Mason celebrated the completed restoration of the historic Civil War redoubt site on the Fairfax campus.
BY VIVIANA SMITH, STAFF WRITER
After a couple of years of working to preserve the integrity of the historic site, Mason commemorated the Civil War site known as the redoubt on Fairfax Main Campus on Oct. 7, 2022.
On Far Crossroads, between the intersection of Braddock and Ox Roads and behind parking lot K, is an earth fortification referred to as a redoubt. According to Blake Myers, a member of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, the redoubt was constructed in 1861 by soldiers of the Confederate Army of the Potomac.
Mason, in partnership with the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, has worked together to preserve and interpret this Civil War site. The project included clearing debris, trees and placing informational signs created by Mason’s graphic designs department. Mason held a dedication to the historic site to celebrate the readout competition.
The ceremony paid homage to the collaborative efforts of Mason and the Bull Run Civil War Round Table to work to preserve the redoubt. Mason’s 8th Green Machine Regiment band provided 19th century style music during the ceremony to add to the Civil War-like ambiance. Some vent goers tapped into the historic spirit by dressing in 19th century style clothing.
The event included guest speakers Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen, members of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table and Brian Platt, a history professor at Mason, who partnered with Bull Run Civil War Round Table in the efforts to preserve redoubt.
Platt, who is the department chair of the redoubt project, initially collaborated with Bull Run Civil War Round Table and proposed the idea of preserving and interpreting this historic site to the University. The driving force of this project was the idea that history should be preserved and its collective effort to maintain the truth of the past.
“Understanding our past is fundamental to how we think of ourselves in the present,” said Platt. “If we paved over everything, we wouldn’t be connected to anything”.
The circular fortification is 80 feet in diameter and its walls rise roughly two to three feet in height. This shallow circular fortification has been altered due to erosion and other natural changes. Previously, its significant nature served as an effective defensive strategy during the Civil War. Its location along Braddock and Ox Road allowed for advantageous visibility. Braddock Road was an area of high traffic and traveled the path to the historical Fairfax Courthouse which is now modern day Tyson’s Corner. Its strategic placement provided a large upper hand for soldiers fighting on the defensive side of the war.
Mason is in a unique position to protect the integrity of the historic Civil War site. The Mason community benefits from the interpretation and preservation of the redoubt and is a great learning tool in Mason’s back pocket for those interested in history. Some Mason history professors use the site as a method of teaching, specifically those covering topics such as the Civil War and early US History.
Many historical landmarks may be forgotten without the protection of these sites such as the redoubt. Mason and Bull Run Civil War Round Table’s efforts in preserving the redoubt ensure that future generations have an opportunity to learn and grow from the past.