This event must have slipped under my radar: The Battle of Buckland Mills Presentation, Monday May 5, at 7 p.m. Hard to pass up a chance to listen to Ed Bearss speak, but unfortunately I’ve got a couple of commitments that overlap.
With the majority of the markers related to Antietam now at least in the database, I turned today to my intended early summer project – The Second Manassas campaign. The trip included a quick trip to the Manassas battlefield, mostly to see what may have changed since last fall. Sad to say, while I’ve driven through the battlefield at least a dozen times in the last six months, only once have I been able to stop for any real tramping about.
After the required stop at the Visitors Center, and short walk around Henry Hill, we moved to the Brawner Farm on the western part of the battlefield. This section, site of major portions of the Second Manassas battle, has changed significantly in the last six months. The “Axmen” have been busy. The NPS’s landscape restoration plan includes removal of large tracts of timber north of U.S. 29 and between CR 705 and CR 622. The results are plain to see:
Based on the informational signs on site, this program will restore open fields, and restore the line of sight between the Confederate artillery positions near the Brawner Farm and what is known today (by the park service maps) as Battery Heights. Speaking of artillery, the display on Brawner Farm, which included three Confederate 6-pdr Iron Field Guns has been removed. Hopefully the guns were simply taken into storage while the forest clearing is ongoing.
Here’s a before and after set of photos. The one on the left from last fall showing all five guns. The one on the right shows only an interpretive marker standing at the location:
From what I gather, reading over Department of the Interior statements, the future plans for the battlefield hinge on a bypass for Lee Highway (U.S. 29). While more long term than immediate, this will serve to reduce the local and commuter traffic through the battlefield. As things are today, a visit to Manassas on a weekday during the morning or afternoon traffic “tidal surges” is miserable to say the least. As an added point, some documents state the modern bridge used by U.S. 29 is slated for removal, thus restoring the historical look in the sector near the Stone Bridge.
Even minus the five pieces at Brawner Farm, Manassas offers an interesting collection of artillery for the visitor with an eye for the old guns. The park favors “early” war period weapons. Based on visits last year and today’s run through, I’m happy to pass along this Manassas Artillery Locations. (Update: The PDF attached here is now out of date. The Park has relocated several of the guns recently. I’m working on an updated version.)