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The Monuments on the Battle-field of Bull Run

The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1324, p. 48.

July 15, 1865

Of Bull Run.

Two battles--that of July 21, 1861, and that of Aug. 29, 1862--were fought between the Confederates and Federals in the plain traversed by the small river called Bull Run, which crosses the main road from Washington to Richmond, a few miles north of Manassas Gap. The scene of the first conflict, one of the earliest of the war in Virginia, would now scarcely be recognised as a battle-field. Four years have obliterated nearly all the marks of the struggle, and the relic-hunter only now and then finds in the grass a memento of the event. Very few shot and shell remain upon the surface; the trees are hiding the blotches on their trunks made by bullets, and the only bones that are found, with few exceptions, are those of horses, which visitors have not thought of sufficient importance to be carried away. Some of the fences have been rebuilt, and corn is planted in many places; while the rapidly-growing bushes hide nearly all the original features of the field. The battle-field of Groveton, two miles beyond, towards Warrenton, is more distinctly marked with traces of battle. Here the shot and shell are thickly strewn, the trees are splintered, and in many places the forest looks as if it had been visited by smallpox. The bones of the soldiers of both armies are scattered over the fields, and the phrenologist may find skulls enough. A monument has now been erected on each of the Bull Run battle-fields. These monuments are of chocolate-coloured sandstone, thirty feet high, and were erected by the officers and men of General Gamble's separate cavalry brigade, camped at Fairfax Courthouse. The monument on the first Bull Run field is situated on the hill in front of the memorable stone house, on the spot where the 14th Brooklyn, 1st Michigan, and 1st and 2nd Maine were most hotly engaged, and where Ricketts and Griffin lost their batteries. The shaft is 27 ft. high, and bears upon its top a hundred-pound shell. On the pedestal, at each corner, is a shell of similar size. On one side of the shaft is inscribed, "To the memory of the patriots who fell at Bull Run, July 21st, 1861," and on the reverse, "Erected June 10th, 1865." The monument at Groveton is similar in its proportions, bearing the inscription, "To the memory of the patriots who fell at Groveton, August 29, 1862," and on the reverse, "Erected June 10th, 1865." Our Illustration represents the scene at the consecration, or "dedication," as it is called in America, of these monuments. The religious exercises were conducted on the first Bull Run field by the Rev. Dr. M'Murdy, who read an appropriate service, which was followed by a hymn written for the occasion by Pierpont; a military parade by the 5th Pennsylvania heavy artillery, Colonel Gallup; and a salute by the 16th Massachusetts battery, Captain Scott. At the close of these ceremonies, eloquent addresses were delivered by Judge Olin, General Wilcox, General Heintzelman, and General Farnsworth. At the second monument the services were similar to those described. A large party of visitors had come from Washington to be present on this occasion.

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