Things You Should Not Miss
1. Pay the additional fee and see the Manassas: Age of Innocence film. It covers the subject of both battles of Bull Run and the Civil War. It is 45 minutes long and shown on the hour.
2. Take the Second Manassas driving tour. With or
audio CD (fee), the tour of the larger and more comprehensive 2nd
battle helps the visitor understand the scope of battle.
the First Battle, there had been 50,000 troops on the field and 4,878
casualties killed, wounded and missing; during the Second Battle,
112,000 troops on the field and 18,300 (approx.) casualties killed,
wounded, and missing.
Ruins of the Stone Bridge after the 1st Battle of Bull Run. Photo by Alexander Gardner. Source: U.S. Archives.
What is There Now
Henry Hill Visitor Center
The main Visitor Center for Manassas National Battlefield Park is situated off Sudley Road. You can view the park film, The End of Innocence, at the center, check into the ranger guided tours for the day (available spring to fall), and check out exhibits, including the electronic battle map, on the battles. There is also the Henry Hill Loop Trail nearby, which is self-guided and one mile long. This trail predominantly covers sites of the 1st Battle of Bull Run.
Twice engulfed in battle, the Stone House is open on weekends with guided tours and other programs.
There are a variety of walking trails through Manassas National Battlefield Park. Beyond the Henry Hill Loop Trail near the visitor center, two longer trails cover each battle; the First Manassas Trail is 5.4 miles long and the Second Manassas Trail is 6.2 miles long. Interpretive trails at specific spots on the battlefield are also great for hikers and Civil War visitors at the Brawner Farm, Chinn Ridge, Matthews Hill, Stone Bridge, and the Unfinished Railroad.
President Abraham Lincoln
Photo Source: U.S. National Archives
Lodging and Camping
There is no lodging or camping within Manassas, although there are plenty of motels, hotels, and other choices within the Route 66 corridor toward Washington, D.C. For campers, there is Bull Run Regional Park nearby, as well as Prince William Forest Park.
Nearby AttractionsWashington, D.C. National Mall and Memorial Parks NHS
Monocacy National Battlefield
Antietam National Battlefield
Washington D.C. Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Maryland Office of Tourism
Manassas Then and Now
|1st Battle of Bull Run -
With General Irvin McDowell appointed by Lincoln to head the Union
troops of the Army of Northeastern Virginia, and given orders to gain
quick victory. The Confederates were too close to the city,
a line stationed barely twenty-five miles away. McDowell
attack them with two columns while Patterson prevented reinforcements
from the Shenandoah. McDowell began his movement early on
21, 1861 toward Sudley Springs and the Stone Bridge. It had
success, but through the effort of Stonewall Jackson during the
afternoon, the tide of the 1st Battle of Manassas began to turn.
When Union guns were captured, it turned to Confederate
advantage, and the last Union troops retreated from Henry House Hill at
4 o'clock. Meanwhile, Confederate reinforcement from the
Shenandoah and Johnston's command came into play, defeating Union
forces on Chinn Ridge. The Union retreat became panic as they
crossed the Bull Run, joining the fleeing civilians who had come to
witness the battle.
Between the two battles, fear gripped the citizens of Washington as they feared a campaign against the city, but Confederate forces did not pursue that strategy. General McDowell was given credit for the defeat and replaced by General George B. McClellan following the battle.
Over the next year, federal forces would come back to the area. In the photo above, Union cavalry at Sudley Ford in March 1862. George Bernard photo. Source: LOC.
2nd Battle of Bull Run- Fought from August 28 to August 30, 1862, the Second Battle of Manassas was much larger than its predecessor. It was precipitated by the capture of the Union supply depot there by Stonewall Jackson. On the 28th of the month, multiple attacks were launched by Confederate commanders under the overall command of General Robert E. Lee; Jackson at Brawner's farm (stalemate) and Longstreet at Thoroughfare Gap (success). General Pope, now commanding the Union Army after McClellan's firing due to the failure of the Peninsula Campaign, attacked Jackson's position the next day, but gained no ground. When Longstreet arrived on Jackson's right, unknown to Pope, the next day's attack by Union forces failed, causing a retreat that harkened back to that of the 1st Battle of Bull Run, although action in the rear of the Union Army restored order prior to the same level of disorder of 1861.
|Manassas National Battlefield
- Visiting Manassas will give you an appreciation for the beginning of
the Civil War and the sacrifices that were taken way back in 1861 and
1862 to guarantee our freedom while keeping the soverignty of our
entire nation intact. Although the park at Manassas has
surrounded by the enroaching suburbs of Washington, D.C., you can still
feel the impact of the two Battles of Bull Run that shaped the Civil
War and the nation. Through guided walks, talks, films, and
living history, all on the actual ground where the soldiers fought, a
visit to Manassas today will go a long way to helping you understand
where the nation was fought for and allowed to endure. (Photo
above) Reenactors show a firing demonstration. NPS.