Hank Silverberg, wtop.com
MANASSAS, Va. – When the Blue and the Gray clashed at First Manassas in August of 1861, there were predictions of a short war and quick victory.
But by August of 1862, 150 years ago this summer, those illusions had been dashed. The two sides met again on the same ground as the first big land battle, and again the rail junction at Manassas was the strategic target.
The 1862 battle, from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 was bigger and bloodier. It was another Confederate victory.
But this summer’s commemoration of that event will be smaller and low key compared to last year’s commemoration of First Bull Run.
Ann Marie Maher, executive director of Discover Prince William & Manassas, says there will be no big re-enactment, no streets closed and probably smaller crowds.
“There are dozens of events happening, the Blue and Gray Ball, the history mobile, demonstrations at our battlefield. The Manassas museum will be open,” she said.
There will also be a commemoration at the nearby Bristoe Battlefield which played a key roll in Second Manassas.
Last year’s events, that included a big battle re-enactment, and numerous events downtown, drew 20,000 spectators and pumped more than $20 million into the local economy. Maher does not expect that this year.
There were more than 100,000 soldiers involved in the battle on both sides. Federal troops had 10,000 killed or wounded. Confederate casualties were about 8,300 and represented a major setback for the Union cause.
This year’s commemoration will take place from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)