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First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas): July 21, 1861

Manassas and its vicinity
On July 21, 1861, the Confederates defeated the Union army in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), the first major conflict of the Civil War.

In the months following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, there was increasing political pressure in the North for the Union army to launch an attack against the Rebels and quickly end the war. Despite General Irvin McDowell‘s concerns that his troops weren’t prepared, he made plans to attack the Confederate forces gathered along Bull Run stream, near Manassas Junction, Virginia, about 25 miles from Washington DC.

McDowell and his approximately 30,000 troops left Washington DC on July 16, slowly making their way to Centreville, Virginia. Once at Centreville, McDowell delayed for two days, unknowingly allowing time for thousands more Confederate troops under Joseph Johnston to join the main force under PGT Beauregard, bringing the Confederates’ total forces to roughly the same number as the Union’s.

Portrait of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell, officer of the Federal Army

McDowell’s plan was to send half his troops in a feint at the Confederate center, while the other half of his force would come from upstream to attack the Confederates’ left flank. Despite problems with synchronizing the two parts of the attack, at first it seemed like the Union would carry the day. However, a strong Confederate defense at Henry House Hill on the Confederate left, as well as a crucial attack on the Union right flank, helped turn the tide of the battle (and it was there that Thomas J. Jackson received his immortal nickname, “Stonewall”). The Union retreat soon turned to panic, and troops fled in chaos back to Washington, as did the spectators from the capital who had come to observe the battle.

Dead on battlefield at 1st Bull Run (Manassas)
The casualties were shockingly high, though they would pale in comparison to those of later battles. Estimates vary, but the Union suffered about 481 dead, 1,011 wounded, and 1,216 missing (many of them taken prisoner), while the Confederates experienced 387 dead, 1,582 wounded, and 12 missing.

Though a disaster for the Union and a triumph for the Confederacy, the battle signaled to both sides that the war would be longer and bloodier than either had anticipated.

Did you have ancestors who served in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)? Tell us about it! If you want to learn more about the battle, start a search on Fold3.


  1. Edward Everett Vaill says:

    The Vaill homestead in Litchfield, CT has housed Vaills from 1740 until well into the 1800s. The home still exists, on Wolf Pit Hill, and is the oldest home still standing in Litchfield. There is a huge rock in the front yard which family lore states that two Vaill brothers sat on the rock and debated whether or not to join the Union Army. One did, the other did not. The one who did wrote a letter home after he had been wounded, and his blood still appears on the letter, which I have in my possession.

    At the base of the rock is a carving entitled “Jos. Vaill, Mar. 4, 1754”. He was my great-great-great-great grandfather, Captain Joseph Vaill, who built the house on Wolf Pit Hill.

    • Artie says:

      Isn’t it great to be able to have a tangible connection to your past. Something to treasure, something to be proud of, a place to go to remember that they passed this way before you and made you who you are. You are truly blessed to have this.

      We are the total sum of our history and when that is taken away we have no rudder to steer into the future. Yesterday I read a 1913 newspaper report of the reunion at Gettysburg. Both sides were in attendance and I believe per the article that at least 80,000 were in attendance. Haven’t researched to find if this was the first instance of a “Re-enactment” but the day culminated in a re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge. Instead of guns and death at the end they met at the wall and shook hands in brotherhood. And I repeat…. “It is not for the War that I continue the fight… it is for the right to honor my dead that I contend.”

    • sue says:

      great to read this. thanks.

  2. John West says:

    The Civil War was [so] much more than about Slavery. My ancestors fought on both sides , none of which had slaves. It was a terrible time in our Nations history, the way things are going in Washington I would not be surprised that History might not repeat its self. The Bureaucrats are trying their best to take away our civil liberties that our ancestors fought for ever since the Civil War. You see more and more of the Government of the people and by the people telling mostly the Southern states how to run their own state. They don’t want the people to decide for them selves. With more and more of our ancestral history trying to be taken away, I see a time that History will repeat its self “”

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      Oh, please — This is not a referendum, or a ‘call to arms’ — the Blogger asked for people to post their families’ histories as they relate to 1st Bull’s Run.
      You are OFF topic; nobody asked for your opinion about how the Federals persist in eroding our personal freedoms, and that we are hell-bent for another Civil War.

    • Sarah Carman says:

      Really, you don’t seem to realize that the majority of the population doesn’t agree with you. Stick to the topic at hand. Or maybe better read a history book and realize that it’s “history”, something that happened in the past. That’s why it’s called history, plain and simple. And while you’re at it, get a life.

    • J P says:

      Which people in the Southern States are loosing their liberty. Would that be the people who are not Latino or not Black? Which rights are you afraid of losing, the right to take pistols to church? Or maybe the right to limit people’s time or place to vote.? This is the country of all the people. You will be happier if you just finally accept that. From an old white guy who saw the light when he was 20.

    • sue says:

      You are so right with this comment. Agree totally with you. Conservative Christians better get off their duff, wake up and take a stand before their saying “yessa, master” themselves. It wasn’t about slavery much at all but they dwell on that for political gain. Our Confederate Flag hangs outside our home in Florida where it will stay. Stand your ground.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @sue — Right, see, that’s exactly NOT what the original blogger was asking you to post: Your paranoid Conservative Christian musings about how you are now going to be turned into a slave because they are pulling the stars & bars down from the SC Statehouse. Keep waving your true colors from your porch; in the mean time… It’s all about First Bull Run here, babe.

    • sue says:

      Sorry if I got off track but its a real sore spot for me and those I know. My true colors are red, white and blue, same colors of the US Flag AND the Confederate Flag. I have said all I will on the subject at least on this blog. I have ancestors as I said the first time I wrote that were on BOTH sides of the Civil War. None had slaves that I know of and I used to live right there where the Battle of Bull Run was fought in Manassas, VA. Some of my ancestors returned home safely to live out their lives, others didn’t. Thanks for this blog and the info you have shared.

    • Rev W. T. Dunbar says:

      Must be one of those school kid’s lost behind the door and this lesson was given? I had ancestors at that time living in the North, and their Brothers and Sisters living in the South, yes and they had slaves. After the war they came together just as we should today.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      I totally agree. It was about a lot more than slavery. If not, why were there slaves in the north? The powers that be don’t want it to be taught or known, otherwise they can’t hold it over the heads of the people who live in the south. If one reads books that cover that subject they might be not very pleasantly surprised.

    • Lisa Allen says:

      We do have much history in the northern “winners perspective”… I wast just wondering Mr. West…do you have an ancestor Little Bettie West Married to John Reger from Northwestern VA? She is my ancestor.

    • c. chase says:

      This is so true. I see mostly young people argue about the Confederate flag not really knowing the true meaning of why on either side.

    • Jo Solley Hansen says:

      You are absolutely correct, sadly so.

    • Mick says:

      As you’ll see if you look at my site,I’m an advocate of the Southern states.I love rockabilly music.I also think the Southern people are the best.The Rebs should have won the war & America could have been a better place.A lot of us English Teddyboys use Rebel insignia to show our love of Rockabilly.I own a 3ft x 5ft full size Rebel flag.I also have a replica Rebel kepi.{wish it was original!}

  3. A. Danke says:

    My ggg grandfather, Burton Dyess, mustered with the Confederate troops in Meridian, Mississippi, in April of 1861 and was dead by June of 1861 near Rienzi, Mississippi. He never saw a single battle and evidently died of disease or dysentery. He left behind a wife and three children. His wife remarried an abusive alcoholic so the story goes, and the oldest child, a son, took his mother and siblings away from that situation as soon as he was old enough to provide. He seemed driven to achieve success and amassed an 1800 acre farm by his death in 1930. I often think about the ripple effect that the war had on this branch of my family and wonder about other families who paid the price of war for many generations to come… north and south, black and white, free and slave.

  4. Mary Ellingwood says:

    All millennially traceable ancestry aside (bravo if this includes you), please keep this a forum for the respectful exchange of views that it is meant to be. Hateful, ugly, disrepectful rants have no place in constructive commentary. For those so inclined to continue in this manner, please do the rest of us a huge favor and take it private. I believe the majority reading and posting here are interested in learning and sharing through meaningful and respectful exchange of ideas. Thank you.

  5. Richard Bowers says:

    I have read books of southern newspaper editorials 1859-1862, it is very clear the way was about slavery as an economic system. It is very clear also if you have access to letters of the common southern soldiers of that period, they were fighting to prevent their land from invasion and many did not want to go into MD or PA. It is also clear if you look at the reports of the secession meetings or state legislative meetings of that period, the desire to secede was not universal in the south. N.GA, western NC, Eastern Tenn, Eastern KY, and some counties in Al were very much opposed to secession. Had the CSA not fired on Sumter and taken more time for negotiations, the issues might have been resolved. Lincoln late in the war, suggested to the Cabinet that the US pay the seceding states $400 million to change their economic system, but his cabinet did not support this and it never got to the congress. He wanted to suggest that to the CSA peace negotiators but he did not. Tariffs were an issue and continued to be an issue into the 20th century, see the writings of Henry Grady or Gov. Ellis Arnall of GA. But it is revisionist history to say that the main cause was not slavery.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      Good info, Richard. For those wishing to read a little more on the reasons the war came about (causation & triggers), I just found an interesting article last night: Search on Wikipedia for “Origins of the American Civil War.”

    • Big Al 1st cav vn says:

      I believe that the main dispute was states’ rights vs the U.S. Constitution. I am a political scientist and a copy is 10 ft. away, but I just worked out and will go on memory. Secession is sedition-no can do.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @Big Al — The question is “states’ rights” to do WHAT?

      1. South Carolina’s answer: the right to force non-slaveholder states to relinquish *their own* states’ rights in taking measures against Fugitive Slave Laws, and to maintain SC’s “right of property in slaves”

      2. Mississippi’s answer: the right “to maintain a position thoroughly identifying with the institution of slavery…”

      3. Georgia’s answer: the right to continue all practices regarding “African slavery”

      4. Texas’ answer: the right to “maintain and protect the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race within her (borders)…and which her people intended should exist in all future time”

      …And that was just the first FOUR states to join the confederacy.

      (Source: Declarations of Secession of the aforementioned states)

    • Margaret Grimes says:

      You are right. The preservation of slavery for the South was written into the Articles of Secession. To claim other reasons is revisionist history, even though some families did not agree. The claim of States Rights is still a smoke and mirrors excuse. Please notice they are still trying to use that for current issues of moral standing.

    • E.F. Shevlin says:

      Thank you for putting matters in proper historical context.

  6. Robin Irvine Brown says:

    My 2nd great grandfather, Alexander James Irvine, 2nd Cavalry Regiment Virginia, was killed on July 21, 1861 at the battle of Bull Run. He was shot in the head near the Bull Run River.

  7. James Wallington says:

    A former Confederate officer on slavery and the Civil War, 1907
    by John S. Mosby

    How can a soldier be proud of the country he defends while at the same time opposed to the cause he is fighting for? John S. Mosby, the renowned Confederate partisan leader, dealt with this moral dilemma years after the Civil War ended. Mosby despised slavery and believed the South had seceded to protect it. Yet he fought to defend the Confederacy, as he felt his patriotic duty to his nation outweighed all other factors. After the war, Mosby befriended General Ulysses S. Grant and joined the Republican Party, but firmly stated, “I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery – a soldier fights for his country – right or wrong – he is not responsible for the political merits of the course he fights in . . . The South was my country.”

    In the wake of Reconstruction a growing number of southerners began to argue that protecting slavery had not been the real cause of the war, and some even claimed that slavery was in fact a just institution. These ideas spread and grew into the “Lost Cause” movement, a romantic vision of the South that would eventually gain exposure from the popularity of films including Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. In this letter written in 1907, when he was an attorney at the Justice Department, Mosby furiously attacked the men who supported this mindset. Mosby expressed a complex and fascinating set of beliefs about the Civil War at a time when its history was just beginning to be written.

    Mosby wrote:

    “I wrote you about my disgust at reading the Reunion speeches: It has since been increased by reading Christians report. I am certainly glad I wasn’t there. According to Christian the Virginia people were the abolitionists & the Northern people were pro-slavery. He says slavery was “a patriarchal” institution – So were polygamy & circumcision. Ask Hugh if he has been circumcised. Christian quotes what the Old Virginians – said against slavery. True; but why didn’t he quote what the modern Virginians said in favor of it – Mason, Hunter, Wise &c. Why didn’t he state that a Virginia Senator (Mason) was the author of the Fugitive Slave law – & why didn’t he quote The Virginia Code (1860) that made it a crime to speak against slavery, or to teach a negro to read the Lord’s prayer. Now while I think as badly of slavery as Horace Greeley did I am not ashamed that my family were slaveholders. It was our inheritance – Neither am I ashamed that my ancestors were pirates & cattle thieves. People must be judged by the standard of their own age. If it was right to own slaves as property it was right to fight for it. The South went to war on account of Slavery. South Carolina went to war – as she said in her Secession proclamation – because slavery wd. not be secure under Lincoln. South Carolina ought to know what was the cause for her seceding. . . . I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery – a soldier fights for his country – right or wrong – he is not responsible for the political merits of the cause he fights in. The South was my country.”

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @ James W. — Thank you for posting this insightful brief on Mosby; always knew about him as a cavalry ‘raider,’ but never took a moment to look into his bio & post-war activities. He was quite a complex character, and I think his mixed viewpoint on the whole situation provides a pretty accurate assessment that covers many bases.

      I would contend, though, that his loyalties (and those of a multitude of others) were misplaced, and that his country was the United States of America, not the united State of Virginia (obviously, he didn’t see it that way; nor did Lee, regardless of oaths he’d most certainly given as a commissioned officer to protect the larger entity). Further, Mosby’s moral outrage over Slavery could have easily given him due cause to reject his over-riding principle of duty to “country” as it were. Had more of these ‘conflicted’ individuals given a hard look at the “country” they were fighting for, and not just taken for granted that it ‘was what it was,’ maybe the fight would never have taken place. (?)

      There were plenty of individuals in the day for whom the moral principles against Slavery were the leading motivation — John Brown comes to mind (overzealous, or perfectly justified in the degree of his actions?), along with any who were willing to face circumstances of breaking federal law to disregard the Fugitive Slave Act, and aide runaways on the Underground Railroad. There were those who stood with principle above all else, and I think THEY can be viewed as the true heroes in the conflict.

    • Waldo says:

      In his acceptance speech as a presidential candidate in the 1864 election General McClellan states “The cause of the war was secession and nothing else.” Slavery was the ultimate cause but I don’t find reference to any state wanting to go to war to end slavery – nor did Mr. Lincoln. The northern states opposed the extension of slavery to the territories taken from Mexico, some southern states seceded in protest, and Mr. Lincoln called for the loyal states to provide him with 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion. When Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union army(by Mr. Blair on behalf of Mr. Lincoln), the appeal that was made was to help put down the rebellion, not to end slavery. The 1864 Constitutional amendment to free the slaves was passed by the senate but initially was rejected by the House even in the absence of southern congressmen. Throughout the war there was little reference in literature to ending slavery as a war objective. Even Mr. Lincoln was fearful that he would be defeated in his bid for a second term after issuing the Proclamation. Lincoln stated in his last State of the Union message that he would not amend the Proclamation to end slavery(nor revive slavery in areas where the Proclamation ended it) but would leave it up to Congress to decide that issue. Individuals in letters home often abhorred the institution of slavery but the goal of the fighting seemed to be to end the secession on one side and to repel invasion (not the protection of slavery) on the other.
      My Great grandfather fought for both sides, having defected from one and joined the other, so I don’t have an emotional attachment to either. I do have an interest in historical accuracy, and I believe there in now underway, for political reasons, an attempt to re-tell the story of the Civil War to paint the South as the villains and the North as the heroes. Unfortunately, slavery was an American institution. It remained heavily in the South because of plantation agriculture. We can all learn something from the way our African American citizens organized their churches, universities, their organizations and their communities to defend themselves from later effects of this curse on our country.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      Thank you for your historical response. The truth has been distorted by too many politicians, and unfortunately, teachers. The truth should be shouted from the roof tops to stop the discord between the north and the south today. The north still thinks that the people for the south are bigots, as a result of the lies about the Civil war.

    • sue says:

      In reply to Waldo, THANK YOU for your informative comment. I personally very much apprecitated it.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      This is the same way I feel about it. I can’t do a thing to change what happened before I was born, but I am not going to condemn my forbearers for doing what they did.

  8. drm says:

    My family goes back to the revolutionary war..civil war..with much respect..civil war made no sense to a wild west girl..until I moved to the south. What a stupid was a government war..that separated the country..sound familiar!????

    • Lisa Allen says:

      I agree… It was a political war and slavery would not have lasted much longer due to innovation… But the north did not want the south to advance economic all so much of the war was a game of inside political manipulation… Stupid war? I agree!

  9. Henry A. Weaver says:

    I also had ancestors on both sides of the Civil War, but none were at Manassas. I am writing to complain about

    I also agree that Mr. West’s comments were unnecessary, unwanted and inappropriate. Some may believe that my comments are, too.

    What I want to know is why did purchase and create Fold3? It seems to me like it was an effort to make more money from us. Why not just make records available to subscribers instead of creating a new profit center?

    Also, bought a perfectly good tool for genealogy and trashed it. I’m talking about what they’ve done to Family Tree Maker, the commercially available home computer program. Ancestry re-wrote the program and now the reviews are all negative. It’s reported to be not useful any more.

    I wish there was a useful program to keep my records in my own possession. Family Tree Maker was the tool for that, but now I must depend on Ancestry to maintain my family tree. Please advise me if FTM fixes their problems or if another program exists for my records. Thanks!

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @Henry A. Weaver — Yeah, pretty much NOT the place to air your Ancestry grievances; you might do better directing the thoughts to the right channels (don’t ask me where, lol).

      From my understanding, Ancestry simply bought Fold3 because they had made some significant in-roads to digitizing NARA collections, like Civil War service records (but I don’t work for either company, so this is just outsider observation). They’ve apparently decided to let Fold3 continue on its own path as a separate site; maybe someday it’ll all be integrated as one, but Fold3 covers the military angle specifically, which is a major reason why a lot of people look into their genealogy, so it works as a stand-alone.

      Regarding FTM, my experience with a version from a couple years ago (v.12???) was that it integrated, and synched up with my Ancestry trees fairly well, so that I was able to do updates online, and off, and have them compile pretty well. The laptop I was using FTM crashed permanently, so I haven’t used it in a while, but I certainly felt confident using it as a offline backup. The trend is for ALL applications to be web-based now (with the ‘cloud’ used for storage), so perhaps we’re lucky just to have a stand-alone alternative to protect our vital family records. Again, if you have specific technical issues, I’d take it up with proper channels, like FTM customer/tech support, and not some misc. blog thread on F3.

  10. cal says:

    The American flag has blood on it from slavery so lets lower the US Flag also. First President of the US had slaves???????

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @cal — Washington lived in different times, my man. Regarding the US flag, the American people (or their duly elected reps) VOTED thru due process to eliminate Slavery once and for all with the 13th Amendment, so inho, the Stars & Stripes gets a pass — not the same flag now as back then anyway. Your ‘argument’ is moot.

    • sue says:

      To Cal, Oh, here we go. I was wondering how long it would take before the cry to remove our US Flag was started. You have got to be kidding. As it has been stated the Confederate Flag had NOTHING to do with the killing of the nine in Charleston, the flag cannot raise a gun or any other weapon, only a human can do that. So somebody searched on line until they found this murderer with a photo of the US Flag, other flags and the Confederate Flag and jumped on the moment to try to make a name for himself. Well, the removal of our Confederate Flag from the Charleston flag pole was a disgrace. The Governor has no ancestry in our country as she is of parents from India (didn’t know that did ‘ya?) so she had no business whatever interfering by having the flag removed. So now we’re on a some hate-filled roll to remove ALL the Confederate flags found ANYWHERE and turn on the white folks along with our great heroes of the Civil War. I have ancestors who fought on both sides of the war, none had slaves that I know of, all did what they felt they were asked to do by their leaders so WHERE does this take the US flag down come from??? Just a continuation of hatred. Well, let’s dont’ stop there, let’s get the numerous busts of MLK removed and those gaudy rainbow colored flags, Nazi flags, Mexican flags, on and on removed also so then our flag will be what??? WHITE. somehow that is appropriate.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      Unequivocally, yes. Washington had slaves.

    • George says:

      What does the Native Americans fill about the flag that put their ancestors into slavery.

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  12. Sharon says:

    Why don’t ALL OF YOU GET A LIFE! This is about Bull Run…not what is going on now! I agree that our country is in a mess…and there are heaps of flaming liberals not happy with those of us who express our opinions. Too bad. Liberals…YOU get a life!

    • Marji says:

      This history discussions of why and wherefore is interesting. Can’t say I would admit to the lackadaisical use of Wikipedia, contributions to which are made by any one with access to the Web. Yes, I do so wish for well meaning folks to stick to the request for accounts of this actual Battle at Bull Run, spectators and all!
      Whoever keeps saying “get a life” might want to expand her syntax to something like, “perhaps you might like to expand your horizons by considering ‘such in such'”. Please.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @Marji — You sound like my kids’ grade school teachers 8p As a matter of fact, Wikipedia offers a good overview on millions of subjects, and is easily accessible for free on the web. Try going up there, and detrimentally changing an important academic article like the ones I’ve linked to, and see how fast those changes get reverted. I’m not claiming it’s the begin-all and end-all, as you should consult a number of sources when doing serious research, but it’s certainly a good first stop to get cursory knowledge on any topic.

      Don’t discount it out-of-hand just because it’s open-sourced; there are actually LOTS of experts who have contributed to the articles up there, or at least vetted them for accuracy, after the fact.

  13. Jeff says:

    Good comments. Thanks

  14. Lillian Vito says:

    I was looking forward to reading journal entries and letters written by family members who had first-hand experience of the battle. I enjoyed reading the Mosby article.
    Thanks, Benicio, for keeping the discussion on target.

  15. Nancy says:

    Hi there, I wish for to subscribe for this webpage to get latest updates, thus where can i do it please assist.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @Nancy — there are little check boxes under the “Message” block — select them, and notification will be sent to the email address you registered.

  16. Sharon Henry says:

    I want to know why it is that some of the posts have no way to respond to them. What is the deal with that? Why can’t we respond to them?

    • sue says:

      To Sharon Henry, I appreciated reading your posts and having the courage to speak your mind. I don’t see anything wrong with your comments and just wanted to say so. I can’t see beating you up for speaking your mind like a few have done on here. Can’t we all just agree to either agree or to disagree? Everyone should be able to voice their opinion as long as they don’t give personal attacks.

  17. Sharon Henry says:

    @Benicio Del Toro
    You are a bigot against Christianity. You have revealed it yourself, you have no excuse.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      Dear ‘Sharon Henry’ where did you EVER get these idea about me??! What did I say that lead to this giant leap of logic? LoL. All I’ve done is point out that you persist in making ‘Off Topic’ comments from a very neo-confederation, “Lost Cause,” Southern-apologist point-of-view, and then provide some sources to support that contention. Apparently, I struck a very sensitive nerve.

      Why can’t you let your misplaced rhetoric rest, and allow the comments to remain appropriate to the orig. blog? Let me remind you again; the writer asked for comments specifically pertaining to experiences at the first battle of Bull Run.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      I didn’t dream it up. You made a harsh comment to me about your impression of me, and I was responding. Each of us have our own opinions of the past.

  18. Sharon Henry says:

    @Benecio Del Toro
    You are also bigoted against Conservatives. You have revealed yourself, and we know that you have problems with anyone who isn’t Liberal and Atheist.

  19. Mary Ellingwood says:

    @Sharon Henry: I was mistaken. Apparently, there is no mechanism to private message, so allow me to rephrase:
    Please keep this a forum for the respectful exchange of views that it is meant to be. Hateful, ugly, disrepectful rants have no place in constructive commentary. For those so inclined to continue in this manner, please do the rest of us a huge favor and REFRAIN out of consideration for others. I believe the majority reading and posting here are interested in learning and sharing through meaningful and respectful exchange of ideas. Thank you.

    • Sharon Henry says:

      You should also say the same to others on this blog who are disrespectful and down right hateful to whom I was responding. Thank you.

    • Mary Ellingwood says:

      @Sharon Henry: My comment was not directed at you, but as a general statement to anyone to whom it may apply. Let’s work together to keep the dialogue moving in a positive direction so we can all gain from it. There is so much to be shared and learned.

    • Donna Capenter says:

      Thank you Mary & Enicio! What I thought would be an interesting 1st Battle topic has turned into a bigoted choking I did. this, they did that, my ancestor this or that etc…. This is not topic under discussion and I don’t want to waste my time reading this crap. Don’t bother to comment, I won’t be reading! Sharon – butt off

  20. Cynthia Kay Warren Carey says:

    This is great to read, I am interested in the civil war as I have heard that 5 warren brothers from the 27th Louisiana all went to battle were casualties. Would like to find out the details

  21. Bonnie says:

    My G grandfather fought and was injured on the first day of the Battle of Bull Run. He received a ball in his leg….which was not amputated….but the ball was removed surgically. He walked with a pronounced limp for the rest of his life, but had his leg. He was a member of the 12th NJ volunteers..I have the musket ball that they removed as well as a letter from the hospital to his mother saying that he was injured, but would probably recover. Interestingly enough, I found that his first cousin…which I doubt that he knew existed…at least my grandmother had no knowledge of family in SC, was also wounded on the first day of the battle. Two cousins on opposite sides…neither knew the other….I often wondered if it were possible that they shot each other….It could happen…I guess. interesting speculation….Both survived…that in itself was unusual.

    • sue says:

      Bonnie, thanks for sharing this. I, too, had ancestors on both sides of the CW and often wondered the same thing. Sad to think political issues could cause family to go up against family. A shameful, stupid war and my ancestors will always be heroes to me but especially my Confederate ones. They are the ones that were invaded. I feel everyone was doing what they thought was the right thing. The soldiers on either side are not the blame for the war.

  22. john says:

    stop and think about this slavery did not start here in the us or the south so the flag was for battle not anything else removing the flag or any other flag does not stop anything removing the flag is not the right way to go it starts in the home with our kids the confederate. flag is a flag that fought for that they believe in just like any other flag that was there right so stop removing anything that has to do with the confederate flag it,s a part of history and we can ,t change that i live in the north and see how people treat people from the south as well as people from the south treat people from the north

    • sue says:

      to John, Very much appreciated your accurate comments on the war and Confederate Flag issues especially since you live in the North. The removal of the Confederate Flag is just the beginning of a plan they have to bring us to our knees. Sorry a little off of the Battle of Bull Run where I lived in the early 70s but it all ties in! That’s the point.

    • john says:

      to everyone just stop disgracing the flag of the confederate state,s it,s part of history so leave it alone focus on more important things that needs to be changed like our gov. don,t tell me that you are going to do this when know you are not be up front and do it i,m from the south and have seen both sides they are good and bad so if there was a pill for stupid i would rich can,t be fixed

    • James Thornton says:

      You’re right. There isn’t a pill for stupid. You also can’t fix what you don’t try to fix. Pretty much a given.

      Any more gems of wisdom you wish to share?

    • George says:

      Just found my gg gfather tie in to the CSA. Not sure of Bull Run but proud to find him. My motivation is to join SCV before our gov’t puts restrictions on joining. I encourage my sons to ck it out also.

  23. Michael Boyes says:

    This Battle has a special meaning for me and my family: my maternal great-great-great grandfather was Lt.Col. Benjamin J. Johnson, second in command of Hampton Legion. This small unit was charged with reinforcing Confederate troops near the Henry House. While commanding his troops, LTC Johnson was struck and killed by Northern artillery while in the saddle, sometime between noon and 4 pm on July 21. He was subsequently taken to Richmond, along with Gen. Francis Bartow and Gen. Bernard Bee, where the three of them reposed with Honor Guards at the Capitol, before being transported back to Charleston. He is buried at Magnolia Cemetary in North Charleston, along with his wife and two of his children.He died bravely and with honor, and will not be forgotten.

    • sue says:

      To Michael Boyes, I found your Confederate Officer on Find-A-Grave while updating some of my listings and left a tribute for him. I also sent edit to update his commission to LTC as it should be. He was a fine officer and has a gorgeous grave stone.

    • Michael Boyes says:

      I thank you for your kind words.

    • Mary Ellingwood says:

      @Michael Boyes – that’s a great personal story. Your gg grandfather deserves to be remembered and honored for his courage and sacrifice. Many thanks for sharing.

  24. Shari Saylor says:

    Thank you for this history. I had family on both sides, but as far as I know, not at Manassas.

  25. I am really grateful to the owner of this website who has shared this impressive
    piece of writing at at this time.

  26. Dean Rider says:

    My Gr-Grand father fought in the civil war,and was involved in several battles,had
    to move his family pr Ewings order 11.He rode with Quantrill fo a time,a lot of people say Quantrill was a villian.Quantrill only did what he thought was right to
    try and get even for what was done to him and his people.Either side doesn’t
    really win.The north came out on top,so the south was the bad guys.So they took the blame for all the dirty deeds.So,I say if you want to fly the confederate flag,fly
    it,that is part of our freedom,what little we have,,I was in WWII and Korea,I don’t
    see that we won a great lot,we rebuilt Japan&Germay,we are in a war now that we can’t win,so be it,It’s all money.Get the book,WE Rode with Quantrill.

  27. SGT Michael Galey says:

    Pierre G Beauregard was the first to use the square southern cross. A flag of red with the cross of St. Andrew in blue and the border in white. There were in the cross 10 white stars at first then the Navy of the Southern Forces lengthen the flag to a rectangle and flew it from their Jack Staff on the bow of their vessels. At first view from a Union soldier he commented that is was an vile distortion of Old Glory.

  28. Milt says:

    I read the replies and cannot tell you how happy I am that my ancestors were still trying to live down the Viking raids when all this took place. Do not know which flag they fly.

  29. MRA says:

    A lot of great comments but Until we a group realize that there are people in this country that like to pit one group of people against another just so they can create havoc and try to control our normal daily life we will all be slaves and the bigger this goverment gets the closer we get to total slavery. My GG grandfather served with Sherman and came home alive.

    • Artie says:

      Wow, my gg grandfather served with Lee and I am agreeing wholeheartedly with the descendant of a Yankee? Glad someone else sees what I do, that those in power want us to keep fighting among ourselves so they can slip anything they want past us. I agree, we are more slaves today to “big government” and “political correctness” and afraid of “offending” those radical few extremist on a lot of different arenas. When did it go from “of the people, by the people, for the people” to bending to the Godless desires of the minorities.

  30. Sharon says:

    My great grandfather fought in the civil war with Mosby’s raiders. He was a farmer and he is buried on his farm in Prince William Forest Park. He didn’t have slaves and my great aunt who lived in Alexandria until 1982 received a civil war pension as his daughter, she told us stories about him being imprisoned in Delaware. He ate rats when he was lucky and I often wander if he were here what he would say about slavery. He was a kind man and I don’t think that was his reason for fighting in that horrible war. I think it had to do with his home being invaded. I think it has to do with pride. Remember the saying, “pride goeth before the fall.”

  31. Judith Harter says:

    Most of my family were from the South. .I had 5 members of the same family fighting. They all made it home. I believe they fought not for slavery, but for the right to be and live as they chose.

    • Benicio del Toro says:

      @Judith Harter — That may have been; I suspect a lot of the soldiers didn’t even REALLY know what they were fighting for, but the Confederacy was borne from the desire of the slaveholder states to CONTINUE the practice of Slavery, and the Southern powers that be started the War to protect their interests in Slavery, so, by default, the soldiers were fighting over the cause of Slavery.

  32. BdToro says:

    @’john’ (and all the rest of you in support of the Confederacy) — You need to “focus” on what the original blogger asked: “Did you have ancestors who served in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)? Tell us about it!
    (It DOESN’T count to state your general opinion, then tag it with, “I had an ancestor in the CW but not at Bull Run.” Geez.)

    But since you all persist in making this an open public forum to air your passionate love of the Confederacy, I’m gonna add my bit…
    ‘john’ wrote, “…just stop disgracing the flag of the confederate states.” To hell with that, ‘john’. Many, MANY people (Black & White) view that rag AS a disgrace, and a constant, present day reminder of a “Southern Heritage” steeped in Slavery, racism, and White Supremacy (the Klan & Aryan Nation whole-heartily agree).

    The Confederacy deserves NO respect or admiration — First of all, it NO LONGER exists. it was a group of states that broke away 155 years ago from the United States of America for the explicit stated purpose of maintaining and EXPANDING Slavery at a time when the rest of the world (and US) had mostly outlawed the practice. (You don’t believe that? YOU go read a REAL history book, not one that promotes the ideals of ‘Southern grandeur’ at the expense of FACT.)

    You think your Right of Free Speech is being trampled? BULL! NObody is stopping you from flying the reb battle flag in your own yard, to remind people of your misplaced notions* — but it has ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE being flown in an official capacity on statehouse grounds, or other places in the public sphere (and that goes for Nathan Bedford’s bones, and ALL public monuments to the Confederacy, and its leaders) — those places represent ALL of us, not just the neo-confederates.

    That’s not “politically correct” thinking; that’s just common courtesy and consideration for ALL (you know, “liberty and justice for ALL” — not just the “heritage” of Southern whites).

    * NOTE: The Nazi flag, and ALL OTHER vestigial signs of the so-called National Socialist German Workers Party (which WASN’T a “socialist” organization in the true sense, but rather a nationalistic, FASCIST one) are expressly BANNED and outlawed from private display and ownership in the modern day German Republic, but nobody is advocating that in the USA, so don’t tell ME about your Rights of Free Speech being taken away due to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the public square.

    • Mary Ellingwood says:

      @BdToro: Informative read. Thanks for sharing. Btw do you happen to be related to the Benecio del Toro who is posting?

    • john says:


  33. Kelvin says:

    I just wonder who started calling it a civil war. There wasn’t anything civil about it. Would you for any reason go out and get in a line with a few thousand friends and shoot at another line of men just a few hundred feet away? I got a feeling that it had to be more than slavery that they fought for.

  34. We must stand up to save our Hearitage And SOUTH CAROLINA GOV. Nikki Hailey to resign And Arrest her for treason to her country want she did was wrong to infringe on our first admendment right to fly any flag we damn well please including ALL CONFEDERATE FLAGS 24/7. THESE FLAGS ARE FLAGS OF HONOR AND NOT HATE!!!. I’m going to keep fling my Southern pried flag,and no body I mean NO BODY IS GOING TO MAKE ME TAKE IT DOWN NOT EVEN MY GOV.OF NORTH CAROLINA NOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.THEY CAN ALL KISS MY REBEL ASS!!!.

    • George says:

      Hi Danny, so glad we live in a country where you can express yourself as you did. I have both North and South blood and enough of that was shead 150 years ago. Exercise your right of freedom of speech daily and fly the Stars and Bars as high as they can raised. Just remember that your neighbor has the same rights to do the opposite.

    • BdToro says:

      @Daniel Lawrence Carriker III — LOUDEST guy wins, huh danny!

      Wy don’t U eat a fried egg whle you fling your Southern pried flag, and fling it far!

  35. Tim Barlow says:

    My great grandfather, Jesse Washington “Wash” Carmack was in this battle. He volunteered in Overton Co TN. In a Historical Survey he filled out for the State of Tennessee, he called this battle a “light skirmish”. After the war he married; he and his wife had 15 children. He had a small farm and hunted a lot also to put meat on the table. He was a carpenter also and built a log house for his family using logs from trees he cut down on his land he had bought. He was in the war 4 years. He volunteered for his state, just like his grandfather Jesse Carmack did in the War of 1812 from Overton Co TN.

  36. john says:

    now i hear that they want to stop putting con.flags on the con. grave yard for this men that died in the civil war that is a disgrace they are other men that were killed in the civil war from union are we going to take them off to we should honor all men from any war because they were killed for what are we forgetting about them this flags what ever they maybe is to honor them so don,t jump and judge them because of the flag they flew i was raised in the south lived in a town with different colors didn’t make a difference to me so stop reading between the lines its not there history is history we can’t change it i fly my flag for these men to honor them not for hate or anything else people need to check out there back ground and see where they came from be surprised to find out they have family from both north and south so step back listen to what you are saying before you judge anyone because of a flag

  37. Sharon says:

    I have many ancestors who fought in the Battle of Bull Run as Prince William is where they lived and farmed. I imagine if my farm were to be invaded today and my family threatened I would fight too. It wasn’t as if the north was giving railroad tickets to move up north. No one gave my ancestors anything and I am proud of them for standing up for what they wanted regardless of the Federal government. I also know they did not own slaves and it was not the reason they fought.

    • john says:


  38. Donna says:

    My great grandfather was enslaved on a farm about two miles from Warrenton, VA, when the Civil War began. Family lore says that he was in a position on a hilltop to be able to view the first battle of Bull Run. At the time he was not old enough to enlist. At the close of the war, he married, started a family, and moved to Bleeding Kansas, where he established a successful business as a cattle dealer, living to the age of 95. My family believes that the war was indeed about slavery, and we are thankful that the Union was preserved.

  39. Rikki Winters says:

    I found a good website that shows an unbiased, non bigoted southern view of the war for a change. The man who runs it is in the Ga Sons of Conf. Vets and he has been posting a lot of pictures of the 1st Manassas/Bullrun. I am Native American and he featured one of my Ancestors who was black and in the Confederate Army, along with his picture – in uniform. Even though he hasn’t a lot of Black or Native American, the pictures he has are great to see. It is SCV-GA Mechanized Cavalry- Rickashays page on Facebook. He also posted a letter that ordered the Conf. Army to send a record of free black enlistees so that the paymaster could ensure they were paid correctly. Not saying there wasnt a lot of imperssion, there was. However there was also a lot of men of color who fought with honor for the south. It takes a while to go thru his pictures but its worth the time.