Mayfield Civil War Fort

Mayfield Civil War Fort (HMWY)

Location: Manassas, VA 20110
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 45.214', W 77° 27.18'

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Monster Manassas - How Strong a Stronghold?

— The Manassas Museum System —

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 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.
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 5:07pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 286841 N 4292287
Decimal Degrees38.75356667, -77.45300000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 45.214', W 77° 27.18'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 45' 12.84" N, 77° 27' 10.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8372 Buttress Ln, Manassas VA 20110, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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