Disaster Tourism, anyone? Oh, please! On July 21, 1861, the USA launched the first attack of the American Civil War. The war was so highly-anticipated that Washington society packed picnic baskets to view the unfolding spectacle at Bull Run.
President Lincoln dispatched General Irwin McDowell to put down the Confederate rebels by seizing the railway junction at Manassas and engaging them where they stood-at Bull Run.
The US was confident of an easy victory and indeed struck the Confederate army at a weak point at their rear line, sending the Virginians reeling. But by noon, Southern reinforcements had arrived. The South repelled the North's charge up Henry Hill, defended by Thomas J. Jackson. His unflinching and successful defense withstood the afternoon assault like a stonewall, earning him his middle name. By the end of the day, the South had won the first battle of the civil war. And the tourists were in retreat.