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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 forces were retreating from their defeat at Second Bull Run. Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson planned to cut off the fleeing federal troops. On September 1st, a few of Jackson's divisions clashed with the exhausted Union men. The brutal conflict was fought in severe thunderstorms; two commanding generals of the Union divisions, Isaac Stevens and Philip Kearny, were killed in the skirmish. The federal army ultimately retreated to Washington under the order of Major General Pope. This move led directly to General Robert E. Lee's Maryland Campaign. The Battle of Chantilly, which occurred here, was the only major Civil War engagement in the county.


  • A Map of the Battle of Chantilly
  • Monuments to Stevens and Kearny at Ox Hill Battlefield Park
  • Union General Isaac Stevens, killed at Chantilly - photo by Timothy H. O'Sullivan
  • Death of General Stevens by Alonzo Chappel
  • General Philip Kearny, killed at Chantilly
  • General Kearny's Fatal Charge by Augustus Tholey, published by John Smith (1867)

After being defeated in the Second Battle of Bull Run, Union Major General John Pope ordered his troops to retreat across Bull Run to Centreville, Virginia. Confederate General Robert E. Lee then sent a force under Major General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson to encircle Pope's men and block his route to Washington, hopefully also forcing Pope from Centreville.

On September 1st, Pope sent several thousand men northeast to interdict Jackson. Meanwhile, Jackson's army continued to march in the rain until near Ox Hill, where they formed a line of battle. Union troops under Brigadier General Isaac Stevens made it to Ox Hill at four in the afternoon and attacked the Confederate troops, beginning the battle. Though this attack began well, Stevens himself was shot in the head and killed and it was ultimately repulsed. Not long after, a severe thunderstorm began, soaking everyone's ammunition and causing a short pause in the conflict. General Kearny and his men arrived, and Kearny tried to take command of the situation, but was killed after accidentally riding into Confederate forces.

After Kearny's death, the rest of the Union force retreated, eventually (over several days) moving all the way back to Washington. Lee's forces were then able to begin the Maryland Campaign.

Anderson, Eric. The Battle of Chantilly 1 September 1862: “A Terrific, Horrible, Phantasmagoria”. On Point: The Journal of Army History, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 6 - 13. Published Spring 2017. JSTOR. Accessed July 5th 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26295888.

Chantilly (Ox Hill); Battles; Civil War; Learn, American Battlefield Trust. Accessed July 5th 2020. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/civil-war/battles/chantilly.

Ox Hill Battlefield Park. Fairfax County, Virginia. Accessed August 4, 2016. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/oxhill/.

Prats, J. J. Coughlin, Bill. Browne, Allen C. The Battle of Ox Hill: The Death of Generals Stevens and Kearny, HMdb.org. August 20th 2018. Accessed July 5th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=116.

Swain, Craig. The Battle of Ox Hill, HMdb.org. June 16th 2016. Accessed July 5th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=15618.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BattleOfChantillyMap.jpg)

By Clindberg on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OxHillBattlefieldParkMonuments.jpg) - CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20130214073638!Governor.Gen.Stevens_cropped.jpg)

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Death_of_General_Isaac_Stevens_(1818-62)_during_the_attack_on_Chantilly,_Viriginia_1862.jpg)

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philip_Kearny,jr.jpg)

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kearny%27s_Charge,_Battle_of_Chantilly.jpg)