The earthen mounds that surround you are the remains of the fort's construction.
The model behind you re-creates Fort Ethan Allen as it was depicted in U.S. Army engineering drawings published after the Civil War. Use the drawing and model to locate features that survive and to visualize those lost by erosion and later development. Imagine the area during the war: cleared of trees, orchards, and farms to make way for forts, rifle trenches, and military roads.
Built by 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantrymen, the fort was named to honor Ethan Allen, a Revolutionary War hero from their state.
Civil War Engineering
Fort Ethan Allen shared features with other Defenses of Washington forts located in northern Virginia. Built in September 1861, it was one of the earliest of the forts, and with a perimeter of 768 yards, it was one of the largest and most heavily armed. Construction of all the forts followed the directives of General John G. Barnard, the chief engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Cut through the raised parapets and ramparts, entrances were at ground level and faced away from fronts that could be exposed to enemy action.
Near the front entrance, this structure housed offices, a room for holding prisoners,
and an area for mustering guards.
Powder Magazines and Filling Rooms
Ammunition was kept in a magazine, an underground storage room. Shells were armed, and sometimes stored, in a filling room, while magazines held black powder and projectiles. Implements for firing cannons could also be kept in a filling room. Guards often protected magazines, and soldiers had to take special precautions when handling black powder.
Partially underground and near the center of the fort, these thick-walled shelters provided additional protection against incoming artillery fire.
This trench-like passageway hid soldiers from enemy view when they took defensive positions outside the fort's walls.
Where did it go?
After the war, the fort was ordered closed. At public auction, the U.S. Army sold all materials and tools that could be salvaged. Legend has it that lumber retrieved from the fort that was used to construct the house at 3111 North Glebe Road, known as Bellevue.
Walk down Old Glebe Road to view additional remaining earthworks and a 20-pounder Parrot rifle.