Fort Ward

Fort Ward (HM4RF)

Location: Alexandria, VA 22304
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 49.767', W 77° 6.114'

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On May 24, 1861, when Virginia's secession from the Union became effective, Federal forces immediately occupied Northern Virginia to protect the City of Washington, D.C. After the Confederate victory at the Battle of First Bull Run (First Manassas) in July 1861, the Federal government began construction of a defense system to guard the Union capital. By the end of the war in 1865, the Defenses of Washington consisted of 162 forts and batteries, with emplacements for 1,421 guns.

The initial construction of Fort Ward was completed in September 1861. The fort was built to protect the approaches to Union-occupied Alexandria via the Leesburg Turnpike (King Street) and Little River Turnpike (Duke Street).

By late 1864, the perimeter of the earthwork fort had been enlarged from 540 yards and 24 gun positions to 818 yards and 36 guns. Fort Ward was the fifth largest stronghold in the Defenses of Washington and was considered a model of 19th-century military design and engineering. The fort was named for Commander James Harmon Ward, the first Union naval officer to die in the Civil War. It ws dismantled by December 1865.

Defenses of Washington
The only battle fought in the Defenses of Washington occurred in July 1864, when General Jubal A. Early's Confederate forces attacked Fort Stevens, located approximately seven miles north of the White House.

At the end of the Civil War, the forts and batteries were dismantled and the materials sold at auction. Fort Foote, the last remaining earthwork fort in the Defenses, was deactivated in 1878.

Today, extant remains of many of these fortifications can still be found. The above map shows the 37-mile network of Union forts that protected the Federal Capital. The Defenses of Washington was the most extensive fortification system constructed in the Western Hemisphere.
HM NumberHM4RF
Series This marker is part of the Defenses of Washington series
Placed ByCity of Alexandria
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 3:18pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 317547 N 4299949
Decimal Degrees38.82945000, -77.10190000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 49.767', W 77° 6.114'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 49' 46.02" N, 77° 6' 6.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4301 W Braddock Rd, Alexandria VA 22304, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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