A Railroader’s Story of Manassas, Virginia

John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad

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When you ask most people about what is famous about what is so famous about the city of Manassas, Virginia, what do you think their answer would be?  Most of the time, the answer will be the two major battles of the Civil War.  Besides, it was in the first battle where a Confederate general named Thomas Jackson earned the name ‘Stonewall Jackson’.  The Manassas National Battlefield is also the most visited historic site in Manassas.  What most people do not know is how Manassas came to be.

The city was originally called Manassas Junction.  It was built around the junction of two railroads: the Alexandria and Orange and the Manassas Gap Railroad.  (These routes are now owned by Norfolk Southern.)  It was also here in Manassas where the railroad was first used in military action.  General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson boarded his troops on a train in what is now…

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