Jackson at First Manassas

James N.

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Part I

Manassas.jpg

Plateau of Henry House Hill showing 10-pounder Parrott rifled cannon representing the Union batteries of James Ricketts and Charles Griffin along with the postwar Henry House and the pyramidial monument to the battle dedicated in 1865.

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July 21, 1861, the battle known by the South as Manassas and the North as Bull Run began on the rolling plain west of the Confederate position along the stream known as Bull Run. Recieving word that he had been flanked by a Federal column headed by Col. Ambrose Burnside's Rhode Islanders, Col. Nathan "Shanks" Evans turned to meet it on Sudley Ridge just north of ( behind, in this photo ) the Stone House at the intersection of Sudley Springs Road and that leading to Centerville.

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Evans' brigade was soon joined by those of Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee and Col. Francis Bartow, but they all steadily fell back under pressure from the outnumbering Federals. Accounts vary as to whether Bee was exasperated by the brigade he saw to the south remaining immobile on Henry House Hill, or was merely inspiring his men, but his cry, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall - Rally on the Virginians!" lives on long after his death there shortly afterwards. Above in the background is another of the 1920's historical markers placed at the direction of Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman, then head of the Virginia Historical Society, this one just to the north of the Stone House.

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Former artilleryman Brig. Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson carefully supervised the placement of his attached supporting battery, the Rockbridge Artillery, commanded by Capt. William N. Pendleton, on the reverse slope of Henry House Hill. From here the Confederate gunners kept up a lively fire on the advancing and deploying Union columns. The gun above marks the position of the battery for most of the battle.

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Jackson deployed his own brigade of Virginia regiments across the plateau in this area in order to resist the Federal assaults that soon began. Another particular crisis occurred when two Union artillery batteries of 10-pounder Parrott rifled cannon commanded by Captains James Ricketts and Charles Griffin, both later generals, came forward at a gallop and unlimbered at what was for artillery point-blank range to blast the Virginians off the hilltop. Below, the guns seen here mark the position of Ricketts' and Griffin's batteries of U. S. Regulars.

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Stefany

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Such a great man - I admire General Jackson so much...

"Look at General Jackson, standing there like a stonewall"
 

James N.

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Part II

Manassas 007.jpg


The Stonewall Jackson statue and Henry House on Henry House Hill. Although criticized as looking too much like a muscly modern superhero, the Jackson statue, erected in the 1950's, is very much in the Heroic tradition of the grand Art Deco statuary of the 1930's, and is not altogether different from the Civil War Centennial statuary of the 1960's seen on the Texas Monument at Vicksburg for just one example.

Manassas 008.jpg


The reply to the threat posed by the U. S. Regular batteries of Ricketts and Griffin was met by one of Jackson's regiments, Col. Samuel Fulkerson's 33d Virginia. Uniformed in dark blue frock coats, the Virginia regiment caused confusion and consternation among the Federal artillery as they were allowed to come well within rifle range before loosing a volley that brought down many cannoneers and horses. There ensued several hours of back-and-forth charges to capture and recapture the now-silenced guns.

Manassas 011.jpg


Looking from the Union position south towards Jackson's line and the Henry House. The Union batteries changed hands several times as new units entered the battle, surging across the field. The New York Fire Zouaves were badly shaken when charged by Col. Jeb Stuart's 1st Virginia Cavalry, and they and other units began to drift to the rear, first in small numbers, then by entire units.

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The wartime Henry House was badly damaged during the battle, caught as it was between two fires and exposed on the plateau. Other batteries, including one commanded by Capt. John Imboden, had joined Pendleton's and peppered the house and Union troops surrounding it. One shell entered the bedroom of the terrified Widow Judith Henry and exploded, killing her. She is now buried along with other members of her family in the family plot beside her shell-torn home. Burned later during the war, the house was rebuilt immediately following; the pyramid-shaped red sandstone monument was dedicated in the summer of 1865 to commemorate where the fighting had begun four years earlier.

Manassas 010.jpg


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As the afternoon waned and fresh Confederate troops arrived, Union troops began to retreat back the way they'd come hours earlier. The Stone Bridge across Bull Run was where Shanks Evans' Confederates had begun the day; later, Col. William T. Sherman's Union brigade had forded the stream just above it. Now, it became the main avenue of retreat, creating the first of several bottlenecks that caused the army to become increasingly demoralized and panic-stricken as they sought to escape capture by the victorious Confederates. A lucky cannon shot overturned a wagon on the next narrow bridge over nearby Cub Run causing the retreat to become a stampede as some exhausted, unconscionable Federals threw away weapons and equipment in an effort to hasten their flight. The rout was covered by the steady ranks of the U. S. Regular infantry and cavalry units.

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During the battle, Jackson had his finger broken by a passing ball as he raised his arm heavenward as was his custom. As a surgeon treated the wound, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, newly arrived on the scene, happened to pass by, and Jackson entreated him, "We have whipped them! They ran like sheep! Give me 5,000 fresh men and I will be in Washington City tomorrow morning." But Davis and Generals Joseph Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard demurred, thinking the battle and likely the war already won. Thus ended the first of the Confederacy's many battlefield might-have-beens. As for his broken finger, a surgeon supposedly wanted to amputate it, but Jackson quietly disappeared before anything drastic could be done!

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James N.

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Very nice James. I hope to get up there one day. Thanks for sharing.
Such a great man - I admire General Jackson so much...

"Look at General Jackson, standing there like a stonewall"

These photos were taken on my last visit there in May, 1998, on a loop trail established by the NPS that showcased the action on Henry House Hill. ( With of course additional side trips to the Stone House and Stone Bridge. ) I was pleased that at the time they seemed to be concentrating largely on the actions of Jackson and the Stonewall Brigade, much as I have here. Here's another look at the Jackson statue:

Manassas 006.jpg
 

James N.

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Since tomorrow is the anniversary of this pivotal first real battle of the war, I thought I'd *bump* this thread for the occasion; I hope to revisit here next week before my return flight from Dulles coming back from yet another trip this year to the Shenandoah Valley.
 
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KansasFreestater

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Part II

View attachment 17345

The Stonewall Jackson statue and Henry House on Henry House Hill. Although criticized as looking too much like a muscly modern superhero, the Jackson statue, erected in the 1950's, is very much in the Heroic tradition of the grand Art Deco statuary of the 1930's, and is not altogether different from the Civil War Centennial statuary of the 1960's seen on the Texas Monument at Vicksburg for just one example.

View attachment 17347

The reply to the threat posed by the U. S. Regular batteries of Ricketts and Griffin was met by one of Jackson's regiments, Col. Samuel Fulkerson's 33d Virginia. Uniformed in dark blue frock coats, the Virginia regiment caused confusion and consternation among the Federal artillery as they were allowed to come well within rifle range before loosing a volley that brought down many cannoneers and horses. There ensued several hours of back-and-forth charges to capture and recapture the now-silenced guns.

View attachment 17348

Looking from the Union position south towards Jackson's line and the Henry House. The Union batteries changed hands several times as new units entered the battle, surging across the field. The New York Fire Zouaves were badly shaken when charged by Col. Jeb Stuart's 1st Virginia Cavalry, and they and other units began to drift to the rear, first in small numbers, then by entire units.

View attachment 17349

The wartime Henry House was badly damaged during the battle, caught as it was between two fires and exposed on the plateau. Other batteries, including one commanded by Capt. John Imboden, had joined Pendleton's and peppered the house and Union troops surrounding it. One shell entered the bedroom of the terrified Widow Judith Henry and exploded, killing her. She is now buried along with other members of her family in the family plot beside her shell-torn home. Burned later during the war, the house was rebuilt immediately following; the pyramid-shaped red sandstone monument was dedicated in the summer of 1865 to commemorate where the fighting had begun four years earlier.

View attachment 17350

View attachment 17351

As the afternoon waned and fresh Confederate troops arrived, Union troops began to retreat back the way they'd come hours earlier. The Stone Bridge across Bull Run was where Shanks Evans' Confederates had begun the day; later, Col. William T. Sherman's Union brigade had forded the stream just above it. Now, it became the main avenue of retreat, creating the first of several bottlenecks that caused the army to become increasingly demoralized and panic-stricken as they sought to escape capture by the victorious Confederates. A lucky cannon shot overturned a wagon on the next narrow bridge over nearby Cub Run causing the retreat to become a stampede as some exhausted, unconscionable Federals threw away weapons and equipment in an effort to hasten their flight. The rout was covered by the steady ranks of the U. S. Regular infantry and cavalry units.

View attachment 17352

View attachment 17356

During the battle, Jackson had his finger broken by a passing ball as he raised his arm heavenward as was his custom. As a surgeon treated the wound, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, newly arrived on the scene, happened to pass by, and Jackson entreated him, "We have whipped them! They ran like sheep! Give me 5,000 fresh men and I will be in Washington City tomorrow morning." But Davis and Generals Joseph Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard demurred, thinking the battle and likely the war already won. Thus ended the first of the Confederacy's many battlefield might-have-beens. As for his broken finger, a surgeon supposedly wanted to amputate it, but Jackson quietly disappeared before anything drastic cold be done!

View attachment 17357
James, you are a wonderful story-teller, both with your pictures and your words! I appreciate your insights, and the way you make those long-ago people and events come alive.
 

KansasFreestater

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These photos were taken on my last visit there in May, 1998, on a loop trail established by the NPS that showcased the action on Henry House Hill. ( With of course additional side trips to the Stone House and Stone Bridge. ) I was pleased that at the time they seemed to be concentrating largely on the actions of Jackson and the Stonewall Brigade, much as I have here. Here's another look at the Jackson statue:

View attachment 17398
Just a little Unionist reminder here: Let it not be forgotten that this was also the first battle where the valor of William Tecumseh Sherman shone forth and put him in the limelight. Sherman was one of the few Old Army officers who had not served in Mexico during the Mexican War (much to his disappointment and frustration), so he lacked the combat experience that so many others on both sides had had. But at First Bull Run, Sherman made up for lost time, proving himself a born fighter and commander. Under his leadership, his unit was one of the few on the Union side that did not embarrass itself; Sherman and his men fought bravely and were among the last to leave the field.
 

dvrmte

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Just a little Unionist reminder here: Let it not be forgotten that this was also the first battle where the valor of William Tecumseh Sherman shone forth and put him in the limelight. Sherman was one of the few Old Army officers who had not served in Mexico during the Mexican War (much to his disappointment and frustration), so he lacked the combat experience that so many others on both sides had had. But at First Bull Run, Sherman made up for lost time, proving himself a born fighter and commander. Under his leadership, his unit was one of the few on the Union side that did not embarrass itself; Sherman and his men fought bravely and were among the last to leave the field.

Sherman's name and performance shouldn't disgrace this thread on Jackson.
 

KansasFreestater

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Sherman's name and performance shouldn't disgrace this thread on Jackson.
Didn't mean it to disparage. I was just kind of teasing James a little. :wink:

Plus, I just have always been intrigued by the fact that it was at this first big battle of the war, Manassas/Bull Run, that these two men -- one Union, one Southern -- men who were, previous to this battle, relatively unknown -- both first proved their mettle and came into the spotlight. Both of them had come from positions at military academies (Stonewall as professor at VMI and Sherman as head of the Louisiana State Seminary & Military Academy), and were later to play dramatic roles in the war. Bull Run/Manassas was where they first showed what they were made of, and anyone watching from afar might have predicted great things for both of them.

Just one of those interesting things about the war that for some reason intrigues me.
 

dvrmte

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Didn't mean it to disparage. I was just kind of teasing James a little. :wink:

Plus, I just have always been intrigued by the fact that it was at this first big battle of the war, Manassas/Bull Run, that these two men -- one Union, one Southern -- men who were, previous to this battle, relatively unknown -- both first proved their mettle and came into the spotlight. Both of them had come from positions at military academies (Stonewall as professor at VMI and Sherman as head of the Louisiana State Seminary & Military Academy), and were later to play dramatic roles in the war. Bull Run/Manassas was where they first showed what they were made of, and anyone watching from afar might have predicted great things for both of them.

Just one of those interesting things about the war that for some reason intrigues me.

It's okay, I come across 'harder' than I really am.

However, I don't feel comparing their individual performances is fair. Jackson had combat experience while Sherman had none. We all know how well Jackson performed. Sherman showed personal bravery and resolution, however he also showed how inexperienced he was handling large formations of troops and his disdain for volunteers. In a letter to his wife he admitted he was going to have to start from scratch and learn the tactics from the books.
 

James N.

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They cut down all those trees in the third picture you have posted. I couldn't remember where that was at first, but then I recalled how open that area is now.
Sherman's name and performance shouldn't disgrace this thread on Jackson.
Didn't mean it to disparage. I was just kind of teasing James a little. :wink:

Plus, I just have always been intrigued by the fact that it was at this first big battle of the war, Manassas/Bull Run, that these two men -- one Union, one Southern -- men who were, previous to this battle, relatively unknown -- both first proved their mettle and came into the spotlight. Both of them had come from positions at military academies (Stonewall as professor at VMI and Sherman as head of the Louisiana State Seminary & Military Academy), and were later to play dramatic roles in the war. Bull Run/Manassas was where they first showed what they were made of, and anyone watching from afar might have predicted great things for both of them.

Just one of those interesting things about the war that for some reason intrigues me.

I'm somewhat sorry to hear about the trees because they looked so lovely in their spring foliage; on the other hand, I approve of what the NPS is doing to try to bring all the battlefields back to their wartime appearance. I originally made this thread Jackson-centric for two reasons: I needed something more for my Stonewall Jackson Forum; and conveniently to that end the NPS trail on the Henry House plateau answered perfectly! I hope next week to devote time to Chinn House Ridge, Sudley Springs, Groveton, and the Railroad Cut which I had NO time for back when I last visited and took these photos in the 1990's. The only time I really got to look around those areas was way back in 1964 (!) and I remember the Deep Cut and its monument being buried well within a deep woods where one got absolutely no feel for the battle that had raged there.
 

dvrmte

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I'm somewhat sorry to hear about the trees because they looked so lovely in their spring foliage; on the other hand, I approve of what the NPS is doing to try to bring all the battlefields back to their wartime appearance. I originally made this thread Jackson-centric for two reasons: I needed something more for my Stonewall Jackson Forum; and conveniently to that end the NPS trail on the Henry House plateau answered perfectly! I hope next week to devote time to Chinn House Ridge, Sudley Springs, Groveton, and the Railroad Cut which I had NO time for back when I last visited and took these photos in the 1990's. The only time I really got to look around those areas was way back in 1964 (!) and I remember the Deep Cut and its monument being buried well within a deep woods where one got absolutely no feel for the battle that had raged there.

Maybe I'll find the time to add to your Jackson forum one of these days. I have an ancestor and many relatives in the 60th GA of Lawton's Georgia Brigade. They joined up right after First Manassas and first fought under Jackson during the Seven Days.

I visited Manassas two years ago with my sons. We got to stand where my ancestor fought and died at Bristoe Station during Jackson's campaign to 'suppress' the miscreant Pope. But that was Second Manassas and I'll add my thoughts in an appropriate thread.

We thoroughly covered the Manassas battlefields including Groveton. I was impressed with Jackson's choice of ground at both major battles.

I like this shot of Super Jackson.

Expired Image Removed
 
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Old Bay

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I'm somewhat sorry to hear about the trees because they looked so lovely in their spring foliage; on the other hand, I approve of what the NPS is doing to try to bring all the battlefields back to their wartime appearance.

They were nice looking. I'm a bit of a hippy in that I don't really like to see stuff cut down for the most part, though I do applaud trying to restore the grounds to how they used to look. But it still wrankles me a bit deep down...
 

BillO

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They were nice looking. I'm a bit of a hippy in that I don't really like to see stuff cut down for the most part, though I do applaud trying to restore the grounds to how they used to look. But it still wrankles me a bit deep down...
I've met you and you aren't old enough to be a hippy. If it makes you feel a little better Virginia is a lot greener now than it was 150 years ago.
 
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