Fort Corcoran

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Fort Corcoran (1861-1866) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort first established in 1861 in Arlington County, Virginia. Named Fort Corcoran in G.O. 18, 30 Sep 1861, after Colonel Michael Corcoran, 69th New York. The fort was abandoned in 1866 after the end of the war.

Fort Corcoran, Officers of the 69th New York, Col. Corcoran on the Left
Fort Corcoran 24 pounder Gun Crew
Fort Corcoran Interior

History of Fort Corcoran

One of the ring of Union fortifications surrounding Washington DC during the U.S. Civil War, see Washington DC Fort Ring.

Fort Corcoran Rear Entrance
Fort Corcoran Officers
Washington Defenses at the Aqueduct Bridge

Fort Corcoran was also one of 33 forts on the Virginia side of the Potomac River that made up an outer defense line for Washington DC known as the Arlington Line.

Established in May 1861 as a bastioned earthwork by Colonel Michael Corcoran and the 69th New York. Fort Corcoran was a large fort with a 576 yard perimeter enclosing emplacements for twelve guns and three magazines. The fort was one of the first Union forts constructed on the Virginia side of the Potomac, it was strategically placed to guarded the approaches to the Aqueduct Bridge.

A July 1861 report indicated that Fort Corcoran had more than its planned 12 guns and 180 artillerymen. The report listed twelve 8" seacoast howitzers, seven 24 pounder barbette guns, two 12 pounder field guns and two 24 pounder howitzers. Over two hundred artillery men were at the post. The total garrison size was to have been some 800 artillerymen and guards. The armament and garrison fluctuated greatly over the war years and many units cycled through the post.

A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: "Fort Corcoran, Lieut. Col. J. Palmer commanding.–Garrison, three companies Second New York Heavy Artillery–1 lieutenant-colonel, 8 commissioned officers, 396 men, 1 ordnance- sergeant. Armament, two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, two 12-pounder heavy guns, four 12- pounder light Napoleons, and three 10-pounder Parrotts. Magazines, three; two serviceable, one unserviceable and being repaired. Ammunition, full supply and serviceable. Implements, full sets and serviceable. Drill in artillery, very ordinary; wants improving much. Drill in infantry, very deficient; fault is in the officer in command; but little attention seems to have been given to improvement. Discipline, low state; shows inefficiency in the command. Garrison is amply sufficient."

Between September 1861 and August 1863 Fort Corcoran also served as the headquarters of the Union Army Balloon Corps, commanded by Thaddeus S. C. Lowe.

At the end of the war Fort Corcoran served as a storage point for artillery from other closed forts and the post remained open until 1866.


Current Status

Marker only, no remains. The site was located at the intersection of North Key Blvd. and North Ode Street in Arlington County, Virginia.


Location: At the intersection of North Key Blvd. and North Ode Street in Arlington County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.896257 Long: -77.075922

See Also:

Sources:

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