The Battle of the three Armies (Conclusion to the investigations of the Army of Northeastern Virginia/ Potomac/ Shenandoah)

Hussar Yeomanry

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#1
[Mostly so that all ten parts can be accessed from one place]


The North

Part Five can be found here: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/wa...-at-first-bull-run-manassas-part-five.153776/
Part Four can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...-at-first-bull-run-manassas-part-four.153627/
Part Three can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...at-first-bull-run-manassas-part-three.153549/
Part Two can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...a-at-first-bull-run-manassas-part-two.153437/
Part One can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...n-virginia-at-first-bull-run-manassas.153357/


The South

Part Five can be found here:https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...h-a-most-unexpected-victory-part-five.154474/
Part Four can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...h-a-most-unexpected-victory-part-four.154358/
Part Three can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...-a-most-unexpected-victory-part-three.154279/
Part Two can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...ah-a-most-unexpected-victory-part-two.154169/
Part One can be found here: https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...-–-a-most-unexpected-victory-part-one.154031/


First I wish to say that my first series of threads as Forum Host have been enlightening (to me). Mostly while I knew that confusion at Bull Run/ Manassas was rampant I didn't realise quite how bad it was.

I also (before I get on to the main part of the post) wish to share a cautionary incident that has come to light during my researches. That is that the OR's have limitations. For example if one was to examine Colonel Orlando Wilcox's (Supplemental to the) OR then one gets the idea that he had everything perfectly organised. Indeed he lays out his order of march with precision and clarity. He also states that as per orders he leaves the 4th Michigan behind at Fairfax Court House/ Station. However if one then reads reports from the 4th Michigan then things become a lot murkier. Wilcox does leave a number of companies behind but the rest of the regiment accompanies the brigade and only after a few miles and the arrival of an annoyed staff officer are the rest of the regiment ordered to fall out of the column and counter march back to Fairfax Court House/ Station. It's a minor point but shows that after the fact some officers are trying to make sure their reports paint themselves in a favorable light. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but it has made me a touch wary... and I thought I would mention it...

Anyway, as to the three armies.

I don't think anything particularly momentous was discovered but I found it an interesting exercise. But as a summary all three are infantry heavy, have somewhere near half the guns that a later army would have and nowhere near as much cavalry (with the 'Army of Northeastern Virginia' the worst off in this regard). Due to deficiencies in the militia system the infantry has not undergone sufficient training and this will be telling in the battle ahead of them, while the Regular's on the Union side are too few in number to make a difference.

Staff work appears to be terrible on both sides – with Beauregard's Army of the Potomac perhaps the worst offender. Similarly organisation of all but the Army of the Shenandoah could be considered poor and reflects the hastiness with which the armies are put together.
 

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John Hartwell

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Thank you for posting this directory to your investigations. I was "out of touch" for much of January, and completely missed all these threads. I am generally unfamiliar with First Bull Run, and this will be a great opportunity to "come up to speed" with the subject.

jno
 

Hussar Yeomanry

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No problem. Just as a heads up its more an attempt to look at the two hastily thrown together armies than what happened at Bull Run itself (though obviously it touches on that - and in Part One of the North I think it is someone was nice and in one of the replies put together a very brief battle synopsis for those unfamiliar with the battle). Also perhaps inevitably some threads are better than others and while I don't think we really got in to anything ground breaking I learned a lot making them.
 

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