Civil War

Mission to Mason Neck

Posted by Lou on March 3, 2012 in Civil War, Pictures

Virginia Historical Society

The Opinionator Blog in the New York Times recently published an interesting recount of the importance of accurate maps during the Civil War. Understanding the twists and turns of the Occoquan River was vital, which prompted a comprehensive mapping effort.

Pohick Creek, about 10 miles southwest of Alexandria, was by then the forward line of the Union Army, while the Confederates held the Occoquan River, about 5 miles farther south. Heintzelman instructed Sneden to focus his mapping efforts on the area in between — a marshy bit of land known as Mason Neck — where the smugglers lived and rebels retreated after their repeated attacks on the Union line. Continue Reading

Virginia Historical Society


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Civil War Reenactment Coming to Occoquan 2/25

Posted by Lou on February 7, 2012 in Civil War, Meetups, Town News

Calling all Civil War junkies! As Occoquan continues to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a very special event has been planned for February 25, 2012.

The festivities begin at Town Hall at 10:30am when Robert Alton, the author of Strategm 1861, will lecture on the early history of the Civil War in northern Virginia.

At 11:30am, Brady’s Michigan Sharpshooters will reenact the events of February 3, 1862, when Companies H & I of the 3rd Michigan Infantry exchanged fire with Confederate troops drilling in Occoquan under the command of Wade Hampton.

Check out the Occoquan Historical Society website for additional details.

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Ken Burns Civil War Tour Coming to Occoquan

Posted by Lou on February 9, 2011 in Civil War, Special Events, Town News

Per Mayor Porta:

Thanks to the efforts of the Prince William County/Manassas Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and others, Occoquan is on the itinerary of the 2011 Tauck Civil War Event Tour. The tour, created by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and collaborator Dayton Duncan, will take place from May 22-May 26. Other tour stops in Prince William will include Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Ben Lomond House.

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Occoquan Before the Civil War

Posted by Lou on January 3, 2011 in Civil War, Town News, Video

Occoquan resident and history buff Boyd Alexander put together this photo montage that recounts the “Liberty Pole Incident” that occurred in Occoquan prior to the Civil War. Enjoy!

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Mayor Pens Book About Occoquan

Posted by Lou on October 25, 2010 in Civil War, Occoquan River, Politics, Town News

Mayor Earnie Porta has written a 128-page book about the history of Occoquan. The book is available for pre-order on On the book’s formal release date, November 22, the Prince William Public Library FoundationOccoquan River Communities (ORC), and the Occoquan Historical Society (OHS), will host a book signing and launch party fundraiser at Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

All net proceeds from the event, including royalties on books sold, will go to benefit the Library Foundation, ORC, and OHS.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Although Native Americans have lived along the banks of the Occoquan for thousands of years, John Smithwas the first European to visit the area, arriving at the river’s mouth in 1608. Here he encountered the Dogue Indians, from whose language the river and town take their names. With the coming of settlers, Occoquan’s location at the meeting of the Tidewater and Piedmont made it ideal for water-related industry and commerce. By the end of the 18th century, it boasted one of the first automated gristmills in the nation. During the Civil War, Occoquan housed both Union and Confederate troops and was the sight of several small engagements. In 1972, the river, which had provided so many commercial and recreational benefits, revealed a more dangerous side as flooding from Hurricane Agnes caused severe damage. The people of Occoquan rebuilt, and the town evolved into the wonderful mixture of old and new that gives it the unique character seen today.

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