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

Occupation or Liberation

 
 
Occupation or Liberation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 30, 2019
1. Occupation or Liberation Marker
Inscription.  Eight months after their victory at the First Battle of Manassas (five miles north of here), the Confederates abandoned Manassas Junction, burning more than a million pounds of provisions and destroying the railroad line as they left. Days later, the Union army arrived. A reporter for Harper's Weekly wrote:
The sight here cannot be portrayed; the large machine shops, the station-houses, the Commissary and Quartermaster store-houses, all in ashes. On the track stood the wreck of a locomotive, and was not far down the remains of four freight cars which had been burned...
— Harper's Weekly, March 29, 1862

Most local residents saw the Union troops as hostile invaders—objects of fear and loathing. But many enslaved people saw in the Union army the promise of freedom. Over the coming months, thousands of enslaved people from Prince William and nearby counties fled into Union lines. Soldiers called these people "contrabands."

Contrabands are coming in freely. Today I counted twelve...coming down the track of the Orange and Alexandria Railway, each with a little
Occupation or Liberation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 30, 2019
2. Occupation or Liberation Marker
bundle sling on a stick over his shoulder. Over $15,000 worth of property walking on its own hook!

— A soldier of the 21st New York, April 15, 1862

[Captions:]
This dramatic photograph shows the ruins of Manassas Junction in the spring of 1862, destroyed by the Confederate Army when it fell back towards Richmond.
— Courtesy of the Library of Congress


These striking images tell us two very different stories experienced by area residents during the war. In the photo on the left, a white family prepares to leave their home in Centreville before the advancing Union Army. In the sketch above, enslaved people took the opportunity to come into Union lines seeking freedom.
— Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Union Officer's sword and scabbard, retrieved from the battlefield after the Battle of Second Manassas, August, 1862.
— Photograph by Don Flory
Manassas Museum Collection

 
Erected by City of Manassas, Virginia.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Orange and Alexandria Railroad marker series.
 
Location. 38° 44.97′ N, 77° 28.337′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection
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of Prince William Street and Battle Street, on the right when traveling east on Prince William Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9101 Prince William Street, Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wartime Manassas (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Manassas Junction (within shouting distance of this marker); War on the Landscape (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 300 feet away); Manassas 1905 - The Great Fire (about 300 feet away); Manassas (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
Categories. African AmericansRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 

More. Search the internet for Occupation or Liberation.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 30, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 44 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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