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.