Today, August 29, 1862: Second Battle of Bull Run

On July 21, 1861, Union troops attacked the Confederate troops at Bull Run. By early afternoon, the Union troops had succeeded in pushing back part of the Confederate line. Later in the day, Confederate reinforcements arrived and help stop the Union advance and helped to push them back. The Union army began to splinter and weaken, eventually turning back towards Washington DC. The Confederate forces were victorious but were left so disorganized that they failed to pursue the Union troops.

On July 22, 1861, the remaining Union troops managed to arrive back in Washington DC. The First Battle of Bull Run resulted in 1,750 Confederate casualties and 2,950 Union casualties. It was during the First Battle of Bull Run that Confederate officer Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned the nickname of Stonewall Jackson for his prowess over the Union troops.

The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle between the Union and Confederate forces.

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On July 17, 1861, Lincoln replaces General Irvin McDowell with General George McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac. McClellan soon discovers just what the new position means and reportedly tells his wife”

“I find myself in a new and strange position here: President, Cabinet, Gen. Scott, and all deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic, I seem to have become the power of the land.”

By the end of October 1861, General Winfield Scott retires as General-in-Chief over all of the Union Army. Lincoln appointed McClellan to take Scott’s place.

On January 31, 1862, Lincoln issues General Order #1 calling all of the US land and naval forces to begin an advance against the Confederacy by February 22, George Washington’s birthday.

On February 6, 1862, Union General Ulysses Grant captures Fort Henry in Tennessee.

On February 16, 1862, Grant captures Fort Donelson in Tennessee, earning him the nickname of Unconditional Surrender Grant.

In March, 1862, McClellan advances the Army of the Potomac from Washington DC south along the Potomac River towards Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital. McClellan is relieved as General-in-Chief by Lincoln, but given full command of the Union Army. Later, Lincoln appoints General John Pope to command the Army of Virginia.

April 6-7, 1862, Battle of Shiloh between Union General Grant and Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Both sides sustain heavy causalities with 13,000 Union and 10,000 Confederate troops killed.

On April 24, 1862, Union ships led by Admirable David Farragut capture New Orleans.

On May 31, 1862, Confederate General Joseph Johnston attacks Union General McClellan’s army at the Battle of Seven Pines, outside Richmond. Johnston’s forces repel the Union attack but Johnston is severely wounded and failed to pursue and capture McClellan.

On June 1, 1862, General Robert E. Lee takes the place of severely wounded General Johnston.

From June 25 to July 1, 1862, Lee and McClellan clash outside Richmond in what is known as the Seven Days Battle. Both sides suffer heavy casualties and Lee successfully defends the Confederate capital and McClellan ends his Peninsular Campaign and begins moving his army back to Washington DC.

On August 28, 1862, Union General John Pope and Confederate General Lee gather their armies outside Manassas, Virginia at Bull Run. Pope has approximately 62,000 troops to go up against Lee’s approximately 50,000 troops.

On this day, August 29, 1862, the Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Second Battle of Manassas, commenced when Pope attacked the Confederate lines. The Confederate lines held strong and repelled the Union attacks.

On August 30, 1862, the Second Battle of Bull run ended with Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet and Lee soundly defeating the Union Army led by Pope. Many credit the defeat as due to Pope’s poor decisions and communication with his officers.

Pope’s Union forces were outflanked and forced into retreat but not after suffering 14,000 casualties, 22.5% of Pope’s army. Lee’s forces suffered 8,000 casualties, only 16% of his army.


Sources for the above includes: Today, July 21, 1861: First Battle of Bull Run; The U.S. Civil War 1861-1865; North and South Clash at the Second Battle of Bull Run; Second Manassas; Second Battle Of Bull Run; The Second Battle of Manassas August 30, 1862; Second Manassas Campaign

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