August 1862: The Second Battle of Bull Run

Louis C. Kleber describes a crushing defeat for the North in the American Civil War, and its new Army Commander, John Pope.

The American Civil War’s Second Battle of Bull Run, like the first encounter near that Virginia stream, ended in a crushing defeat for the North. It also effectively ended the military career of Major General John Pope, whose unrestrained self-esteem was no match for the modest brilliance of the South’s Robert E. Lee. Indeed, the Northern historian, John C. Ropes, noted that ‘It would be hard to find a better instance of that masterly comprehension of the actual condition of things which marks a great general than was exhibited (by General Lee)’.

Pope’s arrival in the eastern theatre of operations followed a successful campaign in the west which contrasted sharply with the fortunes of the Union army in Virginia. In a swift series of actions, he had captured the Confederate strongholds of New Madrid and Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River.

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