I’ve been making a list of places I’d like to see in the area, and today I was able to cross off one: Manassas National Battlefield Park, the site of the first major land battle in the Civil War (also known as the First Battle of Bull Run). It was an easy day trip, since it’s just a 45-minute drive from Alexandria.
There were two battles here, the first one in 1861 and the second in 1862. The first battle was where the visitor’s center is today, while the second encompasses other areas of the park.
A few things I learned:
- The battles at Manassas have two names each. The Union army named battles after bodies of water (Bull Run), while the Confederate army used the name of the nearest town or landmark (Manassas). In this case, the National Park Service uses the southern name (Manassas National Battlefield Park).
- The house at Henry Hill (a reconstruction) was the home of 85-year-old Judith Carter Henry. She was bedridden and unable to vacate her home when war broke out. A piece of Union artillery went through her bedroom wall and tore off one of her feet (!); she died later that day.
- Civilians thought the war would be easily won and gathered on a hill about five miles away to watch. After this first battle, the country realized that the war would not be won in a single day.
A reconstruction of her home, which burned down in the second battle:
Signs mark where soldiers fell:
Ben thought he saw an eagle: