Walking across the very ground where so many men fell 150 years ago to the day was a sobering and reflective experience. Even with all the tourists around me, I found myself lost in time as I explored Henry Hill and looked out over Matthews Hill. I actually felt a deep sense of sadness as I walked over the hard-fought ground around Captain Charles Griffin's Union battery. I have been to Manassas before; visiting on such an anniversary brings new meaning to the experience.
|Morning on Henry Hill, looking towards the famous Rambo-like statue of "Stonewall" Jackson.|
|Reenactors hanging out in front of the Henry House. The Henry Hill Monument, erected in 1865 by Union veterans, sits in the background.|
|Looking past the Stone House to Matthews Hill, site of the first phase of the battle.|
|Looking towards the two-gun contingent of Griffin's Battery from the vantage point of the 33rd Virginia Infantry, part of what would become known as the "Stonewall" Brigade.|
|Governor McDonnell of Virginia addresses the crowd.|
|Dr. Ayers speaks about the history surrounding the Battle of First Manassas.|
The event was quite the social occasion as well. I was able to catch up with some friends, such as writer and local historian William Connery, a.k.a. "the History Guy." I also had the opportunity to meet in person some of my fellow bloggers, including Robert Moore, Mannie Gentile, John Hoptak, and Scott Patchan. I really had an enlightening time chatting with such knowledgeable individuals about the Civil War. (And in the case of Robert, about World War I, too!)
|A living history camp area has been established on the grounds of Henry Hill. Visitors can see what camp life was like, minus the outhouses!|
|Living history reenactors portraying U.S. Marines drill in front of the Henry House. The Marine Corps also has a display on the grounds of the house detailing its interesting and little-known involvement in the Battle of First Manassas. The National Park Service recently erected a marker on Henry Hill about the "Marines of '61."|
After about five hours, I called it a day, and am still wondering where I got the burst of energy to do this post. On Saturday I will be attending the reenactment and possibly a few other events. I look forward to sharing additional thoughts. Until then, keep cool.
**For more information on the 150th Commemoration, visit the website of the Manassas National Battlefield Park.