Monday, July 18, 2011

Battle of Blackburn's Ford

Blackburn's Ford, taken in 1862
Today, the armies of McDowell and Beauregard first met along the banks of Bull Run. Tyler's Division led McDowell's march. He made an armed reconnaissance toward Blackburn's Ford, on the right of the Confederate line. He believed that his advance was clear, but Longstreet's Brigade was waiting for him in the woods. As one of Tyler's brigades advanced toward the woods, they were met with a heavy fire. After twenty minutes they began to retreat. Tyler ordered the Brigade commander to withdraw, and finally after some debate they began to fall back. As they retreated, Early's Confederate brigade arrived which had been called up by Longstreet as reinforcements. The Federals, seeing them march into the open, opened fire. Early's men returned the fire, not realizing that Longstreet was caught in the middle. In this confusion, The Union brigade was able to make good their retreat.

When McDowell heard of the fight, he was very angry. Tyler had disobeyed orders which were not to attack. But he had learned that the Confederate right was strong and could not be taken easily. In this fight the North suffered about 85 casualties and the South 68. Although this fight was very small compared to the one that was coming in just a few days, many of the Confederates believed the war was won. They had never fought a true battle, so they did not know what to expect. Johnston's men arriving from the Shenandoah Valley believed that they had missed the great battle that would end the war.


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