The First Battle of Bull Run

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THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN

BY COLLINS MCKAY

On July 21, 1861, two armies, one confederate and the other Union, prepared for the first major land battle of the Civil War. In 1861 Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President.

The Southern states had seceded and the South had fired on and captured Fort Sumter on April 12 1861.

After the Fort Sumter battle, both the North and the South began preparing for war by raising armies. This was done quickly and neither side spent much time training the troops. Both sides also did not know what a long and terrible war was ahead.

The first Battle of Bull Run took place near Manassas Junction, Virginia, an important railroad junction twenty five miles west of Washington, D.C. Bull Run Creek twisted and turned through Manassas Junction. The Shenandoah Valley, a Southern stronghold was thirty miles to the northwest of Manassas Junction. Both the Bull Run Creek and the nearby Shenandoah Valley gave the South two advantages in this battle.

In July 1861, tow armies faced each other in Northern Virginia. General Irvin McDowell, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac had 31,000 men in Washington. General Beauergard of the Confederate Army had 20,000 troops camped around Manassas Junction.

To the north, near Harriers Ferry, Confederate General Joseph Johnston with 9,000 soldiers faced off with Union General Patterson who was dug in with 18,000 troops. These are forces that would be involved in the First Battle of Bull Run.

On July 18, 1861, General McDowell's Army of the Potomac marched from Washington toward Manassas Junction for battle. The Confederates at Manassas knew far ahead of this action due to many Southern spies in Washington. The Southern troops spread in lines along eight miles of Bull Run Creek. The heaviest Southern troops were on a ridge around Henry House. After a few skirmishes, the Union Army arrived at Bull Run on July 21, 1861.

As the Union Army...
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