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Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
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Mayfield Civil War Fort

Monster Manassas - How Strong a Stronghold?

— The Manassas Museum System —

 
 
Mayfield Civil War Fort - Monster Manassas - How Strong a Stronghold? Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
1. Mayfield Civil War Fort - Monster Manassas - How Strong a Stronghold? Marker
Inscription.  
The Mayfield earthwork, known in military engineering terms as a redoubt, was a circle of raised earth some 200 feet in diameter. It may have included a retaining wall of timbers and brush, and planks to support artillery. While capable of self-defense, a redoubt was designed to provide overlapping fields of fire with other earthworks. Contemporary opinions on the strength of the Manassas defenses varied considerably.

Some authors of the day spoke of the strength of the fortifications: “We are well fortified here. All of our batries [batteries] bear upon one another. If they get one, we can pour all the others into them.” Edward A. Moseley of Co. E, 4th Virginia Cavalry, in a letter to his wife dated July 19, 1861 (two days before the First Battle of Manassas).

“The defenses, covering every hill and extending for miles in every direction over a country scarcely excelled for natural adaptation for defense, exhibit a skill in design and an amount of careful, patient toil in construction truly surprising - certainly worthy of a better cause. If slaves constructed these works, as has been asserted, all must admit their
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services have been of vast importance to the enemy.”
Correspondent of the Juniata (Pennsylvania) Sentinel, January 6, 1863.

Others referred to Manassas as a military illusion: “The Rebel fortifications.... are not first class works either in size or in strength.... The Union troops look upon the position with extreme disgust, and protest that an equal number could at any time have beaten the Rebels here, and captured their works.

“...Manassas contains nothing which could not be taken by infantry with the aid of light artillery. The Rebel works have trenches...and abatis. The planking in the embrasures would indicate that no siege guns were ever in position. One can hardly believe, after a thorough examination, that here is the monster Manassas, which for eight months has been the fright and bugbear of the country. Like many other horrors, the light of day strips it of its teeth and claws.”
Correspondent of the Utica (New York)Morning Herald in March 1862, as reprinted in the Oneida (New York) Weekly Herald, April 8, 1862, when Union troops occupied the earthworks after the Confederates withdrew to defend Richmond.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Markers Around the Earthworks image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
2. Markers Around the Earthworks
The marker is the second from the left, the second closest to the camera, next to the water fountain.
In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1777.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 45.214′ N, 77° 27.18′ W. Marker was in Manassas, Virginia. Marker could be reached from the intersection of Battery Heights Boulevard and Quarry Road, on the right when traveling south. Located just a few dozen feet south of the fortifications, on the right as the trail forks, leading to the earthworks. 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 10 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Camps of Instruction (within shouting distance of this marker); Preservation of Mayfield Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); Why the Forts? (within shouting distance of this marker); Casualties of Battle (within shouting distance of this marker); Building the Fort System (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Bull Run Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Role of Mayfield in Battle of First Manassas (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Bull Run Bridge
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(within shouting distance of this marker); The Hooes of Mayfield (within shouting distance of this marker); Building Mayfield Fort (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. A photograph on the right side is captioned, “Union soldiers gazing out from the captured entrenchments built by Confederates to guard the eastern fringes of Camp Pickens. Camp Pickens was located at the junction of the military road to Centerville and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (now downtown Manassas).”
 
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.
 
Also see . . .
1. Mayfield Fort – A Civil Work Earthwork Fortification. (Submitted on September 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Life in Camp Pickens - as told in letters home. Joseph Milton Elkins was a private in the 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment posted at Camp Pickens. Elkins would later die of wounds sustained at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. (Submitted on September 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2023. It was originally submitted on September 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,914 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 20, 2024