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First Battle of Bull Run: Background | Part 1 | Part 2 | Aftermath

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First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas): July 21, 1861 (Background)

The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas (the name used by Confederate forces) was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas.  It was the first major land battle of the American Civil War.

What do you know about The First Battle of Bull Run or the First Battle of Manassas?
Try this Alan’s US Civil War History Made Easy Quiz.
Check Your Answers” at the end of the page.

First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861) - Trivia powered by ABE1) Irvin McDowell was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army on , and given command of the Army of Northeastern Virginia, despite never having commanded troops in combat.
When was McDowell promoted and given command of the Army of Northeastern Virginia?

  • April 14, 1861
  • May 14, 1861
  • June 14, 1861

2) Just months after the start of the war at Fort Sumter, the Northern public clamored for a march against the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, which could bring an early end to the war.

  • True or False?

3) On July 16, 1861, the general departed Washington with the largest field army yet gathered on the North American continent.
What was McDowell’s estimated strength?

  • about 25,000 men
  • about 35,000 men
  • about 45,000 men

4) McDowell's plan was to move westward in three columns, make a diversionary attack on the Confederate line at Bull Run with two columns, while the third column moved around the Confederates' right flank to the south, cutting the railroad to Richmond and threatening the rear of the rebel army. He assumed that the Confederates would be forced to abandon Manassas Junction and fall back to the next defensible line in Virginia, which would relieve some of the pressure on the U.S. capital.
What would be the next defensible line in Virginia?

  • New River
  • Potomac River
  • Rappahannock River

5) The Confederate Army of the Potomac with about 20,000 men under Beauregard was encamped near Manassas Junction, approximately 25 miles (40 km) from the United States capital.
Who commanded the Confederate troops at Manassas Junction?

  • Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard
  • Brig. Gen. Richard S. Ewell
  • Brig. Gen. James Longstreet

6) Union Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson's 18,000 men engaged the Army of the Shenandoah in the Shenandoah Valley, preventing them from reinforcing Beauregard.
Who commands the Confederate’s the Army of the Shenandoah?

  • Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson
  • Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
  • Brig. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith

7) On July 18, the Union commander sent a division under Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler to pass on the Confederate right (southeast) flank. Tyler was drawn into a skirmish at Blackburn's Ford over Bull Run and made no headway.

  • True or False?

8) McDowell resolved to attack the Confederate left (northwest) flank instead. He planned to attack with Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler's division at the Stone Bridge on the turnpike.
What was the name of the turnpike?

  • Warrenton Turnpike
  • Washington Turnpike
  • Vienna Turnpike

9) McDowell want to send the divisions of Brig. Gens. David Hunter and Samuel P. Heintzelman over what Bull Run ford?

  • Ball’s Ford
  • Stuart’s Ford
  • Sudley Springs Ford

10) What Confederate troops arrived between July 19 and July 20 to increase the strength of the Confederate forces.

  • Army of the Tennessee
  • Army of the Shenandoah
  • Army of the Western Virginia

11) McDowell was getting contradictory information from his intelligence agents, so he called for the balloon, which was being demonstrated by Prof. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe in Washington, to perform aerial reconnaissance.
What was the name of the balloon?

  • Enterprise
  • Independence
  • Lexington

First Battle of Bull Run: July 21, 1861 (Background)

  1. May 14, 1861

  2. True

  3. about 35,000 men

  4. Rappahannock River

  5. Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard

  6. Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston

  7. True

  8. Warrenton Turnpike

  9. Sudley Springs Ford

  10. Army of the Shenandoah

  11. Enterprise

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