U. S. CIVIL WAR
Second Manassas Battlefield Troop Movements.
In the text, the red numbers in parentheses (3) ,
refer to the numbers on this map.
Union Major General John Pope, reacting to the attack on his supply depot in the back of his forces, abandoned his line on the Rappahannock River and headed toward Manassas. General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, had his forces split, with Jackson's Corps near Manassas Junction and Major General James Longstreet's Corps at the Rappahannock River.
Knowing this, Pope felt that his army could "bag" Jackson's Corps and then defeat Longstreet's Corps. But first he had to find Jackson, and the reports he received said that Jackson had disappeared. After sending forces in different directions in order to locate Jackson, Pope decided to concentrate his army at Centreville. At the same time, Lee was moving northward with Longstreet's Corps in order to combine with Jackson and reunite his army.
On the evening of August 28, 1862, the Union Division of General Rufus King was trudging down the Warrenton Turnpike, near Groveton, in order to join the Army of Virginia at Centreville. At that time some of the troops noticed a solitary figure on horseback high on a hill to their left. They dismissed him as a civilian, not worth wasting ammunition on, and continued marching. Then the figure was gone.
The figure was Major General Stonewall Jackson, watching King's forces cross in front of his Corps. Jackson immediately ordered an attack on the Federal column. The savage fighting that followed, at Brawner Farm, (1) lasted for several hours until dark. Although the battle was a standoff, Pope now knew the location of Jackson's Corps.
On August 29, 1862 Pope's army found Jackson's Corps (2) dug in behind an unfinished railroad cut, (3) north of the Warrenton turnpike. Repeated Union attacks during the afternoon failed against the Confederate position. At places where the Union did break the Confederate line, they were quickly forced back.
During the morning of August 30, 1862, with Jackson's forces exhausted and running out of ammunition, General Longstreet's Corps arrived on the battlefield. Pope did not know of Longstreet's presence and that Longstreet had deployed his forces on the left flank of Pope's line.
Because of the condition of Jackson's troops, Lee urged Longstreet to immediately attack but Longstreet resisted saying that the time was just not right.
Just before noon, Pope, under the mistaken impression that the Confederates were leaving, ordered his forces to pursue the Southerners. It was then that he discovered that the Confederates had gone nowhere. Realizing this, Pope ordered Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter's Corps to again attack Jackson's troops along the unfinished railroad. (4) Again, Jackson's men held the line in a bloody battle that involved some of Jackson's troops throwing rocks at the Federals.
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