Fort O'Rourke

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Fort O'Rourke (1862-1865) - A U.S. Civil War Fort first established as Redoubt C of Fort Lyon in 1862 in present day Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia. Named Fort O'Rourke in September 1863 after Colonel Patrick Henry O'Rourke, 104th New York Infantry, who was killed at Gettysburg on 2 Jul 1863. Abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.

History of Fort O'Rourke

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

Fort O'Rourke 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 1862 as one of four redoubts in advance of Fort Lyon. After the battle at Gettysburg all four redoubts were were renamed for Union officers killed at that battle. The four newly created forts were Fort Weed, Fort Farnsworth, Fort O'Rourke and Fort Willard. Together with Fort Lyon these forts created a line across the southern approaches to the city of Alexandria.

Fort O'Rourke (originally Redoubt C of Fort Lyon) was built by elements of the 34th Massachusetts Infantry. The original redoubt was built with a perimeter of 160 yards enclosing emplacements for 16 guns. Armament included one 24 pounder, two 8" howitzers, six 20 pounder Parrott rifles (2 vacant platforms).

A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: "Fort O'Rorke, Captain Armstrong commanding.–Garrison, two companies Tenth New York Heavy Artillery–6 commissioned officers, I ordnance-sergeant, 242 men. Armament, two 12- pounder field howitzers (smooth), six 20-pounder Parrotts (rifled), one 24-pounder siege gun (smooth), two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, two 24-pounder Coehorn mortars. Magazines, one; dry and in good order. Ammunition, full supply and in good order. Implements, complete and serviceable. Drill in artillery, ordinary. Drill in infantry, very indifferent; wants improving much. Discipline, indifferent. Garrison of sufficient strength."

The fort was abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.

Current Status

No remains or period guns or carriages in place.

Location: Southeast corner of Fort Drive and Park Place in Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.78704 Long: -77.07319

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