Fort Stevens

Fort Stevens Battle

Fort Stevens

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After his victory over Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace at the Battle of Monocacy in central Maryland on July 9th, Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early pressed his advantage and moved south toward the Union capital in Washington, DC. On July 11th, Early's exhausted Confederates reached the outskirts of Washington near Silver Spring. Skirmishers advanced to feel the fortifications that encircled the city, which at the time were manned only by Home Guards, clerks, and convalescent troops. During the night, Union reinforcements from Grant's army surrounding Petersburg, veteran units from the Sixth Corps, disembarked from troop transports and marched north through the streets of Washington to bolster the city's defenses. On July 12th, Early made a strong demonstration against Fort Stevens, one of the positions in the Union defensive line north of the city, which was repulsed by the veteran Federal troops. In the afternoon, a Federal counterattack drove the Confederate skirmishers back from their positions in front of Fort Stevens and nearby Fort DeRussy. President Abraham Lincoln watched the action from Fort Stevens and came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters. Recognizing that the Union Capital was now defended by veterans, Early abandoned any thought of taking the city. Early withdrew during the night, marching toward White’s Ford on the Potomac, ending his invasion of Maryland. “We didn’t take Washington,” Early told his staff officers, “but we scared Abe Lincoln like Hell.”

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
19,600

Union

9,600

Confederate

10,000
Total Estimated Casualties
874

Union

374

Confederate

500