Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bull Run (Manassas) National Battlefield

It took us close to four hours to make the trip from Lickdale Campground to Bull Run Regional Park.  It was another uneventful travel day.  As we got closer to Washington, D.C. we could tell that Congress was still battling over the debt ceiling issue as they were generating more heat than light; it was 104* when we arrived at the campground.  Fortunately, we have 50 amp service so we can run both air conditioners to keep the kitties nice and cool. 

After getting the rig set up and the air conditioners running, we took off for a visit to Bull Run (Manassas) National Battlefield.  First we watched the movie and then played with the interactive battlefield map in the air conditioned Visitor’s Center.  The movie was very well done and covered both the First and Second Battles; it was 45 minutes long.  Being that it was a hundred and three degrees on the battlefield, we only took a short walking tour of the First Battle of Bull Run.

By the way, the Northerners named the battle after Bull Run stream that runs east of the battlefield while the Southerners named the battle after the nearby community of Manassas Junction which is south of the battlefield. 

The battle began “over yonder there” on Matthew’s Hill (in the distance).


It made it’s way across Warrensburg Turnpike and engulfed the Henry farm where the majority of the battle took place.


As the battle made it’s way toward the Henry Farm, an attempt was made to rescue an elderly lady, Judith Henry, by carrying her on a mattress.  She was adamant that she not be taken from her home, so they returned her to her bedroom.  The Union Army made their way to the knoll just to the right of the farm house.  Some Confederate soldiers snuck up behind the house and began attacking the Union Army from their left flank.  Union guns were turned toward the house and cannon fire tore through the house killing Mrs. Henry, the only civilian killed during the battle.  After the battle ended, Confederate soldiers assisted with her burial in her garden just outside the house.

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After the war, the Union Army erected a monument next to the ruins of the Henry Farmhouse as a memorial to the Union soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.  Then, in 1870, the Henry children built a new home on the site of the original house. 

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President Lincoln was expecting a victory at Bull Run which would position the Union Army within striking distance of Richmond, Virginia which was the Capitol of the Confederate States.  He felt that victory here would bring a quick end to the Civil War, however, that wasn’t to be.  The Confederate Army ended up turning the Union troops back toward Washington and positioned themselves for moving the war on to Federal lands.

Gen. Thomas Jackson was instrumental in “turning the tide” of the battle, which ultimately lead to a Confederate victory, as he stood steadfast on the battlefield rallying his troops against the Union cannon fire.   Because of his tenacious stand, it was said that he “stood like a stonewall” hence, his nickname – Stonewall Jackson.


Here are some implements of war.  It was just too danged hot to walk clear over to the Confederate position on the field so we only have the one photo of the cannons in the distance.

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We would be remiss if we didn’t include a photo of Bull Run Stream for which the battle was named after.


And here is a bridge on Warrensburg Turnpike that was used by the Union Army to gain position and later to retreat.  Obviously this is not the original bridge.  After the battle the Confederates blew up the original bridge to keep the Union Army from a return attack.


One thing that we noted during our short visit was the lack of monuments on the battlefield.  Other Civil War battlefields that we have visited have had lots of markers commemorating the various units that fought at that place, but no so at Bull Run.    

Today it’s off to see Mary and Joel, a long over due visit.  We haven’t seen them since June of 2010.  We had planned to stop on our way north, but the jacks broke and we were unable to disconnect the RV from the truck so we had to make our way to Mikee’s RV Repair, Lube Center, and BBQ to fix the problem.  Anywhoo, we look forward to spending the day with them.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

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