Defending the City of Washington
During the Civil War between 1861 and 1865, the Army of the Potomac had a two-fold mission: to defeat the Confederate Army and to defend the City of Washington against enemy attack. To prepare for the possibility of enemy attack, military fortifications connected by lines of earthworks or batteries were constructed on hastily chosen sites around the perimeter of the City at approximately one half mile intervals. By 1864, the Defenses of Washington consisted of over 150 enclosed forts and batteries.
The most westerly fort of the line was Fort Sumner, named for General Erwin Vose Sumner. Corps Commander, Army of the Potomac. Forts Sumner, Mansfield and their connecting batteries, including Battery Bailey, were constructed to guard the receiving reservoir of the Washington Aquaduct and the Potomac River shoreline.
By the end of the War, lest History repeat itself, Army engineers recommended that Washington keep some of the defenses in order. Initially some 24 installations, including Fort Sumner, were deemed worthy of retention with the possibility that the list be further shortened in the future. As the list continued to dwindle
Approximate Locations of Civil War Defenses in Montgomery County, Maryland
Surveying the Potomac River: Soldiers on Duty at Battery Alexander, Near Fort Sumner. National Archives
Erected by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; Montgomery County Department of Parks.
Topics and series. This historical marker 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 year for this entry is 1861.
Location. 38° 57.146′ N, 77° 6.604′ W. Marker is in Bethesda, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Elliott Road 0.4 miles west of Ashfield Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5312 Falmouth Rd, Bethesda MD 20816, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Artist's Conception of Battery Bailey, Circa 1862 (here, next to this marker); What is a Battery? (here, next to this marker); Col. Guilford Dudley Bailey (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery Bailey (within shouting distance of this marker); Original Federal Boundary Stone, District of Columbia, Northwest 5
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2021, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.