(State Historical Marker# B 13) * This is a replacement marker.  The original marker "ACTION OF OX HILL" is no longer there. 
For marker location map click here.

Signs of History

Ox Hill - General Kearny links ...


This battle is usually called the battle of Chantilly ... because the Union named their battles after the closest city or town (that they knew of) to the battle site, but in reality it was closer to Jermantown (Germantown) or Fairfax, Virginia.  The Confederates named their battles after the most prominent physical landmark in the area ... and this site is know as Ox Hill to all the locals.  Since the winner of a battle is supposedly given the right to name the action, most of the history books (and markers) call the battle, 'The Battle of Ox Hill'. 

What happened here is amazing ...

 The Union had just gotten beaten badly at the Second Battle of Manassas (which should be called the Second Battle of Bull Run, since the Confederates won both battles) ... and General Pope was retreating with his Union Army of Virginia back to Alexandria (and Washington) to protect the capitol from Lee and Jackson's troops. (There was a Union Army of Virginia ... as well as Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia)

 It was a dark and stormy night ... and Union Generals Kearny and Stevens were trying to rally their troops to hold back the Confederate advance down the Little River Turnpike towards Fairfax and the remnants of Pope's Army.

 Out numbered 3 to 1, in the dark of night, with a terrible storm all around them ... first General Stevens, then General Kearny were both killed in action.  Stevens while actually leading a charge up Ox Hill towards Jackson's main column on Little River Turnpike, and Kearny while riding his horse, alone, into a cornfield trying to determine where the confederates were and where to send his men, ... after Stevens charge had be repelled. 

 Steven's charge and Kearny's rallying ride held the Confederates in check for the night, and gave the rest of the Union Army enough time to escape.  Congress later named a special medal for honor and valor after Kearny ...

 That medal later became know as, The Congressional Medal of Honor.

Photographs and commentary courtesy of "Big Mike" Muckenthaler (November 2003)

For more photographs of the area click here.

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