Fort Stevens, DC

[Officers and men of Company F, 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, in Fort Stevens]

Judicial Advice

Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, a future US Supreme Court Justice,  shouted to President Lincoln: "Get down, you fool, or you'll be killed!"


Date(s): July 11-12, 1864

Location: Battlefield Unavailable - Lost Integrity

Campaign(s): Early’s Raid and Operations against the B&O Railroad [1864]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright and Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook

  • Confederate: Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Divisions

  • Confederate: Divisions


  • On July 11, Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s exhausted Confederates reached the outskirts of Washington near Silver Spring.

  • Skirmishers advanced to feel the fortifications which at the time were manned only by Home Guards, clerks, and convalescent troops.

  • During the night, veteran units from the Union VI Corps disembarked from troop transports and marched north through the streets of Washington to bolster the defenses.

  • On July 12, Early was finally in position to make a strong demonstration, which was repulsed by the veteran Union troops. In the afternoon, VI Corps units sortied against the Confederate skirmishers, driving them back from their advanced positions in front of Forts Stevens and DeRussy.

  • President Lincoln watched the action from Fort Stevens and came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters.

  • Recognizing that the Union Capitol 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.”

Slide Presentation: None [Battlefield Lost Integrity]

Classification2: B

Casualties3: 874 total

  • Union:  

  • Confederate:

Results: Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/06/2013