Auto Tour Stop #10: Chinn Ridge

Ruins of a stone house foundation
Auto Tour Stop #10: Chinn Ridge

NPS / Claire Hassler

Quick Facts
Manassas, Virginia
Historic House Site
National Battlefield Park

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

In 1860, Benjamin Chinn and his family lived here in a two-and-a-half story frame farmhouse. Known as "Hazel Plain," the modest plantation comprised several hundred acres. The property was typical of those in Prince William County, yielding wheat, corn, oats, and potatoes for cash and subsistence. Like roughly one-third of their immediate neighbors, the Chinn family owned slaves.

War engulfed the Chinn homestead twice in thirteen months. Prominently located on a high ridge overlooking the Warrenton Turnpike and Young's Branch, Hazel Plain stood as a silent witness to some of the heaviest fighting during both battles of Manassas. On each occasion the family took refuge with relatives. They returned to find their house stained with blood and their well fouled by amputated limbs. It was a scene familiar to many local residents whose homes stood in the crosshairs of combat.

The massive Confederate counterattack appeared unstoppable. General James Longstreet's wing of the army- upwards of 28,000 troops- steadily pushed east toward Henry Hill. If the Confederates occupied that plateau, ironically the same ground on which the First Battle of Manassas had culminated the previous summer, they could cut off the Federal's line of retreat and possibly annihilate the Union army.

Finally comprehending the magnitude of the crisis, General John Pope raced to save his command. Pope worked to establish a new defensive position and safeguard his avenue of escape. To gain time for his new line to take shape, the Federal commander ordered additional troops onto Chinn Ridge. Here a handful of Union brigades struggled to slow the Confederate advance and buy that time in blood.  

Inscription #2:

A Battle For Time

During the late afternoon of August 30, 1862, Union defenders staged a desperate battle against overwhelming numbers of Confederates. While the battle raged along Chinn Ridge, Union Maj. Gen. John Pope organized a new defensive line on Henry Hill and along the historic Manassas-Sudley Road. The paved path retraces the course of fighting here during the Second Battle of Manassas. 

While you're here...

Hike the Chinn Ridge Trail

This one-mile out and back trail traverses the ground of the heaviest sustained fighting of Second Manassas, on 30 August 1862. Interpretive signs along the way relate the action that took place on this ridge in the final hours of Second Manassas. The trail is wheelchair accessible. 

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Last updated: April 5, 2024