Second Manassas: Longstreet's Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge

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Overview

In 1862, looking for an opportunity to attack Union general John Pope, Confederate general Robert E. Lee ordered Maj. Gen. James Longstreet to conduct a reconnaissance and possible assault on the Chinn Ridge front in Northern Virginia. At the time Longstreet launched his attack, only a handful of Union troops stood between Robert E. Lee and Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Northern Virginia’s rolling terrain and Bull Run also provided Lee with a unique opportunity seldom seen during the entire Civil War—that of...
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Second Manassas: Longstreet's Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge

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Overview

In 1862, looking for an opportunity to attack Union general John Pope, Confederate general Robert E. Lee ordered Maj. Gen. James Longstreet to conduct a reconnaissance and possible assault on the Chinn Ridge front in Northern Virginia. At the time Longstreet launched his attack, only a handful of Union troops stood between Robert E. Lee and Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Northern Virginia’s rolling terrain and Bull Run also provided Lee with a unique opportunity seldom seen during the entire Civil War—that of "bagging" an army, an elusive feat keenly desired by political leaders of both sides.

Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge details the story of Longstreet and his men’s efforts to obtain the ultimate victory that Lee desperately sought. At the same time, this account tells of the Union soldiers who, despite poor leadership and lack of support from Pope and his senior officers, bravely battled Longstreet and saved their army from destruction along the banks of Bull Run.

Longstreet’s men were able to push the Union forces back, but only after they had purchased enough time for the Union army to retreat in good order. Although Lee did not achieve a decisive victory, his success at Chinn Ridge allowed him to carry the war north of the Potomac River, thus setting the stage for his Maryland Campaign. Within three weeks, the armies would meet again along the banks of Antietam Creek in western Maryland. Uncovering new sources, Scott Patchan gives a vivid picture of the battleground and a fresh perspective that sharpens the detail and removes the guesswork found in previous works dealing with the climactic clash at Second Manassas.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"On the afternoon of August 30, 1862, Robert E. Lee glimpsed an opportunity to destroy a Union army on the field of battle. Much is known about how James Longstreet’s men rolled over a gallant brigade of New York Zouaves and headed for the Union rear. What happened next is the subject of Scott Patchan’s fine study, based on an intimate familiarity with the sources and the ground over which men fought and died. Essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about Second Manassas."

“Scott Patchan has stepped into this historical morass armed with new sources, a detailed knowledge of the ground (absolutely indispensable when writing of a battle), and a fresh perspective. He has forged a monograph that clears much of the mud, sharpens the detail, and removes much of the guesswork involved in previous works dealing with the climactic clash at Second Manassas.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597976879
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/31/2011
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 1,009,930
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott C. Patchan, a veteran Civil War battlefield guide and historian, is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (2009) and The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia (1996). He also served as a research consultant and contributing writer for Time-Life’s Voices of the Civil War: Shenandoah, 1864 (1998). Mr. Patchan has twice served as president of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table and is a much sought after tour guide for both Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields and historic sites. He resides in Northern Virginia.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps vii

Foreword John J. Hennessy ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

1 "Take Care of Yourself" 1

2 "Frenzied in Their Passions" 17

3 "Perfect Storms of Bullets" 37

4 "We Went for Them" 53

5 "We Can Keep Them Back" 71

6 "We Are Friends Now" 109

7 Union Disaster Averted 117

Appendix A Order of Battle 127

Appendix B Tour Guide for Longstreet's Attack 143

Notes 161

Bibliography 171

Index 181

About the Author 185

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Save the army

    It is hard to image a trained military man doing a worse job than John Pope at Second Manassas. His conduct, throughout the campaign, is a classic study of what not to do as a manager. He rises to army command based on easy victories in the West and unhappiness with McClellan in Washington. This combination and his ability to say what people wanted to hear made him the man of the hour in the summer of 1862. Lincoln combines some commands and takes others from the Army of the Potomac to create the new Army of Virginia.
    Once in command, Major General John Pope demonstrated an ability to upset everyone under him, "he had not one friend in his command from the smallest drummer boy to the highest general officer. All hated him". His second ability is to ignore anything that did not fit the situation as he saw it. Pope managed to convince himself that his army was on the verge of a great victory. He knew that Jackson was defeated and running, that Longstreet was miles away and one more hard blow would destroy the Army of Northern Virginia. None of this was true. Jackson, while battered, was holding fast and confident of victory. Longstreet had extended the Confederate line well beyond Pope's flank and was preparing to attack. With a little luck, they will trap Pope's army against the steep banks of Bull Run capturing most of their guns and wagons. A major portion of the Eastern Union Army will become ineffective. A victory of this magnitude coupled with the Seven Days might open the door to independence.
    Longstreet's attack at Second Manassas is one of the most devastating of the war. He crushes Pope's flank and drives him from the field. However, Longstreet did not trap him against Bull Run. The men, their guns and wagons manage to escape and live to fight at Antietam.
    This book is a very tactical history of Longstreet's attack and the Union response. Scott C. Patchan demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of the fighting coupled with the ability to make chaos understandable. His excellent writing, clean, clear and informative brings the men and the battle to life. This well organized book maintains several actions in a logical sequence without losing the reader. This is a story of desperate fighting and missed opportunities on both sides. His evaluation of the leadership is excellent as is his look at what the missed opportunities cost.
    Their is a full set of notes, Bibliography, index, illustrations, Order of Battle and driving tour in the book. This book has one of the worst sets of maps I have seen in a tactical study. The few maps are badly placed and almost useless. Most of the maps lack titles, time of day, compass or scale. Many of them look as if they were enlarged on a copier rather than developed. If this is the case, the Battlefield Overview map on page 11 is the only map drawn for the book. Many times, I wasted time looking for landmarks or units only to realize this was the wrong map. The publisher has done the author and the readers a huge disservice with these maps.
    Even with the map problem, this book is worth having.

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