J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) 151st Anniversary

Tomorrow marks a significant anniversary in the history of the War Between the States. On July 21, 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War took place. It was a Sunday, and the elite from nearby Washington D.C. came to watch the fight, bringing with them picnic baskets to nearby Manassas Junction (Bull Run Creek) in Virginia.

Both Confederate and Union armies were unseasoned and ill-prepared for a battle of such proportion, but once Confederate troops received reinforcements, they overpowered the Yankees, sending them running back to Washington (the battle later became known as “The Great Skedaddle.” Wealthy congressmen, senators, and their families had to leave their picnics in haste when their spectator sport became a very terrifying experience. Their carriages became clogged on the road back to Washington, and some of the Northern legislators were captured.

During the course of the battle, General Bernard Bee, who was leading the 4th Alabama, noticed Thomas Jackson sitting still on his steed, Little Sorrel, regardless of the shells exploding around him. “See he stands like a stone wall!” General Bee told his troops. “Rally behind the Virginians!” Jackson received his famous nickname on his wife, Mary Anna’s, birthday. 

Not long afterward, General Bee was mortally wounded. Although the Confederates were victorious, a total of 460 Union and 387 Confederate soldiers were killed. The battle was a sobering experience for both sides, who realized that the war would be much longer and bloodier than originally anticipated.

My new novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describes the battle that took place, as seen through the eyes of two soldiers who fought with the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment. I will post excerpts of this chapter next week, so stay tuned!

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