At long last and after some 22 years of work, despite the majority of the battlefield being taken over by developers and money hungry landowners, the Ox Hill Battlefield will open again on September 1 at 10:00 a.m.
What was once 500 acres of hard fought over battle ground, is now home to townhouses, shopping malls, and high rises, as little by little the battlefield land was deemed insignificant by its landowners,who sold to developer after developer for large sums of money. While a battlefield slowly died. And it seemed no one cared, folks just pocketed their money and turned the other way.
At present, it may be only about 5 acres, but with the cooperation of the Park Authority and the dedication of local preservationists, the park will open as what have termed a “postage stamp battlefield,” but at last able to tell the story of the only civil war battle fought in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Ed Wenzel, along with Clark “Bud” Hall and the late Brian Pohanka, together with a host of others, worked hard for the last 22 years to see that the last remnants of the battlefield were preserved, and now have been improved and will soon reopen.
Labor Day weekend seems a good holiday for the ‘little battlefield that could’, and a good event to attend on that day. Take the kids, see the demonstrations, hear the period music, and be thankful that at least a small part is now protected. Hear the story of the two Union general who fell that day, one dying while he still clutched the regimental colors. Hear about the terrible storm where the sound of thunder and lightning outdid the sound of gunfire and cannon.
See you at Ox Hill — West Ox Road and Monument Drive — in September. Then look around at the commercial dvelopment around it and the townhouses, and dream of what COULD have been, if people had cared at the right time.
I’m sorry and this is personal, but the lack of interest in our past has caused the loss of this battlefield and many others, and even as we speak, various interests want to intrude on Manassas, and others. Keep your eyes open and your mind steady to what is going on around you. And then ACT.
It’s a lesson for all of us.