The historical marker that I chose is near the intersection of Hunter mill road and Chain Bridge road, in the Reston/Vienna area. The marker was a channel for troops representing both the union and the confederate armies. Water and farmland were available to support the troops. There were local farmers that personally supported either the confederate or union soldiers. Due to the support of both sides of the conflict, there was tension in the region. Due to the popularity of foraging in this region, from both armies, the land was damaged. The harm to the fertility of the soil lasted for decades. Food extraction diminishes soil fertility, so the soil needs time to recover from the foraging of at least several dozen troops.
I chose this historical marker for a few reasons. First of all, the proximity to my home is convenient. In addition, I find the landscape to be aesthetically pleasing. I’ve driven through this road multiple times, but I have not explored this area very much. In addition, environmental science is a personal hobby. So I like the relationship between farming and the historical marker.
Bias and objectivity seem to be themes associated with the book “silencing the past’, by Michael-Rudolf Truillot. Based on the reading, I will make sure to attempt to comprehend the historical event from the perspective of the people who were present at the time and location of the historical marker. The author Truillot seems to also emphasize the importance of acknowledging the perspective of the observer. He implied, with regards to slavery as an example, that a historian should not project their thought process onto the people of the historical event. So not only did people of the past, or a different culture think differently, but we also need to recognize our own ideologies to protect against bias. The Silencing of voices was also a theme of our reading. So in the context of the reading, the Europeans seemed to have more of a voice than the Haitian natives, and European historical figures, such as Christopher Columbus, are often idealized. I can apply this insight by trying to observe historical subjects from multiple subjects, and reduce emotional bias. Recognizing silent voices may also mean attempting to find perspectives that are not explicitly described at the site of the historical marker. There may also be contextual information that was not thoroughly recognized, by the creators of the historical marker. These are some of the insights and methods that I will use to learn more about this historical marker.