Hiking to Fort Stevens
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Fort Stevens is a little-known Civil War historic site in the District of Columbia. I'll tell you its story as I describe a visit I made there on a hike with my son's Boy Scout troop.
The plan for the hike this day (one of several that Spring to help the Scouts attain the Hiking Merit Badge) was to follow the National Capital Lincoln Trail. It's not a actual trail, but an urban hike designed to visit a number of historic sites in Washington, DC, associated with Abraham Lincoln and his presidency during the Civil War.
We began by assembling at Ford's Theatre at 10th Street, NW. This is, of course, the location where Lincoln was assasinated in April 1865.
From Ford's Theatre, we made our way up along 10th Street to H Street, NW. H street led us across to the intersection with New York Avenue. New York Avenue Presbyterian Church stands at this site, and was the church Lincoln and his family attended during his presidency. Continuing in the direction of the National Mall, we passed Lafayette Park and the White House. Then it was down 17th street to Constitution Avenue and the National Mall. We followed a tree-lined path along Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial.
Leaving the Lincoln Memorial, we followed Rock Creek Parkway under the footings of Memorial Bridge and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to an entrance to Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek Park is a urban park running the length of Northwest Washington. Here, we continued along roads, footpaths and finally trails as the terrain became more akin to an urban wilderness.
Finally, we emerged from the park in a residential neighborhood in Northwest Washington almost at the Maryland border. From here, it was a few blocks along Georgia Avenue to our objective, Fort Stevens.
Fort Stevens was one of a circle of defensive forts built during the Civil War to protect Washington, DC, from Confederate attack.
The Confederate forces were repulsed, but forty-one Union troops were killed in the battle. They are buried at nearby Battlefield National Cemetery, the smallest of the National Cemeteries. We stopped to visit Battlefield National Cemetery as we walked along Georgia Avenue.
Our arrival at Fort Stevens concldued the hike along the Lincoln Trail. To finish, we walked a short distance over to Fort Totten Metro station, crossing to Northeast Washington in the process. (Fort Totten takes its name from another of the Civil War Circle Forts.) Metro took us back to Springfield and the end of an enjoyable day of hiking and history.