Academic journal article Military Review

Manassas: A Battlefield Guide

Academic journal article Military Review

Manassas: A Battlefield Guide

Article excerpt

MANASSAS: A Battlefield Guide Ethan S. Rafuse, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2014, 274 pages

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Manassas, or Bull Run as it's known to the North, holds a special place in the nation's history. The first Battle of Manassas was the first large-scale battle of the Civil War. Fought in July 1861, it produced approximately 5,000 casualties, with less than 1,000 killed. However, by the second Battle of Manassas, which retraced similar ground and resulted in the same conclusion, the battle produced an astounding 26,000 casualties--and of those, more than 3,200 killed. This fivefold increase in casualties in just a year's time highlights a significant shift in tenacity that now defined the forces and stratagem.

This evolution in the opposing forces' determination and willingness to stand their ground, coupled with the maturation of their leadership, increased the lethality of Civil War battles. In one example of tactical adjustments, a Union cavalry squadron rushed a Confederate brigade at Thoroughfare Gap and was allowed to pass through them--only to find that it now faced two reinforced brigades in the rear. It was forced to return the same way it came, exposing its soldiers to rear, flank, and frontal fire. As a result, a mere dozen returned to their own lines. More often, however, the units continued to battle in close proximity, reducing each other's forces through simple, brutal attrition.

The fight at Brawner Farm during the second Battle of Manassas provides another notable example of the increasing deadly and effective tactics employed by the belligerents. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.