DescriptionManassas National Battlefield Park, on SR 234 between I-66 and US 29, marks the site north of the strategically important railroad junction at Manassas where two great battles of the Civil War—the First and Second Battles of Manassas, or Bull Run—were fought.
On July 21, 1861, picnickers and other sightseers observed a well-equipped but ill-trained Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowell as it battled the Confederate Army under Gens. Pierre Beauregard and Joseph Johnston. After 10 hours of deadly fighting it became apparent that this conflict was not going to decide the war, as most had expected. The Union army, finally broken by Confederate forces, was forced to retreat toward Washington, D.C. It was at this battle that Gen. Thomas J. Jackson earned the nickname Stonewall.
When the armies returned to the plains of Manassas in August 1862, they were no longer young recruits in colorful new uniforms. A year of war had hardened both armies and brought the Confederacy to the peak of its power, soon to be realized with the outcome of this battle. The encounter also proved to be a bloody demonstration of Robert E. Lee's genius, as he defeated the larger army of Gen. John Pope in 3 days of fighting.
A walking trail on Henry Hill offers scenic views of the first battlefield. The focal point of the hill is an equestrian statue of Jackson. The Stone House, which served as a field hospital in both battles, is open seasonally. The Brawner Farm Interpretive Center offers various exhibits and multimedia programs.
The Henry Hill Visitor Center has a museum and theater that shows the 45-minute film “Manassas: End of Innocence”; a 3-D map illustrates the strategies of the first battle. Two 5-mile hikes around the battlefield are detailed in a pamphlet available at the visitor center. Various guided tours are offered throughout the year. A CD driving tour of the park also is available for purchase at the visitor center. The route encompasses the main points of the second battle as well as areas involved in both engagements.
Grounds open daily dawn-dusk. Visitor center open daily 8:30-5; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stone House open daily 10-4:30, Memorial Day-Labor Day; Sat.-Sun. 10-4, early Apr.-day before Memorial Day and day after Labor Day-late Oct. (weather permitting). Brawner Farm Interpretive Center open daily 9-5, early Mar.-late Nov. (weather permitting). Phone ahead to confirm hours. Park admission is free. Phone (703) 361-1339 for the visitor center or (703) 754-1861 for the park headquarters.