Fort Ward served as a Union fortification as part of the Defenses of Washington, a system of Union forts that protected our nation’s capital from Confederate attack. It was built in September 1861, named after Commander James H. Ward, the first Union naval officer to die in the Civil War. When it was completed, it had a perimeter of 540 yards and emplacements for 24 guns. Not long after the Second Battle of Bull Run they made plans to extend the fort, which began in 1863. By the end of the Civil War, the expanded fort had a perimeter of 818 yards and emplacements for 36 guns. Fort Ward served as a deterrent and was never under Confederate attack during the war. The fort was abandoned in December 1865, and rescued items were sold at auction. After the Civil War, African-American residents of Alexandria established the fort area as a community, which lasted until the Civil Rights Era in the 1960s. In 1964, it was dedicated to a city park and museum to commemorate the Centennial of the Civil War.
The final cache coordinates are N 38° (A-B).(C-D)(E/F)(H-G) W 077° I.J(K+L)M.
The tour begins at N 38° 49.737 W 077° 06.095 with an information sign titled “The Fort and Seminary Community Civil War to Civil Rights”. Read this sign in order to solve for clues A and B.
A=last two digits in the year African-American men from “The Fort” community registered to vote in a referendum to rewrite the Virginia constitution outlawing slavery.
B=first two digits in the year the Oakland Baptist Church was established by community members.
On the other side of “the road”, there is another information sign titled “African Americans and the Civil War – Fleeing, Fighting, and Working for Freedom.” Read the sign to solve for C and D.
C=first two digits in the number of African-Americans that lived in Alexandria and environs in May 1865.
D= third digit in the year USCT soldier James M. Peters’ son, John, established residency in the community, where the Peters family lived for 50 years.
Proceed to N 38° 49.756 W 077° 06.134 where you will seek an information sign with two titles: “Entrance Gate to Fort Ward” and “Officers’ Hut.” Read the sign to solve for E and F.
E.) Approximately how many feet from the bottom of the ditch to the arch of the gate did the fort’s earthen walls reach? Multiple that number by 3, and that will be your clue # for E.
F.) Throughout the Civil War, Fort Ward was occupied by the First Connecticut Heavy Artillery as well as units from which three states?
5 – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont
10 – Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey
20 – New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio
30 - New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware
Proceed to N 38° 49.805 W 077° 06.128. Here you will see an information sign titled “Bombproof”. Use the sign to help you solve for G.
G.) According to the sign, how many bombproofs were located in the center of Fort Ward during the Civil War?
On the other side of the white hardened trail you should see a staircase. Take it down and it will lead you to an information sign on the right titled “Fort Ward 1861-1865.” There is a little bit of information of the fort as well as the map of the Defenses of Washington. Use the sign to help you solve for H.
H=the month number in the year that the only battle fought in the Defenses of Washington took place. Subtract that number by 2 and that will be your clue # for H
Proceed to N 38° 49.848 W 077° 06.144, where you will see the Northwest Bastion (the actual fort). Feel free to get the nearby virtual cache “Rambo’s Civil War Cache” (GC8E69) while you are here. Use the information sign titled “Northwest Bastion” to solve for J.
I.) Count the number of cannons located at the fort.
J=first digit in the # of miles in range for a 24-pounder Howitzer (whole number counts).
Proceed to the N 38° 49.865 W 077° 06.137, where you will see an information sign titled “Profile of Fort.” Read the information to help you solve for K and L.
The walls were 18-22 feet high, 12-14 feet wide, and it was slanted at KL degrees.
The tour is almost over! Proceed to N 38° 49.876 W 077° 06.092, where you will seek an information sign titled “Rifle Trench.” Use the sign to help you solve for M.
M.) The rifle trench expanded from the North Bastion toward Battery Garesche located beyond this route. Add the route number by 1.
The final should be pretty easy to find now that I have relocated it in a different spot. When you find it, please put it back in its intended spot. Have fun! Feel free to visit the Fort Ward Museum if you like. It is free of charge. It opens from 10am-5pm Tues-Sat and from noon-5pm on Sundays.
FTF Honors: MSWeber
You can check your answers for this puzzle on GeoChecker.com.
Best Historical/Education Cache