The Department of History and Art History, in partnership with the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable (BRCWR) and the GMU Facilities and Grounds Team, recently completed a project to recognize an important historic site on the Mason campus. The site is a redoubt, which is a circular earthen fortification constructed and used during the Civil War. The structure, which had been covered with underbrush and known only to Civil War buffs and archaeologists, is located a short walk through the woods from the back of Parking Lot K. The redoubt is clearly visible and is one of the best-preserved of its kind.
The redoubt, which stands on a raised site called Farr’s Crossroads, was first constructed by the 5th Alabama Volunteer Infantry under the command of Col. Robert Rodes in June 1861. A number of different Union and Confederate military forces occupied the fort over the next few years, including a brigade led by Stonewall Jackson. The site once contained scores of artifacts, but most had been removed by collectors before Fairfax County officially identified the site in 1979. In the decades since, a handful of local researchers have conducted research on the site.
For several years, the department, alongside Fairfax County archaeologists and volunteers from the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, has lobbied the university administration to recognize the site and to cooperate on its preservation. BRCWR experts have also led several instructional visits to the site for students in Christopher Hamner’s class on the Civil War era. BRCWR and the department have also submitted materials about the site to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. In 2019, VHDR determined that the site is of historical significance and is eligible for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. In the last two years, Senior Vice President Carol Kissal and Vice President for Facilities Frank Strike have contributed crucial support. In 2020 the Grounds Crew created a mulch trail that leads to the site from Parking Lot K and encircles the redoubt. In the last few months the Campus Planning office worked with the department and BRCWR to provide signs to interpret the site.
May 24, 2021