Monday, July 11, 2011

The Battle of Fort Stevens in Washington D.C.

Fort Stevens was part of Washington's primary defenses, a network of 68 earthen forts with cannon batteries and rifle pits.

On July 11, 1864 the Confederate army entered the Washington D.C. city limits for the only time. They were subsequently repelled at the 2-day Battle of Fort Stevens.

The two days of fighting never went much past skirmishing among soldiers outside the fort's walls; there was never a direct assault on the fort. In the end more than 900 men were killed or wounded on both sides.

President Lincoln, watching the battle from a parapet inside the fort, was nearly killed by Confederate sharpshooters; a surgeon standing near the president was hit!

Fort Stevens has been partially restored and can still be visited.

next episode: dromedary


  1. It was at this battle that the future progressive Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, famously yelled at a recklessly exposed Lincoln, "Get down, you damn fool!"

    By the way Rob, I hope you have a wonderful birthday and many happy returns!

  2. Thank you! It sounds like a foolish action of Lincoln indeed...


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