History Spotlight: Manassas Peace Jubilee

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Provided by City of Manassas Economic Development

The Manassas Peace Jubilee on July 21,1911 marked 50 years after the start of the Civil War. The First Battle of Manassas (or First Battle of Bull Run) was the first major land battle of the 1861 to 1865 Civil War. The battle took place on July 21, 1861 on the Manassas battlefields – just seven miles northwest of the City of Manassas, now forever memorialized as Manassas National Battlefield Park.
In an effort to promote peace, the City of Manassas hosted the Peace Jubilee July 16 to 21, 1911. Manassas resident George Carr Round (former Union officer-turned-Virginia lawyer and delegate) and Edmund Berkeley (former Confederate officer) organized the Jubilee together from Berkeley’s Evergreen Manor House in Haymarket.
Over 500 aging veterans of both armies came. Poems, prayers, and songs were commissioned, including the “Manassas Peace Jubilee Anthem.” To kick off the week-long festivities, this photo above shows U.S. President William Howard Taft speaking on the grounds of the 1892-built Manassas Court House on Lee Avenue. To his right sits Virginia Governor William Hodges Mann.
The photo below shows hundreds of Union and Confederate veterans gathered at the Manassas battlefield in July 1911. This time, they advanced toward each other with outstretched arms instead of pointed weapons to promote peace instead of division.
Though devastated by the war, this Virginia crossroads was rebuilt in a spirit of reconciliation. And that’s something worth celebrating.
Peace Jubilee

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