Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A walk across Manassas Civil War Battlefield

Gregg and I are determined to get a good walk into our daily routine.  Today we went over to Manassas Battlefield.  We wanted to go just before sunset and at around 4.45 p.m. we set out. Even though it wasn't that deep, tramping across a snow-covered field is certainly good exercise. 

It got up to the low 50s today and there are patches of grass showing, as well as wide areas in the distance where a lot of snow has melted.  But where we walked our footsteps were sinking into a two inch layer of snow.  Even though it wasn't very deep it seemed easier to step on the fresh snow than trying to put our feet into other people's footsteps where it was now getting icy.  

The first place I stopped was at Stonewall Jackson's Statue.  There is a famous line that I have heard many times, supposedly uttered by Confederate General  Bernard Bee,  "Look men, there stands Jackson, like a stone wall."  Hence the nickname Stonewall Jackson. For Civil War history buffs you can learn all about him here.  The horse he sits on is called Little Sorrel.  Hard to imagine the terrible battle that took place in 1861.  For anyone who wants to learn more you can find further information here.

Gregg headed towards the Henry House with his camera and I told him I would catch up.  After I had taken several photos of the statue, I walked over to the cannons.  

The sun was getting low in the sky.  It was a lovely sunset.  

I joined Gregg near the old Henry grave-site and pondered what it must have been like all those years ago.  There is a marker near the house.  It reads: 

"Invaded Farmland - The morning of the battle was hot and still.  Except for a few details the scene mirrored towards pastoral landscape.  Fields lay fallow, overgrown with tall grass.  

Around the Henry house grew rose bushes and a small peach orchard.  Eighty five year old Judith Henry was inside, bedridden, too old to work the farm that had been in her family for more than a century.

(This is a photo I took of the house on the historical marker.)

The Henry house as it appeared just after the battle, riddled with bullets and cannon-fire. Mrs. Henry had insisted on remaining at her house. That afternoon she was killed by an artillery shell meant for sharpshooters firing from her windows (Judith Henry's grave and inscribed headstone are in the cemetery nearby.)

At ten o'clock Confederate cannon rumbled into position on the rise 100 yards ahead.  

Their artillerists turned their guns towards Matthews Hill."

So peaceful now, everywhere is serene and Gregg and I are the only people on this hill.  We have been coming here for as long as we've lived in the area, over 20 years now.  

We took a few more photos and headed back to the car.

As I often keep a look out for deer on our walks and without any success so far, I said that I didn't think we were going to see any deer that night. Gregg replied the evening isn't over yet, and no sooner were the words out of his mouth, he looked up and smiled.  I followed his gaze and smiled also.  

We had to walk towards them as they were near the parking lot.  They eventually saw us coming and moved away.  

We saw another family of deer.  

What a great end to an evening walk, lovely scenery, snow but not too much, sunset, deer.  The air was fresh but it wasn't bone-chillingly cold, I didn't have to wear my gloves tonight.  I looked back at her house and said goodnight to Mrs. Henry.  

   Forever hopeful.  
Love and Peace to All.


  1. Wonderful post, I enjoyed the battlefield photos and the sunset is just gorgeous. The deer were an added bonus, they are so cute. Great series, Denise. Have a happy day!

  2. how beautiful; glad you got to see the deer. Made that walk finale extra special

  3. J'adore...merveilleuse promenade...joli reportage!
    Superbes prises de vue.
    Have a nice day!

  4. I loved the picture of the house with the sun setting in the window. The image clearly says the sun is setting on this tragedy.

    Deer often graze in my front yard but I never tire of seeing them. Your pictures capture them perfectly.

    Thank you for an insightful and poetic look at the battleground.

  5. A battlefield beautifully preserved.

  6. Great to have the place to yourselves . This place seems to be beautiful but drenched in sadness . . .
    so glad you got to see the deer.

  7. Beautiful shots of the deer and statue. I can't imagine having a war battle played out in my very front yard...much less being so old and feeble that I could not get away to a safe place. Such a sad time in our history.

  8. How beautiful. I love the scenery as well as those deer.

  9. What a delightful walk, informative post, and beautiful pictures. I'm so glad I popped in for a visit this morning! Have a wonderful day.

  10. What a beautiful post.
    We need to understand our past.
    I love how the deer visited you!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

  11. Stunning shots Denise.You have captured an air of melancholy that perhaps wouldn't have been there during the daytime.
    Jane x

  12. the light in these is awesome. so beautiful and peaceful a scene (now). loved the deer.

  13. Denise, these photographs are absolutely gorgeous!

    And being a HUGE sunset lover, the ones of the sunset really moved me. The colors you captured are magnificent! Especially loved the ones of the sunset reflected in the window, and the sunset view behind the cabin.

    LOVE the deer shots as well!

  14. Good idea to go for a walk every day. You sure got some great shots. Beautiful light in your photos, and the deer are so sweet!

  15. Gorgeous shots. What an amazing place!

  16. Oh my...I'll keep this quiet and on the hush hush...My dear husband is a Civil War Buff, he'd just ogle your images and wish he was there!!!

    By the way, did you know that if a statue [don't know if it just pertains to Civil War] of a man on a horse, if one leg is up...the soldier was wounded, two feet up, he was killed in action...all four feet of the horse ---the soldier survived the war.

  17. A beautiful, albeit melancholy place. The deer families would have lifted my spirits. Thank you.

  18. Poor Mrs. Henry.

    This seems like a lovely place for an evening walk. Nice photos.

  19. What beautiful images, and fascinating information too.

  20. Great sunsets! I like the reflection you got in the window.

  21. A lovely post -- sadness (but so important to remember) followed by the lovely sky and deer .... and hope!

  22. Beautiful series of shots Denise, especially the sunsets and deer family. Interesting story as well about the house. Now, we have another site to visit on a return trip.

  23. love the sun on the statue of the horse.

  24. What a great trip! You know I loved the wildlife photos best, but that old farmhouse was really something. My dad would love this place; he collects Civil War artifacts and is completely obsessed with that war. Thank you for the tour!

  25. I always wanted to visit the Civil War battlefields, but never have gotten to do that.

  26. I wonder what the deer make of the statue and the cannons...

    Wonderful post, Denise. Manassas or Bull Run as I tend to think of it is a battlefield I must see for myself some day. I've got a particular interest in the Civil War.

    General Jackson's an amazing commander. I've always thought that the combination of Lee, Longstreet, and Jackson was one of the most formidable military commands of all time.

  27. Your photos and commentary are both delightful. I would love to be able to walk Manassas, especially late in the day when no one was around. That would make it easier to hear the voices of the soldiers who fought there.

  28. A wonderful series of photos! The first part is very interesting and the others are also so beautiful and lovely! Gorgeous!

  29. I just love all your photos, but especially those sunset ones. Wow! Thank you for sharing this park with us. I enjoyed walking with you.