Silent Sentinel on the Potomac, Fort Mcnair, 1791-1991by Phyllis I. McClellan
As early as 1791, the spit of land at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers was set aside as a military reservation to guard the southern approaches to the new federal capital. Throughout its two-hundred-year history, the area has served as an arsenal, penitentiary, Artillery Post, U.S. Army Engineer School, Selective Service records repository, U.S. Army Band School, Military Police School, and is presently the home of the National Defense University, the Inter-American Defense College, and Headquarters of the Military District of Washington.
The British suffered their worst loss here in 1814 when the Washington Arsenal powder magazine accidentally blew up. An 1831 building has been preserved where the Lincoln conspirators were tried and hanged in the courtyard. The 1838 Ordnance Departments' Model Museum is now used as living quarters, and the 1893 Army General Hospital is unchanged since Walter Reed (discoverer of the cure for yellow fever) died there following an appendectomy. The historic Army War College with its hundred-foot vaulted rotunda of Guastavino tile and terrazzo flooring is a Federal landmark. Approximately forty vintage photographs from the N.D.U., Walter Reed Army Hospital, and the Engineer Historical Office show Fort McNair in its various roles over the years. Ghosts of yesteryear abound; if you stand quietly, you can imagine the faint echo of bugle calls sounding across the parade ground, and believe that the bastion still serves as a sentinel protecting the nation's capital. The author was a military wife for thirty-seven years. She was married to Major General Stan L. McClellan and was a resident of Washington, D.C. for several years.
A full-name index augments the text.
- Heritage Books, Inc. MD
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