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Fort Marcy, McLean

#13 of 13 in Things to do in McLean
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Military Facility
Fort Marcy Park is a public park located in unincorporated McLean, Virginia, in Fairfax County. It is administered by the National Park Service as part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
At the end of the Civil War in 1865, the system of fortification (now known as Fort Circle Parks) which surrounded Washington, D.C. were dismantled. The lumber and other materials were sold at auctions and the land returned to pre-war owners. Fort Marcy is approximately 1/2 mile south of the Potomac River on the south side of the Chain Bridge Road leading from Chain Bridge to Langley and McLean, Virginia. The perimeter of the fort is 338 feet (103 m). When completed, the fort mounted 18 guns, a 10-inch (25 cm) mortar and two 24-pound (10 kg) Coehorn mortars. The batteries were aimed toward the south and west.
The hill on which the fort is located was known as Prospect Hill. Originally the fort was called Fort Baldy Smith, after General William Farrar Smith, the troops of whose division began construction of the work. His division crossed Chain Bridge on the night of September 24, 1861, and immediately commenced construction of Fort Marcy and Fort Ethan Allen. The 79th New York Highlanders, the 141st Pennsylvania and the Iron Brigade also helped complete the work in the fall of 1862. A force of about 500 contrabands were also employed and the 152nd New York worked on the entrenchments, which incidentally are still in a very good state of preservation. The site of Fort Marcy is near the location where the famous but bloodless duel between Henry Clay and John Randolph was fought in 1826.
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  • Fort Marcy is located in the northern segment of the beautiful GW Parkway that runs south all the way to Washington’s home. Hiking trail, picnic spots, views of Potomac and civil war era history are.....  more »
  • One beautiful afternoon we decided to visit Fort Marcy...a historical spot but not popular. A good few hours of walking, listening to silence...aah! The stream running over rocks and fallen...  more »
  • Decent park and trails but the downside is the trails mostly border the road so all you hear is traffic. There's a few sections that are really nice with a waterway passing though, but that's about the highlight. There's also a small historical section as well near the parking area.
  • Perfect place to unwind, warm atmosphere and plenty of green.
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