Battle of First Bull Run Online Exhibit

First Battle of Bull Run

Animated sequence of three images (cropped from larger images available below), showing a recruiting tent for the Cameron Legion, a charge during the Battle of Bull Run, and a wounded soldier being carried from the field.

The First Battle of Bull Run (referred to by the Confederates as Manassas) was fought on July 21, 1861 in Virginia, just miles from Washington, D.C. Although there had been numerous skirmishes since the Civil War began in April, with the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, this was the first major engagement between Union and Confederate troops.

Union troops, led by Brigadier General Irvin McDowell attacked the Confederate forces positioned along Bull Run, to the northeast of Manassas Junction. The Union commanders, under pressure from Washington to act, hoping to easily defeat the Confederate Army and then advance on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, and bring a quick end to the war. But although the southern forces, led by General P.G.T. Beauregard, were initially driven back, the tide turned in the afternoon, with the arrival of Confederate reinforcements under the command of Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston. In the end, it was the Union forces that retreated in disarray.

The images below were published shortly after the first Battle of Bull Run in Harper's Weekly and New York Illustrated News, two magazines from the period that carried extensive coverage of the American Civil War.

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Thumbnail Image Caption/Description Source of Illustration Publication Date
Fourth of July at Camp Hamilton, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Fourth of July at Camp Hamilton near Fortress Monroe Harper's Weekly, July 27, 1861, page 470 1861-07-27
Military and political officials reviewing troops in Washington, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Review of the New York Troops at Washington, by General Sandford, in Presence of the President and Cabinet, July 4, 1861 Harper's Weekly, July 27, 1861, page 477 1861-07-27
Aerial view of Washington, D.C., a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Balloon View of Washington, D.C. / [Shows unfinished Capitol dome] Harper's Weekly, July 27, 1861, page 476 1861-07-27
Horses for the Army being led into Washington, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Arrival of Horses at Washington for the Army Harper's Weekly, July 27, 1861, page 477 1861-07-27
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of men, on foot and on horseback, gathered at a recruiting station in Missippi. Recruiting Station at Holly Springs, Mississippi New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 204 1861-07-29
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing men gathered in front of tents at Camp Joe Holt. Camp Joe Holt, Kentucky New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 204 1861-07-29
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing men, women and children waving from the shore as three steamboats of soldiers leave Cincinnati. Departure of the First and Second Kentucky Regiments from Cincinnati for the Great Kanawha River, Va. New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 205 1861-07-29
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of soldiers surrounding a cabin to arrest the man standing in the doorway. Scouting Party in Western Virginia – Arrest of a Secessionist at Night by Orders of the Commanding Officer of the Department [of] Western Virginia New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 195 1861-07-29
Soldiers clearing a barricade on the road to Fairfax, a black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News. The Second Barricade on the Road from Vienna to Fairfax. United States Troops Clearing the Road, and Soldiers Winding through the Obstructions. New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page [193] 1861-07-29
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of soldiers marching in front of the earthworks outside Alexandria. Earthworks Commanding the Approaches to Alexandria – Gun Practice New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 195 1861-07-29
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing two lines of soldiers wading through the water and up the bank. Federal Soldiers Crossing Bull Run, above the Stone Bridge New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 237 1861-08-12
Map showing troop positions in the Battle of Bull Run, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Map of the Battle of Bull's Run Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 484 1861-08-03
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of the start of the Battle of Bull Run. Commencement of the Action at Bull's Run. Sherman's Battery of Rifled Cannon Engaging the Enemy's First Masked Battery. New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 194 1861-07-29
The start of the Battle of Bull Run, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Commencement of the Battle at Bull's Run Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 492 1861-08-03
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing soldiers firing from behind trees, with some already fallen. Attack on the Batteries at Bull's Run by Three Companies of the First Massachusetts Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Welles, Commanding New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 200-201 1861-07-29
Colonel Hunter leading an attack, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Colonel Hunter's Attack at the Battle of Bull's Run Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 488-489 1861-08-03
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing a commander on horseback directing the troops in front of him. Colonel [Ambrose E.] Burnside, First and Second Rhode Island, and Seventy-first New York Regiments, with Their Artillery, Attacking the Rebel Batteries at Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 216-217 1861-08-05
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing Union soldiers firing a cannon. Federal Artillery Opening Fire on the Rebels at the Battle of Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 236 1861-08-12
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of an engagement between the Ellsworth Zouaves (Union) and the Black Horse Cavalry (Confederate). The Ellsworth Zouaves [Fire Zouaves] Routing the Black Horse Cavalry New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 220 1861-08-05
Charge of the Black Horse Cavalry, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Charge of the Black Horse Cavalry upon the Fire Zouaves at the Battle of Bull Run Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 501 1861-08-10
Silencing the enemy batteries, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Silencing the Enemy's Batteries at the Battle of Bull Run Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 502 1861-08-10
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing a NY regiment on foot battling mounted Southern troops. The Sixty-ninth N.Y.S.M. (Irish), Stripped to the Waist, Charging the Enemy at the Point of the Bayonet at the Battle of Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page [209] 1861-08-05
Charge of the 69th New York, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Gallant Charge of the Sixty-ninth Regiment, New York State Militia, upon a Rebel Battery at the Battle of Bull Run Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 508 1861-08-10
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of soldiers looking down into an area that had been used as a gun battery by the Southern troops. Interior of a One-gun Battery [in front of Centreville] Deserted by the Rebels. U.S. Rifled Cannon in the Distance, and the Head of the Column Coming up. New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 212 1861-08-05
Wounded soldiers being carried from the battlefield, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Carrying in the Wounded at the Battle of Bull Run Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 502 1861-08-10
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing two wounded men on the ground, one firing a pistol at a mounted Confederate soldier. Incident at the Battle of Bull Run – A Wounded Ohio Volunteer Killing a Rebel Officer New York Illustrated News, September 2, 1861, page 284 1861-09-02
The battle of Bull Run, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861 Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 504-505 1861-08-10
Map of Virginia showing troop positions, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Map of the Seat of War in Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 506 1861-08-10
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing Confederate soldiers killing the wounded who were left behind on the battlefield. Rebels Fiendishly Bayonetting Wounded Union Troops after the Battle of Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 213 1861-08-05
Rebel soldiers bayoneting fallen sildiers at the Battle of Bull Run, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Rebels Bayoneting Our Wounded on the Battlefield at Bull Run Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 525 1861-08-17
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing several mounted officers and soldiers firing from behind earthworks. General Blenker's Brigade Covering the Retreat of the Army after the Battle of Bull Run. The 8th New York Volunteers, Germany Rifles, Colonel Stahel, Commanding, Repelling the Last Charge of the Rebel Cavalry. New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 232-233 1861-08-12
Retreat of Union troops, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Retreat of Our Troops from Bull Run, by Moonlight, Colonel Blenker's Brigade Covering Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 500 1861-08-10
Soldiers on foot, on horseback and in carriages, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Firing into a Deserted Earth-work near Bull's Run Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 492 1861-08-03
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of a Fire Zouave, with rifle and bayonet at his shoulder, on sentry duty at night. Fire Zouave on Sentry at the Extreme of the Federal Lines, on the Road Between Fairfax and Alexandria. New York Illustrated News, July 29, 1861, page 205 1861-07-29
The Scotts, two female prisoners, being brought into Falls Church in a carriage, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Bringing in the Misses Scott as Prisoners to Falls Church, Va. Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page [482] 1861-08-03
General Garnett's death on the battlefield, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Death of the Rebel General Garnett at the Battle of Laurel Hill Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page [482] 1861-08-03
Confederate Army camp in Virginia, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Camp of the First Brigade of the Confederate Army on the Fair Grounds near Winchester, Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 487 1861-08-03
Fall's Church, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Fall's Church, Virginia, the Advanced Post of Our Army on the Potomac Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 490 1861-08-03
Rowlesburg, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Rowlesburg, the Head-quarters of General Hill, in Western Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 490 1861-08-03
Locomotives dismantled by rebels, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Locomotives Dismantled by the Rebels at Martinsburg, Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 491 1861-08-03
Skirmish at Sandy Hook, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Skirmish between a Portion of the Ninth and Confederate Troops across the River at Sandy Hook Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 491 1861-08-03
Troops parading through Main Street in Winchester, to the cheers of bystanders, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Second Mississippi Regiment (Wildcats) Passing along Main Street, Winchester, on Their Way to Bunker Hill, Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 493 1861-08-03
Colonel Stone's headquarters at Sandy Hook, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Sandy Hook, Head-quarters of Colonel Stone, in the Upper Potomac Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 503 1861-08-10
Aerial view of Fortress Monroe, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Balloon View of Fortress Monroe and the Mouth of the Chesapeake Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page  507 1861-08-10
Slaves fleeing to Fort Monroe, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Stampede of Slaves from Hampton to Fortress Monroe Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 524 1861-08-17
Portraits of Colonel Cameron, Colonel Hunter, and Colonel Corcoran, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Portraits of the late Col. Cameron, Seventy-ninth N.Y. State Militia; Col. Hunter, U.S.A.; Col. Corcoran, Sixty-ninth New York State Militia. Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 509 1861-08-10
Soldiers working in the trenches at Manassas, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Fourth South Carolina Regiment Working in the Trenches at Night at Manassas Junction Harper's Weekly, August 10, 1861, page 509 1861-08-10
Portrait of Major-General McClellan, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Major-General M'Lellan, U.S. Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861, page 484 1861-08-03
Portrait of Major General McClellan, a black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News. Major-General George B. McClellan, Commanding the Troops Now on the Potomac New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page [225] 1861-08-12
Portraits of General McClellan with three of his staff, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. General M'Clellan and His Staff: Captain Clark, Captain Van Vliet, Major Barry Harper's Weekly, August 24, 1861, page 532 1861-08-24
Portrait of General Tyler, a black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News. Portrait of Brigadier General D. Tyler, Commanding the Federals at the Battle of Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 224 1861-08-05
General McDowell General Irvin McDowell Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516 1861-08-17
General Mansfield General J.K.F. Mansfield Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516 1861-08-17
Flag-officer Stringham Flag-officer Silas H. Stringham Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516 1861-08-17
Colonel Blair Colonel Francis P. Blair Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516 1861-08-17
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of mounted soldiers returning to camp. Lieutenant Tompkins, Company B. Second U.S. Cavalry, Returning from a Scouting Expedition New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 228 1861-08-12
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of men chopping down trees. Cutting Down the Woods on Arlington Heights
New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 229 1861-08-12
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing the governor addressing the mounted troops arrayed in front of him. Governor Pierrepont in Front of the Custom-House, Wheeling, Va., Welcoming the Illinois Troops to the Soil of Virginia New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 236 1861-08-12
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News illustration of Sudley Church, with wagons and men gathered outside. Sudley Church, Used as a Hospital During the Battle of Bull Run New York Illustrated News, August 12, 1861, page 237 1861-08-12
A wounded soldier being treated by a nurse and below, a landscape view of the hospital in Washington, black-and-white illustrations from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Wounded Zouave and the Hospital at Washington Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page [513] 1861-08-17
A Fire Zouave speaking to people on the street in Washington, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. A Fire Zouave Relating His Experience of the Battle of Bull Run in the Street at Washington Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 519 1861-08-17
Foraging party returns, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Return of a Foraging Party to Philippi, Virginia Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 518 1861-08-17
Rebel soldiers gathering at the Winchester marketplace, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Market-place at Winchester, Rendezvous of the Rebel Militia of the Valley of the Shenandoah Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 569 1861-09-07
'Hotel' at Centerville, Virginia, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The "Hotel" at Centerville, Virginia Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 570 1861-09-07
Ruins of the bridge at Berlin, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Ruins of the Bridge across the Potomac at Berlin Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 570 1861-09-07
Loudon Heights across the Potomac, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. The Loudon Heights across the Potomac, Opposite the Position Lately Occupied by General Banks – Harper's Ferry in the Distance Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 570 1861-09-07
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing men standing at the rail in front of the sutler's tent. Scene in Front of the Sutler's Tent in Western Virginia New York Illustrated News, August 19, 1861, page 245 1861-08-19
Confederate soldiers from Mississippi practicing with the bowie knife, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Camp Life in the Confederate Army – Mississippians Practicing with the Bowie-knife Harper's Weekly, August 31, 1861, page 556 1861-08-31
Soldiers playing football in camp, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Camp Johnson, near Winchester, Virginia – The First Maryland Regiment Playing Foot-ball before Evening Parade Harper's Weekly, August 31, 1861, page 557 1861-08-31
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing eight soldiers in a tent, most reading papers or writing letters. Tent Scene – Soldiers Writing Home to Their Friends New York Illustrated News, August 5, 1861, page 213 1861-08-05
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News of soldiers washing clothes in a stream and hanging them to dry. "Wash Day" New York Illustrated News, September 20, 1861, page 348 1861-09-20
Soldiers on parade at their camp in Elmira, NY, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. A Volunteer Regiment on Parade at the Camp at Elmira, New York Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 522 1861-08-17
Black-and-white illustration showing several scenes of military units recruiting in a park in NY. Recruiting in New York, August 1861 Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 566 1861-09-07
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing recruiting tents set up in the park. Recruiting for the War, in the City Hall Park, New York New York Illustrated News, October 21, 1861, page 392-393 1861-10-21
Black-and-white illustration from New York Illustrated News showing the island prison of Fort Layfayette, as viewed from shore. Fort Lafayette – The Prison of Prominent Rebels and Traitors – One of the Forts Defending the Narrows, the Entrance to New York Harbor New York Illustrated News, September 2, 1861, page 280-281 1861-09-02
View of Fort Lafayette, in NY Harbor, a black-and-white illustration from Harper's Weekly magazine. Fort Lafayette, in New York Harbor, Where Political Prisoners Are Confined. View taken from Fort Hamilton. Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861, page 568 1861-09-07

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Last Updated: July 5, 2012