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

Opening Shots

“Look Out for Your Left!”

 

—First Battle of Manassas —

 
Opening Shots Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 12, 2008
1. Opening Shots Marker
Inscription. Confederates were spread out along this ridge - 1100 men commanded by Col. Nathan "Shanks" Evans. At first light, Federals east of Stone Bridge sent a cannon shell screaming overhead. Skirmishers from both sides opened a sporadic musket fire.

After two hours Colonel Evans became suspicious; no Federal attack had developed. Then an officer flagged a message from the signal post near Manassas Junction: "Look out for your left! You are turned!"

Leaving a small force here to guard the bridge, Evans shifted his badly outnumbered troops toward Matthews Hill, a mile west. There he hoped to blunt the Federal flank attack.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 49.399′ N, 77° 30.622′ W. Marker was near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker could be reached from Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located in the Manassas National Battlefield Park, along the Stone Bridge Trail loop. Marker was in this post office area: Manassas VA 20109, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. 4th South Carolina Infantry (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Opening Shots (a few steps
Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 12, 2008
2. Battle Map
Note the north seeking arrow pointed to the left.
from this marker); Farm Ford (approx. 0.3 miles away); Stone Bridge (approx. 0.4 miles away but has been reported missing); Union Retreat (approx. 0.4 miles away); Strategic Crossing (approx. 0.4 miles away); Robinson House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Outnumbered (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. On the lower right is a drawing depicting A large Parrott cannon fires the first shot of the battle. In the upper right is a map illustrating the tactical situation described in the text. Union commander Irvin McDowell's plan was to outflank the Confederate left with a swift, coordinated attack via Sudley Ford, while maintaining the diversion at Stone Bridge.

This marker was replaced by a new one also named Opening Shots (see nearby markers).
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Opening Shots Marker Trail Stop image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 12, 2008
3. Opening Shots Marker Trail Stop
Van Pelt House Site image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 12, 2008
4. Van Pelt House Site
Just to the north of the marker is the site of the Van Pelt House. From this vantage point, Evans' brigade could oppose any movement down the Warrenton Turnpike.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,024 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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