• !5-inch Rodman Cannon

    Civil War Defenses of Washington

    District of Columbia

Guarding the Chain Bridge

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ryan recounted his experiences as captain of the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers in an article appearing in the Washington Post in 1902. His regiment’s mission was to guard the Chain Bridge from Confederate attack. Read this account of the hardships of military life which included civilian suits as uniforms (gray ones at that!), ammunition that did not fit, and exploding muskets. more….
historical sketch of soldiers guarding the chain bridge
A view of the Chain Bridge from Battery Martin Scott
Harper's Weekly, August 24, 1861

Did You Know?

Samuel Cooper

The Civil War Defenses were generally named after well known Union officers (many deceased during the war). This was not always the case. Fort Williams was first named Fort Traitor because the owner, Samuel Cooper(left), pledged an oath to the Union only to become a Confederate later on in the war.