and arrived on the battlefield at 3 a.m., August 30. Exhausted and unfamiliar with the area, they halted on a ridge east of Groveton. At dawn, they realized they were in an isolated position too close to the enemy and fell back. Pope's belief that the Confederate army was in retreat was reinforced by this movement, which came after the withdrawal of Hood's troops the night before. At an 8 a.m. council of war
Council of war
A council of war is a term in military science that describes a meeting held to decide on a course of action, usually in the midst of a battle. Under normal circumstances, decisions are made by a commanding officer, optionally communicated and coordinated by staff officers, and then implemented by...

 at Pope's headquarters, his subordinates attempted to convince their commander to move cautiously. Probes of the Confederate line on Stony Ridge around 10 a.m. indicated that Stonewall Jackson's men were still firmly in their defensive positions. John F. Reynolds indicated that the Confederates were in great strength south of the turnpike. Fitz John Porter arrived later with similar intelligence. However, Heintzelman and McDowell conducted a personal reconnaissance that somehow failed to find Jackson's defensive line, and Pope finally made up his mind to attack the retreating Southerners.

Shortly after noon, Pope issued orders for Porter's corps, supported by Hatch and Reynolds, to advance west along the turnpike. At the same time, Ricketts, Kearny, and Hooker were to advance on the Union right. This dual movement would potentially crush the retreating Confederates. But the Confederates were not retreating, and were in fact hoping to be attacked. Lee was still waiting for an opportunity to counterattack with Longstreet's force. Although he was not certain that Pope would attack that day, Lee positioned 18 artillery pieces under Col. Stephen D. Lee
Stephen D. Lee
Stephen Dill Lee was an American soldier, planter, legislator, and author. He was the youngest Confederate lieutenant general during the American Civil War, and later served as the first president of Mississippi A&M College...

 on high ground northeast of the Brawner Farm, ideally situated to bombard the open fields in front of Jackson's position.

Porter's corps was actually not in position to pursue west on the turnpike, but was in the woods north of the turnpike near Groveton. It took about two hours for the 10,000 men to organize themselves for the assault against Jackson's line to their front, which would be focused on Jackson's old division, now led by Brig. Gen. William E. Starke
William E. Starke
William Edwin Starke was a wealthy Gulf Coast businessman and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

. The lead division in the Union assault was commanded by Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield
Daniel Butterfield
Daniel Adams Butterfield was a New York businessman, a Union General in the American Civil War, and Assistant U.S. Treasurer in New York. He is credited with composing the bugle call Taps and was involved in the Black Friday gold scandal in the Grant administration...

, replacing Maj. Gen. George W. Morell
George W. Morell
George Webb Morell was a civil engineer, lawyer, farmer, and a Union general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

: Col. Henry Weeks's brigade was on the left, Col. Charles W. Roberts
Charles W. Roberts
Charles Wentworth Roberts was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War, who was awarded the rank of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, in 1866, to rank from March 13, 1865. He was born in Old Town, Maine and graduated from Bowdoin College, but lived most of his...

's brigade in the center. Hatch's division came in on the right of the corps line. Two brigades of regular army troops under Brig. Gen. George Sykes
George Sykes
George Sykes was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 were in reserve.

The Union men faced a formidable task. Butterfield's division had to cross 600 yards (548.6 m) of open pasture land owned by widow Lucinda Dogan, the final 150 yards (137.2 m) of which were steeply uphill, to attack a strong position behind the unfinished railroad; Hatch's division had only 300 yards (274.3 m) to traverse, but was required to perform a complex right wheel maneuver under fire to hit the Confederate position squarely in its front. They experienced devastating fire from Stephen Lee's batteries and then withering volleys from the infantrymen in the line. Nevertheless, they were able to break the Confederate line, routing the 48th Virginia Infantry
48th Virginia Infantry
The 48th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia....

. The Stonewall Brigade rushed in to restore the line, taking heavy casualties, including its commander, Col. Baylor. In what was arguably the most famous incident of the battle, Confederates in Col. Bradley T. Johnson's and Col. Leroy A. Stafford
Leroy Augustus Stafford
Leroy Augustus Stafford was a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's brigades fired so much that they ran out of ammunition and resorted to throwing large rocks at the 24th New York, causing occasional damage, and prompting some of the surprised New Yorkers to throw them back. To support Jackson's exhausted defense, which was stretched to the breaking point, Longstreet's artillery added to the barrage against Union reinforcements attempting to move in, cutting them to pieces.

Having suffered significant casualties, Porter did not engage Sykes's reserve division and halted his assault, essentially leaving his lead brigades to extricate themselves without support. The withdrawal was also a costly operation. Some of the jubilant Confederates in Starke's brigade attempted a pursuit, but were beaten back by the Union reserves posted along the Groveton-Sudley Road. Overall, Jackson's command was too depleted to counterattack, allowing Porter to stabilize the situation north of the turnpike. Concerned about Porter's situation, however, Irvin McDowell ordered Reynolds's division to leave Chinn Ridge and come to Porter's support. This may have been the worst tactical decision of the day because it left only 2,200 Union troops south of the turnpike, where they would soon face ten times their number of Confederates.
Lee and Longstreet agreed that the time was right for the long awaited assault and that the objective would be Henry House Hill, which had been the key terrain in the First Battle of Bull Run, and which, if captured, would dominate the potential Union line of retreat. Longstreet's command of 25,000 men in five divisions stretched nearly a mile and a half from the Brawner Farm in the north to the Manassas Gap Railroad in the south. To reach the hill, they would have to traverse 1.5 to 2 miles (3.2 km) of ground containing ridges, streams, and some heavily wooded areas. Longstreet knew that he would not be able to project a well coordinated battle line across this terrain, so he had to rely on the drive and initiative of his division commanders. The lead division, on the left, closest to the turnpike, was John Bell Hood's Texans
Texas Brigade
The Texas Brigade, also often referred to as Hood's Brigade, was an infantry brigade in the Confederate States Army that distinguished itself for its fierce tenacity and fighting capability during the American Civil War.-Organization:...

, supported by Brig. Gen. Nathan G. "Shanks" Evans's
Nathan George Evans
Nathan George "Shanks" Evans was a captain in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry who became a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

 South Carolinians. On Hood's right were Kemper's and Jones's divisions. Anderson's division was held as a ready reserve. Just before the attack, Lee signaled to Jackson: "General Longstreet is advancing; look out for and protect his left flank."

The Union defenders south of the turnpike consisted of only two brigades, commanded by Cols. Nathaniel C. McLean
Nathaniel McLean
Nathaniel Collins McLean , was a lawyer, farmer, and Union general during the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

 (Schenck's division, Sigel's I Corps) and Gouverneur K. Warren
Gouverneur K. Warren
Gouverneur Kemble Warren was a civil engineer and prominent general in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

 (Sykes's division, Porter's V Corps). McLean held Chinn Ridge, Warren was near Groveton, about 800 yards (731.5 m) further west. Hood's men began the assault at 4 p.m., immediately overwhelming Warren's two regiments, the 5th New York
5th New York Volunteer Infantry
The 5th New York Volunteer Infantry was a volunteer infantry regiment that fought during the American Civil War, led by Colonel Abram Duryée. It is also known as the "Duryée's Zouaves," named after their colorful Zouave uniforms...

 (Duryée's
Abram Duryée
Abram Duryée was a Union Army general during the American Civil War, the commander of one of the most famous Zouave regiments, the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry. After the war he was New York City Police Commissioner.-Birth and early years:...

 Zouave
Zouave
Zouave was the title given to certain light infantry regiments in the French Army, normally serving in French North Africa between 1831 and 1962. The name was also adopted during the 19th century by units in other armies, especially volunteer regiments raised for service in the American Civil War...

s) and 10th New York (the National Zouaves). Within the first 10 minutes of contact, the 500 men of the 5th New York lost almost 300 shot, 120 of them mortally wounded. This was the largest loss of life of any infantry regiment in a single battle during the entire war. The Zouave regiments had been wearing bright red and blue uniforms, and one of Hood's officers wrote that the bodies laying on the hill reminded him of the Texas countryside when the wildflowers were in bloom.

As Pope and McDowell realized the danger of their situation, they ordered units to occupy Henry House Hill, but until that could occur, McLean's brigade was the only obstacle to the Confederate onslaught. His 1,200 Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

ans in four regiments lined up, facing west on Chinn Ridge, with one artillery battery in support, and were able to repulse two assaults, first by Hood and then by Shanks Evans's brigade (Kemper's division). The third assault, by Col. Montgomery D. Corse's brigade (also Kemper's division), was successful. McLean's men mistakenly believed the men approaching the southern tip of the ridge were friendly and withheld their fire. When they realized their mistake, a fierce firefight ensued for over 10 minutes at virtually point-blank range. Added fire from a Louisiana artillery battery caused the Union line to collapse. The Ohio brigade suffered 33% casualties, but they gave Pope an additional 30 minutes to bring up reinforcements.

The first two Union brigades to arrive were from Rickett's division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Zealous B. Tower
Zealous Bates Tower
Zealous Bates Tower was an American soldier and civil engineer who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

 and Col. John W. Stiles. Tower's brigade was overwhelmed by attacks from three sides. His artillery battery was captured and he was seriously wounded. Stiles's brigade, following Tower, fell victim to two newly arrived brigades from Kemper's division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins
Micah Jenkins
Micah Jenkins , was a Confederate general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded by friendly fire at the Battle of the Wilderness.-Early life:...

 and Col. Eppa Hunton
Eppa Hunton
Eppa Hunton II was a U.S. Representative and Senator from Virginia and a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.-Early years:...

. During this intense fighting, the commander of the 12th Massachusetts, Col. Fletcher Webster
Fletcher Webster
Daniel Fletcher Webster, commonly known as Fletcher Webster was the son of renowned politician Daniel Webster and Grace Fletcher Webster...

 (son of the statesman Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

), was mortally wounded. Two more Union brigades poured into the battle from Sigel's I Corps, commanded by Cols. John Koltes and Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski, but had no more success than their predecessors. Both brigades were driven off in disorder and Koltes was killed. The lead elements of Jones's division, the brigades of Cols. George T. Anderson
George T. Anderson
George Thomas Anderson was a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Nicknamed "Tige," Anderson was noted as one of Robert E...

 and Henry L. Benning
Henry L. Benning
Henry Lewis Benning was a lawyer, legislator, judge on the Georgia Supreme Court, and a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He is also noted for the U.S...

, swept all Union resistance off Chinn Ridge by 6 p.m. However, the successful Confederate assault came at a high cost, both in men (Hood's and Kemper's divisions suffered heavy losses and were at least temporarily incapable of further offensive action) and in time. Henry House Hill was still several hundred yards away and there was only an hour of daylight remaining.
During the first two hours of the Confederate assault, Pope had been able to place four brigades in defense of Henry House Hill: two from Reynolds's division, one from Sykes's, and Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy
Robert H. Milroy
Robert Huston Milroy was a lawyer, judge, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War, most noted for his defeat at the Second Battle of Winchester in 1863.-Early life:...

's independent brigade. Lee realized that additional combat power would be required to complete his assault, so he ordered Richard Anderson's division from its reserve position. While these troops were moving up, D.R. Jones launched an attack on the hill with the brigades of Benning and G.T. Anderson. With 3,000 men, this was the largest concentrated attack of the afternoon, but it was poorly coordinated and the four Union brigades held their ground. Additional pressure was applied with the arrival of two brigades from Anderson's division: Brig. Gens. William Mahone
William Mahone
William Mahone was a civil engineer, teacher, soldier, railroad executive, and a member of the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. Congress. Small of stature, he was nicknamed "Little Billy"....

 and Ambrose R. Wright
Ambrose R. Wright
Ambrose Ransom Wright was a lawyer, Georgia politician, and Confederate general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

. The regulars from Sykes's division had no natural defensive advantage on the end of the line and they were driven back toward the Henry House. Inexplicably, Anderson declined to exploit his opening, perhaps because of the growing darkness. The hill remained in Union hands.

Stonewall Jackson, under relatively ambiguous orders from Lee to support Longstreet, launched an attack north of the turnpike at 6 p.m., probably as soon as his exhausted forces could be mustered. Historian John J. Hennessy called Jackson's delays "one of the battle's great puzzles" and "one of the most significant Confederate failures" of the battle, greatly reducing the value of his advance. The attack coincided with Pope's ordered withdrawal of units north of the turnpike to assist in the Henry House Hill defense and the Confederates were able to overrun a number of artillery and infantry units in their fierce assault. By 7 p.m., however, Pope had established a strong defensive line that aligned with the units on Henry House Hill. At 8 p.m., he ordered a general withdrawal on the turnpike to Centreville. Unlike the calamitous retreat at the First Battle of Bull Run, the Union movement was quiet and orderly. The Confederates, weary from battle and low on ammunition, did not pursue in the darkness. Although Lee had won a great victory, he had not achieved his objective of destroying Pope's army.

Aftermath


Union casualties were about 10,000 killed and wounded out of 62,000 engaged; the Confederates lost about 1,300 killed and 7,000 wounded out of 50,000. As the Union Army concentrated on Centreville, Lee planned his next move. He sent Jackson on another flanking march in an attempt to interpose his army between Pope and Washington. Pope countered the move and the two forces clashed a final time at the Battle of Chantilly
Battle of Chantilly
The Battle of Chantilly took place on September 1, 1862, in Fairfax County, Virginia, as the concluding battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign of the American Civil War. Thomas J...

 (also known as Ox Hill) on September 1. Lee immediately began his next campaign on September 3, when the vanguard of the Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

, marching toward a fateful encounter with the Army of the Potomac in the Maryland Campaign
Maryland Campaign
The Maryland Campaign, or the Antietam Campaign is widely considered one of the major turning points of the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was repulsed by Maj. Gen. George B...

 and the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

.
Pope was relieved of command on September 12, 1862, and his army was merged into the Army of the Potomac as it marched into Maryland under McClellan. He spent the remainder of the war in the Department of the Northwest in Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, dealing with the Dakota War of 1862
Dakota War of 1862
The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota...

. Pope sought scapegoats to spread the blame for his defeat. On November 25, 1862, Fitz John Porter was arrested and court-martialed for his actions
Court-martial of Fitz John Porter
The court-martial of Fitz John Porter was a major event of the American Civil War. Major General Fitz John Porter was found guilty of disobeying a lawful order, and misconduct in front of the enemy and removed from command based on internal political machinations of the Union...

 on August 29. Porter was found guilty on January 10, 1863, of disobedience and misconduct, and he was dismissed from the Army on January 21. He spent most of the remainder of his life fighting against the verdict. In 1878, a special commission under General John M. Schofield exonerated Porter by finding that his reluctance to attack Longstreet probably saved Pope's Army of Virginia from an even greater defeat. Eight years later, President Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur
Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States . Becoming President after the assassination of President James A. Garfield, Arthur struggled to overcome suspicions of his beginnings as a politician from the New York City Republican machine, succeeding at that task by embracing...

 reversed Porter's sentence.

James Longstreet was criticized for his performance during the battle and the postbellum advocates of the Lost Cause
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

 claimed that his slowness, reluctance to attack, and disobedience to Gen. Lee on August 29 were a harbinger of his controversial performance to come on July 2, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

. Lee's biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, wrote: "The seeds of much of the disaster at Gettysburg were sown in that instant when Lee yielded to Longstreet and Longstreet discovered that he would."

Further reading

  • Ballard, Ted, and Billy Arthur. Second Bull Run Staff Ride: Briefing Book. Carlisle, PA: United States Army Center of Military History, 1999?. .
  • Beaudot, William J. K., and Lance J. Herdegen. An Irishman in the Iron Brigade: The Civil War Memoirs of James P. Sullivan, Sergt., Company K, 6th Wisconsin Volunteers. New York: Fordham University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-8232-1501-0.
  • Whitehorne, Joseph W. A. The Battle of Second Manassas: Self-Guided Tour. Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History, 1990. .

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