Battle of Bull Run II (August 28–30, 1862)

Updated: October 15, 2014

The Battle of Bull Run II, also known as the Second Battle of Manassas, was fought on the same ground as the Battle of Bull Run I, near the town of Manassas Junction, Virginia, from August 28-30, 1862. The result of the battle was a decisive Confederate victory that enabled General Robert E. Lee to launch the South's first invasion of the North.

In 1862, Union leaders attempted to bring a quick ending to the American Civil War by capturing the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. On March 17, Major General George McClellan began moving the Army of the Potomac toward Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign. By June, McClellan reached the outskirts of the Confederate capital, but ultimately was forced to retreat after losing a series of encounters with General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, collectively known as the Seven Days Battles.

Dissatisfied with McClellan's performance, President Lincoln appointed Major General John Pope to command the newly created Army of Virginia. Sensing that McClellan now posed little threat to Richmond, Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided to take the offensive, before Pope's army could be united with McClellan's retreating forces. On July 13, Lee sent 12,000 Rebel troops under the command of Major General Stonewall Jackson to secure Confederate railroad links with the Shenandoah Valley near Gordonsville, Virginia. Later that month, he sent 12,000 more men to support Jackson. Although outnumbered nearly two to one, Jackson determined, in early August, that he now had enough strength to begin isolated attacks on Pope's army. With McClellan's army in full retreat, Lee dispatched Major General James Longstreet and 30,000 additional troops to support Jackson on August 13, 1862 and personally took command of the offensive against Pope.

Lee boldly sent Jackson and one half of the Rebel army on a march that outflanked Pope's right wing, capturing the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction , Virginia on August 27. With Jackson now positioned between the Union army and Washington, DC, Pope was forced to turn his attention away from Lee. Pope marched his army toward Manassas Junction and attacked Jackson on August 28, the first day of the Battle of Bull Run II. Although greatly outnumbered, Jackson's troops had established good defensive positions and were able to hold off a series of uncoordinated Federal attacks near the village of Groveton, Virginia during the first day of the battle.

On the second day, Pope was convinced that he was close to crushing Jackson's forces and continued the attack. As the day closed, unbeknownst to Pope, the remainder of Lee's army, commanded by Longstreet, began arriving near the battlefield to relieve Jackson.

On August 30, believing that victory was within his grasp, Pope slowly weakened his left flank to concentrate the assault on Jackson, unwittingly providing Longstreet the opportunity he was awaiting. At approximately 4 p.m., Longstreet's troops smashed into the left side of Pope's unsuspecting army. Although the surprised Federals did not turn and run toward Washington, as they had done during the Battle of Bull Run I, they were forced to retreat nonetheless. Fortunately for Pope, reinforcements from McClellan's army approaching the battle site from Washington prevented the retreat from deteriorating into a disorganized rout. Lee halted the pursuit, knowing that he could ill-afford to engage the combined forces of two Federal armies.

The Battle of Bull Run II produced high casualties for both sides. The Union suffered approximately 13,800 losses, including 1.700 killed. The Confederacy suffered about 8,300 casualties, including approximately 1,500 killed. In the aftermath of his victory at the Battle of Bull Run I, Lee concentrated his army in the Shenandoah Valley and, on September 4, invaded Maryland, taking the war to Union soil.

Among the Ohio units that participated in the Battle of Bull Run II were:

Infantry units:

11th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

12th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

25th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

30th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

36th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

73rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

75th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

82nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Cavalry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

Artillery units:

Battery I, 1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery

Battery K, 1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery

12th Regiment Ohio Light Artillery

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Battle of Bull Run II," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 27 May 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=564>

APA Style

"Battle of Bull Run II." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=564

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