Anniversary of Manassas today in 1861.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Today, the 21st July, in 1861 saw the biggest battle to date in the American Civil War. It was fought in Virginia and was as a consequence of Lincoln’s prodding of his most important army commander, Brigadier Irvin McDowell. Lincoln wanted the rebellion putting down quickly and ordered McDowell to march South on the confederate capital of Richmond.
    McDowell took 32000 Infantry in 4 Divisions(11 Brigades) and marched on the smaller Southern army waiting at Manassas, blocking the way to the Capital.
    The Southern commander was a Louisianan, with the splendid name, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. He had 7 1/2 Brigades, totalling over 20000 from all over the South. The Confederates realised they needed reinforcing, so called on the 4 Brigades of Infantry in the Shenandoah Valley.
    As luck would have it, these 10000 men under General Joseph Johnston, a Virginian, arrived on the battlefield in time to tip the scales against McDowell.
    It was a close run thing as the Southern commander, Beauregard, did not realise that McDowell’s clever flanking move with most of his force was the real threat and did not counter it properly. It took the brave stand of a drunken South Carolinian former Indian fighter to hold them long enough until further units arrived to halt the tired and green Union troops.
    One man who made a name for himself this day was a former West Point instructor of Artillery and Mathematics, Brigadier Thomas Jonathan Jackson, forever known as Stonewall.
    Many men who commanded Regiments and Brigades this day would go on to lead Divisions, Corps and even Armies. On the Northern side commanding a Brigade was an Ohioan who would later become infamous. His name was William T. Sherman.
    The South won the battle. Total casualties were approximately 5000. North Virginia would see many more, much bloodier,  encounters over the next 3 summers. Many of the commanders’ names would change, the bravery and resilience shown by both sides would not.



  • A buddy and I went to the 150th anniversary reenactment back in 2011. There were over 10,000 reenactors total (about 5,000 per side) and the temp was in the low 100’s. Just thinking about those temps and wearing wool makes me sweat. It was alot of fun though, we got to form an infantry and get charged by cavalry (like 60 guys!) it was well worth the near heat stroke.  😄


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Morning Clyde. That sounds excellent. 10000 people, wow!
    Fighting in the heat, needing water, must be unbearable.
    With which unit did you fight(and die) or are reenactments  not that complicated?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The Union Army’s disorganized retreat to Washington after First Manassas / First Bull Run came to be known as “The Great Skedaddle”.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    And set the scene for defeat after defeat for the Union armies.
    Perhaps Lincoln should not have rushed the otherwise capable McDowell.



  • @wittmann:

    Morning Clyde. That sounds excellent. 10000 people, wow!
    Fighting in the heat, needing water, must be unbearable.
    With which unit did you fight(and die) or are reenactments  not that complicated?

    I was part of the USV’s Regular Army corps. I fell in with a group called the 6th New Hampshire, my home unit being the 12th Mass I Co. Despite this we were used to represent the first corp of the Regular Army.

    It was a lot of fun, and while I like to say in period while out at events, even I was convinced to leave at go sit in the AC of a local Hooters restaurant (you know, and the great “wings” too  🙂  ).



  • I’ve always found it interesting that the confederate army at Manassas was the Army of the Potomac, while the Union army was the Army of Northeastern Virginia. It’s like afterwards, both commanders decided to switch names.  🙂



  • I desire to reenact later in life.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Makoshark13:

    I’ve always found it interesting that the confederate army at Manassas was the Army of the Potomac, while the Union army was the Army of Northeastern Virginia. It’s like afterwards, both commanders decided to switch names.Â

    And on a similar note: “Many [Confederate volunteers] were from state militia outfits which had their own state-issued uniforms, and in the early battles some Confederate units who wore dark blue uniforms were often mistaken on the field of battle for the enemy. Conversely, many Union units which were originally militia units went to war wearing grey.”


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