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New Meetup: Hike between Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen

From: John H
Sent on: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:49 PM

Announcing a new Meetup for Capital Area Hikers and History Buffs!

What: Hike between Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen
When: Sunday, July 31,[masked]:00 PM

Where: (A location has not been chosen yet.)

Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen are on the south side of the of the Potomac River overlooking the two major roads that lead into Virginia from the Chain Bridge.

A division of Union troops under the command of General William Farrar Smith crossed Chain Bridge on the night of September 24, 1861 and commenced construction of the two fortifications.

The site of Fort Marcy on a hill known as Prospect Hill, near the location of the infamous, but bloodless, "blackleg" duel between Congressmen Henry Clay of KY and John Randolph of VA in 1826.  The fort was named in honor of Randolph B Marcy, father-in-law and chief of staff to General George B McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. 

Work on Fort Marcy was not completed until the fall of 1862, by which time a 338 foot perimeter earthen wall enclosed 18 guns,  aimed toward the south and west.  The famed "Iron Brigade", composed of troops from the 19th Indiana, 2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin and 24th Michigan Regiments, was organized at Fort Marcy in the summer of 1862 and served together until the close of the war. 

Fort Marcy Park is perhaps best known in recent history for being the place where the body of Vince Foster, deputy White House Counsel under President Clinton, was found following his alleged suicide on July 20, 1993.

Built by troops from Vermont, Fort Ethan Allen was named in honor of that state's commander of the Green Mountain Boys militia that captured Fort Ticonderoga.

Fort Ethan Allen was a larger earthwork than Fort Marcy, with a perimeter of 736 yards and emplacements for 36 guns.  Military Road, which still exists today to the east of the remaining earthworks, was built as a supply road to link Fort Ethan Allen with Fort C. F. Smith to the south.  The garrison at Fort Ethan Allen numbered up to as many as 1,000 men.

Check it out!

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