"The capital can't be taken!"

On forested hills surrounding the nation's capital are the remnants of a complex system of Civil War fortifications. These strategic buttresses transformed the young capital into one of the world's most fortified cities. By 1865, 68 forts and 93 batteries armed with over 800 cannons encircled Washington, DC. Today, you can visit 17 of the original sites now managed by the National Park Service.

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2 minutes, 5 seconds

An overview of the Civil War Defenses of Washington, the roles of Fort Stevens and other forts in the Civil War, and how park visitors can experience these places today.

Cannon Shot at Fort Stevens

Today nineteen fort sites are administered by the National Park Service located on approximately 130 acres.

Civil War reenactors pose for group photo at Fort Stevens.
Anniversary of the Battle

Join the annual commemoration of the Battle of Fort Stevens and enjoy living history, music, lectures, and more!

Ages 5+. July 11-August 30 (Tues-Thurs)
Fort Dupont Summer Camps

Join the CWDW at Fort Dupont for Summer Camp. Activities include nature hikes, living history demonstrations, and arts/crafts.

Historic photograph of Fort Stevens overlaid on current photograph at Fort Stevens Park.

The Civil War Defenses of Washington brought back to life!

History at Sunset program at the African American Civil War Memorial, Septmeber 2018.
History at Sunset

Learn more about the Civil War Washington with the National Park Service as the sun sets in the nation's capital.

Last updated: June 15, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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

Washington, DC 20008



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