On Location Series #19–Fort Foote Redux

In 1862 the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac, at Hampton Roads, caused everyone to be alarm at a pending invasion in Washington. The war carried on as many European countries wanted to join forces with the Confederate States of America to defeat the United States. Fort Washington which stood on the Potomac River was considered by some to be too far away for adequate supported. Therefore the protection of the city from naval attack became a significant concern, and army engineers began constructing earthworks to resist potential naval barrage…

Greetings, above is a brief history of Fort Foote, which is somewhat still standing around the Oxon Hill, Maryland area. I wrote one of my first “On Location” pieces on this location that I visited several years ago. Maybe it was the first? I do not know, and I attempted to search the site in an effort to find it, yet I could not. It was too many posts to examine it thoroughly.
Nevertheless, I did explore it once, and it was a beautiful, brief trek through the remnants of the fort. The actual physical structure was gone for a long time with only the massive cannons remaining; also remarkably they were pointing near the Potomac River. I also saw cannons balls near their projectiles, including numerous signs around the area describing different components of the remaining fort.

Now, on September 21, 2019, I revisited Fort Foote, but I had company. My daughter joined my hike, and I told her we would explore the history and I filled her head up with the big cannons and clear paths to the water.
Sadly to say I was disappointed but she enjoyed it all the same.
The fort was “rundown,” the paths were covered with vegetation and were blocked by falling debris. Example, the main trail that supposed to have lead to the bridge at the main section of the fort was covered with a fallen tree. We had to return to the beginning of the path.   The plan was to go on the second path in an attempt to thoroughly explore the fort.  The secondary trail supposedly led downwards to the Potomac River. We could have gone off-trail; however, my daughter had on a shirt which exposed her legs to the elements. I did not want to be the one treating her for poison ivy, which could have easily been a reality if I made the opposite decision.

Now, nearing the middle part of this trail, my little one said a small path to our left that led uphill. I presumed if we kept going, we could have reached the river, but we took the detour instead. It paid off as we were on the other side of the falling tree, near the middle section of Fort Foote. We read more signs as before (four altogether on our journey on both paths) and then we crossed a bridge which the same fallen tree blocked the other side of it. Also, we saw one of the cannons which were the first out of three, I believe. Regrettably, we could not reach it due to the condition of the trail. This occurrence was disappointing as the venture was unable to be completed. There were much more to explore but due to the state of the fort that was not attainable. It is a shame that the government did very little in terms of upkeep, so I emailed the National Park Service, to voice my concerns over the current state of Fort Foote.   I hope they will take my complaint under advisement and make Fort Foote once again fully accessible to the public.

For more please view the video clips below and thanks again for joining us on this impromptu exploration DMV:

2 thoughts on “On Location Series #19–Fort Foote Redux

  1. This is for a lack of a better word… Dope!
    The history nerd in me is ashamed to have let this piece of history in Maryland go over my head?!

    Thanks for putting this out into the Universe, I need to get over there before the seasons change again!

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