Sending Office: Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
Please cosponsor The Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park Act H.R. 3725, which would recognize and preserve the nation’s Civil War Defenses of Washington located in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. The Defenses of Washington,
including forts, unarmed batteries and rifle trenches, created a ring of protection for the nation’s capital during the Civil War. This bill would redesignate the 22 Defenses of Washington currently under National Park Service jurisdiction as a national historical
park, and allow other sites associated with the Defenses of Washington that are owned by the District or a unit of state governments to be affiliated with the national historical park through cooperative agreements. This bill would also require the Secretary
of the Interior to facilitate the storied history of the Civil War for both the North and the South, including the history of the Defenses of Washington and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, being assembled, arrayed and conveyed for the benefit of the
public for the knowledge, education and inspiration of this and future generations.
The Defenses of Washington were constructed at the beginning of the war, in 1861, as a ring of protection for the nation’s capital and for President Abraham Lincoln. By the end of the war, these defenses included 68 forts, 93 unarmed batteries, 807 mounted
cannons, 13 miles of rifle trenches and 32 miles of military roads. The major test of the Defenses of Washington came with the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, when Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early, directed by General Robert E. Lee, sought to
attack the nation’s capital from the north, causing Union forces threatening to attack Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, to be withdrawn. General Early was delayed by Union Major General Lew Wallace at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, 1864, and was
stopped at the northern edge of Washington at the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11-12, 1864. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign ended when Union Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan defeated General Early at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, on October 19,
Nearly all the individual forts in the Civil War Defenses of Washington—on both sides of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers—were involved in stopping General Early’s attack, and the Battle of Fort Stevens was the second and last attempt by the Confederate
Army to attack Washington.
Taken together, these battles were pivotal to the outcome of the war and the freedom and democracy that the war represented for this country. It is therefore fitting that we recognize these sites by redesignating them as a national historical park.
Please contact Blake Paradis in my office at (202) 225-8050 or
firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to sign on.
Eleanor Holmes Norton
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