Northern Virginia Campaign Map
Second Bull Run / Second Manassas
American Civil War
July to September 1862
Lee knew that his Army of Northern Virginia was in a dangerous position between Pope and McClellan, especially if the two were to unite. On July 13, he sent Jackson, with forces eventually totaling 24,000 men, to watch Pope. After an initial sparring action at Cedar Mountain on August 9, Jackson and Pope stood watching each other for nearly a week. Lee, knowing that McClellan was leaving Harrison's Landing, had departed Richmond with the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia and joined Jackson at Gordonsville. The combined Confederate forces outnumbered Pope's, and Lee resolved to outflank and cut off the Army of Virginia before the whole of McClellan's force could be brought to bear.
A succession of captured orders enabled both Lee and Pope to learn the intentions of the other. Pope ascertained Lee's plan to trap him against the Rappahannock and withdrew to the north bank astride the railroad. Lee, learning that two corps from the Army of the Potomac would join Pope within days, acted quickly and boldly. He sent Jackson off on a wide turning movement through Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains around the northern flank of Pope's army and subsequently followed the same route with thedivisions commanded by General Longstreet.
Pope took note of Jackson's move, but first assumed that it was pointed toward the Shenandoah Valley. Then Jackson, covering nearly sixty miles in two days, came in behind Pope at Manassas on August 26, destroyed his supply base there, and slipped away unmolested. Pope marched and countermarched his forces for two days trying to find the elusive Confederates. At the same time the Union commander failed to take Lee's other forces into account. As a result he walked into Lee's trap on the site of the old battlefield of Manassas, or Bull Run. Pope attacked Jackson, posted behind an abandoned railroad embankment, but again the attack consisted of a series of piecemeal frontal assaults which were repulsed with heavy casualties. By then Porter's V Corps from the Army of the Potomac had reached the field and was ordered to attack Jackson's right (south) flank. By this time also, Longstreet's column had burst through Thoroughfare Gap, and deploying on Jackson's right, it blocked Porter's move.
Next day, August 30, Pope renewed his attacks against Jackson, whom he thought to be retreating. Seizing the opportunity to catch the Federal columns in an exposed position, Lee sent Longstreet slashing along the Warrenton turnpike to catch Pope's flank in the air. The Federal army soon retired from the field and Pope led it back to Washington, fighting an enveloping Confederate force at Chantilly on the way.
Lee, by great daring and rapid movement, and by virtue of having the Confederate forces unified under his command, had successfully defeated one formidable Union army in the presence of another even larger one. Halleck, as General in Chief, had not taken the field to co-ordinate Pope and McClellan, and Pope lost the campaign despite the advantage of interior lines
Second Manassas Second Bull Run Campaign Map click for full size map
August 29, 1862
August 30, 1862
Chronology Second Manassas
Second Bull Run
29 August 1862
Sigel's Corps with Reynold's Division pressed westward and became engaged in a series of disjointed attacks against Jackson's position along the railroad
Sigel called off attacks.
Longstreet's Corps began arriving south of Jackson's line and completed its deployment about 1100. Hood's Division was on both sides of the turnpike near Pageland Lane. Wilcox's Division was echeloned to his left rear, while Kemper's Division was echeloned to his right rear. D. R. Jones' Division extended from Kemper's farther south across the Manassas Gap Railroad and Robertson's Cavalry screened toward Manassas. Jones engaged elements of Morell's Division; Porter's Corps was engaged in desultory fighting all afternoon.
Heintzelman's Corps (Kearny's and Hooker's Divisions) and Reno's Corps (Reno's and Stevens' Divisions) arrived near the Stone House.
The Federal attack was renewed. Schurz's Division seized part of Jackson's railroad position and held it until relieved at 1400 by Heintzelman's Corps.
Period of regrouping and rest with some skirmishing.
Grover's Brigade, Hooker's Division made a successful bayonet attack against the center of Jackson's line; lost 500 men in 20 minutes, was not supported and was forced back.
Kearny attacked on Jackson's extreme left (north) and began to roll up that part of the line held by A. P. Hill's Division. Two brigades of Confederate reinforcements were rushed from an unthreatened portion of their line and repulsed Kearny's men.
Wilcox's Division was shifted by Longstreet to support D. R. Jones toward Manassas; it soon returned when no threat developed. Fitz-John Porter's presence to the south had fixed Longstreet's right wing all afternoon. The Confederate did not want to commit himself until he had determined Porter's intentions.
Hatch's (formerly King's) Division arrived at the Stone House and was ordered to attack westward along the Pike.
Hatch's Division collided with Hood's Division, which was probing eastward along the Warrenton Pike. Fighting endured around Groveton until about 1915. Reynolds' Division south of the Pike had been prevented from supporting effectively by Longstreet's artillery.
Pope ordered Porter to bring his corps to Groveton. Pope felt Jackson was retreating and disregarded Porter's reports of Longstreet's presence south of the Pike. Longstreet was freed for the next day.
30 August 1862
Federals began to move into attack positions; Reynolds shifted to Chinn's Ridge.
Butterfield's and Hatch's Divisions with Sykes' in support commenced the main attack. They pushed to the railroad held by Jackson's men but were enfiladed by Longstreet's artillery on their left (south). Meanwhile Heintzelman's units pressed farther north.
Reynolds was pulled from his position to support Porter. Only Warren's Brigade (Sykes' Division) and Anderson's Brigade (Reynolds' Division) remained south of the Pike.
Longstreet attacked, pivoting on Jackson's position. Hood's Division advanced along an axis formed by the Pike while Longstreet's other units advanced in an arc north-northeast.
Warren's position was overrun. Pope placed more troops on Chinn's Ridge: Ricketts', along with Schurz's and parts of Schenck's Division were rushed in; Sykes' Division went to Henry Hill farther east and was joined later by Reynolds with two of his brigades. Reno and Heintzelman delayed north of the Pike against Jackson, who conformed to Longstreet's advance.
Chinn's Ridge was taken. Fighting shifted to Henry Hill. Sykes and Reynolds held until relieved by Stevens' Division of Reno's Corps, which halted the last Confederate attack.
Schurz's Division evacuated a bridgehead west of Stone Bridge.
31 August 1862
Turnpike Bridge was blown up; Federals drew into Centreville positions. (The stone bridge had been destroyed 9 March 1862 by Confederates. The bridge destroyed 31 August was a temporary wooden span.)
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