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Map of the Week Vol. 3 – Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864


Click map to enlarge. Source, via Library of Congress, Virginia Historical Society

Map of the Week is written by David A., a systems librarian and map geek living in Mt. Pleasant.

Title: Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864.

This week’s map is a hand-drawn, color-coded illustration of DC’s defenses late in the Civil War. Take a closer look and you will see various forts in upper NW DC arranged to defend from an attack from the north. In July of 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early approached the city from Maryland and engaged in skirmishes along the DC border before retreating to Leesburg.

Notable features include Tennallytown, Columbia College and the Aqueduct Bridge across the Potomac. Tennallytown, situated at the highest point in DC, was named for John Tennally, owner of a tavern at the corner of present-day Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. It was later shortened to Tenleytown.

Columbia College (officially Columbian College) changed its name to Columbian University in 1873 and moved to 15th St. and H st. NW. In 1904, it changed its name to The George Washington University and the institution moved to Foggy Bottom in 1912.

The nearby Aqueduct Bridge was built between Georgetown and Rosslyn with the purpose of connecting DC and Alexandria by canal. By 1864 it was repurposed as a footbridge for Union troops. The Key Bridge eventually superseded the Aqueduct Bridge, though ruins still exist near the entrance to the Capital Crescent trail in Georgetown.

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