The Third Battle of Manassas

Ann Hills recounts the development proposals on an American Civil War battlefield site

Manassas, twenty-six miles west of Washington DC, was a battlefield twice during the American Civil War. In July 1861 the Confederates won and the Union forces fled towards Washington. Killed and wounded totalled 3,500. The second battle, in late August 1862, was among General Robert E. Lee's greatest victories. He won with his 55,000 men against the 70,000 Federal troops, but at huge cost: 10,000 Federal and 9,000 Confederate soldiers were dead or wounded. The South was at its highwater mark and Lee was ready for his invasion of the North – the Antietam Campaign.

Today the wide open spaces around a visitor centre are reminders of the carnage. Amid gun carriages, memorials, rebuilt farmhouses on the rolling plain, is a statue of 'Stonewall' Jackson, whose name passed into the dictionary from the first battle (commonly referred to as Bull Run by Yankees). In an exhibition is the jacket worn by Charles Robert Norris who died, aged seventeen, on July 21st, 1861, leading his company as part of Jackson's brigade line on Henry Hill, and quoted as saying 'come on boys, quick, we can whip them'. His body was found by his brother the next day.

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