Friday, July 22, 2011

Henry House

Henry House marker G-15 at First Manassas BattlefieldPrince William County, VA
Marker No. G-15

Marker Text: These are the grounds of the Henry House, where occurred the main action of the First Battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, and the closing scene of the Second Battle of Manassas, August 30, 1862.

Location: On U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway, formerly the Warrenton Turnpike) north of VA Route 234 (Sudley Road, on the left when traveling southwest, north of the Manassas National Battlefield Park’s Stone House parking lot. Grouped with three other markers C-44 (First Battle of Manassas); C-34 (First Battle of Manassas); and G-16 (James Robinson House). Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1935.

Henry House marker No. G-15 (Click any photo to enlarge)  Throughout the Civil War, local citizens living near or on the battlefields of the war were placed in harms way. Many lost property, livestock, livelihoods, and their lives. Farms were burned to prevent one side or the other from receiving supplies while food supplies, cattle, pigs and other livestock were stolen to feed soldiers. Many local citizens living around or on the battlefield at First Manassas were directly affected by the battle on July 21, 1861 and in the weeks following as their homes where used as make shift hospitals for the wounded and dying.

  At the time of the battle, Henry Hill as it is called now, was called Spring Hill Farm and was owned by Mrs. Judith Carter Henry, an eighty-five year old widow confined to her bed. She lived with her daughter, Ellen Phoebe Morris. Due to her infirmity the fields surrounding the house lay fallow and in these fields the first major land battle of the Civil War would be fought.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Battle of Manassas

First Battle of Manassas Marker No. C-34Prince William County, VA
Marker No. C-34

Marker Text: Henry Hill lies just to the south. Here the Confederates repulsed the repeated attacks of the Union army under McDowell, July 21, 1861. Here Jackson won the name "Stonewall," and from here began McDowell's retreat that ended at Washington.

Location: On U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway, formerly the Warrenton Turnpike) north of VA Route 234 (Sudley Road, on the left when traveling south, north of the Manassas National Battlefield Park’s Stone House parking lot. Grouped with three other markers C-44 (First Battle of Manassas); G-15 (Henry House); and G-16 (James Robinson House). Erected by the Virginia State Library in 1961.

First Battle of Manassas Marker C-34 on Warrenton Turnpike  Several state historical markers have the title, “First Battle of Manassas” and each tells you a little bit about the battle as it transpired at given location. It is difficult to completely understand the battle actions for the day simply by reading the markers, but each marker puts you approximately in the location where the actions described occurred. I recently saw on television about a smartphone app that you can download at the visitor's center at Manassas that can help you experience the battlefield in a way not experienced before and the app is free. Today's marker tells about Henry Hill where a great deal of the action of the battle occurred. The two armies crossed the road next to this marker, back and forth between Henry Hill and Matthews Hill as the fortunes of each army developed during the course of the battle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Battle of Manassas

First Battle of Manassas, Marker No. C-44Prince William County, VA
Marker No. C-44

Marker Text: On the Matthews Hill, just to the north, the Confederates replused the attack of the Unionists, coming from the north, in the forenoon of July 21, 1861. The Union force, reinforced, drove the Confederates to the Henry Hill, just to the south. There the latter reformed under cover of Stonewall Jackson. In the afternoon, McDowell vainly attempted to rally his retreating troops on the Matthews Hill after they had been driven down the Henry Hill.

  Note that the first sentence of the marker is incorrect, and should read: On the Matthews Hill, just to the north, the Confederates repulsed the attack of the Unionists, coming from the north, in the forenoon of July 21, 1861.

Location: On U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway, formerly the Warrenton Turnpike) north of VA Route 234 (Sudley Road, on the left when traveling south, north of the Manassas National Battlefield Park’s Stone House parking lot. Grouped with three other markers C-34 (First Battle of Manassas); G-15 (Henry House); and G-16 (James Robinson House). Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1931.

First Battle of Manassas, Marker C-44 on Lee Highway pull off

Marker C-44 is on the far left, photo taken looking southwest on U.S. Route 29 in distance is intersection with Sudley Road at Stone House.

  General Irwin McDowell commander of the Union forces had planned to use Tyler's division at the Stone Bridge as a diversionary attack, while Davies' brigade did the same at Blackburn's Ford. At the same time, Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions would cross Bull Run at Sudley Springs and attack from the north. After crossing Bull Run almost three hours later than planned, the Union forces would proceed southeast coming over Matthews Hill to the north of this marker. Matthews Hill is on the opposite side of the road from this marker looking north.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Stone Bridge

The Stone Bridge, Marker C-23 (Enlarge any photo to enlarge)Fairfax County, VA
Marker No. C-23

Marker Text: Originally built of native sandstone in 1825, the turnpike bridge over Bull Run became an important landmark in the Civil War battles at Manassas.  Union Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler's division feigned an attack on Col. Nathan G. Evans's brigade guarding the bridge as the First Battle of Manassas began on the morning of 21 July 1861. When the confederates withdrew from the region, they blew up the bridge on 9 Mar. 1862. The rear guard of Maj. Gen. John Pope's retreating army, defeated at the Second Battle of Manassas on 30 Aug. 1862, destroyed a replacement military bridge at the site. Fully reconstructed after the war, it remained in use into the 1920s.

Location: West of Centreville, VA, on U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway) west of County Route 609 (Bull Run Post Office Road), on the north side of the road. Grouped with marker Z-169 (Fairfax/Prince William County).  Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2000.

The Stone Bridge, Marker C-23 along U.S. Route 29 west

Photo taken on Route 29 looking west toward the Stone Bridge at the Prince William/Fairfax County line.

  This marker is actually 0.4 miles east of the Stone Bridge and is in Fairfax County and the bridge is in Prince William County. Makes one wonder why they did not place it closer to the bridge. The first shots on the morning of July 21, 1861 occurred at this bridge. With the Union troops on the east of the bridge and the Confederates on the west side. Though one can imagine Brigadier General Daniel Tyler's division marching past this point along the road on their way to the Stone Bridge. Tyler's troops were to give the Confederate troops the impression that the Union forces were going to force a crossing here at the Stone Bridge.

  The Stone Bridge crosses the stream called Bull Run, just a few miles north of the Manassas junction. Bull Run with banks too steep to ford just anywhere, it was crossable only at a stone bridge on the road to Warrenton and at a handful of fords. (A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or in a vehicle.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

First Battle of Manassas

First Battle o f Manassas, Marker No. C-20 Centreville, VAFairfax County, VA
Marker No. C-20

Marker Text: McDowell gathered his forces here, July 18, 1861, to attack Beauregard, who lay west of Bull Run. From here a part of the Union army moved north to cross Bull Run and turn the Confederate left wing, July 21, 1861. This movement brought on the battle.

Location: At the intersection of Machen Road and U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway) on the grounds of the Centreville Public Library located at the southwest corner of the intersection at 14200 Saint Germain Drive, Centreville, VA 20120. Grouped with three other markers, C-21 (Confederate Defenses); C-22 (Second Battle of Manassas); and C-40 (Campaign of Second Manassas). Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1928.

  As I write this today, it is 91 degrees outside with a predicted high of 94 where I live in Northern Virginia and I thought of those men who gathered here awaiting what they thought would be the first and the last battle of the Civil War on a blistering hot July 18, 1861 only about 40 miles east of where I live. Standing out in this heat in a wool uniform with all the heavy equipment carried by a soldier of this era, makes one wonder, if anyone thought this was all crazy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Delaplane (Formerly Piedmont Station)

Delaplane (formerly Piedmont Station) Marker B-21Fauquier County, VA
Marker No. B-21

Marker Text: On July 19, 1861 Stonewall Jackson's brigade of General Joseph E. Johnston's corps marched to this station from Winchester. They crowded into freight and cattle cars and travelled to the 1st Battle of Manassas. The use of a railroad to carry more than ten thousand troops to the Manassas battlefield gave striking demonstration of the arrival of a new era in military transport and contributed significantly to the Confederate victory there.

Location: At the intersection of Route 17 (Winchester Road) and Route 623 (Rokeby Road) next to railroad tracks. Erected by the Piedmont Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1981.

Delaplane marker and the area troops would wait to board trainPhoto taken looking east on Route 623 (Rokeby Road) in Delaplane.  Less than a mile north of Interstate 66. Click any photo to enlarge.

  In my last post on “Jackson's Bivouac” at Paris, VA located about seven miles north of this marker, Jackson's Army stopped overnight to rest from their march from Winchester before marching here to Delaplane or Piedmont Station to board trains to travel to the First Battle of Manassas.

  Gen. Joseph E. Johnston commander of the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah rode ahead of the army while they rested and went to Piedmont Station to arrange the trains to transport his men. Johnston knew that his group of inexperienced volunteer soldiers would mostly likely be unable to make the march on foot to Manassas in time to help Beauregard's troops already positioned along Bull Run protecting the Manassas Rail Junction.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jackson's Bivouac

Jackson's Bivouac Marker B-20 Paris, VAFauquier County, VA
Marker No. B-20

Marker Text: After a day's march from Winchester on 19-20 July 1861, Brig. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson halted his lead brigade of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Valley army near here. At 2:00 A.M. his 2,500 men sank down to rest. When told that no sentries had been posted, Jackson stated, "Let the poor boys sleep. I will guard the camp myself." Relieved of his duty an hour before daybreak, Jackson slept briefly, rising at dawn to march to Piedmont Station (now Delaplane), where railcars waited to transport the 11,000-man army to Manassas Junction. There, nearly 30,000 Confederates faced 35,000 Federals at the First Battle of Manassas.

Location: On U.S. Route 50 (John Mosby Highway), west of the intersection with U.S. Route 17, near Paris, VA. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1996.

  At first glance this lone marker on U.S. Route 50, near the small village of Paris, VA appears to simply mark the site where Thomas J. Jackson's brigade spent the night. Much more lies just below the surface. Jackson had only been promoted to Brig. Gen. two days before he marched his brigade under the command of Joseph E. Johnston's Army of the Shenandoah from Winchester, VA to aid General P. G. T. Beauregard in what was to become the First Battle of Manassas or Bull Run. Jackson's troops were about to make history by being the first troops transported to a battle by the railroad. The marker calls Jackson, “Stonewall” Jackson, but at this point he would not gain this nickname until July 21 during the Battle of First Manassas.

Jackson's Bivouac marker on U.S. Route 50 looking eastPhoto taken looking east on U.S. Route 50 with the intersection for U.S. Route 17 in background, where you would turn right or south to go to Piedmont Station.

  An earlier marker that was replaced with the current marker with the same number and title from the late 1920s or 1930s. The text of that marker read “Near here Jackson’s men, going to First Manassas, sank down to rest, July 19, 1861, without placing pickets. Jackson said ‘Let the poor fellows sleep, I will guard the camp myself.’”

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bull Run Battlefields

Bull Run Battlefields, Marker C-31  Prince William Co., VAPrince William County, VA
Marker No.

Marker Text: Just to the east were fought the two battles of Manassas or Bull Run.

Location: In Gainesville, VA in front of a VA Department of Transportation office on U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway), on the right when traveling east. Grouped with three other markers C-27 (Second Battle of Manassas); C-33 (Rock Fight); and C-28 (Campaign of Second Manassas). Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1934.

  Today's marker is one of the earlier markers with a very brief historical description related to both the First and Second Battles of Manassas or as the marker states, “Bull Run Battlefields”. First Manassas occurred in July, 1861, one hundred and fifty years ago and the Second Battle of Manassas occurred thirteen months later at the end of August 1862.

Bull Run Battlefields Marker C-31 grouped with others  This marker does have a similar counterpart, No. C-19 near the city of Fairfax, VA about eight miles on the other side of the battlefields. The custom during the Civil War for naming a battle depended upon whether you favored the north or south. In the north, battles were generally named for the closest stream, creek or river (therefore Bull Run Battlefield) or in the south, battles were generally named for the closest town, (therefore, First Battle of Manassas) though the naming of battles did not always remain consistent.

Monday, July 4, 2011

John Paul Riddle, 1901-1989

John Paul Riddle Marker (Side One) Pikeville, KYPike County, KY
Marker No. 2251

Marker Text: Aviation pioneer graduated from Pikeville College Academy in 1920. Flew plane under Pikeville’s Middle Bridge on July 4, 1923. Trained as a pilot in U.S. Army, he & T. Higbee Embry founded the Embry-Riddle Flying School in Cincinnati, 1925. Incorporated four years later as part of AVCO, which later became American Airlines. Over

John Paul Riddle Marker (Side Two) Pikeville, KYFounded the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation in Miami, Fla. During WWII, trained pilots for U.S. and Britain. Later became Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ. Inducted into the Ky. Aviation Hall of Fame and Fla. Aviation Historical Society. Received British Empire award and honorary degrees from Pikeville College & E-R Aeronautical Univ.

Location: On Main Street near intersection with Division Streets, Pikeville, KY. Presented by the Pikeville-Pike Co. Tourism Comm. And erected by the Kentucky Historical Society – Kentucky Department of Highways in 2007.

  Eighty-eight years ago this July 4th, John Paul Riddle flew a plane under the Pikeville's Middle Bridge in Pikeville, Kentucky. I don't know what bridge in Pikeville that might be. I have only been in Pikeville twice and never had the time to figure out where the bridge mentioned was.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Alan Freed (1921-1965)

Alan Freed marker in Windber, PA (Click any photo to Enlarge)Somerset County, PA

Marker Text: Disc jockey who coined the term “Rock & Roll” in the early 1950s. Freed used the term to describe up-tempo black rhythm and blues records he played as DJ “Moondog” on his radio show. Freed further popularized this music through TV programs, movies, and concerts, including what is considered to be the nation’s first Rock & Roll concert (1952). Raised in Windber, Freed was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Location: At Miner’s Park, near corner of Graham Avenue and 13th Street, Windber, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2003.

He coined the phrase ‘rock and roll,’ and not only sparked the trend but fanned it into flame.” (Quote about Freed from article in Pageant magazine in July, 1957)

Alan Freed marker with view of Miner's Park in background  Alan Freed, a well-known disc jockey was commonly referred to as the "father of rock and roll.” Freed is credited with popularizing the term “rock and roll” to describe the music style as he used the phrase in his public radio broadcasts in Cleveland, Ohio. The term rock and roll had been used in songs by other famous artists at the time prior to Freed using it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Great Indian (and Wagon) Road

The Great Indian (and Wagon) Road  Marker Q-4Frederick County, VA
Marker No. Q-4

Marker Text: The Great Indian Road, called Philadelphia Wagon Road by many settlers was developed by Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) warriors traveling in the 1700s through the Great Valley of the Appalachians (which they called Jonontore) from Cohongaronto (north of the Potomac), to raid the Catawba in the Carolinas. In 1743, Iroquois headmen complained that Europeans had settled along the road, a treaty violation. The Lancaster Treaty of 1744 clarified the road's direction and acknowledged the Iroquois' right to travel through Frederick County to New River settlements and farther south. This road later brought immigrants to the Valley in Conestoga wagons. Today U.S. Route 11 generally follows the historic road.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Martinsburg Pike), 0.1 miles north of Interstate 81, Exit 317, north of Winchester. Grouped with marker A-2 (Action at Rutherford's Farm) and marker A-38 (Hackwood Park). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2008.

Three grouped along with Great Wagon Road Marker Q-4  Today, most people travel through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on Interstate 81 and though they can see the Blue Ridge Mountains and take in some of the beauty of the valley, they really miss the real wonders that can be witnessed in the valley. The interstate highway in the Shenandoah Valley parallels an earlier main highway, U.S. Route 11 or the Valley Pike. If you were to take the time to get off the interstate even for a short distance and travel Route 11 you can see the valley in a whole new way. Even Route 11 is only the modern version of a much older historic road that went through the valley and was initially developed and used by Iroquois warriors traveling from the Potomac River to the Carolinas.