It’s no secret that the Chesapeake Bay region is full of rich culture and heritage. But did you know that many battles of the Civil War took place within the boundaries of the watershed?

The first major battle of the Civil War—the first battle of Manassas, otherwise known as the Battle of Bull Run—was fought on July 16, 1861. Where a quiet park bench now sits under a tree, local residents of Manassas, Va., camped out with wine and picnic baskets to watch what was supposed to be a quick victory for the Union as they marched to Richmond to end the war.

Instead, due to poorly trained troops and disorganized forces, the battle became a decisive victory for the Confederacy and they drove Union troops back to Washington, D.C. Both sides faced the sobering realization that the war would be much longer and bloodier than they had imagined.

A year later, each side would meet once more on the same battlefield with the Union troops again retreating in defeat. The second battle of Manassas, occurring from August 28-30, 1862, opened the way for the south to invade the north and make a bid for foreign assistance.

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Kent Ecologist Mountford

Nice thoughtful piece, Rachel. As an ol' bay historian. I always appreciate the links to past problems in the watershed. Wish my cats would go swimming with me, especially in 2018, when on the Lower Patuxent we've had ZERO nettles, now right up to September, a situation unique in my 47 years around the Bay.

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