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 Army of Virginia and Washington, DC, Pope was forced to turn his attention away from Lee. Pope spent the next day ordering a series of futile marches and counter-marches in search of Jackson, who had seemingly vanished.
On the evening August 28, 1862, Jackson launched a surprise attack against Brigadier General Rufus King's 1st Division, as it moved along the Warrenton Turnpike in Prince William County, between Groveton and Gainesville, Virginia. The ensuing Battle of Brawner's Farm, which featured a bloody standoff between the renowned southern Stonewall Brigade and the northern unit that would later achieve fame as the Iron Brigade, marked the opening salvo of a second large engagement fought near Manassas, Virginia during the Civil War.
Following the stalemate at Brawner's Farm, Pope continued to concentrate his army at Centreville, Virginia the next day. Jackson used the opportunity to re-deploy his forces and strengthen his position along Stoney Ridge adjacent to the Warrenton Turnpike. As the day closed, unbeknownst to Pope, the remainder of Lee's army, commanded by Longstreet, began arriving to reinforce 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:
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
1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
Battery I, 1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery
Battery K, 1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery
12th Regiment Ohio Light Artillery
Cite this Entry
"Battle of Bull Run II," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 21 May 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=564>
"Battle of Bull Run II." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved May 21, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=564
- 12th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
- 30th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 36th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
- 73rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 75th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- 82nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- Army of Northern Virginia
- Army of the Potomac (USA)
- Army of Virginia
- Battle of Brawner's Farm
- Battle of Bull Run I
- George B. McClellan
- Iron Brigade
- John Pope
- Northern Virginia Campaign
- Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- Peninsula Campaign
- Robert E. Lee
- Seven Days Battles
- Stonewall Brigade