Recap of Hennessy at Manassas Museum

31 03 2011

See here for a recap of John Hennessy’s recent talk on myths and legends of the First Battle of Bull Run at the Manassas Museum.





More on Wa-Po’s Sesqui Ops

17 11 2010

Dmitri  has weighed in on the Washington Post’s panel of historians and their thoughts on the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  Check it out here and here.  As a reminder, I wrote about it here.

Considering that much of the country will experience the Sesquicentennial at one of our National Parks, it would have been nice if at least one representative of the NPS had contributed to this series.





Seminar in the Woods 2011

13 11 2010

Dave Powell has announced the schedule for the next Seminar in the Woods at Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.

On Friday (March) 11 the group will travel by bus to McLemore’s Cove to spend the whole day looking at the action – and inaction – there.  Saturday will be a car-caravan first to the Viniard Farm and then to Mendenhall’s artillery line.

NPS Historian Jim Ogden and Dave are the guides.  Other than the cost of the bus on Friday, there is no charge for the tour.  Meals and lodging are on your own.





Manassas NBP 11/5/2010: Sudley Springs, Sudley Road, Thornberry House, Ballou

8 11 2010

This past Friday (11/5) I made a quick trip to the Manassas National Battlefield Park to do some research for an upcoming installment of Collateral Damage.  I met up with Ranger Jim Burgess and he helped me with some work in the park archives, then we met up with friend Craig Swain and headed to the northern end of the park boundary. 

Among other sites, we visited the area where (it is likely) Sullivan Ballou’s body was recovered after its mutilation, burning, and reburial by the 21st Georgia (click the thumbs for larger images):

   

The Thornberry House, used as a hospital after both battles of Bull Run (the large tree to the left of the house in the second picture appears on the Barnard photo from 1862):

 

A trace of the original Sudley Road:

 

And Sudley Springs Ford over Catharpin (Little Bull) Run.  This is the same view as in the Barnard photo Jim is holding – you can see the modern remains of the Springs on the opposite bank.  Hunter’s division crossed Bull Run to the east at Sudley Ford, then crossed here to reach the battlefield:

    

Thanks so much to Jim Burgess for all the valuable assistance he has provided over the years – a good guy.  Also thanks to Craig for his always valuable commentary.  As a last bit of coolness, and much to Craig’s satisfaction, Jim took us down to the basement of the VC and showed us one of the original 200 lb Parrott shells from the Battle Monument.  It turns out that these shells were live, and not discovered to be so until the monument’s renovations in the 1970’s.  One of the disarmed shells survived (the shells had been de-fused but not disarmed as the black powder and case shot show):





First Bull Run Tour

26 09 2010

Here’s an interesting recap of a recent tour at Manassas NBP with the students of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, led by Jim Burgess of the NPS.





149th Anniversary of First Bull Run

6 07 2010

Activities at the park July 17 & 18 for the 149th anniversary of the battle (from the NPS site):

See Union and Confederate troops portrayed in an encampment representing the raw soldiers of the summer of 1861 on the Henry Hill battlefield.  Demonstrations of musketry and artillery firing will echo over the grassy fields where the combat raged 149 years ago.  Soldier life demonstrations will describe the experience of citizen soldiers, naive amateurs in their baptism of fire, encountering their “first gunpowder christening.”  U.S. Marine Battalion exhibits will illuminate the uniforms and equipment of Civil War Marines.  Replica colors or flags of regiments in the colorful confusion of the battle will be unfurled, and impressions of Union and Confederate uniforms will depict the “fog of war” the muddle of confusion in the reek of smoke on the battlefield.  Park Ranger tours will be conducted over the ground where bravery and sacrifice was witnessed in what the raw troops, “as green as grass” believed would be the “only battle of the war,” only to be sobered by the carnage revealed in the brutal combat. 

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How Will Historic Sites Be Interpreted?

30 06 2010

A wonderful, thought-provoking post by John Hennessy at Fredericksburg Remembered.  Static, on site interpretative devices like the battlefield wayside exhibit will likely be replaced by wireless digital media in the not too distant future.  And consumers will also likely have a number of sources from which to choose.  While it’s true that such services will not be cheap to produce, I’m not sure that means all of them will be commercial ventures.  I suspect there are a number of folks out there who might be motivated to develop these programs by the same forces that compel them to share their research free of charge in the forms of websites and blogs.  Giving it away is still a great way to stick it to the man.

Those guys at Fredericksburg always provide great food for thought.








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