Zouave Hills in Prince William County is nestled in the midst of the Manassas National Battlefield Park, a small residential community surrounded by more than 5,000 acres of federal land. With monuments to the heroic dead of two major Civil War battles and plenty of wildlife for company, residents seem to like their oasis setting.
Longtime residents Harry and Jennie Fulwiler are among the few people who can legitimately say they live not only on a major, historic battlefield but upon a key military site as well. Their home, and those of about two dozen others, are built along the line where Confederate Gen. James Longstreet and his men made their stand in the Second Battle of Manassas, slaughtering most of the members of a Zouave unit from New York that was holding a nearby ridge.
The Fulwilers' street is called General Longstreet Line but the 30-year-old community, in a salute to the Yankee side of the battle, is called Zouave Hills.
"We are right on the battlefield," said Harry Fulwiler, who retired from the mortgage business this year. "We still find mushroomed bullets. There are lots of the fired bullets. Most places, you only find dropped bullets."
Manassas Battlefield's superintendent, Robert Sutton, confirms the location of Longstreet's battle line within the Zouave Hills community as "absolutely true.
"Longstreet had 28,000 men," he said. "They encountered the Fifth New York and the 10th New York, called the Zouaves. There were only 500 of them. Very few survived. There were 123 men killed in the Fifth New York out of 240 in the entire regiment. It was the greatest loss of life in any individual infantry regiment in any battle of the Civil War."
The Zouaves wore colorful uniforms that were copied from the much-admired French Army Zouaves -- tribesmen from Algeria who fought in the 1859 Franco-Austrian Wars. The Americans wore a variation of the original, elaborate uniform that included white stockings, baggy red pants, blue jackets and a blue tasseled red fez. American Zouave units were originally organized as drill teams but later, after the Civil War started, many volunteered to fight on each side.
Sutton said the Zouaves managed to slow the Confederate advance long enough for the Union to bring in reinforcements.
Today the site where the Zouaves fought on Aug. 30, 1862, is marked by two cannons and a monument. Longstreet's line is marked by three residential streets, all named for Confederate officers.
When the brick ramblers and colonials were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Zouave Hills was on the edge of the national battlefield park, just off Groveton Road. Since then, the federal park has grown up around the community as more land was added to the preserve. The park more than doubled in size during the 1980s with three additional parcels, one a 542-acre site that developer John T. "Til" Hazel had proposed as the site of a giant shopping complex. Eventually Hazel's land was bought by the federal government for more than $100 million, handing a victory to history buffs who had argued that a mall would destroy the site of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's headquarters during the Second Battle of Manassas in August 1862.
It was also a victory for the residents of Zouave Hills who were across the road from the proposed mall. Now they look out on gentle hills on each side of their community.
"What we have here is seclusion," said resident Charlotte Hubbard. "People don't know about this place."
Real estate agent Linda Gubitosi of Re/Max-Choice agrees. She said very few houses come on the market in Zouave Hills and most agents have never heard of the community.
"I had been selling houses in the area for 14 years and I had never heard of it until I got a listing," she said. The only house for sale in Zouave Hills, Gubitosi's one listing there, is priced at $209,000. The four-bedroom, two-bath rambler was built on a one-acre lot in 1973.
Gubitosi said county deed records indicate it is the sixth house to go on the market in Zouave Hills since 1993. However, three have no selling prices listed. One sold in 1994 for $213,000 and another is under contract for $145,000, she said.
"It is very hard to do comparables for an area like this," she said. "They have the best of both worlds here. They have privacy and large lots but are only a short distance from Route 66."
The residents of the 22 houses on Gen. Longstreet Line, Gen. Warren Avenue and Gen. Hood Court, as well as the four who live on adjoining Groveton Road, each have their own well and septic system.
The residents of Zouave Hills also maintain their own roads. According to Fulwiler, the developer who sold the lots had taken care of the roads until 1975 when he notified the residents he was transferring the responsibility to them.
Fulwiler said they formed a roads association and he served as the first president.
"Everyone agreed to join," he said. "We each deeded the land for the roads over to the association and the deeds are lien enforceable. Everyone has always cooperated."
Concerns for the neighborhood are few, Hubbard and Fulwiler said. They think that trucks make too much use of two-lane Groveton Road, but that problem was temporarily solved when a bridge on the road was closed for repairs, blocking a favorite shortcut between the city of Manassas Park and Lee Highway.
Occasionally a deer or relic hunter comes into the community but they are quickly reported to park authorities.
"One night someone tried to shoot a deer in my driveway," Hubbard said. "I was frantic and called the park rangers. They came right away." Fulwiler said he, too, has called the rangers when he sees hunters because no hunting is allowed within the residential community or on the parkland. He said he treasures the red fox, wild turkeys and deer that live in the park. Superintendent Sutton, in turn, appreciates the vigilance of the residents in keeping the park safe from hunters. Relic hunters, who usually are equipped with metal detectors, are not allowed in the park or in the residential community.
"We get along well with the community," he said. "They are wonderful eyes and ears for us and they use the park pathways frequently. That is a definite advantage for us." CAPTION: Harry and Jennie Fulwiler, above, in front of their Zouave Hills home, which was built along the line where Confederate Gen. James Longstreet and his men made their stand in the Second Battle of Manassas. Harry Fulwiler's collection of Civil War relics, at right, includes a Union cavalry spur and Union and Confederate bayonets and artillery shells. "Most of what I've found has been Union. The Confederates didn't have as much stuff and they used a lot of captured Union equipment," he said. Fulwiler, a collector for many years, said he found relics from the Manassas battle on his property.