Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Fort Ethan Allen—What to Look For
The model behind you re-creates Fort Ethan Allen as it was depicted in U.S. Army engineering drawings published after the Civil War. Use the drawing and model to locate features that survive and to visualize those lost by erosion and later development. Imagine the area during the war: cleared of trees, orchards, and farms to make way for forts, rifle trenches, and military roads.
Built by 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantrymen, the fort was named to honor Ethan Allen, a Revolutionary War hero from their state.
Civil War Engineering
Fort Ethan Allen shared features with other Defenses of Washington forts located in northern Virginia. Built in September 1861, it was one of the earliest of the forts, and with a perimeter of 768 yards, it was one of the largest and most heavily armed. Construction of all the forts followed the directives of General John G. Barnard, the chief engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Cut through the raised parapets and ramparts, entrances were at
Near the front entrance, this structure housed offices, a room for holding prisoners, and an area for mustering guards.
Powder Magazines and Filling Rooms
Ammunition was kept in a magazine, an underground storage room. Shells were armed, and sometimes stored, in a filling room, while magazines held black powder and projectiles. Implements for firing cannons could also be kept in a filling room. Guards often protected magazines, and soldiers had to take special precautions when handling black powder.
Partially underground and near the center of the fort, these thick-walled shelters provided additional protection against incoming artillery fire.
This trench-like passageway hid soldiers from enemy view when they took defensive positions outside the fort's walls.
Where did it go?
After the war, the fort was ordered closed. At public auction, the U.S. Army sold all materials and tools that could be salvaged. Legend has it that lumber retrieved from the fort that was used to construct the house at 3111 North Glebe Road, known as Bellevue.
Location. 38° 55.471′ N, 77° 7.417′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker is on North Old Glebe Road south of North Randolph Court, on the right when traveling north. 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. Communications along the Defensive Line (here, next to this marker); Lives of the Soldiers (here, next to this marker); Protecting the Fort (a few steps from this marker); The View in 1865 (within shouting distance of this marker); A Defensive Artillery Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); A Bastion-Style Fort Is a Mighty Fortress (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Defensive Stronghold, Heavily Armed (about 400 feet away); Welcome to Fort Ethan Allen (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arlington.
Topics. This marker is included in these topic lists: Forts or Castles • War, US Civil • War, US Revolutionary
Credits. This page was last revised on April 23, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 22, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.