Wednesday, July 20, 2011

150 Years Ago This Week

The process of study is on a slight hold, between vacation, work and "to do" lists I am working on, I've been neglectful.  But on a brighter note, it's time for a new post.

As I'm sure that most of the people (both of you) who read this blog are aware, we are in the middle of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.  This week notably is the anniversary of the first major battle of the Civil War, First Manassas (or First Bull Run if you prefer).  

The set up is as follows...

Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell was appointed by President Lincoln  to command the Union Army of Northeastern Virginia.   McDowell was harassed by impatient politicians and citizens in Washington, who wished to see a quick battlefield victory over the Confederate Army .   Lincoln too was concerned as several of the "90 day" units who enlisted in the early days following Ft. Sumpter were about to expire.  McDowell, however, was concerned about the untried nature of his army. He was reassured by President Lincoln, "You are green, it is true, but they are green also; you are all green alike." Against his better judgment, McDowell commenced campaigning. On July 16, 1861, the general departed Washington with the largest field army yet gathered on the  continent, about 35,000 men 
The Confederate Army of the Potomac with nearly 22,000 men under Beauregard was encamped near Manassas Junction, approximately 25 miles from the United States capital. McDowell planned to attack this numerically inferior enemy army. 
On July 21, 1861 the battle commenced.  Without going into too much detail, the early part of the battle the Union Army seemed to have the advantage, but due to lack of training and leadership failed to press the advantage, and ultimately was crushed by a Confederate counterattack later in the day.  The routed Union Army that took days to march the 25 miles from Washington took hours to retreat back.  
Bull Run was the largest and bloodiest battle in American history up to that point. Union casualties were 460 killed, 1,124 wounded, and 1,312 missing or captured; Confederate casualties were 387 killed, 1,582 wounded, and 13 missing.
Many things came from this first major land engagement.

McDowell was rlieved of command, and was replaced by Major General George McClellan who excelled at building and training an army, but was less than a great battlefield commander. 
 A day after the battle, (July 22nd) Lincoln signed a bill calling for the 3 year enlistment of an additional 500,000 troops.  
Beauregard was promoted by Jefferson Davis to the rank of full general.  

And on this field, Brigadier General Barnard Bee (CSA), told his troops to reform on Henry Hill  behind former VMI professor's Thomas Jackson Virginia troops.  Bee said, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.  Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.  Rally behind the Virginians!"  Jackson would be forever more known as Stonewall Jackson.  Bee was mortally wounded shortly after.  

Without further ado, please enjoy these pictures I have taken at the Manassas Battlefield.
Jackson Memorial on Henry House Hill

Smooth Bore and Rifled Guns of The Washington Artillery Battalion on Henry House Hill

Artillery View from Jackson's Line Looking Towards Henry House
Robinson Lane where Confederates Retreated from Matthew's Hill to Henry Hill

Stone House with Matthew's Hill in Background as Seen From Henry Hill

Close up of Stone House (it was used as a field hospital following the battle)

Graffiti of Private Eugene P Geer 5th NY Infantry in Stone House.  He died of his wounds Sept. 30, 1862 at the age of 17.  This is from the Second Battle of Manassas.

Graffiti of Private Charles E. Brehm 5th NY Infantry in Stone House.  He recovered from his wounds and survived the  war.
This is from the Second Battle of Manassas.

Union Memorial to the Battles of First and Second Bull Run, Dedicated 1865.  Note the artillery shells on the monument, they were live until about 60 or so  years ago.

Approximate Position of Rickett's Battery.  Note the visitor's center in the background.

Stonewall Jackson Monument on Henry House Hill, Jackson's position located by wood line in the background

Close up of Jackson on Little Sorrell.  Obviously not to scale, this monument was built  in the late '30s or early 40's (I can't remember which at this moment)

Monument to Brigadier General Francis Bartow (CSA), reported to be the first Confederate officer to die in the battle.  He was mortally wounded on this spot on Henry House Hill.

Opposite side of Jackson Monument is this monument to the mortal wounding of Brigadier General Barnard Bee (CSA) who just before his wounding told his men, "There stands Jackson like a stonewall..."

Cannons of the Rhode Island Battery (USA) on Matthews Hill

View of Henry House Hill from Rhode Island Battery location on Matthew's Hill

Confederate Cemetery at Manassas.  At least 266 men are interred here, all but 2 are unidentified.

Stone Bridge crossing Bull Run, destroyed during the battle, it was later rebuilt.

Looking downstream on Bull Run from Stone Bridge.

Looking upstream on Bull Run from Stone Bridge.

As usual, I hope you enjoyed, feel free to leave comments.  I promise next post will be back on track with Gettysburg.


Denise Leithauser said...

Love the blog!! Keep it up Erik :) Very informative and love the pics!

Erik said...

Thanks Denise!! Glad you enjoy!