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Back to the Bull Run (July - August 1862)


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In the early afternoon, theAugust 29, 1862, the battlefield of Bull Run is surrounded by precarious silence, interspersed with scattered gunfire from skirmishers on both sides and intermittent discharges of cannon regulating their fire. The excessive calm worries and infuriates Pope, who believes Porter and McDowell should already be attacking the southern right wing. Communications on the Union's left are poor, and Pope remains ignorant of the real situation, having received no information from his subordinates. For his part, Lee wants to use the break in the fight to throw Longstreet's wing into battle, but the latter is again hostile to it. This time he cites the threat posed by the powerful northern forces that Stuart has just stopped on the road to Gainesville. Again, Lee ultimately prefers to listen to his lieutenant's advice, and his soldiers stay on the gun.

Unsupported attacks

Pope, despite no news from his left wing,will not be able to adapt to rapid changes which occur during the day of the 29th. Clinging to his initial plan - and the very oriented idea he has of the situation - like a mussel to his rock, he will continue to wait for Porter and McDowell to attack, as planned , Jackson's right. On the other wing, Pope will therefore limit himself to ordering limited attacks, with the sole aim of fixing Jackson and preventing him from retreating. These assaults - there will be four in all - will not be simultaneous, will not target the same points of the Confederate line, will receive little support, and none of the successes that will result will be exploited. This is all because in Pope’s idea they should only be used to restrain his opponent and certainly not to knock him down - this is the job of Porter and McDowell. And also, because the northern command will not know how to coordinate its efforts.

Around 2 p.m., the IIIth and IXth Corps have finished relieving the exhausted soldiers of Sigel in the front line. Heintzelmann orders his two divisions to jointly attack the southern left, but as had already been the case during the morning, Kearny will not budge. Only the Hooker division will move. Its commander, who was dubbed by a transcription error in a northern newspaperFighting Joe ("Fighting Joe"), broke his usual aggressiveness by selecting just one of his brigades to carry out the operation. Composed of three regiments from Massachusetts, one from New Hampshire and one from Pennsylvania, it will have to advance without the support of the other two brigades of the division. Never mind, her bossCuvier Grover orders its 2,000 or so soldiers to load their rifles, then bayonets.

Disciplined, the Northerners follow their leader's instructions to the letter and attack at 3 p.m. Under fire from their opponents without flinching, they approach the unfinished railroad tracks, pause briefly, empty their muskets in a single volley, and rush forward. Chance does things right: Grover's charge hits the Confederate lines at the junction between the Thomas and Gregg brigades. The Federalstake a foot on the other side of the embankment to see it shod, and after a brief hand-to-hand fight, push the Southerners back and begin to pursue them, enthusiastic. Edward Thomas tries to rally his reserve regiments, but his second line is broken down before he can do anything and his brigade is routed within minutes.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862. Situation from 3 pm to 4 pm.

1) The Grover Brigade charges with the bayonet and forces the position held by the Thomas Brigade.

2) The Pender Brigade counterattacks and drives back the Northerners.

3) The intervention of A. Farnsworth puts an end to the Southern pursuit and allows Grover to reform his brigade.

4) J.F. Reynolds' division advances against the southern right.

5) Flanked unexpectedly by the Mr. Jenkins brigade, it must quickly stop its progression.

Fortunately for the Confederacy, behind him is the still fresh Pender Brigade. She immediately counterattacks, and a brief, but intense shootout seals the fate ofthe courageous but useless charge of Grover and his men. Stopped, the Northerners are then pushed back to the embankment, then beyond. The intervention of Addison Farnsworth's brigade of Stevens' division will allow them to reform their ranks safe from the pursuit of the enemy. The entire engagement took no more than twenty minutes, during which time Grover's Brigade lost almost a quarter of its strength. The Confederates too have suffered: Thomas' brigade is virtually out of action, and Pender's has had a hard time.

Immediately afterwards, another Northerner attack was launched, this time by Reynolds' division, until then hardly engaged. It calls on the brigades and Truman Seymour and Conrad Jackson, but comes to nothing: Federal soldiers are greeted earlier than expected by a heavy salvo from a well-hidden Southern unit. The effect is enough to deter the attackers from going any further. Like his subordinates, Reynolds worries that there are not supposed to be any significant Confederate forces there. Convinced that he had run into Longstreet's forces, he informs Pope. The latter, still blinded by his very personal idea of ​​the situation, refutes Reynolds's assertion: for the commander of the Army of Virginia, the chief ofPennsylvania Reserves and mistook Porter's or McDowell's men, enveloping Jackson's army, for Southerners! In reality,Pope is wrong. The mysterious unit that fired on Reynolds’s men was Micah Jenkins’s brigade, Kemper's Division, from the Longstreet Wing.

Useless courage

While John Pope overlooks this vital intelligence, fighting continues along the unfinished railway line. This time it's the IXth Body that is involved. The spearhead of this new attack is formed byJames Nagle's brigade. Reno left the other brigade of his personal division, that of Edward Ferrero, in reserve, but he managed to convince Hooker to lend him Nelson Taylor's brigade to support Nagle. On the right, the attack will be supported by Stevens, who will engage Daniel Leasure's small brigade, reduced to a regiment and a half. The action begins around 4 p.m. Better supported and almost suitably coordinated, it will give a hard time to the southern defenders.

Like Milroy that morning, Nagle swoops down on "the Dump And in particular on the Trimble Brigade. The latter has recovered from the heavy fighting it fought a few hours earlier in the same place. Disorganized by the injury of its leader, it is commanded by a simple captain of his staff. Under these conditions, Nagle’s fresh troops quickly broke through the Confederate line,pushing back the Trimble Brigade. This time, the situation is more delicate for Stonewall Jackson, because at this point his troops are not arranged in two lines as on his left. He must remove from a quieter and unthreatened area of ​​the front Jubal Early's brigade and those of the Louisiana Tigers, commanded by Henry Forno.

The Nagle Brigade proved to be well supported: N. Taylor followed closely behind, Milroy sent one of his regiments to cover his left flank, and on his right the Leasure Brigade attacked at the junction of Pender and Field Brigades. This movement leaving an empty space in the northern line, Benjamin Christ and his men are sent to fill it. The shooting quickly reached a considerable intensity. The soldiers on both sides took advantage of the cover afforded them by both sides of the railway embankment to shoot each other almost at close range. As Jackson was to report, "the opposing forces, at one point, exchanged salvos at the distance of ten paces ". Field is injured in a leg and Leasure is also injured. Pender's brigade is not much better off andthe southern line threatens to crack.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862: situation between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

1) Nagle Brigade rolls back Trimble's men to "The Dump".

2) Jackson must rally the Forno and Early brigades to strengthen the center of his line.

3) N. Taylor and Milroy come forward to support Nagle.

4) The Leasure Brigade launches its own attack, further to the right.

5) Stevens moves Christ's Brigade forward to close the gap that has formed between Nagle and Leasure.

6) Forno, at the head of the Louisiana Tigers, pushes back Nagle and re-establishes the southern line.

7) Continuing their momentum, the Louisianans arrive in time to relieve Field in difficulty, forcing the Northerners to retreat.

8) The federal artillery overwhelms the Southerners as soon as they leave the cover of the woods, breaking any inclination to pursue.

Defenders are finally relieved by the intervention of Forno, whose Louisianans stop Nagle's advance, allowing Lawton's brigade to push back the Northerners and close the breach. Continuing their momentum, the "Tigers" arrive just in time to relieve the Field brigade, while James Archer's men do the same with that of Dorsey Pender. This new arrival of fresh troops eventually won the decision, forcing Stevens' division to retreat in turn. The Confederates then pursued the Federals, until the Northerner artillery once again came to put an end to their counterattack as soon as they left the cover of the woods, driving them back to the railroad tracks. Both Stevens and Hooker will prefer to leave it there, retreating to a more secure position along the Warrenton toll road. Forno was injured in the action, butthe confederate line held again.

It is now 5 pm, and the sun is lower and lower in the sky. Pope is outraged: still no news from Porter and McDowell and no sign of the attack they are supposed to be carrying out. The northern commander-in-chief sends them an explicit assault order this time, but the aide-de-camp he's entrusted with the message wanders off - it will take two hours to reach his recipients. In the meantime, McDowell used the leeway of "common order" to take the initiative to join the rest of the Northern Army. The leading division, that of King, is already underway. His boss, insufficiently recovered from his epileptic seizure the day before, has given way for good to John P. Hatch. As for Porter, he won't receive any further instructions from his superior until the sun is about to set. Believing the time to be too late to attack,Porter will do nothing.

Kearny finally moves

At the other end of the battlefield, on the northern right wing, the struggle, however, continues. Also at around 5:00 p.m. Kearny finally broke his stand and launched a full-scale attack. With limited support from Stevens' division - once again the Leasure Brigade - Kearny launched the Robinson and Birney Brigades forward. The two northern units concentrated their efforts on the same point of the Confederate line, that held by the men of Maxcy Gregg. These areparticularly exposed for on their left, the Branch Brigade, deployed slightly back from the unfinished railway line, was only covering them incorrectly. What is more, the southern training was particularly put to use during the day. In their respective reports, A.P. Hill will count against this brigade six assaults, large or not, and Gregg no less than nine, during the single day of August 29.

This time, it's too much for Gregg's men. The Southerners do what they can, not balking at any solicitation from their leader, but numerical superiority and the coolness of the troops attacking them are not the only problem they face. The various fights in which they took part during the day haveemptied their cartridges, the supply wagons are still a long way off, and the cartridges seized in Manassas have been fired a long time ago. Gregg had his bayonet set, but it was not enough to stop Kearny's division. Of the five South Carolina regiments in the Gregg Brigade, one sees its colonel killed and three others wounded. Aside from Gregg himself, only two senior officers remain unharmed in the entire brigade.

Jackson finds himself in dire straits - which is all the more absurd as the Longstreet wing, just a few miles away, remains virtually with the gun at its feet. Stonewall can only rely on his own strength to keep his left from being depressed. He brought in the Branch Brigade, which redeployed and counterattacked, but they couldn't extend their lines enough to close the breach that Gregg's Brigade left behind. The last southern reserve in the area is the Early brigade, which ultimately succeeds in stopping the Northerners. After a bitter struggle,she succeeds in closing the confederate line. Kearny's men are pushed back, and the counterattack that follows ultimately pushes them back to their starting position. As the sun sets, the Confederates remain in control of their position along the tracks - not without paying a heavy price.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862: situation between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

1) Birney and J.C. Robinson assault the Gregg Brigade. Flanked and short of ammunition, it must retreat.

2) Branch tries unsuccessfully to compensate for Gregg's withdrawal by extending his lines and counterattacking.

3) The intervention of the Early brigade, the last reserve that Jackson still has, pushes back Kearny's men and closes the breach.

4) Lee orders Hood's division to conduct a forceful reconnaissance along the Warrenton toll road.

5) At the same time, Hatch's division is ordered to march west to prevent Jackson from retreating.

6) The two divisions meet around Groveton. Hood takes over.

7) To aid Hatch, J.F. Reynolds advances a battery, with Meade's Brigade in support.

8) Bayard's northern cavalry also attacked to relieve the Hatch division, but the Hunton brigade quickly drove them back.

Lee, however, has not witnessed the ordeal the left end is subjected to as a disinterested spectator, even from afar. For the third time today, he wanted to launch the Longstreet Army Corps on the attack; and for the third time today, Longstreet spoke out against the attack. Lee's lieutenant now evokes the uncertain position of enemy forces in support of his opinion, and recommends reconnaissance prior to any action in this area. Lee proves him right again, entrusting the Hood division with the taskto clarify the positions of the Northerners. With only two brigades, his own and Evander Law's forces, Hood was supported in this task by Nathan's independent brigade "Shanks Evans. Its axis of progression should be the Warrenton toll road, heading east.

At the same time, Pope worries: he fears that Kearny's failure against the Confederate left will allow Jackson to retreat into the dark, without being worried. With the orderly attack on Porter still not coming, Pope despairs of successfully cutting the Southerners off their main route of retreat. As soon as the Hatch division, at the head of 3th Corps, arrives on the battlefield, the Northerner general sends him west… along the Warrenton toll road. His mission :prevent Jackson from escaping. Hatch does so without delay. He entrusted this task to his own brigade and to that of Doubleday: Patrick's brigade was sent to the right by direct order of Pope, and theBlack Hats de Gibbon are being kept in reserve after their terrible fight the night before in Groveton.

It was around 6.30 p.m., as the noise of fighting against the southern left had all but faded, that the two divisions collided with each other in the dawning twilight. They clash around the hamlet of Groveton until the darkness is too dark to allow fighting to continue. Hatch finding himself in a bad position, Pope timidly calls in the forces on his left: the artillery of Reynolds' division, still protected by the Meade brigade in an advanced position, and the Bayard riders, whose diversionary attack will be easily repulsed by Eppa Hunton's southern brigade. After a three-quarter-hour engagement, Pope ended up withdrawing his troops a few hundred meters behind in order to occupy a more homogeneous position,leaving Hood in control. Nevertheless, the strong resistance put up by the Northerners is a valuable indicator for Lee. The fighting ceased completely around 9 p.m., finally ending this long day of battle.

By the evening of August 29, 1862, neither side had achieved a decisive advantage on the Bull Run battlefield - so much so thatthe confrontation will continue. At around 1 a.m., Lee brought Hood's division back to its starting positions. The southern general received his last reinforcements a little later, in this case R.H. Anderson's division which formed the rear guard. His army is now full, Jackson facing southeast in the position he held all day, and Longstreet to the east. Positioned in this way, the Confederate army - often compared to a "jawbone" by historians - seems poised to crush its adversary. But Lee, influenced by his subordinates, will be slow to activate the mandible.

Night illusions

The Northern Virginia army chief, however, has not wavered from his aggression. Anxious not to let Pope escape, he wants to attack at the first light of dawn. However, his subordinates still dissuade him: not only Longstreet, but also Hood and Cadmus Wilcox. Hood, in particular, was able to get a very direct picture of the strength of the enemy against the Confederate Right Wing. Lee gives in to these cautions, even if it meansJackson will have to fend for himself again on August 30 - while his wing has already been seriously abused the day before. To ensure that Pope does not retreat to join forces with the rest of McClellan's forces, the Confederates are once again resorting to disinformation. They make Northerners captured during the day believe that the Southern army is withdrawing, then release them on parole. Once back in line, the "intoxicated" Yankees are quick to repeat their "discovery" to their superiors.

Informed, Pope falls for it all the more easily as he asks only to be reinforced in his unshakeable certainties. The same released prisoners confirmed to him that the two halves of the Southern army had reunited. But this time, it is on their respective positions thatPope is seriously deluding himself : he believes that Longstreet simply came to support Jackson on Stony Ridge instead of placing himself on his right. Pope takes the opportunity to order Porter to bring the V backth Corps to the rest of the Northern Army, which will be done overnight. Since Longstreet was - he thinks - the kindness to come and place himself in the trap he intended for Jackson, Pope will content himself with cutting off his retreat by a more direct attack than the broad flanking he envisaged in the start against the Confederate right wing.

On the evening of the 29th, Pope also received reinforcement from Ricketts' division, of the 3th Corps, engaged the day before in the Thoroughfare lock. This is the last major reinforcement he will get. Even as McClellan concentrates the rest of the Army of the Potomac around Washington and still has 25,000 men in hand, he refuses to give in to Halleck's demands for him to join the battlefield. Officially, McClellan is reluctant to send his army to the front in small detachments, citing in support of his opinion the premature attack that claimed the life of George Taylor on August 27. "Little mac He prefers to wait until his forces are regrouped and they have received their artillery train before sending them en masse to Pope's rescue. Officially…McClellan hates Pope, who is as Republican as himself is a Democrat, and whom he sees as a rival. Coldly calculating, McClellan even goes so far as to hope for Pope's defeat, in order to be recalled as a savior at the head of the northern armies. The letters he will write to his wife to this effect are absolutely unambiguous.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862: Arrangement of troops in the early afternoon.

Unaware of these intrigues, Pope detaches Ricketts' division from 3th Corps to send it to the right, between Kearny's division and IXth Body. Next is Hooker's Division, just north of the Warrenton toll road, while the 1er Corps is a little further back, at the crossroads between this road and the one that connects Manassas to Sudley Springs. On either side of the road to Warrenton, the Vth Corps - George Sykes' division will arrive around 9 a.m. - while the rest of the 3th Corps extends south. This fragmented provisionis not made to clarify things, with divisions interspersed between different army corps, themselves reporting, at the base, to two distinct armies ... The Confederates, for their part, kept the same configuration. Jackson simply altered the arrangement of his brigades to restore some semblance of depth to his device, and mostly concentrated on finding ammunition.

Morning recognition

Fighting resumed at 5.30 a.m. in the Sudley Springs area, but it was only a few scattered gunfire between pickets. Generals have other, usually trivial, priorities. After several weeks of campaigning and a day of battle fought by strong heat, the soldiers of both camps are exhausted. Heintzelmann thus spends most of the morning of August 30in search of rations for his men. The riders and their mounts are as much to be pitied as the infantry, having spent ten straight days in the saddle while completing their missions and occasionally fighting. The horses are exhausted and have not received forage for two days. The morning lull is therefore welcome for men and animals, but it is far from complete.

The northern skirmishers, in particular, will occupy this time to probe the enemy lines along Stony Ridge. Sporadic clashes take place from time to time at various points on the battlefield. Jackson even points out one to his rear - presumably an isolated patrol that Stuart's horsemen were quick to fend off. Federal skirmishers attack Wilcox's division at 7 a.m., and Leroy Stafford reports a similar attack about an hour later. Shortly after,these minor clashes increase in intensity when the southern batteries are engaged at long distance by their northern counterparts. Once again it was Reynolds' batteries that were advanced to an advantageous position with cover from Meade's Brigade. The artillery duel continued for over an hour. Other similar clashes will take place until noon.

At roughly the same time, McDowell and Heintzelmann reconnoitre around Sudley Springs, in the area held by divisions of Ricketts and Kearny, their respective subordinates. They can see that the enemy no longer seems to be present in force: Fitzhugh Lee's horsemen seem to have disappeared from the north bank of the Bull Run, and only a few sentries respond weakly to the sounding shots of the northern skirmishers. Back with Pope, the two men confirm thatthe enemy is certainly retreating. The morning reconnaissance and the other Northern generals abound in the same vein: the enemy's right wing must be attacked as soon as possible before it manages to escape. Pope charges Porter to lead the assault, with active support from McDowell on his left. At the same time, like the day before, Reno and Heintzelmann will have to launch small diversionary attacks.

In the next hour, things will speed up. As Porter readies his men for the coming assault, McDowell orders Reynolds to prepare to back him up. With this in mind, the commander ofPennsylvania Reserves deploys one of his regiments as skirmishers in order to recognize the position that his division will occupy when the time comes. It quickly appears that something is wrong: the northern scouts quickly encounterunexpected resistance, in an area of ​​the battlefield where no significant enemy forces are expected to be. The situation quickly becomes such that Reynolds must send a second regiment, then a third, to the aid of the first. The general northerner goes online personally to seefirsthand What is the situation : "I found a line of enemy skirmishers almost parallel to that covering my left flank, with cavalry in line behind it, perfectly stationary, evidently masking an enemy column in position to attack my left flank as soon as our line would be sufficiently advanced. »

Reynolds was immediately taken to task by Confederate snipers, a shootout that claimed the life of one of his aides-de-camp and miraculously emerged unscathed. He immediately convinces himself that not only is the enemy not retreating at all, but that he is ready to attack. He immediately informs McDowell, who does not waste a moment and orders Reynolds to deploy his division in a defensive posture onChinn ridge, a hill that we had fought over in the first battle of Bull Run. McDowell also brings back half of Ricketts' division - the Zealous Tower and John Stiles brigades - to the left to counter the threat Reynolds discovered. However, it appears that this crucial information was not communicated to Pope until the Porter attack began. This will not be the only communication problem that the Northern Command will suffer from that day.

Grand style attack

The clues, however, are piling up. In the early afternoon, the diversionary attacks against the southern left began, but met with strong resistance. Kearny appears to have relapsed into lethargy and offers no real support to Ricketts. The latter, moreover, does not progress much more. Abram Duryée's brigade, supported by that of Joseph Thoburn, quickly came under heavy fire from opposing artillery. Duryée was lightly hit by a shrapnel but remained at her post. The division eventually returned to its original positions, but it is clear that the resistance it encountered did not match that of a retreating army. Ricketts, for this reason,will not insist. Diversionary attacks planned in this sector, only that of Benjamin Christ, of the IXth Body, will actually be carried out. Without support, she will be easily repelled by the Early and Archer brigades.

Meanwhile, Porter finishes preparing his attack. In this perspective, he was given the Hatch division, which will form the right wing of his assault column, the left being made up of Daniel Butterfield's division - that of George Sykes to remain in reserve. The northern system forms a deep mass: the brigades are deployed one behind the other, sometimes in two lines. The front brigades (under Henry Weeks and Timothy Sullivan) will strike straight ahead and those following them will then deploy on their respective flanks - Charles Roberts on the left and Marsena Patrick on the right - with the Gibbon and Doubleday brigades ready to intervene to exploit any advantage that arises. This is the attackthe most massive and the most ambitious that the Federals will attempt during the battle.

Such a sharp maneuver takes a long time, and the attack force does not kick in until around 3 p.m. His movement surprises Sigel, who sees her come between his corps and the enemy without understanding why - Pope has not seen fit to keep him informed of his intentions. In order to learn for himself what is going on, Sigel detaches one of the cavalry regiments of John Beardsley's brigade and scouts it to the left. He too meets soonthe southern forces massed in the area It is probably this unit that Stuart's Confederate horsemen repelled as they attempted to seize a house - presumably Britt Farm, located on top of a hill - which served as an observatory for the Southerners.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862: situation between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

1) The Duryée brigade is quickly stopped by southern fire.

2) Christ Brigade leads another unsuccessful diversionary attack.

3) Sigel, who is not informed of the situation, sends Beardsley's horsemen to Britt Farm, from where they are driven back but find the Confederates present in force.

4) Hazlett Battery is advanced to support direct artillery support to Porter's attack.

5) Porter leads a massive attack on Jackson's right, with Hatch and Butterfield divisions.

6) Running out of ammo, the men of the Stafford Brigade defend themselves with stones.

7) Jackson sends all his reserves to Starke's aid.

After crossing a wood, Porter's men come to a large field, which they have to cross to reach Starke's division: over 500 metersopen ground, which ends in an upward slope and leads to the embankment of the unfinished railway line. Less than 400 meters to the left of this grandiose scene, Cadmus Wilcox can watch this grand style attack at leisure: “[The Federals]were taken to task by our pickets and skirmishers, but they continued to advance, and, climbing the above-mentioned slope, came in full sight of Jackson's line, and were greeted there by terrifying musketry fire at close range.They hesitated for a moment, backing up slightly, then walked back to the embankment. Twice I saw this line retreat and advance, exposed to musketry fire as close as it was murderous. »

As in the previous day's fighting, assailants and defenders shoot at each other from both sides of the embankment of the unfinished railway line as quickly as they can. In this merciless fight, the consumption of ammunition quickly becomes worrying, and the forty cartridges which constitute the normal endowment of an infantryman are quickly drawn - knowing that if it is in theory more important to aim well than to firing quickly, in practice a soldier exposed to enemy fire tends to think the exact opposite. Faced with the same problem as Gregg's men the day before, Stafford's brigade ended uprun out of ammo, giving birth to a famous anecdote. As Stafford himself will soberly report: “It was then that the brigade ran out of ammunition. The men found some on the bodies of their dead comrades, but this extra was not enough, and they fought with stones and held their position.. »

In other words, Stafford's soldiers began topick up the stones from the embankment to throw them, in desperation, on the Northerners. The legend surrounding this episode is that some Feds, although still having cartridges, abandoned their rifles to reship the unusual projectiles to their senders. Despite the desperate resistance of the Stafford brigade, the Confederates reached a critical point here. Jackson brings in whatever he can muster as reserves: Stonewall's Brigade, Dorsey Pender's, and even what's left of Field's Brigade. Even if the Federals did not succeed in breaking through the southern defenses, the Confederate counterattacks failed to relieve the pressure weighing on them. Jackson frantically asks Lee to bring in Longstreet, but the latter, oddly enough, still doesn't seem willing to lift a finger.

August 30, 1862, 4 p.m. The western part of Stony Ridge is drowned in smoke from the fierce fighting accompanying Porter's attack. An anxious Lee watches Jackson's men resist the northerly push as best they can. He just complied with his request for reinforcements by ordering Longstreet to advance Wilcox’s division. However,nothing is happening. The Confederate Right Wing commander has a different opinion on the matter: he thinks his infantry will arrive too late. In contrast, Longstreet believes that his position is ideally placed to allow his artillery to intervene effectively and without delay.

Deadly dam

In fact, the Confederate batteries that Jackson had placed on his right can no longer intervene, because they would risk raining their shells in the middle of their own infantry, engaged only a few meters away by Porter's men. On the other hand,other southern cannons are in a better position, without knowing exactly on whose order they were deployed. Longstreet will take the credit, but Stephen D. Lee (simple namesake of the chief of the Army of Northern Virginia), the chief of the artillery of the division RH Anderson, will dispute this version of the facts in a series of articles. published after the war - giving rise to a heated controversy between the two veterans, tinged with politics because Longstreet had in the meantime become a Republican.

Coming back to the situation on the ground, Longstreet will summarize his point of view as follows: “Porter's masses were almost directly in front of where I was standing, in a row. It was evident that they would not last fifteen minutes under the fire of the batteries placed there, while a division crossing the field to Jackson's rescue would not reach him for an hour, probably more than he could hold under. the pressure weighing on him. Boldness was caution! He therefore ordered S.D. Lee's batteries and his to fire on the assailant without delay.The effect of the shot is quickly deadly and the Union's soldiers are dropping in numbers. Wilcox: "They were taken in open ground. The effect of each shot could be seen. A heavy fire of cannonballs, explosive shells and grape shells, delivered with admirable precision, halted their advance. As the shells and shrapnel exploded in front of and around them their lines broke, hesitated and scattered. This artillery fire single-handedly dispersed regiment after regiment and threw them back into the woods ».

Deprived of support, the Northerners who are in contact with Jackson are quick to retreat in turn in the middle of this hell. For the Confederates, it's Malvern Hill's revenge. Three times, the Federals tried to rally together to resume the attack, but each time they were overwhelmed with projectiles and had to fall back. Wilcox four times ordered Featherston's Brigade to advance as soon as the bombardment began to show its effectiveness, but it did not budge until the Feds werein full retirement. In the meantime, Jackson has launched the Starke Division in pursuit of them, with the Stonewall Brigade in the lead. The Northerners, however, attempt to cope with cover provided by the timber they have passed through on the way, and its leader William Baylor is killed. The Confederates resumed their advance shortly thereafter when Wilcox's division entered play and pushed the enemy back again. They stop momentarily at the edge of a vast field beaten by northern artillery.

Second battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862: the southern counterattack, shortly after 4 p.m.

1) Confederate artillery encroaches on Porter's forces, causing them heavy losses.

2) The Northerners retreat to take cover.

3) Jackson throws what remains of his strength in pursuit.

4) The Wilcox division comes to help Jackson.

5) The Northerners momentarily reform under the cover of the woods, but are pushed back again.

6) Buchanan's intervention and northern artillery stop the Confederate pursuit.

Once again the battle has reached a tipping point, but this time the tables are turned and the South has the advantage. Porter's men were pushed back so suddenly that the Northerner general can only try to limit the damage by engaging one of Sykes's brigades, Robert Buchanan's. With the help of the federal artillery, it will manage to hold off, for a time, the southern advance. Losses are high, and from where he watches the fight, McDowell fears Porter's retreat could turn into a desperate flight if no one comes to their aid. On his own initiative, he takesa decision with serious consequences : He orders Reynolds to abandon the defensive position he had settled on earlier and head north, across the Warrenton toll road, to assist Porter. This move was immediately noted by the Southern Horsemen who still run Britt Farm, and Lee was notified within minutes.

Battle for Chinn Ridge

This error would have tragic consequences for the Union, because it left the entire northern leftalmost empty of troops. Lee was quick to order Longstreet to advance his entire force en masse. To cope with this overwhelming superiority, the Northerners have no more south of the road than Lieutenant Hazlett's only battery, without support. His commander desperately calls for help when he sees Hood's division approaching, and ends up getting some help when G.K. Warren of Sykes's division decides on his own to rescue him. Its brigade includes two regiments of Zouaves with flamboyant uniforms, the 5th and 10th New York, which has a total of around 1,000 men. TheTexas brigade overwhelms them in minutes. Posted forward on 10th regiment fled almost immediately, blocking the 5th during his retirement.

Soon Warren and his men find themselves assailed to their rear and left by three rebel regiments. "Not only were the men killed, or injured, but they were riddled with bullets », Wrote a survivor of 5th New York. His comrades cannot endure this hell for more than a few minutes. The officers end up ordering the linemen to let the soldiers escape beforering the general save-who-can. All the flag handlers - a Northerner regiment always carried two - are killed or injured except one, but they miraculously manage to save their colors. Warren too is fortunate enough to escape unscathed, but in all, his brigade has lost 431 soldiers killed, wounded, or captured in the pursuit to which the Howling Rebels subject him. The only 5th regiment had 120 killed and 180 wounded out of 490 men.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862: The fighting for Chinn Ridge, between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

1) The Warren Brigade advances in support of Hazlett's Battery.

2) She is overwhelmed within minutes by the Hood Brigade.

3) Sigel sends the McLean Brigade to occupy Chinn Ridge.

4) McLean stops Hood's advance.

5) McLean's men also push back the Evans Brigade.

6) Led by Corsica, a third southern assault succeeded in pushing back the McLean brigade.

7) The Towers and Stiles brigades, of the Ricketts division, intervene then and manage to keep Chinn Ridge.

8) Jenkins and Hunton assault them and gain ground.

9) The Northerners are relieved by Koltes and Krzyzanowski, who stabilize the situation.

10) G.T. Anderson and Toombs attack in turn, eventually seizing the hill.

NB: for the sake of clarity, the positions of the brigades are given schematically and do not necessarily correspond to their real situation.

One of the first Northern generals to realize the gravity of the situation is Sigel. The horsemen he sent west earlier have a front row seat and quickly inform him of the massive attack that is turning the Federal left wing. Sigel immediately orders the McLean Brigade, which Pope had placed earlier on Chinn Ridge, to meet the enemy and cover Warren's escape; Milroy's brigade is sent to join it as soon as possible, but its leader will have difficulty rallying it. Despite this, McLean's men managed to stop the Texans, then repel a second assault led by the Evans Brigade. The losses were heavy: Schenck, who had come to round up as many men as possible, was seriously injured in the arm, an injury which he suffered for life. Eventually, Kemper's division arrived in support of Hood's, with artillery and Montgomery Corsica's brigade. The latter managed to get close enough to McLean’s men todislodge them from their position, but its boss is hurt in the action.

The resistance of McLean and his troops saved the Northern army a precious half hour, which will prove to be vital in organizing a proper defense on its left wing. It is now 5 p.m. The two brigades detached from Ricketts' Division earlier, those of Tower and Stiles, now step in to confront the rest of the Kemper Division - the Hunton and Jenkins Brigades. This new clash is just as bloody as the first: Tower was seriously injured in the left knee, while in the other camp Jenkins received two chest and shoulder injuries. The Northerners are on the verge of breaking down when the arrival of two other brigades of the 1er Corps, those of Koltes and Krzyzanowski, pushes back Kemper's men. Longstreet then renewed the assault, this time engaging the D.R. Jones division. The brigades of G.T. Anderson and Toombs finally succeed in winning the decision. Koltes is killed in the attack and at 6 p.m. the Confederates are finallymasters of chinn ridge.

Return to Henry House Hill

This success has neverthelesscost the Southerners dearly. Evans' independent brigade, Kemper's division, and half of Hood's have been so strangled on Chinn Ridge that they are virtually incapable of action for the remainder of the day - which, moreover, comes to its end. end. The southern reserves are not expandable, and Longstreet must order Cadmus Wilcox to bring his own brigade south of the Warrenton toll road. It will not be of any use there: forced to make a considerable detour not to cross the line of fire of the southern artillery, it will not approach sufficiently close to the action to take a serious part. before the night. While the fighting raged on Chinn Ridge, Jackson was busy mustering his forces, somewhat disorganized by the afternoon attacks, and for two hours the action was confined, north of Warrenton Road, to one Northern artillery bombardment that the rest of Wilcox's division stoically supported at a distance of one kilometer.

It was when D.R. Jones captured Chinn Ridge that fighting resumed in that area. On the northerly side, the other half of Ricketts' division, as well as the IIIth and IXth Corps, have retained their positions, behind which the survivors of Porter's attack attempt to reform their ranks. Hatch, who suffered minor injuries in the action, ceded command of his division to Doubleday. The Northerner position is well supplied with artillery, but Lee has pushed his own along the road, so Jackson's soldiers are also receiving effective support. The battle is raging nowall along the line. After Baylor, the Stonewall Brigade again loses a commander, Colonel Andrew Grigsby being wounded in his head. For their part, the Northerners lost Joseph Thoburn, also injured. Despite the losses, the Federals are holding on.

However, the fighting on Chinn Ridge left the left flank of Hooker's division exposed. Seeing this as an opportunity, Lee orders the other half of Hood's division (Law's Brigade), which has so far advanced along the Warrenton Road without encountering serious opposition, to flank Hooker's position. But this maneuver was countered by the Gibbon Brigade, the least tested of the units that stormed Porter's assault, and theBlack Hats repel the attackers. However, the loss of Chinn Ridge makes this resistance futile: if the Confederates continue their momentum by seizing Henry House Hill in the wake, they will threaten to cut the last line of retreat of the Northern army - the famous bridge of stone spanning the Bull Run.Pope then understands that the battle is lost. He who still believed to hold his adversary at his mercy a few hours earlier must now resign himself to sound retirement. She's done pretty much in order, solidly covered by Kearny, Reno, and Gibbon's men.

The fighting fought south of the road will determine whether or not this retreat will turn into a rout. As with the first, the outcome of the second battle of Bull Run will be played out on the slopes ofHenry House Hill. The situation is still critical for the Northerners, who no longer have many forces ready to fight there. From 1er Only the Milroy Brigade remained available, which its commander eventually managed to deploy along the Manassas Road to Sudley Springs, at the foot of Henry House Hill. At first, Milroy is alone to face the renewed push of the D.R. Division. He gallops, hysterically, to meet McDowell, who is just rounding up the Reynolds division. The commander of 3th Corps will report the meeting as follows: “[Milroy]arrived in a state of utter frenzy, sword in hand, and with forceful gestures, screaming to send him reinforcements, to save the army, to save the country,etc. His way of expressing himself in generalities, by giving no information, and which, from the way he uttered them, only showed that he was in a state of mind as unfit to judge events as to command his men[…], made me receive it coldly. »

Second battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862: fighting from 6 p.m. until nightfall.

1) Jackson launches a general attack, initially held in check, against the Northern Right.

2) Law tries to go beyond federal positions, but Gibbon's intervention prevents him from doing so.

3) Despite everything, the loss of Chinn Ridge forces Pope to sound general retreat.

4) The Northern troops withdraw in good order, covered by the Keanry and Reno divisions and the Gibbon brigade.

5) J.F. Reynolds' division comes to the right of the seriously battered Milroy Brigade.

6) In difficulty, the Hardin brigade is relieved by that of Seymour.

7) D.R. Jones' attack on Henry House Hill is finally repelled.

8) The Sykes division in turn comes to cover Milroy's left.

9) R.H. Anderson's men in turn attack and succeed in flanking Chapman's brigade, forcing them to retreat.

10) Armistead does not exploit the southern breakthrough due to the declining day.

11) The Southern riders push back the Buford riders at the Lewis Ford, but will not cross the Bull Run.

Fortunately for the Union, George Meade did not wait for confirmation to come to Milroy's rescue on his own initiative. His counterattack, quickly supported by the rest of Reynolds' division, drove back the Southerners and secures the right flank of the Milroy Brigade.Confused clashes are delivered to this location over the next two hours. Conrad Jackson's squad, in particular, is pretty tight. His commanding officer had worn himself pale a few hours earlier: his two successors, Martin Hardin and James T. Kirk, were injured in turn. The brigade was eventually relieved by that of Seymour, and this portion of the northern line, in the end, would hold out. At the same time, McDowell, who keeps his cool, tries to coordinate the defense of Henry House Hill. He obtains from Porter what remains of Sykes's division, the two regular infantry brigades of Buchanan and William Chapman, and immediately engages him on the left.

While Buchanan remains in reserve, Chapman comes to stand alongside Milroy, who is still under pressure and had a horse killed under him. Seeing that DR Jones' attack has come to an end, Longstreet then resolves to play his last card: he sends Richard Anderson's division to attack the left end of the northern line - precisely the position held by the men of Chapman. The maneuver may be successful, as the Northerners flank is in the air and no natural defense comes to cover it. It is now 6:45 pm, and there are only a few minutes of daylight left, at most. For southerners, it isthe last-ditch attack. The clash lasted three-quarters of an hour: assailed by the brigades of Ambrose Wright and William Mahone, Chapman finally gave in, and the regulars retreated. The attackers, however, have suffered greatly, and cannot continue. Mahone himself was shot in the stomach. He will survive, but will remain dyspepsic for the rest of his life.

There remains Lewis Armistead's brigade, still fairly fresh. J.E.B. Stuart, who is in just that part of the battlefield at this point, points out to his boss that there appears to be an opportunity to exploit the breakthrough achieved. But the sun is already down, andArmistead refuses to launch an attack in the growing darkness. Since Stuart was not his immediate superior, he felt he did not have the authority to formally order him to attack anyway, and did not insist. A few minutes later, elements of the IXth Bodies come to plug the breach. A little further east, the last significant engagement of the day pits Robertson's riders against those of Buford. The Southern riders charge their counterparts, who try to prevent them from crossing the Bull Run at the ford of Lewis Ford. The Confederates have the upper hand and Buford is shot in the knee from a gun, but it is now too late to exploit this success and the Gray Horsemen will not disrupt the passage of the Northerner army on the other side.

Along the Bull Run, gunshots continued to ring out until about 8:30 p.m., but for the most part the battle was over. One after the other, the federal formations still present unhooked and crossed the stone bridge, despite the enormous traffic jam caused by this bottleneck. The last reserve of the Army of Virginia, Abram Sanders Piatt's brigade, arrived too late to take part in the fighting and is content to cover the retreat. TheBlack Hats de Gibbon were the last to withdraw, under the protection of the horsemen of Beardsley and Bayard. Then, for the second time in less than six months - the Confederates blew it up for the first time when they evacuated Manassas in March - the stone bridge is destroyed. Before midnight, the bulk of the northern army gathered aroundDowntown.

Incomplete victory

The next day, August 31, 1862, Robert Lee was able to telegraph triumphantly to Richmond which he wona big victory on the enemy: No less than 30 cannons and 20,000 small arms have been captured, and it takes little for the Federal Army to be virtually driven out of northern Virginia. More than 4,000 federal troops have also remained in his hands, and at least 10,000 more have been killed or injured since August 16. The losses, however, are heavy. In less than a month, Lee lost half a dozen generals, dead and wounded, not to mention colonels and other senior officers. The men in the ranks, of course, also suffered greatly. Since August 21, nearly 8,500 of them have been killed in the fighting. In the past two days alone, Jackson's wing mourns the loss of 4,400 troops, of which 800 have been killed. At least the loss report is significantly more favorable for the South than it had been two months earlier in front of Richmond.

Lee's military prestige grew further, to the point of giving him a political influence that he could put to good use when the time came. His victory, however, is not complete, and he knows it. Very attached to his state, Lee, like most Virginians, has a fierce hatred for Pope, a "disbeliever " that must be "deleted ". While he has inflicted a humiliating defeat on him, he has however failed to destroy his army, which now threatens to regain clear numerical superiority once it joins up with the rest of the Army of the Potomac. . The campaign's original goal of destroying the Army of Virginia while it was still possible is therefore not achieved. However, the two northern armies have not yet joined. So there is still a small opportunity to achieve Lee's goal, and the North Virginia campaign is, therefore,not finished yet.

Operations around Centerville from August 31 to September 2, 1862.

1) August 31: the IIth and VIth Union Corps arrive from Washington.

2) August 31: the 2th Virginia Army Corps returns from Bristoe Station.

3) 1erSeptember: preceded by the cavalry, Jackson sets out to intervene between Washington and the northern army.

4) 1erSeptember: Jackson makes his men bivouac at Chantilly.

5) Night of 1er September 2: the southern cavalry launched harassment actions against Germantown.

6) September 2: a reconnaissance led by elements of the IIth Corps confirms Jackson's presence at Chantilly.

7) September 2: Jackson sets off again and reaches Ox Hill.

8) September 2: Stevens' division (IXth Corps), followed shortly after by Kearny's Division (IIIth Corps), march on Ox Hill to block the Confederates' way.

9) September 2: Stevens and Kearny deliver the Battle of Chantilly (or Ox Hill) to Jackson.

Neither of the two armies, however, is really fit to fight on August 31. By Pope's own admission, the Northerners have not seen a ration for two days, and it is likely that the Confederates were, at this point in time, not much better off. Both areexhaustedby more than two weeks of incessant marches and fighting. In the northern cavalry, the horses are so exhausted that the most basic reconnaissance missions are assigned to infantry units. To make matters worse, a stormy atmosphere has succeeded the overwhelming heat of the previous days, and the morning is rainy. Lee knows full well that his men, who have been very demanding in the second battle of Bull Run, are in need of rest. Yet he also knows that time is on his side: if he doesn't try something soon, Pope will soon be strengthened.

This is, moreover, precisely what was happening. Pope had reminded him of the 2th Virginia Army Corps, which Banks had kept on the Rappahannock cover. More importantly, Halleck had dispossessed McClellan of almost all of the forces remaining in the Army of the Potomac - much to the chagrin ofLittle mac. The IIth and the VIth Corps were arriving in Centerville, bolstering Pope's army of 20,000 fresh and seasoned fighters. Halleck also urged Pope to take advantage of these reinforcements to resume the attack, and the Northern general was indeed making preparations to do so. What is more, the rain threatened to make the Bull Run impassable sooner or later. The other option for Lee would have been to fall back in the face of this threat, but it would have been tantamount to returning the initiative to the Northerners, negating any strategic advantage that yesterday's victory had brought.The southern general does not hesitate for long. On the afternoon of August 31, he sent Stuart's cavalry north to scout, then Jackson's corps followed in stride.

The battle of Chantilly

Lee's plan is essentially a re-edition of the maneuver launched on August 25, but on a smaller scale: Jackson is to round the Feds right wing north, then veer east andinterfere between the northern army and Washington. Crossing the Bull Run at Sudley Springs, the Confederates aim to join the Little River toll road, then follow it until it intersects with Warrenton in Germantown, not far from Fairfax Court House - to the east of Centerville, and only a few miles from Washington, where only the city's - powerful, however - garrison remains. However, Jackson's men are exhausted like the rest. The rain did not help matters and prevented them from repeating their past exploits: as of the evening of August 31, they were still several kilometers from Germantown. Jackson has no other choice but to have them bivouac in a locality called Pleasant Valley, a short distance from a plantation by the sweet name of Chantilly.

The exhaustion of the Northern cavalry means that Pope is momentarily "blind" to Lee's actions. Stuart's horsemen mask Jackson's movements all the more easily as they have just been reinforced by a third brigade, under the orders of Wade Hampton - who took advantage of his convalescence after the Battle of Seven Pines to change weapons and switch from infantry to cavalry. During the night, the Confederate riders launched with impunityactions of recognition and harassment against Germantown. Pope, who underestimates the threat, believes that these are simply isolated patrols, but isolated northern dispatch riders eventually report the presence of not only large numbers of horsemen but also infantry in the vicinity. Worried, Pope sends a brigade of IIth Body to confirm it, at 3 a.m. on the 1ster September.

Battle of Chantilly, September 2, 1862: the attack on Stevens' division (map of the Fairfax County Park Authority).

It quickly becomes clear that the threat is very real: the Southerners are about to turn their right wing. Worried, and much less sure of himself since his last loss, Pope called off all offensive action and ordered the army to fall back on Fairfax Court House. From dawn, still rainy, from the 1er September, Jackson is back on track. Only a few miles separate him from Germantown, where he can cut Pope's retreat and inflict a decisive defeat. The rest of the southern army, following in his footsteps, has set out in turn and will soon join him. But his soldiers are wet, exhausted and hungry. He is falling asleep himself, and will not resist the temptation to take a nap. Incidentally, Pope sent Hooker's division to Germantown to secure their position, and they arrived there before Jackson. The latter then considers it more prudent tostop at a respectful distance, leaving his troops at rest near a height known as Ox Hill.

Throughout the morning, the northern patrols sporadically hook up Stuart's riders. Lacking precise information, Pope decides to reinforce Hooker by sending the IXth Corps explore and gain control of the approaches to the Little River Toll Road. Around 1 p.m., Stevens' division left Centerville. Three hours later, the Southern cavalry spotted her approaching Jackson's positions at Ox Hill. Branch and Field Brigades are dispatched to meet him to assess the danger, deploying their skirmishers near Reid Farm. The Confederates were spotted shortly after by the northern scouts, andthe fight begins not far from the embankment of the same unfinished railway line along which the second battle of Bull Run was fought. Gaining the advantage, the Feds push back on their counterparts and take over the Reid farm.

For lack of adequate information,Stevens certainly underestimates the forces facing him., and decides to push his advantage by attacking without further delay. Quickly reinforced by the first elements of Reno's division (the Ferrero Brigade), he deployed his three brigades one behind the other facing the southern position, while sending Ferrero to cover his flank in the woods to his right.Jackson, noting that the enemy was present in force, at the same time deploys Lawton and Starke's divisions to a position in an arc running up the road to Little River. The rest of A.P. Hill's division, further away, was sent to the right. To stay aligned with the rest of the southern forces, the Field and Branch brigades retreated a few tens of meters. Protected by a fence, masked by the cornfield and the orchard adjoining the Reid farm, the Southerners temporarily hide from the sight of their adversaries.

Death of two generals

It was 4:30 pm when Stevens nonetheless ordered a "blind" attack, which he had personally carried out from the front, along with Addison Farnsworth's brigade. At the same time, the rain suddenly turns into a violent thunderstorm, further aggravating the lack of visibility on the ground. The Feds are greeted by the Louisiana Tigers, who have taken up position behind a barrier immediately east of Reid Farm. Also attacked by the Branch and Field brigades reinforced by that of Gregg, Stevens deploys the Christ brigade on the left. The move put Gregg's men, already badly tested the previous days, on the run, but they were immediately replaced in line by Edward Thomas’s brigade. Further to the right, however, Farnsworth's Brigade is in dire straits as it is unprotected in the middle of a meadow. Finding that her only hope of avoiding frustration is to charge straight ahead, Stevens sends foremergency reinforcements, had his bayonet fired and rushed at the head of his soldiers. Moments later, he was killed by a bullet in the temple.

Enraged by the death of their leader, who was also their colonel at the start of the war, the men of 79th New York Regiment - theCameron Highlanders, mainly Scottish - continue their charge, forcing the Louisianans to fall back. However, the Early Brigade immediately counterattacked, and the Northerners were forced to retreat. Ferrero, after exchanging a few salvos in the woods with the Trimble Brigade,will cover the federal withdrawal. Shortly before 6 p.m., Benjamin Christ regroups what remains of Stevens' division southeast of the Reid farm. The arrival of the Nagle Brigade puts the IXth Full body, but in a very sorry state and to make matters worse, his exhausted and ill commander Jesse Reno is no more willing to repeat the attack.

Battle of Chantilly, September 2, 1862: the attack on the Kearny division(Fairfax County Park Authority map).

Nevertheless, Stevens' appeal did not go unanswered. Recovering his good habits, Philip Kearny took his division to his aid and arrived to the rescue at 5:15 pm with the Birney brigade. He immediately took him on a maneuver to flank the enemy from the left, leaving Reno to cover his own right flank with the IXth Body. However, Jackson is in the process of strengthening the center of his line, which did not come out unscathed from Stevens' attack, and the resulting redeployment leaves his right side exposed. Shortly after 6 p.m., Birney assaults Branch's brigade and takes them in succession, quickly putting them in a very difficult position. However, Reno’s inaction, who actually didn’t budge an inch, leaves Birney’s right exposed,who cannot push his advantage. Kearny then gallops back to gather reinforcements himself.

The men of the IXth Corps, however, are hesitant and lack ammo. He finally manages to find a single regiment, which he tries to bring back as quickly as possible in support of Birney. Galloping to inspire a faster step in the infantrymen he guides, but hampered by the storm and the declining day, Kearny goes too far and comes face to face with southern soldiers who aim at him and summon him to stand. return. Unwilling to let himself be captured, the northern general turns back,but the Confederates are the quickest and defeat him. "Kearny the Magnificent", like Stevens a little earlier and a few tens of yards away, is killed instantly. The next day, General Lee will respectfully return his remains to the northern lines, with a word of condolence.

Southern triumph

The Battle of Chantilly will hardly “survive” Kearny. Branch's men managed to hold on and, after a few minutes, Birney finally won. He was joined soon after by the rest of the division, and the Northerners settled into a defensive position for the night. Jackson, who deems his position too advanced and does not know if more Federal reinforcements are on the way, decides to reduce the distance between him and the rest of the Southern Army andoff hookfrom 11 p.m. He will make his junction with Longstreet the next morning. For the Confederates, the clash of 1er September is, it seems, yet another strategic failure: although Jackson repelled the Northerners attacks, it was not without difficulty, and without achieving the goal Lee had assigned him - to cut Pope's retreat. A tactical draw, Chantilly does not seem to have had much more effect than simply adding nearly 1,300 names to the already long list of losses suffered by the Union, and by about 800 more that of the Confederation.

However, the death of Stevens and Kearny dealt another severe blow to the already weak morale of Pope and his army. Lacking intelligence, fearing an imminent resumption of Southern attacks on Germantown, the Virginia army chief did not even wait for daybreak to make a decision with strategic implications. Leaving the initiative to his enemy for good, he ordered his forces toretreat fully to Washington - movement started on September 2 at 2:30 in the morning. The Northern Virginia campaign ended in Confederation triumph. Large areas of the state, previously occupied, were now free of any federal presence. With the Union on the defensive now, Lee was in control, and he wasn't going to hesitate for long in deciding what to do with it.

This outcome caused consternation in Washington, in view of which the main body of the Northerner troops arrived on September 3. Even though they had kept their cohesion this time and certainly had not fled before the enemy, Pope's beaten and demoralized regiments did not fail to remind the anxious inhabitants of the federal capital of the dark hours which had followed the first. Battle of Bull Run, just over a year ago. The fear that the rebels would threaten the city resurfaced, even if it was not rational: mightily fortified,Washington was too big a prey for the Southern Army and Lee knew it full well. Anyway, he had other plans in mind. In the northern camp, however, there was at least one man with reason to be happy: George B. McClellan. Pope's defeat now eclipsed his, andLittle mac was not far from the position of savior he loved so much.

His former soldiers, moreover, reserved for hima thunderous welcome when he came to ride among them on the evening of September 3. William Powell, then a captain in Sykes' division of regular troops, described this moment, many years later: "A few minutes had passed, however, when Captain John D. Wilkins[…] ran up to Colonel Buchanan, shoutingColonel! Colonel! General McClellan is here! "The men in the row caught that scream! Anyone standing woke their neighbor up. We rubbed our eyes, and these exhausted guys, as the news ran through the column, jumped to their feet, and hissed. hurray as the army of the Potomac had never heard before. One after another the cries echoed in the silence of the night, and as they were carried along the road and repeated by regiment. , brigade, division and corps, we could hear the roar fade away in the distance. The effect of this man's presence on the army of the Potomac - in the sun or the rain, in the shade or the light , in victory or defeat - was electric, and too wonderful to be worth trying to find an explanation for.»

It was obvious that McClellan's mere presence was enough to boost the morale of the Northerners. As the latter healed their wounds around Washington, a new threat soon materialized for the Union: Lee was heading north. Lincoln soon had no choice but tocall McClellan back to business. On September 12, the Army of Virginia was disbanded, and its troops were reassigned to the Army of the Potomac. Deprived of command, John Pope owed only to Lincoln's friendship to obtain another post: transferred to the West, he was going to have to face the insurrection that the Sioux, dissatisfied by the non respect of the signed treaties with the federal government, had started in Minnesota and Dakota in August 1862. As for the Army of the Potomac, it was not going to rest very long, having again a decisive campaign to carry out - this time in Maryland.


Video: MOOC. Bull Run and its Impact. The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1865. (October 2021).