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Plate 8. Mathews House, Battle-Field of Bull Run

Plate 8. Mathews House, Battle-Field of Bull Run

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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.
This shattered dwelling stands on the first Bull Run battle ground, by the side of the turnpike leading from Centreville to Warrenton. Subjected to a severe artillery fire in that engagement, its inmates were driven out, and the walls badly damaged. The hill in front of the house was the scene of the most desperate fighting. There Ricketts and Griffin lost their guns, the former receiving a severe wound, and falling into the hands of the enemy, who kept him in prison several months, where he would undoubtedly have perished but for the faithful nursing of his wife, who obtained permission to pass through the lines, and remained with him until he was exchanged. The little stream shown in the picture was referred to by Gen. McDowell in his report, and a number of officers, who denied the existence of a stream at that place, cited this statement of the General as evidence of his alleged intoxication on the day of the battle. It is well known by Gen. McDowell's acquaintances that he never indulges in spirituous liquors in any form. The photograph sets at rest the idle story, based upon the supposed non-existence of the water course.
The Bull Run Monument, consecrated with imposing ceremonies in June, 1865, stands about half a mile from the house. The Mathews family have returned to their ruined house, and impoverished by the war, live in great destitution. Everything except the stone walls and roof of the building was swept away. Barns, outhouses, and fences were destroyed, and the whole country presents the appearance of utter desolation.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Bull Run
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.3566 cm x 22.6484 cm; 6 13/16 in x 8 15/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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