Fort Ricketts (1861-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War earthworks fort established in 1861 in Southeast Washington DC. Probably named for Captain James B. Ricketts, (Cullum 1001), who was wounded and captured at the First Manassas Battle during the U.S. Civil War. Abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war. Also known as Battery Ricketts.
Fort Ricketts History
Fort Ricketts Plan from the Marker
One of the ring of Union fortifications surrounding Washington DC during the U.S. Civil War, see Washington DC Fort Ring.
Built out as a small earthworks fort with a 123 yard perimeter and equipped with four guns. The fort was designed to sweep a steep ravine in front of Fort Stanton (2).
A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: "Fort Ricketts, Lieut. Joseph M. Parsons commanding.–Garrison, one company Twelfth Unattached Heavy Artillery, Massachusetts Volunteers–1 officer, 1 ordnance-sergeant, and 32 men. Armament, three 12-pounder field guns, one 8-inch siege howitzer. Magazines, dry and in serviceable condition. Ammunition, full supply and serviceable. Implements, complete and serviceable. Drilled but little at artillery and infantry; not efficient."
When the buildings inside the fort were sold off at the end of the war, four buildings remained, officer's quarters, a barracks, a mess hall and a long guard house.
Some overgrown remains of the earthworks and two separate markers, one along Erie St. SE and one along Bruce Place SE near where the streets intersect Washington DC. The second marker on the Park side of the street along Bruce Place is set back from the road and is easy to miss. The GNIS map point seems to be way off for the fort location but may be accurate for a separate Battery Ricketts.
USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2013820
- 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 138.
- NPS Civil War Defenses of Washington - Appendix E: General Reports About the Defenses.
Visited: 22 May 2013