Washington’s high society gathered to picnic on the hills round the battlefield of Bull Run, keen to enjoy the spectacle of Confederate defeat and, with it, a swift and triumphant end to the war. Several hours later, their fleeing carriages blocked the retreat of the routed Union Army. It was only thanks to the inexperience of Confederate General Beauregard and the exhaustion of his raw troops, that their enemy escaped complete destruction. The battle was a wake-up call for Abraham Lincoln, immediately ordering the massive mobilization that would, eventually, secure victory. Prior to victory, bufferish old Union General Patterson had believed he had General Johnston’s army ‘pinned down’ at Winchester. In fact, apart from a few well-placed decoys, Johnston’s soldiers were catching trains to the battlefield. Their timely arrival, coupled with ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s heroic obduracy, enabed the shock victory on 21 July. Union general McDowell was quickly replaced by George McClellan, and Patterson retired.
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