Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
BULL RUN OR MANASSAS

The first great battle of the war--A series of surprises--Mishaps and mistakes of the Confederates--Beauregard's lost order--General Ewell's rage--The most eccentric officer in the Confederate army-- Anecdotes of his career--The wild panic of the Union troops-- Senseless frights that cannot be explained--Illustrated at Cedar Creek.

THE battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprise--the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander. On the Confederate side it was a chapter of mishaps, miscarriages, and of some mistakes. It was also a chapter of superb fighting by the Southern army, and of final complete and overwhelming victory. The breaking down of the train bearing General Joseph E. Johnston's troops was an accident which almost defeated the consummation of that splendid piece of strategy by which he had eluded General Patterson in the Valley, and which had enabled him to hurry almost his entire force to the support of General Beauregard at Manassas. The mistakes are represented by the fact that the feint of General McDowell on the Confederate front was believed

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