Shooting the “Gap” — Pope’s Blunder

Driving home this afternoon I noticed these two placards regarding Thoroughfare Gap, the road through the Bull Run Mountains through which Lee and Longstreet advanced on an unready and unbelieving John Pope before the Battle of Second Bull Run/Manassas.  Despite being told several times by senior officers that he was going to be outflanked on his left, Pope bullheadedly focused solely on Jackson on his right.  The inevitable result was a rout which only hard work by John Reynolds, among others, prevented a total collapse of Pope’s Army of Virginia.

I recently re-read John Hennessy’s “Return to Bull Run” about that battle, and it is superb.  Unlike all too many Civil War books with details of the fighting, Hennessy is always crisp and to the point, without adding too much detail.  Excellent maps help too.

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