Plate 6. Quaker Guns, Centreville

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Barnard & Gibson, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
These were found in the works at Centreville, after the position at Manassas Junction was evacuated by the rebels. It was claimed, and is believed by many, that the rebel lines at Centreville were never defended by any others; yet the rebels had in position there at least seven heavy siege guns and numerous field batteries. Capt. Porter, then commanding the First Massachusetts Light Battery, found in one park the tracks of ten batteries. As for the "Quakers," it was not at all an uncommon thing to place them upon deserted positions. Our soldiers, at the evacuation of Harrison's Landing, left the works so well supplied with "Quaker" guns, and bogus figures on guard duty, that it was several days before the rebels ventured to approach them. These Centreville works, in consequence of their natural advantages, were almost impregnable to attack. The rifle-pits covering the crest of the hill were strengthened at intervals with embrasured forts, the whole commanding the natural glacis, gently descending for half a mile to the little stream called Rocky Run, and the opposite slope, to its crest half a mile distant. The huts in the distance were a portion of the rebel cantonments, numbering in all about fifteen hundred log cabins, calculated to contain from eight to twenty men each. The fort in the foreground has a revetement or lining of rude hurdle work, to keep the earth from crumbling down, a very necessary precaution with the Virginia soil. The board platforms show where guns have formerly been in position, commanding the approaches from Fairfax Court-House. It was to these heights that Gen. Meade returned with the Army of the Potomac, after it had been reduced by the transfer of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps to the West. Lee followed, meeting with a repulse from Gen. Warren, at Bristow Station, and declining the proffered battle at Centreville, fell back to the Rapidan, destroying the railroad as he retreated.
Currently not on view
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Centreville
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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