American Rifleman - July 2011 - 88

S TA R T

Y O U R

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B U S I N E S S
the guns of manassas, 1861

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78 J

uly

2011

www.americanrifleman.org

The limited-range smoothbore,
with which the vast majority were
armed, was not considered a longrange firearm, but effective use of
even the small number of rifles and
rifle-muskets in the ranks at ranges
beyond point-blank depended
on a shooter's ability to correctly
estimate distance and adjust his
sights to compensate for the MiniƩ
ball's arc-like trajectory. Training
in drill had been minimal-and in
marksmanship non-existent-prior
to the battle, so, in the end, armament was largely moot. No matter
the weapon, most small arms firing
during the Battle of Bull Run was at
ranges under 200 or even 100 yds.
Committing a historically common error, i.e., believing the course
of a previous war predicts that of
current hostilities, both sides looked
to the Mexican-American conflict of
1846-48. A few big battles (perhaps
even one) with relatively few casualties should settle matters, or so they
thought. In the summer of 1861,
pressure mounted on Gen. Irwin
McDowell, commanding the Union
forces around Washington, to initiate
offensive operations against Gen.
P.G.T. Beauregard's Confederate
army located near Manassas
Junction, Va., before the 90-day
enlistments of many of his militia
troops expired.
On July 16 McDowell led 35,000
men south toward Beauregard's
22,000-man force, hoping Gen.
Robert Patterson's Pennsylvania
militiamen would hold Gen. Joseph
E. Johnston's 12,000 Confederates
in the Shenandoah Valley. McDowell
arrived at Centreville on July 18 and
found Beauregard's army deployed
on high ground across a stream
known as Bull Run. Both generals decided to take the offensive,
attempting to outflank each other.
Unfortunately for the Union, as it
turned out, McDowell, who based
his campaign from the start on a
"turning movement" (a reprise of
Gen. Winfield Scott's Mexican War
operations), moved his army first,
on the morning of July 21. Beauregard's failure to mount an offensive


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American Rifleman - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2011

American Rifleman - July 2011 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 2
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 5
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 6
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 14
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 17
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 18
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 19
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 20
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 21
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 24
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 25
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 26
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 27
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 28
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 29
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 30
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 31
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 33
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 34
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 35
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 36
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 37
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 38
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 39
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 40
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 41
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 42
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 43
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 46
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 47
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 48
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 49
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 50
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 51
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 53
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 57
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 62
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