Battle of Second Manassas
(also known as 2nd Bull Run)

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Location: Manassas, VA
Dates: August 28 - 30, 1862
Union Commander: 
John Pope, Major General
Confederate Commander: 
Robert E. Lee, General

Battle Summary:
Robert E. Lee had accomplished the unimaginable.  He had pushed US Major General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, from the "Gates of Richmond."  After CS General Joseph Johnston was wounded, at the battle of Seven Pines, Robert Lee would take over the Army of Northern Virginia.  During the Seven Days battles, Lee would hammer McClellan's larger army until it was camped at Harrison's Landing.

After earning a victory, at Island #10, US Major General John Pope would be brought east, by Abraham Lincoln.  Creating the Army of Virginia, Lincoln determined to pressure Robert Lee, from northern Virginia.  Lee would detach his 2nd Corps, commanded by CS Lieutenant General Thomas Jackson, to keep Pope's attention.  This would culminate in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, where US Major General Nathanial Bank's detachment, from the Army of Virginia, would be badly trounced by Jackson.

Pope would consolidate his army, north of theRappahannock River, and await Jackson's next move.  In the meantime, with George McClellan's Army of the Potomac, retreating from the peninsula, Robert E. Lee quickly moved to consolidate his army, and deal with John Pope.

Over several days, in late August, after the consolidation of the Army of Northern Virginia, John Pope did not know where Lee's army was.  Still camped near Culpeper, Pope would learn quickly of Thomas Jackson's speed.  Having "forced marched" his 2nd Corps, northwest, through Thoroughfare Gap, Jackson attacked Pope's supply line, at Bristoe Station.  Pope would not learn of this until a train, destined for Bristoe Station, would rapidly return to Pope, describing the terrible destruction of his supply line.

This news broke John Pope's lethargy, and he quickly put his Army of Virginia, into motion, in an effort to defeat Jackson's lone 2nd Corps.  Using separate roads, Pope's army quickly pushed north.  US Major General Franz Sigel's I Corps, and US Major General Irvin McDowell's III Corps represented the left army wing.  US Major General Nathanial Bank's II Corps would push north, as the army's right flank.  Additionally, US Major Generals Joseph Hooker and Jesse Reno's divisions, from the Army of the Potomac, would be in the army's right wing.

As McDowell's III Corps pushed north, US Brigadier General James Ricketts would detach himself, from McDowell, and push west.  Ricketts' concern with protecting the Army of Virginia's left flank, would culminate in a short, but brutal battle, at Thoroughfare Gap, against CS Lieutenant General James Longstreet's 1st Corps division, commanded by CS Brigadier General Cadmus Wilcox.  Facing the entire 1st Corps of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, Ricketts' division did not stand a chance.  Once he was pushed aside, Robert E. Lee could consolidate his army to fight John Pope.  Speed was essential, if Pope would be able to face Jackson's 2nd Corps while it was separated from Robert E. Lee.

Certain that he would find Jackson at Centreville, VA, John Pope pushed his army towards the familiar fields near the Bull Run Creek, near Manassas, VA.  Approaching, from the west, late on the afternoon of August 28, on the Warrenton Turnpike, Irvin McDowell's III Corps would find Thomas Jackson's 2nd Corps.  Marching east, were US Brigadier General John Reynolds' division, of Pennsylvanians, followed by US Brigadier General Rufus King's division.  Just west of the old battlefield, near Pageland Avenue, Union troops spotted what appeared to be Confederate cavalry, north of the turnpike, scouting their movements.  Soon after, the Rebels disappeared, and King's division started to receive cannon fire from the ridge, north of the Warrenton Turnpike.  The battle of Second Manassas had opened.  In what would later been known as the Battle of Brawner's Farm, US Brigadier Generals John Gibbon, and Abner Doubleday would engage the entire right flank of Jackson's 2nd Corps.  These Federal brigades would hold Jackson, to a draw, during a battle that would last long past sunset.  Gibbon's all western brigade, then called the "Black Hat Brigade" (they wore black hats similar to the regular army) would start earning the reputation that would lead to their designation, after the battle of South Mountain - Iron Brigade.  Absent from the field, near Brawner's Farm, was division commander Rufus King, who suffered a seizure, corps commander, Irvin McDowell and army commander, John Pope.  Gibbon, and Doubleday, would fight this battle, without any senior command structure.  The Confederates would temporarily suffer a significant loss, at Brawner's Farm, when CS Major General Richard Ewell would sustain an injury, to his leg, that would require amputation.

When notified of the evening's fighting, Pope, and McDowell, were sure that King's division had fought a detachment of cavalry, and perhaps a small amount of infantry.  They were positive that Jackson's Corps was in Centreville.  Overnight they would bivouac east of Sudley Road, near the Stone House and move on Jackson the next day.  What they did not know, was that Jackson's entire Corps, was hidden in an abandoned railroad cut, just west of their position.  From there, Jackson would fight much of Sigel's I Corps, on August 29.  In what would be, piecemeal attacks, Sigel would engage Jackson.  After the battle, Jackson would be criticized for not launching a larger attack against Sigel - perhaps collapsing Pope's right flank, and quickly destroying his scattered Army of Virginia.  The day's fighting, would end, with the two armies in essentially the same position as they started in.  With one exception - Robert E. Lee had arrived with the rest of his army.  James Longstreet's 1st Corps was positioned, north/south, along Chinn Ridge, south of the Warrenton Turnpike.  While CS Brigadier General John Bell Hood, would make a late afternoon attack, against John Reynold's division, Pope did not believe Lee had reunited his army.  He would find out on August 30.

On August 30, John Pope would send a large force, nearly 10,000 men, against, what he believed, was just Jackson's 2nd Corps.  Robert E. Lee, seeing his opportunity, to crush John Pope, wheeled James Longstreet's 1st Corps, on its left flank, like a giant scissors, slamming into John Pope's left flank - a direction Pope was warned to expect attack, but refused to believe a threat existed.  Pope's army was sent reeling, and would retreat, back to Washington DC, along the Warrenton Turnpike - the same route that Irvin McDowell's army did after First Manassas.

Campaign: Second Manassas

Outcome: Confederate Victory

Troop Strengths
Union: 63,000
Confederate: 55,000

Casualties (estimated):
Union: 13,826 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
Confederate: 8,353 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)

Battle Aftermath:
With John Pope's retreat, back to Washington, the Army of Virginia was badly dispirited, and unorganized.  This army would be combined with the Army of the Potomac.  Lincoln, once again, would turn to George McClellan, to straighten out the army tasked with protecting the nation's capitol.

Robert E. Lee, in an effort to recruit new troops, and move the fighting from Virginia, would invade Maryland.  McClellan would chase Lee, fighting him at South Mountain, with the grand finale, of the Maryland Campaign, being fought at Antietam.  Lee would barely escape Antietam, with his army in one piece.  His primary goal, of recruiting soldiers, from Maryland, largely failed.    Close Window