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The Second Battle of Manassas: A Campaign Study

September 5-9, 2018

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Abraham Lincoln Papers

The Union advantage in manpower was evident early in the Civil War and, after the success of Major General Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, Lincoln was determined to consolidate forces in and around Washington and the Shenandoah Valley. The creation of the Army of Virginia brought Major General John Pope from the west, where he had enjoyed military success against slim competition. Pope was brash and a braggart who Robert E. Lee labeled a miscreant and one who must be suppressed.

Lee had assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and was also commander of the Eastern Department. The activation of Pope’s army near Manassas demanded he dispose of them once he had pushed McClellan away from Richmond. After receiving intelligence of Federal intentions to reinforce Pope rather than McClellan, Lee quickly sent Stonewall Jackson away from his army near Richmond to check Pope’s advance. He would later follow with the remainder of his army.

This is the story of Lee at his best, a man moving with confidence against a foe not as skilled or militarily aware as he was. This campaign will show you how Lee did it from inception to destruction of Pope’s army on the hills around Judith Henry’s wrecked house.


Scott Patchan is at the top of a very short list of historians of any type who understand and can present northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Not only is he the expert whose published works are the standard, he has very successfully moved into a lead role in his own right with his own style and engaging personality. Scott is not a so-called academic historian, but don’t dismiss him as a serious historian.

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