On August 28, 1862, a series of skirmishes with dire consequences erupted near Chapman’s Mill in Thoroughfare Gap, a strategic pass through the Bull Run Mountains that provided a gateway to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia from the Shenandoah Valley. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had divided his army into two separate divisions headed by Longstreet and Jackson. The divided army drove off Union attacks and successfully reunited before heading toward Manassas for the Second Battle of Bull Run. The united Confederate armies caused a harrowing defeat for the Union at Manassas and allowed Robert E. Lee to continue to press northward toward the next two stops on a long, tragic journey - Antietam, and then Gettysburg.

Visiting the Thoroughfare Gap Battlefield

Your best bet to visit the Thoroughfare Gap battlefield is to begin at the Chapmans Mill Historic Site. Part of the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap occurred at the mill site which changed hands several times during the battle. Adjacent to Chapman Mill Historic Site, the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area features over six miles of easy to moderate level hiking trails through scenic natural areas and portions of the Thoroughfare Gap Battlefield including the Quarry Trench battle site. An information kiosk is located near the entrance to the mill site that contains a trail map and information about the trails.

Visit Civil War Trust for battle details and information about the preservation of this battlefield.

Pictured at the top: Part of the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap occurred at Chapman Mill Historic Site.

chapmans mill

You can walk around and into the stabilized ruins of Chapman Mill.

chapmans mill picnic grove

Chapman Mill Historic Site features a shady picnic grove.