Yesterday afternoon I headed over to the Second Manassas battlefield to hike some of the spots we didn’t visit on last weekend’s Civil War Roundtable tour. Although I’ve been to the locations before, it is always good to refresh the photo archives and see what I might have missed on the earlier trips.
But the real reason I’d headed over to Manassas was to attend the latest installment of Manassas National Battlefield Park’s “History at Sunset” program. Ranger/historian Hank Elliot led us from Deep Cut to Dogan Ridge through some of the least visited portions of the battlefield. Hank focused on the actions, and well… inaction…, along the unfinished railroad during the late afternoon phases of the fighting on August 30, 1862. Over the years many historians have focused, no doubt due to in part to the ongoing squabbles between former Confederate commanders, on the delays with Longstreet’s attack that day. Yet little consideration is given to the delays on the left side of that assault. Or to the delays with Jackson’s force coming out from behind the railroad bed to apply pressure.
Over the span of an hour-and-a-half, as we watched the sun set, Hank provided us with a detailed examination of troop movements and command interactions. We walked over the very ground on which these activities took place in the falling light. Most excellent perspective.
As Hank pointed out, the failure to provide pressure in this sector of the battle in those critical phases of August 30 allowed the Federals to shift forces to the south, aiding the delaying action on Chinn Ridge.
Throughout this year, I’ve been blessed with some memorable sunsets. Yesterday was no exception.
These views look west from Dogan Ridge, in the direction of the Confederate attacking forces.
So was Jackson’s delay justified?