Today on August 30, 1862, Stonewall Jackson delivers a crushing blow at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
The Second Battle of Bull Run was a major military conflict of the bloody American Civil War. The three-day battle was fought in the Prince William County, Virginia, and resulted in significant casualties on both sides. The Second Battle of Bull Run was much larger in scale than the first battle, which had occurred thirteen months earlier on July 21, 1861. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, the hero of the first battle, had led the southern army to victory against the federalists. This allowed the Confederates to establish several defensive positions among the dense woods of the region. As time went on, President Abraham Lincoln became increasingly determined to launch an offensive campaign and retake the capital of Richmond, Virginia. As a result, he decided to combine the Army of the Potomac with the newly formed Army of Virginia.
Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, caught wind of Lincoln’s plan and decided to attack the Army of Virginia before the two armies could merge. In late August, Lee ordered Stonewall Jackson to pursue the enemy forces under the command of John Pope. After covering more than 50 miles in less than two days, Jackson finally caught up with the Union Army. On August 29, Pope launched a series of attacks against the Confederate Army but were all repulsed. Heavy casualties ensued on both sides, however, Jackson benefited from the arrival of fresh reinforcements. Under the command of James Longstreet, 25,000 new Confederate soldiers marched into the battlefield and Pope was taken by surprise.
The following day, Pope launched another attack but was met with heavy artillery fire. Jackson and Longstreet delivered the final blow with an immediate counterattack. They simultaneously charged with five divisions against the Union position, which became the largest single-day assault of the entire war. Pope retreated back to Washington during the night, sending a wave of despair and uncertainty throughout the North. The Confederate victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run further emboldened Lee to initiate the Maryland Campaign.