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During the American Civil War, the Stone House witnessed not only one but two major battles during the war. It was used as a makeshift hospital for the Union and the Confederates, paroling wounded Union prisoners of war. Like many other structures of the Manassas battlefield, the Stone House would become a scene of horrors with wounded soldiers with a variety of wounds caused by the soft lead projectiles. The house was filled with both the dead and the dying, their blood soaking into the wooden floorboards of the house.

  • Colonel John S. Slocum, mortally wounded and treated at the Stone House
  • The Stone House
  • One of the names carved into the wood.

Before the American Civil War, the date of the construction of the Stone House remained only clear but was primarily a tavern and inn for travelers taking the Warrenton Turnpike. There were multiple changes of ownership of the Stone House and the land around it, later coming under the ownership of the Matthews family, no relations to the family of Matthews hill. Henry and Jane Matthews acquired the house by 1850 and continued to use it as an inn and tavern. By the eve of the First Battle of Bull Run, the Matthews would leave their property.[1] By July 21, 1861, their tavern became a focal point in the Battle of Bull Run, becoming an aid station and, after capture, a parole station. 

By the afternoon of July 21st, 1861, Union forces captured the crossroads and the Stone House, immediately turning the structure into a hospital to treat the Union wounded, from the basement to the second floor, filled with wounded Union soldiers.[2]Union forces likely used the structure for two reasons, strong stone walls; also, the strategic location by the Sudley road. The building would be used to treat wounded Union soldiers and later transport them to the capital with the use of the Ambulance Corps. Most of the wounded were from nearby Matthews Hill to the north, from the morning skirmishes and later possibly wounded from Henry House Hill to the South. Within this structure, would have been a scene of surgeons working to save the lives of wounded soldiers, amputating limbs and treating wounds caused by soft lead projectiles. The two likely reasons for the Union to use this particular structure was firstly the strong stone walls; also, the strategic location by the Sudley road. Meaning that this structure would treat the wounded immediately and later transported to the capital with the use of wagons. Within this structure, would have been a scene of surgeons working to save the lives of wounded soldiers, amputating limbs and treating wounds caused by the soft lead projectiles, possibly under fire. 

One individual brought into the Stone House was, Colonel John S. Slocum of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment. He was shot in the side and back of his head, from nearby Matthews Hill, carried to the Stone House.[3][4]The surgeon Dr. James Harris was on duty at the Stone House, he remained on duty after the Union retreated from Henry House Hill and was found with wounded Federals.[5] Colonel Robert T. Preston of the 28th Virginia Regiment expressed in a report, “In this house was found a large number of the wounded enemy, some dead, and thirty-six men, who surrendered themselves prisoner. Among them were two officers, a surgeon, and an assistant surgeon. The latter was liberated on parole and directed to take charge of and assist the enemy’s wounded. There were also found in the house about one hundred arms.” The house would become a parole station, taking in wounded Union soldiers, paroling them and invited ambulances and surgeons from the capital.[6]

Once again after about thirteen months, between August 28th and the 30th of 1862, the Stone House, would once again be used as a temporary hospital to treat the wounded from the Second Battle of Manassas. The house, once again, filled with wounded Union soldiers, suffering from horrible wounds. Evidence of this day can be seen on the floorboards in one of the upper floor rooms, both Eugene P. Geer and Charles Brehm of the 5th New York Infantry, leaving their mark on the house.[7] As the battle once again died, like the First Battle of Bull Run, the structure would be captured and later become a parole station, where for several days, thousands of captured wounded Union soldiers were paroled and were returned to the Union.[8]

[1] Johnson, pg. 28-29

[2] Johnson, pg. 94

[3] Valpey, pg. 34

[4] Cunningham, pg. 15

[5] Cunningham, pg. 15

[6] Johnson, pg. 94

[7] National Park Service

[8] Johnson, pg. 174

Cunningham, Horace Herndon. Field Medical Services at the Battles of Manassas (Bull Run), by Horace H. Cunningham. University of Georgia Monographs No. 16. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1968.

Johnson, Don. Thirteen Months at Manassas/Bull Run: The Two Battles and the Confederate and Union Occupations / Don Johnson; Foreword by Richard A. Sauers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Publishers, 2013.

Second Rhode Island Regiment: A Narrative of Military Operations in Which the Regiment Was Engaged from the Beginning to the End of the War for the Union. By Augustus Woodbury. Valpey, Angell and Company, 1875.

“Stone House (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed December 19, 2019.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress