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“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

Quaker Guns

 

—The Manassas Museum System —

 
Mayfield Civil War Fort - Quaker Guns Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
1. Mayfield Civil War Fort - Quaker Guns Marker
Inscription. 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 no doubt true. The Quaker guns were not their sole armament...they certainly were in battery.”
Correspondent of the Utica (New York) Morning Herald in March 1862,
The Quaker Gun Marker is on the Right image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
2. The Quaker Gun Marker is on the Right
as reprinted in the Oneida (New York) Weekly Herald, April 8, 1862.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 45.23′ N, 77° 27.158′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Battery Heights Boulevard and Quarry Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located inside the earthworks at Mayfield Civil War Fort Park. Marker is in this post office area: Manassas VA 20110, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort
Gun Embrasure image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 2, 2007
3. Gun Embrasure
The park has displayed a "Quaker gun" at this position.
(about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Mayfield Civil War Fort (about 600 feet away). 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.)
 
Additional comments.
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 to use these fake cannon to intimidate an enemy. The deception tactic can be traced back to the earliest times, but the term dates to the American Revolution.
    — Submitted September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,703 times since then and 45 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.
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