Fort Ethan Allen
Fort Ethan Allen was constructed during the Civil War to provide one of the last lines of defense against possible Confederate attacks aimed at Washington. The fort commanded approaches to Chain Bridge (over the Potomac River) from the south of Pimmit Run. Built by troops from Vermont in September 1861, the fort was named in honor of Ethan Allen, Vermont’s famous Revolutionary War commander.
Fort Ethan Allen was a large earthwork garrisoned by as many as 1,000 men. The fort’s perimeter was 736 yards with emplacements for 36 guns. The armament included three 6-pounder guns, four 24-pounder guns, three 32-pounder howitzers, three 10-pounder Parrotts, eleven 30-pounder Parrotts, six 12-pounder Napoleon guns, four 10-inch mortars and two 24-pounder Coehorn mortars. Military Road linked Fort Ethan Allen with Fort C.F. Smith to the south. The nearest fighting to Fort Ethan Allen occurred July 11-12, 1864, at Fort Stevens, just six miles to the northeast.
Segments of the south face, gun platforms, one bombproof, traces of a stone magazine and a guardhouse still can be identified. A portion of the original rifle trench can be seen at the south end of Fort Ethan Allen Park adjacent to Glebe Road Park. The officer’s quarters, barracks, cookhouses and mess houses—none of which remain—were located to the east of the fort.
Related albums • See other albumsWashington DC Area Forts
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