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"The Stone House,
* The Stone House Tavern, as it was identified by Confederate General Jubal Early in his memoirs, managed to survive the shot and shell from both Battles of Manassas. A year after the fighting ended, a passing soldier commented that the forlorn-looking house still stood,
"the windows broken, fences gone, and the indentations of balls plainly visible."
In 1865, a British traveler stopped at the Stone House and left us a rather unflattering picture of the house and its owner.
"The house was formerly a tavern, and the man who kept it was one of those two-faced farmers, secessionists at heart, but always loyal to the winning side &. He had managed to get his house through the storm, although in a somewhat dismantled condition. The bar-room was as barren as the intellect of the owner."
"the floor above was also covered with wounded soldiers, whose cries could be distinctly heard."
A makeshift red flag appeared on the building to mark the Stone House as a place of refuge and suffering. After the fighting ended, Company A of the 28th Virginia Infantry arrived at the Stone House to find 100 weapons and
"a large number of wounded enemy, some dead, and thirty-six men, who surrendered themselves prisoner."
Among the prisoners were two Union medical officers, a surgeon and an assistant surgeon. Only the assistant surgeon was allowed to remain and care for the many sufferers as best he could. No evidence exists that any surgical operations took place inside the house. Two primary battlefield hospital sites were located nearby at Sudley Church and the Francis Lewis House, "Portici." During the Second Battle of Manassas, Union commander John Pope established his headquarters on Buck Hill overlooking the Stone House. On August 30 most of the defeated Union army passed the Stone House on the Warrenton Turnpike in retreat toward Washington. Private George Edgcomb of the 23rd New York wrote that he entered the Stone House at this time to rescue a wounded comrade. The weight of the man proved too great a burden for Edgcomb to carry and he had to abandon the soldier along the road near Stone Bridge.
|At least two other wounded soldiers also occupied the
Stone House that day. Privates Eugene P. Geer and Charles E. Brehm of the 5th New York Infantry
were wounded on August 30, 1862 in a futile attempt to halt General James
Longstreet's counterattack. Somehow the two men found their way to one of
the small upstairs rooms at the Stone House. There, carved in the
floorboards in the late summer of 1862, and still visible today, are the
initials "E.P Ge" and "Brehm Aug. 30." |
(Note the distinct difference in flair between the two young men's carving. I think it illistrates quite clearly how much pain one of the boys was suffering with. ~J.Bott~)
Charles Brehm recovered from his wounds and survived the war. Eugene Geer died of his wounds September 30, 1862, he was 17.
Below are some historical accounts of the Stone
House, or "Silent Sentinal."
Not until Union commander (26k) Irvin McDowell mapped out his strategy on the night of July 20, however, did it become apparent just how close to the Stone House the action would take place. McDowell's plan to flank the Confederate position along Bull Run was destined to bring the bulk of the Union forces down Matthews Hill from the north along the Manassas-Sudley Road and , if all went as planned, straight to Manassas Junction. This route of march would bring approximately 15,000 Federal troops directly past the Stone House. However, the failure to properly execute this movement on the part of the Northerners would ensure that the Stone House would witness major events of the coming battle, not merely the passing of the Federal army. Major (27k) J.J. Bartlett of the 27th reported charging the Confederates, who were "strongly positioned in and about a large stone house, with a battery commanding the approach." The New Yorkers' thrust quickly sent lingering Confederates headlong from the protection of the Stone House toward Henry Hill. The Empire State (New York) troops advanced to the Stone House, where they attempted to reform their lines. As the maelstrom of the escalating battle moved south to the fields of the widow Judith Carter Henry, the Stone House came alive with activity. As both surgeons and wounded Union soldiers began to seek shelter from the battle, the Stone House became an obvious oasis. The protection provided by its strong stone walls, the fresh water provided by its well, and its position along the main road back to the hospitals of Washington made the Stone House an ideal field hospital site. The Stone House quickly swelled to capacity, with wounded Federals filling every inch of the structure's available floor space. Corporal William H. Merrell, a member for the 27th New York who was wounded in the chest during his unit's final push for the Stone House intersection, reported that the cellar quickly filled, with the men lying on the muddy dirt floor. Likewise, according to Merrell, "the floor above was also covered with wounded soldiers." Despite the fact that the heaviest fighting that afternoon had shifted south to Henry Hill, these wounded troops in the Stone House continued to come under fire throughout the afternoon of July 21. Corporal Merrell reported that "the rattle of musket balls against the walls of the building was almost incessant." A few of the projectiles apparently found their mark as well, entering through the windows of the house and further wounding three of its occupants. Incredibly, according to Merrell, an artillery projectile likewise entered the structure through an open window or door, but passed through the house without further incident! This continued shower of lead in the area brought two skulkers from the Confederate lines into the Stone House basement in an apparent attempt to shield themselves from the intense storm of shot and shell. Unfortunately for them, despite their best efforts (one of the men even stashed himself in the cellar fireplace), they were both wounded - one of them severely - as they lay on the floor among the wounded Federals.
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