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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 Photo, 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. 38° 48.736′ N, 77° 31.233′ W. Marker is near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can 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 is 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 marker. Lieutenant William P. Mangum (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Colonel Thomas (about 300 feet away); Counterattack (about 300 feet away); Charge on Griffin’s Guns (about 400 feet away); General Barnard Elliott Bee (about 500 feet away); Henry Hill Walking Tour (about 500 feet away); Thomas Jonathan Jackson (about 600 feet away); The Fight for Rickett’s Guns (about 700 feet away); Brigadier General Francis Stebbings Bartow (about 800 feet away); 7th Georgia Markers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
Point-Blank Volley Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
2. Point-Blank Volley Marker
 

 
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a depiction of the overrun battery.
 
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. (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.
 
Union Cannon Face Tree Line on Henry Hill Photo, Click for full size
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
3. Union Cannon Face Tree Line on Henry Hill
 
    — 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. Arthur C. Cummings, 33rd Virginia.
 
Two Cannon, Two Limbers, and the Marker Photo, 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.
 
 
The Manassas National Battlefield Park Visitors Center North of Manassas Photo, Click for full size
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
5. The Manassas National Battlefield Park Visitors Center North of Manassas
 
 
33rd Virginia Attack Photo, 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 Photo, 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 March 4, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,956 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on June 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 4, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   6, 7. submitted on June 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
 
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