Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The initial construction of Fort Ward was completed in September 1861. The fort was built to protect the approaches to Union-occupied Alexandria via the Leesburg Turnpike (King Street) and Little River Turnpike (Duke Street).
By late 1864, the perimeter of the earthwork fort had been enlarged from 540 yards and 24 gun positions to 818 yards and 36 guns. Fort Ward was the fifth largest stronghold in the Defenses of Washington and was considered a model of 19th-century military design and engineering. The fort was named for Commander James Harmon Ward, the first Union naval officer to die in the Civil War. It was dismantled by December 1865.
Defenses of Washington
The only battle fought in the Defenses of Washington occurred in July 1864, when General Jubal A. Early's Confederate forces attacked Fort Stevens, located approximately seven miles north of the White House.
Today, extant remains of many of these fortifications can still be found. The above map shows the 37-mile network of Union forts that protected the Federal Capital. The Defenses of Washington was the most extensive fortification system constructed in the Western Hemisphere.
Erected by City of Alexandria - Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Defenses of Washington, and the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 49.808′ N, 77° 6.154′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker can be reached from West Braddock Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in the Fort Ward Historic Site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria VA 22304, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bombproof (within shouting distance of this marker); Powder Magazine and Filling Room (within shouting distance of this marker); Northwest Bastion (within shouting distance of this marker); Entrance Gate to Fort Ward Fort Ward (about 300 feet away); Southwest Bastion (about 300 feet away); Profile of Fort (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Ward (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
More about this marker. On the left below the title is an engineering diagram of the main part of Fort Ward, with the location of the stairway indicated in blue. On the right above the Defenses of Washington section is a map showing the fortification chain around Washington, D.C. A small caption in the center states, Please help preserve Fort Ward for future generations by walking only on designated pathways. Climbing upon the fragile earthen walls of the fort is very destructive to the site.
Also see . . . Fort Ward Historic Site. (Submitted on May 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,303 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on May 27, 2008. 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.