In October 1861, nearly 40,000 troops of the Confederate Army encamped at Centreville. Over the winter they constructed approximately 17 miles of forts, trenches, rifle pits and batteries along the ridge from Centreville to Union Mills and between Occoquan and Dumfries.
One of the most significant fortifications of these earthworks is located approximately 1200 feet northeast along this trail. This fort, forming the angle between the north and east fronts of the Centreville earthworks, measured nearly 20 feet from the top to the bottom of the ditch and included embrasures for seven guns. The trenches leading to the fort interconnected with other forts built around Centreville, including Fort Johnson and Artillery Hill.
The Centreville encampment was abandoned by the Confederacy in March, 1862; it was subsequently reoccupied by Union and Confederate forces on alternate occasions. It is thought that because of the natural strength of the Centreville plateau, encircled by valleys, streams, and miles of earthworks, the Centreville fortifications were never attacked.