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Roundtable: Washington D.C. Defenses

April 7, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join speaker Steven Phan as he shares the story of “The Washington D.C. Defenses during the Civil War.”

In the wake of the Union defeat at First Manassas, federal engineers set to work constructing a ring of defenses around the capital. At wars’ end in 1865, around 68 major forts surrounded Washington D.C. which included 93 batteries consisting of over 900 cannons. This network of forts was connected by 30 miles of roads to supply and allow for the transferring of troops between forts.

This formidable ring of capital defenses were manned initially by volunteer regiments who mustered into service in 1861. They would become know as the “Heavy” regiments as their assignments included drill and training on the massive siege guns during their garrison duty. After a relatively cushy duty outside of the capital, the Heavies would be sent to the front lines in the spring of 1864. They would suffer some of the highest casualty rates while trying to prove themselves to the more veteran regiments.

Steven T. Phan is a Park Ranger and historian at the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Phan has also worked as an intern and park guide at Richmond National Battlefield Park, Hopewell Culture National park and Rock Creek Park. He is the author of several articles about Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Civil War and is currently writing a book on the Civil War Defenses of Washington. A military scholar of the Civil War era, Phan’s research mainly focuses on fortifications, military occupation, operational command and the Western Theater during the Civil War. He holds a Masters degree in American History, with a concentration in Public History.

The Petersburg Civil War Roundtable (PCWRT) will meet the first Thursday of each month at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier from 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Annual membership is $40.00. Individuals who are already members of Pamplin Historical Park can become members of PCWRT for $20.00. Non-members can attend for $5.00 each meeting. Call (804) 861-2408 for more information.

This is an in-person event.


Pamplin Historical Park
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