tv The Civil War 1864 Battle of Fort Stevens CSPAN November 23, 2019 6:00pm-6:56pm EST
thank you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> next on the civil war, national parks service ranger steve fond talks about the service initiative to build forts around washington dc. a campaign tested these defenses in 1864.
this was part of an emergency -- emerging civil war symposium on forgotten battles. i get to introduce all my friends. my next good friend is steve phan. he is a rockstar star on social media. ranger.an is a park workedo working there he at richmond national battlefield, rock creek park, etc. he analyte -- he is an expert in military occupations, occupational command. he has authored articles on the american civil war. he holds a masters degree in american history from middle tennessee state university. i will go off script one second. he has done more to bring attention for the civil war than anyone ever has before.
if you don't follow him before this, follow him on facebook with the sense of washington, he keeps it fresh, keeps it real, and is bringing great information. [applause] steve: thank you, i appreciate that. can everyone see in the back. sure brought up something that was bright enough for everyone to see. denver.inally from , i want to express my for thetitude to chris honor to present at the symposium here at stevenson's ridge in virginia. last year i was a part of the panel. it is an honor to talk about the battle of fort stevens. you will hear me talk about the
battle of fort stevens today and also the civil war defense of washington. throughoutar that the program today. we will talk about the only battle that took place within the confines of washington, d.c. thel in scale of some of big battles that we know and visit and read about. it is large and massive in regards to the political ramifications of the battle, especially to the lincoln administration. i am a park ranger with the national park service. we manage 17 civil war sites around washington, d.c., we call that the national capital of region. at the end i will talk about the then and now of the civil war defense of washington and what we managed for the national guard service. let's get right into it.
for us short people. i found the on switch. we are good to go. we will talk about the defenses of washington and it has really been a start with the election of abraham lincoln in november, 1860. within about six weeks or so there will be the succession and south carolina breaks in the subsequent states. 1860,ly as december, james buchanan's outgoing administration tries to figure out what to do. the biggest thing they are focusing on is peaceful transfer of power from buchanan to the lincoln administration. how will this work?
you have the image of the capital building here. it will come down to the general himself. he is recalled from new york city to washington, d.c., where he will make these headquarters. he has been the commanding general for some time. it is his mission to secure the capital. will take every preemptive measure to secure the capital in the coming days, weeks, and months that will lead to the inauguration. it is. the first inauguration of abraham lincoln. just want to give an idea of what this looks like. the general had been planning this for quite some time. there was the physical presence on the ground. we have the calvary, armed soldiers on important avenues of
approach with all tillery -- artillery pieces. soldiers even incognito wearing civilian uniforms carrying pistols just walking. just to make sure abraham is peacefully inaugurated. that will happen. that is the first major step. from there, we will turn to the state right below washington, d.c., virginia. what was virginia going to do? , he hasaration for this the commanders, most notably joseph mansfield. to have their engineers scanned the area and come back with the report. this is what the engineers say. you have to do something about northern virginia. i'm sure a lot of you that have been to the national cemetery, the heights.s
if you look across the potomac river you could see washington, d.c. the great fear was the confederate army could roll up artillery. that was a justified fear. believed jury -- virginia would secede from the evening, u.s. soldiers including regulars cross the potomac river and occupied arlington heights. they shifted south towards alexandria. even months before the battle of manassas the union forces crossed the river and occupied virginia. called this the union shield. you will see what i mean. the first spot will be the arlington heights. it was a great fear they could shell the city. especially when virginia breaks away from the union. off the river and
occupies the heights. that is towards alexandria as well. arehe end of may, there 2000 troops on the virginia side. most importantly, they have already begun building. mansfield,seph tasked with the department of washington. directly what needs to be done to secure the castle. is -- i want to read this account to you. it is from the washington evening star. the day after the army crosses the river. it is loaded with tics and shovels and all manners of tools. accompanied with the full force of carpenters and workmen.
visiblyes are now working on the heights of the virginia sore. believe this was built after the first forerunner. they had five or six already built by the time the battle began. they will build the operations that the army can move in. they are already covering the arlington heights to make sure. then you have that quote right there. 1861, this is what i call the foundation of the defense of washington. you will see this evolve over the course of the war. you will see how big and elaborate the system of war can get. here of the new jersey
-- i will talk about how that was done. it was made out of dirt and wood . runyons an image of fort sitting at present day where the pentagon is at. if you look at this image here, up the hill before in alexandria. they are going to come into certain spaces and start building forts. was a commanding position in alexandria. an image of a sketch of the defense of washington, this was part of the arlington defenses. you could see the wood stockade.
some noticeable feature as well is a sharpened stick on the outside of the wall. one -- iery single will talk more about the construction here. everything is really going to this past day already. after the battle for bull run when the union army is driven back to washington, d.c., there is an order saying retreat. in a sense they have already served the function. when general mcclellan gets there this is where you will see the rapid evolution of the defense of washington. i call this the art of fortification. designing is john g barnard. he served on general mansfield
staff. be in charge of the defense of washington for about three years. 1861, going into 1862, there are about 48 forts surrounding the city. that is incredible number. actually pretty immense. this is an image of soldiers building the forts. occupied key avenues of approach to the city. theywill cut down trees are near a strategic area, too bad. they call it military necessity.
get it back when the war is over. into 1862, there was a connected which of fortification every 800-1000 yard intervals had a fork. there was some sort of fortification. when we talk about washington, d.c., this is what we are talking about. maybe not what the defense of washington look like. they were cheap. beginstime the civil war , they could knock down stone walls. these were only temporary. they were securing the federal capital and when the war is over
, we will return the land back to the land owners. we have the wall itself. it is about six feet deep. you see the sharpened sticks. from the birdseye view you can see the fort. stand there if they are under fire. you could see where they store the ammunition and the powder. these forts were designed differently. likeding on what it looked , they designed it to look a certain way. as you can see, there is an image here of what they call the arlington line. designld see the covering as much space as they could.
the forts would evolve during the war. pennsylvania, built by the pennsylvania reserves. this will be involved in the battle of -- in 1864. the soldiers lived in tents around the world. into 1963 -- this is a great image or sketch of the diagram of pennsylvania. it shows all the different structures around the fort. this is almost 100 acres of land. this is one of my favorite images. a relatively small fort. see what the defense of washington look like.
first of all, you are looking more into maryland. it is pretty open, natural landscape. you have the large person itself. you have the ditch right there. is what the defenses of washington looked like during the american civil war. there is about 48 forts. the entire conference of the city was protected. forts won't of the be armies of the potomac themselves. they serve throughout the peninsula campaign. all of those campaigns, the original soldiers building forts. diagram of what they look like on the virginia side
during the war. you can see how large it was. each shifted a little bit different. fork, you could see a directing -- looking directly south into virginia. obviously they cut down all the trees. they knew all the ranges. these guys that occupied the parts were -- forts were heavy artillery. we know this is an early image because you could see it be replaced as we get deeper into the war. we start with 48 forts.
into 1863, there are 60 forts around the city. it is only getting bigger and bigger. the defense of washington evolved in direct accordance with the situation in the field. they arean by that is responding to what the confederate army is doing in the field. the reason why the forts get expanded in 1862 is because the general's vision of maryland. engineers realized the confederate parts come south. forts, they the even add larger caliber guns. this will be really important. that is when the confederate army is coming down in 1864. they also protect the bridges as well. this is james bridge.
they literally have block captains as well protecting the real system. this is on chain bridge. two guns sitting on top of the bridge. every measure that was needed to protect the city was taken. they also have what we call batteries. they did the study of this event in the heavy innovation. they were not big enough, they needed to be expanded and they needed larger caliber artillery pieces. this is one of our nps sites now. total, they will add about 16 100 pounds to the defense of washington. several of those will be engaged. so, batteries still filled in the lines between this. to 1000 yards
apart, they would fill the trenches and with batteries. if you look closely at this image, you can see there is a building right there. the ambassador's residence is behind the battery. in immaculate condition in north west washington, d.c. west of rock creek park. it is absolutely stunning. the ambassador just retired recently. me every timetold he would sign it it was in back -- battery tear. we are very proud of it. were kept unarmed. the idea was if the city came
under attack, it was artillery , it was in rock creek park. if you look at this image, you could see all the abrasions. there are six of them. sitting in rock creek park in pretty good condition. this is what the defense of washington look like. 1864 and 1865 as the confederate surges towards washington, d.c.? into 60, by 1864 there are 68 forts around washington, d.c. supported by 900 batteries. cannons, 98 mortars , 20 miles of earthworks.
30 miles of military railroad that connected the forts to each other. down 20,000 acres of trees. from byout that, we go the time they get to d.c. there will be 68 forts around the capital. is why i was left to say it was one of the most heavily fortified cities in the world. this is kind of what the fort looked like. this is where they came into the fort at. magazine where they store the ammunition. lincoln.ort
if we know anything about the they had a really large fort there. i want you to look closely at this image. image. a later work if you see in the corner, there 100 rifle that could fire a pound round three quarters of a mile. thesetarted mounting of 1863. july imagesthe most popular is this gun number 13. this is maryland. it is quite traumatic. you can see the number there.
a 500 pound rifle engaged in battle. we have an image of a southeast fort near the river. we know it is a lakefront images well because you have the original there in the army started adding these popping out. spots heut all of the might have gone to. iny started adding these 1963. they are constantly evolving during the war. magazine. internal this is at fort stanton on the southeast side. magazinesty of the were reinforced with wood. in this particular instance they
had german engineers come into construct this magazine. condition.maculate 150 years later. species inside, these were built to last. don't have the color of the river. everyone will like these images here. they protected the land side of the city but the river as well. gunships shelled the city. model works in 18 three, this is one of our nps sites. this is battery rogers on the alexandria side. you have got a 200 pound airgun and a 15 inch rodman gun. rodman guns could fire a 400
pound round and penetrate. that is why these were put out. it gives you an idea how big those are. there is me right there. these goads were mounted and remounted in 1980. they were so happy to have the army there. they came in and remounted. let's talk about the battle of fort stevens. it is really going to be the campaign of 1864. it is going to come down early. how does this begin? why don't we start with the beginning of 1864. command of all troops in the united states army, is told by lincoln to take the war to
the confederacy. what he was granted to do, as we know. as we have heard, grant doesn't look the attacks and attacks. it has dramatic ramifications. campaign, the war department, abraham lincoln mandated there be 25,000-30,000 men at all times. specifically they have the artillery. they started spending some of the heavy audit -- sendinng some of the heavy artillery. they are depleting the defense of washington. showedbelieve clearly
lincoln's evolution as commander-in-chief. he knows there is a lot on the line. he is trying to win the war. from the confederate perspective, at the end of june into july of 1864, pinned against richmond and petersburg. drew was just talking about him. this didn't just take the war to bart -- washington and baltimore , he had more immediate issues to deal with. that is going to be the union army of west virginia. literally coming up the rear right there. there'll be a confederate force under john breckinridge. his orders are to assist john
breckinridge and drive the union army out of the valley. what generally wrote in his report in 1864. this is talking about movement from richmond west towards the shenandoah valley. i was off to said word that it would be adequate and if possible strike a decisive blow. at the same time general early and the enemy retreated down the valley to and as opportunity offered to follow him to marilyn. it was believed that the valley taken from the president of the enemy. general grant would feel the need to weaken himself so much
for their protection with the opportunity to attack him or that he might be the objectives were to remove the operating mission, threaten the north, if possible, and to weaken grant's sieges. all that does happen to her in the campaign. you will see. -- all that does happen during the campaign. you will see what i mean. towards lynchburg, he will ride a few minutes later, and his movement will in many ways shock the union army under hunter in the valley and they will vacate the valley. hunter does not retreat through the valley. he heads west towards west virginia.
so, in one of his earliest tasks, you have the army in west virginia under david hunter. to the valley instead of leaving the valley completely open, and they would eventually lose. he puts up a pretty decent strip before he is released. for my friend in the back there, it is going to be low walls and and hisiative -- lou w. initiative in washington dc. so what is going on with the high command here? moving down the valley, headed
north towards the potomac river in maryland, there are reports there is a large enemy source operating in the valley. -- chief of staff and the 49 and the information to jens petersburg -- john petersburg. .avid hunter is in the valley for abraham lincoln, grant has become a great opportunity. grant believes, as does lincoln, that we can separate whatever force this is away from lee before he crosses the potomac river. they see this as opportunity in washington dc. map here.back to this you have the red and blue lines here.
cross the they potomac river. he is headed towards frederick merrill. they realize there is a major threat to washington and baltimore at this point. what is going to happen? you will really appreciate my graphics here. let's send them out, the federal army has the interior lines, the navy, the transport ships. send outgoing to veterans, the first troops that will be coming out will be the third division of -- under games were ge -- under james break it -- riggot. he is going to arrive in baltimore. from there, they will use transportation to take them out, ouere general low walls -- l
walls is waiting for him. race here. becomes a what also we have, the first and second division. realize theyey should send up the rest as well. how about that? head of all the way to washington dc. they arrive on july 11, the same he marches to washington dc. they were supposed to reinforce around petersburg. i spent a lot of time on that. we got reinforcements coming, but will they get there in time?
it will divide the union army and the federal capital one full day. walls will have to make every exertion to save washington and baltimore. 1864, there is a half-hour pitch battle along the banks of the river. strongll fight a very self-defense. towards evening, they will be driven off the field. if you can see in this image james is going to be covering the left flank. think about this. he is retreating towards baltimore, there is nothing in the way of washington dc.
i want you to listen to this as his army isu, retreating towards baltimore. and what it -- what do you think about this. from 9:00 a.m., to 5:00 p.m., when they overwhelm the numbers, attered, forces of at least 20,000, they do not seem to be resuming. you will have to use every exertion to save baltimore and washington. i think the troops of the six core fought magnificently. i was totally overwhelmed by the harpers ferry arriving during the battle to regiments of the
six corps. i will try to get the baltimore -- get the baltimore. -- to baltimore. july 10, heng of makes a march towards washington. he is about 40 miles away. ok, you will appreciate this, this is my favorite quote from the entire campaign around washington. i call it "reach from the stars." got brigadier general west in new york city on recruiting duty, he writes the telegram to the chief of staff offering his services, and you see his response. we are in -- greatly in need of privates.
i will tell you this, my friends, there are a lot of supports in bc, a lot of artillery pieces, generals, not enough privates. mini give you an idea of what this looks like. the chief of staff often forgot about christopher columbus. he serves pretty well during the battle. we have talk about an out of for , just hanging out looking for a job.
you have got the famous general /engineer montgomery, the famous government 1500 clerks. he is going to be in charge of the government clerks. what about this guy? he has been looking for a job since gettysburg. what happens to him? he goes over to the eastern the menhe reports back, were calling back to headquarters, he is told to organize union loyalists. he will be commanding volunteer companies. there is another general looking for another assignment, quincy gilmore, recently released of duty from the army with regiment butler. he is on his way to d.c..
they give him command of the 19th army corps. then you have horatio wright. reinforce theo city. literally, reaching for the stars. this point?n one of these men is an invalid, he can defend washington, and baltimore. you have elements of the u.s. treasury department guard. you can see the washington monument in the background, which is a pretty cool image. you have elements of the general reserve corps. it will see some pretty heavy action during the battle. -- they will see some pretty heavy action during the battle. you can say the officer there is
missing his arm. there are going to be elements as well unattached, there will be a couple of regiments organized for the capital. you have 108 national guard troops. -- listen to this, the soldiers that fight at fort are college students. up a little bit. we will talk about the battle now. it will be coming from frederick maryland. we will get to rockville, maryland right here. his infantry shifts to the east and down towards the sea.
-- dc. his calvary will head down to georgetown. run right below that, with georgetown. coming out of the rockville pike, you can see the ship coming down, we called it georgia avenue today -- college georgia avenue today. called foriginally pennsylvania, there was a tower there, they could see for miles away. -- could not see for miles away because of the dust. advancedmake his
directly toward the capital. this is where the battle really begins at. he said he will run into resistance from the veteran reserve elements, the ohio s1ional guard, and other troops protecting the city. so, let me read to you an account real quick. what does he see when he arrives in washington? this is what he writes to lee. on the morning, we continue the march, but the day was so hot, even at the very early hour in the morning, and the dust so thin, that many of the men fell by the way. nevertheless, when we reached the location, the men world almost completely exhausted and not in a position to make an attack.
he talks in detail what he saw in washington. they were constructed very scientifically. every approach was led by crossfire of activity including from heavy guns. apparent they had been strongly reinforced. a pretty dramatic dynamic account. it was say at the end not exactly the case yet, because you can see here the message from the tower in fort stevens that the enemy was 100 tenures from fort stevens. you can see that times, 1:30 p.m. caps off :00 p.m., there is --
at 12:00 p.m., there is a message that comes from headquarters that the army had landed off the potomac river, they would make their way up to reinforce. what about lincoln? july 11 and july 12, 1864, even after-hours, when the battle initially began, when he up thehey have arrived river, he rides down to greet them. there are accounts of the president greeting them, wishing them well, telling the mythic run into confederate -- if they run into confederate soldiers, he famously tells the soldiers you can't be late if you want to get early. one of my favorite lines. here is fort stevens in 1865. if you look in that road right where he will be
coming down on the morning of july 12 in the afternoon of july 11, into july 12. we are basically out of time here. when he gets 110 yards from fort stevens, internally within the city, and forced him back a thousand yards from fort stevens, that is the watermark. by the evening time, the six quarters on the field take position behind the northern defenses and the 19th core elements arrive as well. the battle is shifted and the divide in the city is over. here is a really great image of fort stevens in 1865. you can see how open that is. place close attention to that tree right there. betweenbe the center fort stevens and the other fort.
he did not leave the city, he .angs out around this area -- will go into action. the next day on july 12, he rode out and found troops were ready to the fort and he had no chance to take the city. we will talk about abraham lincoln real quick. he arrives on july 12 in the late afternoon, escorted to the cont by horatio of the six rps, and the president is under fire. there is a count from a surgeon walking with the president, he says i heard something, someone
had been shot, standing right next to lincoln. somebody tells the president, "get down, you fool, get the hell out of here, go find protection." we can talk about that after. on battle is going to went corps2, one of the six leaves the fort. has been in wheaton, maryland, they renamed it after the battle. they will attack north on both sides and draw the confederate out of washington, d.c. that was one of the most important battles of the american civil war.
thank you very much. [applause] >> we have time for one question about the battle of fort stevens. >> you guys are slow. >> fort stevens was rebuilt in the 1930's. what you see is that construction right there. >> we stand and introduce yourself. >> from chesapeake, virginia. did any confederate artillery shell get into washington dc early, and got to that point? was trying to get to the city so quickly, that the
majority of his artillery was in the rear and they were taking heavy artillery fire as well, but they were able to put shells in the city, not very effective. from urbana, maryland. wait 24 hours for the ransom, why not go down and be ahead? runs into lou w. on july 9, he thought he was placing troops, which he was. the issue was he runs into the third division of the six corps. veteransealizes that are on the field, he realizes he is out of time. het is why the next day rushes the army as quickly as possible to washington dc.
i don't know all the details about the whole ran something. about, ryan talking leaned over to me and said, you know, someone should write a really good book about that. ryan did write a good book about that. he will be happy to was your questions. available to answer questions, look for the men in the orange blazer. we will take a five-minute break. ladies and gentlemen, steve phan . [applause] announcer: learn more about the people land events that shaped the civil war -- and events that shaped the civil war every saturday only on american history tv here on c-span3. announcer: tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv
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