On 16 July 1861, the largest army ever assembled on the North American continent up to that time marched from the vicinity of Washington, D.C., toward Manassas Junction, thirty miles to the southwest. Commanded by newly promoted Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, the Union force consisted of partly trained militia with ninety-day enlistments (almost untrained volunteers) and three newly organized battalions of Regulars. Many soldiers, unaccustomed to military discipline or road marches, left the ranks to obtain water, gather blackberries, or simply to rest as the march progressed.
Near Manassas, along a meandering stream known as Bull Run, waited the similarly untrained Confederate army commanded by Brig. Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard. This army would soon be joined by another Confederate force, commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston.
After a minor clash of arms on 18 July, McDowell launched the first major land battle of the Civil War by attempting to turn the Confederate left flank on 21 July. A series of uncoordinated and sometimes confusing attacks and counterattacks by both sides finally ended in a defeat for the Union Army and its withdrawal to Washington.
The Battle of First 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 nil, and neither commander was able to employ his whole force effectively. McDowell, with 35,000 men, was only able to commit about 18,000, and the combined Confederate forces, with about 32,000 men, committed only 18,000.
Though not a member of the famous Morgan family of John Hunt Morgan (whom he never mentions in his memoir), W.H. of the 11th Virginia was on the front lines and eventually a prisoner of the hated Yankees. He provides a report of conditions prior to his release. Like many old soldiers, he also has tales of the humorous side of soldiering.
In addition, he provides a view of important battles in which he was engaged from the Confederate side.
For the first time, this long out-of-print volume is available as an affordable, well-formatted book for e-readers and smartphones.
Be sure to LOOK INSIDE by clicking the cover above or download a sample.
The Civil War Begins: Opening Clashes, 1861 is the first in a series of campaign brochures commemorating our national sacrifices during the American Civil War. Author Jennifer Murray examines the successes and challenges of both the Union and the Confederate forces during the early days of the Civil War. Notable battles discussed include: Fort Sumter, South Carolina; Bull Run, Virginia; Wilson’s Creek, Missouri; Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; and Port Royal, South Carolina.
A Single Grand Victory is a highly readable, concise, comprehensive narrative by Ethan S. Rafuse, professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Rafuse worked as a park ranger at Bull Run, where he gained great familiarity with the site and the literature on this battle. His new book incorporates insights offered in recent scholarship on Civil War military, political, and cultural history.The author describes the factors that led President Abraham Lincoln to order an offensive against Confederates at Manassas Junction at a time when his most prominent military men advised against it. The war policies of both the Union and Confederate sides are explained. Rafuse offers descriptions and analysis of the individuals involved and the circumstances that influenced the manner in which the campaign was conducted. He covers the critical events and operational and tactical decisions that shaped the campaign's course and outcome.
In addition, A Single Grand Victory provides insights into American life in the nineteenth century by examining what motivated men to fight in 1861 and describing what led both North and South to expect the war would be a short one. Southerners had anticipated that one victory like Bull Run would persuade the North to abandon the effort to restore the Union by force. Northerners believed support for the Confederate rebellion was so shallow that one battle would end the war.Civil War buffs will enjoy this
From the official records of both Johnston and Beauregard and the testimony of others, as well as his own witnessing of events as a brigadier-general, Smith defends Beauregard and asks that history award him his due for the Confederate victory at Manassas.
For the first time, this interesting account is available in an affordable, well-formatted book for e-readers and smartphones.
Be sure to LOOK INSIDE or download a sample.
William C. Davis has written a compelling and complete account of this landmark conflict. The Battle at Bull Run (or Manassas) is notable for many reasons. It was a surprise victory for the Confederacy, a humiliating defeat for the Union, and the first ominous indication that a long and bloody war was inevitable. It marked the first strategic use of railroads in history, and the first time the horrors of the battle were photographed for the folks back home. It was also a training ground for some of America’s most colorful military figures: P.G.T. Beauregard, Joe Johnston, Irvin McDowell and “Stonewall” Jackson. Drawing from a wealth of material—old letters, journals, memoirs and military records—Davis brings to life a vivid and vital chapter in American history.