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Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Wartime Manassas

Confederates Withdraw to Richmond

 
 
Confederates Withdraw to Richmond Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
1. Confederates Withdraw to Richmond Marker
Inscription. 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 thousand of soldiers who passed through the junction.

You are standing in the midst of what was a smoking ruin in March 1962. By mid-February, as the Union threat to Richmond mounted, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had ordered Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to withdraw his forces from northern Virginia to defend the capital. Johnston began the monumentally difficult task on February 23.

For some time, Johnston had begged the Confederate quartermaster office to reduce the volume of supplies shipped here, but they continued to pile up. Huge numbers of boxes and trunks of food, clothing, and personal items jammed the junction's sidings. The Orange and Alexandria Railroad laid a mile-long double track to accommodate all the loaded boxcars and also built several freight storage sheds.

When Johnston began the first large-scale military withdrawal of the war, mud-choked roads and lack of wagons forced him to rely on the railroads.
Confederates Withdraw to Richmond Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
2. Confederates Withdraw to Richmond Marker
The lack of boxcars, the limited capacity of the lines, and the panicking civilian population made it impossible to remove all the supplies. The last Confederate soldiers withdrew from Manassas Junction on March 9, burning more than a million pounds of provisions, tearing up track, and destroying railroad bridges over the Shenandoah and Rappahannock Rivers.

“A column of smoke indicates that Manassas was on fire. The large machine shops, the station houses, the commissary, and the quartermaster's store houses all in ashes. On the track stood the wreck of a locomotive, and not far down the remains of four freight cars which had been bombed. To the right five-hundred barrels of flour had been stove in, and two hundred barrels of vinegar and molasses had been allowed to try experiments in chemical combination. Some fifty pounds of pork and beef had been scattered around in the mud, and a few hundred yards down the track dense clouds of smoke were rising from the remains of a factory [for] rendering of tallow and boiling bones.” —Philadelphia Enquirer reporter, March 11, 1862
 
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° 
Marker in Front of Old Town Hall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
3. Marker in Front of Old Town Hall
45.068′ N, 77° 28.246′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Center Street (Virginia Route 28) and East Street, on the right when traveling east on Center Street. Click for map. 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 distance of this marker. Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm – 1909 (a few steps from this marker); Harry J. Parrish (a few steps from this marker); Defenses of Manassas (within shouting distance of this marker); Manassas 1906 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 300 feet away); Opera House (about 400 feet away); Manassas Presbyterian Church (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. One in the series of Wartime Manassas Virginia Civil War Trails Marker.
 
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. Manassas, Va. Orange and Alexandria Railroad wrecked by retreating Confederates. Photograph used in the marker. (Submitted on August 22, 2006.) 

2. Manassas Junction. Photograph of denuded area near tracks from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War (Submitted on August 24, 2006.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,783 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   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 September 23, 2016.
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