Clio Logo

The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought in the late August of 1862. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign launched by Robert E. Lee against the Union Army of Virginia. General Stonewall Jackson captured the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction, and took up defensive positions. The Union army, under General Pope, launched an all out assault against Jackson but, after being repulsed multiple times, ran into Confederate reinforcements. With the help of Longstreet's reinforcements, the Confederates counterattacked, completely crushing the Union flank, winning the battle.


  • Map showing the progress of the troops during the Second Battle of Bull Run
  • Lithograph depicting an interpretation of the events of the Second Battle

As part of Lee's campaign against the Union army under General Pope, General Stonewall Jackson seized the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. He subsequently withdrew a few miles Northeast, to a more defensible position on Stony Ridge. Jackson the took the initiative, attacking and harassing a Union columnn at Brawner's farm, but the fighting ultimately resulted in a stalemate. Meanwhile, Confederate General Longstreet managed to break through light Union resistance at Thoroughfare Gap, and began marching to battlefield. Jackson hoped the assault at Brawner's farm would hold Pope at bay, until Longstreet could reinforce him with the remainder of he Army.

Pope however, saw this as an opportunity destroy Jackson's force. Convinced he had Jackson trapped, Pope moved the bulk of his force to attack him. He moved against Jackson on both flanks, hoping to overwhelm the smaller army. Jackson was able to repulse the initial assault however, and the Confederate line held strong. The fighting was fierce, and resulted in high numbers of casualties on both sides.

It was at this point that Longstreet's reinforcements arrived, and took up positions along Jackson's right flank. Unaware of Longstreet's arrival, Pope renewed his attacks against the Confederate position. Confederate mass artillery however, devastated the advancing V Corps. Longstreet then launched a counter attack of 28,000 men, completely smashing the Union Left flank. This assault was the largest simultaneous mass assault in the war. The result was an immediate Union retreat back to Bull Run. The Union was defeated, and only avoided a rout due to the actions of the rear guard.

The events of August 28–30, 1862 paved the way for the first invasion of the north by the Confederate army.

"Second Battle of Bull Run: Facts." HistoryNet. Accessed August 7, 2016. http://www.historynet.com/second-battle-of-bull-run. "Battle of Second Manassas (Second Bull Run)." National Park Service. Accessed August 7, 2016. http://www.nps.gov/mana/historyculture/second-manassas.htm. "Second Manassas" Civil War Trust. Accessed August 7, 2016. http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/second-manassas.html Brian C. Pohanka. "Second Battle of Bull Run: Destruction of the 5th New York Zouaves." In "Second Battle of Bull Run." HistoryNet. Originally published in America’s Civil War (HistoryNet: 2002). Accessed August 7, 2016. http://www.historynet.com/second-battle-of-bull-run.