You Are There 481003 ep44 The First Battle Of Bull Run. The first major battle between the North and South, of the American Civil War, and CBS reporters take you there.
The confident army of the Northern States, led by General McDowel, begin its march to put an end to the six month long uprising of the Southern states. Thousands of spectators, complete with brass bands line the streets to watch the spectacle.
Back in the news room we are filled in with news flashes, and progress on other fronts. Guns fire at Stone Bridge. Confederates withdraw. The spectators in the North go wild. It’s looking like the troops will be in Richmond to spend the night and put this little squabble to rest once and for all.
Elsewhere, on the forward edge of the battle ground, soldiers are led in prayers before the final charge is to take place. With awe inspiring battle cries, chants, and display, the Northern troops march into Confederate gunfire and artillery. Victory news is even telegraphed back to Washington DC. The battle rages, and the spectators watch the sight in silence.
The Confederates begin to get the upperhand in a few areas, then the unthinkable happens. Parts of the battle lines break. Then suddenly the Federal troops flee in a massive rout.
In case you don’t realize the difference, a retreat is an organized withdrawal of troops and equipment, normally with the purpose to regroup, reorganize, and possibley rejoin an attack. A rout is the disorganized flight of troops, weapons and equipment are shed to lighten the load so as not to impede running away as fast as possible. Disorganization precludes any possibility of reorganizing. Hey, it looks like this little Civil War could last a while longer. Try about 4 more years.