On July 16, 1862, the untried Union army under Brigadier General Irvin McDowell marched from Washington against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond Centreville.
On the 21st, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. Fighting raged throughout the day as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill. Late in the afternoon, Confederate reinforcements (one brigade arriving by rail from the Shenandoah Valley) extended and broke the Union right flank.
The Federal retreat rapidly deteriorated into a rout. Although victorious, Confederate forces were too disorganized to pursue. Confederate General Bee and Colonel Bartow were killed. Thomas J. Jackson earned the nom de guerre "Stonewall."
By July 22, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington.
This battle convinced the Lincoln administration that the war would be a long and costly affair.
McDowell was relieved of command of the Union army and replaced by Major General George B. McClellan, who set about reorganizing and training the troops.
Result(s): Confederate victory
Location: Fairfax County and Prince William County
General Irvin McDowell's army of 35,000 Union troops marched from Washington, D.C. toward the railroad junction at Manassas. Here the Orange & Alexandria Railroad met the Manassas Gap Railroad, which led west to the Shenandoah Valley. Twenty-two thousand Southern soldiers under the command of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard guarded the area, waiting for an attack. On July 21, 1861, the two armies met on the fields overlooking a small stream named Bull Run. Meanwhile, on July 20th and 21st, 10,000 additional Southern troops arrived via the Manassas Gap Railroad. After hours of battle, the newly arrived southern units forced the exhausted and discouraged Union soldiers to withdraw back to Washington, D.C
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861
One of the better overviews of the campaign and battle of First Manassas or Bull Run. The book is very easy to read and is broken down in manageable chunks, with the events before and after the battle.
Drummer Boy at Bull Run
You get to know two families during the Civil War. It focuses on the two teens Jeff and Leah who go through struggles with their friendship as Jeff's family joins the confederacy.
The Battle of First Bull Run
The Civil War Begins
Three months after the shelling of Fort Sumter, Union and Confederate forces met for the first time in earnest combat. However, neither side was prepared at this early stage of the war, and confusion reigned on the battlefield
Fields of Fury
The American Civil War
Written for young readers a stirring account of the greatest conflict to happen on our nation's soil, the Civil War, bringing to life the tragic struggle that divided not only a nation, but also friends and family. well-organized, well-executed, kid-friendly history of the Civil War was a brilliant idea if there ever was one. It's difficult to imagine anyone doing a better job than McPherson at breaking down this complex, interrelated series of events
Balls Bluff: A Small Battle and Its Long Shadow
Confederate troops scored what was probably the most complete victory by either side in the Civil War at a place called Ball's Bluff, thirty-five miles west of Washington, DC, on the Virginia bank of the Potomac River. Union soldiers were driven in a panic off the high bluff into the river, where many of them drowned
Napoleon in Gray
Beauregard often gets overlooked, he was never as beloved as Lee or Stonewall Jackson, but he was capable, the man had a sharp mind and Lee understood this, even if Jefferson Davis did not
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. Library of Congress.