In 1861, the United States of America had divided into two groups, the Union and the Confederacy. The Union consisted of the northern states under the elected President Abraham Lincoln.
The Confederacy comprised of the southern states which didn’t like the election of Lincoln and had decided to break away from the Union. This led to a war between the two sides, known as the American Civil War. The Civil War was still going on in 1862.
The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign. Both the Union and Confederate armies were present in the area and the main objective of each army was to drive the other out and gain control of Northern Virginia.
The battle was fought from August 28, 1862 to August 30, 1862. It was fought at the present-day Prince William County of Virginia.
The Union army was commanded by Major General John Pope. The commander of the Confederate army was General Robert E. Lee. However, during the actual fighting, Major General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson played a very important role on the Confederate side and was instrumental in securing a victory against the Union army. The Union army was much larger, numbering at around 77,000 soldiers while the Confederate army comprised of 50,000 soldiers.
The first move of the battle was made by a portion of the Confederate army under Stonewall Jackson. Jackson was able to reach behind the Union army’s enemy lines and take control of the Union army’s supply lines.
The supply lines were very important to the Union army and so the Union army, under John Pope, had to turn back and deal with Jackson. Jackson and his Confederate army retreated a little and formed defensive positions. On August 29, the Union army then attacked the Confederate army a number of times but each of their attacks was repulsed.
By the night of August 29, neither side had a clear victory. On August 30, the Confederate army received reinforcements under Major General James Longstreet. These reinforcements proved very important for the Confederate side. When the Union army attacked Jackson on August 30, they were repulsed and the Confederate army under Longstreet counter-attacked, inflicting a lot of damage on the Union army. The Union army was then forced to retreat from the battlefield.
The Second Battle of Bull Run was a decisive victory for the Confederate army. The Union army lost 1700 soldiers and suffered a total of around 15,000 casualties. The Confederate army lost around 1,000 soldiers and suffered around 7,000 casualties.
The victory at Second Battle of Run was a morale boost to the Confederate army. General Robert E. Lee used this opportunity to secure the Confederate control over Virginia and soon decided to go on the offensive and attack the Union army in Pennsylvania. However, his offensive failed and he had to return back to Virginia with the Confederate army.