In the sweltering heat of July 21, 1861, exactly 150 years ago today, two great armies converged on Wilmer McLean’s Manassas, Virginia farm. It was the first major battle and the beginning of the American Civil War, Bull Run or Manassas as the Conferderates called it. Union artillery would fall on McLean’s farm with a shell tearing through his kitchen.
At the time Bull Run was the largest and bloodiest battle in American history. 35-thousand Union soldiers fought 21-thousand of their southern countrymen at Manassas. The Union and Confederate armies saw casualties numbering nearly 5,000. 900 of their soldiers were killed. It’s where General Thomas J. Jackson earned his famous nickname Stonewall. Many in the north and the south had romanticized the war, but with the deaths of troops as well as civilians the battle suddenly made it all too real. It erased the notion that the War would be short and settled with one decisive blow. (more…)