Second Battle Bull Run: Characters



1) Commander John Pope (Union)

- is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run

- Confused and unable to locate the main Confederate force, Pope walked into a trap in the Second Battle of Bull Run. His men withstood a combined attack by Jackson and Lee on August 29, 1862, but on the following day Maj. Gen. James Longstreet launched a surprise flanking attack and the Union Army was soundly defeated and forced to retreat. Pope compounded his unpopularity with the Army by blaming his defeat on disobedience by Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, who was found guilty by court-martial and disgraced

- Pope himself who bore most of the responsibility for the loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run. The report characterized Pope as being reckless and dangerously uninformed about the events on the battle, and credited Porter's perceived disobedience with saving the army from complete ruin.

2) Brig. Gen. Rufus King (Union)

- Dealt with epilepsy at the start of this battle.

- In December 1862, King served on the court-martial that convicted Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter of disobedience and cowardice for his actions at the Second Battle of Bull Run, a battle that King himself had missed—although his division had been involved in the opening action—due to a bout of epilepsy. As these bouts became more frequent, King resigned his commission in October 1863 and resumed his Ministerial post.


3) Robert E. Lee (Confederate)

- Led this important victory for the South

4) Stonewall Jackson (Confederate)

- Stonewall Jackson representing the audacious, offensive component of Lee's army.

- Stonewall Jackson, under relatively ambiguous orders from Lee to support Longstreet, launched an attack north of the turnpike at 6 p.m., probably as soon as his exhausted forces could be mustered. Historian John J. Hennessy called Jackson's delays "one of the battle's great puzzles" and "one of the most significant Confederate failures" of the battle, greatly reducing the value of his advance.

5) Maj. Gen. James Longstreet (Confederate)

- Longstreet more typically advocated and executed defensive strategies and tactics. Jackson has been described as the army's hammer, Longstreet its anvil.

- When Longstreet's men arrived around midday on August 29, Lee ordered a flanking attack on the Union Army, which was concentrating its attention on Jackson. Longstreet delayed for the rest of the afternoon, requesting time for personal reconnaissance, forcing a frustrated Lee to issue his order three times. By 6:30 p.m. the division of Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood moved forward against the troops of the Union V Corps, but Longstreet withdrew them at 8:30 p.m. Once again Longstreet was criticized for his performance.

- Despite this criticism, the following day, August 30, was one of Longstreet's finest performances of the war. Pope came to believe that Jackson was starting to retreat and Longstreet took advantage of this by launching a massive assault on the Union army's left flank with over 25,000 men. For over four hours they "pounded like a giant hammer" with Longstreet actively directing artillery fire and sending brigades into the fray. Longstreet and Lee were together during the assault and both of them came under Union artillery fire.

6) Confederate Brig. Gen. William B. Taliaferro

- August 28: "In this fight there was no maneuvering and very little tactics. It was a question of endurance and both endured." Taliaferro was wounded, as was Ewell, whose left leg was shattered by a MiniƩ ball and had to be amputated.

- Taliaferro was seriously injured at the Battle of Second Bull Run

- Taliaferro was a strict and aloof commander who alienated many of his troops. There is at least one known circumstance when one of his troops actually assaulted him, though Taliaferro was unscathed.

Other Second Battle of Bull Run sections: