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

Wartime Manassas

“Fortifications of Immense Strength”

 
 
Orange and Alexandria Locomotive image. Click for full size.
1. Orange and Alexandria Locomotive
Caption reads The Manassas water tower occupies the site of the earthwork shown in this 1862 photograph of a U.S. Military Railroad locomotive on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad line. — Courtesy Library of Congress
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.

Early in May 1861, Col. Philip St. George Cocke arrived here to refine plans for the fortification of Manassas Junction, which had already begun. Confederate president Jefferson Davis had directed Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, the “Hero of Fort Sumter,” to take command of the forces here and direct the construction of the fortifications. In three months, thirteen earthwork forts, numerous rifle pits, and a network of connecting trenches were built to protect the railroad and the army’s base surrounding the junction.

“Spades and pickaxes [were] so disgustingly plentiful that the mere sight of them was enough to send men to the hospital.” —Diary of Henry C. Monier, 10th Louisiana Infantry

“I frequently strolled down to the Junction, to watch the progress of our preparations. A large redoubt about half a mile long, and
Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
2. Map on Marker
Click to enlarge. Caption reads: Map, 1862, showing Confederate fortifications near the junction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad with the Branch Military Railroad to Centreville. Old Town Manassas now covers most of these sites. Mayfield, the only remaining fort, is part of the Manassas Museum System and is featured on the driving tour.
a quarter wide had been erected. It was at least ten feet high, and as many wide on top, with a large ditch in front. ... There were several smaller batteries placed in front on elevations, and the works altogether seemed formidable enough o protect the depot and stores, should the enemy penetrate so far.”
—“An English Combatant” describing Manassas Junction about June 1861

“The sound of the spade and axe handled by individuals who never before dreamed of becoming experienced in an art so extremely fatiguing and unprofitable. Among those becoming experienced in the use of the spade you might find your humble sevt.” —Letter, Charles I. Batchelor, Atchafalaya Guard, Louisiana. to Albert Batchelor, Oct. 10, 1861

 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Manassas Gap Railroad, the Virginia Civil War Trails, and the Virginia, Wartime Manassas Walking Tour marker series.
 
Location. 38° 45.005′ N, 77° 28.385′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker is on West Street south of Center Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. It is at the railroad station which is served by both Amtrak and the Virginia Railway Express (www.vre.org). Marker is in this post office area: Manassas VA 20110, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Wartime Manassas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, November 19, 2012
3. Wartime Manassas Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Wartime Manassas ( within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas ( within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Manassas Junction ( within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas ( about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 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); Opera House ( about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
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 . . .  Fortifications at Manassas Junction. Rather detailed breakdown based on maps and photographs. (Submitted on September 13, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
The Marker Beside the Train Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
4. The Marker Beside the Train Station
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 19, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,216 times since then and 50 times this year. Last updated on September 12, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. Photos:   1. submitted on November 19, 2006.   2. submitted on November 19, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   3. submitted on December 9, 2012, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   4. submitted on September 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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