This chapter focuses on the Battle of First Manassas, in which the Union army feigned a frontal attack and skillfully maneuvered a flanking force that turned the Confederate left wing and began rolling up the Rebel defenders' line. Stout infantry resistance, timely reinforcements from the Shenandoah Valley, and Federal exhaustion combined to turn the tide. What looked like a Union victory transformed into a Confederate rout. Although the Union commander, Major General Irvin McDowell, had positioned three brigades at Centreville, Virginia, to prevent a retreat from becoming a disaster, the Confederate army could have exploited its victory better. Its infantry was too tired from fighting all day and too disorganized in triumph to take advantage of the Union collapse. Joseph E. Johnston needed cavalry, the arm that traditionally pursued an enemy, to crush any resistance and to capture large numbers of fleeing soldiers and equipment.
North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.