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Visit The Civil War Site - Battle of Bull Run

Updated on May 31, 2013

Battle of Manassas

The Battle of Manassas - the first one - is known as the Battle of Bull Run. Bull Run is actually a creek located near the Civil War battle site that most of the soldiers ploughed (and that Confederates defended) during the battle. The short of the story is the Confederates won. Not only did they win the first battle here, but the won the second Battle of Bull Run, too.

What Happened at the Battle of Bull Run?

This first major battle was thought by many to be the only battle that would be fought - the battle that would settle the Civil War. But it wasn't. Under this notion, Congressmen and others set out to picnic nearby to watch what became the first major battle, much as we might watch a film today. But it was not to be so easy, nor so tidy. Ladies of the time were shocked by the sight of men falling in battle. They were close enough so as to ascertain who was winning but too far to determine the identities of those slain soldiers, leaving the observers in great distress.

The likeness of Gen. Stonewall Jackson at the site of the Battle of First Manassas, also known as the Battle of Bull Run
The likeness of Gen. Stonewall Jackson at the site of the Battle of First Manassas, also known as the Battle of Bull Run | Source

How Gen. Jackson Got His Nickname

Beginning with troop movements in the days previous to it, Union and Confederate forces collided in the fields near Bull Run on July 21, 1861. The Union forces were led by Gen. McDowell, who had 35,000 men. The combined 32,000 Confederate forces were led by Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, who earned this nickname when General Barnard Bee, shouted to retreating Southerners, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!"

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Key Points of The Battle

  • Most of the fighting happened on July 21, 1861.
  • A fight on Henry Hill ensued but the Union soldiers withdrew from exhaustion, effectively ending the battle.
  • The Southerners were also exhausted - too exhausted to pursue the Union soldiers.
  • Confederate President Davis showed up on the battlefield at the end of the fighting, lifting the spirit of the troops.
  • By July 22nd, Union troops had completely retreated to Washington DC.
  • After McDowell's defeat, President Lincoln replaced him with another general.

An original cannon on the Manassas battlefield.
An original cannon on the Manassas battlefield. | Source

Curious Quick Fact

The National Audubon Society marks this area as an important bird area. There are at least 160 bird types located in this area.

Visiting the National Battlefield Park

The park is open 8:30am - 5pm daily and has an hourly film called "Manassas: End of Innocence", giving a historical overview of the events that transpired during the battle. Near the theater is a museum with artifacts of the period and a fiber-optic battle map with narration. Parking is free but there is a small fee to pay when visiting the grounds.

Manassas, Virginia

This is the home of Judith Henry, the first civilian casualty of the Civil War. She was blind and bed bound.  Refusing to leave her home, she was mortally wounded during the Battle of First Manassas.
This is the home of Judith Henry, the first civilian casualty of the Civil War. She was blind and bed bound. Refusing to leave her home, she was mortally wounded during the Battle of First Manassas. | Source

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