Redirected from Second Bull Run
Background On June 26, 1862, the U.S. Army of Virginia was formed under the command of General John Pope. Manuevering following the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, brought the armies to positions across the Rappahannock. On August 22, Lee received information that Pope expected to be reinforced from the Peninsula within five days - bringing his forces to 130,000 men. Facing a force of 75,000 men to his 55,000, Lee decided to split his forces and send half on a wide flanking movement.
On August 25th Jackson and Stuart left the lines and the next evening detroyed a Federal supply depot at Manassas. Pope moved to intercept Jackson.
Pope believed he had trapped Jackson and sought to capture him before he could be reinforced by Longstreet. Pope's dispatch sent on the evening of the 28th to General Kearney stated, in part, "General McDowell has intercepted the retreat of the enemy and is now in his front.... Unless he can escape by by-paths leading to the north to-night, he must be captured."
Beginning about 10 a.m. the Union forces launched a series of assaults against the Jackson's position. The fighting was intense and causualties were heavy on both sides. The battle continued until Federal forces withdrew at approximately 9 p.m.
Longstreet's corps arrived on the field at approximately 11 a.m. and took up postions on Jackson's right. His arrival apparently went unnoticed by Pope until late in the afternoon when a portion of Longstreet's command repulsed a Union advance.
Following skirmishing throughout the day, Pope moved against Jacksons' position in force at about 3 p.m. Jackson described the assault, "In a few moments our entire line was engaged in a fierce and sanguinary struggle with the enemy. As one line was repulsed another took its place and pressed forward as if determined by force of numbers and fury of assault to drive us from our positions."
While the Union forces were engaged with Jackson, Lee ordered Longstreet forward. Longstreet's forces consisting of 28,000 troops, led by Hood's brigades, drove forward and crushed the Union left flank as Jackson repulsed the assault. The Union forces were driven from the field in disorder.
In Jackson's words, "As Longstreet pressed upon the right the Federal advance was checked, and soon a general advance of my whole line was ordered. Eagerly and fiercely did each brigade press forward, exhibiting in parts of the field scenes of close encounter and murderous strife not witnessed often in the turmoil of battle. The Federals gave way before our troops, fell back in disorder, and fled precipitately, leaving their dead and wounded on the field."
Sources: Reports from the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion: