On October 14, 1863, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill impulsively attacked two Union corps at Bristoe Station. Union soldiers posted at the railroad embankment counter-attacked, captured Confederate artillery and withdrew without pursuit toward Centreville. The Confederates destroyed the railroad and retreated back toward the Rappahannock River. The bungled offensive and high casualties caused a disappointed Gen. Robert E. Lee to order Hill to ‘bury these poor men, and let us say no more about it.’ Often referred to as ‘A.P. Hill’s Folly’, the Battle of Bristoe Station was Lee’s final offensive action during the Civil War.
Visiting the Bristoe Station Battlefield
Your best bet to visit Bristoe Station Battlefield is to begin at the Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park. Here there are 2.7 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. The splendid A.P. Hill’s Folly Self-Guided Trail Walking Tour includes interpretive signs and markers describing major battle actions. Along the way there are native plant and wildlife habitat areas as well as a trail to Camp Jones - a Confederate encampment in 1861-1862, and the Alabama Cemetery. The battlefield trail is a wide gravel track with scenic views and benches and is a little hilly in places. The Camp Jones and Alabama Cemetery trails are level dirt tracks through forest.
Pictured at the top: Bristoe Station Battlefield Park is an urban oasis in the midst of busy Northern Virginia.
The A.P. Hill's Folly Trail at Bristoe Station Battlefield Park features benches for sitting and relaxing and enjoying the views.
The park features 2.7 miles of multi-use hiking, biking and equestrian trails.
[Virginia. Tracks of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, destroyed by the Confederates between Bristow Station and the Rappahannock] O'Sullivan, Timothy, 1863 (Library of Congress)