The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Bull Run

What did the Confederates do in response?

By now, there were two Confederate commanders. Beauregard had been the only one to this point, but he was now joined by General Joseph E. Johnston (1807–1891), who outranked him. To make matters easy, they agreed to share command on the battlefield.

Beauregard and Johnston were both surprised to hear cannon fire to their left: since the previous evening, they had been convinced that the Federals would attack against their right flank. Two hours passed before Beauregard and Johnston made the all-important decision to move regiments from their right to their center, and in that time the Federals might have won the battle. The Northern men were weary from the night march, however, and enough Confederates shifted position to hold them off for the time being.


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