Civil War Defenses of Washington

Civil War Defenses of Washington Welcome to the official page for the Civil War Defenses of Washington. The Civil War Defenses of Washington is a complex system of earthwork fortifications constructed by Union forces during the Civil War.
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Originally comprised of 68 earthwork forts, 20 miles of rifle pits, 32 miles of military roads, and 93 detached batteries, these fortifications made Washington, D.C. one of the most heavily fortified locations in the world. Today, the National Park Service manages 19 of these sites.

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#MemorialDay at Battleground National Cemetery 🇺🇸BURIAL GROUND FOR OUR GALLANT DEFENDERS"General Montgomery Meigs, to wh...
05/31/2021

#MemorialDay at Battleground National Cemetery 🇺🇸

BURIAL GROUND FOR OUR GALLANT DEFENDERS

"General Montgomery Meigs, to whom the Secretary of War assigned the duty of selecting a proper place in which to inter the bodies of those who fell in the defenses of Washington during the late rebel invasion, has selected an acre of ground on the battlefield, about six hundred yards to the right of Fort Stevens, and about fifty yards from the Seventh Street Road, in the immediate vicinity where the severest fighting took place. The duty of disinterring and removing the bodes has been entrusted to Captain J.M. Moore, Assistant Adjutant Quartermaster, who has already properly interred all those who fell near Fort Stevens. The ground has been laid off in a square, and will be provided with a handsome paling fence. The bodies are being interred in a circle, in the center of which it is the intention of the authorities to erect a monument, bearing a suitable inscription. Each grave will be provided a near headboard, bearing the name, rank, company, and regiments of its occupant."
-Evening Star (Washington DC), July 22, 1864.

Battleground National Cemetery was established in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Fort Stevens in July 1864. The War Department did not erect a monument in the center of the circle; instead, a large mast that served as the original flagpole was mounted. Federal soldiers dedicated monuments at the cemetery, facing west toward the Seventh Street Road, beginning in 1891.

#TheseHonoredDead #CivilWarWashington

Image:
Battleground National Cemetery, circa 1865-1871.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

#MemorialDay at Battleground National Cemetery 🇺🇸

BURIAL GROUND FOR OUR GALLANT DEFENDERS

"General Montgomery Meigs, to whom the Secretary of War assigned the duty of selecting a proper place in which to inter the bodies of those who fell in the defenses of Washington during the late rebel invasion, has selected an acre of ground on the battlefield, about six hundred yards to the right of Fort Stevens, and about fifty yards from the Seventh Street Road, in the immediate vicinity where the severest fighting took place. The duty of disinterring and removing the bodes has been entrusted to Captain J.M. Moore, Assistant Adjutant Quartermaster, who has already properly interred all those who fell near Fort Stevens. The ground has been laid off in a square, and will be provided with a handsome paling fence. The bodies are being interred in a circle, in the center of which it is the intention of the authorities to erect a monument, bearing a suitable inscription. Each grave will be provided a near headboard, bearing the name, rank, company, and regiments of its occupant."
-Evening Star (Washington DC), July 22, 1864.

Battleground National Cemetery was established in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Fort Stevens in July 1864. The War Department did not erect a monument in the center of the circle; instead, a large mast that served as the original flagpole was mounted. Federal soldiers dedicated monuments at the cemetery, facing west toward the Seventh Street Road, beginning in 1891.

#TheseHonoredDead #CivilWarWashington

Image:
Battleground National Cemetery, circa 1865-1871.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

“The last shot was fired about 10 o’clock, and the remainder of the night was occupied in strengthening the position, bu...
05/31/2021

“The last shot was fired about 10 o’clock, and the remainder of the night was occupied in strengthening the position, burying the dead, and caring for the wounded, and relieving the skirmish line, which had been two days in front constantly under fire.”
-Brigadier General Frank Wheaton, Sixth Army Corps

The Civil War Defenses of Washington honors the 45 souls interred at Battleground National Cemetery on Memorial Day. 40 men (39 Federal soldiers and 1 civilian volunteer) were interred on a 1-acre strip of land the days following the battle. The ground was appropriately dedicated as Battleground National Cemetery. Four civilians family members related to Augustus Ambrecht, the original caretake of the cemetery, were interred in the decades after the war. One veteran of the battle was buried in 1936, closing the cemetery to future burials.

#MemorialDay #MemorialDay2021 #CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
Private John Davidson, 43rd New York Volunteer Infantry. Grave #3 at Battleground National Cemetery, captured at the 150th Battle of Fort Stevens Commemoration, July 2014.
Courtesy: National Park Service

“The last shot was fired about 10 o’clock, and the remainder of the night was occupied in strengthening the position, burying the dead, and caring for the wounded, and relieving the skirmish line, which had been two days in front constantly under fire.”
-Brigadier General Frank Wheaton, Sixth Army Corps

The Civil War Defenses of Washington honors the 45 souls interred at Battleground National Cemetery on Memorial Day. 40 men (39 Federal soldiers and 1 civilian volunteer) were interred on a 1-acre strip of land the days following the battle. The ground was appropriately dedicated as Battleground National Cemetery. Four civilians family members related to Augustus Ambrecht, the original caretake of the cemetery, were interred in the decades after the war. One veteran of the battle was buried in 1936, closing the cemetery to future burials.

#MemorialDay #MemorialDay2021 #CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
Private John Davidson, 43rd New York Volunteer Infantry. Grave #3 at Battleground National Cemetery, captured at the 150th Battle of Fort Stevens Commemoration, July 2014.
Courtesy: National Park Service

05/31/2021

Battleground National Cemetery Flag Placement #MemorialDay

In preparation for Memorial Day, the Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) placed flags at the headstones of the 41 United States servicemen and 4 civilians that are interred at Battleground National Cemetery. National Park Service (NPS) Volunteer Dwayne Starlin performed TAPS to conclude the flag placement. The video premiered on May 22,2020. Cemetery is open for visitors from Sunrise to Sunset.

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.The National Park Service (NPS) is paying trib...
05/27/2021
I See My Father in His Image: Asian Legacies and the Civil War | American Civil War Museum

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The National Park Service (NPS) is paying tribute to the generations of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders who shaped our nation's history—and who were shaped by it.

Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) Park Ranger Steve T. Phan explores the legacy of Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War with a guest blog for the American Civil War Museum.

You can read the article below!

#AsianAndPacificIslanderHeritageMonth #FindYourPark

It has been 160 years since war erupted across the American landscape in 1861. Just a decade ago, organizations, historians, living history …

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitut...
05/27/2021

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have though fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed...
-War Department, Washington DC, April 15, 1861

President Lincoln's call for volunteers was issued to every state governor in the country not in open rebellion against the United States, who were to fill the quotas of troops for 90-days service. The immediate concern was the defense of the national capital. Volunteer companies were rushed to Washington within days of the proclamation. The first unit to arrived were elements of the Regular Army, notably the 2nd US Cavalry, which arrived on April 15 after a long and arduous journey from Texas on Navy transports. Two companies were quartered near the Seventh Street Road on the northside of E Street between 6th and 7th Streets NW.

The volunteers were right them the professional soldiers, including five companies of Pennsylvania militiamen, who earned the sobriquet as the "First Defenders," and full regiments including the Seventh New York State Militia and 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.

But wait, there's more.

The National Republic Newspaper (Washington DC) reported the arrival of the 8th New York State Militia "Washington Grays" on May 20, 1861:

"This splendid regiment reached this city about noon on Saturday, bringing with them their camp equipage, and were immediately marched out to Kalorama (Northwest Washington DC), where they pitched their tents. This is one of the finest regiments that has yet reached our city. They number eleven hundred men, are uniformed very similar to the New York seventh, and march with the greatest precision..."

The rapid buildup of soldiers secured the capital. By the end of May, these troops were part of the Federal advance into Northern Virginia where they constructed the first forts comprising the Defenses of Washington.

#FindYourFort #CivilWar160 #CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
Engineer Company, 8th New York State Militia, pose for an image at their camp in Arlington, Virginia in June 1861. Their men are wearing their unique militia style uniforms prominent in the early stages of the war. An African American man, possible an enslaved person who found refuge in the camp, can be seen sitting at the far left.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have though fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed...
-War Department, Washington DC, April 15, 1861

President Lincoln's call for volunteers was issued to every state governor in the country not in open rebellion against the United States, who were to fill the quotas of troops for 90-days service. The immediate concern was the defense of the national capital. Volunteer companies were rushed to Washington within days of the proclamation. The first unit to arrived were elements of the Regular Army, notably the 2nd US Cavalry, which arrived on April 15 after a long and arduous journey from Texas on Navy transports. Two companies were quartered near the Seventh Street Road on the northside of E Street between 6th and 7th Streets NW.

The volunteers were right them the professional soldiers, including five companies of Pennsylvania militiamen, who earned the sobriquet as the "First Defenders," and full regiments including the Seventh New York State Militia and 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.

But wait, there's more.

The National Republic Newspaper (Washington DC) reported the arrival of the 8th New York State Militia "Washington Grays" on May 20, 1861:

"This splendid regiment reached this city about noon on Saturday, bringing with them their camp equipage, and were immediately marched out to Kalorama (Northwest Washington DC), where they pitched their tents. This is one of the finest regiments that has yet reached our city. They number eleven hundred men, are uniformed very similar to the New York seventh, and march with the greatest precision..."

The rapid buildup of soldiers secured the capital. By the end of May, these troops were part of the Federal advance into Northern Virginia where they constructed the first forts comprising the Defenses of Washington.

#FindYourFort #CivilWar160 #CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
Engineer Company, 8th New York State Militia, pose for an image at their camp in Arlington, Virginia in June 1861. Their men are wearing their unique militia style uniforms prominent in the early stages of the war. An African American man, possible an enslaved person who found refuge in the camp, can be seen sitting at the far left.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

Battleground National Cemetery is BUZZING. #Cicadas2021 Brood X Cicadas have been seen by staff throughout Rock Creek Pa...
05/25/2021

Battleground National Cemetery is BUZZING. #Cicadas2021

Brood X Cicadas have been seen by staff throughout Rock Creek Park, including at the national cemetery. The trees, headstones, and monuments are covered with the cicadas. Louder than a lawn mower, the cicada broods appear in large numbers (as many as 1.5 million-per-acre according to Smithsonian Magazine) for the next four to six weeks.

Cicada wings have waterproof and anti-bacterial qualities that scientists are interested in studying further in order to prevent chemical resistant strains of bacteria. Scientists are also interested in how #ClimateChange might be impacting the cicada broods---warmer temperatures mean that some of the cicada cycles are off.

For more info visit https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/cicadas-brood-x.htm

#FindYourPark #CicadaSummer #BroodX

IMAGES:
Brood X Cicadas appear on headstones, monuments, and trees at Battleground National Cemetery in Washington DC.
Courtesy: National Park Service (SP).

"It was a sight to watch." #GrandReviewOfTheArmies On May 23-24, 1865, the victorious Armies of the United States embark...
05/24/2021

"It was a sight to watch." #GrandReviewOfTheArmies

On May 23-24, 1865, the victorious Armies of the United States embarked on their final march through the streets of Washington, D.C. The armies of east and west, 145,000+ strong, marched in review to a throng of bedazzled spectators and a group of distinguished guests. Federal troops from three Union armies formed near Capitol Hill and awaited marching orders. At 9:00 a.m. on May 23, a signal gun fired a single shot and Major General George Gordon Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, led an estimated 80,000 men (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) from the U.S. Capitol proceeding northwest on Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.

At the reviewing stand, located near the present-day Treasury Building and World War I Memorial, General Meade dismounted and saluted the dignitaries, including President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William T. Sherman, and Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs. The Victor of Gettysburg was pleased with the performance of the Army of the Potomac, who marched handsomely during the review. Secretary of War Stanton was eminently proud of the victory parade, noting: "You see in these armies, the foundation of the Republic: our future railroad managers, congressmen, bank presidents, senators, manufacturers, judges, governors and diplomats; yes and not less than a half dozen presidents." Stanton's vision of the future proved to be prophetic. The Army of the Potomac review lasted six hours. In that time, 29 regiments of cavalry, 33 batteries of artillery, and 180 regiments of infantry participated in the Grand Review.

The following day, the Grand Army of the West (Army the Tennessee and Army of George) commanded by Major General William T. Sherman conducted their final march. Civilian spectators who were accustomed to seeing elements of the Army of the Potomac were thrilled and curiously fascinated to see the men that comprised the western armies. General Sherman was concerned that his ragtag troops could not match the spit and polish of the eastern soldiers, remarking to General Meade: “I’m afraid my poor tatterdemalion corps will make a poor appearance tomorrow, when contrasted with yours.” Prior to the parade, Sherman issued specific orders for the men to shine their brass and bayonets, and drill in preparation for the review. The western soldiers did not disappoint their chief. At 9:00 a.m. on May 24, General Sherman accompanied Major General Oliver O. Howard and staff led the review down Pennsylvania Avenue. They soldiers were greeted with hearty cheers from the viewers and a band struck-up "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Uncle Billy's troops, 65,000 strong, marched to a hero's welcome. The last troops past the reviewing stand at 3:30 p.m. The Grand Review of the Armies was over.

It was a grand finale for the Federal soldiers, who were mustered out of service over the next two weeks. It was the beginning of their post-war lives. A newspaper account provided an insightful perspective of the review and its aftermath:

"The army marched through Washington and then, as an army, disappeared forever, absorbed into the body-politic, a million men of war turned men of peace in a single day."

#CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
(1): The Twentieth Corps, Army of Georgia, march from the US Capitol up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Executive Mansion (White House) on May 24, 1865 during the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington DC.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

"It was a sight to watch." #GrandReviewOfTheArmies

On May 23-24, 1865, the victorious Armies of the United States embarked on their final march through the streets of Washington, D.C. The armies of east and west, 145,000+ strong, marched in review to a throng of bedazzled spectators and a group of distinguished guests. Federal troops from three Union armies formed near Capitol Hill and awaited marching orders. At 9:00 a.m. on May 23, a signal gun fired a single shot and Major General George Gordon Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, led an estimated 80,000 men (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) from the U.S. Capitol proceeding northwest on Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.

At the reviewing stand, located near the present-day Treasury Building and World War I Memorial, General Meade dismounted and saluted the dignitaries, including President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William T. Sherman, and Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs. The Victor of Gettysburg was pleased with the performance of the Army of the Potomac, who marched handsomely during the review. Secretary of War Stanton was eminently proud of the victory parade, noting: "You see in these armies, the foundation of the Republic: our future railroad managers, congressmen, bank presidents, senators, manufacturers, judges, governors and diplomats; yes and not less than a half dozen presidents." Stanton's vision of the future proved to be prophetic. The Army of the Potomac review lasted six hours. In that time, 29 regiments of cavalry, 33 batteries of artillery, and 180 regiments of infantry participated in the Grand Review.

The following day, the Grand Army of the West (Army the Tennessee and Army of George) commanded by Major General William T. Sherman conducted their final march. Civilian spectators who were accustomed to seeing elements of the Army of the Potomac were thrilled and curiously fascinated to see the men that comprised the western armies. General Sherman was concerned that his ragtag troops could not match the spit and polish of the eastern soldiers, remarking to General Meade: “I’m afraid my poor tatterdemalion corps will make a poor appearance tomorrow, when contrasted with yours.” Prior to the parade, Sherman issued specific orders for the men to shine their brass and bayonets, and drill in preparation for the review. The western soldiers did not disappoint their chief. At 9:00 a.m. on May 24, General Sherman accompanied Major General Oliver O. Howard and staff led the review down Pennsylvania Avenue. They soldiers were greeted with hearty cheers from the viewers and a band struck-up "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Uncle Billy's troops, 65,000 strong, marched to a hero's welcome. The last troops past the reviewing stand at 3:30 p.m. The Grand Review of the Armies was over.

It was a grand finale for the Federal soldiers, who were mustered out of service over the next two weeks. It was the beginning of their post-war lives. A newspaper account provided an insightful perspective of the review and its aftermath:

"The army marched through Washington and then, as an army, disappeared forever, absorbed into the body-politic, a million men of war turned men of peace in a single day."

#CivilWarWashington

IMAGE:
(1): The Twentieth Corps, Army of Georgia, march from the US Capitol up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Executive Mansion (White House) on May 24, 1865 during the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington DC.
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

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Washington D.C., DC
20011

Access to the forts varies by site. Most are accessibile within a short walk of public transit.

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