RETURN TO BULL RUN by John Hennessy

RETURN TO BULL RUN

The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A thorough and first-rate account of a critical Civil War battle that was sandwiched between--and dwarfed by--the momentous Seven Days and Antietam campaigns. Hennessy is a former National Park Service Historian at Manassas National Battlefield who now serves in the same capacity at Harpers Ferry. One year after the South drew first blood at Manassas (often called ``Bull Run'' by the panicked Northern losers), the two armies--now battle-hardened--clashed again in the same vicinity in late August 1867. In Hennessy's view, Second Manassas was a masterpiece of planning by Robert E. Lee and was brilliantly executed by Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet. Victimized by Lee and his lieutenants was Union general John Pope--an egotistical, blustering commander favored by Radical Republicans who shared his wish to make the South feel the wrath of war. In an order to his army that would be bitterly remembered for the rest of his life, Pope noted that he had come ``from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies.'' Pope's prickly personality exacerbated his problems in the coming campaign when, outmaneuvered by Jackson, he decided to wage an unnecessary battle rather than unite his army with that of hated rival George McClellan. The result: an assault by Longstreet on the unsuspecting Pope's flank, the largest assault Lee ever ordered in the war--and one that left the Federals utterly routed and barely able to escape annihilation. Lee's victory gave the strategic initiative to the South, paving the way for a thrust into Maryland--and the bloodiest single day of American fighting, at Antietam. A case study that skillfully demonstrates how the South's superior commanders initially brought the Confederates close to ultimate victory. (B&w photos and maps--not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 2nd, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-79368-3
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1992