Fort Davis was located three-fourths of a mile south of Fort Dupont. It was constructed at the same elevation (303 feet above mean tide) as Fort Dupont, and just slightly larger, having a perimeter of 220 yards. Fort Davis, like the other fortifications east of the Anacostia River, was constructed to protect the Benning and Navy Yard bridges.
Like Fort Dupont, Fort Davis was considered a weak work functioning primarily as an outwork to Fort Baker, protecting the left flank of that work and as Barnard states, "having a pretty good view of the approaches on either side of the ridge, not seen by Fort Baker."
Inside the walls of Fort Davis, was a 124-feet deep well and a flag staff. Outside the walls of the fort were a barracks, an officers' quarters, a mess house, and a guard house. These buildings were dismantled and their lumber auctioned in October 1865--as it was one of the first forts to be abandoned. The land on which Fort Davis was built was turned over to the owner Daniel F. Lee, later in the year. Mr. Lee purchased the site of Fort Davis in 1864 claimed $1500 damages to his land and wanted the barracks, officers' quarters, guard house, and mess house in compensation for his trouble. The Chief Quartermaster of the Department of Washington opposed his claim and the buildings were sold at the public auction. Mr. Lee, however, bought the abatis of the fort for $33.87.
Do you live near Fort Davis? Learn about the African American Civil War Descendants Study that the National Park Service is conducting in association with American University.
Did You Know?
Fort Reno was the largest of the Defenses of Washington fortifications and supported a dozen heavy guns and a contingent of 3,000 men.