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Ladies and gentlemen of society and rank declared a holiday and swarmed out to picnic and cheer the intrepid defenders.”. 73–74; Cooling, pp. Gen. Jubal Early stood contemplating the outline of the Capitol on the horizon as he prepared to launch an attack on Washington, D.C. A Union counterattack drove back the Confederate cavalry and the two opposing lines confronted each other throughout the evening with periods of intense skirmishing. [7], Early's invasion of Maryland had the desired effect on Grant, who dispatched the rest of the VI Corps and XIX Corps under Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright to Washington on July 9. Lincoln and the politicians were very fearful about leaving the capital unguarded.”. [14], Early's force withdrew that evening, headed back into Montgomery County, Maryland, and crossed the Potomac River on July 13 at White's Ferry into Leesburg, Virginia. In the end, Lincoln was unharmed and the Union won. Wright and the VI Corps were initially to be held in reserve but McCook immediately decided against this, stating that he felt veteran troops needed to take the front lines against Early's troops. Even President Abraham Lincoln personally arrived at the battlefield. Early and Union Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. As it was, Hardin's troops engaged in some light skirmishing, but as McCook intended, it was to be Wright's veterans who bore the brunt of the fighting. Drawing by Pierre Morand circa 1864, courtesy the National Portrait Gallery. The Alliance works to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the Civil War Defenses of Washington for all visitors to enjoy and to assure their preservation for generations to come. Although Early caused consternation in the Union government, reinforcements under Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright and the … or Terms of Use [17], Coordinates: 38°57′51″N 77°01′44″W / 38.9641°N 77.0288°W / 38.9641; -77.0288, Early's Raid and operations against the B&O Railroad. 142–43. Near the start of the Confederate attack the lead elements of the VI and XIX Corps arrived at the fort, reinforcing it with battle-hardened troops. NPS also offers audio tours of Fort Stevens and other historic sites for download. I'd like to welcome you to Fort Stevens today is July eleventh 20 The 156 anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens This program will cover the first day of action the real time program occurring between 12 and two PM on the afternoon. The skirmishing continued into July 12, when Early finally decided that Washington could not be taken without heavy losses which would be too severe to warrant the attempt. The hope was that a movement into Maryland would force Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to send troops to defend Washington against the threat, thus reducing his strength to take the Confederate capital. Buildings, farms, orchards, and forests were cut down to construct the capital forts, an elaborate system of earthworks, roads, and blockhouses. Additionally, many of the Confederate troops had looted the home of Montgomery Blair, the son of the founder of Silver Spring, Maryland. But it was a moment of panic for the Union as federal workers awaiting reinforcements were forced to arm themselves against invading troops. In June 1864, Gen. Jubal Early was dispatched by Gen. Robert E. Lee with the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Confederate lines around Richmond with orders to clear the Shenandoah Valley of Federals and then if practical, invade Maryland, disrupt the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and if possible threaten Washington, D.C. Salutations from Washington, DC. My name is Steve and Park Ranger for the civil war defenses of Washington. The Civil War Defenses of Washington and the Alliance to Preserve the Defenses of Washington presents the 156th Battle of Fort Stevens Commemoration.This year’s anniversary features digital video programs highlighting the only battle that took place in the nation’s capital during the Civil War.Speakers Kym Elder - Civil War Defenses of Washington and Loretta Neumann - Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington, The Defenses of Washington dramatically altered the landscape around Washington D.C. Federal soldiers occupied large swaths of land around the capital in Maryland and Virginia, often on civilian property. After the battle Early resumed his march on Washington, arriving at its northeast border near Silver Spring at around noontime on July 11. Abraham Lincoln’s top hat made him an easy target for Confederate sharpshooters. [10], Around 3 p.m., with the bulk of their force present, the Confederates commenced skirmishing, probing the defense maintained by Brig. They found barrels of whiskey in the basement of the mansion, called Blair Mansion, and many troops were too drunk to get a good start in the morning. The U.S. Army's Quartermaster General, Brig. The Battle of Fort Stevens is the only time that a sitting U.S. president has come under enemy military fire. McCook.Although Early caused consternation in the Union government, reinforcements under Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright and the strong defenses of Fort … Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. Advertising Notice Behind the Scenes With the White House Residence's Long-Serving Staff, The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites, How Hedges Became the Unofficial Emblem of Great Britain. The Battle of Fort Stevens was an American Civil War battle fought July 11–12, 1864, in Northwest Washington, D.C., as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 between forces under Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. The Confederate Army of the Valley District were 100 yards away from Fort Stevens before Federal reinforcements arrived to secure the nation’s capital on July 11, 1864. The soldiers occupied civilian property as “military necessity,” and in the process, denuded the landscape of trees and buildings. Previously, she was a contributing writer and editorial intern for the At the Smithsonian section of Smithsonian magazine. Photo by William Morris Smith, courtesy Library of Congress. The Union Army was in hot pursuit. Mathew Brady’s Portraits of Union Generals, Pottery Fragments May Hold Clues to Roanoke Colonists' Fate, Evidence of Neolithic Construction Boom Found at British 'Mega-Henge', New Prehistoric Marine Reptile Resembled a Miniature Mix of Loch Ness Monster, Alligator and Toothy T. Rex, Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom, When Catherine of Aragon Led England's Armies to Victory Over Scotland, Four Times the Results of a Presidential Election Were Contested, The Hunt for Julius Caesar's Assassins Marked the Last Days of the Roman Republic, Vaquita Genome Offers Hope for Species' Survival. From the American History Museum. In Brightwood, a small community on the outskirts of Washington, Federal soldiers constructed Fort Stevens to protect the Seventh Street Road (Georgia Avenue), a critical north-south passageway into the capital. A small community of free African Americans resided in the neighborhood, including Elizabeth Proctor Thomas. The 156th Battle of Fort Stevens Commemoration will consist of digital programs featured on the Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) Facebook page and website. It also added another high-ranking officer into a jumbled Federal command. The Battleground National Cemetery was established two weeks after the battle and is located nearby, at 6625 Georgia Avenue NW, containing the graves of forty Union soldiers killed in the battle; seventeen Confederate soldiers are buried on the grounds of Grace Episcopal Church, slightly north of current downtown Silver Spring, Maryland at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Grace Church Road. Berstein, pp. The Federal pursuit culminated with the Battle of Cool Springs, fought along the banks of the Shenandoah River in Virginia on July 17-18, 1864. McCook was, however, placed in command of the Defenses of the Potomac River & Washington, superseding Christopher Columbus Augur, who commanded the Department of Washington. Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck called upon Maj. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore in New York City to take command of a detachment from the XIX Corps. The small plot of land where Fort Stevens stood is fewer than five miles from the White House, but it is easy to overlook. Two days later, as the Second Corps prepared to march on Washington, Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace leading a small Union force composed mostly of garrison troops, bolstered by the eleventh-hour addition of two brigades of the VI Corps sent from Richmond under Maj. Gen. James B. Ricketts, attempted to resist the Confederate advance at the Battle of Monocacy.

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