Springtime At Manassas Battlefield

Earlier this week, I visited some of the battlefield locations for the First Battle of Bull Run near Manassas. Early spring is blossoming here in Virginia, and this girl from California is delighted to see a real change in the seasons while driving through the Old Dominion on a research trip.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I “liked” this battlefield’s springtime look since both First and Second Bull Run were summer battles with taller grass, hot and humid days, and plenty of bugs. Eventually, though I let the thoughts of “this wasn’t what it looked like when they lined up on the field” slip away, and I simply enjoyed the springtime moments…trying to captures some special images before the next rain showers started sprinkling the area.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this glimpse and be inspired to do a little battlefielding in the coming weeks!

Daffodils bloom near Henry House, quietly nodding at the silent cannons nearby.

Tiny flowers sprout near Judith Henry’s grave on Henry House Hill – a sweet, sad offering for this widow who was a civilian casualty during the first major battle of the war.

Don’t blink! These tiny shoots will become the trees’ bright green foliage of late spring and summer faster than you can say, “There stands Jackson like a stonewall! Rally behind the Virginians!” (Well, almost…)

And speaking of “Stonewall”… A new perspective with nature taking the focus and letting man (or in this image, the statue) become the background.

Red bud trees bursting into color – harmless, peaceful. Nothing like bursting shells seen long ago on this battlefield.

I wonder if this is what the fields might have looked like early in the spring of 1861, just as Fort Sumter’s fight erupted and the war began. The grasses just beginning to grow. As the volunteers made army numbers grow. White blossoms covering the trees. As red blood would cover summer’s fields.

I wonder about all this during a springtime wander…

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, editor, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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6 Responses to Springtime At Manassas Battlefield

  1. Glen Robertson says:

    Glad you enjoyed your visit to the Commonwealth generally and Manassas specifically. A tip though for future reference. It’s not “the Old Dominion State.” It’s just “ the Old Dominion.”?

    • Sarah Kay Bierle says:

      Glen,
      Sorry for the slow reply. Thank you for the correction; I’ll make that edit to the post now.
      Clearly, I’m not a Virginian local yet! Interestingly, though, I wondered about that very phrasing you pointed out. Eventually, I went with the way I remembered it from “Bonnie Blue Flag” – “so here’s to great Virginia, the Old Dominion State.” 🙂 Always learning something new, and, come to think of it, that verse of Bonnie Blue might not have been written by a native of the Old Dominion.
      All of that rambling to say – thanks for the note and correction. I truly appreciate it.
      Best,
      Sarah

  2. rarerootbeer says:

    It is amazing how beautiful most of the battlefields look, with the lawn mowing, monuments, and gift shops with their paved parking lots and such. We’ve turned the fields of death into beautiful parks for hiking and dog walking. Thank you to those who have preserved our battlefields so we can enjoy them and remember the sacrifice so many men and women given, in all our wars. Im glad the Confederacy lost.

  3. Laura Ukura-Leir says:

    Nice.

  4. I always have a special memory of the Manassas battlefield that I was fortunate enough to share with my friends in the Capital District Civil War Round Table. We were on a 2004 Virginia tour scheduled by our then program chair Sue Knost. The ranger (one of the first female rangers I had ever seen on a Civil War battlefield) was standing in front of our group outside the Stone House setting up the opening scenes of First Manassas when my phone rang. It was my son (a Marine at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s Anbar Province at that time). The call had been routed through who knows how many connections in the military phone network to reach my civilian cell phone in Virginia. So many of my friends have told me over the years what an extraordinary experience it was to stand on a Civil War battlefield and talk to a modern Marine on a battlefield half the world away.

    • Sarah Kay Bierle says:

      That is so special. Thank you for sharing this! Those calls from family in the military are the best, aren’t they?

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