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Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 1., Chapter 20: commencement of civil War. (search)
ace of the Confederates, preparatory to a march on the Capital, was Manassas Junction, a point on the Orange and Alexandria Railway, where another joins it from Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge, about twenty-five miles west from Alexandria, and thirty in a direct line from Washington City. This was a most important strategic point in the plans of the conspirators, as it commanded the grand Southern railway route, connecting Washington and Richmond, and another leading to the fertile valley of the Shenandoah, beyond the Blue Ridge. General Butler had already suggested Mississippi Rifleman. the Mississippi riflemen were renowned as destructive sharp-shooters during the war. In addition to their rifle, they carried a sheath-knife, known as the Bowie-knife, in their belt. This is a formidable weapon in a hand-to-hand fight, when wielded by men expert in its use, as many were in the southwestern States, where it was generally seen in murderous frays in the streets and bar-rooms. Its