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Cockpit Point Battlefield Study


The purpose of this study is to complete baseline documentation of the Cockpit Point Battlefield, located in Prince William County, Virginia. Prince William County was awarded a grant through the American Battlefield Protection Program, a division of the National Park Service (NPS), to continue identification and documentation studies of the Cockpit Point Battlefield. The Battlefield is centered on the Cockpit Point Battery which was one of several Confederate blockade batteries on the Potomac River.

Today, Cockpit Point is the only Potomac River battery that remains. Significant data on the Cockpit Point Battlefield is absent, including detailed mapping of the earthworks, the results of military terrain analysis, and historic viewshed identification and documentation.

The data from the study was used to prepare the following:

  • Preservation and management goals and action strategies

  • Analysis and threat mitigation

  • Data for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places

Prince William County contracted URS Corporation to conduct this study.

Brief History

Prince William County is home to eight Civil War battlefields. Cockpit Point is the only naval battlefield within the County. Cockpit Point Confederate Battery was one of four Potomac River blockade batteries built by the Confederate Army to interdict Union vessels. Cockpit Point is the only remaining strong battery and consisted of four gun batteries and associated defensive earthworks located at the top of a 70-foot cliff overlooking the Potomac River. The earthworks which formed these four massive batteries and their connecting trenches are readily apparent. From October 1861 to March 1862 the battery succeeded in diverting almost all shipping on the Potomac River heading to Washington, D.C.  


In 2014 the consultant completed two reports. Click on the links provided to download a copy of the reports.

For more information on the study or other cultural resource questions contact Justin Patton, County Archaeologist, at or 703-792-7615.


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