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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

First Contact

First Battle of Manassas

 

—July 21, 1861 - 10 a.m. —

 
First Contact Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 30, 2012
1. First Contact Marker
Inscription. The head of General Irvin McDowell's flanking column reached Matthews Hill shortly after 10 a.m. Progress had been slow. The rookie soldiers frequently broke ranks to rest. Some stopped to pick blackberries. More than 13,000 Union troops lagged behind schedule and strung out for nearly six miles. As the head of the column reached Matthews Hill, the rear of the column was still on the Warrenton Turnpike east of the Stone Bridge.

Upon emerging out of the woods, the Union vanguard collided with Confederate skirmishers atop Matthews Hill ahead. Both sides exchanged brief volleys of musket fire. Soldiers of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry deployed and started across the field toward the crest of the hill. For General McDowell, his chance at surprise was gone. Battle had just begun.

The one mile Matthews Hill Loop Trail begins at the top of the hill ahead of you. The trail follows the opposing Union and Confederate battle lines, and exhibits discuss the opening phase of combat at First Manassas. Hiking time is approximately 45 minutes.
 
Erected by Manassas National Battlefield Park - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 49.592′ N, 77° 32.023′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia
Trail Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 30, 2012
2. Trail Map
, in Prince William County. Marker is on Sudley Road (State Highway 234), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located in the parking lot for the Matthews Hill tour stop. 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. 2nd Rhode Island Infantry (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Matthews Hill (was approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Vision of Victory (was approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing. ); The Fight for Matthews Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); U.S. Infantry Battalion (approx. 0.2 miles away); 4th Alabama Infantry (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Matthew Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); 2nd New Hampshire Infantry (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
Also see . . .  The Seventy-First Regiment. Older marker that stood at this location. (Submitted on August 31, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Alfred R. Waud Sketch of the Battle image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 30, 2012
3. Alfred R. Waud Sketch of the Battle
First Contact Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 30, 2012
4. First Contact Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 450 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 31, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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