Prince William County
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Bristoe Station Battlefield is located in Bristow, Prince William County, VA at the corner of Iron Brigade Unit Avenue and Tenth Alabama Way.
From Interstate 95: Take Rt. 234 North (Exit 152B); travel 7.5 miles and make a left onto Independent Hill Drive. Then make your immediate right onto Rt. 619 (Bristow Road). Travel 7 miles and turn left onto Iron Brigade Unit Avenue. The parking lot is located on your left at the traffic circle.
From Interstate 66: Take Rt. 234 South (Exit 44). Travel 4.5 miles and turn right onto Rt. 28 (Nokesville Road). Travel 1.5 miles and turn left onto Rt. 619 (Bristow Road). Travel .25 miles and turn right onto Iron Brigade Unit Avenue. The parking lot is located on your left at the traffic circle.
Two Civil War battles were fought at Bristoe Station.
The first battle at Bristoe Station was called the Battle of Kettle Run and was fought on August 26-27, 1862. It centered around the railroad. It is unknown where the soldiers who died from this battle are buried.
The second battle at Bristoe Station was called the Battle of Bristoe Station and was fought on October 14, 1863. This Memorial Site is for those soldiers who died and were buried on the battlefield October 14, 1863. According to all historical accounts, their bodies remain buried where they fell and should not be confused with the cemetery burials at the Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park Cemetery Find A Grave Memorial Site. According to the signs at the Heritage Park, the correct name for that cemetery is the Alabama Cemetery (see below NOTE).
NOTE: The remains of nearly 100 Alabamians are resting in the Alabama Cemetery at Bristoe (incorrectly named - Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park Cemetery on Find A Grave) along with 128 Mississippi soldiers and an unknown number of soldiers from NC, VA and TN. These graves (most are unknown) are from an earlier encampment during Aug-Sept 1861. According to the Heritage Park sign pictured on the other Memorial Site, they died from disease that had swept through their encampment.
A little history of the Battle of Bristoe Station:
Gen. A.P. Hill's Confederate corps stumbled upon Gen. Gouverneur Warren's Union troops posted at the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. The Union fiercely defended their position inflicting heavy Confederate casualties and capturing a battery of Confederate artillery. When the sun finally set on the battlefield, nearly 2,000 men lay dead or wounded on the ground. So many Confederates fell during the brief but bloody encounter that they were buried in trench graves on the Battlefield where they fell.
Generals Lee and Hill rode across the bloody field strewn with the dead and dying. Hill, realizing he was at fault for the loss, was apologetic to the visibly angry Lee. "Well, well, General," Lee concluded, "bury these poor men, and let us say no more about it." After the battle, a remorseful Hill wrote very candidly about his part in the fight, "I am convinced that I made the attack too hastily…" Hill recklessly ordered a full scale attack against an unknown enemy and paid dearly for his shortsightedness. In addition, a lack of proper artillery support allowed the Union to bring up reinforcements and utilize their artillery to crush Hill's attack. Never again the inspiring field commander, the disaster at Bristoe would affect him until his death in the closing days of the war.
Though overlooked in many Civil War history books, the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863 would be Robert E. Lee's last offensive campaign of the Civil War and would prove to President Abraham Lincoln that the Confederates were not demoralized by their defeat at Gettysburg.