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Fort Hunt in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Last Defense

 

óFort Hunt ó

 
The Last Defense Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2011
1. The Last Defense Marker
Inscription.
British warships took advantage of the width and depth of the Potomac River to sail up from the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. Existing defenses were too weak to stop them from shelling Alexandria.

Aware that the nationís Capitol was still vulnerable 73 years later, President Grover Cleveland ordered Secretary of War William C. Endicott to evaluate the nationís coastal defenses.

The military decided to build coastal artillery batteries on both sides of this bend in the Potomac, one at Fort Washington – visible across the river – and another at Fort Hunt – located just uphill from this point.

In 1898 the Spanish-American War broke out, and work on the two forts was accelerated as a defense against the formidable Spanish navy. The forts could fire upon enemy naval forces up to three miles down the Potomac.

A minefield was added in between the forts to force ships to slow down and stay within firing range.

No hostile shots were fired from either fort during the war. Both forts were abandoned by the military and given to the National Park Service in the 1930s.

[Two line renderings of the Potomac River Valley south of Washington, D.C. ]
The Spanish-American War era maps to the right show the detailed planning involved to prevent an invasion
The Last Defense Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2011
2. The Last Defense Marker
- view across the Potomac from the scenic view turnout off the GW Parkway toward Fort Washington Park in Prince George's County, MD.
similar to the one of the War of 1812.

In the 1897 map to the far right, arcs and red lines mark the firing ranges of each fort.

Key Sites along the Potomac:

1 Washington, D.C.
2 Alexandria, Virginia
3 Fort Hunt
4 Fort Washington
5 Mount Vernon

The American military issued a passcode (above) of red and white lanterns to avoid firing on friendly ships at night.

Copy of a daily passcode order:
Fort Washington, Md.
July, 9th, 1898.
Countersign: Balls Bluff
2/N
Parole: Grant
1/R 1/R
By order of Lt.Col. Mechling.
[signed:] Percy Dalihyner
2nd Lt., Pa. Vol. Inf.
Adjutant.

 
Erected 2011 by George Washington Memorial Highway - National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 43.023′ N, 77° 2.682′ W. Marker is in Fort Hunt, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of George Washington Parkway and Fort Hunt Road, on the right when traveling north on George Washington Parkway. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22308, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Washington—The Capitalís Guardian
The riverside bastions of Fort Hunt are long gone, but those of Fort Washington still stand tall image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2011
3. The riverside bastions of Fort Hunt are long gone, but those of Fort Washington still stand tall
(here, next to this marker but has been reported missing); Protecting America's Legacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battery Sater (approx. 0.2 miles away); Beyond What You See Today (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Hunt Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); People and the Land (approx. 0.4 miles away); P.O. Box 1142 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 0.4 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Fort Hunt, VA. (Submitted on August 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Fort Hunt Park. U.S. Historic District - U.S. National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on August 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

3. Board of Fortifications (Endicott Board). (Submitted on August 16, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional keywords. Battery Robinson; Battery Slater; Battery Porter;
Fort Hunt Park: image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2011
4. Fort Hunt Park:
"Battery Mount Vernon
(August 1898)
Concrete Emplacement for Three 8" Breech-Loading
Disappearing Guns"
Battery Mount Vernon

 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, Spanish-AmericanWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 520 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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