James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
Johnston, we should have been beaten. Ropes, on the other hand, believed McDowells tactics better than his strategy. The difference of opinion does not concern the layman, to whom the battle of Bull Run appears as the encounter of two armed mobs in an open field, fighting with the utmost courage to solve a question that had baffled the wisdom of their statesmen.
A spectator, watching Henry House hill, would have seen many of the Union companies and regiments clad in the brilliant militia uniforms which they were accustomed to wear in Fourth-of-July processions. The showy Zouave dress with fez or turban and red or yellow baggy trousers was affected by many. These uniforms as contrasted with the sober United States blue of after battles are strikingly emblematic of the difference between a holiday parade responding to the call On to Richmond and the stern purpose of subduing a united South.
At Bull Run the rank and file of both armies heard for the first time in their lives the sound of cannon and muskets in hostile combat, saw cannon balls crashing through trees and saplings above and around them striking down their friends and brothers, saw a blood-stained field strewed with dead men and horses. And fighting blood was there even though fighting craft were yet to be acquired. The numbers of the dead and wounded show hard fighting.1
Apart from the newspapers there seems to have been little boasting in the South. The men in authority did not for a moment believe that the North would give up the contest. On the contrary they felt that a long and hard struggle was before them.