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Title: Manasses (Bull Run) National Battlefield Park-Virginia - National Park Service Historical Handbook No. 15
Author: Wilshin, Francis F.
Language: English
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[Illustration: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, March 3, 1849]

                     Oscar L. Chapman, _Secretary_

                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                      Conrad L. Wirth, _Director_


This publication is one of a series of handbooks describing the
historical and archeological areas in the National Park System
administered by the National Park Service of the United States
Department of the Interior. It is printed by the Government Printing
Office and may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents,
Washington 25, D. C., price 20 cents

                              (_Bull Run_)
                       NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK

                        _by Francis F. Wilshin_

[Illustration: Bugler on horseback.]

                        Washington, D. C., 1953


The National Park System, of which Manassas National Battlefield Park is
a unit, is dedicated to conserving the scenic, scientific, and historic
heritage of the United States for the benefit and enjoyment of its


  THE FIRST DAYS OF THE WAR                                             1
  CONFEDERATES LOOK TO MANASSAS DEFENSES                                3
  THE FEDERAL ARMY MOVES TOWARD MANASSAS                                5
  MCDOWELL TESTS THE CONFEDERATE RIGHT                                  7
  FIRST BATTLE OF MANASSAS                                              8
      Morning Phase—The Fight at Matthews Hill                         11
      Afternoon Phase                                                  13
      Effects of First Manassas                                        17
  WINTER’S LULL                                                        18
  POPE CONCENTRATES BEHIND THE RAPIDAN                                 20
  SECOND BATTLE OF MANASSAS                                            26
      First Phase—Bristoe and Manassas, August 27                      26
      Second Phase—Groveton, August 28                                 27
      Third Phase—Main Battle, August 29-30                            27
      Fourth Phase—Chantilly, September 1                              36
      Results of Second Battle of Manassas                             37
  THE WAR AFTER SECOND MANASSAS                                        38
  GUIDE TO THE AREA                                                    39
  THE PARK                                                             46
  HOW TO REACH THE PARK                                                47
  ADMINISTRATION                                                       47
  RELATED AREAS                                                        47
  VISITOR FACILITIES                                                   47

[Illustration: Wartime photograph of the Stone House, which still stands
as the most conspicuous landmark of both the First and Second Battles of
Manassas. Courtesy National Archives.]

[Illustration: Manassas National Battlefield Park]

_Manassas National Battlefield Park preserves the scene of two of the
famous battles of the Civil War. The first shall be ever memorable as
the opening engagement of that great conflict, while the second, fought
approximately a year later, paved the way for Lee’s first invasion of
the North. In each instance Confederate arms won signal success and
dangerously threatened the National Capital._

The Civil War was perhaps the most dramatic and significant event in the
history of the United States as an independent nation. It was the climax
of a half century of social, political, and economic rivalries growing
out of an economy half slave, half free. In the race for territorial
expansion in the West, in the evolution of the theories of centralized
government, and in the conception of the rights of the individual, these
rivalries became so intense as to find a solution only in the grim
realities of civil strife.

It was on the great battlefields of this war, stretching from the
Mexican border to Pennsylvania, that these differences were resolved in
a new concept of national unity and an extension of freedom. In the
scope of its operations, in the magnitude of its cost in human life and
financial resources, the war had few, if any, parallels in the past. Its
imprint upon the future was deep and lasting, its heroic sacrifice an
inspiring tribute to the courage and valor of the American people.

                      _The First Days of the War_

The flash and the dull roar of a 10-inch mortar, April 12, 1861,
announced to a startled countryside the firing of the opening gun of the
Civil War. Two days later Fort Sumter surrendered. The reverberations of
this shot were to shake the very foundations of the Nation. Gone was the
period of apathy and indecision. Events now moved with lightning-like

On April 15, Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 volunteers, and soon
troops were pouring into Washington. On May 23, Virginia voted to ratify
the Ordinance of Secession, and the next day columns of Federal troops
crossed the Potomac and seized Alexandria and Arlington Heights. Eight
days later Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy and the chief
objective of the Federal armies in the East. Stretching from the Ohio to
Chesapeake Bay, Virginia constituted the wealthiest and most populous
state of the Confederacy. Here were to be found rich natural resources
and a heavy network of railroads and highways for military transport.
These military advantages, however, were somewhat offset by the deep
waters which flanked much of the state, increasing its vulnerability to
Federal attack.

Straight across the path of one of the main high roads to Richmond from
the north lay Manassas, a small railroad settlement, only a few miles
east of the Bull Run Mountains. Here the Orange and Alexandria Railroad
formed a junction with the Manassas Gap line which extended westward
through the Blue Ridge to Strasburg, near Winchester. By seizure of this
significant junction, located approximately 25 miles southwest of
Washington, the Federal army could follow the Orange and Alexandria
southwest to Gordonsville and thence proceed by the Virginia Central
eastward to Richmond. This, with good supporting highways, would assure
an overland approach that would avoid many of the natural barriers found
in the shortest route by Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg.

The significance of Manassas was likewise apparent to the Confederates.
As early as May 6, Col. St. George Cocke, commanding the Potomac
Department, had received a dispatch from Gen. Robert E. Lee: “You are
desired to post at Manassas Gap Junction a force sufficient to defend
that point against an attack likely to be made against it by troops from

The first troops to arrive were two raw, undrilled, and ununiformed
Irish regiments from Alexandria, armed with altered muskets. By May 14,
Cocke was able to write Lee that he had succeeded in assembling a force
of 918 men at Manassas. That he had a clear grasp of the military
significance of the area is seen in his dispatch to Lee the next day:
“It is obvious, sir, with a strong _corps d’armee_ at Manassas, and at
least a division at Winchester, these two bodies being connected by a
continuous railway through Manassas Gap, there should be kept at all
times upon that road ample means of transportation. These two
columns—one at Manassas and one at Winchester—could readily co-operate
and concentrate upon the one point or the other.” Here then was a
significant germ of Confederate strategy.

As a phase of this strategy, Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston had been sent
to take command of the Confederate force of about 12,000 men stationed
in the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley at Harper’s Ferry. Here was
the gateway to the North through the Cumberland Valley of Maryland and
here passed the great Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which connected
Washington with the West. But Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, then in command
of the Army of the United States, had dispatched Maj. Gen. Robert
Patterson with a force of about 18,000 men to seize this strategic
position and to prevent, at all odds, the junction of Johnston’s forces
with the Confederate army at Manassas.

                _Confederates Look to Manassas Defenses_

On June 1, Brig. Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard, the Confederate hero of
Fort Sumter, arrived to take command at Manassas. Two days later he was
writing President Jefferson Davis requesting reinforcements. At this
early date the defenses of Manassas appeared anything but formidable to
the eyes of an English lieutenant of artillery who, arriving at night,
viewed them for the first time: “I could scarcely believe that this was
a great military depot, there being nothing within my range of vision to
indicate that such was the fact. The station itself was a low,
one-storied building, about seventy-five feet in length, with bales and
boxes scattered about; a house of refreshment close by was uninviting,
and except one or two small cottages scattered here and there, naught
was to be seen.”

[Illustration: Brig. Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard in command
of the Confederate Army of the Potomac. Courtesy National Archives.]

By the end of June this picture had materially changed. The roads, the
fields, and the town were filled with soldiers by the thousands. Around
the junction massive fortifications had been erected running out in
different directions from the station. Through the embrasures of these
earthworks the muzzles of heavy cannon pointed menacingly toward
Washington. Acres of trees had been felled to give free range to
artillery, and at key positions along the front men were constantly on
guard at their battle stations. Camps had sprung up like mushrooms in
the open countryside, and here troops in and out of uniform could be
seen almost incessantly engaged in drill.

By June 23, Beauregard was able to advise the Confederate Secretary of
War that, in consequence of large reinforcements lately received, he had
been able to divide his forces into six brigades commanded by Bonham,
Ewell, D. R. Jones, Terrett, Cocke, and Early. Advance detachments had
been stationed at key points including Centreville, Fairfax Court House,
Germantown, the junction of the Old Braddock Road with the Fairfax Court
House Road, and at Sangster’s Crossroads. With the main body of his
troops partially intrenched along Bull Run, from Union Mills to the
Stone Bridge, Beauregard watched closely the Federal preparations for an

As the tension mounted, alarms occurred with increasing frequency.
Bootless, hatless, and coatless men often dashed to assembly sounded by
the “thump, thump of the big drums.” Rumors of the Federal advance
“filled every breeze.” In a dispatch, dated July 9, Beauregard informed
President Davis: “Enemy’s force increasing, and advancing daily this
side of Potomac. He will soon attack with very superior numbers. No time
should be lost in re-enforcing me here with at least ten thousand
men—volunteers or militia.”

On the 17th Beauregard telegraphed President Davis informing him of an
attack on his outposts and requesting that he send reinforcements “at
the earliest possible moment.” Confronted with this crisis, Davis acted
quickly. Advising Beauregard of the dispatch of reinforcements of
Hampton’s Legion, McRae’s regiment, and two battalions of Mississippi
and Alabama troops, he ordered Holmes’ troops up from Fredericksburg.
The same day, through his adjutant, he sent the following dispatch to
Johnston in Winchester:

                                              RICHMOND, _July_ 17, 1861.

  General J. E. JOHNSTON, _WINCHESTER, Va._:

  General Beauregard is attacked. To strike the enemy a decisive blow a
  junction of all your effective force will be needed. If practicable,
  make the movement, sending your sick and baggage to Culpeper
  Court-House either by railroad or by Warrenton. In all the
  arrangements exercise your discretion.

                                                              S. COOPER,
                                       _Adjutant and Inspector General_.

Realizing that Harper’s Ferry was untenable, Johnston had previously
retired upon Winchester, with Patterson in cautious pursuit. Receiving
Davis’ dispatch at 1 a. m., July 18, Johnston determined to elude
Patterson and join Beauregard as quickly as possible. By a forced march
he reached Piedmont where his various brigades entrained for Manassas
Junction, 35 miles away. Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade was in
advance, followed by those of Bee, Bartow, and Elzey.

Thus, after approximately 3 months of hurried preparation following
Sumter, the stage was finally set—the drama of the opening battle was
about to unfold.

                _The Federal Army Moves Toward Manassas_

On July 16, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell had reluctantly put the Federal
army in motion. In vain he had attempted to delay the movement until
adequate training could provide him with an effective fighting force
composed of the 3-year volunteers, authorized by President Lincoln on
May 3, but popular clamor would not be denied. Pressure for a forward
movement was heightened by the realization that the term of enlistment
was rapidly expiring for a large body of the troops. Further delay would
mean the loss of their services.

[Illustration: Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, in command of the Federal Army
in the First Battle of Manassas. Courtesy National Archives.]

With excitement and high expectancy, the army, accompanied by many
notables in fine carriages, took the road 35,000 strong. Seldom had the
country seen such a splash of color as was presented by the brilliant
uniforms of the various regiments and the gaily fluttering national and
regimental flags. The first day’s advance covered only 6 miles.
Oppressive heat, dust, thirst, and the weight of heavy equipment slowed
the step and caused considerable straggling.

Lagging spirits, however, caught fire with the triumphant advance of
Hunter’s division into Fairfax Court House. As the head of the column
swung into town, Confederate units stationed there fled in such haste as
to leave large quantities of forage and camp equipage behind. In an
impressive show of martial splendor, the troops, four abreast with fixed
bayonets, paraded through the streets to the stirring strains of the
national anthem and other patriotic airs struck up by the regimental

From Fairfax Court House the advance moved cautiously toward
Centreville, with engineers and axmen flung forward to alert the army to
“masked batteries” and to clear roadblocks of fallen timber left by the
retiring Confederates. By noon of the 18th the main body of McDowell’s
army had assembled at Centreville and now stood poised to strike.

During the advance, little or no information had been received regarding
Patterson’s movements in the valley. Irked by this, Scott telegraphed
Patterson as follows:

                                            Washington, _July_ 18, 1861.

  Major-General Patterson,...

  I have certainly been expecting you to beat the enemy. If not, to hear
  that you had felt him strongly, or, at least, had occupied him by
  threats and demonstrations. You have been at least his equal, and, I
  suppose, superior, in numbers. Has he not stolen a march and sent
  reenforcements toward Manassas Junction? A week is enough to win

                                                          WINFIELD SCOTT

[Illustration: Confederate fortifications at Manassas, Va. Wartime
photograph. Courtesy National Archives.]


To this, Patterson sent the following reply to Colonel Townsend in
Scott’s headquarters:

                                    CHARLESTOWN, VA., _July_ 18th, 1861.

  Col. E. D. Townsend:

  Telegram of to-day received. The enemy has stolen no march upon me. I
  have kept him actively employed, and by threats and reconnaissances in
  force caused him to be re-enforced. I have accomplished in this
  respect more than the General-in-Chief asked, or could well be
  expected, in face of an enemy far superior in numbers, with no line of
  communication to protect....

                                                        R. PATTERSON,...

The events of the next few days more than justified Scott’s suspicions.

                 _McDowell Tests the Confederate Right_

On July 18, in a feeling movement on the Confederate right, Tyler made a
thrust against Beauregard’s troops stationed in the vicinity of
Blackburn’s Ford. The affair got somewhat out of hand with the result
that the Federal force was smartly repulsed. The action had a depressing
effect on Union morale but greatly boosted that of the Confederates.
There then followed 2 days of costly delay for McDowell during which
time he brought forward his supplies—a delay the Confederates were quick
to capitalize upon. To the sound of the axe and the crash of falling
trees, they built roadblocks along the Warrenton Pike in the vicinity of
the Stone Bridge and in general strengthened their defenses. More
important, the delay gave Johnston much needed time in which to reach

Confederate reinforcements were now steadily moving in. On the 19th,
Jackson arrived 2,500 strong, having covered approximately 55 miles in
25 hours. At sunrise of the 20th, more of Johnston’s reinforcements had
come in—the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments of Bartow’s brigade numbering
1,400 men. About noon, Johnston himself arrived accompanied by Bee, the
4th Alabama, the 2d Mississippi, and two companies of the 11th
Mississippi. The Confederate camp now became a scene of busy activity.
While the reinforcements moved up to position in the line, Beauregard
and Johnston conferred on plans for an offensive. Candles burned low in
headquarters that night as Beauregard and his staff put the finishing
touches to the Confederate plan of attack. At 4:30 a. m., he submitted
it to Johnston, his superior, for the approval that was quickly granted.
The plan involved the flanking of the Federal left, but the early
movement of McDowell, the delayed arrival of expected reinforcements,
and the miscarriage of orders combined to prevent its execution.

           _First Battle of Manassas_ (SEE MAP ON PAGES 22-23.)

Sunday, July 21, dawned bright and clear. The listless stirring of the
trees gave early promise that the day would be hot. Dust lay thick upon
the grass, the brush, and the uniforms of the men. The Confederate camps
were just beginning to stir from a restless night when, suddenly about
5:15 a. m., there was heard the thunderous roar of a big gun in the
vicinity of the Stone Bridge. With this shot, fired from a 30-pounder
Parrott rifle of Tyler’s command, McDowell opened the first battle of
the war.

[Illustration: Young Confederates in Richmond who were soon to receive
their baptism of fire at the First Battle of Manassas. From
“Photographic History of the Civil War.”]

[Illustration: Federal Army near Fairfax Court House en route to the
First Battle of Manassas. A detachment of the 2d Ohio is shown in the
foreground. From original sketch by A. R. Waud. Courtesy Library of

Since 2:30 a. m. his troops had been in motion executing a
well-conceived plan of attack. In bright moonlight, across the valley
from Centreville “sparkling with the frost of steel,” the Federal army
had moved in a three-pronged attack. McDowell had originally planned to
turn the Confederate right, but the affair of the 18th at Blackburn’s
Ford had shown the Confederates in considerable strength in that sector.
Further informed that the Stone Bridge was mined and that the turnpike
west of the bridge was blocked by a heavy abatis, he determined to turn
the extreme Confederate left. By this flanking movement he hoped to
seize the Stone Bridge and destroy the Manassas Gap Railroad at or near
Gainesville, thus breaking the line of communication between Johnston,
supposedly at Winchester, and Beauregard at Manassas. To screen the main
attack, Tyler was to make a feinting thrust at the Confederate defenses
at the Stone Bridge, while Richardson was to make a diversion at
Blackburn’s Ford. Miles’ division was to cover Centreville, while
Runyon’s division covered the road to Washington. To a large extent the
success of the attack depended upon two factors—rapidity of movement and
the element of surprise.

Turning to the right at Cub Run Bridge, the main Federal column,
composed of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions, had followed a narrow
dirt road to Sudley Ford which they reached, after exasperating delays,
about 9:30 a. m. Here the men stopped to drink and fill their canteens.
Though this loss of time was costly, success might still have been
theirs if the movement had not been detected.

[Illustration: Sudley Springs Ford, Catharpin Run. Wartime photograph.
Courtesy Library of Congress.]

From Signal Hill, a high observation point within the Manassas defenses,
the Confederate signal officer, E. P. Alexander, had been scanning the
horizon for any evidence of a flanking movement. With glass in hand he
was examining the area in the vicinity of Sudley Ford when about 8:45 a.
m. his attention was arrested by the glint of the morning sun on a brass
field piece. Closer observation revealed the glitter of bayonets and
musket barrels. Quickly he signaled Evans at the Stone Bridge, “Look out
for your left; you are turned.” This message, which was to play an
important part in the tactical development of the battle, represents
probably the first use under combat conditions of the “wig-wag” system
of signaling.

[Illustration: The ruins of the Stone Bridge over Bull Run, from the
east. Here opened the First Battle of Manassas. Wartime photograph.
Courtesy National Archives.]


Since 8 o’clock it had been apparent to Evans that Tyler’s attack was
simply a feint. Now warned of the approach of the flanking column, he
moved rapidly to counter it. Leaving four companies of his command to
guard the bridge with two pieces of artillery, he pushed northwestward
about 1,700 yards to a point near the crossing of the Warrenton Turnpike
and the Manassas-Sudley Road. There, about 10:15 a. m., he opened with
artillery and infantry fire upon the advancing Federal column led by
Burnside’s brigade. Soon Col. Andrew Porter moved to Burnside’s
assistance. Hard-pressed after a gallant stand of about an hour, Evans
sent an urgent request to Bee for help. Temporarily attached to Bee’s
brigade was Bartow with two Georgia regiments. With his command Bee had
previously taken up a position on Henry Hill from which point Imboden’s
battery had played with telling effect upon the flanking column of

Bee moved promptly forward, taking up a position on the right of Evans’
line about 11 a. m. Here the combined Confederate force of approximately
five regiments with six field pieces held stubbornly until about noon.
The arrival of fresh Federal reinforcements of Heintzelman, and later of
Sherman and Keyes, so increased the pressure on the Confederate right
that its defenses gave way. Eagerly the Federal columns pushed their
advantage as the now demoralized Confederates retreated across Young’s
Branch to the shelter of the Robinson House Hill. Following closely,
Keyes moved downstream and took up a position in the shelter of the
hills where he remained to take little effective part in further
fighting during the day.

In a position near the Robinson House, Hampton’s Legion, 600 strong,
courageously attempted to cover the Confederate retreat. The Federal
attack, however, finally forced them back with the disordered commands
of Bee, Bartow, and Evans.

[Illustration: Confederate officers rallying their troops behind the
Robinson House during the First Battle of Manassas. From “Battles and
Leaders of the Civil War.”]

In the midst of the wild confusion that then ensued, as the fate of the
battle hung in the balance, there occurred one of the dramatic moments
of the war. Bee, desperately attempting to rally his men, glanced toward
Henry Hill where he saw Jackson and his command standing bold and
resolute. Catching the inspiration of the moment, Bee leaned forward in
his stirrups and with pointed sword shouted to his men, “Look! There is
Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” Thus
“Stonewall” Jackson won his famous sobriquet.

It was about this time that Johnston and Beauregard galloped upon the
field. In the presence of their commanding officers the men gained new
confidence. The line stiffened, formed again, and advanced to the front.
Reinforcements from Cocke’s and Bonham’s brigades, at fords farther down
Bull Run, were now fast coming up. Quickly upon their arrival they were
sent into position to the right and left of Jackson. Johnston soon
retired to the Lewis House (“Portici”), where he directed the movement
of reinforcements from the rear, while Beauregard took immediate command
of the field.

There now occurred a lull between 1 and 2 p. m. as the victorious
Federal troops crossed the valley of Young’s Branch and re-formed for a
renewal of the attack.

                            AFTERNOON PHASE.

About 2 p. m., McDowell ordered forward the two splendid, regular
batteries of Ricketts and Griffin, directing them to take up an exposed
position just south of the Henry House. At a distance of not much more
than 300 yards, these batteries were soon engaged in a furious duel with
the artillery arrayed in Jackson’s front. For about 15 minutes the din
was terrific. Finally, in an effort to gain a better enfilading fire,
Griffin advanced three of his guns slightly. The movement proved fatal.

At this moment J. E. B. Stuart made a dashing cavalry charge up the
Manassas-Sudley Road, scattering the colorful Fire Zouaves who had been
advanced to the support of Ricketts and Griffin. Almost simultaneously
the 33rd Virginia regiment moved forward. Mistaken by one of the Federal
officers as a battery support, it was allowed to come within 70 yards of
Griffin’s guns. Suddenly the regiment delivered a murderous volley,
which killed most of the horses and men of both batteries. The
immobilized guns were seized by the Virginians, only to be recaptured by
a spirited Federal advance. In heated charges and countercharges the
guns changed hands a number of times, yet neither side was able to
employ them effectively. Their loss to the Federal command was

Federal pressure now became so strong that Beauregard decided to attack.
As Jackson penetrated the center of the Federal line, the Confederate
right swept clear the area in the vicinity of the Robinson House. In a
gallant countercharge, however, the Union brigades of Franklin, Willcox,
Sherman, and Porter surged forward to reclaim the lost ground. In the
attack, McDowell displayed reckless courage by climbing to the upper
story of the Henry House to obtain a better view of the whole field.

[Illustration: The Federal assault on Henry Hill in the First Battle of
Manassas. From “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.”]

The battle now raged with increasing severity as both sides fought
desperately for possession of the plateau—“the key to victory.” The
weight of Federal pressure upon Beauregard’s left and right flanks so
increased as to endanger his whole position. It was now about 3 p. m.
The scorching rays of the sun beat unmercifully upon the exhausted
troops as Beauregard, at this critical stage, ordered yet another
general attack all along the line. Just then Fisher’s 6th North Carolina
regiment arrived to take position on the Confederate left. With
Beauregard leading the charge, the Confederate line advanced to clear
the field and regain final possession of the Henry and Robinson Houses.

[Illustration: Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in command of the Army of
the Shenandoah. Courtesy National Archives.]

[Illustration: Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Courtesy National

Despite the loss of the plateau, McDowell’s position was still strong.
With his right anchored in the woods in the vicinity of the Chinn House,
his line stretched in a great crescent back of the J. Dogan House and
the Stone House to a position near the Stone Bridge. However, the right
held by Howard’s brigade and Sykes’ regulars had become so extended as
to face almost east towards Centreville. Thus extended, it invited an
attack which the Confederate command was quick to mount. Reinforcements,
sent forward by Johnston, now rapidly moved up. In the lead were
Kershaw’s 2d and Cash’s 8th South Carolina regiments followed by
Kemper’s battery. Quickly following these troops came Elzey’s brigade,
1,700 strong. This brigade of Johnston’s Army, detrained only a few
hours before, had advanced to the sound of firing, led by Kirby Smith.
To the weight of these numbers was added still another fresh
brigade—Early’s. Coming into position to the left of Elzey’s brigade,
Early struck the Federal right in flank and rear.

The combined attack, delivered about 3:45 p. m., proved overwhelming.
The Federal line staggered and fell back, retiring across the field in
some semblance of order. A brief rally north of Young’s Branch was
broken up by Confederate artillery fire. All other attempts to rally the
men proved futile. They had had enough. Now they continued homeward by
the various routes of the morning’s advance. Bravely covering the
retreat were Sykes’ regulars and Palmer’s squadron of cavalry.

As the main body of the Federal army retreated in the direction of
Sudley Ford, Keyes’ brigade recrossed at the Stone Bridge closely
pursued by a Confederate detachment led by Kemper’s battery. Riding
astraddle one of the guns was the venerable “Yankee hater,” Edmund
Ruffin, who had fired one of the first shots at Fort Sumter. Dusty and
weary he had arrived upon the field in the closing moments of the battle
in time to hail Kemper’s battery as it was passing. Eager to get another
shot at the enemy, he held precariously to his seat as the battery went
jolting past the Stone Bridge and along the pike now littered with arms,
accoutrements, haversacks, knapsacks, loose articles of clothing,
blankets, drums, and brass musical instruments left by the rapidly
retiring troops.

[Illustration: The Robinson House. From a wartime photograph in
“Photographic History of the Civil War.”]

After proceeding a few miles, Kemper’s guns reached an advantageous
rise. There they were unlimbered and quickly made ready for firing. The
first shot, fired by the elderly Ruffin, hit squarely upon the
suspension bridge over Cub Run upsetting a wagon that had just been
driven upon it. This served to barricade the bridge to further use by
other vehicles. In quick succession more shots were fired. Complete
panic now seized the Federal troops as they fled in a wild rout back to
Washington. Adding to the confusion were the throngs of sightseers and
fugitives who crowded the narrow roads. The roar of the flight, wrote
Russell, _The London Times’_ correspondent, was like the rush of a great
river. All through the night and the rain of the next day the tide of
soldiers and civilians streamed into Washington. Attempts by McDowell to
rally the soldiers were in vain.

The exhausted, battle-weary Confederates made no effective pursuit.
Early’s brigade and Stuart’s cavalry did succeed in capturing quite a
number of prisoners, but the main Union force escaped. July 22 found
both armies in the positions they had occupied prior to the 16th.

                       EFFECTS OF FIRST MANASSAS.

The news of the disaster was first received in the Capital with
incredulity and amazement, then with consternation. Throughout the night
President Lincoln received spectators of the battle and listened in
silence to their descriptions of the engagement.

“For a few days,” writes Channing, “the North was dazed, stocks went
down, money went up, and people sat around with their hands folded in
despair. Then, almost as by magic, the scene shifted and stern resolve
took the place of the hysteria of the Hundred Days since Sumter. Lincoln
called for volunteers. The best blood of the North in all ranks of
society, in the East, in the Ohio Valley, and on the shores of the Great
Lakes responded. The new men went into the conflict with a determination
and a spirit that has seldom been seen and never excelled.”

In the South, the news of the victory was received with great elation.
Thanksgiving sermons were preached from the pulpits while public
officials commemorated the event with congratulatory proclamations. In
the ill-considered opinion of many Southerners the war was over, yet
seldom if ever has so complete a victory borne such meager results. An
overweening confidence and a false sense of security developed in the
South a paralysis of enterprise more damaging to it than was the
disaster of defeat for the North.

The battle, however, as the English historian Fuller points out, was to
have a profound influence on the grand strategy of the war. “First, it
imbued the Southern politicians with an exaggerated idea of the prowess
of their soldiers and so led them to under-estimate the fighting
capacity of their enemy; secondly, it so terrified Lincoln and his
Government that from now onwards until 1864, east of the Alleghanies,
the defence of Washington became the pivot of Northern strategy.”

Though the men of each army had fought with flashes of steadiness and
exceptional courage, there was ample evidence to show the costly result
of inadequate training.

                                    FEDERAL    CONFEDERATE
        Strength, approximate        35,000         32,000
        Killed                          460            387
        Wounded                       1,124          1,582
        Captured or missing           1,312             13
        Total                         2,896          1,982

                            _Winter’s Lull_

Following the conclusion of the first Manassas campaign, the war in
Virginia “languished” until the spring of 1862. The North, smarting from
the humiliating defeat suffered at Bull Run, now turned with grim
determination to the mobilization of its resources and to the training
of the great land forces necessary to subjugate the South. Maj. Gen.
George B. McClellan, fresh from victories in western Virginia, was
immediately called to the command of the Federal forces around
Washington. Soldierly in bearing and engaging in manner, McClellan
proved a popular choice with the Nation and the army. With marked
success he initiated a program of organization and training of the great
Army of the Potomac. Recruits now streamed into Washington by the
thousand. By December, there were 150,000 in training; by spring, over

Meanwhile, the Confederate army under Joseph E. Johnston remained
encamped at Centreville with outposts along the Potomac. Jackson, with a
detachment, was stationed at Winchester. It was during this time that
Johnston established a very strongly fortified position consisting of an
L-shaped line of earthwork forts and batteries connected by infantry
trenches that extended along the eastern and northern crests of
Centreville for a distance of approximately 5 miles. Gradually, on the
approach of winter, log or board huts were constructed for winter
quarters for the troops. These were so located as to permit the troops
easy access to the fortifications.

[Illustration: Quaker guns at Centreville. Confederate winter quarters
are shown in background. Wartime photograph. Courtesy National

With the worsening condition of the roads the problem of supply became
increasingly difficult. It was then that Johnston built a branch
railroad from his base at Manassas Junction. This was one of the first
railroads ever to be used solely for military purposes.

              _Preliminary Operations to Second Manassas_

McClellan’s failure to move against Johnston resulted in a restive
public and press. Richmond, rather than Centreville, now became the
immediate Federal objective. Learning of an anticipated movement against
Richmond via Urbanna, Johnston, on March 9, fell back from Centreville
to take up a position south of the Rappahannock, with his right resting
at Fredericksburg and his left at Culpeper Court House. This forced a
modification of McClellan’s original plan. He thereupon decided to make
the movement by water to Fortress Monroe and from there advance up the
Peninsula upon Richmond.

On March 17, the Federal army embarked from Alexandria. McClellan had
anticipated the use of a force of about 155,000 men. The brilliant
operations of “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley during the
next 4 months, however, so alarmed President Lincoln as to cause him to
immobilize nearly 40,000 of McDowell’s troops at Fredericksburg to
secure the defenses of Washington. This, together with the detention of
Banks’ expected reinforcements in the Valley, reduced McClellan’s force
to approximately 100,000, thereby materially minimizing his chances of
success. Seldom has so small a force as that of Jackson (approximately
16,000) so largely influenced the final outcome of a major military

Johnston, in the meantime, had reinforced Magruder at Yorktown. On May 4
the town was evacuated, and the next day a successful rearguard action
was fought at Williamsburg, covering the Confederate withdrawal to
Richmond. The Federal army followed by land and water to White House on
the Pamunkey where, on May 16, McClellan set up his headquarters. The
next day the Federal forces resumed their advance on Richmond.

Gathering a force of some 63,000 men, Johnston then determined to
attack. On May 31, in the Battle of Seven Pines, followed by the Battle
of Fair Oaks the next day, the Confederates were repulsed, and Johnston
was severely wounded. The command of the Army of Northern Virginia now
devolved upon Robert E. Lee, a command that he was not to relinquish
until the end of the war. Within 2 weeks the defenses of Richmond had
been strengthened and the morale of the troops greatly improved.

By June 25, Lee had assembled a force of about 90,000 men, including
Jackson’s victorious command from the Valley. The next day he launched
his great counteroffensive. In a series of desperately contested
operations, known as the Seven Days’ Battles before Richmond, McClellan
was forced back upon Harrison’s Landing on the James. Though the
campaign was costly in Confederate casualties, Lee saved Richmond and
cloaked his army with a sense of invincibility.

[Illustration: Maj. Gen. John Pope, in command of the Federal Army,
Second Battle of Manassas. Courtesy National Archives.]

[Illustration: Gen. Robert E. Lee, in command of the Army of Northern
Virginia. Courtesy National Archives.]

                 _Pope Concentrates Behind the Rapidan_

The failure of Fremont, Banks, and McDowell in the Shenandoah Valley
convinced President Lincoln of the desirability of consolidating their
armies under a single head. By order of June 26 the “Army of Virginia”
was created, and Maj. Gen. John Pope, who had won recent successes in
the West, was given the command. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Henry W.
Halleck was recalled from the West to be made general in chief of the
Federal armies.

To Pope was entrusted the responsibility for covering Washington,
protecting the Shenandoah Valley, and so operating against the
Confederate communications at Gordonsville and Charlottesville as to
draw off heavy detachments from Richmond, thereby relieving the pressure
on McClellan. On July 14, Pope ordered an advance on Gordonsville. Lee,
anticipating the movement, had ordered Jackson to this point the day

On August 7, Jackson, having been reinforced by A. P. Hill, moved toward
Culpeper in the hope of capturing the town and using it in a series of
operations against Pope. Two days later he fell upon Banks at Cedar
Mountain in a sharp but indecisive encounter.

Lee now learned that McClellan had been ordered to evacuate the
Peninsula and reinforce Pope. Appreciating the necessity of striking
Pope before he could be joined by such heavy reinforcements, Lee moved
with Longstreet’s corps to reinforce Jackson. Pope’s force now numbered
about 47,000 effectives, while Lee had approximately 55,000.

         _Lee’s Operations Along the Rapidan and Rappahannock_

Pope’s center was now at Cedar Mountain, his right at Robertson’s River,
and his left near Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan. Thus stationed, his army
was directly opposite Gordonsville where Jackson’s force had recently
arrived. On Clark’s Mountain (a high hill opposite Pope’s left) the
Confederates had established a signal station. From here, stretching for
miles, could be seen the white tents of the Federal encampment dotting
the Culpeper tablelands. Spurs from Clark’s Mountain paralleled the
Rapidan to Somerville Ford, located about 2 miles from Raccoon Ford.

Lee was quick to appreciate the advantage this topography afforded him.
Massing his troops behind Clark’s Mountain he might move under its
protecting screen, fall upon Pope’s left at Somerville Ford, and cut off
his retreat to Washington. The opportunity held bright possibilities of
success, and August 18 was set as the date for the initiation of the
movement. Unforeseen delays postponed the movement until the 20th. Worse
still for the Confederates, Stuart’s adjutant general was captured,
bearing a copy of Lee’s order.

Thus warned, Pope withdrew his army behind the Rappahannock. Lee
followed closely on the 20th, crossing to the north side of the river.
Pope took up an advantageous position where he stood fast during 5 days
of feints and demonstrations as Lee sought eagerly for an opening on the
right. In the meantime, Stuart had captured Pope’s headquarters. Thus,
Lee learned that 20,000 troops, composing the corps of Heintzelman and
Porter and the division of Reynolds, were within 2 days’ march of the
front. Within 5 days other expected reinforcements would swell Pope’s
numbers to about 130,000 men.

The situation was so desperate as to demand a bold expedient. Quickly,
Lee made his decision. Jackson, with Stuart’s cavalry comprising about
24,000 men, was to be sent on a wide flanking movement of Pope’s right
for the purpose of destroying his communications with Washington.
Commenting on this decision, Henderson, the English biographer of
Jackson, says “we have record of few enterprises of greater daring.”

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF FIRST MANASSAS, AUGUST 29-30, 1861]


[Illustration: Jackson and his foot cavalry. From the painting by
Hoffbauer in Battle Abbey, Richmond, Va. Courtesy Virginia Historical

With Lee and Longstreet covering the line of the Rappahannock, Jackson
began his march from Jeffersonton on August 25. He moved through
Amissville and Orlean to bivouac that night at Salem. The next day he
pushed on past Thoroughfare Gap and Gainesville to Bristoe. Never did
the “foot cavalry” better deserve its name, for in 2 days it had covered
approximately 51 miles. That night Jackson sent Stuart and two regiments
to Manassas Junction to capture Pope’s great base of supplies. The task
was accomplished with little effort.

[Illustration: Jackson’s troops pillaging Federal supplies at Manassas
Junction just prior to the Second Battle of Manassas. From “Battles and
Leaders of the Civil War.”]

[Illustration: Manassas Junction, Va., as it looked after Jackson’s
raid. Wartime photograph. Courtesy National Archives.]

The next day Jackson left Ewell to cover the rear at Bristoe and moved
with the rest of his command to Manassas Junction. There then followed a
scene of feasting and plunder the like of which has seldom been
witnessed. Knapsacks, haversacks, and canteens were filled with articles
of every description. Added to vast quantities of quartermaster and
commissary supplies were innumerable luxuries from sutler stores,
including expensive liquors and imported wines. An eyewitness writes,
“To see a starving man eating lobster salad & drinking rhine wine,
barefooted & in tatters was curious; the whole thing is indescribable.”
What could not be eaten or carried away was finally put to the torch.
With the destruction of these supplies one of the chief objectives of
the campaign had been accomplished.

          _Second Battle of Manassas_ (SEE MAP ON PAGES 28-29.)


Pope, now advised of the presence of Jackson in his rear, immediately
ordered a concentration of his forces in order to crush him. McDowell’s
and Sigel’s corps, together with the division of Reynolds, were to move
to Gainesville, while Reno’s corps, with Kearny’s division of
Heintzelman’s corps, was to concentrate at Greenwich. By these
dispositions Pope hoped to intercept any reinforcements coming to
Jackson by way of Thoroughfare Gap. With Hooker’s division of
Heintzelman’s corps Pope moved along the railroad to Manassas Junction.

On the afternoon of August 27, Hooker attacked Ewell and drove him back
upon Bristoe. During the night, Ewell retired to Manassas where he
joined the rest of Jackson’s force. Pope now learned for the first time
that the whole of Jackson’s command was at Manassas. New orders were
issued for a concentration at that point. Porter was ordered to march at
1 a. m. of the 28th from Warrenton Junction and be in position at
Bristoe by daylight. McDowell, Sigel, and Reno were to move at dawn upon
Manassas Junction, while Kearny was to advance at the same hour upon

About 3 a. m., August 28, Jackson began to move out of Manassas toward
Groveton. In order to mystify and mislead Pope, he sent Taliaferro along
the Manassas-Sudley Road, Ewell along the Centreville Road via
Blackburn’s Ford and the Stone Bridge to Groveton, and A. P. Hill to
Centreville and thence along the Warrenton Pike to a position near
Sudley Church.

Moving with Kearny’s division, Pope arrived at Manassas Junction at
noon, to find the town deserted. Later in the day, word was received
that the Confederates had been seen in Centreville. Pope thereupon
ordered a concentration at this place in the belief that Jackson’s whole
force was there. The corps of Heintzelman and Reno moved along the
Centreville Road; Sigel and Reynolds along the Manassas-Sudley Road;
King’s division of McDowell’s corps along the Warrenton Pike.

[Illustration: Longstreet’s troops skirmishing at Thoroughfare Gap. From
“Manassas to Appomattox.”]

                   SECOND PHASE—GROVETON, AUGUST 28.

Jackson had but a short time before concentrated north of the turnpike
when word was received that King’s Federal column was approaching from
Gainesville. There was now need for a quick decision. To allow King to
pass unmolested would defeat the purpose of the campaign by permitting
Pope to assume an impregnable position on the heights at Centreville. To
attack, without assurance as to when Longstreet would arrive, was to
invite the assault of Pope’s whole force with possible fatal
consequences. Without hesitation he ordered the divisions of Taliaferro
and Ewell to advance. A fierce and stubborn fight ensued which resulted
in heavy losses on both sides. Finally, about 9 p. m., King withdrew
towards Manassas.

In the meantime, Longstreet had reached Thoroughfare Gap at about 3 p.
m. of the same day to find his way blocked by Federal troops under
Ricketts. Outmaneuvering his opponent by way of Hopewell Gap, he forced
him to fall back to Gainesville. That night, without informing Pope of
their intentions, King and Ricketts decided to move towards Manassas.
This enabled Longstreet to effect an easy junction with Jackson in the
afternoon of the following day.

                 THIRD PHASE—MAIN BATTLE, AUGUST 29-30.

When Pope learned of the engagement of Groveton he mistakenly decided
that King had met the head of Jackson’s column in retreat. Confident of
success, he ordered a concentration of his leg weary troops to crush the
Confederate force. Sigel and Reynolds were to attack at dawn, reinforced
by Heintzelman and Reno. McDowell and Porter were ordered to reverse
their course and push toward Gainesville in an effort to cut off
Jackson’s retreat. The text of this order known as the “Joint Order,”
which was received about noon, reads as follows:

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF SECOND MANASSAS, JULY 21, 1862]

                                           Headquarters Army of Virginia
                                         _Centreville, August_ 29, 1862.

  Generals McDowell and Porter:

  You will please move forward with your joint commands toward
  Gainesville. I sent General Porter written orders to that effect an
  hour and a half ago. Heintzelman, Sigel, and Reno are moving on the
  Warrenton turnpike, and must now be not far from Gainesville. I desire
  that as soon as communication is established between this force and
  your own the whole command shall halt. It may be necessary to fall
  back behind Bull Run at Centreville to-night. I presume it will be so,
  on account of our supplies....

  If any considerable advantages are to be gained by departing from this
  order it will not be strictly carried out. One thing must be had in
  view, that the troops must occupy a position from which they can reach
  Bull Run to-night or by morning. The indications are that the whole
  force of the enemy is moving in this direction at a pace that will
  bring them here by to-morrow night or the next day. My own
  headquarters will be for the present with Heintzelman’s corps or at
  this place.

                                                              Jno. Pope,
                                            _Major-General, Commanding._

Prior to the receipt of the “Joint Order,” Porter had reversed his
course to Centreville and had moved as far as Dawkin’s Branch, located
about 3 miles from Gainesville. Finding the Confederates strongly posted
in his front, he deployed a brigade of his leading division and waited.
McDowell, who arrived shortly thereafter, showed him a dispatch he had
received a few minutes before from Buford, who commanded the Union
cavalry on the right. The dispatch stated that 17 regiments, 1 battery,
and 500 cavalry had passed through Gainesville about 8:45 a. m. This was
the advance of Longstreet’s command which had left Thoroughfare Gap
early that morning and now, followed by heavy reinforcements, was moving
into position on Jackson’s right (Porter’s front).

This information, the generals felt, had not reached Pope. After a
conference, it was decided that in face of this new development they
would take advantage of the latitude the order granted: McDowell would
move towards Groveton, while Porter would remain in the vicinity of his
present position.

The relative quiet in this sector was in sharp contrast to the heavy
fighting now taking place along Jackson’s front. With about 18,000
infantry and 40 guns, Jackson had taken up a position along an
unfinished railroad bed which extended from near Sudley Springs 2 miles
southwesterly to Groveton. The grades and cuts of this road provided
ready-made entrenchments and formed a very strong position. There,
shortly after sunrise, Sigel’s and Reynolds’ columns were seen at a
distance deploying for the attack. About 7 a. m., the Federal batteries
opened fire. By 10:30 a. m., a number of sharp skirmishes had taken
place, but no general assault had been made. About this time Federal
reinforcements of Reno and Kearny reached the field. It was not until 2
p. m., however, that the battle reached its height. All afternoon in
violent but uncoordinated attacks, blue columns gallantly assaulted
Jackson’s line. At one point the Confederate left was pushed back
dangerously near the breaking point, but the gray line steadied and
held. Towards dusk, King’s division, of McDowell’s corps, arrived in
time to take part in the action, engaging a part of Longstreet’s command
which was then advancing on a reconnaissance.

[Illustration: Maj. Gen. Fitz-John Porter, in command of the Fifth Army
Corps at the Second Battle of Manassas. Courtesy Library of Congress.]

Pope, still unaware of the arrival of Longstreet on the field, late in
the day sent Porter the following order to attack Jackson’s right at

                                              Headquarters in the Field,
                                                  _August 29_—4:30 p. m.

  Major-General Porter:

  Your line of march brings you in on the enemy’s right flank. I desire
  you to push forward into action at once on the enemy’s flank, and, if
  possible, on his rear, keeping your right in communication with
  General Reynolds. The enemy is massed in the woods in front of us, but
  can be shelled out as soon as you engage their flank. Keep heavy
  reserves and use your batteries, keeping well closed to your right all
  the time. In case you are obliged to fall back, do so to your right
  and rear, so as to keep you in close communication with the right

                                                              John Pope,
                                            _Major-General, Commanding._

This order, dated 4:30 p. m., was received by Porter at Bethlehem Church
about 6:30 p. m. Upon receipt of the order Porter immediately sent his
chief of staff, Locke, to order Morell’s division to attack. Shortly
thereafter Porter rode to the front to find Morell’s preparations for
the attack complete. By this time, however, it was so late that Porter
decided to rescind the order.[1]

During the night the Confederates retired from the advance positions
gained during the day to their original battle line. This fact was
discovered by McDowell and Heintzelman in a reconnaissance on the
evening of the 29th and confirmed by paroled Federal prisoners the
following morning. This led Pope falsely to assume that Lee was in
retreat to Thoroughfare Gap. Immediately plans were initiated to press a
vigorous pursuit. At midnight the following order was issued:

                                            Headquarters, Near Groveton,
                                                 _August 30_, 1862—12 M.

  Special Orders, No.—

  The following forces will be immediately thrown forward in pursuit of
  the enemy and press him vigorously during the whole day. Major-General
  McDowell is assigned to the command of the pursuit; Major-General
  Porter’s corps will push forward on the Warrenton turnpike, followed
  by the divisions of Brigadier-Generals King and Reynolds. The division
  of Brigadier-General Ricketts will pursue the Hay Market road,
  followed by the corps of Major-General Heintzelman....

At 3 a. m. of the 30th, Porter received Pope’s dispatch ordering him to
march his command immediately to the field of battle of the previous
day. In compliance with this order he promptly withdrew from his
position facing Longstreet and marched rapidly along the Sudley Road to
the center of the battlefield where he reported to Pope for orders.
Though this movement strengthened the center, it dangerously weakened
the Federal left.

From its contracted left near Groveton, the Federal line now extended
approximately 3 miles to Bull Run near Sudley Church. The opposing
Confederate line was about 4 miles long. Jackson held the left along the
unfinished railroad, while Longstreet held the right, with the main body
of his troops “bent to the front” south of the Warrenton Pike. A heavy
concentration of artillery was placed on high ground between the two
wings. These guns commanded the open fields and the stretch of woods
near Jackson’s right and center.

Preparations completed about midafternoon, the Federal columns of Porter
and Heintzelman advanced three lines deep, preceded by a swarm of
skirmishers and supported by great masses of men and guns in the rear. A
strange quiet pervaded the fields as the unsuspecting troops pushed
forward. Behind their protective cover, the Confederates watched the
lines draw closer; then suddenly opened upon them a rapid artillery
fire. Instantly, the infantry bugles sounded the alarm alerting
Jackson’s men to action. The Federal advance line halted and staggered
back. Other brigades quickly pushed forward only to be broken by the
raking force of the fire.

[Illustration: Some of Jackson’s Confederates, their ammunition
exhausted, hurling rocks at the advancing Federals, during the Second
Battle of Manassas. From “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.”]

Soon it was apparent that the main Federal assault was being directed by
Porter and Hatch against Jackson’s right and center held by the
divisions of Starke and Lawton. In gallant style, a third line moved up
and impetuously pressed the attack. The force of this forward movement
pushed back the famous Stonewall brigade, but later it reestablished its
lines in a desperate countercharge. Heavy fighting at close quarters now
ensued. At one point in their line near a section of the railroad bed
known as the “Deep Cut,” Jackson’s veterans, with ammunition exhausted,
partially repelled an attack with stones from the embankment.

Finally, the pressure became so great that Jackson sent an urgent
request for reinforcements. Lee then ordered forward a brigade from
Longstreet’s command. Anticipating the request, Longstreet had already
moved up the batteries of Stephen D. Lee, which now opened a withering
fire on the Federal columns on Jackson’s right and center. The effect
was devastating. Within 15 minutes the whole aspect of the battle had

Shortly after the Federal brigades had engaged Jackson along the
unfinished railroad, Pope had ordered Reynolds’ division from his left
at Bald Hill to move up and support the attack on the right. The weight
of his numbers, however, proved insufficient to stem the tide of retreat
that had now set in. Quickly, Jackson ordered up two brigades to press a
counterattack, moving forward his artillery as the infantry advanced.

The transfer of Reynolds’ division had again greatly weakened the
Federal left. Lee saw this and realized that here at last was the
opportunity for which he had been waiting. The order was sent
immediately to Longstreet to deliver the counterstroke. Every regiment,
battery, and squadron of both wings of the army were to be employed. By
sheer weight of numbers the attack was to be driven home in successive
waves of assault, piling one upon the other.

[Illustration: “The battle of Groveton or Second Bull Run between the
Union Army commanded by Genl. Pope and Con. Army under Genl. Robert E.
Lee. Sketched from Bald face hill on Saturday afternoon half past three
o’clock.... Looking toward the village of Groveton.” From original
wartime sketch, with title by E. Forbes. Courtesy Library of Congress.]

_Note. The artist identified the following points:_

  “_1. Thoroughfare Gap through which Genl. Lee’s Army passed._
  _2. Rebs line of battle._
  _3. The old R.R. embankment behind which the Con. were posted._
  _4. The old Stone House on the Turnpike used as a hospital._
  _5. Warrenton Turnpike._
  _6. Bald face hill._
  _7. Henry Hill._
  _8. Union line of battle._
  _9. McDowell’s corps moving to the left flank to repel Longstreet’s
          attack which had just commenced._
  _10. Sudley Springs road._”

Again, Longstreet had anticipated the order for which he had been
preparing since dawn. The long gray lines of infantry, restive for the
fray, now swept forward in a furious assault. In advance came Hood’s
Texans, their colors gleaming red in the evening sun. Above the
thunderous roar of artillery and the noise of battle could be heard the
shrill cries of the rebel yell echoing through the Groveton valley. So
intense was the excitement that only with the greatest difficulty could
the officers restrain their men. Rapidly moving up in support came the
divisions of Anderson, Kemper, and D. R. Jones. Across the rolling
fields the attack pushed to gain the promontory of Chinn Ridge despite a
stubborn defense by the Union brigades of McClean, Tower, and Milroy,
while Jackson’s veterans successfully assailed Buck Hill.

On Henry Hill, poignant with memories of the previous year, were now
assembled Reynolds’ divisions, Sykes’ regulars, and other available
troops. With courage and gallantry that matched the crisis of battle,
they hurled back repeated Confederate assaults that continued until
dark. The successful defense of Henry Hill made possible Pope’s retreat
over Bull Run, by the Stone Bridge and other fords, to the strong
defenses of the Centreville plateau.

[Illustration: The “Deep Cut” where Porter’s troops made a gallant bid
for victory. Here a Federal flag held its position for half an hour
within 10 yards of a Confederate regimental flag. Six times it fell,
only to be raised again. From “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.”]


Considering the Centreville position as unfavorable for attack, Lee sent
Jackson by Sudley Ford to the Little River Turnpike in an effort to turn
the Federal right and threaten communications with Washington. The
movement, however, was anticipated by Pope, and the divisions of Stevens
and Kearny were sent to check it. In a sharp contest, fought in a
rainstorm at Chantilly on September 1, Stevens and Kearny were killed;
but Jackson was repulsed. During the next 2 days Pope retired to the
defenses of Washington.

[Illustration: The Federal retreat over the Stone Bridge on Saturday
evening, August 30, 1862. From “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.”]

[Illustration: Ruins of the Henry House after the Second Battle of
Manassas. Wartime photograph. Courtesy National Archives.]


Second Manassas offers an interesting contrast to the opening battle
which had found two armies of raw, undisciplined volunteers courageously
but falteringly battling for supremacy. The raw volunteers had now been
replaced by seasoned veterans, hardened by months of strenuous
campaigning. The campaign just ended had been one to test to the utmost
the endurance and discipline of the men in the ranks of both armies—a
test they had met with valor and high honor. In contrast to the rout of
First Manassas, the Federal army which now retired upon Washington was a
weary but defiant fighting machine. Its defeat had been accomplished by
exceptional daring, combined with a skillful coordination of Confederate
commands. Gambling with long chances, Lee had succeeded in removing some
150,000 invading troops from deep in Virginia and reversing the threat
of impending attack upon the opposing capital.

Commenting upon the battle, Henderson, the English soldier and
historian, writes:

  ... If, as Moltke avers, the junction of two armies on the field of
  battle is the highest achievement of military genius, the campaign
  against Pope has seldom been surpassed; and the great counter-stroke
  at Manassas is sufficient in itself to make Lee’s reputation as a
  tactician.... It was not due to the skill of Lee that Pope weakened
  his left at the crisis of battle. But in the rapidity with which the
  opportunity was seized, in the combination of the three arms, and in
  the vigour of the blow, Manassas is in no way inferior to Austerlitz
  or Salamanca.

This brilliant success did much to offset Confederate reverses in the
West—the loss of Missouri, the defeats of Forts Henry and Donelson,
Shiloh, and the fall of Nashville, New Orleans, and Memphis. Contrary to
the inactivity that followed First Manassas, Lee pressed his victory by
the first invasion of the North. On September 4, he began moving his
troops across the Potomac with the hope of winning the support of
Maryland and possibly the recognition of the Confederacy by foreign
powers. In the desperately fought battle of Antietam, September 17, at
Sharpsburg, Md., however, these hopes were dashed by McClellan, now
returned to Federal command.

                                    FEDERAL    CONFEDERATE
        Strength (_approx._)         73,000         55,000
        Killed                        1,747          1,553
        Wounded                       8,452          7,812
        Captured or missing           4,263            109
        Total                        14,462          9,474

                    _The War After Second Manassas_

From Antietam, Lee retired to Virginia. With the coming of winter snows
he bloodily repelled Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside in the Battle of
Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. In the spring, Confederate arms
achieved brilliant success in the defeat of Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Hooker
in the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-6, 1863. Capitalizing on his
victory, Lee again invaded the North. At Gettysburg, July 1-3, he was
defeated by Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. The next day saw the end of
one of the most brilliant and decisive operations of the war with the
surrender of Vicksburg to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Its fall cut the
Confederacy in two and opened the Mississippi to Federal commerce and
control. From the telling force of these simultaneous blows the
Confederacy never recovered.

On March 9, 1864, Grant was placed in supreme command of all Federal
armies. Now as never before, the full strength and resources of the
republic were marshalled for a great offensive to be delivered
simultaneously on all fronts. Attaching himself to Meade’s army, Grant
crossed the Rapidan on May 4 to launch his overland campaign against
Richmond, while Sherman began the famous march that was to carry him to
Atlanta and the sea.

In the fiercely contested battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania
Court House, May 5-6 and 8-21, respectively, Grant largely succeeded in
destroying Lee’s offensive power, forcing his retirement upon Richmond.
Repulsed with heavy losses at Cold Harbor, June 3, Grant moved upon
Petersburg again to encounter Lee’s army.

Ten months of siege followed as Grant methodically cut the Confederate
lifeline. On April 2, Lee evacuated Petersburg with the hope of reaching
the Danville railroad and possibly effecting a junction with Johnston’s
forces in North Carolina. Grant’s pursuit, however, was rapid and
relentless. The cutting of the escape route by the Danville line and the
disastrous defeat of a large segment of his army in the Battle of
Sayler’s Creek forced Lee to move farther westward to Appomattox Court
House. There at dusk, April the 8th, the widening circle of Federal
campfires brought realization that the end had been reached. The next
day Lee surrendered to the magnanimous terms of Grant. On April 26,
Johnston yielded to Sherman and by June all isolated units of the
Confederate forces had laid down their arms.

[Illustration: View northwest across Henry Hill. The present Henry House
is seen in center background.]

                _Guide to the Area_ (SEE MAP ON PAGE 48.)

This guide has been prepared to enable the visitor more readily to
identify and appreciate the chief points of historical interest on the
two battlefields. While there are other locations of importance on park
property and on privately owned adjacent lands, those listed below may
be considered the most conspicuous.

Wherever an area, such as Henry Hill and Chinn Ridge, featured
prominently in both battles, its story has been told jointly, rather
than separately. This has been done in order to avoid unnecessary
backtracking. It should be observed that the numbers 1 to 9 have been
located on a tour map for the visitor’s convenience.

For the purposes of orientation a visit to the museum should precede a
tour of the fields.

                             1. HENRY HILL.

Covering an area of approximately 200 acres, the top of this plateau
embraces parts of the old Henry Farm and of the Robinson tract. It
extends roughly northeast from the Henry woods to Lee Highway near the
site of the Robinson House. Twice the hill held the key to victory.
After hours of heavy fighting in the first battle, its loss to McDowell
proved a significant factor in the collapse of Federal resistance, while
in the second, its stubborn defense secured the retreat of Pope’s Army
over Bull Run.

[Illustration: Looking west across Henry Hill to the
Administration-Museum Building. The Jackson Monument is shown in the
left foreground.]

Some of the points of special interest here include:

_Administration-Museum Building._ On a commanding rise of the hill is
located the Administration and Museum Building, which represents the
focal center in the interpretation of the area. From the terrace on the
north and east sides of the building, a sweeping panoramic view may be
had of the valley of Young’s Branch and the hills beyond which
constitute the chief scenes of tactical maneuver of the two battles.

_Jackson Monument._ Located approximately 125 yards east of the
Administration-Museum Building is the equestrian statue of “Stonewall”
Jackson. It was erected by the State of Virginia in 1940, reputedly on
the spot where he received his famous nickname. To a large degree
Jackson’s character and personality dominated the fighting of both First
and Second Manassas.

[Illustration: Diorama in the museum depicting incident when Jackson was
given the name “Stonewall.”]

_Line of Confederate Batteries._ Just north of Jackson’s statue are
markers indicating the position of Confederate batteries of 26 guns
which engaged the 11 guns of Ricketts’ and Griffin’s Federal batteries
at a distance of about 330 yards. With this furious artillery duel the
first battle reached its crisis. Today, cannon mark this position.

_Bee Monument._ South of the Jackson statue, about 100 feet, stands a
white marble monument erected to the memory of Gen. Barnard E. Bee, who
fell mortally wounded at this spot in the first battle. Shortly before,
while desperately attempting to rally his men, Bee had won immortal fame
with the stirring battle cry which gave Jackson the name of “Stonewall.”

_Bartow Monument._ About 180 feet north of the Jackson statue is a stone
block bearing a bronze tablet erected to the memory of Col. F. S.
Bartow, commander of the 2d brigade of Johnston’s army, who was killed
in the first battle on this spot. At a critical moment in the early
phase of the battle, Bee and Bartow had given Evans valiant support.

_Position of Ricketts’ and Griffin’s Guns._ Just south of the Henry
House are cannon and markers indicating the advanced position occupied
by the Union batteries of Ricketts and Griffin during the first battle.
In a surprise attack, which practically annihilated these two gallant
batteries, Ricketts was severely wounded.

_Henry House._ About 650 feet northwest of the Administration-Museum
Building stands the Henry House which was erected shortly after the war
on the site of the famous original structure. During the first battle,
the original little house was caught in the line of cross artillery fire
which killed its owner, Mrs. Judith Henry. Badly damaged, it suffered
further mutilation during the following year. By the end of the second
battle the house was a complete ruin.

_Grave of Judith Henry._ In the Henry yard, a few feet west of the
house, is the grave of the widow, Judith Henry, enclosed by an iron
railing and shrubbery. She is said to have been buried here by
Confederate soldiers the day after the first battle. A son and daughter
are also interred here. Mrs. Henry’s tragic death is dramatically
treated in Stephen Vincent Benet’s poem, “John Brown’s Body.”

_Union Monument._ This pyramidal monument of reddish brown stone,
located in the yard on the east side of the Henry House, was erected by
Union soldiers in 1865 to the memory of their comrades who fell in the
first battle. It is one of the earliest memorial monuments of the Civil

                           2. ROBINSON HOUSE.

About 800 yards northeast of the Administration-Museum Building, on a
projecting spur, stands the Robinson House on the site of the wartime
structure owned by the free Negro, James Robinson. No part of the
present house is original, though a section of it dates to about 1888.
The original house was torn down in 1926 to permit the construction of
the larger portion of the present structure. Suffering little damage in
the first battle, the original house and fields were sacked by Sigel’s
Federal troops in the second battle. For these damages Robinson was
awarded $1,249 by Congress in a Private Act of March 3, 1873. A
picturesque view unfolds from this point eastward across Bull Run and
westward to the mountains.

                            3. STONE BRIDGE.

The Stone Bridge and the stream, Bull Run, that flows beneath it are
inseparably linked with the story of the two battles of Manassas.
Located on the Warrenton Turnpike, approximately 1½ miles east of its
intersection with the Manassas-Sudley Road, it formed, during the first
battle, the anchor of the Confederate left and the objective of the
Federal diversion under Tyler. Following the rout of McDowell’s forces,
it constituted one of the main avenues of escape. In the second battle,
it was the main route of the Federal advance and retreat. Though the
bridge was destroyed a number of times, the abutments are original. The
present Lee Highway bridge crosses Bull Run about 100 feet south of the
old structure which is now memorialized by the State of Virginia.

[Illustration: The Stone Bridge as it now appears.]

                       4. STONE HOUSE (MATTHEWS).

Built in the early part of the nineteenth century, this two-and-one-half
story structure of reddish brown native stone, stands as the best
preserved and most conspicuous landmark on the two battlefields. It is
located on the north side of Lee Highway, near its junction with the
Manassas-Sudley Road. Here the tides of battle twice engulfed it as it
served alternately as a hospital for the wounded of each side. Shells
may still be seen embedded in its walls. For a number of years after the
war it was operated as a tavern.

[Illustration: The Stone House.]

                            5. CHINN RIDGE.

This commanding ridge was twice utilized by the Confederates in turning
movements that brought defeat to Federal arms. In the first battle, the
brigades of Early and Elzey, supported by Beckham’s artillery, hurled
back the Federal right under Howard to precipitate a general rout of the
Federal army. In the second, Longstreet’s troops swept forward to seize
the ridge in an attack that, but for the successful defense of Henry
Hill, would have turned the Federal left. The ridge is served by a park
road which terminates at a commanding overlook at its northern end.

[Illustration: Looking east from Chinn Ridge to Henry Hill, showing the
nature of the terrain that saw heavy fighting in both battles. The Henry
House is shown on the left: the Administration-Museum Building in center
of photograph.]

_Site of the Chinn House._ Only the foundation walls and the bases of
two massive chimneys remain to attest what was once one of the most
spacious residences on the Manassas battlefields. Built reputedly in the
late eighteenth century, the house derived its name from Benjamin T.
Chinn, who purchased the property in 1853. Twice used as a field
hospital, it stood until 1950 when, in ruinous condition, it was

_Webster Monument._ About 600 yards north of the Chinn House stands a
granite boulder with bronze plaque marking the spot where Col. Fletcher
Webster, son of the statesman, Daniel Webster, fell mortally wounded in
the second battle, August 30, 1862. The boulder was brought from
“Marshfield,” Mass., the estate of the elder Webster.

_Chinn Spring._ Located on the north side of the Chinn House Road, a few
yards from the little stream known as Chinn Branch, is Chinn Spring.
Following the heat of battle, many of the exhausted and wounded soldiers
of both armies came here to drink gratefully from its cool, bubbling
waters. It is an attractive spot, shaded by tall oaks and marked by
grass that is always green.

                        6. UNFINISHED RAILROAD.

About 300 yards south of the present Sudley Church, the old grade of an
independent line of the Manassas Gap Railroad crosses the
Manassas-Sudley Road (Virginia Route 234). Stretching southwestward from
this point for a distance of nearly 2 miles is the section of the grade
occupied by Jackson’s troops during the second battle. From this
protecting screen he first revealed his position in the attack on King’s
column on August 28. Here, in the next 2 days, he successfully repelled
repeated Federal assaults. Though brush and trees have grown up along
much of it, the grade is still clearly defined.

                           7. SUDLEY CHURCH.

Just west of the Manassas-Sudley Road, near its intersection with the
Groveton-Sudley Road (Virginia Route 622), stands Sudley Church on the
approximate site of the wartime structure that twice served as a
hospital. In the first battle, the Federal wounded overflowed the church
into a number of neighboring houses.

[Illustration: Wartime photograph of the Sudley Church. Courtesy Library
of Congress.]

                             8. “DEEP CUT.”

Approximately three-quarters of a mile northwest of Groveton and
immediately in front of the old railroad grade is “Deep Cut,” scene of
the bitterest fighting of the second battle. Here the troops of
Fitz-John Porter suffered terrific losses in gallant but vain attempts
to penetrate Jackson’s defenses. Heavy woods have now grown up in what
was then open land largely obscuring the shaft of reddish brown stone
erected to the memory of the Union troops who fell there. Most of the
land of the “Deep Cut” area is not at present owned by the park.

                          9. THE DOGAN HOUSE.

Here at Groveton, at the intersection of the Groveton-Sudley Road and
Lee Highway, is located the Dogan House, one of the main landmarks of
the second battle. It was across this area, on August 29, that Hood’s
division drove back the Union division of Hatch before it retired to the
west of Groveton. The next day the area was involved in heavy artillery
and infantry fire.

The small, one-story house of weather-boarded logs originally served as
the overseer’s house of the Dogan farm. Later, it was occupied by the
Dogan family after their main house had burned. Like the Stone House, it
now stands as one of the two remaining original structures in the park.

[Illustration: The Dogan House.]

                               _The Park_

Manassas National Battlefield Park was designated a Federal area May 10,
1940. The 1,670.74 acres of federally owned land in the park comprise
portions of the two battlefields.

One of the initial steps in the memorialization of these fields was
taken in 1922 with the purchase of the Henry Farm, of approximately 128
acres, by the Manassas Battlefield Confederate Park, Inc., and the Sons
of Confederate Veterans. On March 19, 1938, the Henry Farm was conveyed
by deed to the United States Government as an “everlasting memorial to
the soldiers of the Blue and Gray.” Significant additions to park
holdings were made in 1949 with the acquisition of the historic Stone
House and Dogan House properties.

                        _How to Reach the Park_

The park is situated in Prince William County, Va., 26 miles southwest
of Washington, D. C. State Route 234 intersects United States Highways
Nos. 29 and 211 at the park boundary.


Manassas National Battlefield Park is administered by the National Park
Service of the United States Department of the Interior. Communications
should be addressed to the Superintendent, Manassas National Battlefield
Park, Manassas, Va.

                            _Related Areas_

Other Civil War battlefields in Virginia administered by the National
Park Service include: Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military
Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Petersburg National Military
Park, and Appomattox Court House National Monument.

                          _Visitor Facilities_

A modern museum and battlefield markers are features of the park’s
interpretive program. The museum, which is highlighted by a diorama and
an electric map, presents exhibits in such a way as to develop the story
of both battles in narrative sequence. Free literature, library
facilities, and interpretive services are also available at the museum.
Special tours can be arranged for organizations and groups if advance
notice is given to the superintendent. Museum hours are from 9 a. m. to
5 p. m. daily.


[1]For his failure to carry out Pope’s order of the 29th to attack
    Jackson, Porter was court-martialed and dismissed from the army on
    January 21, 1863. In 1879, a board of general officers who reviewed
    the case held that Porter could not have attacked Jackson
    successfully, as ordered, because Longstreet’s corps had moved up
    into position on the right of Jackson and opposite Porter, and that
    this was known to the latter. Thus, Pope’s order, which was written
    without knowledge of this development, could not be carried out.
    President Arthur, in 1882, remitted that part of the sentence which
    disqualified Porter from holding any office of trust or profit under
    the Government of the United States. On August 5, 1886, Porter was
    reappointed colonel of infantry, and 2 days later placed on the
    retirement list. To this day, despite his final vindication, the
    controversy over Porter’s action on August 29, 1862, at Second
    Manassas has not died down among military students.


                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                       Historical Handbook Series

  No. 1  Custer Battlefield
  No. 2  Jamestown, Virginia
  No. 3  The Lincoln Museum and the House Where Lincoln Died
  No. 4  Saratoga
  No. 5  Fort McHenry
  No. 6  Lee Mansion
  No. 7  Morristown, A Military Capital of the Revolution
  No. 8  Hopewell Village
  No. 9  Gettysburg
  No. 10 Shiloh
  No. 11 Statue of Liberty
  No. 12 Fort Sumter
  No. 13 Petersburg Battlefields
  No. 14 Yorktown
  No. 15 Manassas (Bull Run)
  No. 16 Fort Raleigh

[Illustration: Light Artillery, Cavalry, Foot Artillery]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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