Civil War historical mystery
by Karen Ahn
Abel Jones, the narrator and hero of Faded Coat of Blue, is a distinguished soldier, a Welsh emigre, and a loyal soldier in the U.S. army when the Civil War erupts in the United States. From Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, to the desecrated embankments of Bull Run, Abel must discover who is behind the murder of Anthony Fowler, a young captain with a bright future ahead of him. An experienced soldier, Abel Jones must head back to Bull Run, where he was permanently injured, to get to the bottom of Anthony Fowler's death.
There were two battles that occurred at Bull Run (the battles are also referred to as 1st Manassas and 2nd Manassas.) The first battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the Civil War; the second battle of Bull Run marked the end of the Northern Virginia campaign.
On July 21, 1861, inexperienced Union Army Brigadier General Irvin McDowell led his troops (28,000 strong) against the Confederate army (33,000 strong) from Washington, D.C. The Confederates, led by General Beauregard, were stationed at Bull Run, beyond Centreville. Outflanked by Confederate troops, the tight formation of the Union army dissolved into a disorganized rout. The Confederate legions were equally tired and inexperienced, and were unable to pursue the Union soldiers. About 5,000 casualties resulted-- 3,000 casualties on the Union side, and 2,000 on the Confederate. The Union Army retreated back to Washington and reached the city's relatively safe environs on July 22.
The Lincoln administration realized that the Confederate Army would be a more difficult opponent than they had anticipated. McDowell was relieved of his post in the Union army, and Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took his place.
The second battle of Bull Run occurred on August 28, 1862. Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (so nicknamed for his demonstrated ability to hold his ground even against improbable odds) and General Lee routed 45,000 Union troops under Union army General John Pope.
General Jackson commissioned an attack on a section of the Union army that was passing his on the Warrendon Turnpike on August 28, 1862. The fighting continued at Brawner Farm and went on for hours, but eventually resulted in a stalemate. Both armies suffered heavily as the fighting escalated; the Union army was heavily hit and driven back to Bull Run. General Lee ordered his army in pursuit.
Eventually, the Union Army retreated to Washington, D.C. The Union Army was heavily hit; at least 1724 were killed, 8372 wounded, and 5958 soldiers missing. The Confederate army also suffered, with 1481 killed, 7621 wounded, and 89 missing.
After the Civil War was initiated at Fort Sumter, both Union and Confederate leaders were convinced that the war would be short, swift, and decisive. Each side believed that it held the ultimate advantage to winning the war. The first and second battles at Bull Run effectively proved that winning the war would be longer, bloodier, and more difficult than either side could have ever imagined.
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