Old Glebe in Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
A Bastion-Style Fort Is a Mighty Fortress
Fort Ethan Allen's star-shaped design enabled soldiers to defend all sides of the fort.
Constructed primarily from earth and wood, Fort Ethan Allen was a bastion-style fort. Bastions are angular structures that jut out from the enclosing walls. The eliminate blind spots, giving defending soldiers a full-range view of oncoming troops. Bastions also allowed crossfire from multiple angles, making it nearly impossible for an attacker to approach the fort or scale its walls without being exposed to the line of gunfire.
Fort Ethan Allen is the best-preserved example of a bastion-style fort in Arlington County.
Clearing the Way
To build Fort Ethan Allen, trees were cleared to open lines of sight and to provide building materials. Timers hewn from the trunks of large oaks, hickories, and chestnuts supported the fort's thick earthen walls. Sharpened tree branches became an abatis, a defensive obstacle around the fort's parimeter.
Soldier's Sketch of Fort Marcy
The stumps of trees felled to build nearby Fort Marcy are visible in
Military Road a Priority Task
In September 1861, Union troops quickly cut a road through dense forest to connect the fort with the Virginia end of Chain Bridge. Extended several times during the war, "Military Road" eventually ended near present-day Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Defenses of Washington series list. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1861.
Location. 38° 55.419′ N, 77° 7.461′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. It is in Old Glebe. Memorial is on North Strafford Street east of North Old Glebe Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3829 North Strafford Street, Arlington VA 22207, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Defensive Stronghold, Heavily Armed (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Fort Ethan Allen (here, next to this marker); The View in 1865 (within shouting distance of this marker); A Defensive Artillery Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ethan Allen (within shouting distance of this marker); Protecting the Fort (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Saegmuller Public School (about 400 feet away); Lives of the Soldiers (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arlington.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 1, 2023. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 288 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.