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

The Battlefield In 1862

Command and Communications at Lee's Headquarters - Signaling At Stuart's Hill

 

—Stuart's Hill Kiosk —

 
The Battlefield in 1862 - Left Side Panel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 19, 2008
1. The Battlefield in 1862 - Left Side Panel
Inscription. (Left Panel):
The Battlefield in 1862
At the time of the Civil War, the area of the Battlefield was largely agricultural. Fields and pastures alternated with woods, while modest farmsteads and middling plantations dotted the landscape. This rural community became the backdrop for dramatic events in 1862.

Key terrain features influenced the decisions of commanders. Roads and narrow lanes became important corridors for military movement, while the open and gently rolling hills provided room for maneuver. A cleared Brawner Farm afforded space for massing artillery. Nearby, the embankments of an unfinished railroad furnished an excellent defensive position and a geographical focus to the fighting.

(Center Panel):
Command and Communications at Lee's Headquarters
Major B.S. White described Lee's headquarters as located on "...a piece of old fields, grown up with broom-sage, and a good deal of undergrowth and locust trees; looked as if at once time there had been an old residence there - dilapidated, run down, destroyed..."

On August 29, 1862, Confederate General Robert. E. Lee, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, arrived here on Monroe Hill (now known as Stuart's Hill) to assume command of the battle begun the previous evening at Brawner Farm. As he surveyed the fields from
Lee's Headquarters - Center Panel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 19, 2008
2. Lee's Headquarters - Center Panel
this vantage point, he received reports from wing commanders James Longstreet and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

Stuart's Hill provided a central location for Lee with Jackson's men to the left, beyond the Brawner Farm, Longstreet's to the right and the open fields before him. Army headquarters, meanwhile, buzzed with activity. His staff prepared orders and assisted in sorting information coming from messengers, couriers, cavalry, and signalmen. Charles Marshall, an aide, even climbed a tree to increase his range of vision. As Lee pondered his opportunities, his headquarters kept the army in communication and able to respond to orders quickly and efficiently.

(Right Panel):
Signaling at Stuart's Hill
In the midst of battle, members of the Signal Corps provided an invaluable service to the Confederate high command. From signal stations posted on high ground, corpsman transmitted encoded messages by waving flags by day or torches by night. This system of visual signaling, known as wigwagging, allowed a commander to relay orders and information speedily among his widely scattered forces.

During the Second Battle of Manassas, Captains Richard E. Wilbourn and Joseph L. Bartlett operated a signal station on Stuart's Hill. From this commanding vantage point, they provided a vital communication link between Lee's command post here and Stonewall
Signaling at Stuart's Hill - Right Side Panel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 19, 2008
3. Signaling at Stuart's Hill - Right Side Panel
Jackson's headquarters north of the Brawner Farm on Stony Ridge.

"I signaled from General Lee's Headquarters on the Warrenton pike to General Jackson's position across the pike to near some wheat-stacks, bearing nearly north, distant about 2 miles..."
From Captain J.L. Bartlett's report, August 30, 1862.
 
Location. 38° 48.306′ N, 77° 34.197′ W. Marker is near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can be reached from Pageland Lane 32 miles south of Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the Stuart Hill Center, in the western side of Manassas National Battlefield Park. Marker is 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 marker. Stuart's Hill Walking Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle Begins (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dunklin Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Meadowville (approx. 0.3 miles away); Archeology at Brawner Farm (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle Begins (approx. 0.6 miles away); A Stand Up Fight (approx. 0.6 miles away); 19th Indiana Infantry (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker.
The Battlefield Area image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 19, 2008
4. The Battlefield Area
Close up view of the painting from the left side panel. The marker location is indicated by a red arrow on the left.
On the left panel's lower right quadrant is an artist's rendering depicting the ground where the principal actions occurred during the Second Battle of Manassas. From Voices of the Civil War: Second Manassas, Map by Paul Salmon, (c) 1995 Time-Life Books.

In the center panel, on the upper left is a painting of Lee on horseback, captioned, General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, came to the Second Battle of Manassas with the hope of destroying Major General John Pope's Army of Virginia. From the original painting "Lee on Traveller" by Mort Kunstler, (c) 1995 Mort Kunstler, Inc.

On the right panel are portraits of Captain Richard E. Wilbourn and Edward Porter Alexander, who introduced the first Confederate use of flag signals at First Mansassas, July 1861. At the lower right is an Illustration of flag code from Albert J. Myer's Manual of Siganls and items in a signalman's kit, found in Myer's Manual.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Stuart Hill Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 19, 2008
5. The Stuart Hill Kiosk
3 inch Confederate Rifled Cannon image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2007
6. 3 inch Confederate Rifled Cannon
Positioned in front of the kiosk is this 3 inch Confederate iron rifled cannon. The piece is rather rare, likely produced by the Noble Brothers foundry in Rome, Georgia.
View to the North from Stuart's Hill image. Click for full size.
April 1, 2007
7. View to the North from Stuart's Hill
The scene from Stuart's Hill, a panoramic vantage afforded Robert E. Lee during the second battle, is overgrown. However, a narrow corridor has been cleared to provide the effect of the vista northward to Brawner Farm.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,151 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   7. submitted on . This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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