Cannon Branch / Mayfield Forts, VA Day Hike

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These hikes occurred on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Both took place in Manassas, VA. Participants for our 20th hike were Dave McIntyre, Tom O'Brien, Mary Gordon, Jessica Lowry and Mike Calabrese.

This was a beautiful day to hike! I knew that it would be an easy one so I was looking forward to it. We met at POPUMC at 8:00 AM and carpooled to our first stop: Cannon Branch (Union) Earthwork Fort. This was an easy quarter mile hike. There was not much to see within the fort except an earthen breastwork that stretched around the entire perimiter of the fort. Though worn down, it was still clearly identifiable. Not a lot of interpretive signs at this location. This fort was established by the Union army in 1863 to keep the railroad open for resupplying the troops. We spent about 15 minutes here walking around for about a quarter mile, then returned to our vehicles.

Tom was telling us about an eagles nest not far from this fort. So we drove there. It was just up the street. It was way up in a tree and was huge! Unfortinately, we did not see any eagles coming or going. But the nest itself was neat. They even had painted lines and No Parking/Standing signs directly under the nest.

Next we drove across town and visited Mayfield (Confererate) Earthwork Fort. I have to admit that this fort was the better of the two. There was a long, curved, uphill trail from the parking lot to the top of a hill where the fort was located. There was one real cannon there along with three "Quaker Cannons", which were logs carved and painted to look like real cannons. This would make the union forces think the confererates had more firepower than they really had. There was a wooden flag pole which probably had a confederate flag flying atop it at one time. But since it is offensive to some nowadays, it does not fly there anymore. There were numerous interpretive signs as well as an old family cemetry there that was the final resting place of the Hooes family. We spent more time here than the last cemetery since there was more to see. After about a half hour and about a half mile hiked at this location we walked back down the hill, said our goodbyes and headed back to the church.

This was a short series of hikes but very enjoyable. These two sites are maintained by a local family and a civic organization respectively. Many thanks to them for keeping these pieces of local history alive for all to see. And we couldn't have picked a better day to see them.

Mike C

More Images


Cannon at Mayfield Fort, VA
  Cannon at Mayfield Fort, VA.
   By Mary Gordon

Fake cannon, rear view   Fake cannon, rear view.
   By Mary Gordon

Hooes Cemetery, Mayfield Fort, VA   Hooes Cemetery, Mayfield Fort, VA
  By Mary Gordon

Old headstone, new designation
  Old headstone, new designation.
  By Mary Gordon




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