Henry House Hill

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This placid vista is the site of the bloodiest fighting of the Battle of First Manassas. Confederate forces of General P.G.T. Beauregard's command had attacked Federal  units on Matthews Hill, seen in the center background, and were first driven back to this spot - known as Henry House Hill. The building seen beyond the large tree is the Henry House. Inside the house at the time of the battle was Judith Carter Henry, an 85-year-old widow and invalid, who was unable to leave her bed when the fighting broke out. As Beauregard's command retreated from this area, a Union artillery unit deployed along the hilltop. This was Colonel Charles Griffin's Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery, whose position is marked by these NPS display cannon.  As Col. Griffin's cannoneers were establishing their gun line, Southern sharpshooters, hidden in the Henry House and the barn beyond, opened fire upon them. Seeing his men fall, Col. Griffin ordered his left-most cannon to change front and fire on the Henry buildings. The widow Henry was killed in the ensuing barrage. Not long after, Confederate troops of General Joseph E. Johnston's command arrived on scene, and deployed below this position. Johnston's First Brigade was commanded by Thomas Jonathan Jackson. He brought up his five infathry regiments and thirteen cannon and a duel  with the Federals atop Henry House Hill began. Although his command was under deadly fire, Jackson stubbornly refused to yield his position. A nearby commander saw this, and shouted to his own men, "There stands Jackson like a stone wal!"  And so, a knickname and the legend of Stonewall Jackson was born. Jackson's men succeeded in driving the Federals from Henry House Hill, and that preciptated what became a total rout and the first large Confederate victory.


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