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

Burke's Station

Wood Choppers and Teamsters

Burke's Station Marker image. Click for full size.
September 11, 2015
1. Burke's Station Marker
During the Civil War, African American laborers chopped wood and conveyed it to Burke’s Station, a major Federal timber transportation station located here on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. To supply the Union army and engineers with timber for railroad ties, bridge trusses, stockades, and firewood, wood choppers cut down thousands of acres of woodland along the railroad in Fairfax County. The wood was then transported by rail to Alexandria.

In 1863, the U.S. Military Construction Corps built an additional siding here to facilitate the loading of wood onto railroad cars. Wood choppers moved up to 1,000 cords of lumber a month in the Burke area alone. Army teamsters hauled the wood here in mule-drawn wagons. There were as many as 100 wagons in the wagon master’s brigade at Burke’s Station. Many of the wood choppers and teamsters were escaped slaves called “contrabands” who had fled to Alexandria. Because they risked capture and reenslavement by working here outside Union lines, Federal cavalry and infantry camped nearby to protect both the contrabands and the wood stockpiles.

On October 28, 1863, Confederate guerillas
Burke's Station Marker image. Click for full size.
2. Burke's Station Marker
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captured about 25 mules, a wagon master, and several contrabands at work near here. When the Confederates ordered the wagon master to lead them to the station guard, one of the contrabands escaped to warn the garrison. They fired a volley when the Confederates approached and drove them off. The wagon master, contrabands, and mules were all rescued.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1863.
Location. 38° 47.584′ N, 77° 16.343′ W. Marker is in Burke, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Old Burke Lake Road south of Burke Road (Virginia Route 652), on the right when traveling south. Marker is located near the front entrance of the Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9501 Old Burke Lake Rd, Burke VA 22015, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Burke's Station (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Burke Station (about 400 feet away); Marshall Family Cemetery (about 500 feet away); Copperthite Racetrack
Burke's Station Marker image. Click for full size.
September 11, 2015
3. Burke's Station Marker
(approx. ¼ mile away); Post Office (approx. half a mile away); Ice House (approx. half a mile away); The Silas Burke House (approx. half a mile away); Windmill (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burke.
Regarding Burke's Station. The marker displays four photos captioned African American Teamster hauling wood in Virginia Courtesy Library of Congress, Aerial photo, 1937, showing original location of railroad through Burke (red line); tracks were moved north ca. 1901Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wood chopper huts on Orange & Alexandria Railroad Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration and Railroad track, including the track at Burke's Station, was periodically destroyed and African Americans were employed to repair the track- Library of Congress. The marker also displays a map of the area indicating the location of the marker with a red You Are Here star.
Detail of African American Wood Choppers image. Click for full size.
September 13, 2015
4. Detail of African American Wood Choppers
From photo on marker.
Detail of African American Railroad Workers image. Click for full size.
September 13, 2015
5. Detail of African American Railroad Workers
From photo on marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 11, 2015. This page has been viewed 1,488 times since then and 271 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 13, 2015. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 30, 2022