Frequently Asked Questions on the
Civil War Defenses of Washington
Operational and Management
Q: What is the Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) and who manages
A: Nineteen (19) former Civil War fortification sites and the Battleground
National Cemetery formerly known as the Fort Circle Parks (due to the forts
encircling the city) are collectively known as the Civil War Defenses of
Washington, today.The CWDW is managed
by the National Park Service (NPS) and expands over three national park units
of the National Capital Region.Please
refer to the CWDW website managed by the NPS by visiting www.nps.gov/cwdwor contact a NPS staffer or
volunteer for an official brochure, map and additional information on (202)
Q:Is there a visitor center
or other NPS contact station(s) at any of the fort sites managed by the NPS?
A: No, there is are no visitor centers or contact stations at
any of the NPS sites;however, please contact us via the website address listed
above for questions, brochures and other informational literature.A staffer can also be reached via telephone
on (202) 604-1673
Q:Is there is a fee to visit
any of the CWDW sites?
A:No, there is no fee to
visit the CWDW sites.
Q:What are the operational hours
to visit many of these sites managed by the NPS?
A:The forts and related
trails are open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk.All of the areas are closed at dark (unless,
Q:It appears that Fort Stevens was
reconstructed.Was it and why?
A: Fort Stevens, the only civil war fort that came under fire
during the Civil War on July 11-12, 1864 was reconstructed to appear as it did
in 1864 by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in 1936.The NPS acquired Fort Stevens and many of the
CWDW sites in 1933.
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Q: Where is the Battleground National Cemetery located and what is its'
significance to the CWDW and Fort Stevens?
A: The Battleground
National Cemetery is located at 6625 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC
20012.The cemetery is located just a
half mile north of Fort Stevens.The
cemetery is the final resting place of 41 Union soldiers who died during the
Battle of Fort Stevens (July 11-12, 1864) and were later interred on the
dedicated grounds—just days after the war.
The last internment took place in 1936.Mr. Edward R. Campbell was the last veteran
of the battle, from the second Vermont infantry.The lodge (building) which once housed the
cemetery's caretaker serves as the administrative office for the CWDW
staff.The building is not open to the
public but if available, the staff are always happy to welcome and share
information (including related literature) about the CWDW.
Q: Are Fort Marcy and Fort Foote
managed by the NPS although they are located in Virginia and Maryland
Yes, both Fort Marcy, located on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in
McLean, Va. and Fort Foote, located on Fort Foote Road in Fort Washington, Md.
are managed by the NPS and are sites of the CWDW.For additional information on these sites,
please visit, www.nps.gov/cwdwor call (202) 604-1673.
Q:Are schools, troops
and other organizations welcomed to visit and how do I get make arrangements/reservations
to visit for a tour?
are welcome to visit the CWDW throughout the year.To ensure an interpretive staff is available
to conduct a tour or present an educational program, please, call (202)
604-1673 Tuesdays –Saturday from 9am –4:30pm. We welcome all ages and home-schoolers as well. Please plan to inform
staff of your schedule intentions at least a month in advance.
Q: Does the CWDW have a NPS passport stamp and if so, where can
I visit to have my book stamped?
Yes, the CWDW has an official NPS passport stamp.The stamp is located in several locations for
your convenience.Please call, the sites
located for their times of operation:
ØBattleground National Cemetery (202)
ØRock Creek Park's Nature Center –(202)
ØG.W. Memorial Parkway (Park Hqdtrs:
Turkey Run Park) –(703) 289-2500
ØFrederick Douglass NHS –(202) 426-5961
ØNational Capital Parks-East (Park Hqtrs:
Anacostia Park) –(202) 690-5185
Pg. 3:Civil Was Defenses
of Washington –FAQs
Q:Where is Fort Ward
located and is it managed by another government?
A:Fort Ward is located at 4301 W Braddock Rd, Alexandria, VA 22304.
The site is managed by the Alexandria City government.For additional information about visiting
Fort Ward, please visit www. http://alexandriava.gov/FortWard
or call (703) 838-4848.
Historical Significance of the CWDW:
Q:Who designed the
Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) and why?A:The CWDW was designed by Major John G.
Barnard.A graduate of the U.S. Military
Academy at West point with the intent to defend/protect thenation's (Union's) capital
between 1861-1865 after the onset of the American Civil War.
Q: Why were the CWDW fortifications unique in their
design and strategic in their locations?A:The military fortifications were constructed primarily
with dirt (earthworks).Dirt produced
very strong structures that could absorb the impact of projectiles better than
brick or stone masonry.Soldiers and
laborers worked with shovels and picks to build ramparts (walls), parapets
(slopes) and bombproofs (shelters).A
dry moat (trenches) and barricades of dead trees called abatis surrounded a
fort.Each fort was strategically selected
for its high elevations and other advantage points pending its purpose and
intent of protection.
Washington considered one of the most fortified cities in the world?
A: By the end of the war,
there were 68 forts, 93 gun batteries, 20 miles of rifle pits and 32 miles of
military roads encircling the capital city, Washington.
the war ended, what happened to the fortifications, camp sites and etc.?
A:After the war ended in 1865, many of the
soldiers were re-assigned. Many of the forts and camps were turned over to
their original owners, except for Fort Stevens. Some forts like, Fort DuPont,
DeRussy, Marcy and fort Totten were somewhat left intact and are now covered
(and protected) by mature woodlands.
Pg. 4:Civil War Defenses
of Washington –FAQs
Site Specific Significance:
Q: When did Fort Stevens come under attack?
A:Fort Stevens came under attack on July 11th
1864 by General Jubal Early.
Q: Why was Fort Stevens Built?
A: Fort Stevens was built to
defend the 7th street Turnpike (Now, Georgia Avenue).
Q: When did Fort Stevens become
property of the National Park Service?
A: In 1933, Fort Stevens
became a property of the National Park Service.
Q: When did the Civilian Conservation
Corps begin a partial reconstruction of Fort Stevens?
A: The Civilian
Conservation Corps began a partial reconstruction of Fort Stevens in 1926.
was Fort DuPont before it's use during the Civil war?
DuPont was farm land prior to the Civil War.
many sides does Fort DuPont have?
DuPont has six sides, each 100 feet long.
Q: Who owned the
earthwork site of Fort DuPont prior to the Civil War? And did he retain
ownership throughout the course of the war?
Caton. Yes, he retained ownership during and following the war.
Pg. 5: Civil War Defenses of Washington FAQs
Q: Who was Fort DuPont named after?
A: Fort DuPont was named afterRear Admiral Samuel FrancisDuPont,
who was an American naval officer, and served prominently during the
Mexican-American War and the Civil War.
Q: When did the construction of Fort Marcy
commence? And when was it completed?
A: The construction of Fort Marcy began
September 24, 1861 and was completed the fall of 1862.
Q: When was Fort Totten constructed?
A: Fort Totten was constructed in 1862.
Q: Who was Fort Totten named after?
A: Fort Totten was named after General Joseph
The Chief Engineer of the antebellum U.S. army.
Q: How many guns and mortars were mounted at
A: 20 guns and mortars were mounted at Fort Totten.
Q: What was Fort Reno originally named?
A: Fort Reno was originally named "Fort
Q: Who was Fort Reno named after?
A: Fort Reno was named after Major General Jesse
Lee Reno in 1863.
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Q: Who was Fort Slocum named after?
A: Fort Slocum was named after Colonel John Slocum,
who was killed in 1861 at the First Battle of Manassas.
Q: Who was Fort Slocum home to?
A: Fort Slocum was home to white soldiers and the
African American foot soldiers of the 4th U.S colored infantry from
*For further information In regards to the Civil
War Defenses of Washington, please feel free to visit our website at http://www.nps.gov/cwdw/index.htmor feel free
to give us a call at 202-829-4650.*