In an unfinished rail road bed known as the Deep Cut, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson found a ready made
breast work from which his men repulsed 7 furious Union attacks on August 29, 1862. Believing that Major General Fitz John Porter's
10,000 men would at any moment come sweeping in on the Confederate right with a crushing flank attack, Union Major General
John Pope ordered each valiant but ultimately failed diversionary charge.
One of those charges involved an initially successful bayonet charge north of the two locations pictured here. Brigadier General
Cuvier Grover would ask a great deal of his men, ordering his men to advance against Stonewall Jackson's well
protected lines, three rows deep. He would describe their failed attempt in his official report.
"At 3 p. m. I received an order to advance in line of battle over this ground, pass the embankment, enter the edge of
the woods beyond, and hold it. Dispositions for carrying out such orders were immediately made. Pieces were loaded, bayonets
fixed, and instructions given for the line to move slowly upon the enemy until it felt his fire, then close upon him rapidly,
fire one well-directed volley, and rely upon the bayonet to secure the position on the other side.
We rapidly and
firmly pressed upon the embankment, and here occurred a short, sharp, and obstinate hand-to-hand conflict with
bayonets and clubbed muskets. Many of the enemy were bayoneted in their tracks, others struck down with the butts of pieces,
and onward pressed our line. In a few yards more it met a terrible fire from a second line, which in its turn broke. The enemy's
third line now bore down upon our thinned ranks in close order, and swept back the right center and a portion of our left. With
the gallant Sixteenth Massachusetts on our left I tried to turn his flank, but the breaking of our right and center and the weight
of the enemy's lines caused the necessity of falling back, first to the embankment and then to our first position, behind which
we rallied to our colors...
...Though forced to retire from the field by the immensely superior numbers of the enemy, supported by artillery and by the natural
strength of his position, men never fought more gallantly or efficiently."
Grover's command would suffer 41 men killed, 327 wounded, and 118 missing all in the name of holding Jackson in place while General
Pope awaited General Fitz-John Porter's decisive flank attack. Unbeknownst to Pope, Confederate General James Longstreet had entered
the field, joined with Jackson's right, and stood squarely in the path of Porter's planned assault. Although sorely tested, Jackson's
line held against valiant but tragic Union charges. So was the table set for August 30, 1862, the final day of the
Battle of Second Manassas.