Plate 10. Ruins at Manassas Junction

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Barnard & Gibson, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
Manassas, the junction of the Orange and Alexandria and Manassas Gap Railroads, twenty-seven miles from Alexandria, strikes the attention of the visitor at once by its remarkable strength as a military position. High table land, flanked by dense woods, and bounded on all sides by deep, treacherous streams, or precipitous bluffs, no better place could have been selected by the Confederates for a permanent camp from which to harrass an enemy or repel attack, To this point the Southern levies were hastened immediately after the fall of Sumter, and the village of half a dozen houses soon became the centre of a vast came, which, though nearly overwhelmed by the attack of July 21, 1861, remained increasing in strength until March, 1862, when the movements of General McClellan compelled its abandonment. The scene of devastation after the evacuation was terrible.
Of the pleasant village only tottering chimneys were left, surrounded by blackened ruins, and the debris of half-burned cars and storehouses. The forts were dismantled, broken wagons were strewn over the fields, and quartermaster and commissary stores smoked in all directions, presenting one wide area of desolation, but a small portion of which can be represented in a single photograph.
Such material as had not been wholly destroyed by the fire was speedily removed by the Government. Federal camps were established, and with the return of spring much of that which disfigured the landscape utterly disappeared. The view of the adjacent country from this point is very fine, and the historic fields of Bull Run, Gainesville, and Groveton, within a few minutes drive, will forever attract the tourist to this spot.
Currently not on view
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Manassas Junction
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 9 in; 17.145 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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