“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Fort C.F. Smith

Mr. Lincoln’s Forts


—Defenses of Washington, 1861-1865 —

Fort C.F. Smith Civil War Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
February 2, 2008
1. Fort C.F. Smith Civil War Trails Marker
Inscription. Fort C.F. Smith was constructed in 1863 on farmland appropriated from William Jewell. The fort was named in honor of Gen. Charles Ferguson Smith, who was instrumental in the Union victory at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in 1862. The fortification was constructed to extend the line of forts to the Potomac River and to command a tributary ravine not covered by Fort Strong.

Along with forts Strong, Morton and Woodbury, Fort C.F. Smith functioned as part of the outer perimeter defenses that protected the Aqueduct bridge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The fort was a lunette with two bastions on the north side to protect from attack up the ravines from the Potomac. The original fort contained 22 gun emplacements, eight of which are preserved and visible today. The access road to the fort crossed Spout Run near Mason’s Mill and proceeded up the hill to Fort Strong. Military Road linked Fort C.F. Smith with Fort Ethan Allen to the north.

The support buildings in which the garrison ate and slept were located to the east. These included barracks, mess halls, cook houses, officers’ quarters, a barn and a headquarters’ building. Period photographs illustrate how Arlington’s landscape was denuded of trees to allow clear lines of fire from Fort C.F. Smith and the adjacent forts.
Erected by
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
February 2, 2008
2. Close-up of Map on Marker
Defenses of Washington
Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Defenses of Washington, and the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 54.055′ N, 77° 5.447′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker can be reached from 24th Street North. Click for map. Marker is in Fort C.F. Smith Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2411 24th Street North, Arlington VA 22207, 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 C.F. Smith (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fort C.F. Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fort C.F. Smith (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Maywood (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Strong (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Dawson-Bailey House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Bennett (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Arlington Line (approx. ¾ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Arlington.
More about this marker. On the upper of left of the marker is a photo captioned "Co. F, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery at Fort C.F. Smith, August, 1864." On the right of the marker is featured a sketch and a map captioned "Defenses of Washington showing location
Fort C.F. Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
February 2, 2008
3. Fort C.F. Smith Marker
Looking West toward marker and the Bombproof (a long timber structure covered with earth and designed to resist or absorb the impact and explosion of shells ).
and design (inset) of Fort C.F. Smith."
Also see . . .  Fort C.F. Smith Park. Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources website. (Submitted on February 2, 2008.) 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
Interior view of Fort C. F. Smith image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
4. Interior view of Fort C. F. Smith
This photo is reproduced on the marker on the upper left. It shows gun crews of Company L, 2d New York Artillery in the fort. The guns are two 24-pdr siege guns from the fort's main armament. Notice the ground in front of the fort in the background. Where the ground at the time was wide open space, today Interstate 66 passes through residential Arlington.
(Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 / compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. No. 0762)
The Bombproof image. Click for full size.
February 2, 2008
5. The Bombproof
Looking south along the eastern side of the bomb-proof.
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 1,065 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on .   4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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