Continued from page 3

She learned firsthand of the depth of their devotion at the groundbreaking ceremony some time ago.

“It began to rain,” she said, “and it kept on raining. I couldn’t help but think that that’s the way it was back in 1862 with the storms. I kept thinking we might have to abbreviate the ceremony, leave something out, but all the participants stayed. They all had thoughts to share and knew how important the day was. I knew then I was talking with dedicated people.”

Miss Pedersen added, “It’s very unusual for us to do anything regarding cultural resources in a park. Our main thrust is recreational, and we don´t have much experience in the cultural, but this has been a wonderful project. I can’t wait for it to be open and ready for use.”

Future monuments

Another Park Authority employee, Michael Rierson, emphasized that the interpretive signs and panels will help casual visitors as well as Civil War enthusiasts to better grasp the importance of Ox Hill.

While acknowledging that he and others wish more of the battlefield could have been preserved - it runs from Fair Oaks Mall all the way to Fair Lakes - Mr. Rierson added: “Even though we did not save more of the original battlefield, it will be a great little park site.”

Plans call for a fundraising drive to erect two large granite monuments to honor the contribution of the common soldier because only the two slain officers are recognized and no attention is given to the Confederate troops who fought and died there. The Union monument will carry the name of Chantilly and the Confederate one Ox Hill.

To paraphrase the title of a famous children’s book, the little battlefield that could finally did. It survives, in large part, thanks to a group of determined local residents who would not give up the fight and to a park authority that seized the opportunity to work with them.

Somewhere up in heaven, Mr. Pohanka is raising his arm in the air and saying, “Yes!”

cMartha Boltz is a frequent contributor to the history page. She thanks Ed Wenzel for sharing his research.