The Ride Home – Things Along the Way

28 04 2016

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:

Stone Bridge

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West Side of Stone Bridge

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West Side of Stone Bridge

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)

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Blackburn’s Ford Looking South

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Blackburn’s Ford Looking West

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Blackburn’s Ford Looking East

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Blackburn’s Ford Panorama Looking South

Piedmont Station (Delaplane, VA) – Where much of Johnston’s Army boarded trains bound for Manassas

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4/23/2016 Battlefield Tour Recap Part I

27 04 2016

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.

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Assembling at the Picnic Grove

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.

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Sudley Church

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Sudley Springs Ford

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.

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Thornberry House

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.

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Union burial sites (no, I’m not giving out GPS coordinates)

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.

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Reynolds’s Rhode Island Battery

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.

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Panorama from Buck Hill

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.

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Stone House Yard (John Cummings)

From there we crossed the Warrenton Pike (today’s Lee Highway) and proceeded up Henry Hill.

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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).

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Imboden’s Position

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.

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Site Where Famous Photos Were Not Taken

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.

Part II

Part III





Final Tour Update – 4/21/2016

21 04 2016

The tour is the day after tomorrow. Hopefully you’ve been following along with all the updates here or via Facebook or Twitter. Remember:

  1. Meet at picnic area off Groveton Road at 9:00 AM.
  2. Dress for the weather. As of right now, 39% chance of early “sprinkles,” high of 68 degrees. I recommend plastic sleeves for your handouts, pack-able rain jacket, and Goretex footwear.
  3. Bring a lunch and hydration.
  4. Carpool from the picnic area.

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





Tour Update 4/19/2016 – MEETING PLACE & TIME

19 04 2016

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.

Images for tour.

Weather is still holding up. Forecast as of tonight is a high of 64 degrees and more sun than clouds – pretty much perfect!

Remember:

  1. Dress for the weather.
  2. Bring a lunch and hydration.
  3. Car pool once you get to the field.

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.





Tour Update, 4/17/2016

17 04 2016

Below is the list of folks who have guaranteed their attendance at our tour with John Hennessy next Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there. Please be sure to dress for the weather (latest news is high of 77 with some haze), bring hydration and a lunch, carpool once you get to the field, and print out or otherwise have the handouts available. A specific meeting place will be announced shortly.

Brian Kammerer, who will be on the tour, has provided some artistic maps for download:

Kammerer Maps

1 Anderson, James
2 Anderson, Roy
3 Backus, Page Gibbons
4 Banks, John
5 Baumgarten, Ron
6 Bednarek, Kat Zalewski
7 Bellefeuille, Scott
8 Booker, Bob
9 Brace, Kim
10 Brand, Gary
11 Burden, Jeffry
12 Carson, Dan
13 Ciasullo, Ron
14 Conroy, Dianne Fox
15 Cummings, John
16 Cunard, Jan Hyland
19 Dail, Sean + 2
20 Dennis, James
22 Dittoe, Tom + 1
23 Errett, Paul
24 Fuller, John
25 Franklin, Albert
26 Galloway, Michael
27 Gottert, Mike
28 Gottfried, Linda
29 Greer, Jackie
30 Greevy, Jay
31 Gueverra, Mark
32 Hall, Clark B.
33 Harper, Joseph
34 Hennessy, John
35 Hamann, Carlos
36 Herring, Rod
37 Johnson, Brad
38 Kammerer, Brian
40 Kaptek, Rob + 1
41 Kathman, Debra
42 Keating, Stephen
43 Kenepp, D. Scott
44 Killian, Aaron
45 Lafleur, Joe
46 Langbart, David
47 Laudenslager, Sam
49 Leckenby, Dawn + 1
50 Leupold, Tom
51 Lewis, Richard
52 Liebler, Shelly
53 Massey, Jeff
54 McGregor, Douglas
55 Mcmorrow, Myles
56 Mitchell, Brian
57 Mitchell, Celia
58 Morgan, Jim
59 Morton, Patrick
60 Mueller, Benjamin
61 Mueller, Jullian
62 Musick, Mike
63 Nank, Thomas
64 Oakes, Douglas A
65 O’Brien, Robert William
66 O’Neil, Keith
67 Orrison, Rob
68 Pawlak, Kevin
69 Pellegrini, Mike
70 Peterson, Doug
71 Phillips, Rick
72 Redd, Rae Andrew
73 Reilly, Steve
74 Rich, Patricia Petersen
75 Rosebrock, James
76 Russell, Bill
77 Sagle, William
78 Smeltzer, Harry
79 Smith, Teej
80 Stinchcomb, Earl
81 Swain, Craig
82 Taylor, Paul
83 Tinnon-Massey, Norma
84 Weihs, Kelly
85 Wichtendahl, Kyle Francis
86 Williams, Jim





Tour Update 4/10/2016 – NEW MAPS!!!

10 04 2016
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A Harper’s Weekly Map That Will Surely Make You Go “Hmmm…”

Hello all you attendees! Our featured guide for the tour (13 days away!), John Hennessy, has forwarded applicable maps from his new edition of An End to Innocence. These are the maps you should bring with you, as opposed to those I posted here on Friday. Of course, one can never have too many maps in general, but what with all the walking we’ll be doing I would think you’d want to carry as little as possible.

Click on the link below and print or store these maps as you did the others, and if you have time compare them two sets. There are subtle and not-so-subtle differences, and in a way you can trace how Hennessy’s thinking on the battle has evolved over the decades. They may look a little out of proportion in your browser, but will print OK.

Tour Handouts #2 (Most Important)





Tour Update 4/8/2016 – MAPS!!!

8 04 2016

Below you’ll find a link to the maps from John Hennessy’s first edition of An End To Innocence. These are not the same as the maps in the new edition, but for now I’m making them available to you so you can print them out or download them to your mobile device and have them along for the tour. And as always, check back here often for updates that may include additional documents.

Tour Handouts #1

10- Dave, Zack, John in Saunders Field shelter

No Battlefield Tour Is Complete Without Maps That Make You Go “Hmmm…”

 








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