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Cover book to Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park. [Image of cannon in the battlefield]
Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park


Table of Contents




current topic Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11


Appendix I

Appendix II

Appendix III

Appendix IV

Appendix V (omitted from on-line edition)

Appendix VI

Appendix VII

Appendix VIII

Chapter 1
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Early Preservation Efforts

George Carr Round

George Carr Round, a Union veteran who had settled in the small Manassas community following the Civil War, recognized that people needed to visit this battle-scarred landscape to come to terms with the past and move forward with their lives. He wanted to provide the same opportunity to later generations of Americans, making federal preservation of the battlefields necessary. Round made protection of the Manassas battlegrounds his personal goal. He was not alone in wanting to save battlefields and other historic sites. Other equally dedicated individuals campaigned to establish a national military park and erect a peace monument at Appomattox, Virginia, and to acquire land related to the Civil War at Wilson's Creek, Missouri. [7]

Round's background played an important role in shaping his commitment to these lands. Born in the Wyoming Valley of eastern Pennsylvania in 1839 and raised in upstate New York, Round enlisted in the Union Army while still in college. Eventually assigned to the Army Signal Corps, he sent the last message in the Eastern theater for the war from the dome of the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh, proclaiming in colored rockets, "Peace on earth, good will to men." This signal foreshadowed Round's post-Civil War efforts to bring the North and South together in a respectful fellowship. In 1868 Round earned a law degree and also worked for a law firm in New York before deciding to move to North Carolina where he had relatives. Passing through the Manassas area on his way south, he decided instead to settle at this quiet railroad junction, where he opened a law office and engaged in the real estate business. [8]

Round established himself in the civic affairs of the town by supporting public education, which he saw as "the hope of a true reunion" between the former Confederates and Federals. He obtained funding to open the first free public school in Virginia in 1869 and later became the area's first Superintendent of Public Schools. He also prompted an appropriation for the construction of the first state high school in Manassas and started Prince William County's first public library. He saw his efforts toward a complete public school system as helping in the "true reconstruction" of tine "great republic" which George Washington had founded and Abraham Lincoln had preserved. [9]

Round further promoted the emotional reunification of the North and South by organizing the Manassas National Jubilee of Peace, held on 2l July 1911 in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the first battle. As remembered by one longtime resident of the area who witnessed the event when he was seven years old, 350 Confederates and 125 Federals "marched" up to each other, shook hands, and then joined in "laughter and smiles and backslapping." Round considered this display of camaraderie "absolutely unprecedented." [10]

A diverse range of individuals and organizations displayed their support for the Peace Jubilee. Virginia Governor William Hodges Mann delivered the introductory speech, and President William Howard Taft, who was joined on the trip from Washington by an entourage of members of Congress, provided the keynote address to an estimated crowd of ten thousand people. The Southern Railway offered discounts for round-trip travel on its lines for the commemoration, perhaps explaining the larger numbers of Confederates in attendance. Local residents covered the town with bunting, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy took responsibility for the picnic that followed the ceremonies. Several companies of the Virginia state militia and troops from the United States cavalry participated in exercises on the battlefield. [11]

For Round, the outpouring of generosity and goodwill during the Peace Jubilee demonstrated that the "hatred, resentments, misunderstandings and injustices" which had precipitated the Civil War were "buried, forgotten and forever settled." Two years later, he received a resounding endorsement for his efforts when fifty-five thousand veterans joined hands at Gettysburg, marking a national recovery from the many wounds of the Civil War. [12]

CONTINUED continued


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