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Centreville in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

St. Johnís Episcopal Church

Still Faithful after the Ravages of War

 
 
St. Johnís Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2012
1. St. Johnís Episcopal Church Marker
Inscription. Passing armies occupied and fortified Centreville, positioned between Washington, D.C., and Manassas Junction, beginning in July 1861 when Confederate and Union forces met during the warís first significant campaign. As American and British journalists sought to understand the First Battle of Manassas and define the character of its combatants, the “desecration” of “the little Episcopal church on the “hill” that once stood here became newsworthy.

Days after the defeat of the Union army, correspondents for the Richmond Dispatch reported that Saint Johnís Church was covered with drawings and insults to the Confederacy. A British journalist wrote that he was horrified that “a building devoted to the worship of the Omnipotent had been desecrated and polluted by the enemy.” The New York Times denied that Federal soldiers were responsible. In a front-page story, a Times correspondent described his visit to the church before the battle and pointed to evidence of abuse by Southern soldiers stationed in Centreville prior to the Federal advance. The church vandals, he concluded, were those who had first desecrated the “the altars of patriotism.” This was not the last church that would fall victim to the vandals of one side or the other.

The little church was
St. Johnís Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2012
2. St. Johnís Episcopal Church Marker
View is to the north.
destroyed later in the war, as were many houses, farms, and trees around Centreville. Describing the town in his Sketchbook, Alexander Gardner wrote, “War crushed it. Ö Scarcely a vestige of its former self remains.” In 1872, the parishioners completed the church that stands before you. A keyhole visible in the ceiling suggests that they scavenged wood, including doors, from Centrevilleís many ruins.

(Sidebar): A mile southwest of here, Confederate soldiers Dennis Corcoran and Michael OíBrien were the first to be executed for mutiny. They were re-interred here in St. Johnís churchyard in 1979. The remains of unknown Confederate soldiers killed in the Battle of Dranesville on December 22, 1861, are also buried here.
 
Erected 2012 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 50.478′ N, 77° 25.584′ W. Marker is in Centreville, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Mount Gilead Road. Touch for map. The marker is located on the grounds of the Saint John's Episcopal Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5649 Mount Gilead Road, Centreville VA 20120, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2012
3. Close-up of Map on Marker
within walking distance of this marker. A Place on the High Ground (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mount Gilead Historic Site (about 700 feet away); Newgate Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Convicts and Slaves (approx. 0.2 miles away); Archaeology at Newgate Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Centreville, Virginia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Stone Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); On This Site (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Centreville.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left of the marker is a photo captioned St. John's Church, constructed about 1850, 1862 photo Courtesy Library of Congress. On the upper center of the marker is a photo captioned Centreville, abandoned Confederate winter quarters, March 1862, with St. John's Church on far right horizon - Courtesy Library of Congress. The right side of the marker displays a map captioned Plan of Federal Works, Centreville - Courtesy Library of Congress.
 
Also see . . .
1. St. John's Church. -Northern Virginia History Notes, Debbie Robison (Submitted on July 4, 2012.) 

2. A Tiger Execution. -The New York Times, Terry L. Jones (Submitted on July 4, 2012.) 
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
Confederate Winter Quarters image. Click for full size.
4. Confederate Winter Quarters
A wider angle view of photo on marker. Library of Congress. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpb.03888
Memorial at the St. John's Episcopal Church Cemetery image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2012
5. Memorial at the St. John's Episcopal Church Cemetery
To the Unknown Confederate Dead
Buried in this Churchyard

This monument erected in honor of
Louise Jacobs Stull
Granddaughter of
Harrison Monroe Strickler
Co. E, 35th Regiment
Virginia Cavalry of Luray


Located underneath a large magnolia tree in northwest corner of cemetery.
Memorial at the St. John's Episcopal Church Cemetery image. Click for full size.
July 4, 2012
6. Memorial at the St. John's Episcopal Church Cemetery
Michael O'Brien
Dennis Corcoran
Wheat's 1st. Spec. Battn.
Co. B, Tiger Rifles
Executed Dec. 9, 1861
At Centreville
Exhumed and Reburied
Dec. 9, 1979


Located underneath a large magnolia tree in northwest corner of cemetery.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 4, 2012. This page has been viewed 601 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 4, 2012. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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