Battles of Bull Run
Date April 12, 1861 – April 14, 1861
Location Charleston County, South Carolina
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States

Two battles of the Civil War were fought in northern Virginia near a small river called Bull Run and a town called Manassas Junction. The first Bull Run battle was the first major battle of the war. Both the North and the South thought it might be the last.


First Bull Run: The Union troops were commanded by Gen. Irvin McDowell; the Confederate army by Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Beauregard. The armies clashed on July 21, 1861.

The first Union attack seemed to be successful. The Confederate lines fell back. Only Gen. Thomas Jackson's brigade stood like a stone wall. The Confederates were reinforced and McDowell's army retreated. The retreat became an unorganized flight back to Washington, D.C.

First Bull Run had two far-reaching effects. The South rejoiced, but it also developed a false sense of security. The North was dazed. Lincoln and his generals realized that the war would be a long one.

Second Bull Run: After First Bull Run there was a lull in the fighting in northern Virginia. Then in the spring of 1862 a series of battles in the east led to the second battle of Bull Run. The Confederate commanders in Second Bull Run were Gens. Jackson and James Longstreet under the overall command of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The Union commander was Gen. John Pope.

The third (main) phase of Second Bull Run was fought on Aug. 29 to 30, 1862. Pope's army was drawn up along the Rappahannock to defend Washington. It faced Lee's two corps under Jackson and Longstreet. Pope advanced on Jackson, who pretended to retreat but held his ground until reinforced by Lee and Longstreet. The entire Confederate Army attacked the Union Army and forced it to retreat all the way back to Washington. The way was open for Lee to invade the North.[1]


  1. History-World—"Civil War Battles" (August 14, 2017)