Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Fort C.F. Smith

Fort C.F. Smith, just up the street from my home, was constructed in 1863 on farmland appropriated that year from William Jewell. The fort was named in honor of General Charles Ferguson Smith, who was instrumental in the Union victory at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in 1862.

The fortification was constructed to extend the Arlington line around to the Potomac River and to command a creek ravine not covered by Fort Strong. Along with Fort Strong, Morton, and Woodbury, Fort C.F. Smith functioned as part of the outer perimeter defense to protect the Aqueduct Bridge and the Chesapeake and Ohio canal.

The Fort was a lunette with two battle Bastian's on the northside to protect from attack up the ravines from the Potomac. The original fort contain 22 gun placements, eight of which are preserved with cannon today. The ruins also include the bomb proof, the fort well, and the North magazine. The access road to the Fort crossed Spout Run near Masons Mill and proceeded up the hill to Fort Strong. To provide clear lines of fire for Fort C.F. Smith and adjacent forts, all of the trees for miles around were cut down. Many of the trees were used in construction of the forts and the various support structures attached to the forts.

In 1865, after the War, the fort was decommissioned and the Jewell family returned to operate a small farm and nursery. Between 1888 and 1994, the land was owned by the Deming, Yates, Lindsay and Hendry families.

The park where the Fort is located is 19 acres with a 1/2 mile of trails of a variety of surfaces including asphalt, mulch, concrete and gravel. There are three small meadows and a large lawn, and a small forest that connects down to the long palisades forest along the Potomac River. All in all, a pretty great place to walk and train the dogs.

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