“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Centreville in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Mystery Of The Centreville Six

The Long Road Home

Mystery Of The Centreville Six Marker image. Click for full size.
May 25, 2019
1. Mystery Of The Centreville Six Marker
Inscription.  In June 1994, a well-preserved male skeleton was found buried in a then-wooded area a few yards in front of you and reported to authorities. Remnants of a woolen uniform jacket with military-style brass buttons covered the upper half of the remains. Three years later, forensic anthropologists and archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution and Fairfax County Archaeological Services explored the site further and found five additional burials, all in a row. Initial efforts to identify the men were inconclusive. Who were they, and why were they buried here?

After extensive examination of forensic data as well as genealogical and military records, researchers concluded that the men were among the earliest casualties of the Civil War. They died during or after the sharp fight about two miles in front of you at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18, 1861, when Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet blocked a Federal column under Daniel Tyler that attempted to cross Bull Run. Three days later, the war’s first large-scale battle took place—the First Battle of Manassas or Bull Run. Forensic evidence and records identified the remains as members
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of Companies G and H, 1st Massachusetts Infantry. On June 10, 2006, the six soldiers were reinterred with full military honors in the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, Massachusetts.

Soldiers’ remains indentified as:
1st Sgt. Gordon Forrest, 32, Co. G., printer
Pvt. Thomas Roome, 31 Co. G., currier
Pvt. James Silvey, 23, Co. G., upholsterer
Pvt. William H. Smart, 21, Co. G., wood turner
Pvt. George Bacon, 22, Co. H, oil mill worker
Pvt. Albert F. Wentworth, 17, a year younger
than the minimum age, Co. H., conductor
Erected 2019 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 18, 1861.
Location. 38° 50.11′ N, 77° 25.955′ W. Marker is in Centreville, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Fort Drive north of Upperridge Road, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located on the grounds of a McDonald's restaurant. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5931 Fort Drive, Centreville VA 20121, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Fortifications (approx. 0.4 miles away); Archaeology at Newgate Tavern
Mystery Of The Centreville Six Marker image. Click for full size.
May 25, 2019
2. Mystery Of The Centreville Six Marker
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Convicts and Slaves (approx. 0.4 miles away); Newgate Tavern (approx. 0.4 miles away); Harrison House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Centreville Methodist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Centreville Methodist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Stone Church (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Centreville.
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a map of the location of the marker. In the center of the marker is a photo captioned Excavation team at work, 1997 Courtesy Mike Johnson, Fairfax County Park Authority. In the sidebar on the right is a photo captioned Pvt. Albert F. Wentworth Courtesy Dalton Rector.
Also see . . .
1. Bringing Closure to a Civil War Mystery in Centreville. Newspaper article about the story behind the historical marker. (Submitted on May 25, 2019.) 

2. The forgotten graves of soldiers killed 157 years ago. Article from July 18, 2018 Washington Post. (Submitted on May 25, 2019.) 
The present-day view of where the graves were found image. Click for full size.
May 25, 2019
3. The present-day view of where the graves were found
Credits. This page was last revised on January 12, 2023. It was originally submitted on May 25, 2019. This page has been viewed 1,622 times since then and 833 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 25, 2019. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2023