First Battle of Bull Run

As promised, we’re back with another look at one of the spectacular Dioramas within the Soldier’s National Museum. Last month we shared more about the months and days that led up to the Battle of Ft. Sumter. Today we will explore the historic First Battle of Bull Run.

Just a few months after the Battle of Ft. Sumter began, the Northern public felt strongly that a march against the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA could bring an early end to the war. So, on July 21st in 1861, yielding to pressure, the Union army crossed the Potomac river and advanced to Bull Run in Manassas, VA. Under the leadership of Irvin McDowell, roughly 28-35,000 soldiers executed a surprise attack. This advancement left the Confederates at an initial disadvantage.

In response, the Confederates, led by P.G.T Beauregard, were quickly reinforced by troops from the Shenandoah Valley and a brigade of Virginians under Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson bringing their troop total to approximately 32-34,000. Even though the Union initially had the advantage, they quickly panicked and fled to Washington D.C. after the Confederates, reinforced, launched a strong counter attack. As a result, the day went to the Confederates.

The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the American Civil War. Each side experienced casualties including death, injured, missing and captured. The Union’s casualties were 2,896 while the Confederates were 1,982 – a sobering thought for everyone involved. It was the beginning of the realization that the war was going to be much bloodier and longer than anyone could imagine

Now you know an overview of what happened at the First Battle of Bull Run however, there are many more details then what we wrote about in this blog, including how Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname! Our Diorama is an excellent way to learn more. We encourage you to visit. Details on the Soldier’s National Museum can be found on our website. And, if you didn’t read last month’s blog on the Battle of Ft Sumter, check it out!