At least four ancestors fought for the Union at:
so it seems fitting that we, as Prince William County residents, should often visit the Manassas battlefield and learn of what happened here 150 years ago.
In one direct ancestral family, father, sons, uncles and nephews all volunteered and fought in the Shenandoah campaigns. A campaign veteran is pictured below.
It starts with this communiqué...
"Headquarters First Corps, Army of the Potomac, Manassas, August 24, 1861. ......It became necessary on the morning of the 21rst, to modify the plan to suit the contingency of an immediate attach on our lines."
In his official report of the Battle of Manassas, General Beauregard continues to describe the ensuing battle.
"Two federal brigades of Heintzelman's division were now brought into action, led by Rickett's superb light battery of six ten-pounder rifle guns..."
"The enemy's force, now bearing hotly and confidently down on our position, regiment alter regiment of the best equipped men that ever took the field — according to their own official history of the day — was formed of Colonels Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions.
Colonels Sherman's and Keyes' brigades of Tyler's division, and of the formidable batteries of Ricketts, Griffin, and Arnold regulars, and Second Rhode Island, and two Dahlgren howitzers — a force of over 20,000 infantry, seven companies of regular cavalry and twenty-four pieces of improved artillery."
He continues to state that the federalists had seized a plateau on which the Robinson and the Henry House were situated while Beauregard's guns were situated about 500 to 600 yards from the Henry House.
According to Beauregard, the federalists "suffered greatly from our artillery" and the whole ground was again "swept clear of the enemy" and the plateau around the Henry and Robinson houses "remained finally in our possession, along with the greater part of the Rickett's battery".
A visit to Prince William County would not be complete without an adequate amount of time spent in walking the battlefields.
It is sometimes difficult to believe that so much history and bloodshed took place within the confines of what is now a very picturesque and tranquil corner of the county.
Start at the Manassas National Battlefield Park .
However, do plan your visit to include time to drive to the sites of other important battles fought during both the First and the Second Manassas such as Brawner's Farm, the decimation of the 5th New York and the action which took place at Deep Cut.
To see it today, as in the photo below, you could never imagine what actually happened in this corner of the county - in 1862.
Especially when you visit on a blistering summer day 150 years later. Deep Cut left me speechless.
Read more about Bull Run, the Dogan Farm, Deep Cut and the Second Manassas
This site and many others including a monument (pictured below) to the 10th New York volunteer infantry regiment (First Bull Run) are all within a short driving distance of the main battlefield along the Warrenton Turnpike - now known as Route 29.
The Sesquicentennial events are now history but nothing says you cannot revisit the major battlefields at any time by creating your own list of must-see sites.
We are very proud to have a family member dedicated to commemorating his ancestors by participating in living history events throughout Virginia and the Eastern United States. His singular goal in the sesquicentennial year was to be a part of every re-enacted battle in which his 3rd great grandfather took part.
As a Virginia native, his allegiance is to the Confederate cause. The First Sergeant wears Richmond Depot grey. It was well over 103 degrees that day and the troops were given permission to shed their shell jackets.
The Washington Post was there that day when a long line of musket fire shattered the noisy field.
He is seen in the video below - the tall one at the beginning of the line (at 9:52 into the video) wearing a green checkered shirt and a white havelock over his forage cap!
His participation included the first major battle of the war at Bull Run and the reenactment at Henry House Manassas Battlefield.