The Stone House at Manassas National Battlefield Park | Prince William County, VA | c. 1848
The Stone House at Manassas is a two-story, stone structure in Prince William County, Virginia. It was built as a stop on the Fauquier and Alexandria Turnpike in 1848, but it achieved its main significance during the American Civil War when it served as a hospital during the First and Second Battles of Manassas.
The Stone House Tavern, as it was identified by Confederate General Jubal Early in his memoirs, managed to survive the shot and shell from both battles of Manassas. A year after the fighting ended, a passing soldier commented that the forlorn-looking house still stood, “the windows broken, fences gone, and the indentations of balls plainly visible.”
A Prominent Landmark
There are 3 remaining antebellum buildings that remain within Manassas National Battlefield Park, of which The Stone House is one. It sits at a historic crossroads and faces the historic antebellum Chinn House atop the neighboring hill.
Originally constructed as a tavern to serve travelers on the busy Warrenton Turnpike (completed in 1828) that connected the farms of the lower Shenandoah Valley to the markets in the East. The Stone House served the traffic on the turnpike as a wagon stop, where travelers could drink hard liquor.
The Civil War brought devastation to all of the families living near this crossroads. Their crops were destroyed, fences burned, and homes damaged. The Matthews at the Stone House found themselves in the thick of the fighting during the first battle that began a third of a mile north of the Stone House where a brigade of Southerners met Union soldiers.
Wounded from the fighting sought shelter in the basement of the Stone House. Corporal William H. Merrell of the 27th New York Infantry observed, “the floor above was also covered with wounded soldiers, whose cries could be distinctly heard.” A makeshift red flag appeared on the building to mark the Stone House as a place of refuge and suffering. After the 2nd Battle of Manassas, Confederate officers used the Stone House to parole Union prisoners.
In 1865, the Matthews’ sold their property while the Stone House continued as a tavern, post-office, residence, and landmark. In 1949, the Federal Government bought the property and in 1960, the Park Service began a major restoration project to return to the building to its antebellum appearance. Much of the original structure remains, including the exterior walls, the chimneys, and a considerable amount of the flooring inside the house.