Fort Ward is a well-preserved former Union Army installation with 90-95% of its earthen walls still intact. It was the fifth largest fort built to defend Washington, DC during the American Civil War.
Considered a model of military engineering, the Fort was built in 1861 and comprises of 36 guns mounted in five bastions, an authentically reconstructed bastion, the ceremonial entrance gate, and underground bomb shelters to house 500 men. The fort never saw any attacks and was dismantled in November 1865. There’s a museum building with exhibits and artifacts including period military uniforms, medical equipment, and a model of the original fort. The remains of the earthwork are surrounded by a 45-acre park with signs and maps interpreting the fort’s landscape.
Named after James Harmon Ward– the first Union naval officer to die in the war– the fort interprets the site’s history and offers exhibits on Civil War topics, tours, lectures and video series, and reenactment that interpret Civil war soldiers and civilian life, including infantry drills, artillery demonstration, camp life and more.
The museum is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday noon to 5 pm.