|The Henry house — after Bull Run: the artillery center of the first Civil War battle Thus stood the Henry house after the battle of Bull Run, on July 21, 1861. The building is no longer habitable — though the white plaster remaining shows that the destroying cannonade had not brought fire in its train. At first not in the direct line of fire, the little home suddenly became the center of the flood-tide of the first real conflict of the Civil War when at two-thirty General McDowell sent forward Ricketts' and Griffin's regular batteries. The former planted their guns within 1,500 yards of Captain (later Brigadier-General) John B. Imboden's Confederate batteries, which were stationed in a slight depression beyond. A terrific artillery duel at once ensued. Old Mrs. Henry, bedridden and abandoned by her relatives, lay alone in the house in an agony of terror till one of the first shots put an end to her life of suffering. The Thirty-third Virginia could restrain themselves no longer, and without orders advanced upon the Federal batteries. In the dust they were mistaken for a supporting Federal regiment until within point-blank range they fired a volley which annihilated both batteries. Thenceforth the contending forces surged over the prostrate bodies of cannoneers. Ricketts, severely wounded, was finally taken prisoner. At last Johnston's fresh troops arrived, the gray line surged forward, and the much-coveted guns were seized by the Confederates for the last time.|
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