National Geographic : 1961 Apr
Wounded men were crushed under the wheels of the heavy, lumbering chariots that dashed down the road at full speed" (above). The war might have been decided that hot Sunday. But the panic taught President Lincoln and his generals a hard lesson: This war was no lark, the Confederacy no push over. To win, the Union had to hammer to gether armies from its mobs of volunteers. As it turned out, the task took four years. TROUBLE WAS, not many of the raw recruits at Bull Run knew much about fighting. Vizetelly watched the 71st New York and an Alabama regiment earlier in the day "blaze away... at three hundred yards until both were badly cut up" (left), but as one who had seen Europe's profes sionals fight, he knew long-distance sparring did not take ground and whip the enemy. Troops who grappled won. "I think that if the bayonet had been used more freely the matter would have been sooner decided, and with less loss of life," he said. At day's end, disorganized Confederates watched unhappily while panicked Federals, plums ripe for the plucking with a slashing counterattack, made good their headlong re treat to Washington.