Today, only one silent gun stands behind the masonry wall—the last armament of the powerful fort that once guarded the water approach to our Nation's Capital. The old fort is one of the few U.S. seacoast fortifications still in its original form.
When ocean-going warships had wood sides and carried smoothbore cannons, no enemy would attempt to ascend the river before destroying the fort. But changing technology made the fort useless. Our government built concrete emplacements to meet the threat of iron-sided ships and rifled guns. When they became obsolete the post was turned over to the infantry and finally became a military training facility. Over 200 years of army presence has left the park with a diverse group of military structures and a rich history of service to our country and the Nation's Capital.