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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Civil War and Battery Rodgers

 

—Ford's Landing City Park —

 
The Civil War and Battery Rodgers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 15, 2013
1. The Civil War and Battery Rodgers Marker
Inscription.
With the outbreak of war in the spring of 1861, Alexandria was immediately occupied by Federal troops as a bulwark in the defenses of the national capital, and the city became a central distribution center for men and material for the Army of the Potomac. Battery Rodgers, an earthen gun emplacement, was constructed at the foot of Jefferson Street in 1861. With its Parrott rifles and huge Rodman gun, it commanded the river approaches to Alexandria and Washington. The city’s wharves were soon occupied with as many as 40 ships a day carrying men, horses, wagons, coal, hay, flour, rails and railroad ties, tents, food, and guns and ammunition. The Union also took over Alexandria’s railroads, using the Orange and Alexandria Railroad complex near Duke and Henry Streets as the headquarters of its U.S. Military Railroad in the eastern theater of war.

Brigadier General Herman Haupt, commander of the U.S. Military Railroad, was charged with sending men and supplies south into Virginia as quickly as possible, often to places where there had been no railways before the war. He also had to repair Union track, bridges and rolling stock destroyed by the Confederate armies and guerrillas.

Haupt established a railroad wharf at this site that connected the railroad tracks from Washington and Virginia to the river. At the wharf,
Right side of the marker panel. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 15, 2013
2. Right side of the marker panel.
Close-up of fading photos and captions.
the train cars were transferred directly onto barges, made up of two canal boats lashed together over which rails had been laid, and were pushed down river by steam tugs to the railhead at Aquia Creek where the cars could be transferred back to rail. The barges avoided the necessity of unloading the cars for the river portion of the journey and were the forerunners to modern containerized freight. Haupt also experimented here with pontoon boats, rafts and prefabricated transport vessels and with methods of destroying enemy tracks.

(captions)
The Quartermaster Department’s “General Plan of Battery Rodgers” shows the fort’s location at the foot of Jefferson Street. (Illustration: National Archive and Records Administration)

Brigadier General Herman Haupt (1817 to 1905) on an experimental pontoon boat designed for surveying parties, and scouting operations, ca. 1861-1865. The pontoons were 10 inches in diameter and between seven and eight feet long. (Illustration: National Archives and Records Administration)

Battery Rodgers’ bunker and Rodman gun are visible in this view looking east, ca. 1861-1865 (Illustration: National Archives and Records Administration)

U.S. Military Railroad freight train loaded onto barge at Alexandria and floated down the Potomac River to Aquia Creek, ca. 1863-1865. (Illustration: National
Ford's Landing City Park and the Potomac River image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 6, 2013
3. Ford's Landing City Park and the Potomac River
Archives and Records Administration)

A soldier in the huge Rodman gun at Battery Rodgers, ca. 1861-1865. (Illustration: National Archives and Records Administration)

(List of the seven historical markers on display in Alexandria's Ford's Landing Park):
Earliest Inhabitants 1000 BC - 1600 AD • Early Alexandria 1700-1800 • The Federal District 1791-1846 • The Civil War Battery Rodgers 1861-1865 • The Alexandria Marine Railway Company 1849-1900s • Battery Cove New Shipyard 1911-1922 • The Ford Plant 1932-1996.
 
Erected 1999 by Eakin/Youngentob Associates. (Marker Number 4.)
 
Location. 38° 47.815′ N, 77° 2.412′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Ford's Landing Way and Franklin Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Located in the southwest corner of Ford's Landing Park. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Alexandria Ford Plant (a few steps from this marker); Guarding the Potomac (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Fitting-Out Dock (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battery Rodgers
BGen Herman Haupt, U.S. Military Railroad image. Click for full size.
National Archives and Records Administration, ca. 1863
4. BGen Herman Haupt, U.S. Military Railroad
(approx. 0.2 miles away); The Race to Build Ships on Jones Point (approx. ¼ mile away); A Tale of Three Jurisdictions (approx. 0.3 miles away); World War I-Era Rudder (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wilkes Street Tunnel (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Herman Haupt. National Railroad Hall of Fame (Submitted on October 20, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Ford's Landing City Park
Ford's Landing Park was created during construction of new, up-scale apartment buildings along the Potomac River. The Ford Motor Company's service factory occupied this river-front site for many years until the late 1990s. Regrettably, the text and photos on the marker panels suffer from fading, cracking and general deterioration to a severe degree. Great info - but cheaply presented.
    — Submitted October 19, 2013, by Richard
African American laborers on the U.S. Military Railroad in Northern Virginia image. Click for full size.
By Andrew J. Russell, 1863
5. African American laborers on the U.S. Military Railroad in Northern Virginia
"From the beginning of the Civil War, African Americans worked on the railroads, transferring their labor to the Union cause." Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-10395
E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.

 
Additional keywords. U.S. Military Railroad Construction Corps, [USMRR-CC]
 
Categories. Notable PlacesRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 19, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 671 times since then and 78 times this year. Last updated on November 25, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 19, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3, 4. submitted on October 20, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   5. submitted on October 24, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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