Once the scene of bloody combat, Brawner Farm sits today in a quiet corner of Manassas Battlefield. Archeologists have conducted multiple investigations of the property, which have uncovered the site of several structures and unearthed thousands of artifacts. This rich assemblage of domestic and military objects provides valuable information about those that lived and fought here.
Excavations revealed the foundations of an earlier house partly underneath the current structure, and this earlier house was the one that stood during the Second Battle of Manassas. The chimney pile before you is all that remains of a large outbuilding believed to have served as a combined kitchen and slave quarter. Surveys of the yard produced evidence of former inhabitants - both free and enslaved - including pottery, dishes, tools, jewelry, and children's toys. Mixed in among these household items were heavy concentrations of military artifacts, which have contributed to our understanding of the positions and movements of unites during the battle. Together these discoveries shed light on the rich history of Brawner Farm, but also serve as a poignant reminder of the war's impact on local residents.
Evidence of inhabitants included jewelry (left), clay marbles (center top), pieces of glass and pottery possibly used as gaming counters by slaves (center bottom), and a prewar padlock (right).
Artifacts from the August 1862 battle included dropped bullets (left), the sabot and base from a 3-inch Dyer artillery shell (center), and military buttons (right).