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First Battle of Bull Run



July 21, 1861


Manassas, Virginia. The Battle was called the First Battle of Bull Run by the north because of a stream where it was fought. However, the south called the battle First Manassas.

Key Individuals Involved in the First Battle of Bull Run:

Union: Brigadier General Irvin McDowell
Confederate: Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston and General P.G.T. Beauregard

Brief Overview of the Battle :

The Union and Confederate forces met at Manassas, Virginia. Both sides planned to attack the other’s left flank with the majority of their armies. However, the confederates realized quickly the Union army’s plan and moved forces to meet the attack upon their left flank. At the same time, they were able to build up enough troops on the Union right side to overrun that flank leading to a disorderly retreat to the North. The Confederate army did not pursue the fleeing troops.


Victory for the Confederate forces. However, approximately 5,000 men died. Of those, 3,000 were Union soldiers.

Significance of the First Battle of Bull Run:

This was the first major land battle of the Civil War. It was also the battle that made the war become real to many. Before the First Battle of Bull Run, many in the north and the south had romanticized the war. However, with the deaths of troops and civilians, the reality of war was brought home.

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