Contributed by Prince William County Historic Preservation Division
History and technology unite as Prince William and Fauquier counties launch a new mobile tour that takes visitors through the stories, personalities and outcomes of the 1863 Battle of Bristoe Station.
Thanks to a partnership with Discover Prince William & Manassas, the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division secured a Virginia Tourism Corporation Civil War Sesquicentennial Marketing Grant to create the Bristoe Station Campaign Mobile Tour, which connects visitors to the events that took place in Northern and Central Virginia in the fall of 1863.
“We are thrilled to work with our partners to secure grants like this that help enhance the visitor’s experience,” Discover Prince William & Manassas President/CEO Ann Marie Maher said. “This is a unique way to connect visitors to the rich history we have right here in Prince William & Manassas.”
The mobile tour includes seven stops on a 50-mile route that spans between Prince William and Fauquier counties and takes visitors on some of the same roads soldiers traveled during the 1863 Bristoe Station Campaign. The tour can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, historians said. Some of the stops include Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, the Buckland Races, the Old Jail Museum in Warrenton and the Battle of Rappahannock Station.
“Partnerships like these, which span various jurisdictions, are incredibly important to heritage tourism,” Fauquier County Tourism Coordinator Catherine Payne said. “Visitors do not see county or town borders, but seek comprehensive information about the sites and happenings that occurred during these historic events. This partnership allows visitors to easily access information about all of the sites important to the Bristoe Station Campaign.”
The tour includes QR codes at each stop that link visitors to the tour’s mobile web site, complete with images, maps and 90-second narratives.
“The Bristoe Mobile Tour is an innovative way to use technology to reach travelers and historians of all ages and it allows us to interpret many sites in detail for the first time,” said Rob Orrison, historic site operations supervisor for Prince William’s historic preservation division. “The stops are along scenic roads, so we hope it attracts not just history lovers, but also those who visit the region for its scenery and rural landscapes. We hope this is just the beginning of using technology to reach different audiences.”
The launch of the new mobile tour kicks off the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bristoe Station. One of General Robert E. Lee’s last offensive campaigns of the Civil War, this was the last battle to take place in Prince William & Manassas-where the Civil War erupted in 1861.
On Oct. 5, commemorate the 150th Battle of Bristoe Station with a bus tour that stops at the battlefields and sites that were important to the 1863 campaign. Commemoration events continue the weekend of Oct. 12 with living history demonstrations and encampments, lectures, tours and musical performances.
For more information on the new mobile tour and commemorative events, visit ManassasBullRun.com.
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