Loading Events

« All Events

On this day in 1861, the first battle of Bull Run took place just North of Manassas, Virginia

July 21

On this day in 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run, took place just north of Manassas, Virginia. Though the Civil War had officially begun months earlier at Fort Sumter, Bull Run set the tone for the war, illuminating the reality of just how long and bloody it could be.

Prior to the battle, many civilians expected the battle to be a short, fairly painless Union victory – in fact, spectators, journalists, and politicians from Washington D.C. came to watch the battle. They were very, very wrong.

The spectators were surprised and horrified by the battle, forced to flee a brutal skirmish that left nearly 5,000 dead or wounded and ended in a Confederate victory.

Did you know? Notable Confederate general “Stonewall” Thomas Jackson earned his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run. General Barnard Bee reportedly called out “Look, men! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall!”

The First Battle of Bull Run is alternatively called the First Battle of Manassas. Each side named it differently – the North referring to the Bull Run river and the South to the nearby city of Manassas.

Capture of Ricketts’ Battery, Sidney E. King, 1964


July 21
Event Category: