It was July 1862 and the Civil War had been raging on for over a year.
Eleven months longer than anyone ever expected. Both sides predicted a quick and swift victory. Neither expected the bloodshed would last four long years, with both sides suffering terrible loses. Neither sides predicated that the war would be the cause of over 620,000 casualties. Men signed up to join the army expecting adventure and time away from the usual day at home. Little did they know they didn?t have a good chance of making it home alive, or at least in one piece. They didn?t know the kind of warfare they would see. They didn?t realize they would see so many men die.
The Civil War introduced a whole new kind of war. The fighting tactics and weapons changed. The Civil War had repeating guns like the Gatling gun, a primitive type of machine gun. Thefirst iron naval ships were used.
As far as fighting tactics, no war had ever seen so much hand to hand combat. Both sides did have one strategy in common, and that was to attack each others capital and deliver a knockout blow to end the war. In spring of 1862 the Confederates moved their capital from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond, Virginia, just over 90 miles south of Washington D.
C. For this reason Virginia became the location of many major battles. One of which was, Second Bull Run or otherwise known to Confederates as the Battle of Manassas.
On July 21,1861 the two armies met at Manassas junction. Lincoln sent out a call after Fort Sumter for 75,000 men. He ended up with 35,000 men, the largest army yet to be gathered in the Western hemisphere. In charge of those Union troops was General Irvin McDowell.
The confederates were gathered around Manassas Junction. There were 20,000 men. They were led by P.T. Beauregard. Because they thought the war would be swift Lincoln signed the volunteers for only ninety days. General McDowell was under pressure to attack as soon as possible because of the troops.