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Manassas Park, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Signal Hill

“Look out for your left, you are turned”

 
 
Signal Hill Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, November 11, 2006
1. Signal Hill Marker
Inscription. This elevation behind the Confederate right flank at Manassas in July 1861 was one of four Confederate signal stations established by Capt. Edward Porter Alexander; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard’s signal officer. Because the hilltop was devoid of trees, it offered excellent sight lines to the north and west without building a signal tower. As Union Gen. Irvin McDowell’s army approached, the Centreville station was abandoned, but Alexander’s signalmen remained at the other three stations and “wig-wagged” messages from one end of Beauregard’s Bull Run line to the other.

On the morning of July 21, 1861, Alexander was posted here. A Union diversionary attack at the Stone Bridge seven miles northwest required him to keep watch on the Van Pelt signal station. Alexander later wrote that when he looked to the left of that station at about 8:45 A.M., “my eye was caught by a glitter in this narrow band of green. I recognized it at once as the reflection of the morning sun from a brass field-piece. Closer scrutiny soon revealed the glittering of bayonets and musket barrels.” Alexander had spotted a large Union column marching toward Sudley Springs to turn the Confederate left flank. He immediately signaled the Van Pelt station to warn Col. Nathan G. Evans, in command at the Stone Bridge, “Look out
Signal Hill marker and monument Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, November 11, 2006
2. Signal Hill marker and monument
for your left, you are turned.” It was the first time in history that the wigwag system had been used in combat. Alexander’s timely warning enabled Evans to intercept the Union Ranking column and buy time for Confederate reinforcements, contributing significantly to the Confederate victory at First Manassas.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 45.188′ N, 77° 26.298′ W. Marker is in Manassas Park, Virginia. Marker is on Signal View Drive. Click for map. Marker is located on the east side of Signal Hill Drive across the street from Signal Hill Park. There is a small parking area at the marker. Marker is in this post office area: Manassas VA 20111, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Signal Hill Monument (here, next to this marker); Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. ¾ mile away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort
Signal Hill Earthworks Photo, Click for full size
March 18, 2006
3. Signal Hill Earthworks
Looking South
(approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (approx. 0.8 miles away).
 
Additional comments.
1. “the Willcoxon signal station”
From Bull Run Remembers…by Joseph Mills Hanson:

About two and one-half miles east of the [Manassas Junction] station and half a mile west of Bull Run, was the most formidable work of all; an oblong-shaped fort following the crest line of Signal Hill, the highest elevation in the vicinity of Manassas, about 400 feet above sea level. The fort on Signal Hill, still well preserved under heavy forest cover, shows interval embrasures for 16 guns…

At the time of the war the farm on which Signal Hill stands belonged to Mr. Josiah Willcoxon for which reason the hill was formerly sometimes called the “the Willcoxon signal station.”
    — Submitted March 8, 2010.

 
Categories. CommunicationsWar, US Civil
 
Gravestone of Josiah Willcoxon Photo, Click for full size
March 7, 2010
4. Gravestone of Josiah Willcoxon
In Memory of
Josiah Willcoxon
Died Nov. 16, 1861
In the 48th year of his age


Weir Family Cemetery, “Liberia”, Manassas, Virginia.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,876 times since then. Last updated on . Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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