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

Mayfield Civil War Fort


— The Manassas Museum System —

Mayfield Civil War Fort - Firepower Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
1. Mayfield Civil War Fort - Firepower Marker
Inscription.  Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the troops defending Manassas, had been one of the pre-war U.S. Army's outstanding artillerists. Fearing an imminent Union attack, he worked feverishly to obtain cannons for the fortifications and experienced crews to man them. Most of the available guns were horse-drawn field pieces capable of firing canister (cases of small iron balls) or solid shot in weights of 10 or 20 pounds. The reproduction Model 1857 “Napoleon” cannon at right was typical of the artillery used at Manassas.

When Beauregard learned that Confederate forces had taken the U.S. Navy’s Gosport Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, he immediately requisitioned captured naval guns. The heavy weapons were transported to Manassas, first by boat and then by oxen with sailors from the newly created C.S. Navy. William “Choctaw” King, a U.S. Navy veteran who joined the Confederacy’s fledgling naval service, wrote:“I have been employed for four or five days in mounting part of the 24 thirty-two pounder guns (weighing from 4500 lb. to 5000 lb.) on the batteries being established here and did not go with my company yesterday to Centerville
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because I was detailed to continue in that service at this place for what length of time I cannot say.”
A coded letter from William “Choctaw” King to his wife on June 26, 1861.

By late 1861, some of the Manassas Junction earthworks featured the distinctive “soda bottle” shapes of Dahlgren naval cannons. The defenses of Manassas were completed in less than three months. They consisted of 12 earthen forts served by a variety of powerful artillery pieces.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1717.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 45.23′ N, 77° 27.164′ W. Marker was in Manassas, Virginia. Marker could be reached from the intersection of Battery Heights Blvd and Quarry Road, on the right when traveling south. Located inside the earthworks at Mayfield Civil War Fort Park. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Why the Forts? (here, next to this marker); Building the Fort System (here, next to this marker); Camps of Instruction
Firepower Marker Stands Behind Cannon image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
2. Firepower Marker Stands Behind Cannon
The reproduction Model 1857 Napoleon guards the western approaches to the fort.
(here, next to this marker); Role of Mayfield in Battle of First Manassas (here, next to this marker); Battle of Bull Run Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Preservation of Mayfield Fort (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Bull Run Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Casualties of Battle (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
More about this marker. In the upper center is a newspaper drawing captioned, "“Engraving by Alfred R. Waud of the "Naval Battery (Rebel) at Manassas Junction” illustrated in Harper's Weekly, September 14, 1861, p. 581.

At the lower margin of the marker is another drawing showing the transport of the guns titled “A Confederate Bull Battery” with the caption, “as sketched by an unknown artist prior to the battle of First Manassas depicting the oxen transport of the U.S. Navy's Dahlgren cannons captured from the Gosport Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.”
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
12 Pounder Model 1857 Napoleons image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, January 29, 2007
3. 12 Pounder Model 1857 Napoleons
The Napoleon was one of the most widely used artillery pieces in the war, with well over 1,100 produced in the North (and an estimated 500 copies produced by various Southern manufacturers). Copied from a French design, where it was named in honor of Emperor Napoleon III, the Model 1857 represented the finest of the smoothbore, muzzle-loading cannons produced. Two examples of Napoleons are located at the Peace Jubilee Memorial in downtown Manassas (pictured here). A further eight original Napoleons are on display at nearby Manassas Battlefield.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2023. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,712 times since then and 31 times this year. Last updated on May 15, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 23, 2023