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Union Flag Carrier U. S. CIVIL WAR
Confederate Flag Carrier


To see the location of a photograph in this section click on the circled letter, , at the photograph.

   Battlefield Action
First Manassas Battlefield Troop Movements.
In the text, the red numbers in parentheses
(3) ,
refer to the numbers on this map.

When the fighting resumed it continued on and around Henry Hill (7) until approximately 4 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Confederate reinforcements, from the Army of the Shenandoah, arrived on the battlefield (8) (one brigade arrived by rail from the Shenandoah Valley) causing the Union to extend its line to the right. At that time, Confederate forces near the Chinn house, under the command of General Jubal Early, attacked the right flank of the Union line, (9) forcing the Union troops to retreat.

Chinn 1998
The Chinn House foundation, January, 1998. 
From this location, in the afternoon of July 21, 1861, a Confederate attack overran the Union right, resulting in the rout of the Union army at First Manassas.

The Union retreat was orderly at the beginning. Union regulars protected the volunteers as they withdrew on the road to Washington, toward the Stone Bridge crossing Bull Run . However, at the bridge
(10) they found the road to Washington jammed with the carriages of the congressmen and others who had come to watch the battle. The soldiers panicked and the retreat became a rout.

Ambulance removing wounded

Some Union telegraph messages
During the Battle

Union Dispatches
Union telegraph messages.

Manassas Virginia Telegraph, July 21, 1861


Very Rapid firing from heavy Guns & small arms-- Frequent & heavy discharges of musketry--

Curtis -- opr -- Fairfax

11.40 am

Fighting very heavy & apparently more on our left wing



Near Fairfax 12.30 PM

Firing of heavy guns about same as last dispatch but apparently now more on our right wing 1 or 2 very heavy guns heard awhile ago now silent I can hear distinctly from where I am about 1 1/2 miles from the Station & about 7 from Junction.



Near Fairfax 12.50 PM

Firing of heavy guns apparently nearer and in the direction of Centreville should think there.

Lt Curtis


Near Fairfax 1.10 P.M.

Firing more in the distance & greatly slackened. No guns at Centreville since last dispatch

10 Mins interval still fainter and less guns. You can draw your own inference


Near Fairfax Station 1.30 PM

A renewal of heavy firing but not as strong as it has been-- Cant make it out exactly appears to be scattering some apparently near Centreville and some much beyond it-- Just now a heavy roll of musketry for about one minute

Lt Curtis

Near Fairfax 1.40 P.M.

10 mins late.

Musketry but no heavy guns.



Near Fairfax 1 45 PM

Heavy guns again & apparently nearer musketry heavy & nearer.

Lt Curtis


2 10 Near Fairfax

The musketry very heavy and drawing much nearer. There is evidently a movement mor to our left

Lt Curtis

Fairfax 2.45 P.M

To Genl. Scott--

Firing a little farther off and apparently now in the direction of Manasses Junction, less heavy Guns & more light artillery as near as I can judge

Lieut Curtis

Fairfax 3 PM 21

Firing ceased 10 minutes since

3 35 PM Fairfax

The firing has almost entirely ceased & can only be heard with difficulty I shall telegraph no more unless there be a renewal of the battle which has been so gloriously fought for the old stars & stripes & from all indications here our troops have at least stood their ground

Lt Curtis

U. S. A.

I have requested Curtis to remain in position & telegraph us every 20 minutes

T A. Scott

Fairfax C H 3 50 PM 21/61

Our courier has not returned yet Q Master Barton of the 2d Michigan Regt has just returned passed & says that officers men & citizens at Centreville say a general engagement of the whole line has taken place 3 1/2 miles this side of Manassas & that our troops had driven & forced the secession lines back to Manassas. We expect Couriers now every moment


Fairfax C H July 21/61

Two of our couriers have returned but unable to deliver in person to Gen McDowell the despatches. They were left in charge of an officer in the field of battle who will endeavor to get them to the Genl. One of the couriers was on the battle field says our troops have taken 3 masked batteries & forced the rebels to fall back & return says the battle was general on Bull Run some distance says battle extended There One of the batteries taken was in a wheat field & the other some distance from it & the 3d still further on.


Fairfax C H 5.20 PM


NY Herald

I am en route to Washington with details of great battle. We have carried the day-- Rebels accepted battle in their strength but are totally routed. Loss on both sides considerable Bulls run silenced & two or three other batteries taken


Fairfax C H

5 40 PM

Firing has ceased-- We shall send another Courier there in few minutes-- The Colonel went at four & will be back soon


Manassas Virginia Telegraph, July 21, 1861 (Dispatches). Transcribed and annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois. Available at Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division (Washington, D.C.: American Memory Project, [2000-02]), http:/, accessed [March 20, 2003].

Pres Jefferson Davis

The Confederates, though cheered that President Jefferson Davis had arrived on the field just as the battle was ending, were too disorganized to follow up their success. By July 22 the defeated Union army was back behind the defenses of Washington.


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