"Guerre d'Amérique"—the Battle of Bull Run, Le Monde Illustré, c. 1861

Bull Run

The Civil War’s first land battle on July 21, 1861, resulted in a resounding defeat for the Union, shattering northern illusions that the conflict would not last long. A few weeks later, Lincoln declared the last Thursday in September “as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting,” noting that “it is particularly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals.”