tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN August 20, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
garret, had his network and station managers sending tell grahams back saying there's an entire corps of confederate troops headed your way. wallace picked up on this on his own. he was in hot water with grant and halleck. he gathered up about 2800 men, about all he could get, and came down to the western most point of his jurisdiction, which was right here. he set up on the eastern back of the monday knock ka see river. lew wallace, after the war, became a novelist and wrote the most popular memoir which was bon-mur. and after reading these dry memoirs and lots of them and letters and so on and generals and orders, you have lew wallace
who writes his memoir 40 years after the fact, writes it in a flowery 19th century flowery style. when wallace says they arrived here in the morning and lit their camp fires, he'll say something like, you know, the ste ste steely ska gave way to the orange sun and -- which was great. you have to balance what wallace says in his memoir with his telegrams from the battlefield. his after reaction report two weeks later because wallace had a way of making himself sound really good. and, you know, he did a very brave thing here. can't get away from that. and as i say in the book, i believe and i think the judgment of history is that what wallace did here did safe washington, d.c.. so this battle took place on july 9th, 1864 and right now
it's november 2nd, 2007. it's a beautiful day. but one thing to keep in mind about this battle is it was very, very hot. they didn't have thermometers, at least no one referred to a thermometer in their memoirs, but it had to have been in the upper 90s and very, very humid. wallace set up on the east bank of the river in high ground so he could over look the entire battlefield and he was on the other side of the river which made it difficult to be attacked. it was a good defensive position. he had 2800 men that had joined just for 100 days. none of them had ever fired a weapon in anger before. it was a pretty gutsy thing, if you think about it. a corps of troops is heading their way and he sets up 2800 insurance experienced troops and he's begging washington to send him more troops and that's finally what happened when grant
sent him the troops. so those troops got here at 1:00 in the morning on july 9th and now wallace had about 6500 troops, included experienced six corps men. he knew what to do with them. i think we're going to go down to the banks of the river and we'll talk about what happened when the battle started. we're at the very edge of the battlefield and this monument was dedicated to honor the confederates who died here. route 355 today runs through the battlefield as it did then. it was northern as the georgetown pike. but what didn't go through the battlefield back then, of course, was interstate 270, which i think you can see it right over the edge of the horizon. this is where the confederate
was during the battle. it's just an unfortunate thing that the interstate highway runs through this entire battlefield. i think they've done a terrific job interpret prettying it. they have a lot of the fields where it took place but it's a difficult battle to envision. one reason being it took place in several different places at one time and the interstate highway goes right through it. this is the actual junction itself. you can see it down there. and the bridge on route 355 was the old covered bridge over the junction this is where some of the most brutal fighting of the battle took place later on in the day when a group of vermont soldiers took a stand against some of early's top troops. they were in a very good strategic point down there. i don't know if it's that easy to see. but the confederates came this
way and the vermont soldiers, there weren't many of them. there was like a company of them. and they held off a regiment of early's troops for hours before they finally had to flee. and they had to flee back up the railroad track and then over the old railroad bridge which we can't see from here. the railroad bridge did not have a bed. it had just railroad ties. the vermont soldiers were being fired upon by the confederates had to run across the railroad ties over the river with the water 40 feet below. it was a dramatic point of the battle. two vermont soldiers received a medal of honor for their actions that day. right where we're standing now is where the men put up their stand against the confederate troops that came straight down
that a way from where the tracks are. this is where they held them. this is known as the monocacy junction men. the old train station was was right blind us over here. and, in fact, these are the tracks that the troops came down from baltimore. after the vermonters couldn't take it anymore, they fled down the tracks, around the bend and the old railroad bridge that they had to use to flee for their lives while they were being shot at by the confederates. the farm that you see behind me has been restored by the national park service to the way it looked the day of the battle, july 9th, 1864. this was the full field battle
of monocacy. and what you're hearing is interstate 270 in the background. but what was here then was corn fields and wheat fields and they were crisscrossed by farm fences. it was not an ideal place to have a battle, especially if you were attacking, which the southerners were. behind me, general mccausland, they came right behind me and they got off their horse. because, i guess, of the conditions in the field here. so there was a dismounted calvary and they charged the union through the farm fields over here. they didn't know it was the sixth corps men. the sixth corps men experienced union soldiers who war waiting for them and it was carnage. the southerners got chopped down and had to retreat. and they went back that way
again. now, most of gordon's brigade was way back at the best farm where we first started here, where the artillery was here. they didn't think they were going to get into battle. jubal early did not want to fight a battle here. we wanted to invade washington. he's only 40 miles away from it now. but wallace forced him, he blocked him along the river. early held as many troops back here as he could. early wasn't even here when the battle started. he was in the city of frederic extorting money from the fathers. mccausland's charge does not work, they flee back here, they charge again, they get repulsed again and then gordon brings all of his troops here and this is where the most fighting of the battle took place. gordon called it the sharpest fight he was in in the civil war. and he was in antietam and he was in the wilderness.
the river ran red with blood. when it was over there were about 1300 union casualties killed, wounded and captured and about 800 confederate killed and wounded. and most of it took place here and then on the thomas farm, which is the next farm over. a young -- the family hid in the basement during the fight, and a young 6-year-old boy glenn worthing ton saw everything that happened, as did his father and family, and he wrote a book about it later. it's one of our best descriptions of what happened on this battle. and later in glenn worthington was one of the people that influenced congress to set aside
this land to be a national battlefield. back to the battle itself, of course early prevailed, he outnumbered 14,000 to 6500. wallace about 4:00 retreated, went up towards baltimore. it was very hot. early let his men rest on the battlefield that night. they buried their dead, took care of the wounded, took prisoners toward frederic and then south. on the next morning, july 10th, 1864, they started their march towards washington, d.c. it only took us about an hour to get here. but we'll pick up the story. early -- they spent that night on the battlefield, july 9th. july 10th they march as far as rockville, which is about 10 or 15 miles, maybe 20 at the most. don't forget, i was really very hot and they were tired and they had been marching since june 13th. so they camped in rockville and gaithersburg. those are busy suburbs now. rockville was a little town and early tried to get some money
from the city fathers of rockville. some units from washington came out to. the next morning he made it out here to the outskirts of ft. stevens. if you can picture washington, d.c., shaped like a diamond. we are right at the top of the diamond in northwest portion of washington, d.c. early at about noontime was at the gates, out of the gates of ft. stevens right out here. we had the capitol dome in his sights at noontime. what did he see? he saw this fort and was connected to several other forts around here. it looked impregnable. and he saw troops there. now, early did not know that these were hundred days' men and the call went out for civilians to come out and help man the
barricades. and so you had clerks from the state department, men from the quarter master corps, people who had never fired a weapon in their life. when you read about descriptions of who was at the forts, the word motley comes up more than once. but early did not know this. his men were strung out way along back on the georgetown pike -- sorry, the 7th street pike. they had cut off the georgetown pike, what is now wheaten, maryland, and they cut over here to 7th street pike which is georgia avenue. so early, uncharacteristically for him decided not to invade. but early did cause trouble. they had their artillery and there were fighting that went on with artillery that day, july 11th and into that night. this was all -- we are now in the city of washington, d.c.
it's not urban washington, d.c., but it's definitely city. and -- but back then this was all farms out here. this is hardly considered part of washington, d.c., because washington was down there where the white house is and downtown and georgetown and so on. they had cleared trees out for firing along the outside of fort steven stevent stevent steven. stevens. but this was all farmland. and people from washington came out to see what all of the excitement was about, including president lincoln. fort stevens was one of -- it might have been the most extensive of the defenses of washington. now, there were 67 of them. not all of them were as extensive as this one. there was a magazine. there was barracks. it was enclosed on all four sides. some of them weren't even enclosed. some of them were pointing out towards the defenses. kind of rudimentary. but they were built up very heavily and they were all connected.
but ft. stevens -- it was at the gate of washington, d.c., at the very tip of the northern diamond, if you think of washington as shaped like a diamond. it was heavily defended or heavily fortified and wasn't heavily defended until the sixth corps got up here late in the afternoon on july 11th. this is, more or less, been reconstructed but it's more or less what it looked like on july 11th, 1864, with early's artillery out there, the union artillery here, and skirm mishing going on and the citizens of washington coming up to see what it was all about. and that included president lincoln. and the plaque that you see says "lincoln under fire, ft. stevens." now, that also happened on july
11th. july 11th, lincoln was here and this represents the only time in american history when a sitting u.s. president came under fire in a shooting war. right here on this very spot. and this confederate sharp shooters were out there. don't forget, this was all farm land. it was cleared. and back there, trust me, is walter reid army medical center. and on the grounds at walter reid there's a tree with a plaque on it that supposedly says that this is where the confederate sharp shooter shot at lincoln. the same thing happened on the second day, on july 12th. that's what that plaque represents, a union surgeon by the name of crawford was standing next to lincoln, probably right here. and was shot in the leg. that's when lincoln was ordered down from the pit at ft. stevens. lincoln, 6'4" and the stovepipe hat made a pretty tempting target. the legend has been that someone
yelled, get down you damn fool and i have a whole chapter in the book about that incident. basically, well, i came to the conclusion that that's a story. it didn't come out until 1928. it was published in an article in "atlantic monthly" in 1928. supposedly holmes had been telling it privately. you have to be suspicious of something that comes out after the fact. so i looked into it and i have a little chapter in the book and i'm going back to letters that were written at the time, memoirs that were written shortly after the war. yes, lincoln did stand here and, yes, someone did yell at him to come down. more than likely, it was general horati wright who said this in 1866. he didn't say, get down you fool
or say that he said that. but i go over that in the book. it's an interesting story and i's not true. early is at the gates over here outside ft. stevens with the capitol dome in his sight. at that moment grant, the day before they had finally ascended and the rest of the sixth corps along with 19th -- the 19th corps went down in new orleans. they were going to the outskirts of richmond. instead they stayed on the train, went up to city point with the rest of the sixth carps, got on ships, went out james river, up the potomac river, got off at sixth street. visits were there to greet them, including president lincoln. gave them ice water and sandwiches. they cheered we have been saved. the sixth corps was here. because people were panicking when they heard that the
confederates were out at the gates. the sixth corps marched up georgia salve, went by the places we know, the smithsonian and government buildings out here. they took part in the fighting that happened on july 11th and that fighting went on into the night. after that, early held a council of war out in silver springs which is a couple of miles from here, at the mansion of blair -- it's not the blair mansion. it's called silver spring. it was the blair mansion. the blair family, they owned blair house down by the white house. they were out of town. they had gone fishing in pennsylvania. now early held a counsel of war that night with his generals, rhodes, gordon and breckenridge. john c. breckenridge was the former vice president of the united states under buchanan. he was a confederate general. he had been in that house before and knew where the wine cellar was some so early and the men
drank up the blair's wine that night and decided on the next morning, july 12th they would come here bright and early and decide whether or not to attack. they did that. he this time early could see that the sixth corps was here. they had a distinctive patch. he again did not invade. however, there was more fighting, there was squirmishing, artillery exchanges. men were killed. there were 300 union casualties. we're going to union cemetery a little later. we don't know officially how many confederate dead and wounded. but it had to be that many or if not more. when the union troops got up on the morning of july 13th, they looked out here and early's army was gone. he retraced his steps, went through montgomery county and crossed the potomac at white's
ford. there's a ferry boat now that goes across the potomac and the name of that ferry boat is called jubal early. that's really where my story ends, on july 13th, 1864, a month after early june 13th had left richmond to go on this four-part mission. this is georgia avenue that you just looked at which is the route that early came down. and two years after the war this cemetery was built. it's the second smallest national cemetery. 40 union soldiers are buried in graves behind me there in the circle. and these are monuments to some of the units that served at the battle of fort stevens. but it's a place that i would easily estimate that hundreds of
thousands of people drive by every year and do not even know is here. i mean we're just off of george ga avenue. there's only a small sign. and it's the final resting place for 40 union soldiers killed at fight here in washington, d.c. in a battle that people just don't know about. if you're stuck at the traffic light where 16th street hits georgia and you're in the right-hand lane and you turn to your right, you can read the inscription on this monument to the confederate soldiers that were killed. it's a monument to a mass grave of confederate soldiers who were killed outside of ft. stevens. it was moved there when the church was moved in the earlier 20th century, i believe. and it also stands right off of georgia avenue, which is a heavily traveled commuter road in and out of washington, d.c. consider what could have happened with an entire corps of troops let loose in washington, d.c., lean and hungry
confederate troops. the treasury was there for the looting. the treasury department. they could have burned the capitol. you know, the navy department, which lincoln did not know, had a ship waiting provision for him in the potomac to take him out of the town. think about what could have happened to the union cause had there been confederates running loose in the streets of washington, d.c. don't forget, lincoln was fighting for his political life ed it at this time. the presidential election of 1864 was just a few months away. he had to choose a democrat for his running mate, andrew johnson of tennessee. no one thought he was going to win that election. this really would have killed any chances that lincoln could and think about this, too, the english and the french were sort of looking for an excuse to come in on the side of the
confederacy. they didn't have cnn or c-span back then but they had newspapers and this guy wouldn't have been good for the union cause had headlines splashed around the country and around the world that confederates were loose in the streets of washington, d.c.. number one, i do believe that what lew wallace did at monocacy stopped this from happening. he was released from his command after this battle but grant within two weeks reinstated him and grant writes in his memoirs, had wallace not on his own come down and blocked early for the day, early very, very well could have caused havoc in washington, d.c. so this is the battle that saved washington and changed the course of american history. you know, think about it, lee's fourth objective and probably his most important in his mind was to try to force grant to take troops out from around richmond and petersburg. grand didn't want to do it and
waited until the last minute and finally did it and the number of troops went down drastically from like 137,000 at the end of june to almost like 70,000 two months later. this was grant's grand plan to end the war. yes, it did work but it didn't work until april of '65. if lee had not forced grant to do this, i really believe that the war could have ended sooner. maybe much sooner. maybe it was a matter of six months sooner, maybe three months sooner. but -- so what if -- and it can never be proven one way or the other but it was a what if that came pretty close to happening and it also goes to show that nothing is inevitable in history and nothing is inevitable in this civil war. it didn't have to come out the way it did. lots of other things, obviously, had to do with it. but this one little piece of the puzzle i think was very important in the timing and the end of the timing of the end of
the civil war. and if you want to remember it this way, you know, you can remember that one thing to remember about this whole thing is that jubal early was one day late. early was late. american history tv looks at the civil war continues tonight with the battle of the crater occurring during the siege of virginia. explosives were detonated under the federal lines to create a gap in the defenses but the attack failed with heavy losses for union troops. tonight, watch as the national parks service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the battle. we'll also take a look at how
the attack failed and why the u.s. color troops were unjustly blamed. and author kevin levin on the controversy of the colored troops. that's tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span 3. 200 years ago on august 24th, 1818, british soldiers gathered outside of washington, d.c. the victory left the nation's capital open to forces who burned down the u.s. capitol. you can learn more about the burning of washington during the war of 1812th thursday from author and historian anthony pitch at an event hosted by the smithsonian associates. our live coverage begins at 6:45 eastern. more about the burning of washington next saturday, august 23rd, as we take you live to
water front park for a panel discussion on the events 200 years ago. that's live at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span 3. each week, american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums, and historic sites around the country. at the outbreak of the civil war in the spring of 1861, washington, d.c., was a lightly defended city and vulnerable to attack with only one fort located 12 miles south of the city and the confederate state of virginia just across the potomac river. by 1865, the nation's capital arguably had become the most fortified city in the world with a ring of about 75 forts. we visit three of the forts with author dale floyd with the national park service.
>> right now we are in the museum and one of the nice things is, they have a map of the defenses of washington and it gives you a good idea of where they are today. we are at ft. ward, which is here and today we are also going to go to ft. foot, which is down here. and all the way up to fort stephens which is up there. the reason that the forts were built was basically to protect capitol of the united states. it first started in may, may of 1861. soon after virginia succeeded from the union. the troops moved over one night across the potomac over into arlington and alexandria and started building fortifications. after the first battle of manassas in july of 1861 in
which the union was actually defeated, the men came streaming back into the city and the city literally the kconfederates coud have walked in and taken the city. so after that, john g. barnard was in charge of them for almost the whole war and started war defenses of washington and he was in charge of them for almost the whole war started developing the system for fortifications around the capital and how they would actually defend the city from enemy invaders. after second manassas, which was also a union defeat, fear again and some more impetus to make sure that the fortifications defending washington were doing their job. over the year, the four years,
many of the forts were changed. they were made larger. guns within them. they were changed to get the best function out of each fort and out of the system itself. the defenses were tested in july of 1864. now. before i say that, there were raids on the forts guerrilla forces where they steal horses or supplies or whatever. but the only real attack and it really wasn't an attack, it was a reconnaissance in force, took place in july 11th and 12th of 1864 when jubal early had marched up monocacy and through
the valley, fought out near frederick, maryland, and then marched towards washington coming in on the northern side and eventually came up and faced these forts up there. the main one, ft. stevens where abraham lincoln actually came out to watch what was going on. he was not successful. he realized he couldn't do what he wanted to do and he eventually turned around and went back down into the valley. and after that, basically, nothing really tested the fortifications after that. besides the forts themselves, you had the batteries that were on both sides and the rear or whatever of the forts. you also had trenches that connected the forts all the way around the city.
you can see up here where in between you had the covered ways going all the way from one fort to the next to the next battery and on. so troops could move back and forth without being seen. besides the forts, they also built other types of defenses such as block houses and certain places along railroads, channel attacks. and they had other things that they actually built for protection within the whole system of the defenses of washington. so it was actually a system of fortifications. and if you attacked one, like if you attacked here, you would catch fire from the forts on both sides of those forts. so they were mutually supported. and it was -- it would have been very hard to actually take one fort because of all the fire that you would receive coming from the various forts. so it's not important necessarily about how many forts there were, it's the system and the mutual defense that was there that would really stop an enemy from getting into the city.
if you look at some of the pictures they have here, you'll see an interior of fort ft. stevens and then below it is a photo of ft. slemmer, which is my favorite photo of the civil war defenses of washington because it shows you what a fort looked like on the outside. vegetation has been removed. but you have the front. this is the sally fort where the troops coming out. you can see over into the fort where the guns are mounted. so that's really one of my favorite photographs. so this is very helpful for a start. ft. ward is a good place to actually start our tour of the civil war defenses of washington. before we go out and actually look at ft. ward, i want to point out that this is an actual 1864 plan of the fort. the part that has been restored
here is the northwest corner right here. and you'll see that. the rest of the fort is not as distinct when you walk through it. but the northwest section is. this is a model of the fort as it might have looked. notice around it is the outside of the ditch. and then the fort itself and this is the northwest bastian here. and the fort, itself, and this is the northwest bastion here. this is the gate, or sally port, to ft. ward. it was on the rear wall of the fort. it's been redone a number of times. the army down at ft. belvoir, especially when the engineers were there, helped redo this gate a number of times. but this is your entrance to ft. ward. i want to point out, if we look around, there were buildings here. they are based on plans and photographs of buildings that were actually in the defenses of
washington. but there were other gates like this at some of the other forts, too. they may not have been as nice, but some of them were, you know, with the name up above like you see here. the 1865 probably would not have been on the original gate. above it is the engineer castle. that's the logo of army engineers. and as i told you, the local -- the engineers at ft. belvoir helped rebuild this gate a number of times so they put the engineer castle on top. and, of course, they oversaw the construction of the original defenses of washington. this is one of the best preserved of the various forts that were in the defenses of washington. these parts of it are fairly well taken care of, but once we
get to the northwest bastion, you will see what the fort would have looked like at the time of the civil war. but these are all parts of the fort that we're actually in. it was a large one, so you have a large area. there is also signage that we will see as we walk through explaining what each resource we run into was. such as a sign here which is pointing out that there was a bombproof right here which collapsed in. but a bombproof basically was for men to go in when the fort was being shelled and it would protect them. depending, it would at least be made out of earth. sometimes they had a basement from something they used or bricks or whatever they used in it, but it had dirt over top with grass growing on it, and if you got inside the bombproof, you were pretty well safe. that's what's underneath here.
we are coming to the northwest bastion, and first of all, notice the revetment, the wood that is there to strengthen the fort. besides the earth, you have the wood that helps keep it in place. you can see the guns, and they are a variety of guns that you will see. and this is what happened at a lot of forts. it's what guns you could get ahold of. you have everything from field artillery to some bigger guns. the fort, itself, was supposed to cover the little river turnpike, the orange and alexandria railroad and the leesburg and alexandria pike, but we are on a high point, so the guns can fire for a long distance and they can cover
those areas. the original fort that was built for 24 guns when it was redone finally in 1864, it held 36 guns and was the perimeter of 18 from 540 yards to 818 yards with the bigger fort and 12 additional guns within the fort. you had during the war green guns and black guns. the bronze and the iron. usually the bronze was smooth bore and the black guns were rifled guns. and the rifled guns, of course, had a better range and actually fired better. but a gun like this was a good anti-personnel weapon.
there were various types of ammunition you could use in this, plus even at times you could put chains and everything else in here and fire it at an enemy. and, of course, the chain, or whatever, would -- could mow town a number of men. so this became a very -- this type of gun became a good anti-personnel weapon. with this platform, you can get up and take a look at the fort without actually walking on the walls. as we get up here, you can see the ditch and the embracers as they come out of the fort which is what the gun would have fired out. on the inside, that's called the scarf. on the outside, that's called the counter-scarf. and notice at the top, they have those bushes running along. that's to keep people from walking in the mote and trying to walk up the parapet. the bushes are sort of like abatee which were pointed sticks
and stakes that they would have outside of a lot of forts. so it has two purposes. to keep the people out and to kind of give you an idea of what abatee might have looked like, and these platforms that they built, you can walk right down into the moat and get a view along it, but you're not actually walking on it and helping to destroy it. so if you attacked, you came across open ground. these trees would have been cut down. that would have been all open ground. you can see -- they can start hitting you with artillery and even rifle fire way back. you would have had to come up, hit the abatee, hit the ditch, down, and try to climb up. you would have had infantry on the other side as well as artillery firing at you. so it was not an easy task in
trying to take one of the forts in the defenses of washington, plus you're catching fire from the other forts on both sides of this one. a lot of these forts in the defenses of washington, when i first came to this area in the late '60s, there were a lot of them still here. but in the years that have passed, a lot of them became housing developments or whatever. interest over the years has actually increased, but it was a problem in this area because these were union forts and most of these people in virginia had southern sympathies. they couldn't see any good reason for saving a northern fort. we're now at ft. foote on the potomac river in maryland. we came from ft. ward across the
potomac river to ft. foote. and on this map you'll see it was the anchoring, the defenses on the potomac river down here. across the river is in alexandria was battery rodgers and the two of those then covered the potomac river in case ships or raiders would have come up. this was actually built and constructed between 1863 and 1865. unlike most of the other forts, it was not abandoned at the end of the civil war. they continued to maintain this fort and man it until 1878 because it was on the river. the only other fort on the river, of course, you had battery rodgers across the river, but on toward the chesapeake bay was ft.
washington which is basically located about across from mt. vernon, george washington's home. at the beginning of the war, it was manned actually by marines and was manned in one sort or another during the war but was not actually part of the civil war defenses of washington, the circle of forts. but if there would have been ships trying to come up, it would have had an effect, also. if you look at the map here, or actually plan, it will give you an idea of the way the fort was located on the river. you have the fort itself and some of the buildings associated with it behind. its main focus was the river, itself even though it anchored the other civil war defenses of washington. but this is the way it would have looked to someone that would have come here during the
civil war. this is a national park. at times it has been quite overgrown. right now, you can see if you look around, it still needs some manicuring, but it is better than i've seen it in the past. but you saw at ft. ward how well taken care of it is. it's a city park, actually, and the city does a very good job of taking care of ft. ward. other forts, depending on who maintains them and how good a job they do, you can see a lot. some places it's completely overgrown and you really don't
have a good idea of what you're actually seeing. we're coming down to the water, to the potomac river, and if you look across the way, you'll see alexandria in virginia where i mentioned that at jones point was battery rodgers. jones point would have been up in this direction on the other side of the bridge, actually, where jones point with battery rodgers was, then the forts went off from there. it anchored the defenses on the virginia side and the forts went on through alexandria and on over toward arlington and then back to the potomac river and across. they actually had a chain that they could put across here, across the potomac, to keep ships from coming up the river. as far as i know, it was never actually laid out, but they did have it here that they could use
a chain across the river. this is a map. there's ft. foote right on the river, jones point over here. then back over toward ft. ward. and then we are going to go to ft. stevens which is right here. so to give you an idea, see these black marks point out where the different forts were. so to give you an idea on the map. and the city more or less imposed on the map, itself. we're coming up on one of the 15 inch rodman guns. you can see how large it is. there were guns like this that had actually a 360 degrees shooting area because you can move it all the way around this
ring. now, these guns were left here when they left the fort and when i saw them they were off their and they started des man telling the guns. they cut up one of tthe carriag. and then a national parks service ranger showed up and said, wait a minute, what are you doing? and they said, and they said, no, no, no, these are protected. this is a national park. we don't want these guns cut up. so they left, but they just left them sitting here on the ground. and for many years, that's the way they were. finally, a congressman from pittsburgh, where these guns were actually made, said, well, if the park service is not going to remount them, i want them back in pittsburgh. so at that point, the national parks service decided to remount
them and so they built the new rings and the new carriages for the guns and they have been remounted as they would have looked. so it's quite -- it was quite a job, but it gives you an idea of the way these guns would have looked at the time of the civil war and after. 15-inch rodman guns. the problem with world war i and world war ii, so many guns were melded down. there are a few guns left, big guns, especially from the civil war period. there are some. as a result, it's very valuable to have these two here in ft. foote. all the guns have markings on them with the serial number at one place or another. this says it was made in 1863. this is the initials of rodman. thomas rodman. he was also an inspector, so he may have inspected it.
it depends on the fort itself as to what guns might actually be in them. this one had two 15-inch rodman guns. they had four 200-pounder rifles, which would have been large. six 30-pounders. i mentioned a lot of places, there were some vacant platforms, there were 11 vacant platforms where they could have had guns. so it depends on the size of the fort and what you're trying to as to how many guns are actually in them and how many guns are available. john g. barnard, the man who kind of oversaw the fortifications during most of the war, as they redid and reconstructed some of these forts, he decided new guns would
go in and help cover this which it wasn't doing before. so your plans for the fortifications, the system of fortifications did change over the four years of the war. coming back, i told you we would stop and i would show you what angle guns look like. the karen is a little bit different, but this shows you, and you notice at the bottom, that gun could be turned 36 on degrees, so you can fire. now if the gun is mounted on the parapet, basically you're probably only going to want about 180-degree turn, but it could be fired the other way if needed. notice the avatee point coming up. so it's in the ditch on the outside of the parapet to try to keep enemy from coming in. but you can see. it is a cleared field of fire in front.
this is ft. stevens, which is one of the many forts in the defenses of washington. this is probably the most famous, and i'll explain why in a little while. originally, this was known as ft. massachusetts. the people who built it immediately after the battle of first manassas, which really scared the washington, d.c. area and they started getting serious about building defenses around the city. so ft. massachusetts was built in this area by massachusetts troops. it was about a perimeter of about 168 yards, and encompassed about 200 men in the fort. after second manassas in august of 1862, they decided to make this larger, because of its location. it's very -- it's on high
ground, plus it covers seventh street which today is georgia avenue, but it was 7th street extended, which a lot of people used. so it was important to protect it. they made it larger, so it was about 375 yards perimeter. as i mentioned, it was perhaps the most famous fort. that's because of the battle of ft. stevens on july 11th, 12th of 1864, when jbeil earl brought troops up through the valley, around frederick, and then in towards washington, d.c. on july 11th, he came very near the fort here itself. his men were pretty exhausted. they did kind of feel it out a little bit that day, but decided they would have a demonstration in force the next day. i've explained before these
defenses were mutually supporting, so that if you attacked ft. stevens, you were going to catch fire from the forts on both sides. s he decided to actually leave. now, the defenses as i mentioned, had started being built in 1861. following the attack in july of 1864 really they pretty much went unmall lined, but they still had some troops, but they weren't worried about that. lee was more or less heading south, and the other confederate troops were doing the same in other parts of the country so in 1864 was probably the
culmination of the defenses themselves, even though construction went on right to the end of the war, on some of them even afterwards. the civilian consequence have aition corps was brought in to work on this fort. after the civil war it was abandoned. it wasn't until around the turn, until around 1900 that some of the veterans of the 6th corps which had manned the fort raised money to try to buy the land as you will see, when looking around the fort, it's by no means all here at this time. but they tried to restore it as best as they could. the ccc will notice the revektment, the fake logs are made out of concrete. basically what we're seeing is
this area over to about here and then on the -- on the front side you will see the ditch is still there, but this area is caught off over on this side. it was never fully finished in the rear. it was more or less like called a la net. they did have logs in the bag to try to close it in. to support it. while the, quote, battle of ft. stevens was going on, abraham lincoln, not that far away, came out to the fort, and he actually got up on the parapet to look out to see where the troops were. there were actually some sharp shooters that took shots at him. they did not hit him. one of the stories is oliver
wendell holmes, who became very famous later, was said to have said get down, you fool, meaning get down before you get shot. i doubt that that happened, but there are people that said that is what oliver wendell holmes said, but abraham lincoln here standing on the parapet looking out to see where the ensome i troops actually were. you can watch this and other american artifact programsancy time by visiting our website. glue tonight american history tv's look at the civil war continues with the battle of the crater. occurring during the siege of peetering burg, virginia, union forces detonnated explosionsives under the lines to create a gap in the defenses, but the attack failed with heavy losses for union troops. here's a preview.
one regiment in the area was the 48th pennsylvania nevin try. some troops were coal miners. they thought they could mine underneath the confederate battery, find the end of the mine and literal le blow the hole in the confederate lines. the total length of the mine would be about 586 feet. they removed 18,000 cubic feet of earth in the construction of the mine. the sounds of digging were heard by south carolinian infant ry men. the confederates were looking for the mine, rumors were flying, and they were digging the they were digs what they call listening galleries. there was one spot where the
confederate counter-mine goes over the top. they didn't go deep enough. it was about 1 feet down at this point. the confederate listening galleries would go down about 8 to 10 feet, so they were right on top and yet at night when it was quiet, they were hearing the sounds of digging below them. thel the initial battle plan was to blow up the gun powder, create a large hole in the confederate lines. the initial attack would be led by african-american troops, and they will would rolled up the confed rad lines to the north, then at the rest of the troops would go around the hole and captured blandford cemetery about 1,000 yards behind here. watch more about the battle of the crater. also author kevin levine, and
how they were remembered in the years immediate following the civil war. that's tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c spans 3. friday on c pan on primetime we'll visit important sites. saturday night at 8:00, highlights this from year's new york ideas forum, including cancer biologist andrew hisle, and on sunday q&a with charlie rangel at 8:00 p.m. eastern. friday night on c spasm 2, in depth with rezaaslan. retired neurosurgeon ben carson, and sunday night at 11:00 p.m., lawrence goldstone on the competition between the wright brothers and glen curtis to be the predominant name in manned flight. american history tv on c-span3 on friday, a look at hollywood's portrayal of slavery.
the 200th an verse railroad of the burning of washington. sunday night at 8:00 p.m., former white house chiefs of staff discuss how presidents make decision. find our television schedule one week in advance at cspan.org and let us nose what you think about the programs you are watching. call us or e-mail us -- join the conversation, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. now his turkey and park officials discuss the developed. washington, d.c.'s civil war forts. and how they've been preserved for the past 150 years. this event hosted by the national archives and national planning council is about an hour. >> good afternoon. thank you archivist furio for
hosting us as we look at this -- take this fascinating look into washington's civil war history. on behalf of the national capital planning commission, the commission's role as the federal government's central planning agent in washington, d.c. and the suburbs of virginia and maryland, we seek to protect and enhance the city's rich and historic cultural resource. national capital planning commission, we recently celebrated 90 years since the organ sayles was chartered by congress. in terms of what we do, i would like to mention one current
project. and the national park service. through this effort, we will begin to study the near and long-term needs to pennsylvania avenue between the white house and the kabul. including this building. , which is the steward for fort circle parks, and especially recognize peter may. he's a fellow commissioner, but his day job is as social regional directors for lands, resources and plans. ft. taughten, ft. reno, ft. dupont. you may recognize these as
parks, even metro stations, but many are surprised to learn about their civil war history. >> the civil war was a milestone in our nation's history. today we will learn about another important, abe it that too many not farther from where we were. in the battle of ft. stevens that is gault to defend washington, d.c., the city could very well be a different place today. the role in the war and their ensues transformation that today we know as the ft. circle parks. let me introduce you to our terrific group of presenter.
and professor of national security studies. he has wring extensively. tennessee and kentucky and the -- today dr. kulg will discuss the development of the civil war defenses. she is the cofounder and vice president. of washington. she worked for the house committee where he handled national parks and historic land legislation, and during the clinton administration she directed the american heritage rivers initiative at the white house counsel. on the surrounding neighborhoods in washington.
s so today ms. elder will highlight the parks today and provide us with a preview of this weekend's activities at ft. stevens. good afternoon, folks, a pleasure to be back in this lovely facility, even though every time i come here, i go in the wrong entrance. i became very accustomed of going in the other side.
for a conphet rat capture. having been privy -- or also a developer in this lenden with a couple books, i fear that i am also part of the problem, but today i want to tell you that the real battle that saved the city of washington is what we're going to talk about to some degree. battle that really saved the union. it's ironic that not a year before, 50 year and a month
before celting a day that was not 911. 50 years later an enemy almost did it again. the scorch fed rae. we forget both. 1814, 1864 between then and now through the commend mailings of -- and next monday the commemoration of a bicrennel tenial. now the national archives, without the national archives, without the national capitol planning commission.
and public use would be harder. now and into the future. believe me. what we have is using the laboratory of historical site and event -- the records official and private, or unofficial. i listened to the -- give the opening address at the official ser moyer, and he pointed to the fact that the preservation of land will outlive all of us, including, of course, machine readable and print readable records.
go back to 1814. it was the seat of government. by 1864, washington, of course, is much more than that. the fortress of washington. a fortified mr. -- 60-odd or more. forts, 93 unarmed batteries, infrastructure for logistics hospitals as well as the political capital of the neigh nation. had it not been for 1814. there would not have been the
attention paid by 1864, in pardon to protecting the city. indeed there had been constructed in the area of the most possible threat to the capital, that is to say the river approach,% washington. by 1861, it was completely neglected and of noia whatsoever in a brother's ware of a civil war especially when maryland was five miles away from us here surrounding the capital of the union. by 1864, as i said, there's a rim of fortifications which happily are parkland, they're preserved. we have something we can point to from the civil ware and suggest it's still being employed usefully. nationally, locally and residents of the district of
columbia. these were un -- these were earthen fortification. but these were field fortifications, thrown up by infantry men. white, black, contrabans. we had private military contractors. maybe halliburton didn't have anything to do with it, but anything to think about. arsenals where i work. that figured prominently in this story. but why do we consider this symbol sword and shield symbol of the union, washington, d.c., the shield the protected, the fortifications that protected the city, and the sword the union armies in the field that were supposed to work together as important in our particular
story. by 1864 these forts and heavy armament down at ft. foot which you must visit. it's a superb fort restored and preserved with the heavy ordnance of the period. we have an episode that is, as the -- instead of about waterloo. it was a damn close-run thing. despite lessons learned, despite the thousands of public dollars expended on this fortification system, it was the critical summer of 1864, a critical month of july, ten critical days of which roan now -- haven't gotten
there yet. give me a chance. if we had been here on july 10th, 1864, we would be panicked in the streets without air conditioning, without refrigeration, because the rebels were close enough to be in rockville, gaithersburg, and on up the line. but we are here today. this was the third confederate invasion of northern territory. in the stalemated war, but it was a pretty critical preelection summer for the president of the united states, and after all, abraham lincoln was a man beset by the same problems that president obama has, a not so loyal opposition of his own party called the radicals, that had sent to him by this date a drastic
reconstruction bill that would have been punitive and completely unpal atiff to his scheme of reconstruction, the way davis built. this per d. by robert e. lee to change the strategic bale here in the war in the east. not just mitt tearily, but politically. he wanted to break the stranglehold of ulysses s. grand and others on the richmond petersburg line. you may recall in the west, the atlanta campaign had become bogged down. on the coast did not lines, mobile bay and wilmington north carolina and other places had not been blockaded effectively by the union. in fact in this critical election summer of 1864, everything was kind of at a
standstill. the war had not been won after gettysburg. forget gettysburg, forget emancipation, it all hundred in the balance on an afternoon here at ft. stevens when my. hard swearing. had children out of wedlock pointing out many of his foibles, but he was a fighter. as an instrument for changing the war, and he appeared here at ft. stevens by june on july 11th, the day tomorrow with about 8 to 10, maybe 12 thousand man, battle-hardened veterans, and was becoming the game changer.
how close the invasion, the timeline, the citizen soldier, the lawyer in uniformed, jbeil early, but opposed secession, never endstood that, because he was a west pointer. after the war this canada, he used to look across at ft. niagara and complain about that barberpole flag, the american flag that he had to look at every morning. he swore allegiance to it when he graduated west point, so i don't have much truck for early and his comments on the american flag. it's all a matter of speed. the delays begin. up at harper's ferry and so forth. he loses another day at frederick. yes, a battle that cost him the
services of one of his best divisions, but he's become the confederate inkarn nat of hard war. he decides he's going to extort capital from all these northern cities. to get the washington, changed the scope of the war, disperse the lincoln administration, but he's battling around extracting 200 grand from them. okay. priorities. a sect factor, thermometer, or up in maryland that i farm near sandy springs, stood in the mid 90s. the drought had been in the
region for weeks on end. the marching columns went through 6-inch dust on even the -- certainly not like we have now with i-270. probably took them just as long to get through the dust as we do going up 270. but all these delays get to our main point about the battle of ft. stevens. ft. stevens had been set up as ft. massachusetts, based on a camp brightwood out here in the brightwood section of washington, as early as 1861. after the previous invasion of maryland in 1862, they expanded ft. massachusetts, who obviously had been built by massachusetts soldiers into ft. stevens, you can still see and we'll talk about that, the restored pa
parapet, but otherwise everybody goes out, where is the fort? either thinking they're going to find a western stockade or more like ft. member hen re, ft. washington. ft. stevens was an expanded earthen fort with a stockaded back side to it. that saved labor, money and all that sort of thing, 19 guns, manned this time not by veteran artilleryists, but 150 day men out of ohio, who had come to engable them to be shipped to grant as cannon fodder for the battles in virginia. interestingly enough the 150-day men were equaled for the heavy artilleryists, because the re-let me just tell you, one moment in time before i kind of wrap this thing up.
early afternoon of july 11th the moment when the two forces will meet at ft. stevens. and their reinforcements finally coming up from the peterson's lines by boat that are down at the docks at 6th street. at this moment early rides down what we know as georgia avenue, which is 7th street road and walter reed -- one of the travesties so we can create more traffic congestion in bethesda. it's situated on what will become the battlefield, the only battlefield in the district of columbia. hunched over from arthritis, due to the mexican war and the dues and damps, pulls out his
binoculars and peers down at the union lines which had have been fort he sended that the moment of opportunity to change the course of the war, my career, american history, and the future of the confederacy beckons. right then and there, but can you imagine that career opportunity for any of us at that time? not robert e. lee, now ulysses s. grant, jbeil early. the soldiers knew him, the enemy was fikly going to know about him. there's no army he can bring up because of the heat and the dust, and they're straggling. here's all you folks as budding managers and leaders, here's your moment.
would you have found something more than a corporal's guard and push through the thinly held lines at the time. maybe he was just as tired and jaded and fatigued. he hated the yankees, but he couldn't push forward. what does he do? what most of us would have done. he retires back to silver springs. the little spring there, and he calls to wait developments. comes out to ft. stevens to see what's going on.
he comous so he's there on the first day of july 11 and horrid raise i don't right, is the 6th corps commander, and horacio writes, i'm so happy to see you here. would you like to see a battle? he realizes oops that could be his career, because good heavens, the president go um on the ramp arts, get shot -- think about it. who becomes vice president? what happens to the nation? what happens to the city? et cetera, et cetera, all kinds of things that can happen. abe goes up there, nearly gets shot, maybe not where that boulder is placed today. the great what-ifs of history that are based on it is reports and legend and myth, storytelling.
historics -- history never repeats itself historians just repeat each other? they come in from grand's army, and of course this episode slightly scathes, or certainly does nothing much for lincoln's reelection chance that is summer. he probably had on his mind the ways davis reconstruction bill more than anything else. nearly captured it and was wounded. and the political chances of reelection.
remember the blind memorandum by august in this deadly summer of near defeat, largely because of early before washington. the president gets his cabinet to sign on the back of a memorandum saying they don't know it, but he promises that everybody will abide by the success session when he comes. military incompetent on the northern side. the north is taken aback. there are denuns a's that maybe lincoln set this whole episode up for some reason. >> gee, that sounds family, does doesn't it? conspiracy theory. they escaped, so it falls to an autumn campaign in the shenandoah valley, and a change of alexander that will occur up
here that brings that team together of grant, sheridan and early ace demise. he says, i guess we scared abe lincoln like hell. according to his aide douglas who represents most is ticked off, because they didn't get into washington and didn't capture aide. he says, well, general, on the afternoon of the 12th when this -- and you can see on the map here these couple of brigades came out against us in a counter assault, there was somebody else that was pretty scared like hell, i suspect.
it has made it into the history books. in any case the memoirs, the reminiscen that published by the war depend, and the navy counterpart for the benefit mostly of the veterans there's probably more that can be found on this thing. let me wrap up by suggesting this grant may have declared that early's lost opportunity did change his summer plans, if only to finally force grant to seal the achilles' heel of the chenshenandoah israelie and apph to the soldiers were still
cleaning up, not the beat, but cleaning up the overgrown and nuggeted fortives make no mistake, a high watermark was not vicksburg or getsies burg, it was a little tollhouse, a tollgate house at the corner of georgia avenue and piney branch road. that's the fullest extent that the forces came to the afternoon of july 11th and 12th to capture in washington, changing the course of the war and the course of us today, quite frankly. the works have eroded. we don't yet really know where lincoln stood.
i think he stood all over the place. lincoln never stood still. he was up on the ramp, over the ft. massachusetts portion, he was over at ft. stevens, but we really don't know for sure. they remembered seeing links. i'm 75 years of age, folks. i remember things differently at 20, 18, what have you. they wanted to mark that spot and cameron korean and brought them up there. with that bar relief, and that's their monument. to the remembrance under enemy fire. we don't know that oliver wendell holmes jr. really uttered one of those immortal
words. the record suggests -- that is to say the reminiscenses and so forth suggests there were five to six other people. that also shouted get that fool down. mr. president, i can't probably you. urbanized washington took over. . still, washington forts are yet another of washington's many monuments that have transitioned in purpose. and particularly ft. stevens. they want recognition from all of us, appreciate. commemoration. and probably both sides lost
over 1,000 -- some of whom at least are buried, and the little confederate accept station in the pan thee on of heroes of the nation, heroes of the southern confedera confederacy, including the general officers. the veterans who came back like louis cass white did from the 106 -- word in the pension bureau. the entitlement program, built a house and helped preserve what loretta is going to tell you about right now. thank you.
>> thank you, frank. everything i'm going to show you, and i'm the picture girl, you have learned from him. there's a bible, and wally owens, his co-author wrote mr. lincoln's forts. if you care about these issues, that's the book to read. i'm going to go as fast as i can. the nice thing about youtube is you can look at these at your leisure inju leisure, and you can read faster. i want you to see they beautiful places that i love.
frankly the lungs of the city are largely these forts and parks. so there we the city was unprotected down below. it's quite different from the fort it is that were built during the civil war. lincoln knew that the city was vulnerable. that's when he ordered major general john g. barnard to built -- to protect it. they did it very, very quickly. it was just tremendous. and here they are today. i'm circles on here, on this old map, the ones unit government ownership today. the parks service owns the ones
that are in washington, d.c., plus one in maryland, one in virginia. the ones in virginia are owned by local governments, and you'll see some of them as well..palr report on the parks, they were plans for parks in d.c., one of the major recommendation had to do with the civil war -- they were both beautiful to look at, and they were beautiful to look from. linking them up with the ft. circle drive. and i have a newspaper article that says all but about one mile of it was bought. these are all the different forts. they're under three different management systems, and it's something we are hoping to change.
by partisan with congressman frank wolf, to and have it until its own superintendent, and hopefully its own staff and, you know, we'll be able to do the things we would like to see done. >> i'm going to give you quickly ft. stevens, so you can do what he was telling you about. the thing i like to note, and there would be a few other slides is the farmland. all of this was farmland around it, just some houses, many of them got hit by, you know, the shells, but here it is today. the ccc in the 1930s, the civilian conservation corps reconstructioned much of ft. stevens. you can get the flavor of what it was like back then. and the boulder -- sorry, i didn't get a picture, but it's
there too. it was also important in african-americans history then and now, the earliest black settlement. this woman, elizabeth thomas, she was a free after kaj-men, and i think back then, women didn't tend to own land at all, and a free black woman was really unusual. her land was taken. and just down from ft. stevens, this goes right up the forts, this was private property, it was awful, some of es got together and said we've got to do something, and get it added to ft. stevens. down here, two more after kaj american historically significant properties, and i encourage you later to read about them. here is a map. i think this will help beth of
all, knowing around ft. stevens, because the battle, while all of the fortifications manned up, you know, they didn't know where the confederates might go down, so it's this whole range up here, the northern tier that came into play. it starts down, here's ft. bunker here, here's ft. taughten, the metro station, so you could know that, ft. slocum is in manor park, a neighbor of ours. ft. stevens, we live up here. here's ft. stevens. we're very close. ft. derusie was in play, very
that leads up there. it should be a great recreation spot, even though it doesn't have any of the defenses that are left. leading from there, coming into where ft. taughten is is this stretch of land, and it's along galleton street. the -- there is a drive along it here. this is lating into ft. taughten, the high hills of the actual fort are up here. and then these part of a ft. srk the driveland. the more i study this and the more i get to learn, i love the land, i love the parks, all of that, but these are real people. i'm trying to bring the human element into this story as well. . ft. taughten today, well,
driveland, again that was never built on in the middle. it makes a lovely boulevard. >> it's so beautiful. this is military road. you pull off. it's very easy to find. there's this huge tree when you go to the nature center, and they call this a witness tree, into you they think it possibly was there during the battle. sometimes when they got cut out of, the trees grew back. they're massive, and you can go all the way around. my picture doesn't do justice. some hiking trail. it's just a terrific park. ft. reno is the highest point in d.c., and then on top of that, they had this tower. so when the up here, they could see the confederates coming.
>> an it's high and it's big, and then he turned down and came on georgia avenue to ft. stevens. and here's the modern ft. reno. even though there is nothing left of the defenses, if you like up to the top. that's virginia in the difference. really it's evocative. it's definitely worth a visit. i took this just a couple weeks ago. i'm driving look here, and i'm thinks what a beautiful wi8ders in in the city. this is more man cured, but i
guess people don't use it as a park. then i saw this guy over here, and sure enough, her's on the tree, reading a book here or something. that's a bark. it's a beautiful area. that was to guard the chain bridge, the only fixed bridge. so it was very important. across the river is the only fort that the park service has today that's in virginia, ft. marcie, and again it was build to and it's got massive, pretty good-sized defenses there. so if you know what you're seeing, you can enjoy it. that's something i would love toss in the future, and then
crossing the an accostia to the other side, but right before you're going, this beautiful land, those are all the ft. circle parks, the connecting land. i gave this to the national capitol planning commission when they had a hearing on the expanse of the hyde act. and then looking from those places out, and you're going to see a couple pictures, views we're going to start down at the bottom and work our way up. this is one of my favorites. it was frank's too. high over the river, you can see
this beautiful vista there. it's historically very important. not to show off me so much, but these are the real cannons, you see the picture down here. they had fallen down the ravine, and it's a wonderful place to go. it's about halfway between washington and d.c. and ft. washington, but six miles down. this is the view i took in 2003. when i started go ahead involve with the park service, and last fall here is the same view. it was all covered. i complained about it, and she fought and fought and fought.
she said she wanted it by fourth of july to have it cut. it's even better that was it was before. so thank you, kim. this is not part of --i not part of the civil war defenses, but nobody can go up and not drop by and see the frederick douglass national society. it's just -- and the house is fabulous. and then down the way is ft. rickets. again there's stuff behind there. here's ft. davis. this is the only part of the fort drive that was ever constructed. it was down during the ccc era. it's overgrown, but you can still go there and see what the defenses look like. here's ft. dupont, the second largest park in d.c., and it has
problems with exotic vegetation. so our hope is -- i'm not the kind of person to tell you what to do about exotic vegetation, but it does hurt the earth works. but here's on the ft. circle parklands. ranger told me that people drive all the way to the shenandoah mountains to see the mountain laurel in the spring, and you can walk up in those hills and see thought. it's well worth a visit. this is a hike i went on with the sierra club. they dove quite regularly. in fact there will be one this asp from ft. derusee if you would look to join them. just go to the nature center at the park service at rock creek. ft. chaplain, you know, it's -- it's more of a park than a historic site, but it's a wonderful park. here are the runs that are in
virginia and maryland that are owned by local governments. real quick. i'll just go fast. this is battery bailey. i love battery bailey. it's just a place where they had, i don't know a platform where thukd put a cannon. this they weren't garrisoned. there are a lot of these displays about what it did look like. it's right off mass avenue. 40th and allen just this spring they have done a wonderful job of interpretation, improving the earth works, but also doing some interpretation. they had a fabulous event. here's c.f. smith, another one here, hey, this is what it was -- this is historic, but this is there now. they also have bathrooms there, you know? we don't have those at ft. stevens. ft. ward, this is the gem of them all. i hate to admit it.
it's big, and about 90% of the earth works are restored. it's in alexandria. terrific. the displays are great, and they're also doing a lot of history on the african-american story there, which i won't get into. it's very controversial, but at least they're trying now to make up for past wrongs. ft. willard, this is the cutest little thing, just a traffic circle, but look what they did? these are earthworks, here's a cannon, you know, squint your eyes, and you feel like you're back thin. this is ft. stevens. this weekend -- this is what it was the last couple years. every year the closest date we have an event the one this year is going to be those on steroids. she's going to tell you about it, but it's going to be fabulous. here's kim. this is our alliance group. we're -- the president susan clavellee, and our treasurer,
and me, it's real important to have advocates. that what we are, for the alliance to preserve. we're 6 years old. we're fighting very hard for that legislation. we hope you'll help us support it, and i thank you for the chance to speak. well, again good afternoon. i want to again thank our host, the national archives for hosting us, having all these folks here today to talk about the civil war forts. i would like to thank our sister agency, and again -- i'm going to click this button here? okay. oops. so as has been alluded to, my colleagues have alluded to, we
have a lot of great things going on in these forts. we are ready to tell that story. this is a great point in history, the 150th anniversary of this battle of ft. civil war battle fought in washington, d.c. over the next couple of days, we're going to have lots of activities, plant the ground at fort stevens including the second national cemetery also managed by the park service. there are 38 union soldiers buried there. a wonderful place to come visit and we'll have that this coming sunday. i did want to point out many of you all may have a couple of this program here.
it's just not fort stevens but the attack on washington by jubal early. it's all here. we ask you to take a look at it. if you have an opportunity to take a look, please do so. as you've noted just this week tomorrow, today and tomorrow, we've got a lot of great things going on. we just learned c-span will be out at fort stevens to cover civil war roundtable. we have noted speakers for that. then as loretta alluded to, looking at fort stevens today, hosting in my tenure last four years, fort stevens day on steroids. we're going to have mr. lincoln there, mrs. lincoln, nikolay and we'll be firing a cannon from fort stevens. the first time in 150 years a cannon fired at a d.c. fort. you have for come out and share with that. as i mentioned on sunday, we'll have the memorial program at the battleground national cemetery where we will pay respect to soldiers buried and many, many
others who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. again, i know we didn't have a lot of time. i'm not sure we're going to be able to open it up for questions. i do encourage you all to tell your friends about it. visit us on our website at www.nps.gov/cwdw, civil war defenses of washington. again, thank you all so much. [ applause ] >> i think we have time for one or two questions, if people would like to come to either of the microphones. if folks have questions, we'll take them in turn. if you can give us a minute, sir. please, go ahead. >> hi, i'm david balducci, thank you all three of you for your presentations. i'd like to ask a little more about the legislation. you alluded to it. i wonder if you could get into it a little deeper and maybe focus on how the local
government owned virginia forts will be incorporated into that plan. >> thanks. >> i take it you're from what the bill would do, we triei to make it revenue neutral. basically redesignating the oneç the park service owns as a national historical park. it also provides for cooperative agreements with the other
locally owned forts. four in virginia and one in maryland. also with private owners, there's still somewhere private owners have portions of old forts on them. we'd like to get better signage. even where the forts aren't there now. for example, i went out a few weeks ago with my husband, dan smith, who is here. he loves to go with me photographing. i said, there's a fort bennett. i want to find that. that's in virginia. there's a sign. they had a lovely sign there that says fort bennett. there's a ravine on the side. i thought maybe that ravine was there, even though there's an 2 it probably was. we'll study a way to have a place in washington to study and commemorate the entire civil war, both sides, confederates and union. >> yes? >> i'd like to ask a question about the compensation for folks' land when we sat up the forts. i talked to the ranger at the
fort stevens site. she's saying she wasn't compensated. i'm interested how we got the land to set up the forts and what practices were in place at the time, what law was in place. >> due to the fact we have a free black woman elizabeth thomas who owned a little over 11 acres of land. just what we would consider today would be eminent domain. they came through and took the property. what we don't have is proof she was actually compensated. again, you can do that in a time of war and that's exactly what happened. unfortunately we don't know -- >> you might turn up -- >> the rest of all those forts, the same practice? >> this was called the law of military necessity. in time of war, you could take the property. >> okay. >> descendants of aunt betty, elizabeth thomas, have always taken what she would call veteran groups years later president lincoln promised her a great reward. everybody has been aghast of her since. descendants will tell you they have never seen a record of a reward at all. the property owners at the end of the war received back the land, if they could prove it was their land. basically the timber and what was remaining in the forts that could be utilized. they could put in claims for damages. in fact, the claims after the
war, a couple of other record groups, is where you go to find records of what had happened. this was universally used in the south wherever the military had occupied land and destroyed property. fences, barns, everything else. >> i see. >> so that is kind of the story there. for a period of months after the end of the war, some of these forts were actually retained
the army realized it was taking up a lot of money keeping these things and got rid of them. ft. hood retained its garrison into the 1870s, batteries in the spanish american war and fort washington even more recently was still an active post. >> thank you. >> sir, i think you'll be our last question. >> i was wondering if you were familiar or could help me with a question i've had for years and years. when jubal early approached washington, cavalry patrols were sent out on both the east and west sides of the city. in fact, there was an expedition to try and free the prisoners at camp lookout, which came to nothing. but the one that always intrigued me was a cavalry regiment on the western side of washington, who really were a little lost and didn't know where they were, reported they entered one of the forts, found it completely unmanned, went up on the rampart and could see white house and capital in the distance. do you think there's any credibility to that report and what fort could that possibly have been? >> let me explain, there's three legends you've wrapped into one. the army came down the rockville pike. we're not sure why early deviates or diverts over to the 7th road and georgia avenue. you should go up to monocacy, if for no other reason there's a jedidiah map on display at the library of congress, dated 1864. it's obviously taken from a
corps of engineer, union corps of engineer map, whether he presented it to early so he could come and see where to get into washington, we don't know. it's a great mystery. mysteries are still surfacing all over the place in the official records or unofficial. he had on his staff a young chap loughboro. some realize it's named after the family.