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We live about 15 miles from Manassas National Battlefield Park and have been there several times over the past 17 years.  My most recent visit was in March.  I took a few pictures to share with you.  (I should mention that Felisa asked me why I was taking so many pictures when I had already taken a bunch on my previous visit.  What can I say?  I just like taking pictures, even if I already have too many!)

What Happened at Manassas?

The First and Second Battle of Bull Run were fought on the fields near what is now Manassas, Virginia.  Both battles were a victory for the Confederates.  If you are interested in the particulars of the battles, there are summaries at the National Park website and probably many detailed discussions elsewhere. 

I find it interesting to see the various terrains and locations where the war was fought but the specific battle details do not hold my attention.   At the Visitors Center of the park, there is a narrated presentation of the battle and troop movement which you can watch before venturing outside to the field.

battle display at visitors center
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The visitors center features a narrated display of troop movements during the battle.

Displays at the Manassas Battlefield Visitors Center

3-D image of civil war soldiers with the text "I had a dim notion about the 'romance' of a soldier's life. I have bravely go over it since."
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On display in the visitors center

Uniforms On Display

There are several displays inside the park visitors center.  The first one that caught my attention was the various uniforms worn by the different groups of soldiers fighting.

Civil War uniform variations display titled Deceptive Colors, Deadly Confusion tells of the battlefield confusion caused my similarities in uniforms
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There were too many similar uniforms worn by soldiers on both sides to tell clearly who was the enemy.

Medical Treatment Displays

The next display of interest was about medical treatment during the Civil War.  The supplies and equipment available to the doctors were minimal and primitive.  Recuperation and healing were slow. 

One display told how the wives would leave home and go to live at the field hospital to take care of their wounded husbands.  This was probably only for the richer wives I would think (I don’t recall now if it said specifically).  I can’t imagine doing that.

civil war medical doctor bag
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The medical equipment available was minimal and primitive.

I learned even more about Civil War medicine at the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum. If you are also fascinated by wartime medical care, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

The Battlefield

The battlefield itself is just that – a large field. 

What strikes me when I’m visiting the Manassas battlefield is that the battles were fought in July and August.  In Virginia. In the summer. With the humidity.  In wool uniforms. 

I can’t even begin to imagine how miserable it must have been to be marching and fighting in the summer heat.  And the same is true for other battles that were fought in the winter.  That wool uniform is only going to keep you so warm.

The Henry House

Right smack dab in the middle of the battle was the Henry House.  It was damaged extensively during the battles.  There is now a restored building on the site.

Henry House Bull Run Manassas
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The Henry House as it appears today. It was damaged extensively during the battles fought at Bull Run.

Can you imagine a battle raging all around your house?  Civilians were warned to leave in advance but some chose to stay.

Stone House

On the day we were visiting, the Stone House was open.  It’s not open every day so check the schedule before you go. It was my first time visiting the Stone House.  This building was used as a field hospital by Union troops during both battles.

stone house exterior at manassas
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The Stone House at Manassas National Battlefield Park
Stone House field hospital interpretive sign with picture of house during the war
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The Stone House was used by Union troops as a field hospital.
tavern room at stone house manassas
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The Stone House at Manassas was a tavern at one time.
wooden split-rail fence at stone house manassas
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More wooden fences outside the Stone House

Other Things to See When Visiting Manassas Battlefield Park

The Stone Bridge was being renovated and preserved so we didn’t stop to take pictures.  The Brawner Farm was also open for visitors but the teens on our tour had lost interest so we drove by but didn’t get out of the car, instead deciding to call it a morning and head back home for lunch.  I guess that means I have a reason to go back.  I still haven’t seen the Brawner Farm.

Why do I keep coming back to Manassas Battlefield Park?

As I mentioned, I’m not super interested in the details of the battle and troop movements.  And yet I have been to visit this park several times.  Why?  Battle details aside, it’s a nice park to visit.  It’s close to our house so that makes it a convenient destination.  Dogs are allowed on the trails so that means we can bring Rocco too and get him some exercise.  There are several trails in the park to be outside and enjoying nature.  Here’s the view from the trail, looking back at Henry House in the distance.  This trail is an easy walk but be warned – there’s not a lot of shade.  Remember what I said about heat and humidity in the summer in Virginia?  Our favorite times to visit are any season but summer.

wood split-rail fences in the foreground and Henry House at Manassas in the distance
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The Henry House sits off in the distance at Manassas Battlefield

Living History

There are a few living history re-enactments done each year at the battlefield.  I have not seen one at this location but do enjoy the extra real-life details that living history actors add to a visit.  Check the schedule to see when the next one will be.

And now… I leave you with a cannon picture.  The cannon displays are a prominent part of every Civil War battlefield visit!

civil war cannon in field
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It’s not a trip to a Civil War battlefield without some cannons on display.

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Title Image with text Exploring Civil War History at Manassas National Battlefield Park
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The First and Second Battles of Bull Run were fought at what is now Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia.

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