Exploring the Civil War Defenses of Washington
The National Park Service Civil War Defenses of Washington sites are part of the open green spaces of the nation's capital. Traces of Civil War fortifications can be found along the hilltop ridge sourrounding the city and range from landmaks such as Military Road, where only the name suggests its origin, to partial reconstructions such as Fort Stevens, to the original "big guns" of Fort Foote. To see the National Park Service Civil War Defenses of Washington sites, consider planning a series of visits. Some of the surviving fortications can be visited on a driving tour, while for others you must hike into and explore park woodlands to locate remnant earthworks that have been reclaimed by the forest. Some park areas have no traces of fortifications. Click here for a list of fort sites and what you can expect to see when you get there.
Did You Know?
As early as the 1820s, free African Americans settled in a community called Vinegar Hill, an area now known as Brightwood. During the Civil War, Fort Stevens was built within Vinegar Hill boundaries and repulsed the only Confederate attack on the District of Columbia.