The first Fort Washington was completed in 1809 and guarded the Nation’s Capital until it was destroyed by its own garrison in 1814. Twelve days later Major Pierre L’Enfant was sent to construct new defenses but worked on the fort for only a brief period before Lieutenant Colonel Walker K. Armistead replaced him. The fort was completed on October 2, 1824. Extensive remodeling was performed in the 1840s and the first guns were mounted in 1846. The masonry fort was occupied by soldiers from the First, Third and Fourth U.S. Artillery during its early history. Except for a few guns at the Washington Arsenal, Fort Washington was the only defense for the Nation’s Capital until the Civil War when a circle of temporary forts was built around the city. Fort Washington Park is an outdoor classroom where your students can learn about history, science, nature, and public lands conservation.
Did You Know?
In 1844, President John Tyler was almost killed on the river near Fort Washington, when an experimental cannon exploded aboard the USS Princeton. Six were killed(including Secretary of State Abel Upshaw & Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer) , 20 were injured. The accident prompted Thomas Jackson Rodman to develop a new way of casting artillery and the creation of the 15inch Rodman Gun, like the ones that can be seen at Fort Foote.