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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Brightwood in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens

 
 
Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Fernie, August 5, 2006
1. Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens Marker
Inscription. July 12, 1864.
 
Erected 1920 by The Associated Survivors Sixth Army Corps, Washington, D.C.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Defenses of Washington marker series.
 
Location. 38° 57.87′ N, 77° 1.746′ W. Marker is in Brightwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker can be reached from 13th Street, N.W. near Fort Stevens Drive, N.W. Touch for map. It is located within the reconstructed Fort Stevens just to the north of the flag pole. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20011, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Scale Model of Fort Stevens ( a few steps from this marker); Fort Stevens ( a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fort Stevens ( about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); “Get Down You Fool” ( about 300 feet away); Aunt Betty's Story ( about 400 feet away); The Rock on Brightwood Avenue ( about 400 feet away); Park and Shop! ( about 600 feet away); A Streetcar Named Brightwood ( about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brightwood.
 
Regarding Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens. Fort Stevens was one of the ring of forts that
Marker on the Parapet of Fort Stevens image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
2. Marker on the Parapet of Fort Stevens
defended Washington during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln came out from the city to Fort Stevens to watch the VI Army Corps repulse the Confederates, who were under the command of Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early. This fight was the closest Confederates got to Washington during the War Between the States. Lincoln himself came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters. The bas-relief on this marker depicts this close call.
 
Also see . . .  Fort Stevens. Page from Mr. Lincoln’s White House website. (Submitted on March 21, 2007.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Sharpshooters firing on Lincoln
On the grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center is a plaque which claims to be the site of a “Sharpshooter’s Tree.” Legend has it a very tall tulip tree afforded several Confederates cover from which to fire upon the Fort Stevens works, in particular President Lincoln, who insisted on observing the fighting over the protests of the officers present.
    — Submitted August 5, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

2. General Jubal Early’s comments
The Confederate commander, General Jubal Early, recognized Fort Stevens was too strong for his forces to break and retreated the next day.
Marker and Cannon image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
3. Marker and Cannon
Parrott rifled cannon stand guard over Fort Stevens today.
To his staff, he remarked, “We didn’t take Washington, but we scared Abe Lincoln like hell.”
    — Submitted August 5, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

3. The Young Oliver Wendell Holmes and President Lincoln
One of the vignettes often told concerning Fort Stevens centers upon Lincoln's visit while the Confederates were skirmishing in front of the earthworks. The story goes that President Lincoln was so taken by the scene of battle he stood upon the parapet of the fort, with trademark stovepipe hat, while Confederate sharpshooters were firing upon the soldiers in the fort. Lincoln seemed oblivious to the danger, even as several men nearby were hit by enemy fire. A young Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes finally exclaimed, "Get down, you fool!" Lincoln soon obliged, but later commented to the future Supreme Court Justice, "It is good to see you know how to talk to civilians." The full accuracy of the story is open for some debate, but is presented and annotated on Mr. Lincoln's White House Website (see links). Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 16, 2008
4. Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens Marker
The Lincoln Boulder was set up by the Associated Survivors of the Sixth Army Corps in 1911. The bronze plaque containing a bas-relief of Lincoln under fire at Fort Stevens by Otto Schweizer and James Kelly was dedicated on July 12, 1920.
4. Dedication of Lincoln Under Fire Boulder

The boulder marking the spot where Lincoln stood (not the plaque which came later) was dedicated on November 7, 1911. At that dedication ceremony, Louisiana congressman Floyd King, who had been an artillerist serving with General Early, spoke. He went to lengths to praise the work of President Lincoln, going to the point of stating he was glad the Confederate attack had failed. Certainly an interesting perspective coming from a Confederate veteran.
    — Submitted October 17, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Glasis, Ditch, and Parapet of Fort Stevens in Profile image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 4, 2007
5. The Glasis, Ditch, and Parapet of Fort Stevens in Profile
The marker can be seen on the right, atop the parapet.
The Reconstructed Fort Stevens image. Click for full size.
By Steve Fernie, August 5, 2006
6. The Reconstructed Fort Stevens
Kelly, Des. (Signature on Plaque) image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
7. Kelly, Des. (Signature on Plaque)
The dramatic scene of Surgeon Crawford being wounded while Wright pleads with Lincoln to come down off the parapet was drawn by James Kelly.
J. Otto Schweizer, sc. (Signature on Plaque) image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
8. J. Otto Schweizer, sc. (Signature on Plaque)
Jakob Otto Schweizer sculpted the plaque.
1911 Dedication of the Lincoln Boulder image. Click for full size.
1911
9. 1911 Dedication of the Lincoln Boulder
"Aunt Betty" Thomas posed in 1911 with William Van Zandt Cox, to her right and Civil War veterans who funded the Lincoln Memorial Boulder, the first marker commemorating the events of Fort Stevens. (Photo from the nearby "Aunt Betty's Story" marker.) The plaque on the boulder that preceded the 1920 Kelly/Schweizer bas-relief plaque indicated that this was the site General Wright identified as the spot where Lincoln stood exposed to enemy fire.
Re-enactors at the Lincoln boulder on Elizabeth Thomas Day, 2012. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 22, 2012
10. Re-enactors at the Lincoln boulder on Elizabeth Thomas Day, 2012.
Abraham Lincoln at the Battle of Fort Stevens image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 6, 2017
11. Abraham Lincoln at the Battle of Fort Stevens
This c. 1892 painting by Eugenie De Land Saugstad hangs in the superintendent's lodge at the Battleground National Cemetery. “President Lincoln is shown visiting Fort Stevens during the battle on July 12, 1864 as he comes under enemy fire while standing on the parapet.… The painting was donated by the artist to the Lincoln Museum which became Ford's Theatre National Historic Site.” — NPS
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 19, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 21, 2007, by Steve Fernie of Arlington, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,968 times since then and 172 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week October 14, 2007. Photos:   1. submitted on March 21, 2007, by Steve Fernie of Arlington, Virginia.   2. submitted on August 5, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on October 17, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on May 1, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   5. submitted on August 5, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on March 21, 2007, by Steve Fernie of Arlington, Virginia.   7, 8. submitted on May 2, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   9, 10. submitted on April 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   11. submitted on June 19, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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