Plate 7. Ruins of Stone Bridge, Bull Run

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by William R. Pywell, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
This sketch represents a portion of the field of the battle of Bull Run, fought on the 21st of July, 1861, by the forces under Gen. McDowell and Gen. Beauregard. In a general order, issued on the 20th, Gen. McDowell said: "The enemy has planted a battery on the Warrenton turnpike to defend the passage of Bull Run; has seized the stone bridge, and made a heavy abatis on the right bank, to oppose our advance in that direction. The ford above the bridge is also guarded, whether with artillery or not, is not positively known, but every indication favors the belief that he proposes to defend the passage of the stream. It is intended to turn the position, force the enemy from the road, that it may be re-opened, and, if possible, destroy the railroad leading from Manasses to the Valley of Virginia, where the enemy has a large force." General McDowell commenced operations with the divisions of Tyler, Hunter, Heintzelman, and Miles-33,000 men; 18,000 of whom were engaged. The strength of the enemy was about the same, and was all engaged. The plan of the attack was for Tyler's division to threaten the passage of the bridge, Miles to make a demonstration at Blackburn's Ford, two miles below, and the divisions of Hunter and Heintzleman to move up the stream ten miles, and by a flank movement surprise and overwhelm the enemy while occupied with the two other divisions.
The country at that time was densely wooded, and the entire portion shown in the sketch occupied by the Confederates. It was expected that Hunter and Heintzelman would strike the left of the enemy at daylight on the 21st, but owing to unforeseen obstacles, failed to reach the designated point until after ten o'clock. This delay revealed the movement to Beauregard, who immediately disposed his forces to meet it by extending them obliquely across the turnpike, facing the bridge, at a distance of about two miles. Hunter, Heintzelman, and Tyler, who had crossed the bridge, attacked the enemy, and the engagement became general; our forces, after a severe struggle, driving him in great confusion from the field, and occupying the turnpike. The fighting had nearly ceased, and Gen. McDowell was expressing his thanks to some of his officers for their services, when Johnston's reinforcements from Winchester suddenly appeared in rear of our right, and threw our lines into utter confusion. A feeble attempt was made to repulse the attack, but the regiments rapidly broke to pieces, and forming a mass of terror-stricken fugitives, rushed from the field down across the bridge, which soon became obstructed by wagons, and to prevent pursuit by the enemy was destroyed. A portion of this ground was fought over in the battles of Gen. Pope in 1862, and hundreds of acres still bear evidences of those fearful scenes.
Currently not on view
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Bull Run
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.2509 cm x 22.9659 cm; 6 13/16 in x 9 1/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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