The Battle of Chantilly, also know as the Battle of Ox Hill, took place on September 1, 1862 in Fairfax County, Virginia. During this period of the Civil War, Union troops were retreating from their defeat at Second Bull Run. Meanwhile, Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson hoped to cut off the retreating Unions.
On September 1st, Jackson sent a few of his divisions against the exhausted Union troops, but their attack was stopped by severe thunderstorms. Two commanding generals of the Union divisions, Isaac Stevens and Philip Kearny, were killed in the skirmish and the army retreated to Washington under the order of Major General Pope. This battle, which occurred on this site, is the only major Civil War engagement in the county.
After being defeated in the Second Battle of Bull Run, Union Major General Pope of the Union army ordered his troops to retreat to Centreville, Virginia. Under the cover of night, the Union army began retreating across Bull Run, destroying the Stone Bridge behind them. Pope wanted an attack on Lee but was afraid that he would strike first. General Pope called for a conference of his corps commanders in the Centreville headquarters and agreed with their decision to retreat into the Washington defenses. Although he agreed with the decision to retreat to Washington's defenses, Pope got an order from General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck to attack Lee's forces.
Lee already had a plan set out that took away Pope's chance of attacking. Lee directed Major General Thomas Jackson to march his troops around Pope's right flank to get behind their position. Major General J.E.B. Stuart's forces were sent to lead the way and search for any Union blocking force. Major General James Longstreet's troops were commanded to stay where they were so Pope would believe that Lee's entire force remained in front. Pope and his men settled down for the night on August 31, about three or four miles northeast of Centreville with Jackson's men on their trail.
On September 1, Pope ordered Major General Sumner to send a brigade north to meet up because the army's cavalry was too exhausted for the mission but they still continued toward Washington. Pope also sent two brigades under the command of Brigadier General Stevens and Major General Reno to block Jackson's troops. Jackson's army continued to march until they reached Ox Hill and settled down for a while. Steven's division arrived at Ox Hill and chose to attack the Confederate soldiers around 3 p.m.
The Union attack was successful, but Stevens was killed around 5 p.m. from a shot to the head. During this time, a severe thunderstorm hit the battleground and soaked the ammunition of all the infantry. Major General Philip Kearny's division arrived during the thunderstorm and began to attack the Confederates but Kearny himself mistakenly rode his horse into Confederate territory and was killed. After Kearny's death, the rest of the Union force retreated, ending the battle. Today the battlefield displays monuments to Stevens and Kearny.