Civil War Battle Names

      So many battlefields of the Civil War bear double names that we cannot believe the duplication has been accidental. It is the unusual which impresses. The troops of the North came mainly from cities, towns, and villages, and were, therefore, impressed by some natural object near the scene of the conflict and named the battle from it. The soldiers from the South were chiefly from the country and were, therefore, impressed by some artificial object near the field of action. In one section the naming has been after the handiwork of God; in the other section it has been after the handiwork of man. Thus, the first passage of arms is called the battle of Bull Run at the North,---the name of a little stream. At the South it takes the name of Manassas, from a railroad station. The second battle on the same ground is called the Second Bull Run by the North, and the Second Manassas by the South. Stone's defeat is the battle of Ball's Bluff With the Federals, and the battle of Leesburg with the Confederates. The battle called by General Grant, Pittsburg Landing, a natural object, was named Shiloh, after a church, by his antagonist. Rosecrans called his first great fight with Bragg, the battle of Stone River, while Bragg named it after Murfreesboro, a village. So McClellan's battle of the Chickahominy,  a little river, was with Lee the battle of Cold Harbor, a tavern. The Federals speak of the battle of Pea Ridge, of the Ozark range of mountains, and the Confederates call it after Elk Horn, a country inn. The Union soldiers called the bloody battle three days after South Mountain from the little stream, Antietam, and the Southern troops named it after the village of Sharpsburg. Many instances might be given of this double naming by the opposing forces. According to the same law of the unusual, the war-songs of a people have generally been written s. The bards who followed the banners of the feudal lords, sang of their exploits, and stimulated them and their retainers to deeds of high emprise, wore no armor and carried no swords. So, too, the impassioned orators, who roused our ancestors in 1776 with the thrilling cry, "Liberty or Death," never once put themselves in the way of a death by lead or steel, by musket-ball or bayonet stab. The noisy speakers of 1861, who fired the Northern heart and who fired the Southern heart, never did any other kind of firing.
Source: Excerpt from an article written by General D.H. Hill, late of the Confederate army, that appeared in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War."

Battles With Dual Names

Date of Battle

Confederate Name

Federal Name

 July 21, 1861  First Manassas  Bull Run
 Aug. 10, 1861  Oak Hills  Wilson's Creek
 Oct. 21, 1861  Leesburg  Ball's Bluff
 Jan. 19, 1862  Mill Springs  Logan's Cross Roads
 Mar. 7-8, 1862  Elkhorn Tavern  Pea Ridge
 Apr. 6-7, 1862  Shiloh  Pittsburg Landing
 June 27, 1862  Gaines's Mill  Chickahominy
 Aug. 29-30,1862  Second Manassas  Second Bull Run
 Sept. 1, 1862  Ox Hill  Chantilly
 Sept. 14, 1862  Boonsboro  South Mountain
 Sept. 17, 1862  Sharpsburg  Antietam
 Oct. 8, 1862  Perryville  Chaplin Hills
 Dec. 31, 1862-
 Jan 2, 1863
 Murfreesboro  Stones River
 Apr. 8, 1864  Mansfield  Sabine Cross Roads
 Sept. 19, 1864  Winchester  Opequon Creek

This Page last updated 04/21/05

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