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Assembling around 35,000 men, McDowell was supported to the west by Major General Robert Patterson and a Union force of 18,000 men.
STAG and hen parties are being urged to boycott the Pamplona Bull Run to help drive one of Europe’s sickest spectacles off the tourist calendar, writes Stuart Winter. Thousands of Britons travel to northern Spain each summer for the nine-day San Fermin Fiesta.Every morning six bulls are released in the narrow, cobbled streets and spectators run in front of them in a bizarre test of courage. Johnston32,000-34,000 menFirst Battle of Bull Run - Background:In the wake of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 men to aid in putting down the rebellion. While this action saw additional states leave the Union, it also began a flow of men and material into Washington, DC. The growing body of troops in the nation's capital was ultimately organized in to the Army of Northeastern Virginia. The victor of Fort Sumter, Beauregard led the 22,000-man Confederate Army of the Potomac which was centered near Manassas Junction.
To lead this force, General Winfield Scott was compelled by political forces to select Brigadier General Irvin McDowell. To the west, Johnston was tasked with defending the Shenandoah Valley with a force of around 12,000. A career staff officer, McDowell had never led men in combat and in many ways was as green as his troops.
To defend the junction, Confederate troops began fortifying the fords to the northeast over Bull Run. Aware that the Confederates could shift troops along the Manassas Gap Railroad, Union planners dictated that any advance by McDowell be supported by Patterson with the goal of pinning Johnston in place.


Under heavy pressure from the government to win a victory in northern Virginia, McDowell departed Washington on July 16, 1861.Moving west with his army, he intended to make a diversionary attack against the Bull Run line with two columns while a third swung south around the Confederate right flank to cut their line of retreat to Richmond. To ensure that Johnston would not enter the fray, Patterson was ordered to advance up the Valley. Enduring extreme summer weather, McDowell's men moved slowly and camped at Centreville on July 18. Searching for the Confederate flank, he dispatched Brigadier General Daniel Tyler's division south. His new plan called for Tyler's division to advance west along the Warrenton Turnpike and conduct a diversionary assault across the Stone Bridge over Bull Run. Heintzelman would swing north, cross Bull Run at Sudley Springs Ford, and descend on the Confederate rear. This plan was preempted early on the morning of July 21 when Union guns began shelling his headquarters at the McLean House near Mitchell's Ford. Despite having crafted an intelligent plan, McDowell's attack was soon beset with issues due to poor scouting and the overall inexperience of his men. Dispatching troops to contain Tyler at the Stone Bridge, he was alerted to the flanking movement by a semaphore communication from Captain E.P.
Shifting around 900 men northwest, he assumed a position on Matthews Hill and was reinforced by Brigadier General Barnard Bee and Colonel Francis Bartow. Falling back in disorder, they assumed a new position on Henry House Hill under the protection of Confederate artillery.
Though possessing momentum, McDowell did not push forward, but instead brought up artillery under Captains Charles Griffin and James Ricketts to shell the enemy from Dogan Ridge.


Advancing his guns without support, McDowell sought to weaken the Confederate line before attacking. After more delays during which the artillerymen took heavy losses, he began a series of piecemeal attacks. He soon came under heavy attack by Confederate troops led by Colonels Arnold Elzey and Jubal Early. Seeing this, Beauregard ordered a general advance which caused the tired Union troops to begin a disorganized retreat towards Bull Run. This was thwarted by fresh Union troops which successfully held the road to the town as well as a rumor that a new Union attack was in the offing.
Small groups of Confederates continued the pursuit capturing Union troops as well as dignitaries who had come from Washington to watch the battle. The remnants of McDowell's army flowed back into Washington and for some time there was concern that the city would be attacked.
The defeat stunned the North which had expected an easy victory and led many to believe that the war would be long and costly.



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