The first real battle of the U.S. Civil War was fought July 21, 1861, just 30 mi. outside Washington. Men, women and children brought picnic baskets and opera glasses to watch, helping the First Battle of Bull Run gain fame as the “picnic battle.” A quick Union victory was expected, and indeed federal forces reportedly fought well at first. But Confederate reinforcements arrived and started turning the tide, eventually routing the 12th New York regiment and scattering the ...


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