14. Centreville Six Historical Marker (new)
Six weeks after the guns of Fort Sumter sounded, 17-year-old Albert Wentworth enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Less than two months later, he and several of his comrades would be among the first soldiers killed in the Civil War, shot by Confederates at the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford in Northern Virginia, on July 18, 1861. Yet Albert and five of his fallen friends would not return home for a military burial in Bourne, Massachusetts until June 2006.
The soldiers came to be known as the Centreville Six, since they were hastily buried in shallow graves in that town as the Union Army retreated, disorganized and demoralized, to Washington following their defeat at First Manassas. The gravesite was lost for more than a century until 1994, when local relic hunter and Civil War historian Kevin Ambrose discovered the remains of one of the soldiers while using a metal detector in a vacant lot slated to become the location of a McDonald’s.
A subsequent excavation of the gravesite was led by Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley and Fairfax County archaeologist Mike Johnson. Their teams found the remains of six Civil War soldiers buried side-by-side. Forensic analysis at the Smithsonian and research of Civil War records by Dalton Rector, a relic hunter and Civil War historian, and Massachusetts historian Thomas Hayes, helped to solve an intriguing mystery about who the soldiers were and how they died.
Jim Lewis (Preservation Committee member) recently initiated contact with the Route 28/CentrevilleMcDonald’s franchise owner to determine interest in erecting an historical marker commemorating the Centreville Six on the McDonald’s property.
Initial response was positive, with both Jim and the franchise owner committing to additional queries, and research and then a follow-up discussion
BRCWRT EXCOM consensus – interested in supporting this project with specific support to be determined:
Potential funding for historical signage (in whole, or in part w/franchise owner)
CWT sign - $2,600, plus $200 annual sponsorship
Fairfax County Historical Marker - $2,100
Other type wayside marker - $1,500 (estimate)
Working in support of franchise owner to develop signage content (text, maps, photos, etc.)
Supporting/sponsoring/planning sign dedication program/ceremony
Conduct initial meeting with Route 28/CentrevilleMcDonald’s franchise owner
Follow up actions pending initial meeting discussions