Fortifications at Manassas
Publisher: Alexander Gardner
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph, Fortifications at Manassas, was captured by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson in March 1862. It depicts Union Army troops around Confederate fortifications at Manassas, Virginia and provides a detailed view of how military defenses were constructed in the early years of the war. Gardner’s description of this photograph criticises the Confederate fortifications at length, stating that it 'illustrates the inexperience in military matters of the men who rallied at this spot to resist the authority of the Government'.
The description also states that this poor-quality rebel construction was soon to be leveled by the Union troops. It is worth noting that this photograph was taken in the period between the First Battle of Bull Run (July 1861) and the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 1862) which took place in the region where this photograph was taken. Manassas was the Confederate name for these battles as the Confederate Army would often name the fighting after the nearest town, as opposed to the Union Army who named battles after the closest landscape feature, usually bodies of water. Both Bull Run battles resulted in Confederate victories.