The Battle of First Manassas:
On a warm July day in 1861, two armies of a divided nation clashed for
the first time on the fields overlooking Bull Run. Their ranks were filled
with enthusiastic young volunteers in colorful new uniforms, gathered
together from every part of the country. Confident that their foes would
run at the first shot, the raw recruits were thankful that they would
not miss the only battle of what surely would be a short war. But any
thought of colorful pageantry was suddenly lost in the smoke, din, dirt,
and death of battle. Soldiers on both sides were stunned by the violence
and destruction they encountered. At day's end nearly 900 young men lay
lifeless on the fields of Matthews Hill, Henry Hill, and Chinn Ridge.
Ten hours of heavy fighting swept away any notion the war's outcome would
be decided quickly.