Fort Foote (1)
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Fort Foote (1) History
One of the ring of Union fortifications surrounding Washington DC during the U.S. Civil War, see Washington DC Fort Ring. Established to protect the Potomac River entrance to Washington D.C. and Alexandria.
Construction began in the winter of 1862-1863, but progressed slowly until four companies of soldiers from the 9th New York Heavy Artillery arrived in Aug 1863 to supplement the workforce and garrison the fort.
The Potomac facing side of the Fort was over 500 feet long with earth walls approximately 20 feet thick. A central traverse ran the length of the fort and contained bombproof magazines and storage areas for the Parrott rifles and 15-inch Rodman guns. These interior rooms were constructed of cedar posts and roofed with chestnut logs all covered with earth.
The first 15-inch Rodman gun arrived in late 1863, and the others arrived over the next two years. The Fort was armed and completed 6 Jun 1865. Fort Foote had two 15-inch Rodman Guns, four 200-pounder Parrott Rifles and six 30-pounder Parrott Rifles at the end of the U.S. Civil War.
A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: "Fort Foote, Capt. L. B. Whiton commanding.–Garrison, one company Unattached Heavy Artillery, Massachusetts Volunteers–5 commissioned officers, I ordnance-sergeant, 110 men. Armament, one 15-inch Rodman gun and two 200-pounder Parrotts. Magazines, three, only one of which is completed; completed one in good condition. Ammunition, not a full supply and not in a state of readiness for service. Implements, complete and serviceable. Company drilled at artillery and infantry, but is not efficient with the guns."
In 1872 plans to strengthen the fort were submitted and the government actually purchased the property in 1873. Only a small amount of work was carried out under the new authorization and work stopped when funds were withdrawn in 1875. The garrison left 10 Nov 1878 and the fort was abandoned.
Must See! National Park. Two 15" Rodman guns in place, one originally from Fort Foote and the other from Battery Rodgers across the Potomac River.
Location: Rosiers Bluff on the east bank of the Potomac River in Maryland, six miles south of Washington D.C.
Maps & Images
Lat: 38.7676362 Long: -77.0286977
- Cooling, Benjamin F. III and Owen, Valton H. II, Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810863073, ISBN 9780810863071, 334 pages.
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 380-381
- NPS Civil War Defenses of Washington - Appendix E: General Reports About the Defenses
Visited: 4 Apr 2009
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