Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Bristow, Virginia

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By John Cowgill

Many of us are familiar with the Civil War’s major battlefields: Manassas, Gettysburg, and Antietam. There were a number of smaller battlefields; one of them is the Bristoe Station Battlefield in Bristow. Just like at Manassas, two battles took place here, although on a much smaller scale. This battlefield was more of an encampment than a battlefield.  It gets its name from a stop on the nearby railroad that runs along the southeast side of the battlefield.

Bristoe Station

A cannon on the Bristoe Station Battlefield

It looks like a peaceful place today, however, in August 1862, the Battle of Kettle Run was fought here.  General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson captured the railroad here. In October 1863, General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate army in the Battle of Bristoe Station, only to be defeated.  One month later, the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps had their winter encampment here.

For many years, it was just an open space, but in 2004, the land was officially preserved, and was opened to the public in 2007.

As you walk the trails along the battlefield, you can see the field where the battles and encampments took place. Bristoe Station is just off Virginia Route 28 southwest of Manassas.  It is open from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.  Parking is available on site.  Please note that many of the trails are not wheelchair accessible. Click here for the history of the battlefield and to get directions.

Bristoe Station

Foundation of the John Browner House at Bristoe Station

John Cowgill ( loves to visit historic places to include lesser known sites.  He loves taking road trips, and he loves railroads.  You can also follow him on Facebook at ‘John Cowgill: Photographic Journeys’ and John Cowgill: DC Railroad Examiner.  You can also check out ‘John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad’ at


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