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The Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, , involved nearly , combatants, the largest concentration of troops in any Civil War battle.

Alerts In Effect

Ambrose Burnside, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, had ordered his more than , troops to cross the Hoping to seize Corinth It pitted Confederate General Robert E. The victories forced the Confederates Robert E. Facing an enemy force nearly twice the size of his own, Lee daringly split his troops in two, This Day In History. First Battle of Bull Run. Battle of Gettysburg. Battle of Shiloh.

33c. First Blood and Its Aftermath

Remembering the First Battle of Bull Run On a steamy summer day in July , a host of politicians, journalists and curiosity seekers flocked from Washington, D. Battle of Fredericksburg The Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, , involved nearly , combatants, the largest concentration of troops in any Civil War battle. McDowell's ambitious plan for a surprise flank attack on the Confederate left was poorly executed by his officers and men; nevertheless, the Confederates, who had been planning to attack the Union left flank, found themselves at an initial disadvantage.

Confederate reinforcements under Brig.


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  • First Battle of Bull Run.
  • First Battle of Bull Run.
  • Battle of Bull Run: Summer of 1861 Disaster for Union Army.

Joseph E. Johnston arrived from the Shenandoah Valley by railroad, and the course of the battle quickly changed. A brigade of Virginians under the relatively unknown brigadier general from the Virginia Military Institute , Thomas J. Jackson , stood its ground, which resulted in Jackson receiving his famous nickname, "Stonewall". The Confederates launched a strong counterattack, and as the Union troops began withdrawing under fire, many panicked and the retreat turned into a rout.

McDowell's men frantically ran without order in the direction of Washington, D. Both armies were sobered by the fierce fighting and many casualties, and realized that the war was going to be much longer and bloodier than either had anticipated. The First Battle of Bull Run highlighted many of the problems and deficiencies that were typical of the first year of the war.

Units were committed piecemeal, attacks were frontal, infantry failed to protect exposed artillery, tactical intelligence was minimal, and neither commander was able to employ his whole force effectively. McDowell, with 35, men, was only able to commit about 18,, and the combined Confederate forces, with about 32, men, committed only 18, Abraham Lincoln , USA. Jefferson Davis , CSA. On April 15, , the day after South Carolina military forces attacked and captured Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring an insurrection against the laws of the United States.

Earlier, South Carolina and seven other Southern states had declared their secession from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. To suppress the Confederacy and restore Federal law in the Southern states, Lincoln called for 75, volunteers with ninety-day enlistments to augment the existing U. Army of about 15, He later accepted an additional 40, volunteers with three-year enlistments and increased the strength of the U. Army to almost 20, Lincoln's actions caused four more Southern states, including Virginia, to secede and join the Confederacy, and by 1 June the Confederate capital had been moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia.

In Washington, D. Winfield Scott laid out his strategy to subdue the Confederate states. He proposed that an army of 80, men be organized and sail down the Mississippi River and capture New Orleans. While the Army "strangled" the Confederacy in the west, the U. Navy would blockade Southern ports along the eastern and Gulf coasts. The press ridiculed what they dubbed as Scott's " Anaconda Plan ". Instead, many believed the capture of the Confederate capital at Richmond, only one hundred miles south of Washington, would quickly end the war.

Since General Scott was seventy-five years old and physically unable to lead this force, the administration searched for a more suitable field commander. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase championed fellow Ohioan, year-old Maj. Irvin McDowell. Although McDowell was a West Point graduate, his command experience was limited. In fact, he had spent most of his career engaged in various staff duties in the Adjutant General's Office.

While stationed in Washington he had become acquainted with Chase, a former Ohio governor and senator. Now, through Chase's influence, McDowell was promoted three grades to brigadier general in the Regular Army and on 27 May was assigned command by President Abraham Lincoln of the Department of Northeastern Virginia, which included the military forces in and around Washington Army of Northeastern Virginia. Under public and political pressure to begin offensive operations, McDowell was given very little time to train the newly inducted troops. Units were instructed in the maneuvering of regiments, but they received little or no training at the brigade or division level.

He was reassured by President Lincoln, "You are green, it is true, but they are green also; you are all green alike. During the previous year, U. Beauregard containing critical information regarding military movements for what would be the First Battle of Bull Run, including the plans of Union general McDowell.

On July 16, , McDowell departed Washington with the largest field army yet gathered on the North American continent, about 35, men 28, effectives. He assumed that the Confederates would be forced to abandon Manassas Junction and fall back to the Rappahannock River , the next defensible line in Virginia, which would relieve some of the pressure on the U.

Along the route soldiers often broke ranks to wander off to pick apples or blackberries or to get water, regardless of the orders of their officers to remain in ranks. McDowell planned to attack this numerically inferior enemy army. Union Maj.

Robert Patterson 's 18, men engaged Johnston's force the Army of the Shenandoah at 8, effectives, augmented by Maj. Theophilus H. Holmes 's brigade of 1, [22] in the Shenandoah Valley , preventing them from reinforcing Beauregard. After two days of marching slowly in the sweltering heat, the Union army was allowed to rest in Centreville. McDowell reduced the size of his army to approximately 31, by dispatching Brig. Theodore Runyon with 5, troops to protect the army's rear.

In the meantime, McDowell searched for a way to outflank Beauregard, who had drawn up his lines along Bull Run. On July 18, the Union commander sent a division under Brig. Daniel Tyler to pass on the Confederate right southeast flank. Tyler was drawn into a skirmish at Blackburn's Ford over Bull Run and made no headway. Also on the morning of 18 July Johnston had received a telegram suggesting he go to Beauregard's assistance if possible. Johnston marched out of Winchester about noon, while Stuart's cavalry screened the movement from Patterson. Patterson was completely deceived.

One hour after Johnston's departure Patterson telegraphed Washington, "I have succeeded, in accordance with the wishes of the General-in-Chief, in keeping General Johnston's force at Winchester. For the maneuver to be successful McDowell felt he needed to act quickly. He had already begun to hear rumors that Johnston had slipped out of the valley and was headed for Manassas Junction.

If the rumors were true, McDowell might soon be facing 34, Confederates, instead of 22, Another reason for quick action was McDowell's concern that the ninety-day enlistments of many of his regiments were about to expire. In fact, the next morning two units of McDowell's command, their enlistments expiring that day, would turn a deaf ear to McDowell's appeal to stay a few days longer. Instead, to the sounds of battle, they would march back to Washington to be mustered out of service.

Becoming more frustrated, McDowell resolved to attack the Confederate left northwest flank instead. He planned to attack with Brig. David Hunter and Samuel P. Heintzelman over Sudley Springs Ford. From here, these divisions could outflank the Confederate line and march into the Confederate rear. The brigade of Col. Israel B. Richardson Tyler's Division would harass the enemy at Blackburn's Ford, preventing them from thwarting the main attack.

Patterson would tie down Johnston in the Shenandoah Valley so that reinforcements could not reach the area. Although McDowell had arrived at a theoretically sound plan, it had a number of flaws: it was one that required synchronized execution of troop movements and attacks, skills that had not been developed in the nascent army; it relied on actions by Patterson that he had already failed to take; finally, McDowell had delayed long enough that Johnston's Valley force, who had trained under Stonewall Jackson , was able to board trains at Piedmont Station and rush to Manassas Junction to reinforce Beauregard's men.

On July 19—20, significant reinforcements bolstered the Confederate lines behind Bull Run. Johnston arrived with all of his army, except for the troops of Brig. Kirby Smith , who were still in transit. Most of the new arrivals were posted in the vicinity of Blackburn's Ford, and Beauregard's plan was to attack from there to the north toward Centreville.

Johnston, the senior officer, approved the plan. If both of the armies had been able to execute their plans simultaneously, it would have resulted in a mutual counterclockwise movement as they attacked each other's left flank. McDowell was getting contradictory information from his intelligence agents, so he called for the balloon Enterprise , which was being demonstrated by Prof. Thaddeus S. Lowe in Washington, to perform aerial reconnaissance. Irvin McDowell , Commanding. Samuel P. McDowell 's Army of Northeastern Virginia was organized into five infantry divisions of three to five brigades each.

Each brigade contained three to five infantry regiments. An artillery battery was generally assigned to each brigade. The total number of Union troops present at the Battle of First Bull Run was about 35,, although only about 18, were actually engaged. The Union army was organized as follows:.

Commanded by Maj. Robert Patterson , 18, men of the Department of Pennsylvania protected against a Confederate incursion from the Shenandoah Valley. Beauregard , Army of the Potomac. Johnston , Army of the Shenandoah. Abstract from monthly report of Brig. Johnston's division, or Army of the Shenandoah C. Tyler's division about 8, marched directly toward the Stone Bridge. The inexperienced units immediately developed logistical problems.

Tyler's division blocked the advance of the main flanking column on the turnpike. Tyler's men reached the Stone Bridge around 6 a. Nevertheless, he ordered demonstration attacks north toward the Union left at Centreville. Bungled orders and poor communications prevented their execution. Although he intended for Brig. Richard S. Ewell to lead the attack, Ewell, at Union Mills Ford, was simply ordered to "hold Jones was supposed to attack in support of Ewell, but found himself moving forward alone. Holmes was also supposed to support, but received no orders at all.

All that stood in the path of the 20, Union soldiers converging on the Confederate left flank were Col. Nathan "Shanks" Evans and his reduced brigade of 1, men. Robert C. Schenck were merely feints. In the first use of wig-wag semaphore signaling in combat, Alexander sent the message "Look out for your left, your position is turned. After Wheat's command was thrown back, and Wheat seriously wounded, Evans received reinforcement from two other brigades under Brig.

Barnard Bee and Col.

First Battle of Bull Run

Francis S. Bartow , bringing the force on the flank to 2, men. One of Tyler's brigade commanders, Col. William Tecumseh Sherman , crossed at an unguarded ford and struck the right flank of the Confederate defenders. This surprise attack, coupled with pressure from Burnside and Maj. As they retreated from their Matthews Hill position, the remainder of Evans's, Bee's, and Bartow's commands received some cover from Capt.

John D. Imboden and his battery of four 6-pounder guns, who held off the Union advance while the Confederates attempted to regroup on Henry House Hill. They were met by generals Johnston and Beauregard, who had just arrived from Johnston's headquarters at the M. Lewis Farm, "Portici". James B.

Battle of Bull Run Facts & Summary | American Battlefield Trust

Ricketts Battery I, 1st U. Gen Thomas J. Jackson 's Virginia Brigade came up in support of the disorganized Confederates around noon, accompanied by Col. Wade Hampton and his Hampton's Legion , and Col. Stuart 's cavalry along with a contingent of 6-pounder guns. The Hampton Legion, some men strong, managed to buy Jackson time to construct a defensive line on Henry House Hill by firing repeated volleys at Sherman's advancing brigade.

Hampton had purchased about British Enfield rifles to equip the men with, however it is not clear if his troops had them at Bull Run or if the weapons arrived after the battle. If so, they would have been the only foreign-made weapons on the field. The 79th New York was thoroughly decimated by Hampton's musket fire and began to disintegrate.

Wade Hampton gestured towards their colonel, James Cameron, and remarked "Look at that brave officer trying to lead his men and they won't follow him. It has been claimed that Hampton deliberately targeted officers of the 79th New York in revenge for the death of his nephew earlier in the day, although he had in fact been killed by soldiers of the 69th New York. Jackson posted his five regiments on the reverse slope of the hill, where they were shielded from direct fire, and was able to assemble 13 guns for the defensive line, which he posted on the crest of the hill; as the guns fired, their recoil moved them down the reverse slope, where they could be safely reloaded.

Unlike many engagements in the Civil War, here the Confederate artillery had an advantage.

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The Union pieces were now within range of the Confederate smoothbores and the predominantly rifled pieces on the Union side were not effective weapons at such close ranges, with many shots fired over the head of their targets. One of the casualties of the artillery fire was Judith Carter Henry, an year-old widow and invalid, who was unable to leave her bedroom in the Henry House.

As Ricketts began receiving rifle fire, he concluded that it was coming from the Henry House and turned his guns on the building. A shell that crashed through the bedroom wall tore off one of the widow's feet and inflicted multiple injuries, from which she died later that day. Jackson, a former U. Army officer and professor at the Virginia Military Institute , is said to have replied, "Then, Sir, we will give them the bayonet.

Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians. Bee was shot through the stomach shortly after speaking and died the next day, thus it is unclear exactly what he meant, moreover none of his subordinates wrote reports of the battle.

States Rights Gist , serving as Bee's aide-de-camp, took command of the brigade. Major Burnett Rhett, chief of staff to General Johnston, claimed that Bee was angry at Jackson's failure to come immediately to the relief of Bee's and Bartow's brigades while they were under heavy pressure.

Those who subscribe to this opinion believe that Bee's statement was meant to be pejorative: "Look at Jackson standing there like a stone wall! Artillery commander Griffin decided to move two of his guns to the southern end of his line, hoping to provide enfilade fire against the Confederates.

At approximately 3 p. William F. The battle, which was fought in the heat of a July day in Virginia, had been carefully planned by generals on both the Union and Confederate sides. And when inexperienced troops were called upon to execute the fairly complicated battle plans, the day turned chaotic. While it looked for a time like the Confederates would lose the battle, a fierce counterattack against the Union Army resulted in a rout.

By the end of the day thousands of demoralized Union troops were streaming back to Washington, D. And the failure of the Union Army to secure a quick and decisive victory made it clear to Americans on both sides of the conflict that the Civil War would not be the short and simple affair many assumed it would be. The volunteer soldiers enlisted for a term of three months. Troops began arriving in Washington, D.

Battle Facts

And in late May portions of northern Virginia which had seceded from the Union after the attack on Fort Sumter were invaded by the Union Army. The Confederacy set up its capital in Richmond, Virginia, about miles from the federal capital city, Washington, D. A Confederate army began massing in the vicinity of Manassas, Virginia, a railroad junction situated between Richmond and Washington.

And it became increasingly obvious that the Union Army would be marching south to engage the Confederates. General Irvin McDowell had become the leader of the Union Army, as General Winfield Scott, who had commanded the army, was too old and infirm to command during wartime.

And McDowell, a West Point graduate and career soldier who had served in the Mexican War , wanted to wait before committing his inexperienced troops to battle. President Lincoln saw things differently. He was well aware that the enlistments for the volunteers was only for three months, which meant most of them could be going home before they ever saw the enemy. Lincoln pressed McDowell to attack.