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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 This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. 38° 49.399′ N, 77° 30.622′ W. Marker is near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can be reached from Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in the Manassas National Battlefield Park, along the Stone Bridge Trail loop. 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 location. 4th South Carolina Infantry ( here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Opening Shots ( a few steps from this marker); The Van Pelt House
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.
( about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Farm Ford ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Stone Bridge (was 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). Touch for a list and map 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 was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 30, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,056 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 30, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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