Originally uploaded by squidpants.
So my roommate and I went to the Manassas National Battlefield the other day, it was pretty neat. There were two battles on the same battlefield, the first battle of the Civil War and another one later on as the Confederates tried to get towards DC. Casualties were about the same for both sides, but the South won them both. The battles are also called the First and Second Battles of Bull Run, after a nearby creek. The south named their battles after towns, for the most part, while the North named them after creeks and rivers. Thus Antietam (a creek) is the same as a Sharpsburg (a town). But anyway, the park was pretty nice, but their explanation of the second battle left a lot to be desired.

The park has a small museum at the Vistor's Center which was pretty neat, and there was a cool electronic map of the first battle with a narrated program telling what happened. It was definitely useful, as it said and showed what happened during the first battle. Then we took the walking tour around the first battlefield. These cannons were part of the Southern line, and behind them was where Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname. Walking around the field made me wonder what it would have been like to fight in it, and it would not have been fun. It seemed like the first battlefield was pretty small, and a lot of back and forth fighting took place across a few hundred feet, with cannonballs bouncing everywhere. Something else interesting was that once the North had been beaten in the battle, their retreat was slowed by all the people who came down from Washington to watch the battle, expecting a quick victory. Families, congressmen, and so on, had brought their carriages down and had picnics. Seems pretty stupid to me. "Oh, let's go watch the battle! I'll make sandwiches!"

This poster was in the museum. It's hard to read, but it was encouraging people to fight for the Confederacy, saying the Northerners are trying to tell them what to do and how to run their economy. Thought that was interesting.

The second battle seemed to take place over a much larger area. It didn't have an electronic map, but did have a driving tour. However, the driving tour didn't really have a lot of information on it, besides the blurbs in the brochure about each site, so it was pretty hard to follow what was going on. Each stop on the tour only had a sign with the park rules and no map or even a time period, so I guess I have a much cloudier view of the second battle. The website has a little virtual tour of both battles, but it's still a little hard to follow. And Wikipedia has a bit on the first and second battles.

The fence was part of the driving tour of the second battle. The Southerners lined up in a railroad grade behind and surprised the Northerners as they walked by.

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