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Sesquicentennial Sheds Light on Little-Known Civil War Forts

History to come alive at city's Cannon Branch and Mayfield Forts this weekend.

This weekend the Mayfield Fort will once again come alive as a Living History Confederate Encampment, and the city's Cannon Branch Fort will be the site of a Union Encampment as part of the Second Battle of Manassas anniversary commemoration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

During last year's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas, visitors to the Cannon Branch Fort, located at 10611 Gateway Blvd, encountered life as it was in the early 1860's with reenactors and 'Living History' displays, including cannon firings and Signal Corps.

The Confederate fort on display is Mayfield Fort, located on the east side of Manassas at 8411 Quarry Road. Visitors to the Mayfield Fort last year experienced a soldier's life as it was in 1861. In addition to tents, flags and cannon (generally fired on the hour), visitors were able to experience period occupations such as rope making and other necessities of everyday life. 

According to Lisa Sievel-Otten, an administrative assistant  for the city's Department  of Community & Economic Development, this year the city expects to have some reenactors camping at the fort sites, but there will not be as many  organized programs or tours.

She said this year's commemoration of the Civil War largely focuses on activities going on at the Manassas Museum and Liberia Plantation, where there will be more reenactors and artillery, a medical tent and lace maker living history exhibit.  The house and grounds will be open for first floor tours and children activities Friday through Sunday, from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., she said.

"We’ve got so much going on at the museum—the cemetery tours, the baseball, lectures and other entertainment in Old Town," Sievel-Otten said.

The City of Manassas will also be providing a shuttle on Saturday that will transport visitors from the Manassas Museum to Liberia Plantation from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about this  and other events taking place in the City of Manassas, visit visitmanassas.org.

Living History displays are available throughout Prince William County and the National Battlefield site through Sunday. For a full list of events taking place this weekend, visit manassasbullrun.com

Editor's note: Larry Gibson contributed to this report.

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