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A House Divided
Posted at 11:58 AM ET, 07/27/2011

What you missed: A look at Bull Run highlights

Now that the dust has settled from the events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run, a look back at some of the reading you may have missed.

Did you know ...?

An interesting but little known piece of history: In 1922, well before the federal government included the Manassas battlefields in the national park system, the Sons of Confederate Veterans purchased the128-acre Henry House Hill property, the place where then Col. Thomas Jackson got his famous nickname “Stonewall,” with the intention of developing a memorial and museum on the site. The Great Depression made fundraising a difficult task for the various southern heritage groups involved in the plan; lacking the money to maintain the grounds, they transferred the property to the federal government in 1938.

There were several provisos in the deed: a museum had to be built on the property and an appropriate statue of Jackson was to be placed at the exact spot where he took his famous stand during the battle.

It is probably the only such land transfer from a southern heritage group to the federal government. In the first part of the 20th century, reconciliation was popular; today, would such a gift be offered?

Elsewhere in The Post ....

* Over the weekend, thousands gathered despite the scorching temperatures to witness the reenactment of First Manassas. Check out the photos , the video, and the live Tweets from the scene. The reenactment is “quite a production,” explained the owner who donated use of her farmland for the event.

*It’s not just modern-day reenactments that draw spectators — the battle itself drew onlookers from Washington (who didn’t know quite what they were in for.)

*Reenacting is serious business: There’s initiation, there’s an art to dying on the battlefield., and the most dedicated even stick to Civil War-era transport on their way for fast food.

* “But if you look, you’ll see that most historians now say that if it wasn’t for these black soldiers, the North might not have won the war ... These guys were freedom fighters. That’s what our people should know . . . and that’s why we do this.”
— Mel Reid, one of a small group of African American Civil War reenactors, on why he participates.

“My dear Sarah ... the indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days. . . . Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines which will fall under your eye when I shall be no more.”
— A Civil War soldier’s heartbreaking farewell letter was written before death at Bull Run

— Amanda McGrath contributed to this post.

By Linda Wheeler  |  11:58 AM ET, 07/27/2011

 
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