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Locating the Site


Map 1: Central and eastern Virginia,
Maryland, and Delaware, c. 1861.
[Graphic] Map 1 with link to higher quality map.
(Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division)

Map 2: The upper Potomac, 1861. [Graphic] Map 2 with link to higher quality map.
(Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division)

General Irvin McDowell's army of 35,000 Union troops marched from Washington, D.C. toward the railroad junction at Manassas. Here the Orange & Alexandria Railroad met the Manassas Gap Railroad, which led west to the Shenandoah Valley. Twenty-two thousand Southern soldiers under the command of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard guarded the area, waiting for an attack. On July 21, 1861, the two armies met on the fields overlooking a small stream named Bull Run. Meanwhile, on July 20th and 21st, 10,000 additional Southern troops arrived via the Manassas Gap Railroad. After hours of battle, the newly arrived southern units forced the exhausted and discouraged Union soldiers to withdraw back to Washington, D.C.

Questions for Maps 1 & 2

1. Find Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia on Map 1. Note the close proximity of the opposing capitals. Why do you think the heaviest military activity of the Civil War took place near these cities?

2. Study Maps 1 & 2. What are some of the possible advantages and disadvantages to the locations of the capital cities?

3. Examine the area around Manassas Junction in Maps 1 & 2. Identify features that made Manassas an important strategic location for both the Union and Confederate armies.

* The maps on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of map 1 and map 2, but be aware that each file will take as much as two minutes to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.