Tuesday, May 18, 2010
After the big party in West Virginia, we headed to Bull Run Regional Park near the nation’s capital to visit with friends that we have not seen in some years. We met Marja and Albert while I was stationed in D.C. We have kept in touch and visited when we could ever since. We had a nice visit and enjoyed a nice walk near their home in Vienna, Va.
The weather has not cooperated as we would have hoped, but we did make a quick visit to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, which is located very near our campground. We made a complete tour just about 20 years ago with the girls and my mother.
The below sites describe these important and bloody battles of the Civil War in great detail. The first battle of Manassas was, in fact, the first major battle of the war and was fought by new recruits on both sides. None of them were prepared for the reality of battle. This battle ended with the North retreating and both sides licking their wounds. With approximately 10, 000 casualties, it was a hard lesson to learn and was but a prelude to the slaughter that was to come when the two sides met again on the same ground one year later. This time both sides arrived with battle hardened troops. The result was over 18000 casualties.
There are always those little stories to be found in such large scale events. One of the battle sites is referred to as Henry hill. It is named after the farm family that owned he hill before the battle. When the two armies arrived, the 86 year old invalid Judith Henry was unable to leave the farm. She was killed when Union artillery fired on the house, where Confederate snipers were shooting from the second floor window. She and her two children are buried just outside the farm house. Her two children survived the battle and also lived into their eighties.
In the second Manassas battle, the son of the famous statesman Daniel Webster, Colonel Fletcher Webster was killed trying to repulse a Confederate advance. To quote Kurt Vonnegut—“And so it goes”
After the battlefield tour we visited the historic district of the town of Manassas. There did not appear to be much going, but we did learn that taking the train from here to Union Station in D.C. may be the best way to get in and out of D.C. from this general area.