Manassas Battlefield Hike

By Craig.

Nine History Boys from Adventuring and/or Chrysalis mustered on an unreasonably mild December day to explore some near and far corners of Manassas battlefield.

We began with a bushwhack to the site of the long-gone plantation house of Portici and thence made a beeline for Bull Run across open fields.

After stumbling onto the historic stream and a modern bridle path, we groped in search of Lewis Ford and its supposed fortifications; we weren't entirely sure we ever found either, but what we did see was close enough.

Our next stop was lunch in the just-opened picnic area, so new and off the beaten path that some of the staffers at the Visitor Center didn't even know it was there. (For future reference, this picnic area is big enough to accommodate a whole brigade or two of hungry hikers.)

The afternoon was devoted to a delightful march of about five miles on the First Manassas Trail, made perfect by the ideal weather, the great (i.e., unmuddy) shape of the trail, and several brief encounters with a couple of young gentlemen and their dogs.

Along the way our group learned how the First Battle of Manassas turned from what looked like a smashing Union victory into an undignified rout, thanks in no small part to a Confederate general who somehow earned the nickname Stonewall that day.

Unlike the Yankee commanders, we were no longer bewitched, bothered and bewildered by what happened here that fateful July day in 1861.

For more information on DC's Adventuring Club, visit their website at http://www.adventuring.org/cgi-bin/main.idc

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