Fort Whipple (1)

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Fort Whipple (1) (1863-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort first established in 1863 in present day Arlington County, Virginia. Named Fort Whipple after Major General Amiel W. Whipple (Cullum 1063), who died 7 May 1865 of wounds received at Chancellorsville. The fort was abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war but was later reestablished and became Fort Myer.

Fort Whipple Batteries circa June 1865

History of Fort Whipple

One of the ring of Union fortifications surrounding Washington DC during the U.S. Civil War, see Washington DC Fort Ring.

Fort Whipple Headquarters in Mourning Crepe for President Lincoln

Fort Whipple was also one of 33 forts on the Virginia side of the Potomac River that made up an outer defense line for Washington DC known as the Arlington Line.

Established in early 1863 as a bastioned quadrelateral earthwork with a perimeter of 640 yards and emplacements for 47 guns. Armament included eleven 4.5" siege rifles, four 12 pounder howitzers, six 12 pounder Napoleon guns and eight 12 pounder cannons. The fort perimeter enclosed the 43 gun platforms, magazines and several bomb proofs.

A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: "Fort Whipple, Major Rolfe commanding.–Garrison, three companies First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery– l major, 13 commissioned officers, 1 ordnance-sergeant, 414 men. Armament, six 12-pounder field guns (smooth), four 12-pounder field howitzers (smooth), eight 12-pounder James guns (rifled), eleven 4.5-inch ordnance. Magazines, four; two not in a serviceable condition. Ammunition, full supply; good condition. Implements, complete and serviceable. Drill in artillery, fair. Drill in infantry, fair. Discipline, fair. Garrison sufficient; interior work."

The fort was essentially abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war but was later reestablished as a Signal Corps post. This was possible because the land the government had taken from Mrs. Robert E. Lee was not returned to her and remained government property.

The actual earthworks of Fort Whipple were reduced and the entrenchments covered over as the Signal Corps developed the post. The Fort Whipple name was retained until 1881, a fort in Arizona had also been named Fort Whipple in 1863, the resulting confusion over the years caused the Virginia fort to be renamed Fort Myer. Fort Myer remains an active military post. See the Fort Myer page.

The fort was abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war but was later reestablished and became Fort Myer.

Current Status

No remains, marker only in Arlington County, Virginia. The site is on the active Fort Myer post and access may be restricted. The marker is not on the active post.

Location: Site is on the Fort Myer post in Arlington County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.88424 Long: -77.07835

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 290'

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