FORT WASHINGTON

The first Fort Washington was completed in 1809 and guarded the Nation’s Capital until it was destroyed by its own garrison in 1814. Extensive remodeling was performed in the 1840s and the first guns were mounted in 1846. The masonry fort was occupied by soldiers from the First, Third and Fourth U.S. Artillery during its early history. In 1872 the garrison was removed and additional property purchased to construct a new defense system. Funds for the project were withdrawn and the post was abandoned for the next twenty years. A new defense system, consisting of rifled steel guns in concrete emplacements was authorized in 1886 and work began at Fort Washington in 1891. The next year ground was broken for Battery B, later named Battery Decatur and the guns were mounted in 1896. Eventually eight concrete batteries at Fort Washington and four at Fort Hunt made up the Potomac Defense Command. The guns soon became useless for defense and were removed. The fort was then used for training until turned over to the Department of the Interior which now owns and maintains the fort as a public park.