The Faces of Manassas: Rare Photographs of Soldiers Who Fought At Bull Run

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Stock photo. Pre-owned: lowest price The lowest-priced item that has been used or worn previously. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Shipped to over one million happy customers. See details. See all 2 pre-owned listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. About this product Product Information Look into the eyes of the men who fought in the first large-scale battle of the Civil War, the bloody encounter in Northern Virginia that shocked the nation. For the North, news of the Confederate rout of Gen. Irvin McDowell's Union forces extinguished any hopes of a quick, bloodless war, and for the South it sparked delirious optimism about Confederate military superiority.

Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less. Pre-owned Pre-owned. Ratings and Reviews Write a review. Most relevant reviews. Faces of Manassas--exactly what it says! This led him back to the seat of government and appointment as commander of the Army of the Potomac, and soon the position of general-in-chief. But McClellan failed to capture his objective. This and ongoing disagreement with the administration cost him his command, but only temporarily. The subsequent defeat of Union Maj. As the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to cross the Potomac into Maryland, Abraham Lincoln was faced with his worst crisis since taking office.

McClellan was restored to command and charged with protecting the capital and stopping the Confederates.

The Faces of Manassas: Rare Photographs of Soldiers Who Fought at Bull Run

Within days he organized a new Army of the Potomac in the camps outside Washington. General Robert E. Lee was a Virginia aristocrat whose lineage included some of the great political and military figures of the early days of the republic.

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But this is where the similarities between the two commanders quickly diverge. Lee was 55 years old at the time of the Maryland campaign. Unlike McClellan, who in the prewar years had left the Army for lucrative work in the railroad industry, Lee had spent more than 30 years in the Army. During this period he was a cavalry commander, engineer on many of the Atlantic coastal fortifications, superintendent at West Point and a staff officer in the Mexican War. It was in the latter position that Lee gained the valuable experience needed to lead armies in the Civil War.


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Promoted to the rank of full general in August , he took field command of General Joseph E. By September 4, , the Confederates were crossing the Potomac into Maryland, in a campaign that would be one of the most desperate of the war for this great army. The two armies that fought at Antietam represented a cross section of the American population.

The soldiers were primarily from small towns or rural backgrounds. Union regiments claimed more urban enlistments. Around one-fourth of the Union troops were from New York. Pennsylvania was the next largest group. Although the Civil War is generally viewed as a conflict between white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, a close examination reveals an interesting ethnic makeup among Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks alike.

Many Southern soldiers from both ethnicities in the Shenandoah Valley shared cultural, economic and kinship ties with the same groups in south-central Pennsylvania. All these units acquitted themselves well at Antietam. Indeed, recent research by Iron Brigade scholar Lance Herdegen has uncovered the existence of at least two mulattos who passed for whites and were serving in the ranks. Jews could be found in both armies. Captain Adolph Proskauer, another Jewish immigrant from Prussia, served with the 12th and was seriously wounded in the battle. Besides Louisiana French of both Creole and Acadian Cajun descent, the ranks were filled with men from all over the world.

One study has shown that at least 24 nationalities were represented in these regiments, including Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, Brazilians and men from Martinique. The 12th South Carolina contained a number of Catawba Indians. But this new Army of the Potomac was an amalgam of a number of different commands. It was certainly not the same force that had nearly captured Richmond in the Peninsula campaign, nor was it the Army of the Potomac that would gain victory and fame at Gettysburg and other places.

While the XI Corps was kept back to guard Washington, the other two played key roles in opening the Battle of Antietam. The IX Corps was comprised of Maj. The corps system was a Napoleonic innovation. The great emperor of France devised it as a miniature army containing three infantry divisions, artillery and cavalry. Such an organization provided simplification of command at the army level and flexibility in combat power.

Up to the time of the Civil War, the U. Army had been too small to make the corps system practical. But by the corps had become the building block of the huge forces being raised by both sides. The quality of command and combat efficiency made the Army of the Potomac, numbering about 86,, a patchwork force. The average Union regiment at Antietam had men.

Many of the new regiments had around men. Such was the case with the th Pennsylvania. When the th engaged Brig. Eighteen of these new regiments, about 15, men, became part of the army just prior to the march to Antietam. Another 5, new recruits were added to the ranks of existing regiments as replacements. The nine-month regiments, as well as the replacements, lacked training and hindered the army by slowing it down on the march.

Their ignorance of drill and firearms proved fatal at the tactical level. Half of his corps commanders were new to that level of command, including I Corps commander Maj. Joseph Hooker. Excellent combat commanders could be found here, including Brig. John Gibbon, commander of the Iron Brigade; Maj. George G. Meade, later the army commander; and Brig.

Sumner was the oldest active corps commander in the Civil War. He had 43 years of experience in the Army, including several tours of duty in the West and distinguished service in the Mexican War. He had led the II Corps in the Peninsula campaign, where he was wounded twice. But instead the iron dice of war were thrown, and luck was with the Confederates. Sumner led his 2nd Division to destruction in the so-called West Woods Massacre. His command was the largest on the field, with more than 15, men.

Major General Israel Richardson led the 1st Division. His veteran units, such as the Irish Brigade, made possible the Union breakthrough at the Sunken Road. He was actively seeking additional troops and artillery to follow up on the breakthrough when an artillery shell mortally wounded him. The 3rd Division was commanded by Brig. French, whose experience was as a brigade commander. Incredibly, this division had been put together on the march only 16 hours before the battle. Nine out of its 10 regiments had not seen any major combat. Fitz John Porter, the V Corps commander, had great potential from the start.

The New Englander ranked eighth in his West Point class of and won several brevets for gallantry in the Mexican War. Upon the withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, Porter and his corps were attached to the Army of Virginia just in time for the disastrous Second Manassas campaign. There, he was blamed by Pope for failure to provide proper support and brought up on court-martial charges. Initially relieved of command, he was reinstated through the personal intercession of McClellan with President Lincoln.

A third division, under Brig. Andrew Humphreys, was on the march to reinforce Porter, but arrived the day after the battle.

Second Battle of Bull Run

Its combat effectiveness was dubious, since the entire division was made up of nine-month regiments. William Franklin was also up on court-martial charges for disobedience at Second Manassas. Franklin had been trained at West Point as an engineer and graduated first in the class of As the VI Corps commander, he lacked the aggression needed for combat operations. Conversely, at Antietam he would unsuccessfully seek permission from McClellan to launch an attack against the Confederate left in the afternoon. Most of his men would not be engaged in the battle.

This unit returned to Virginia for Second Manassas and was augmented with Brig. Jesse Reno in charge of the latter command. This rankled Burnside, and some historians believe it caused him to move sluggishly in his effort to take the stone bridge that now bears his name. The IX Corps contained many combat-seasoned units, but it also had its share of green troops.

Accordingly, one of these regiments, the 16th Connecticut, wilted when Confederate Maj. Ranking second in the West Point class of , he spent his early military career constructing defenses of the Southern coast. In the Mexican War he won several brevets for gallantry and occasionally led troops in combat. When the fighting broke out, he spent most of his time on garrison duty.

This would be one of the few times he would ever lead men in battle, and the corps was the largest combat entity he had ever commanded. Mansfield did not survive his first large command. He was one of six general officers, three from each side, killed or mortally wounded at Antietam. The XII Corps contained the largest component of nine-month regiments, five of them concentrated mostly in the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division. It was also the smallest corps in the army, fielding less than 8, men. These apparent deficiencies were offset by the presence of Brig.

George S. Greene and his division — a seasoned command led by an experienced commander.


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With around 1, men, Greene held a pocket in the Confederate lines near the Dunker Church for more than two hours. Unsupported and low on ammunition, he ultimately was forced to abandon his position. As opposed to the patchwork quality of the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Northern Virginia was a lean fighting machine. This was an army of combat veterans. Twenty-two units had been in five battles. Only around 21 percent of the regiments had fought in just one battle.

Their commanders were hardened veterans too. James Longstreet and Thomas J. That would require legislation from the Confederate Congress. The South Carolina—born Longstreet had a long military career that included combat in Mexico and against the Indians in Texas. At Sharpsburg his command held the Confederate center and right. Here was Maj. John Bell Hood, a Texan via Kentucky, who was a virtual pit bull in battle.

His aggressive leadership played a prominent role in preventing the collapse of the Confederate left on the morning of September Another audacious commander in the campaign, Maj. This son of the western Virginia mountain region had earned his combat spurs early at First Manassas.

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His brilliant Valley campaign in the spring of further solidified his greatness. It is believed that Lee had no more than 40, men at Sharpsburg. The months of campaigning and fighting had taken its toll. The average Confederate regiment numbered men. Some had less. The 8th Georgia carried 85 officers and men into battle, while the 8th Virginia had 34 men and the 1st Louisiana Battalion numbered an amazing 17 combatants. The average Union soldier at Antietam would have been clothed in the standard dark-blue four-button blouse with light-blue trousers.

But within this sea of blue could be found a smattering of other hues and styles.

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McClellan took great pains to see that his army was reequipped following months of campaigning. This took place at the camps at Rockville and through the establishment of supply depots at Frederick and Hagerstown, Md. Between September 12 and October 25, , the army received more than , pairs of shoes and boots, 93, pairs of trousers, 10, blankets and numerous other supplies.

This influx of supplies was not a mere luxury or crass display of Yankee abundance. They were sorely needed after all the hard campaigning that summer. For example, a few weeks after Antietam, the quartermaster of the I Corps was seeking more than 5, shoes for the unshod soldiers of that command. Numerous civilian eyewitness accounts bear this out. Their coats were made out of almost anything that you could imagine, butternut color predominating.

Their hats looked worse than those worn by the darkies. Many were barefooted; some with toes sticking out of their shoes and others in their stocking feet. Their blankets were every kind of description, consisting of drugget, rugs, bedclothes, in fact anything they could get, put up in a long roll and tied at the ends, which with their cooking utensils, were slung over their shoulders. On the eve of the battle, Snyder fled with his mother to a nearby farm.

Upon entering his home, he found the place a wreck, with doors and windows open, and drawers and closets ransacked. Heaps of ragged uniforms were on the floor, apparently exchanged for the cleaner clothes of the Snyder family. In one bedroom James found a naked Confederate soldier lying on the bed, his dirty, tattered uniform piled on the floor. In the late summer of , many Confederate regiments were still operating under the so-called commutation system of clothing supply. This system gave responsibility to each company commander for clothing his troops.

The officer was to then seek reimbursement from the government. Individual Confederate states also undertook various measures to clothe their men, while private citizens got in on the act by raising money for uniforms. Meanwhile, the Confederate government was in the process of establishing quartermaster depots.

However, it was not until late and early , too late for Antietam, that Confederate authorities committed themselves to clothe their troops by direct government issue.

First Blood at Manassas // FULL DOCUMENTARY

Accordingly, a hodgepodge of uniforms was very much evident on the fields around Sharpsburg. Yet despite civilian accounts, the sparse photographic evidence that exists, mainly post-battle images of Confederate dead taken by Alexander Gardner, shows Confederates with short jackets, trousers and blanket rolls or knapsacks. Most of the men in these grim photos have shoes.

Most of these men got nowhere near the captured supplies there, however, since they were rushed to Sharpsburg for the battle. A rare image of Confederates in formation on the march taken by a local photographer in Frederick reveals what appear to be well-equipped soldiers wearing a wide variety of headgear. Another interesting but inconclusive observation of Confederate uniforms was made by Union surgeon James L.

Dunn in a letter to his wife after Antietam. I have yet to find a Rebel even meanly clad or shod. They are as well shod as our own men. They are dressed in gray. Those shoes you made for me ripped all to pieces…. Our regiment used everything we had. I have no blanket nor any clothes but what I got.

I have got the suit on that you sent me. They came in a good time. I like them very well. If I had a pair of shoes I would be the best clothed man in the regiment. Throughout the war, the Union infantrymen were usually better armed than their Rebel opponents. Antietam was no exception. The most common shoulder arm of the Yankee foot soldier was the Springfield rifle. This does not mean that there was not some degree of diversity of arms in the Union ranks. For example, some units such as the 7th West Virginia were armed with the British-made Enfield rifled musket.

The 20th New York carried the U. Model Mississippi rifle with saber bayonet.

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