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Picture drawn by my Grandmother Agnes Webster in 1990
 
When the Civil War began April of 1861, Confederate soldiers were recruited on the Brentsville Courthouse lawn. At least five original structures survived the war. The Courthouse, Jail, Church, Log Cabin, and The White House, which several of the buildings are rumored to have had recent ghost spottings. Both Union General Irvin McDowell and and Confederate General J.T. Beauregard recognized the importance of the town’s location at the junction of the Alexandria and Orange and Manassas Gap Railroads. By capturing the Manassas railroad junction, the Union would take possession of the best overland route to Richmond, the Confederate capital. The Confederacy was prepared to defend the junction, at all costs. Confederate soldiers, under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Thomas Johnathan (Stonewall) Jackson marched to the site of the battle through Thoroughfare Gap, a gap in the Bull Run Mountains, five miles north of historic Haymarket.The battle broke out on the grounds of the McLean Farm, on Route 28 near present-day Yorkshire Market, the home of Confederate sympathizer Wilmer McLean, who offered Beauregard use of his house as a headquarters for the battle that was fast approaching. Entering with a light-hearted attitude and a romanticized view of war, both sides realized that the war would not end quickly after smoke from the last cannons settled along the shores of the Bull Run Creek. Five thousand soldiers lost their lives in the First Battle of Manassas, the first major battle of the Civil War. Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent a telegraph to Richmond saying, "Night has closed upon a hard-fought field, our forces have won a glorious victory." Trace the footsteps of the soldiers who fought in this monumental battle at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Wander the haunting fields, where Thomas Jackson earned the nickname "Stonewall" and where the Confederate soldiers won their first victory and forced the Union army to retreat to Washington.Just thirteen months later, the Blue and Grey armies again clashed in Prince William County. Although the Confederacy had won the victory the previous year, the Union army remained a constant presence and threat. The town of Brentsville was frequently raided by Union troops for supplies for use at Bristoe Station, west of Old Town Manassas on Route 28. Here at Bristoe Station, "Stonewall" Jackson’s army surprised and captured General John Pope’s Union troops on August 24, 1862. The Confederates destroyed the Broad Run bridge and cut telegraph wires, severing the Union lines of communication and supply with Washington, D.C.Confederate forces then marched onward, as before, through Thoroughfare Gap to the familiar ground of the First Battle of Manassas. Under the command of "Stonewall" Jackson, they lay in wait behind an unfinished railroad grade. The Confederate troops surprised the Union troops who, under Pope’s command, were marching towards Centreville. The Second Battle of Manassas had begun. In the months that had passed since the first battle, the town of Manassas had grown into a huge storehouse of goods. The Second Battle of Manassas was four times larger than the first battle, with 120,000 men fighting for two and a half days. Nearly 24,000 soldiers were killed or wounded here in the rolling Virginia countryside.In both the First and Second Battles of Manassas, the Ben Lomond Manor House was used as a hospital by soldiers from both sides. Built in 1837, the walls bear the authentic signatures of Union soldiers. Today, the largest collection of antique roses adorn the grounds of this manor home.The losses suffered by the North and the South in Prince William County were heavy, but the clash of the two sides gave life to a new city, Manassas. The Confederate Cemetery, Center Street in Manassas, bears witness to the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. The cemetery features a statue of a Confederate soldier under which a majority of the soldiers are buried. The Manassas Public Library has a list of those buried in the Cemetery.Both battles are commemorated annually here with events being held at various war sites. Activities and demonstrations vary annually.
 
 


 
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