10. Ox Hill (Chantilly) Battlefield Park
Background. The long-awaited installation of the Union and Confederate soldiers’ monuments at Ox Hill Battlefield Park, and the previously announced dedication ceremony scheduled for September 9, were “postponed indefinitely” by Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) officials on July 11. On Tuesday, August 29, 2017 BRCWRT representatives met with FCPA Director Kirk Kincannon and members of his staff to discuss the status of, and plans for, installing the soldiers’ monuments in the park.
The subject monuments were approved by the Park Authority in 2005. They consist of memorials for the Union and Confederate soldiers, who fought in the September 1, 1862 Battle of Chantilly/Ox Hill – the only major battle to occur in Fairfax County. Each monument is an obelisk mounted on a pedestal with appropriate text to the memory of the soldiers. The side panels of the monuments are inscribed with the designations of the corps and divisions who met on the field of battle. The rear panels of the monuments are inscribed with verses from the 1867 poem, ‘The Blue and the Gray’, by Francis M. Finch. Each monument is to be installed in a small plaza enclosed by granite posts linked by a pipe railing. Each post bears the name of a state, nine Union and seven Confederate, from which these soldiers came. Both monuments and the state posts have been manufactured and are currently in storage in North Carolina.
Current Status. Director Kincannon stated that FCPA’s primary concerns were citizen safety and taking care not to create an opportunity for outside groups to stage protests and confrontations, and that the ‘postponement’ decision was FCPA’s implementation of a ‘pause’ strategy. The FCPA intends to use the ‘pause’ period to allow time for emotions to ‘cool’, to consult with the National Park Service to learn their strategies for installing and interpreting monuments in battlefield parks, and to develop a plan and timeline for installing the Ox Hill soldiers’ monuments.
Director Kincannon indicated the FCPA’s intent is to fully implement the plan for the park, as envisioned in the Ox Hill Battlefield Park General Management Plan and Conceptual Development Plan approved in January 2005.
Chantilly Battlefield Association (CPA)
FCPA Director Kincannon suggested another meeting in April 2018 to assess the situation, provide updates on FCPA’s research and information gathering initiatives and discuss the way forward. BRCWRT concurred, and agreed to maintain communications with the FCPA staff as additional information becomes available and the environment evolves.
BRCWRT is directly coordinating and meeting with FCPA and the FCPA staff to ensure full implementation of the approved Ox hill Battlefield Park General Management Plan.