Auto Tour Stop #6: Unfinished Railroad

Unfinished Railroad
A section of the Unfinished Railroad with an information panel describing Jackson's position

NPS / Hassler

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information, Parking - Auto, Trailhead

"Stonewall" Jackson's wing of the Confederate army covered a front of about one and one-half miles, extending from near the Sdley Church to a point near the Brawner Farm. The center of his line rested near Driving Tour Stop #6. The focal point of Jackson's position was the bed of the unfinished railroad. The grade is still visible as it moves through the park today. 


Second Battle of Manassas, Day Two, August 29, 1862, 3:30 p.m.

The bayonet charge had been a splendid success. In order to sustain the momentum and exploit the breakthrough, the Federals required immediate help. General Grover waited impatiently for the promised support as his regiments rapidly lost organization. However, no Federal reinforcements were forthcoming. Additional troops were not in position to provide direct support, and those that could offer some aid approached the Confederates cautiously with little sense of urgency. The absence of Yankee reinforcements, in turn, gave the Confederates the necessary time to plug the break in their line. 

General A.P. Hill's division struck back with a ferocity that soon put the Yankees on their heels. "The effect was terrible," remembered a Massachusetts soldier, "men dropped in scores, writhing and trying to crawl back or lying immovable and stone-dead where they fell." After barely a half-hour of combat, the Federal line collapsed with men bolting for the woods in the rear. Grover had no choice but to order a retreat. His small brigade had fought in solitude and his success had come at a high cost. More than 500 Federals had fallen- in excess of 30% causalities. 

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Last updated: April 5, 2024