Riggs Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Civil War Defenses of Washington
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
In 1860, the Union capital, Washington, D.C., was a sleepy city of approximately 62,000 residents. The city sat almost completely unprotected, with Fort Washington, the lone fortification, being 12 miles south. Virginia, a Confederate state, lay on one side of the city, and Maryland, a slave-owning state, was on the other leaving Washington dangerously vulnerable. Realizing the potential danger the city faced, the Union army constructed additional fortifications for the city. By 1865, the Defenses of Washington included 68 forts, supported by 93 detached batteries for field guns, 20 miles of rifle pits and, wooden blockhouses at three key points, 32 miles of military roads, several stockade bridgeheads, and four picket stations. Along the circumference of the 37-mile circle of fortifications were emplacements for a total of 1501 field and siege guns of which 807 guns and 98 mortars were in place. The defenseless city of 1860 had become one of the most heavily fortified cities of the world.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1860.
Location. 38° 57.607′ N, 77° 0.446′ W. Marker is in Riggs Park in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on South Dakota Avenue Northeast north of New Hampshire Avenue Northeast, on the right when traveling north. On the grounds of Legacy Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5801 South Dakota Avenue Northeast, Washington DC 20011, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Legacy Memorial Park (here, next to this marker); Fort Slocum (approx. 0.3 miles away); WOOK-TV Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); Marlon Francisco Morales (approx. 0.4 miles away); Original Federal Boundary Stone, District of Columbia, Northeast 3 (approx. half a mile away in Maryland); In Memory of Those Who Lost Their Lives on June 22, 2009 (approx. 0.6 miles away); Opha May Jacob Johnson Monument (approx. 0.8 miles away); Fort Totten (approx. 0.8 miles away).
More about this marker.
[Additional information on the marker:]
The National Park Service maintains official trails and sites around the perimeter of the park to reduce environmental impacts and provide a safe and enjoyable experience for park visitors. For more information on these trails, visit:
Also see . . . Civil War Defenses of Washington Program Brochures. This is the link cited at the bottom of the marker. (Submitted on July 1, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 24, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 138 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 24, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.