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Near Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Point-Blank Volley

An Officer’s Error?

 

—First Battle of Manassas —

 
Point-Blank Volley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 4, 2008
1. Point-Blank Volley Marker
Inscription. In clear view of artillerymen here, Confederates lined up at the fence and trees across the open field. The two cannon and supporting infantry could have stopped the Rebels cold, yet the four hundred charging Virginians were able to fire a musket volley at such close range that they virtually wiped out the Union gun crews. Congressional inquiries failed to clear up the mystery: how did the Confederates manage to get that close?

Though the 33rd Virginia captured these guns, the battle was far from over. New York infantry were marching up from Sudley Road to counterattack.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 48.736′ N, 77° 31.233′ W. Marker was near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker could be reached from Sudley Road (Virginia Route 234) 0.6 miles south of Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. The marker is one of the waysides along the Henry House Hill trail, which starts at the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center. Marker was in this post office area: Manassas VA 20109, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Point Blank Volley (here, next to this marker); Lieutenant William P. Mangum
Point-Blank Volley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
2. Point-Blank Volley Marker
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Colonel Thomas (about 300 feet away); Final Struggle (about 300 feet away); Defeat and Disarray (about 300 feet away); Turning the Tide (about 400 feet away); General Barnard Elliott Bee (about 500 feet away); Henry Hill (about 500 feet away); Thomas Jonathan Jackson (about 600 feet away); Artillery Duel (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a depiction of the overrun battery.

This marker was replaced by a new one also named Point-Blank Volley (see nearby markers).
 
Regarding Point-Blank Volley. “First Bull Run was a first battle—a major engagement after a prolonged period of peace. For some it constitutes a metaphor of the price paid for military unpreparedness.” —John S. Brown, Brigadier General, USA, 2003.
 
Also see . . .
1. Civil War Artillery Equipment
Union Cannon Face Tree Line on Henry Hill image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
3. Union Cannon Face Tree Line on Henry Hill
. (Submitted on March 4, 2007.)
2. First Bull Run, An Overview. From the 2004 Battle of First Bull Run by Ted Ballard, Center of Military History, United States Army. (Submitted on March 4, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Griffin's Guns
The two guns located at this point of the battlefield were a section of Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery, commanded by Captain Charles Griffin. Also known as "The West Point Battery, it was armed with four 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott Rifles and two 12-pounder Field Howitzers. The section consisting of the two 12-pounder Howitzers was advanced to the right end of the Federal line.

Today two 12-pounder Model 1841 Field Howitzers mark the location of this section on the battlefield. The two cannon were both cast by Cyrus Alger, in Boston.
    — Submitted June 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

 
Additional keywords. First Battle of Bull Run. 1st Bull Run. 1st Manassas. Ricketts’ cannon, Rickett's cannon, Ricketts' cannon, Captain J. B. Ricketts, Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery, commanded by Capt. Charles Griffin. Confederate Col.
Two Cannon, Two Limbers, and the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
4. Two Cannon, Two Limbers, and the Marker
Limbers are two-wheeled ammunition carriages. During transport they are hooked to the two-wheeled carriage holding the cannon, forming a four-wheel cart that pivots between the axles, with the cannoneers using the ammunition chest as a seat. Limbers can also haul caissons (not shown) instead of cannon. Caissons hold additional ammunition chests.
Arthur C. Cummings, 33rd Virginia.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Manassas National Battlefield Park Visitors Center North of Manassas image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
5. The Manassas National Battlefield Park Visitors Center North of Manassas
33rd Virginia Attack image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 4, 2008
6. 33rd Virginia Attack
The 33rd Virginia approached the guns from the low ground in front of the battery (the background here).
View from Griffin's Guns image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 4, 2008
7. View from Griffin's Guns
Looking down one of the 12-pounder Howitzers. The Confederate batteries and infantry that Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery was engaged stood on the far side of the field, near the distant tree line. The 33rd Virginia attacked from the right of this view.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,270 times since then and 96 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   6, 7. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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