America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Train Wreck Bristoe Station 1862

Battles of Bristoe Station, Virginia

You could say they liked it so much, they came back to battle twice. The Battle of Bristoe Station, Kettle Run, in 1862, part of the Battle for Manassas Junction Operations, and the Battle of Bristoe Station in 1863, its more major cousin, were in that way akin to the two battles at Manassas itself. That's about all the similarities as neither battle was significant in the way the Battles at Bull Run were. For the most part, they were battles that had to do with controlling the railroad systems in the area, which, in many parts, were destroyed by these actions. The worst part of these battles today, however, are how poorly they have been preserved. Despite the efforts of the Battlefield Trust and others to save some land which can be visited, the developers won most of that battle in 2021 and built homes right over top one thousand five hundred acres of the battlefield. Photo above: Train wreck during the 1st Battle of Bristoe Station, Battle at Manassas Station, on August 26, 1862, 1862, unknown author. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Bristoe Station

Bristoe Station, Virginia

Before we get too demoralized by the preservation loss, let's try to focus on the preservation positive. Two hundred and eighty-six acres of the battlefield was preserved by the Battlefield Trust, aka the Civil War Trust, and there is now a County Park which has trails and interpretive waysides. It's not what any Civil War historian or fan would like, but they do hold programs during anniversary weeks and some weekends from May to October so that the public can not only learn what happened during these two battles on the preserved land, but the McMansion lands as well. Sorry, I realize I'm writing a bit snippy here, so let's get back to the battles.

Image above: Trailhead and signage at the Bristoe Station Battlefield Park for the 1863 battle, 2022, America's Best History. Below: Montage of (left) Union General Gouverneur Kemble Warren, unknown date and author; and (right) Brigadier General Alexander S. Webb, 1860/1865, Brady National Photographic Art Gallery. Both courtesy Library of Congress via Wikipedia Commons.

General Alexander S. Webb

Where Is It

Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park is located just off Bristow Road (Brentsville Road on old maps), Route 619, turning south onto Iron Bridge Unit Avenue, then left onto Tenth Alabama Way. You will be traveling through a development until you reach the parking lot for the one hundred and forty acre park. Your GPS ought to be able to direct you to the park.

Minute Walk in History

Take a walk over the land where the two battles of Bristoe Station occurred, narrated by the official 1863 battle report of Union General Gouverneur K. Warren. His words are a fascinating addition to the parkland that we walked about, which include the waysides for both 1862 and 1863, with walking trails for both, as well as a winter quarters cabin.

What is There Now

Bristoe Station

One hundred and forty acres of Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, run by the county. There are trails, picnic tables, and waysides, but no restrooms or Visitor Center. One of its best traits, however, is the interpretive walks given from May to October, as of 2022, on the second and fourth weekends of the month at 11:00 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. These times are certainly subject to change.

If you're there outside the guided walk times, there are 2.7 miles of trails that lead you to the railroad area, the Alabama Cemetery, and the Robertson Cemetery, amongst other sites.

More land has also been preserved by the Battlefield Trust, as of 2022, three hundred and nine acres have been saved. There are plans for more preservation. Some of this land is to the north of Bristoe Road just past the railroad cut, but not included in the park.

There is a mobile tour of the area available at the battlefield park website listed below.

When Open and How Much

The grounds of the battefield are open dawn to dusk. There is no charge.

Fees and hours are subject to change.

Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park
Bristoe Station, Battlefield Trust

History Nearby

There is so much history within one day's drive of the Bristoe Station area that it's hard to mention all of them. Well, first, there's Manassas National Battlefield, not far up the road, and not far away will be the new Culpeper Battlefield State Park. And that's leaving out a whole lot more.

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