Forts in the Winter

Fall foliage at Fort DeRussy in Rock Creek Park
Fort DeRussy in Fall (Rock Creek Park).

NPS

**Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from D.C. Public Health in consultation with NPS Public Health Service officers, the Civil War Defenses of Washington public programs (special events, hikes, lectures) are canceled as of March 16, 2020. The programs may be rescheduled at a future date. Updates will be posted to our websites and social media channels.**

Winter/Spring 2020

Join the National Park Service for an exploration of the Civil War Defenses of Washington and Civil War Washington during the Winter and Spring seasons. Programs run approximately ninety minutes or longer and are free to the public. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately according to the weather. Programs are go on rain or shine, and are subject to change.

Winter/Spring Lineup

January 25, 2020 (1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.)
The Defenses of Washington during the Gettysburg Campaign

Gettysburg National Military Park Winter Lecture Series 2020

National Park Service rangers and leading historians from across the country offer free hour-long talks exploring important aspects of the American Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg.

On Saturday, January 25, 2020, Civil War Defenses of Washington Park Ranger Steve T. Phan presents a lecture on Washington D.C. and the capital forts during the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863.

Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
Address: 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The program is free and open to the public.
Limited seating is available on a first come - first serve basis.

For more information:
https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/interpretation.htm

February 1, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) **Rescheduled from January 18, 2020 due to inclement weather**
Civil War Batteries of Rock Creek Park Hike

The special program will guide visitors through Rock Creek Park to see the remnant earthen batteries (cannon emplacements) that were constructed to support the forts and guard Rock Creek Valley during the Civil War, including recently rediscovered earthworks.

The 2.5 mile hike begins at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.
Address: 5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

*Hike Level: Moderate (A moderate hike is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally 3 to 5 mile).

February 8, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Fort DeRussy to Fort Stevens Hike

In partnership with the Ford's Theatre Society, the Civil War Defenses of Washington will be leading a special hike from Fort DeRussy to Fort Stevens.

The 1.5 mile hike will guide visitors from Fort DeRussy through Rock Creek Park to Fort Stevens. The program will conclude at Fort Stevens. A bus will return visitors to the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.

The program begins at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.
Address: 5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

*Hike Level: Moderate (A moderate hike is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally 3 to 5 mile).

February 15, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.)
Civil War Defenses of Washington Lecture,
"Disaster in the Defenses of Washington"

Join the National Park Service for a presentation on the Defenses of Washington at Rock Creek Park.

Nathan A. Marzoli, Staff Historian at the Air National Guard History Office, will present a lecture on the Fort Lyon explosion.

On the afternoon of June 9, 1863, the north magazine of Fort Lyon, a substantial fort located on a hill high above Alexandria and the Hunting Creek valley, suddenly went up in a giant ball of flame and debris. When the dust had settled, twenty Union soldiers lay dead, and over fifty men were wounded. Only a massive crater remained of where the magazine had been. Come learn about Fort Lyon - the second largest fort in the Defenses of Washington - and the most deadly disaster in Washington during the Civil War.

The special lecture will be delivered at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.
Address: 5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

March 7, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
All Fortified Along the Potomac:
Fort Ethan Allen to Fort Marcy Hike

Join historians from the National Park Service (NPS) and Arlington County Parks and Recreation for a special joint-hike from Northern Virginia to Southwest Washington D.C.: Fort Ethan Allen to Fort Marcy (NPS).

The guided-hike will take visitors from Fort Ethan Allen to Chain Bridge, bisecting the Potomac River, to Fort Marcy on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The 2.5 hour hike will begin at the Madison Community Center parking lot. NPS staff from Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) and George Washington Memorial Parkway, and Historian John McNair of Arlington County Parks and Recreation will lead visitors on an in-depth fort tour, beginning at the remnants of Fort Ethan Allen. From there, visitors will move on paved sidewalks toward Chain Bridge. After departing the bridge, visitors will take a dirt trail along Pimmit Run stream toward Fort Marcy.

CAUTION: In order to reach the other bank toward Fort Marcy, visitors must cross the stream on rocks, which can be slippery--there is no bridge to cross. Depending on the depth of the stream, visitors may get wet their feet wet crossing Pimmit Run. Visitors advised to wear hiking boots/shoes and long pants, and bring water.

SAFETY of visitors is our number one priority. For those who cannot cross the steam, you may wait at Pimmit Run for the tour to return from Fort Marcy and then hike back to Madison Community Center with the rest of the group to end the program. The program will end with a hike from Fort Marcy back to Fort Ethan Allen.

Madison Community Center Parking Address:
3829 N Stafford St, Arlington, VA 22207

March 14, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Fort Washington and the Civil War

Join the National Park Service for an exploration of historic Fort Washington.

Washington D.C. was virtually defenseless in the lead-up to the American Civil War. Only one fortification existed to protect the Federal capital: Fort Washington. Situated along the Potomac River in Maryland, the fort was lightly garrisoned during the war.

The special program will guide visitors through the fort and outerworks, including a special emphasis on the design features and construction post-War of 1812.

The program will begin outside the Fort Washington Park Visitor Center.
Address: 13551 Fort Washington Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744

March 22, 2020 (9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Spring FORTward Hike

Join staff from the Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) and Rock Creek Park (ROCR) to commemorate the Spring Equinox with a history hike. The guided hike will take visitors from the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium south to Pulpit Rock and Peirce Mill. Visitors will learn about the park's unique history, including the creation of Rock Creek Park in 1890; the development of Fort Drive (Civil War Defenses of Washington; Peirce Mill's deep connection to the park and the Civil War; and the conservation movement that inspired the preservation of public lands for current and future generations.

The hike will begin at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, and is free and open to the public.

Total distance: 3.25 miles.

*Hike Level: Moderate (A moderate hike is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally 3 to 5 mile)

March 28, 2020 (10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m)
Civil War Defenses of Washington Lecture,
"A Virgorous Defenses: The 1863 Fortifications of Pittsburgh"

Join the National Park Service for a presentation on the Defenses of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Rich Condon, a public historian based out of Western Pennsylvania and seasonal park ranger for the National Park Service, will present a lecture on the defenses of Pittsburgh during the Gettysburg Campaign.

As Robert E. Lee was preparing his invasion of the north in June 1863, citizens across Pennsylvania were in a state of panic. With news spreading of the impending Confederate advance, towns and cities across the Keystone State mirrored a sense of fear and uncertainty. These communities prepared for the worst, and began constructing defensive fortifications to check what seemed to be a very real threat. Among those affected during the summer scare of '63 were the citizens of Pittsburgh, who erected 37 forts in response - some of which still stand to this day.

The special lecture will be delivered at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.
Address: 5200 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

April 4, 2020 (10:00-a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)
Fort Reno in War and Peace: Reno City Archaeology

The Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) and Rock Creek Park (ROCR) is excited to share recent findings of an archaeological survey conducted at Fort Reno. Bradley Krueger, Cultural Resources Program Manager, will present a short talk on the archaeology connected to Reno City, the segregated African American community that was formed on the grounds of the former military site in the decades after the Civil War. Steve T. Phan, CWDW Historian, will detail what transpired at Fort Reno as peace swept the country in 1865.

Visitors can meet National Park Service staff near the Fort Reno Civil War bronze plaque on Chespeake St. NW across the street from Woodrow Wilson High School.

Fort Reno Park address: 4000 Chesapeake St NW, Washington, DC 20016

Last updated: March 17, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Civil War Defenses of Washington
3545 Williamsburg Lane N.W.

Washington, DC 20008

Phone:

202-829-2163

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