In July 1911, an amazing event took place here at Manassas, Virginia. The Manassas National Jubilee of Peace brought together Union and Confederate veterans fifty years after the first major battle of the Civil War. For the first time, veterans of both sides came together on the same ground in a ceremony of peace and reconciliation.
The idea for the Peace Jubilee, a week-long celebration of national healing and reunion that took place July 16-22, came in a letter to the Washington Post from D.H. Russell, a South Carolina Confederate veteran. He suggested that the fiftieth anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas be one of peace and reconciliation. George Carr Round, a respected community leader and Union veteran who had settled here after the war, read his words and decided to act on them.
The festivities culminated on July 21, the battle's anniversary. The Union and Confederate veterans fell into opposing lines on Henry House Hill, where fifty years before they had clashed in mortal combat. On a signal, the two sides approached each other,, and as they met they clasped hands in friendship and reconciliation. After a picnic on the battlefield, the crowd returned to the Prince William County Courthouse to listen to a speech by President William Howard Taft.
Civil War veterans later held reunions on other great Civil War battlefields, but just as Manassas had been the site of the first major engagement of the war, it was also the site of the first reunion of these former adversaries.