Civil War graffiti in Stafford Co. to be relocated, paving way for warehouse project

Stafford County’s Board of Supervisors has voted to accept the offer from a developer to relocate an isolated, heavy piece of local history to the Virginia county’s Civil War park, which will clear the way to build two large warehouses.

In the winter of 1862 into 1863, after the Battle of Fredericksburg, Union soldiers were camped atop a hill, which includes large boulders, called Buzzards’ Roost.

buzzard's roost stafford county
Stafford County Board of Supervisors voted to let Peterson Cos. to relocate portions of the rock formations at Buzzard’s Roost. (Courtesy Stafford Board of Supervisors)

Several soldiers carved their names and other graffiti into the rocks. Historians have been able to identify 16 soldiers who etched their names into the rocks at the outpost.

Buzzards’ Roost is on a hill in the middle of 177 acres of land, which Peterson Cos. of Alexandria has dubbed the Northern Virginia Gateway, along Interstate 95, near Centreport Parkway.

Over time, the inscriptions have eroded considerably, according to project documents provided to the Board of Supervisors.

The county has been consulting with historical commissions, the National Park Service and developers. Some have suggested the historic site should remain where it is, the supervisors voted unanimously to accept the developer’s offer to relocate it.

The Peterson Cos. said stonemasons will be able to safely remove portions the rock that have been etched, without damaging the inscriptions. The developer will donate $10,000 to the Stafford County Cultural Heritage Museum to cover historic preservation design required to display the inscriptions in the Civil War park.

After etched parts of the rock are relocated to the Stafford Civil War Park, the hilly area will be cleared and turned into developable flat land, according to Peterson officials.

During its dealings with the Board of Supervisors, the developer has not specified which companies might occupy the warehouses.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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