Prior to the Civil War, Bristoe Station was an important stop along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. In the aftermath of the First Battle of Manassas, several Confederate units established encampments in the woods and fields around the station, nominally called Camp Jones after Col. Egbert Jones of the 4th Alabama Infantry who died of his Manassas wounds on Sept 4th. The camp was dirty and unsanitary, resulting in an extremely high death count from diseases such as meningitis, small pox, yellow fever, typhoid, measles and pneumonia, which were ravaging camps in both armies in the early stages of the war. Several burial grounds for the dead were established around Camp Jones, though today park historians have only been able to identify the spot of an Alabama cemetery where approximately 82 Alabamians are buried. On Sept 4th, 1861 Confederate officer William Dorsey Pender wrote to his wife of the conditions at the camp: "I find it hard to keep up my spirits with so much sickness and so many deaths. We have had six in the last week & several more will die."
In April 1862 General Rufus King's Union division marched through Bristoe Station, where they were waylaid by a massive snowstorm that lasted for four days. The soldiers of the division set up camp around the home of Thomas K. Davis, a union sympathizer, and tore down all of the fences around his property boundary as well as many of the pine trees on his land for firewood and shelter.
In the winter of 1864 General Samuel Crawford's Pennsylvania Reserve Division was ordered to guard the Orange and Alexandria rail line, covering the area between Centerville and Rappahannock Station. Several units set up winter camps on the Gaines and Limscomb farms at Bristoe station where they completed the destruction of the now abandoned Davis Farmstead, along with the rest of outbuildings at Bristoe Station and many buildings at nearby Brentsville.