“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Totten in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Fort Totten

Civil War Defenses of Washington


—1861-1865 —

Fort Totten Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
1. Fort Totten Marker
Inscription. Earthworks of Fort Totten are visible within the wooded area 50 yards at the top of this hill.

Cannon mounted at Fort Totten helped repulse a Confederate attack on Fort Stevens, July 11-12, 1864.
Erected by National Parks Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Defenses of Washington marker series.
Location. 38° 56.92′ N, 77° 0.373′ W. Marker is in Fort Totten, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Fort Totten Drive NE, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. At the exit (north end of the loop through the park) to the Fort Totten Park. The park is a short walk from the Fort Totten Metro (Red) Line station. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20011, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Fort Totten (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fort Totten (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Paul's Episcopal (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. Paul's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Memorial Day Order (approx.
Map of Washington Defenses image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
2. Map of Washington Defenses
Fort Totten is indicated by the red dot.
0.4 miles away); U. S. Soldiers' Home (approx. 0.6 miles away); President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine (approx. 0.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fort Totten.
More about this marker. The marker displays a diagram of "Fort Totten from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drawing," on the left. On the right is a map showing "Other Civil War fort locations administered by Rock Creek Park," with Fort Totten indicated with a red dot. The lower portion of the marker is a photograph from the war of a cannon mounted at one of Washington, DC's forts, "During the Civil War, Washington's forts overlooked farm land." The photograph is of a 100-pdr Parrott Rifled Cannon in place at Fort Totten during the war.
Also see . . .  Fort Totten. Brief history of the fort with additional photographs of the fort from both the war and today. (Submitted on October 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. Fort Totten(s)
There are at least three Fort Tottens,
Fort Totten image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
3. Fort Totten
The wooded hill in the background are the remains of the fort.
all named after Brigadier General Joseph Totten (1788-1864), Chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The one here in Washington, DC was probably the first. Later a second Fort Totten was erected in Bismark, North Dakota. Finally in 1898 the "Fort at Willet's Point" defending New York City was renamed Fort Totten after the long serving General.
    — Submitted October 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

2. Fort Totten Particulars
From "Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington," by Benjamin Franklin Cooling III and Walton H. Owen II:

The fort had a perimeter of 272 yards. Armament included two 8-inch siege howitzers, eight 32-pdr seacoast guns, one 100-pdr Parrot Rifle, three 30-pdr Parrott Rifles, four 6pdr James Rifles, one 10-inch mortar, and one 24-pdr Coehorn mortar. The fort was manned by a garrison of 350 officers and men.

Troops stationed at the fort at different times included the 76th New York, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, the 136 and 137th Pennsylvania Infantry, 4th US Artillery, 150th Ohio National Guard, 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, and the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery.

    — Submitted October 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
Fort Totten image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
4. Fort Totten
The remains of the fort stand within the wooded lot, and have suffered somewhat from foot and bicycle traffic.

3. Joseph G. Totten
Joseph G. Totten served an incredible twenty-five years as the Chief of Engineers. His military service started in 1805 with a commission after graduation from West Point. He served in the War of 1813 with conspicuous gallantry, and later in the Mexican War. He supervised construction of the ring of forts around Washington during the Civil War. He died of pneumonia in 1864.
    — Submitted March 8, 2016.

Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
Civil War Photograph of the 100-pdr Parrott image. Click for full size.
Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress
5. Civil War Photograph of the 100-pdr Parrott
This photograph was used on the marker's lower section. Notice the rolling farmland in the background. The terrain here has changed dramatically in the last 140 years. (Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 / compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. No. 0775)
BGen Joseph Gilbert Totten, image. Click for full size.
6. BGen Joseph Gilbert Totten,
Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army
General Joseph G. Totten's Headstone<br>In Congressional Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 14, 2015
7. General Joseph G. Totten's Headstone
In Congressional Cemetery
Gen. Joseph G. Totten
Chief Engineer U.S. Army
Born August 25, 1788
Died April 22, 1864.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,629 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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