Southwest in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Military Education at Fort McNair
River Farms to Urban Towers
—Southwest Heritage Trail —
The fort dates back to 1791. Washington City planner Pierre L’Enfant selected this site, where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers meet, as ideal for a military installation. At first it was known as the Arsenal at Greenleaf’s Point, where the Army stored and distributed weapons. During the War of 1812, according to a contemporary newspaper report, a dozen British redcoats were killed when they accidentally set off gunpowder hidden down a dry well by a retreating American commander. In 1826 a U.S. penitentiary was added. In 1865, four of eight prisoners charged with conspiracy in President Lincoln’s assassination were hanged in its courtyard.
After the Civil War, the fort’s importance in the capital’s defenses declined. In 1881, the arsenal was closed and the fort stored Army uniforms and supplies. From 1893 until his death in 1902, yellow fever pioneer researcher, Dr. Walter Reed studied infectious diseases here in a small post hospital. In 1904 the Army War College was founded, opening the era of higher education for senior military personnel. In 2004 the eight divisions of the National Defense University include
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 17.)
Location. 38° 52.325′ N, 77° 1.02′ W. Marker is in Southwest, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on P Street, SW east of 4th Street, SW, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20319, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Linking the "Island" to the City (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Housing Reform and the Syphax School (about 400 feet away); Harbour Square (about 600 feet away); Walter Reed (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Walter Reed (about 600 feet away); Titanic Memorial (about 700 feet away); Blending Old and New (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Law House In Peace and War (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Southwest.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a photo of Cannon and rolling equipment of several batteries of the Excelsior Brigade of New York assembled inside the Arsenal Grounds, 1862.
To the right is a photo of Dr. Walter Reed was a professor and researcher at the Army Medical School here. A photo of a monument at the Congressional Cemetery is captioned During the Civil War, 21 women who made rifle cartridges lost their lives during an accidental explosion at the Arsenal. The event is memorialize in the Arsenal Monument at Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill. And below that On July 7, 1865, a crowd gathers in front of the gallows where four Lincoln assassination conspirators would soon be executed.
On the bottom is a photo of
The Neoclassical style Theodore Roosevelt Hall, designed by McKim, Mead, and White, is home to the National War College. Also a photo of Officers housing known as General’s Row lines the Ft. McNair parade ground as seen here around 1941.
Also see . . .
1. Fort McNair.
2. Lesley J. McNair.
3. Other River Farms to Urban Towers - Southwest Heritage Trail markers.
Categories. • Education • Military • War of 1812 • War, US Civil • War, World II •
Credits. This page originally submitted on June 30, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,013 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 30, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.