A quiet section of Prince William County for hundreds of years, during the American Civil War two battles and numerous troop encampments occurred at Bristoe Station. While small compared to other Civil War battles, the August 1862 Battle of Kettle Run and the October 1863 Battle of Bristoe Station produced hundreds of casualties that were felt from Minnesota to New York and from North Carolina to Louisiana. Evidence of people who occupied this land remains in the park's road traces, buildings, and cemeteries.
Prior to the Civil War, Bristoe Station was an important stop along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Drawn by the railroad and the nearby water supply, numerous encampments sprang up around Bristoe Station from 1861 through 1864. In the aftermath of the First Battle of Manassas, several Confederate units established encampments in the woods and fields around the station, nominally called Camp Jones after Col. Egbert Jones of the 4th Alabama Infantry who died of his Manassas wounds on Sept 4th. The camp was dirty and unsanitary, resulting in an extremely high death count from diseases such as meningitis, small pox, yellow fever, typhoid, measles and pneumonia, which were ravaging camps in both armies in the early stages of the war. Several burial grounds for the dead were established around Camp Jones, though today park historians have only been able to identify the spot of an Alabama cemetery where approximately 82 Alabamians are buried. On Sept 4th, 1861 Confederate officer William Dorsey Pender wrote to his wife of the conditions at the camp: "I find it hard to keep up my spirits with so much sickness and so many deaths. We have had six in the last week & several more will die." In April 1862 General Rufus King's Union division marched through Bristoe Station, where they were waylaid by a massive snowstorm that lasted for four days. The soldiers of the division set up camp around the home of Thomas K. Davis, a union sympathizer, and tore down all of the fences around his property boundary as well as many of the pine trees on his land for firewood and shelter. In the winter of 1864 General Samuel Crawford's Pennsylvania Reserve Division was ordered to guard the Orange and Alexandria rail line, covering the area between Centerville and Rappahannock Station. Several units set up winter camps on the Gaines and Limscomb farms at Bristoe station where they completed the destruction of the now abandoned Davis Farmstead, along with the rest of outbuildings at Bristoe Station and many buildings at nearby Brentsville.
In August 1862 the Civil War returned to Prince William County. As part of the 2nd Manassas Campaign, Confederate soldiers under Stonewall Jackson captured the railroad at Bristoe Station before capturing the warehouses of food at Manassas. On the afternoon of August 27, 1862 the small, but deadly, Battle of Kettle Run was fought at Bristoe Station, the first of a series of battles known as 2nd Manassas.
In the fall of 1863 both the Northern and Southern armies were recuperating after the Battle of Gettysburg. After troops from both armies were sent west to Tennessee, Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted to repeat his 2nd Manassas Campaign. Unlike the previous August, Lee's campaign was defeated on October 14, 1863 at the Battle of Bristoe Station. Learn more about the Battle of Bristoe Station through the mobile tour below.
Bristoe Station Battlefield offers a variety of special events, programs, and tours throughout the year. We also have more than 2.7 miles of trails available for recreational use. For more information, click the link below!
Bristoe Station Battlfield Heritage Park is located at 10708 Bristow Rd Bristow, VA 20136 and the entrance is located at the corner of Iron Bridge Unit Avenue and Tenth Alabama Way. For more information, please call 703-366-3049.