I love the new things I learn while participating in the A to Z. Did you know the Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of Manassas, was the first battle of the Civil War? I took a Civil War class in college but my concentration was 19th and 20th century Europe so the goings on between the Yankees and the Confederates most likely went in one ear and out the other.
Bull Run is a tributary of the Occoquan River in Prince William County, Virginia. Brigadier General Irvin McDowell, commander of the Union forces attacked the Confederate forces led by Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard. The Confederate forces held a strong position along Bull Run and won the day. The Battle of Bull Run's other claim to fame is that the nickname "Stonewall" for Colonel Thomas Jackson had its origins here.
For more details of the battle, check out the Civil War Trust, Battle of Bull Run Facts & Summary and the National Park Service's Manassas National Battlefield Park site. There was also a Second Bull Run/Manassas battle the following year.
Not having all the details readily at hand, I turned to my trusty source, Wikipedia, which tells us why both the names Bull Run and Manassas are used.
The name of the battle has caused controversy since 1861. The Union Army frequently named battles after significant rivers and creeks that played a role in the fighting; the Confederates generally used the names of nearby towns or farms. The U.S. National Park Service uses the Confederate name for its national battlefield park, but the Union name (Bull Run) also has widespread currency in popular literature.
The movie Gods and Generals, based on the book of the same name by Jeff Shaara, is an excellent visual source for this battle and others.
Manassas National Battlefield Park is also on our list of places to see.