A hike through Manassas Battlefield

In more than a decade of living in the Washington, DC area, I've never visited a major Civil War battlefield. I finally decided to do so, and yesterday took a 3-hour hike through Manassas Battlefield.

Manassas was the scene of the First Battle of Bull Run (also known as "First Manassas"), the first major land battle of the American Civil War. It was a one-day battle, fought in July 1861. It was where Gen. Thomas Jackson earned the nickname, "Stonewall." Incredibly, there would be another battle a year later, in August 1862. About 12,000 men died between the two battles.

There's little that remains in the site that alludes to the battle: a few cannons scattered about, some monuments here and there, a modest Confederate cemetery. Mostly it's just miles of grass, trees, hills, and the unrelenting open sky. Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine being a soldier here 150 years ago. Lee Highway cuts right through the park ("Arlington VA - 24 miles!") and I can't help being reminded of the strip malls and car dealerships just a couple of miles away.

So, just a few pictures. Black and white, to emphasize the starkness of the scenery. Red filter, to bring out the clouds. No people, in contrast to the tens of thousands who marched and fought here more than a century ago.