Saturday, July 21, 2012

151st Anniversary of First Manassas

Today is the 151st Anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), the first major battle of the American Civil War. In the end, the Union army under the command of US General Irvin McDowell collapsed, with 2,896 Union casualties out of 35,000 men and the Confederate armies of CS Generals P. G. T. Beauregard and Joseph Johnston secured victory with 1,982 casualties out of 33,000 in their two armies.

Capture of Rickett's Battery by Sidney King, 1964AD.

The Union attempt to break the Confederate lines along the Bull Run with a direct attack had failed a few days before at Blackburn's Ford, 18 July 1861, hence the flanking movement around the Confederate left that precipitated the battle of First Manassas.  Here is a link to some images and information about that fight at Blackburn's Ford:

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First Manassas (Bull Run) on the morning of 21 July 1861.  [Map by Hal Jespersen,]

The Union flank march was spotted in the early morning hours of 21 July 1861 from Signal Hill [see below], and the battle would unfold in three general phases: 10AM-11:30AM, Union victory on Matthews Hill; 1PM to 4PM, costly but inconclusive fighting on Henry Hill (though CS General Jackson earns his title of "Stonewall"); 4PM to dusk, the arrival of more Confederate brigades extending the fight to Chinn Ridge, and the Union army collapse.

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The climax of the fight at First Manassas, afternoon of 21 July 1861.  The arrival of more Confederate brigades would extend the fight to Chinn Ridge, and overtax the Union line.  [Map by Hal Jespersen,]

This video clip is attempting to show the moment in the battle when Stonewall Jackson's brigade arrives and stabilizes the Confederate army on Henry Hill after the initial setback on Matthews Hill that morning:

Below is a link to the marker at Signal Hill. It was from here that Porter Alexander spotted the Union force marching around the Confederate left flank at First Manassas, and sent the message: "Look out for your left, you are turned."

Live well!

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