The Second Battle of Bull Run: A Civil War Sesquicentennial

The Second Battle of Bull Run: A Civil War Sesquicentennial

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When analyzing the 1862 summer campaign, Civil War historians have tended to focus on its bookends: the Seven Days’ Battles, in which the Confederates staved off a Union assault on their capital, and the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of fighting in U.S. history. Yet the Second Battle of Bull Run, otherwise known as the Second Battle of Manassas, was significant in its own right. An unambiguous Southern victory, it cemented General Robert E. Lee’s reputation as a brilliant tactician and paved the way for his first invasion of the North. It also helped to persuade distraught Union leaders in Washington, D.C., that emancipating the slaves had become a military necessity.

Although the Confederates emerged victorious in July 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), when a coordinated counterattack sent Northern soldiers into a wild retreat, they withdrew the following March to a more defensible position 40 miles south. That same month, Union General George B. McClellan transported more than 100,000 men by boat to the tip of Virginia’s York-James peninsular, from where he planned to march on Richmond. An overly cautious McClellan, who habitually overestimated the strength of his opponent, made it to within 6 miles of the Confederate capital. But from June 25 to July 1, 1862, his Army of the Potomac was repulsed by Lee in a series of actions that became known as the Seven Days’ Battles.

Meanwhile, on June 26, Union General John Pope was named commander of the newly formed Army of Virginia. He immediately issued a boastful address that would come back to haunt him. “I come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies,” Pope told his 50,000 troops. “I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases … [like] ‘lines of retreat.’” Pope moved into Northern Virginia in an attempt to cut the railroad connecting Richmond with the Shenandoah Valley, but a relatively minor August 9 skirmish with Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s men stopped his advance.

Lee then decided to attack Pope before reinforcements from McClellan could arrive. On August 25 he divided his army in two, sending Jackson and 24,000 men on a march around Pope’s right flank. After traveling an astounding 54 miles in less than two days, Jackson’s troops reached a lightly defended Union supply base at Manassas Junction, where they proceeded to eat like pigs, load their packs with what they could carry and burn everything else. Much to Pope’s chagrin, they also managed to disappear by the time Union forces reached the scene.

The Second Battle of Bull Run officially kicked off 150 years ago today, on August 28, when Jackson’s troops fired upon an oblivious column of Union soldiers passing by Brawner Farm. Rather than run away, the northerners hurriedly returned fire, finally withdrawing past midnight. Early the next morning, Pope gathered his scattered force and ordered a number of piecemeal assaults against Jackson’s position along an unfinished railroad. Despite being badly outnumbered, Jackson held on until the arrival of the rest of Lee’s army a few hours later.

That night the Confederates readjusted their lines, prompting Pope to wrongly assume they were retreating. He sent a victory dispatch to Washington, D.C., and organized a pursuit. His soldiers only made it a few hundred yards, however, before being shot at by the dug-in rebel army. The northerners then struck at Jackson once again and drove him back. Some of Jackson’s troops even ran out of ammunition and resorted to throwing stones. But on the other side of the battlefield, Confederate General James Longstreet brought up his artillery and savagely counterattacked. Though fierce fighting around Henry House Hill (a pivotal landmark in both Bull Runs) prevented Pope’s men from being completely annihilated, they were forced to retreat back toward Washington in the rain. Including a rear-guard action on September 1, the Union suffered about 14,500 killed, captured or wounded at Second Bull Run, compared to about 9,500 casualties on the Confederate side.

Lee wasted no time in following up. On September 4 he began sending troops into Maryland, thereby prompting panicked Union leaders to organize bureaucrats into a militia and to order Treasury Department funds sent up to New York. Then, on September 17, the two sides both suffered enormous casualties during the Battle of Antietam, which sent the Confederates back into Southern territory. Five days later, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and with the stroke of a pen changed the war aims of the Union.

Second Bull Run was thus immediately overshadowed by what came next, and it has remained that way ever since. In fact, no modern historian had thoroughly addressed the battle until John Hennessey came out with “Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas” in 1992, according to Ray Brown, chief historian at Manassas National Battlefield Park. “The average visitor doesn’t necessarily understand, first of all, that there was a Second Manassas battle to begin with, and they don’t understand the importance the battle had in terms of the course of the war in 1862,” Brown said. As part of Second Bull Run’s 150th anniversary commemoration, park historians will lead walking tours over the entire battlefield, starting with Brawner Farm on August 28 and ending with Henry House Hill on August 30. Lectures, along with artillery, cavalry and infantry demonstrations, will then take place on September 1 and 2.

Civil War Sesquicentennial.. Battles of 1862.. "Second Battle of Bull Run"

It has been 150 years since the terrible Civil War losses of 1862 in our American Civil War. A year of triumph for the Confederacy as reported by most Northern newspapers, and trumpeted loudly by joyous Southern newspapers. The North is a nation in mourning .. and despair.

The Second Battle of Bull Run of August 28-30, 1862 was a route of Federal forces under Union Major General John Pope, who once stated he could "bag the whole rebel army" once he had the chance. But Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was on the field with his "foot cavalry" ( named as they could march so fast) and his wide flanking march has brought him around the Union army. He has captured their supply train at Manassas and threatened their communication line.

Jackson is fast becoming General Robert E. Lee's right hand, and he will prove it even further in the coming months. As Pope begins a series of strong attacks against Jackson on August 29th.. some will have a limited success that give Union General Pope a feeling that he might have Jackson and his army trapped.

First and Second Manassas

Bull Run Remembers by Hanson, J.M, National Capitol Publishers, Inc., 1951 VREF 973.73 H
This volume by a former superintendent of the military park was written as a guide for visitors. Though well done, readers should note that it was written more than 50 years ago and that much at the park has since changed.

Manassas (Bull Run) National Battlefield Park by Wilshin, F. F., National Park Service, 1957 VREF 973.73 W
Like the preceding volume, this book was prepared as a visitors guide over half a century ago. It remains useful for its maps and photographs only.

The Manassas Battlefields , McElfresh Map Co., 2007 VREF 973.731 M
This map shows the ground on which the two Battles were fought based on several well recognized sources.

First Manassas/First Bull Run

Donnybrook &ndash The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 by Detzer, D., Harcourt, Inc., 2004 VREF 973.731 D
This is a very competently written account of the Battle, but suffers from the inclusion of just one map that only shows the positions late in the day.

The First Battle of Manassas&ndash An End to Innocence, July 18-21, 1861 by Hennessy, J., H. E. Howard, Inc., 1989 VREF 973.73 H
Part of the highly authoritative Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series, volume by a former director of the National Battlefield Park is the definitive treatment of the first great Battle of the Civil War.

First Manassas Battlefield Map Study by Bearss, E., H. E. Howard, Inc., no date VREF 973.731 B
A companion volume to the one above, this book prepared by a noted Civil War authority documents the positions of Union and Confederate forces at six different points in the action based on the extant documentary evidence.

First Manassas 1861 &ndash The Battle of Bull Run by Hankinson, A., Osprey Publishing, 1990 VREF 973.731 H
This volume tells the story of the Battle through Osprey&rsquos unique blending of vivid illustrations and maps with a concise text.

Battle of Young&rsquos Branch, or, Manassas Plain, Fought July 21, 1861 By Warder, T. B. and Catlett, J. M., Enquirer Book and Job Press, 1862 VREF 973.73 W
This is a reprint of a book issued in 1862 after the Confederate victory at Manassas to foster a martial spirit in the South. Decidedly partisan, it provides details of the Battle not found elsewhere.

"We Shall Meet Again&rdquo &ndash The First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) July 18-21, 1861 by McDonald, J. M., Oxford University Press, 1999 VREF 973.73 M
Through diary entries and letters, the author conveys the horrors of war with realism and compassion.

Battle at Bull Run &ndash A History of Their First Major Campaign of The Civil War by Davis, W. C., Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977 VREF 973.73 D
This very readable account of the Battle was written by an editor of the Civil War Times.

Bull Run: Its Strategy & Tactics by Johnston, R. M., John Kallmann, Publishers, 1996 VREF 973.73 J
This volume is a reprint of a work published in 1913. The author laments that with an adequate standing army the Civil War would have been swiftly brought to an end.

The Battle of Bull Run , Kraus Reprint Co., 1977 VREF 973.73 U
Extracted from the congressional Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, 1863-1866, this monograph provides the full testimony before the Committee which investigated the reasons for the loss.

First Manassas, Editors of Time-Life Books, 1997 VREF 973.731 F
This volume in the excellent Voices of the Civil War series, tells the story of the Battle in the words and images of soldiers and civilians who participated in the Battle.

First Manassas&ndash The Bull Run Campaign by Jones, V. C., Eastern Acorn Press, 1980 VREF 973.731 J
This very well illustrated booklet provides a good brief overview of the Battle.

The First Battle of Bull Run &ndash Campaign of First Manassas by Hill, J., CartoGraphics, Inc., 1991 VREF 973.731 H
This booklet provides a highly concise overview of the Battlefield using splendidly drawn maps of equal use to novices and seasoned buffs.

75 th Anniversary of the Manassas National Jubilee of Peace, July 1911 by Manassas City Museum, 1986 VREF 973.731 H
This booklet includes photos and contemporary content from the 1911 celebrations in which President Taft was a participant.

Second Manassas/Second Bull Run

Return to Bull Run by Hennessy, J. J., Simon & Schuster, 1993 VREF 973.732 H
This very well written book is by a former historian at the Battlefield and leading authority on the Battle.

Second Manassas Battlefield Map Study by Hennessy, J., H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991 VREF 973.732 H
This volume, by the author of the definitive history of the Battle, provides detailed information about troop positions and movements during Second Manassas.

The Second battle of Manassas by Greene, A. W., Eastern National, 1995 VREF 973.732 G
This semi-official booklet in the National Parks Civil War Series includes fine maps and illustrations, and provides an excellent introduction to the Battle.

Second Manassas- The Battle and Campaign by Kelly, D., Eastern Acorn Press, 1983 VREF 973.732 K
This interpretative booklet is quite serviceable, but the more modern set-up and graphics makes the title above a better choice.

Second Manassas, Editors of Time-Life Books, 1995 VREF 973.732 S
This volume in the excellent Voices of the Civil War series tells the story of the Battle in words and images of the participants.

Brave Men&rsquos Tears: The Iron Brigade at Brawner Farm by Gaff, A. D., Morningside, 1985 VREF 973.733 G
This volume provides a highly detailed view of the fierce action that opened the Battle of Second Manassas. The action is noteworthy as the introduction to Battle of a brigade that would become legendary in the Army of the Potomac.

Ball&rsquos Bluff

Battle at Ball&rsquos Bluff by Holien, K. B., Publisher&rsquos Press, Inc., 1985 VREF 973.73 H
This volume provides a highly detailed account of the relatively minor but politically significant Battle of October 1861 in Loudon County that led to the arrest and imprisonment of Union commander General Stone.

The Battle of Ball&rsquos Bluff &ndash &ldquoThe Leesburg Affair&rdquo by Howard, W. F., H. E. Howard, Inc., 1994 VREF 973.731 H
This volume in the authoritative Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders series is based on original Battle reports and previously unpublished accounts by participants in the fight.

The Battle of Ball&rsquos Bluff Kraus Reprint Co., 1977 VREF 973.73 U
The Union fiasco at Ball&rsquos Bluff prompted the formation in Congress of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the war. This extract from the committee report provides just the testimony related to Ball&rsquos Bluff.

A Little Short of Boats: The Fights at Ball&rsquos Bluff and Edwards Ferry by Morgan III, J. A., Ironclad Publishing, 2004 VREF 973.731 M
This book is the product of the author&rsquos knowledge of the Battle terrain, the culling of more than 130 sources, and careful use of primary source material. The book includes a numerous excellent maps and a visitor&rsquos tour guide.

The Battle of Ball&rsquos Bluff by Patch, J. D., Potomac Press, 1958 VREF 973.73 P
The author, a retired army major general, notes that Ball&rsquos Bluff provides useful lessons about politics, leadership, tactics and logistics.

Ball&rsquos Bluff by Farwell, B., EPM, 1990 VREF 973.731 F
The author tells the complete story of the Ball&rsquos Bluff affair, combining his research and storytelling ability to explore players and events from background to aftermath.

History of the Battle of Ball&rsquos Bluff by White, E. V., &ldquoThe Washingtonian&rdquo Print, 1987 VRARE 973.73 W
This booklet is a reprint of an early work written to raise funds for the erection in Leesburg of a monument to Confederate soldiers of Loudon County.

Chantilly/ Ox Hill

He Hath Loosed the Fateful Lightning byTaylor, P., White Mane Books, 2003 VREF 973.733 T
This well-illustrated history tells the story of the largest Battle fought in Fairfax County during the war in the immediate aftermath of Second Manassas/Second Bull Run.

Tempest at Ox Hill by Welker, D. A., Da Capo Press, 2002 VREF 973.733 W
This is another well done account of the Battle.

The battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill) by Mauro, C. V., Fairfax Co. History Commission, 2002 VREF 973.733 M
This booklet does an excellent job of telling in brief the story of the Battle. Particularly interesting are modern photographs showing where the Battle was fought.

The Battle of Chantilly by Moore, J. G., 1964 VREF 973.733 M
This is a copy of an article that appeared in Military Affairs magazine telling the story of the Battle.

The Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill) by Mauro, C. and Morgan, B., BLM Productions, 2005 DVD VREF 973.733 M
This is a staged version of key events including the Battle during 1862 and commemorative events in 1883 and 1915.


VIDEO: Battery H Of The 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery At Gettysburg

Civil War Times Editor Dana Shoaf shares the story of how Battery H of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery found itself in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg. .

Dan Bullock: The youngest American killed in the Vietnam War

Pfc. Dan Bullock died at age 15 in 1969 and efforts to recognize the young African-American Marine continue and are highlighted in this Military Times documentary. (Rodney Bryant and Daniel Woolfolk/Military Times).

The Second Battle of Bull Run: A Civil War Sesquicentennial - HISTORY

The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought between August 28 and 30 in 1862, and was the second time Union and Confederate forces had met at Bull Run, near Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia. The first battle had taken place in July of the previous year and resulted in a defeat for the Federal army.

The second battle pitted the Federal troops in the Army of Virginia, commanded by Major General John Pope, against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee.


The President, Abraham Lincoln, had placed Major General Pope in charge of the Army of Virginia, a newly established force. Lincoln was concerned by the failure of the Army of the Potomac’s Peninsula Campaign under Major General George B. McClellan, and wanted a commander who had a more aggressive approach.

Pope’s instructions were to defend Washington and the Shenandoah Valley against the possibility of a Confederate attacks. He was also to move his troops towards Gordonsville in an attempt to take Confederate attention away from McClellan’s army, then located in the Virginia Peninsula.

Following several successful engagements against McClellan’s troops, General Lee was confident enough to take some of his army from defensive duties around the Confederate capital at Richmond. He sent Stonewall Jackson to Gordonsville to halt Pope’s advance, and later sent an additional 12,000 men under the command of Major General A.P. Hill to support Jackson.

Pope’s and McClellan’s armies were widely separated, and Lee decided to try to destroy Pope’s army, and then take on McClellan’s, which Lee thought was the weaker of the two.

General-in-Chief of the Union army, Henry W. Halleck, sent orders to McClellan on August 3, instructing him to join up with Pope’s men on the approach to Gordonsville. McClellan’s military career is full of episodes of hesitancy, and once again he delayed and did not begin moving until August 14, eleven days after receiving his orders.

Between August 22 and 25, Pope’s and Lee’s forces engaged in a number of minor encounters along the Rappahannock River. During this period, McClellan’s men had begun to arrive and reinforce Pope’s forces.

Recognizing that he was being outnumbered, Lee decided to try to cut off Pope’s supply lines by taking the Orange and Alexandria railroad. He dispatched half his forces on a flanking maneuver, and on August 26, Stonewall Jackson took control of the railroad at Briscoe Station, followed by Manassas Junction and the major Federal supply depot there. He then moved to take up a defensive position at Stony Ridge.

Pope was forced to retreat from the Rappahannock, and Lee’s army took up defensive positions around Bull Run.

The Battle

The battle began on August 28. The Confederates had set up positions to prevent the Union army from moving along the Warrenton Turnpike. Units of the Union army moved to the turnpike in an attempt to consolidate forces with Pope, whose main force was now located at Centerville, and these were attacked by Jackson’s units.

Meanwhile, Confederate forces under the command of Major General James Longstreet defeated the Federal forces at the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap. This victory enabled Longstreet’s men to move to join up with Jackson’s.

On August 29, Pope launched an offensive against Jackson’s troops, who were now in defensive positions along an incomplete railway grade. Pope believed that some of his forces were in a position to prevent Jackson from retreating to the Bull Run Mountains. Jackson was confident that his defensive position was solid and he could hold out until Longstreet’s troops arrived. The Confederates successfully held off the Federal offensive, and later in the day, Longstreeet’s men arrived from Thoroughfare Gap.

In the early morning of August 30, the final section of Longstreet’s units arrived and took up position in darkness at Groveton. As the sun rose, these units realized they were completely isolated and were far too close to the Union forces. Their commander, Richard H. Anderson immediately ordered a retreat.

Pope’s Mistake

Pope was convinced that the entire Confederate army was now in retreat, and planned to pursue them. Despite intelligence that the Confederates were still in position, Pope sent his soldiers forward to renew attacks on the Confederates. He ignored the advice of several of his staff to proceed with care.

Pope ordered Major General Fitz John Porter’s to attack along the turnpike. At the same time, other units were to move forward along the Union right flank. Pope ordered these troop movements constantly, believing he would be pursuing retreating Confederate forces.

The Confederates, rather than retreating, had moved heavy artillery to high ground overlooking Brawner Farm in anticipation of a Union attack. Secondly, Porter’s men were not in the best position to follow Pope’s orders, and there was a significant delay before they were ready to carry out the instruction. The Federal troops were repelled by a heavy Confederate artillery bombardment and the attack failed.


Longstreet then launched a counter attack, using 25,000 men in the assault. The objective was to take Henry House Hill, as this location had proved decisive in the First Battle of Bull Run. Throughout the day, fierce fighting took place as ground was won and lost.

Pope also recognized the strategic importance of Henry House Hill and initiated a withdrawal to reinforce his defenders there. These troops came under intense pressure from Confederate troops, who succeeded in defeating several units of artillery and infantry.

As darkness fell, Pope had managed to withdraw to Henry House Hill and establish a solid defensive line. So intense had the action been that the Confederate forces were short on ammunition and exhausted from the action. This gave Pope the opportunity to begin an orderly withdrawal to Centerville under cover of darkness.

Just as in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Union army had been forced into retreat. However, this time the retreat was orderly and disciplined, and the army did not suffer the devastating humiliation and losses it had sustained in the retreat in July of the previous year.

After the Battle

The Second Battle of Bull Run led to heavy casualties on both sides. The Union army lost around 10,000 men in total, while the Confederates lost about 8,300. On September 12, Pope was relieved of his command.


After the Union defeat at Manassas in July 1861, Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Federal forces in and around Washington and organized them into a formidable fighting machine- the Army of the Potomac. In March 1862, leaving a strong force to cover the capital, McClellan shifted his army by water to Fort Monroe on the tip of the York-James peninsular, only 100 miles southeast of Richmond. Early in April he advanced toward the Confederate capital.

Anticipating such a move, the Southerners abandoned the Manassas area and marched to meet the Federals. By the end of May, McClellan&aposs troops were within sight of Richmond. Here Gen. Joseph E. Johnston&aposs Confederate army assailed the Federals in the bloody but inconclusive Battle of Seven Pines. Johnston was wounded, and President Davis placed Gen. Robert E. Lee in command. Seizing the offensive, Lee sent his force (now called the Army of Northern Virginia) across the Chickahominy River and, in a series of savage battles, pushed McClellan back from the edge of Richmond to a position on the James River.

At the same time, the scattered Federal forces in northern Virginia were organized into the Army of Virginia under the command of Gen. John Pope, who arrived with a reputation freshly won in the war&aposs western theater. Gambling that McClellan would cause no further trouble around Richmond, Lee sent Stonewall Jackson&aposs corps northward to "suppress" Pope. Jackson clashed indecisively with part of Pope&aposs troops at Cedar Mountain on August 9. Meanwhile, learning that the Army of the Potomac was withdrawing by water to join Pope, Lee marched with Gen. James Longstreet&aposs corps to bolster Jackson. On the Rapidan, Pope successfully blocked Lee&aposs attempts to gain the tactical advantage, and then withdrew his men north of the Rappahannock River. Lee knew that if he was to defeat Pope he would have to strike before McClellan&aposs army arrived in northern Virginia. On August 25 Lee boldly started Jackson&aposs corps on a march of over 50 miles, around the Union right flank to strike at Pope&aposs rear.

Two days later, Jackson&aposs veterans seized Pope&aposs supply depot at Manassas Junction. After a day of wild feasting, Jackson burned the Federal supplies and moved to a position in the woods at Groveton near the old Manassas battlefield.

Pope, stung by the attack on his supply base, abandoned the line of the Rappahannock and headed towards Manassas to "bag" Jackson. At the same time, Lee was moving northward with Longstreet&aposs corps to reunite his army. On the afternoon of August 28, to prevent the Federal commander&aposs efforts to concentrate at Centreville and bring Pope to battle, Jackson ordered his troops to attack a Union column as it marched past on the Warrenton Turnpike. This savage fight at Brawner&aposs Farm lasted until dark.

Convinced that Jackson was isolated, Pope ordered his columns to converge on Groveton. He was sure that he could destroy Jackson before Lee and Longstreet could intervene. On the 29th Pope&aposs army found Jackson&aposs men posted along an unfinished railroad grade, north of the turnpike. All afternoon, in a series of uncoordinated attacks, Pope hurled his men against the Confederate position. In several places the northerners momentarily breached Jackson&aposs line, but each time were forced back. During the afternoon, Longstreet&aposs troops arrived on the battlefield and, unknown to Pope, deployed on Jackson&aposs right, overlapping the exposed Union left. Lee urged Longstreet to attack, but "Old Pete" demurred. The time was just not right, he said.

The morning of August 30 passed quietly. Just before noon, erroneously concluding the Confederates were retreating, Pope ordered his army forward in "pursuit". The pursuit, however, was short-lived. Pope found that Lee had gone nowhere. Amazingly, Pope ordered yet another attack against Jackson&aposs line. Fitz-John Porter&aposs corps, along with part of McDowell&aposs, struck Starke&aposs division at the unfinished railroad&aposs "Deep Cut." The southerners held firm, and Porter&aposs column was hurled back in a bloody repulse.

Seeing the Union lines in disarray, Longstreet pushed his massive columns forward and staggered the Union left. Pope&aposs army was faced with annihilation. Only a heroic stand by northern troops, first on Chinn Ridge and then once again on Henry Hill, bought time for Pope&aposs hard-pressed Union forces. Finally, under cover of darkness the defeated Union army withdrew across Bull Run towards the defenses of Washington. Lee&aposs bold and brilliant Second Manassas campaign opened the way for the south&aposs first invasion of the north, and a bid for foreign intervention.

Map Plan of 2nd battle of Bull Run, Va. : Shewing movements of troops from 27 Aug. to Sept. 1.

The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of the United States Code) or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.

Note that the written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

The Wilderness

Battle of the Wilderness by Kurz and Allison.

In May of 1864, more than 100,000 Union troops went head to head with only 60,000 Confederates. With Ulysses Grant newly in charge of the entire Union army, he planned to attack Robert E. Lee in what was to become a historically tragic battle. The Union lost about 17,666 men and the Confederacy lost about 11,000 for a total of more than 28,000 casualties. Worse yet, one night, with many of the dead and dying lying about the battlefield and camps, a fire broke out over the landscape, killing those who could not escape. The resulting scene of the Battle of the Wilderness has been depicted as one of the most horrific of the war.

Civil War battlefield discovery: Surgeon's burial pit reveals soldiers' remains, amputated limbs

Two civil war soldiers buried among a battlefield surgeon’s pit have been found at Manassas National Battlefield Park, in Virginia. The excavation shed some light on the two soldiers and the Second Battle of Bull Run.

The remains of two Civil War soldiers have been discovered in a surgeon’s burial pit at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia.

“This is the first time in history that a surgeon’s pit at a Civil War battlefield has been professionally excavated and studied,” explained the National Park Service, in a statement. “It is also the first time that killed-in-action Civil War soldiers have been found in an amputated limb burial pit.”

The discovery was first made by the National Park Service in 2014. Officials then worked with forensic anthropologists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History to excavate the site and recover the remains.

In addition to the soldiers’ remains, 11 amputated limbs were also found in the hastily dug pit, confirming that it was the site of a field hospital. The complete remains belong to two Caucasian males aged between 25 and 34 years of age that died at the second battle of Manassas.

Excavation of an amputated limb (Credit: Kate D. Sherwood, Smithsonian Institution) (This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws.)

The first battle of Manassas took place on July 21, 1861. The second battle of Manassas occurred between August 28 and 30, 1862. Both battles, (which were known as the first and second battles of Bull Run by Union forces), resulted in Confederate victories.

“One of the soldiers was found with an Enfield bullet still lodged in his upper thigh bone (femur),” explained the National Park Service, in its statement. “The other soldier was found with three fired lead buckshot. It is likely that a field surgeon determined that both soldiers had injuries too severe to be operated on successfully.”

Experts believe that the soldiers are likely from the Union army, noting that Enfield bullets were used almost exclusively by the Confederate Army at the Second Battle of Manassas. Buttons from a Union jacket were also found with the remains of the man who died from buckshot. Isotope analyses by forensic anthropologists also showed the men consumed food and water from Northeastern region while their bones were forming.

The soldier will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery later this year in coffins built from a downed tree from the battlefield. The burials will be the first in the cemetery’s Millennium Expansion, which plans to add nearly 30,000 burial sites and niche spaces to the site.

“Later this summer, we will have the great honor to inter these unknown Soldiers with their fellow Soldiers at Arlington,” in a statement. “They will lay to rest in our new Millennium Expansion as we commemorate their ultimate sacrifice 156 years ago at the Second Battle of Manassas.”

America’s Civil War sites and artifacts from the era regularly offer fresh glimpses into the bloody conflict. Earlier this year, a holidaymaker on a North Carolina beach captured drone footage of Civil War-era shipwreck.

Last year, forensic linguists said they have likely unraveled the mystery surrounding a famous Civil War-era letter, long believed to have been written by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 2015, the remains of a Confederate warship were raised from the Savannah River in Georgia. The following year, the wreck of a large iron-hulled Civil War-era steamer was discovered off the coast of North Carolina. The ship, which was found off Oak Island, N.C, was tentatively identified as the blockade runner Agnes E. Fry.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Map Second Battle of Bull Run, Aug. 29, 1862

The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of the United States Code) or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.

Note that the written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Watch the video: Second Battle of Bull Run 1862 American Civil War (May 2022).