Free on-line scenario for First Bull Run / First Manassas 1861

Here is a link to a very interesting on-line scenario for the July 1861 fighting along Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. While written specifically for the Civil War Command rules set, this scenario should be adaptable for several other leading rules systems.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of First Bull Run, a battle that stunned the North and gave hope to the South. It also showed the folly of promoting a brevet major in the adjutant’s office to brigadier general when that officer, Irvin McDowell, had little tactical or strategic field experience. McDowell would be replaced by the much more experienced George B. McClellan, who proved to be a strong trainer and organizer, but too cautious and indecisive on the battlefield. President Lincoln’s revolving door in the leadership of the Army of the Potomac would finally stop with George Gordon Meade in 1863 (and with U.S. Grant who traveled with that army in ’64-’65).

For the South, the two principle leaders at First Manassas, P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph Johnston, would go on to high profile, if not always successful, careers in the Confederate army. Johnston would be wounded in 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign, opening the way for Robert E. Lee.

It’s interesting to compare the organization and order of battle at First Bull Run to that of the much larger opposing armies just a year later on the Peninsula. A handful of the generals are the same, and several colonels had been promoted. Of note is the massive increase in the size of the armies. Both sides had roughly 18,000 men engaged at Manassas; those numbers were substantially higher the rest of the war.

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