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On a warm July day in 1861, two armies of a divided nation clashed for the first time on the fields overlooking Bull Run. On a COLD March day in 2004, I hiked around the area of the 1st Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). I'm sure that the other people who braved the bitter cold and wind thought that I was nuts to be tromping around in shorts! (It was supposed to be in the 60's!)

The route I followed started at the Visitors Center and went east towards Holkums Branch Creek. Before reaching the creek, the route turned north along an old horse trail towards the Van Pelt house.

After crossing Hwy 29, the route continued a short distance to the site of the Van Pelt house before turning back and to the east parallel to Hwy 29. After passing through a swamp, I reached Stone Bridge and then turned north along Bull Run. Stone Bridge was where the Union army withdrew after being defeated by the Confederate troops lead by Gen. Robert E. Lee in the 2nd Battle of Bull Run (August 1862)

The route followed Bull Run to Farm Ford (another location used by the retreating Union soldiers) and then turned east towards Pittsylvania. Beyond Pittsylvania was the Carter Family Cemetery and Matthews Hill.

From Matthews Hill, the route turned south and passed Stone House, which served as a field hospital during both battles. After crossing Hwy 29 again, the route continued uphill towards Henry House (near the Visitor Center). Before reaching Henry House, I took a deteor to the Robinson Home site before returning to the Visitor Center. According the my GPS, my route covered 6.6 miles

All in all, it was a might fine day in spite of the cold wind. Actually, without the wind, it was a lovely day!