Also known as the Battle of Hainesville and the Battle of Falling Waters, is the Battle of Hoke’s Run. An early battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Hoke’s run was an initial skirmish in the Manassas Campaign. Famous Union and Confederate generals fought in this speedy battle that had farther reaching implications for the small victory the Union army gained on July 02, 1861.
In the months after the Union surrender of Fort Sumter, and other brief skirmishes between the
North and South occurred, by June of 1861 the first significant battles of the Civil War commenced in northern
Virginia. Strategic vantage points occupied the
objectives of the Confederacy and their goal to take control of the Manassas
Gap railroad and the Orange & Alexandria railroad. The railroads could
bolster P. G. T. Beauregard’s position at Manassas Junction by supplying food,
munitions, and quick access to Joseph E. Johnston’s troops in the Shenandoah
Valley. Equally important, because Manassas is close to Washington D.C.,
Beauregard could conduct intelligence gathering on the strengths of the Union
army. As the battle in Harpers Ferry commenced in June, Johnston’s brigade
retreated to Winchester. Because of Johnston’s retreat, Union General Winfield
Scott ordered Major General Robert Patterson’s brigade to follow Johnston and
prevent him from meeting up with Beauregard in Manassas.
Under the command of Scott, Patterson and his Union soldiers rallied their forces and
prepared for battle in the Shenandoah
Valley. However, faulty intelligence gathering reported Johnston’s forces as
much larger than actuality and caused Patterson to delay a full-on attack.
On July 2, Patterson’s division crossed the Potomac River
nearby Williamsport, Maryland and headed towards Martinsburg. Close to Hoke’s
Run, Brigadier General John Joseph Abercrombie’s and Major General George H. Thomas’s brigades encountered regiments of Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade,
driving them back slowly. Jackson was ordered to delay the Federal advance
only, to which he accomplished, and
withdrew before Patterson’s more substantial
force could fully engage them. By July 3, Patterson occupied Martinsburg but
made no further aggressive moves until July 15, when he marched to Bunker Hill.
Instead of moving on Winchester, however, Patterson turned east to Charles Town
and then withdrew, back to Harpers Ferry. In the intervening days of July third to the fifteenth, Union soldiers seized the office of the Virginia Republican, a local newspaper
in Martinsburg that supported the Confederacy. The following day, on the Fourth
of July, Union soldiers printed the first
issue of the American Union that
provided news about the Union army and patriotic writing.
The skirmish at Poke’s Run was small but had a significant outcome
for the Confederacy. Despite the Union winning the small battle, Confederate
troops slowly retreated and were able to board trains at Manassas Gap and meet
up with Beauregard. The short-term victory for
the Union at Poke’s Run caused them to substantially lose at the Battle of Bull
Run or better known as the First Manassas.