Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Episode 223 (7-21-14): Bull Run's Past and Present, Featuring "Abe's Retreat"

Click to listen to episode (3:38)


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 21, 2014.

This week, we feature a history-mystery.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds, and see if you can guess what historic Virginia waterway connects this traditional tune and these sounds.  And here’s a hint: if the waterway’s name were a kind of cattle exercise, you’d want to get out of the way.



If you guessed, Bull Run, you’re right!  The music was part of “Abe’s Retreat,” performed by the Celtibillies, on their 2005 CD “The Shoemaker’s Child,” from Zygoat Records.  The tune’s name refers to the chaotic retreat of Union soldiers following the first major land battle of the American Civil War on July 21, 1861: the First Battle of Manassas, also called the first Battle of Bull Run.  The sounds you heard were cricket frogs, stream flow, and passing cars at the actual Bull Run in Manassas National Battlefield Park on July 20, 2014.

In 1861, Bull Run was the main geographic obstacle for a Union army aiming to capture the strategic railroad center of Manassas Junction, as part of the Union’s first advance towards Richmond.  The stream was again a military focal point in the August 1862 Second Battle of Manassas.  In 2014, Bull Run is the heart of some 5000 acres of natural areas in the national battlefield park; it’s the defining feature of Bull Run Regional Park; it’s a major tributary to the Occoquan River and in turn the Potomac River; and—as the border between densely populated and economically vital Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties—Bull Run is still in the middle of some of the Commonwealth’s most significant human forces and events.

Thanks to the Celtibillies for permission to use this week’s music, and thanks to John-Paul Raflo, Delaney Dunn, Jo Raflo, and Luke Raflo for recording the sounds of Bull Run.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 7/21/14]

“Abe’s Retreat” (part of the medley “Abe’s Retreat/Big Lick”) and “The Shoemaker’s Child” are copyright by The Celtibillies, used with permission.  More information on The Celtibillies is available online at http://celtibillies.com/.

Sounds of Bull Run were recorded for Virginia Water Radio on July 20, 2014, in the Manassas Battlefield Park by John-Paul Raflo, Delaney Dunn, Jo Raflo, and Luke Raflo

Sources for this episode

For “Abe’s Retreat”:

Andrew Kuntz, “The Fiddler’s Companion”), online at http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/.

For Bull Run:

Civil War Trust, “Bull Run—First Manassas,” online at http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/bullrun.html (includes an animated map that discusses the waterways involved); and “Second Manassas,” online at http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/second-manassas.html.

National Park Service, “Manassas Battlefield Park-Virginia,” online at http://www.nps.gov/mana/index.htm.  The section on “Science and Nature,” at http://www.nps.gov/mana/naturescience/index.htm, has information about the environment today and in 1861, including a brochure, “Battlefield Biodiversity,” online (as PDF) at http://www.nps.gov/mana/naturescience/upload/Battlefield-Biodiversity-Brochure.pdf.

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, “Bull Run Regional Park,” online at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/bull_run/; and “Occoquan Water Trail,” online at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/occoquan_water_trail.

Virginia Water News and Other Information
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