The Henry Hill Monument Honors Union Soldiers Who Fell at First Bull Run
Memorials and monuments dedicated to those killed in the Civil War began to appear early on, in some cases even before the war ended. One of the earlier monuments was built just as the war ended, on the First Bull Run battlefield near Manassas, Virginia, site of the war’s first large scale battle.
On June 7th, 1865, soldiers of the 5th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, under the direction of Lieutenant James M. McCallum of the 16th Massachusetts Battery, began construction of a 20 foot tall sandstone obelisk shaped monument on Henry Hill. The site had seen extensive fighting in the July 21st, 1861 battle. Being artillerymen, the builders placed four large artillery shells on each corner of the base and one on top of the obelisk. The monument bears the inscription “In Memory of the Patriots Who Fell at Bull Run July 21st 1861”. It took just four days to complete the monument on Henry Hill, as well as a similar but smaller (16 feet tall) monument at the Groveton section of the Second Bull Run battlefield. (The Groveton Monument was decorated with artillery shell relics found on the battlefield; over the years, relic and souvenir hunters took them off the monument).
On June 11th, the day after completion of the construction of the monuments, a dedication ceremony at the site was held. Those attending the dedication included Generals Montgomery Meigs, Samuel Heintzelman, and Orlando Wilcox; Union soldiers, civilians, and a military brass band. There were speeches, prayers, and an artillery salute.
Today at Manassas National Battlefield Park, the 1st Bull Run Monument sits near the Henry House, which was built in 1870 to replace the home of the Henry family that was damaged in the battle. Judith Carter Henry, an 85 year old widow who was bed ridden and unable to escape the battle, was killed by artillery fire. She was the only civilian killed at First Bull Run. The National Park Service’s Henry Hill visitor center is nearby.
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