Call me crazy, but I think this flag is going to the wrong National Park. See story here.
Hat tip to Robert Moore, III.
Call me crazy, but I think this flag is going to the wrong National Park. See story here.
Hat tip to Robert Moore, III.
Tour Synopsis – Afternoon
After lunch, we caravanned to the parking area at Strayer University and met up near the site of Portici, the Francis Lewis House which was chosen as Confederate headquarters early on by Philip St. George Cocke and played a central role in Confederate operations through the close of battle.
FYI, here’s Manassas Chief Interpretive Ranger Ray Brown’s tour of the area from back in 2011.
From here, John Hennessy led the group along the farm paths/roads taken by Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson’s troops (among others) to reach Henry Hill. Along this path we discussed Confederate operations, the experiences of men moving to the front for the first time, and aspects of the aftermath of the battle.
Along this route we made frequent stops, where John pointed out original road traces that helped make sense of the path system, and pointed out where the men under Edmund Kirby Smith/Arnold Elzey diverged as they moved toward Chinn Ridge later in the day. The area where Bee’s men regrouped is a key piece in John’s analysis of the famous “Stone Wall” incident.
Finally we debouched onto Henry Hill behind Jackson’s gun line. Here we discussed the mysteries of artillery, and pondered the movements of Federal guns closer to Henry Hill, where their superior range proved less of an advantage.
More artillery talk, this time near a section of Griffin’s guns that played a key role.
From there we moved to Stonewall on Steroids and continued the discussion of the swirling fighting. In addition, John shared his thoughts on the birth of the Stonewall sobriquet, but not debunking the myth in quite the manner some suspected. You can find John’s original article here with some hyperlinking. Notice that “Rally Behind the Virginians” does not appear in the first newspaper article – rather, Bee closes with “Let us resolve to die here, and we shall conquer.”And yet the Bee monument, erected by the DC chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, contains the Old Dominion friendly phrase. Hmmm…Here’s a bit on Bee’s monument, and one on Jackson’s.
The next stop was the Bartow Monument, where John Cummings shared a photo of himself as a child. Nearby is the site of what is thought to be the base of the original Bartow monument, which went missing sometime in 1862. Some questioned the size of the base as appearing too small, but please note that the size of the monument is unknown, and is inconsistent in existing images. Here are some articles on the Bartow monuments.
Last, we proceeded to the Henry House – the structure there today is actually a reproduction of a post war house. The original house was a story and a half, and was pretty much gone by March 1862. John wrapped up the day’s fighting there, and we took a group picture that appears at the beginning of this article. If you want a full res copy, drop me an email (for some reason the photos are not appearing as clickable links to full size images in my browser). The address is over in the right hand column.
An optional tour stop was made on Chinn Ridge, where we discussed the close of the battle and action involving Elzey, Early, Howard, and the Regulars. A very full day indeed. I’ll share some final thoughts in Part III soon.
A Reminiscence of Stonewall Jackson – His Wound at the Battle of Manassas
In the February number of the Richmond Medical Journal, we find an able paper on “gunshot wounds of joints,” from the pen of Dr. Hunter McGuire, Professor of Surgery in the Virginia Medical College, and, during the war, chief surgeon on the staff of General Stonewall Jackson. In the course of his remarks, speaking of gunshot wounds of the hands, the Doctor cites the case of the wound received by his renowned Chief at the first battle of Manassas. The Doctor writes:
When he made the celebrated charge with his brigade, which turned the fortune of the day, he raised his left hand above his head to encourage the troops, and, while in this position, the middle finger of the hand was struck just below the articulation between the first and second phalanges. The ball struck the finger a little to one side, broke it, and carried of a small piece of the bone. He remained upon the field, wounded as he was, till the fight was over, and then wanted to take part in the pursuit, but was peremptorily ordered back to the hospital by the General commanding. On his way to the rear, the wound pained him so much that he stopped at the first hospital he came to, and the surgeon there proposed to cut the finger off; but while the Doctor looked for his instruments, and for a moment turned his back, the General silently mounted his horse, rode off, and soon afterwards found me. I was busily engaged with the wounded, but when I saw him coming, I left them, and asked him if he was seriously hurt. “No,” he answered, “not half as badly as many here, and I will wait.” And he forthwith sat down on the bank of a little stream near by, and positively declined any assistance until “his turn came!” We compromised, however, and he agreed to let me attend to him after I had finished the case I was dressing when he arrived. I determined to save the finger, if possible, and placed a splint along the palmar surface to support the fragments, retained it in position by a strip or two of adhesive plaster, covered the sound with lint, and told him to keep it wet with cold water. He carefully followed this advice. I think he had a fancy for this type of hydropathick treatment, and I have frequently seen him occupied for several hours pouring cup after cup of water over his hand, with that patience and perseverance for which he was so remarkable. Passive motion was instituted about the twentieth day, and carefully continued. The motion of the joint improved for months after the wound had healed, and, in the end, the deformity was very trifling.
During the treatment, the hand was kept elevated and confined in a sling, and when the use of this was discontinued, and the hand permitted to hang down, there was, of course, gravitation of blood towards it. Under the circumstances you would expect this. In consequence of it, however, the hand was sometimes swollen and painful, and, to remedy this, he often held it above his head for some moments. He did this so frequently that it became at length a habit, and was continued, especially when he was abstracted, after all necessity for it had ceased. I have seen it stated somewhere that whenever, during a battle, his had was thus raised, he was engaged in prayer; but I think the explanation I have given is the correct one. I believe he was the truest and most consistent Christian I have ever known, but I don’t believe he prayed much while he was fighting.
Richmond Examiner, 1/31/1866
Contributed by John Hennessy
On the way home from this past weekend’s tour of the First Bull Run battlefield, my friend Mike and I stopped to take in a few other Civil War sites we didn’t cover on Saturday. Here are the Bull Run related sites:
Blackburn’s Ford – Site of the fight of 7/18/61 that would first be known as the Battle of Bull’s Run (the battle on the 21st was for a time known as the Battle of Young’s Branch)
Piedmont Station (Delaplane, VA) – Where much of Johnston’s Army boarded trains bound for Manassas
The Bull Runnings Battlefield Tour with guide John Hennessy, held this past Saturday, was, I think, a success. Officially we had 62 attendees who signed in, and suspect we had a few who chose to not sign in. In addition, a few folks dropped out during the day, and I think we even picked up one or two others along the way. I’ll break the tour into two posts, then follow up with some conclusions and requests for input from attendees.
Tour Synopsis – Morning
We met at the picnic area off Groveton Road at 9:00 am. The pavilion came in handy as it was raining pretty steadily – this kept up all morning. After introductions and a review of the itinerary, we set off.
We consolidated into fewer cars (we had left a few at the Visitor’s Center), and headed for our first stop at Sudley Church. From there, we hiked the original Sudley Road trace to Sudley Springs Ford on Catharpin Run, where John set the stage, discussed the crossing of McDowell’s army, and dispelled the notion that anyone was going to services at Sudley Church on the morning of July 21, 1861.
Next we moved south to the Thornberry House, were many things were discussed, including the photos of March 1862, the Thornberry children, and Sullivan Ballou and his death, burial, and desecration. For the record, yes, I do believe his letter was real, even though the original’s whereabouts are unknown.
From there, John showed us the site of the graves of twelve Union soldiers, and also the site of the post-war home of the Benson’s of Sudley Church. See here for some disturbing inconsistencies in the wartime event.
Then it was back to the cars (we managed two crossings of Sudley Road without an incident, no small feat) and south to the Matthews Hill parking lot. There we received water and snacks from Debra Kathman and the good people at the Manassas Battlefield Trust, and made our way to Reynolds’s Rhode Island Battery, where John described the opening of the battle by Burnside’s Brigade and Evans’s men. Craig Swain laid some artillery jargon on us, discussing the range of various pieces North and South.
Next we marched south on Matthews Hill to Buck Hill, above the Stone House, and discussed what McDowell’s vision of victory may have been, the afternoon “lull,” and “the plan.” As it happens, John and I agree on what McDowell’s expectations were regarding what he could expect from the enemy in terms of numbers. We also agree on what McDowell planned and, most important, where those plans ended. We may differ a bit regarding the psychology, if you will, behind those plans, but we’re much closer than we are far apart. The plans pretty much end with the establishment of McDowell’s line along the Warrenton Turnpike, and across the Stone Bridge. After that, the next move depended on how the rebels would react.
Down in the Stone House’s back yard (the Stone House was owned by a family named Matthews, which was a different family from that which occupied the Matthews House on Matthews Hill), John described what was taking place in what has been traditionally called a relatively quiet “no man’s land.” That is to say, it was far from quiet. Sorry, for some reason I took no photos there. But John Cummings got this shot, spoiled only by my presence in it.
From there we crossed the Warrenton Pike (today’s Lee Highway) and proceeded up Henry Hill.
We stopped to recount the movements of Imboden’s Staunton Artillery (while it didn’t happen here, with the help of artillery buff Jim Rosebrock we determined that Imboden was most likely serving as the number four man on the piece when he crouched too near a gun he was working and went deaf in his left ear when it fired).
Our last stops before breaking for lunch was at the “boggy area” just off the paved Visitior’s Center parking lot, which has been traditionally described as the site where several post battle photos of Union graves were recorded (I perpetuated the legend here). John Cummings teased us about the proof he has assembled that the photos were not recorded here, nor were they recorded at the spot other photo buffs have identified. He promises more in the future. The most compelling evidence was presented by John Hennessy, who informed us that prior to the mid-1980s, the site was not damp at all – it became that way after changes were made to the topography.
OK, I’ll end this part where we took our lunch break. Highlights of that included shuttling drivers back to Matthews Hill to fetch cars for the afternoon portion of the hike.
The tour is the day after tomorrow. Hopefully you’ve been following along with all the updates here or via Facebook or Twitter. Remember:
We will need to leave a few cars at the visitor’s center (VC) in the morning. I already know of three. We’ll probably need to leave about eight cars total. No more than that, though, because we don’t want to cause a parking problem there. If you think you can do this, drop me a note. Otherwise, don’t consolidate cars at the VC. It’s Saturday, and the most important battlefield in the world.
I’m really looking forward to meeting all of you. Remember, this is not a “sit back and listen” tour. We want give-and-take (but can do without “gotchas” – You “gotcha” types know who you are).
In my mind, John Hennessy has written the definitive account of this battle, and we’re all very fortunate to have this opportunity.
If you’re photographing or videoing the day’s events, please feel free to share your work with me and I’ll share it with everyone else.
Here’s the most recent attendee list. You’ll note it’s shorter by about ten.
1 Anderson, James
2 Anderson, Roy
3 Backus, Page Gibbons
4 Banks, John
5 Bednarek, Kat Zalewski
6 Bellefeuille, Scott
7 Booker, Bob
8 Brace, Kim
9 Brand, Gary
10 Burden, Jeffry
11 Carson, Dan
12 Ciasullo, Ron
13 Conroy, Dianne Fox
14 Cummings, John
15 Cunard, Jan Hyland
18 Dail, Sean + 2
19 Dennis, James
21 Dittoe, Tom + 1
22 Errett, Paul
23 Fuller, John
24 Franklin, Albert
25 Galloway, Michael
26 Gottert, Mike
27 Gottfried, Linda
28 Greer, Jackie
29 Greevy, Jay
30 Gueverra, Mark
31 Harper, Joseph
32 Hennessy, John
33 Hamann, Carlos
34 Herring, Rod
35 Johnson, Brad
36 Kammerer, Brian
38 Kaptek, Rob + 1
39 Kathman, Debra
40 Keating, Stephen
41 Kenepp, D. Scott
42 Killian, Aaron
43 Lafleur, Joe
44 Langbart, David
45 Laudenslager, Sam
46 Leupold, Tom
47 Lewis, Richard
48 Liebler, Shelly
49 Massey, Jeff
50 McGregor, Douglas
51 Morgan, Jim
52 Morton, Patrick
53 Mueller, Benjamin
54 Mueller, Jullian
55 Musick, Mike
56 Nank, Thomas
57 Oakes, Douglas A
58 O’Brien, Robert William
59 O’Neil, Keith
60 Orrison, Rob
61 Pawlak, Kevin
62 Pellegrini, Mike
63 Phillips, Rick
64 Redd, Rae Andrew
65 Reilly, Steve
66 Rich, Patricia Petersen
67 Rosebrock, James
68 Russell, Bill
69 Sagle, William
70 Smeltzer, Harry
71 Smith, Teej
72 Stinchcomb, Earl
73 Swain, Craig
74 Taylor, Paul
75 Tinnon-Massey, Norma
76 Weihs, Kelly
77 Wichtendahl, Kyle Francis
78 Williams, Jim
Meeting place for the tour this Saturday is the Brownsville Picnic Area off Groveton Road at 9:00 AM. That’s west of the Stone House, south of Route 29. Here’s a map.
John Hennessy has provided some images that should come in handy. They are in PowerPoint (ppt) format. Click on the file and then you can print them from whatever slide show viewer you have.
Weather is still holding up. Forecast as of tonight is a high of 64 degrees and more sun than clouds – pretty much perfect!
For the tour, we will need to leave about 7 cars at the visitor’s center in the morning, so if you’ve already made plans to consolidate with another driver, it would be great if you can do that at the VC first before moving on to the meeting spot at the picnic area.