Sudley Church


Turn north from the parking lot back onto CR 622. After going about 300 yards, the road makes a second sharp curve. This marks the approximate point where on the high ground to the east Crenshaw's Virginia Battery established itself. Pause if traffic allows.

Artilleryman William Ellis Jones, Crenshaw's (Virginia) Battery, recorded in his diary,

Skirmishing commenced early in this morning. We were put in a commanding position on a slight rise in an open field and had to keep a bright lookout for yanks. We had not been there long before a column of them were seen making their way through a cornfield about a hundred yards off, when we opened fire, for [the enemy] skeedaddled ingloriously. We were under a hot fire from one of their batteries, shells bursting and scattering their fragments all around us but doing no damage to either the men or the horses. We were pretty quiet after this.

Continue 1.3 miles to a stop sign and the junction of CR 622 with SR 234. Turn right (south) and pull into the Sudley Church parking lot almost .1 mile on your right. The original Sudley Church was built in 1814 but was so badly damaged during the war that it was ultimately rebuilt by the 1880s. Some of the funds for its restoration came from former Federal soldiers, grateful for the kindness shown by local residents to Union wounded. The building was used as a Union hospital at the Battle of First Manassas. Confederates may have used it briefly sometime during Second Manassas.

On the twenty-eighth between 0600 and 1200, Schimmelfennig's Brigade of Schurz's Division engaged Gregg's South Carolina Brigade and pressed it back. It first approached east of the road, then shifted to the west. Major Franz Blessing, 74th Pennsylvania Infantry, described the experience.

The regiment was then ordered to the left, where it took its position in the general battle line, after advancing about 400 yards under the heavy fire of the enemy, driving the latter back and out of his positions; but by the withdrawing of a regiment stationed on the left of the Seventy-fourth the enemy took advantage, and, outflanking us, we were forced back about 100 yards. Forming again in column for attack the regiment advanced in quick time toward the enemy, who gave way until he arrived at the other side of the railroad dam. Here again flanked by the enemy, and under a galling fire of grape-shot and canister, the regiment had to leave its position, which it did by making a flank movement to the left, forcing the enemy to withdraw from the woods. We advanced over our former position, capturing an ambulance with two wounded officers, to the seam of the woods. At this point a heavy shower of grape-shot and canister pouring into us, we withdrew to the railroad dam. After resting here for about thirty minutes we were ordered by General Schurz to support a battery on the extreme right, keeping in that position till the battery left. We then again joined our brigade. Wearied and exhausted, we camped for the night on the same ground the enemy held the night previous.

Lieutenant Colonel Edward McCrady, 1st South Carolina Infantry, described what it was like to be on the receiving end of Schimmelfennig's repeated assaults.

The cheers were soon again heard and the breaking of the bushes as they advanced. Upon our left, too, this time they came in force up the railroad cut, and were soon on us with a fire both from front and left flank. This time they were in force also to cross around upon our right and endeavor thus to cover the cut. Here as they advanced they came upon Thomas' brigade, posted in the thicket on our right. A short resistance was made and Thomas' brigade gave way. As the enemy followed them they came upon the right flanks of Edwards and ourselves. We had no time to form a regular line to meet them, but such as proved itself equal to the task was soon filled up. I directed Companies A, C, and L to wheel to the right, which with their reduced numbers just filled in the space between Colonel Edwards and ourselves. He, too, found some of his men to the right. The enemy pressed in on us in pursuit of Thomas' men, but here they met desperate resistance. They came upon us in 10 and 20 paces, but our men stood gallantly to their posts. The work of death was terrific, but as each man fell his place was filled by another. Here Captain Barksdale, Lieutenants Munro and Hewetson, and Sergeant Smith, of Company C, distinguished themselves by their gallantry and efficiency; but this unequal fight could not long have been maintained. Fortunately, just at this time Colonel Barnes, with the Twelfth, came to our assistance. With a shout the Twelfth came charging with the bayonet, and the Georgians having rallied behind and supporting them, the enemy broke and were driven back across the cut and far into the wood from which they came.

You are standing where, later in the day about 1700, skirmishers from the 4th Maine of Bimey's Brigade marked the northern flank of Kearny's assault. Robinson's Brigade crossed to the south, heading westward against Gregg and Branch of A. P Hill's Division. The 101st New York southward sustained 75 percent casualties in Kearny's attack.

Randolph's Battery deployed about 400 yards south, just west of SR 234, to support Kearny's attack.

After passing through the woods we came to an open field which was skirted on the south and east by woodland. The unfinished railroad . . . ran diagonally across our front on the north and west of this open space. (George E. Lewis, History of Battery E, 1st R.I. Arty)

The battery engaged in prolonged counter-battery fire, suffering light casualties.

On 30 August about 1600 Gregg's and Branch's Brigades of Hill's Division pressed Kearny's elements eastward as the Federal line conformed to events farther south.