the Union army under General George McClellan was looking for alternative ways to take Richmond. It made sense that an uncontested crossing of the Potomac River would be the wisest choice. In October, 1861, all indications were that Confederate Col. Shank Evans had abandoned his position at Leesburg leaving a way open for Union troops to invade this portion of Virginia. Union troops crossed the river from Harrison’s island and had to pass through a steep heavily wooded cliff to gain decent ground-Ball’s Bluff.
back over the cliff edge literally into Potomac. Since the Federals had only 4 small boats the troops who did not surrender tried to swim back to Harrison’s island and many either drowned or were shot. Interestingly, some of the Union troops were represented by the 1 California regiment and this is the only battle in which a sitting US senator lost his life- Col. Edward Baker.
and some of the trees there now were actually there at the time of the battle. Mr. Luke Greer of Virginia has collected portions of a maple tree that has since died and is on the Virginia side of the Potomac river bank (see photo). The tree, by ring dating, is well over 200 years old and a small piece of it was made into a wonderful spalded and figured pen.
the large new Union volunteer army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell marched from Washington DC toward the Confederate army under Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard, drawn up behind Bull Run creek west of Centreville, Va. Beauregard's men defended the strategic railroad junction at Manassas, just west of the creek. After a brief engagement on the 17th, heavy fighting began early on the 21st, when two of McDowell's divisions crossed at Sudley Ford. Fighting raged throughout the morning as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill and more Union brigades crossed Bull Run.
Confederate reinforcements arrived via railroad (a first in modern warfare) from Gen. Joseph Johnston's army in the Shenandoah Valley. In this group was a brigade of Virginians under Gen. Thomas J. Jackson. After fierce fighting in the area, Jackson held his ground on Henry Hill "like a stone wall." Finally, the Federals retreated into what appeared as a complete rout. The next day, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington and the first large battle of the war was over. The emboldened Confederates would fight on for nearly four more years. But again on August 28-30 of 1862, there would be another battle here on the same ground also resulting in a Confederate victory.
near the famous stone bridge on the Manassas battlefield was photographed the day after the battle. It appears at encircled site in the photograph. A dead limb piece was supplied by a dear friend. The tree also had been core ring counted by a local girl scout and verified by the NPS. The battlefield has over 10 NPS verified witness trees. It is to be noted that this battlefield attracted crowds of people from Washington DC in their horse drawn carriages, parasols and box lunches. The American view of what the war would be was soon changed.
since artillery, infantry, and cavalry units were all present. The Federals being greeted at the time they marched north to battle thru Carthage. A young lady dressed in a Union flag dress that she had made was there to wave them into battle. Within a day’s time the picture was different in Carthage as the Federal troops were in full retreat.
General Nathanial Lyon, stationed in Missouri, was fiercely dedicated to preserving the Union. Union Col Franz Siegel organized an expedition into SW Mo to disperse a group led by Gov. Claiborne Jackson who were loyal to the Confederate cause. The two groups met about 9 miles north of Carthage and a rout of the Union troops occurred as Jackson was reinforced with a large Confederate force. The Union troops withdrew to the south and finally all of the way through Carthage. It was an easy Confederate victory.
on the north side of dry creek is a huge old post oak which would have been present at the time of the battle. It witnessed the Union troops retreating to the safety of the town. A nice dead limb provided material for a pen. Note that all of the troops were not dressed in regular uniform and is because there was not uniform designation at this early date in the war. A beautiful museum exists in Carthage dedicated to the Civil War activities in this area.
at the time of the Civil War. It had come into the Union in 1820 as a slave state, but the Union did everything in its power to neutralize that position. The story of the civil war in mid- America is convoluted and involves much intrigue. In its bid to gain strength and influence on Missouri , Union General Lyon, on Aug 10, 1861, led an under manned force to Wilson’s creek.
Confederate force led by Gen Sterling Price who eventually overwhelmed him and his troops. After his death near the chestnut oak witness tree on the hill overlooking Wilson’s creek, the Union troops retired back to Springfield.
Missouri is number three in the number of battles that occurred in it during the war. This pen is made from old chestnut oak located on the battlefield. It has since died and is now hosting a honey bee hive.
Thus, although Kentucky officially adopted a position of neutrality at the beginning of the conflict this policy lasted for less than five months. In September 1861, troops from both sides moved into Kentucky. A crucial move was that of Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner who took Bowling Green on September 18. Because of its location on the Barren River and proximity to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Bowling Green was a major gain for the Confederacy. By the middle of October, more than 12,000 Southern troops occupied a fortified Bowling Green. Several weeks later, Confederate sympathizers held a “Sovereignty Convention” in nearby Russellville and they created a provisional Confederate government and named Bowling Green as its capital.
Union victories pushed the Confederates to leave the region and they slipped off to Nashville, under Union bombardment, leaving the city in ruins as a result of numerous fires set to destroy crucial features of the town. Union soldiers seized Bowling Green on February 14, after civilians alerted them that the Southern army had departed. Union General Ormsby Mitchel was placed in charge of the Federal forces at Bowling Green and they secured a Union defensive line. Bowling Green stayed under Union control for the remainder of the Civil War.
Russellville – Bowling Green roadway (just outside of Bowling Green) there grows a huge Eastern cottonwood tree. It witnessed the comings and goings of thousands of Union and Confederate troops to the area. The tree has grown to a circumference of 27 feet and has one of the largest diameters of any tree in the entire Strobel witness tree collection. When the 97 year old owner – Mr. Wheeler was asked if it witnessed the war – his answer was a resounding – YES. The tree was of interest to Kentucky artist Mr. Charles Brindley who recently became fascinated with the tree and did an outstanding drawing of it in his own unique manner and style.