Saturday, March 10, 2012

Civil War History - Stone Bridge at Manassas 150 Years After Destruction

Manassas Stone Bridge, by Reed A. George
(Click Here) to see the image larger.
Exactly 150 years ago yesterday, on March 9, 1862, the Stone Bridge at Manassas, Viriginia, was destroyed by Confederate forces. The bridge was the site of a failed diversionary demonstration by the Union, to take attention away from their main Forces, approaching from the north on July 21, 1861. This was the beginning of the First Battle of Bull Run, a resounding victory for the Confederates.
Leaving Manassas on March 9, 1862, Confederate Captain Edward Porter Alexander blew up the bridge to avoid future use by the Union army. The destruction was successful, as you can see in the image on the left. However, the Union reconstructed it long enough to use it once again in August, 1862, as a retreat route from Second Bull Run. Union forces again destroyed it after the battle.
The bridge was restored in the 1880s, and remains as a footbridge today. Automobile traffic is now carried across the river along the same roadway, now called Lee Highway, but on a modern concrete bridge.
In order to get a similar angle of view for the modern shot, I had to stand on the new highway bridge and shoot with a wide angle lens (Lumix 14mm f2.5).
It was meaningful to me to be there to photograph it 150 years to the day after the initial photograph by George Bernard. The original photograph is part of the collection at the Library of Congress:
(Click Here) for the link to the Library of Congress page.
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