Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Mayfield Civil War Fort
— The Manassas Museum System —
Some of the Confederate cannons placed at Manassas and nearby Centreville were for show only. These non-functioning cannon were intended to deceive Union soldiers who might turn their telescopes on the earthworks: “This was nothing other than huge mock guns of wood—‘Quaker guns’ as they have come to be called....Some of these Quaker guns are mere logs with the bark on, just as they come from the tree. Others have the end pointing outward, colored black. Others again are fashioned into the form of a columbiad, blackened at the muzzle and for about two-thirds of their length, and having bungholes bored at the breech.... In these forts I personally saw at least twelve, more or less trimmed to the shape of heavy siege guns, and blackened, and some twenty more, not subjected to this artistic process of deception…
“The object of this Quaker gun trick was of course to create the impression … that the heaviest artillery known to the science of war opened their jaws through the portholes of that range of earthworks. The Rebels had field artillery, according to the testimony of people in the neighborhood, in ample quantity, and this is
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Quakerism, and the Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1862.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 45.23′ N, 77° 27.158′ 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 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. Battle of Bull Run Bridge (here, next to this marker); Role of Mayfield in Battle of First Manassas (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Bull Run Bridge (here, next to this marker); Building the Fort System Casualties of Battle (a few steps from this marker); Why the Forts? (a few steps from this marker); Preservation of Mayfield Fort (a few steps from this marker); Camps of Instruction (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a photograph of “Union soldiers examining crudely fashioned ‘Quaker guns’ hastily set in place by retreating Confederate forces near Centerville, Virginia in March, 1862.”
On the right is, “A photograph of a ‘Quaker gun’ carved to resemble the shape of a Columbiad with two-thirds of its length blackened to deceive field observers.”
Regarding Mayfield Civil War Fort. Mentioned on the marker and in the captions to photographs, a Columbiad was a massive cannon typically found in seacoast fortifications. At this time in the war these came in 8 and 10 inch bore diameter varieties.
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 . . . Mayfield Fort – A Civil Work Earthwork Fortification. (Submitted on September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
1. Quaker Guns
The term derives from the Quaker religion, which generally opposes the use of force and war. How better, the reasoning was, to avoid the violence than
— Submitted September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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 2,006 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.