Near Fort Washington in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
15-inch Rodman Smoothbore
Monumental in size, these two immense guns remain as sentinels ready to repel an attack on the Nation's capital. With their extended range and commanding location above the river, they were the key defensive feature of the fort. Perhaps because of their formidable weight, the guns (original armament of the fort) have not been moved since their installation in 1864.
Immobile as these huge guns may appear, a well drilled crew of 12 men could charge a gun with 40 pounds of black powder, load a 434-pound iron ball, 15 inches in diameter, and aim and fire once every 4 minutes.
Innovative technology in iron gun-casting made it possible to produce these 49,000 pdr. guns. They were named after Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Rodman, who perfected this new technology shortly before the Civil War.
These smoothbores were not noted for pinpoint accuracy. The three-mile range for such a large explosive projectile, however, was an impressive new defensive capability for the Civil War forts protecting Washington.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Defenses of Washington marker series.
Location. 38° 46.076′ N, 77° 1.759′ W. Marker is near Fort Washington, Maryland, in Prince Click for map. Located inside the Fort Foote National Park. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Washington MD 20744, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Northwest Bastion (within shouting distance of this marker); The Defenses of Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); King's Depression Carriage (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Foote (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Fort Foote (about 700 feet away); Wasteland or Wetland? (approx. 1.3 miles away in Virginia); Colonial Fort (approx. 1.5 miles away in Virginia); Historic Jones Point (approx. 1.5 miles away in Virginia). Click for a list of all markers in Fort Washington.
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a depiction of a 15-inch Rodman Gun serviced by its crew.
Also see . . .
1. Fort Foote. National Park Service site providing a short history of the fort. (Submitted on May 6, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Fort Foote Virtual Tour by Markers. (Submitted on May 7, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,505 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 8. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.