Also known as the 2nd battle of Bull Run in the north, this battle was fought on Virginia soil on August 28-30, 1862.
150 years ago today, on August 24 in a prelude to this battle, Stonewall Jackson led his men on a flank march ending on the 27th of August. Jackson’s men crossed the Rappahannock River at Hinson’s Mill Ford. They spent forty-eight hours covering fifty-six miles in blistering heat, finally arriving at the rear of Pope’s army at Manassas Junction.
During the exhausting march, Jackson’s troops dined on whatever they could forage from the surrounding farms.
The Union supply depot at Manassas Junction was the object of the battle with General Lee’s objective to cut Pope’s rail connection for the Union army. Jackson, however, thought it best to take his men first to a small whistle stop called Bristoe, several miles southwest of the junction, reasoning that the station wouldn’t be as well protected by Yankee troops. Jackson’s cavalry attacked the small contingent of Pennsylvania troops guarding the small station. Once those troops were dispersed, Jackson’s men were alerted to an empty Federal supply train returning from Manassas. The Confederates tried to block the tracks, but the engineer barreled through and spread word that Confederate forces had gained Pope’s rear. But the warnings didn’t reach the next two trainmen. Falling victim to Jackson’s forces, the locomotives flew off the tracks, resulting in a scene of destruction.
Jackson accomplished the first rung of his mission, but the ultimate result would depend on the Union leaders’ reaction to the disruption of their supply trains.
The battle of Manassas ended in a Confederate victory, allowing Lee to lead his army into Maryland for his first incursion into Northern territory.
For more on the battle of Manassas, visit these sites: http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/civil_war_series/18/sec2.htm
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