Second Battle of Manassas
Confederate Skirmish Line, Afternoon of August 30, 1862As Union forces prepared to attack General Jackson's Confederate line along the unfinished railroad to the north, Union General John F. Reynolds made a personal reconnaissance of the field beyond his skirmishers posted along the Groveton Road (Lewis' Lane (1)). He immediately drew fire from a Confederate skirmish line deployed in this open ground, providing covering fire as General James Longstreet massed his five infantry divisions for an attack on the Union left flank.
Narrowly escaping injury, Reynolds reported his findings and received permission to shift his three brigades of Pennsylvania Reserves to the vicinity of the Chinn Farm (about a mile to the east) where theoretically they could better guard the Union left and rear. This movement created a dangerous gap in the Union lines south of the Warrenton Turnpike. To support Lt. Chrles Hazlett's Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery at Groveton, Colonel G. K. Warren moved his small brigade of New York Zouaves into the position previously occupied by Reynolds' entire division.
Longstreet's Confederates advanced at 4:00 p.m. smashing through Warren's two regiments east of the Groveton Road and gaining Chinn Ridge before meeting significant resistance. The attack on the Union left was not checked until Longstreet's lead brigades reached the Sudley Road 1-1/2 miles to the east where Union General John Pope had hastily formed a strong defensive position on Henry Hill. After dark the Union army retreated across Bull Run, ending the battle.
Regiments, Brigades, and Division
The regiment was the basic organizational unit of Civil War armies. Soldiers identified with and took pride in their regiments. Volunteer regiments were designated by a number and by the state which raised it. A regiment was composed of a headquarters staff and ten companies identified by letters A-K (J not used to avoid confusion with I). At its initial muster each company would have 100 men with officers, but frequently effective strength was severely diminished by battle losses, disease, and desertions. To facilitate command and control, up to five regiments could be grouped together to form a brigade. Two to four brigades formed a division.