Fort C.F. Smith

Fort C.F. Smith (HM2UB)

Location: Arlington, VA 22207 Arlington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 54.08', W 77° 5.307'

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Defending the Capital

Fort C.F. Smith was constructed in early 1863 as part of the expansion and strengthening of the capital's defenses that continued throughout the Civil War. With Forts Strong, Morton and Woodbury, Fort C.F. Smith formed the outer perimeter of the fortifications that protected the Aqueduct Bridge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (located near the site of the present-day Francis Scott Key Bridge). Fort C.F. Smith was built as a lunette with a southern and western face and two flanks, as well as a cremaillere line on the north side to protect it from attack up the ravines from the river. A road that crossed Spout Run and proceeded up the hill to Fort Strong entered Fort C.F. Smith from the east. To provide clear lines of fire for this and adjacent forts, all of the trees for miles around were cut down, and much of the lumber was used in the construction of the fortifications and support structures.

Fort C.F. Smith was built complete with barracks, mess halls, kitchens, officers' quarters, a barn and a headquarters building. When the fort was decommissioned in 1865, all of these accessory buildings were removed. No visible above-ground evidence of these buildings remains today.

(Sidebar): Charles Ferguson Smith was born in Philadelphia on April 24, 1807, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1825. Later, while he was commandant there, two of his students were Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. Smith also fought in the Mexican War (1846-1848) and, after the outbreak of the Civil War, was promoted to brigadier general. On February 15, 1862, during Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's siege of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, Smith's division breached the defenses and prompted the Confederate surrender. When Grant was asked for terms, Smith suggested "unconditional and immediate surrender," a phrase that made "Unconditional Surrender Grant" famous throughout the North. Smith, promoted to major general on March 21, 1862, temporarily commanded the army when Grant was accused of drunkenness. Smith died on April 25, 1862, after a seemingly minor non-combatant injury.
HM NumberHM2UB
Series This marker is part of the Defenses of Washington series, and the Virginia Civil War Trails series.
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 9:25pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 318897 N 4307900
Decimal Degrees38.90133333, -77.08845000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 54.08', W 77° 5.307'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 54' 4.80" N, 77° 5' 18.42" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2239-2317 24th St N, Arlington VA 22207, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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