A preliminary engagement on the day before the Second Battle of Bull Run. On 25 August Stonewall Jackson had been sent on a march around the right wing of General John Pope’s Union Army of Virginia. His mission to capture Pope’s supply depot at Manassas Junction, a move that would also cut Pope’s line of communication with Washington. This would force Pope to move north to deal with Jackson, and hopefully give Robert E. Lee a chance to attack Pope with his entire army.
Late on 26 August Jackson’s men achieved their first aim, capturing Manassas Junction and the huge amount of supplies stored there. As expected, Pope rushed north to deal with this threat. Meanwhile, Jackson retreated into the hills to the north west of the junction. Over the next two days Pope was forced to search for Jackson’s army.
Only when Jackson was sure that Lee was getting close did he re-emerge from the hills, to attack one part of McDowell’s third corps near Groveton. However, Jackson bungled the attack. Only three of his fourteen brigades got into action. On the Federal side one full brigade and two regiments from another held off Jackson’s attacks for over an hour. However, Jackson’s real aim was to pin Pope in place, to give Lee time to arrive. In this he succeeded. The next day Pope launched a series of attacks on Jackson, beginning the second Battle of Bull Run.
|The Second Bull Run Campaign: July-August 1862, David G. Martin. A well illustrated look at the entire Second Bull Run campaign, a key turning point in the American Civil War which saw the south go from the verge of defeat around Richmond to triumph at Manassas, and the campaign that saw Robert E. Lee first justify his great reputation.|
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