Manassas Part 2
July 21, 1861
Griffin, seeking a better shot at the Confederate guns of Imboden, moved two guns from the left of the gun line to beyond the right flank. They unlimbered in the area visible to the left of the visitors' center, whch is obscured by the group of trees in the center of the photo. The Confederate infantry line, which extended beyond the line of guns further along the treeline on the right of the picture, ended with the 33rd Virginia in position along the fenceline on the left of the picture. Fearing the new guns, Col. Cummins of the 33rd ordered his 400 men to attack. A mowed strip of grass follows their advance up the slope.
Confusion at the Guns
These guns and limbers represent the two rightmost Federal guns on Henry House Hill, moved here from the opposite side of Henry House, which is hidden behind the modern visitors' center. Chief of Artillery Major Barry was with these two guns. Barry saw troops in blue approaching from the woods on their right and believed they were Yankees. He ordered his artillerymen to hold their fire. In fact, they were the 33rd Va. of Jackson's Brigade, and they fired a devastating volley at about 60 yards range. The Rebels swept over the field, taking all of the Federal guns. The Federals counterattacked and the guns changed hands several times.
The Zouaves and Marines who had advanced to protect the guns put up little resistance to the 33rd Va and soon fled. They were charged by two companies of Col. Jeb Stuart's 1st Va. cavalry which were advancing along Sudley Road at the foot of the hill from the left of the picture. This was one of the few successful cavalry charges against infantry during the war.
The battle continued to rage on Henry House Hill as more Union infantry arrived. Meanwhile on the Confederate extreme left flank on Chinn Ridge, the area beyond Sudley Road, brigades under Elzey and Jubal Early advanced on the exposed Union right. At about 4:30 P.M., Federal units began to to withdraw, and panic set in. The Union army became a mob and fled the field.
Below Henry House Hill, wounded men sought safety in the Stone House. As the Yankees fell back, their wounded in the house were taken prisoner.
Union troops headed for Sudley Ford, the Stone Bridge, and directly across Bull Run. Confederate cavalry pursued, but Union artillery fire and a false report of Union troops elsewhere kept Rebel infantry from pursuing. The Confederates lost 2,000 men but gained confidence in themselves. The Union lost 2,900 men, but more importantly it was now clear that the war would not be over soon.
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