The nation’s capital, and a center of military strategic planning and Union politics during the Civil War. Many feared Washington, D.C. presented itself as a prime target for the South during the first years of the war, with enemy territory in Virginia just across the river. Therefore, the Union build several major fortifications to protect the capitol. At the center of everything was President Abraham Lincoln who, while coordinating with his many generals, also began to think of ways to eliminate the root cause of the war.
This outstanding example of 19th century seacoast fortifications was the only permanent fortification ever constructed to defend the nation’s capital. During the first year of the Civil War, the fort controlled river access to Alexandria, Georgetown, and Washington, D.C., and maintained a training base for state militia troops from the North.
What To Do:
Tour the fort.
See a Civil War artillery demonstration, held one Sunday a month from April to October.
Fort Foote is the only fort of the Civil War defenses around Washington, D.C., that remained active after the Civil War. It displays two mounted 15-inch Rodman cannons and is one of the best examples of undistributed earthworks in the “circle” of forts built in that area.
What To Do:
Tour the fort and examine the cannons.
Stop #3: Frederick Douglas National Historic Site.
Overlooking the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and the city of Washington, D.C., Arlington House was the family home of Robert E. Lee until he assumed command of the Confederate forces. His home and grounds were seized by the government and used as a burial ground for Union soldiers.
President Lincoln spent his wartime summers at this cottage, located on the grounds of a veterans’ home. He used the peace and quiet to formulate the Emancipation Proclamation and other critical war decisions.
Guarding the northern entrance to the city, this critical fort was re-fortified in July 1864 after Confederate forces under Jubal Early camped just 10 miles away. President Lincoln came under fire here on July 12 as Early’s forces made a demonstration.
What To Do:
Explore the fort and Participate in any special programs happening that day
Washington, DC | This national monument is the "first" national memorial to the 209,145 African-American soldiers and their 7, 000 white officers who fought in the American Civil War from 1862 to 1865.