Friday, 9 December 2016

Second Bull Run - the Complete Battle - Status Report #2

I'm striking while the iron is hot today, quickly following up from my last post with a Battle of 2nd Bull Run (Second Battle of Manassas) update.

The previous update presented a snapshot of how the situation looked at Noon on the 29th of August, 1862. Along the unfinished railway line, Hill's division was doing its utmost to fend off a concerted attack by two Federal corps. Meanwhile, to the southeast, Lee's L-Wing has arrived and deployed along Pageland Lane to await further orders. Further south, a Federal column - Porter's 5th Corps - is winding its way in a north-westerly direction....possibly towards Gainesville.

An hour and a half later, the battle is in high tempo...and so is the carnage. Along Hill's defensive line, the two sides have been slugging it out, inflicting heavy casualties. It's become a brutal and desperate gamble to see who cracks first. A number of brigades have been whittled down to rag-tag shadows of their former glory. Fields' brigade has been destroyed, survivors streaming to the rear.

The butcher's bill is reflected in the toll on senior commanders too. Since noon, AP Hill, Reynolds, Hooker and Reno have all been killed or wounded.

Here is the situation along the northern stretch of the unfinished railroad line, at the commencement of the Confederate 1:30pm turn:

Some of the Union brigades at the southern end of the assault have pulled back after a failed (or one may say successful) stoppage roll. Just to the north, Branch's Rebel brigade is about to collapse, offering the Union a tantalising opportunity to breakthrough...IF they can still bring sufficient force to do so. Aware of this eventuality, Lee had issued Evan's Brigade with a divisional goal to support Hill's (RIP) beleaguered position. Evans' fresh troops may be sorely needed.

To the southwest, things are rapidly hotting up. After a minimum of delay, Lee was fortunate to have his orders quickly accepted by Longstreet. Most of his corps is now pushing eastward, threatening Sigel's already depleted troops with the prospect of a knockout blow. But Lee has worries of his own. Porter's Corps is even now approaching Jones's screening troops deployed around Stuart's Hill. What will be the Federals' next move?

The battle is now at a critical juncture. To find out who will prevail, stay tuned for the next update.

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