Here, while the Confederate army camped at Centreville, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston built strong fortifications in the winter of 1861-1862. In Feb. 1862, President Jefferson Davis ordered Johnston to evacuate them and move his army closer to Richmond, the Confederate capital. Outnumbered by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, Johnston complied. On 10 March, McClellan found "Quaker cannon," logs painted black, in the abandoned trenches to deceive his scouts. McClellan, believing that he was outnumbered, already had planned to attack Richmond from the east instead of the north, via the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers.
Geographic Location: Fairfax County
Physical Description of Location: Marker is on grounds of Centreville public library. Southwest corner of intersection of Machen Road and Lee Highway (Route 29), Centreville, VA 20121. Marker is not visible from Route 29. Park in library parking lot and walk to access marker.
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