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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Wartime Manassas

Prelude to First Manassas

 
 
Wartime Manassas - Prelude to First Manassas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
1. Wartime Manassas - Prelude to First Manassas Marker
Inscription. (Preface): During the Civil War, two railroads—the Manassas Gap and the Orange and Alexandria—intersected here. Manassas Junction was strategically important to both the Union and the Confederacy as a supply depot and for military transportation. Two of the war’s great battles were fought nearby. Diaries, letters, and newspaper articles documented the war’s effects on civilians as well as the thousands of soldiers who passed through the junction.

More than 34,000 Confederate soldiers camped on an near this spot during the first months of the Civil War in 1861. Thousands of young men joined local companies throughout the South to fight in what most believed would be a single decisive battle to defend their independence. Those who came here were treated as heroes en route. As the weeks and months crawled by at this once-quiet rural railroad junction, just 27 miles from Washington, the green recruits slowly adjusted to the reality of a soldier’s daily camp life. They filled their letters home with accounts of discomfort and boredom as they eagerly awaited the glory of victory in the great battle still to come.

“About one hour before the brake of day you are interrupted by a loud beating of a base drum which they call revile. You then at once rise & on double quick time drag on your old dust wallowed
Looking West on Prince William Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
2. Looking West on Prince William Avenue
Across the street, to the right, is the Manassas Junction Station. About a half mile further west down the road is the actual juncture of the two railroads.
coat [and start with] the speed of some wild flying fowl for the parade ground to answer your name at roll call. You then proceed to kindle you a fire, then apply your cooking utensils which are near nothing, iron mashed to geather [together]. You take from the pan some burnt biscuit without either salt, flour or water in them & from said kettle you take a little beef’s neck boil[ed] without any water. You then seat your self with four or five of your filthy handed, snot nosed, frisele [frizzle-]headed mess mates. After this is finished about one third are detailed to guard the others & keep them all to wollern [wallowing] in one hole as if they were a parcel of hogs.”
—Letter, Sgt Edmond Stephens to William W. Upshaw, 9th Louisiana Infantry, Nov. 22, 1861.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails, and the Virginia, Wartime Manassas Walking Tour marker series.
 
Location. 38° 44.97′ N, 77° 28.303′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is on Prince William Street near Main Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. At the entrance to the Manassas Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Manassas VA 20110, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Railroad Junction image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
3. Railroad Junction
Not elegant, but non-the-less historic. On the left is the old Manassas Gap Railroad. On the right is what used to be the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. This picture was taken from Stonewall Road, where it crosses into the triangle formed by the junction.
distance of this marker. Manassas 1905 - The Great Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); The Manassas Museum (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 300 feet away); Site of Manassas Junction (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left, the marker has a drawing of camp life, “Once soldiers reached their camps, they had to do their own cooking.” from Frank Leslie’s Weekly, 1863.

The lower center has a drawing of soldiers departing on a train, from Harper’s Weekly, 1861. “[In every town our train arrived] we would find [it] thronged with ladies moving their handkerchiefs, tossing us flowers, and bidding us to be of good cheer and [to] fight like brave fellows.” —Letter, B.C. Cushman, May 16, 1861.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Orange and Alexandria Railroad. A short history of the line. (Submitted on September 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. More on Cooking in the Civil War. (Submitted on September 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,493 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. 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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