— The Fallen Union Officer for Whom the Battery Was Named —
Born June 4, 1834, in Martinsburg, New York, this 1856 West Point graduate returned to his alma mater as an instructor following a tour of duty in the west and midwest. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Bailey organized the First New York Light Artillery and was appointed its colonel on September 24, 1861. During the Battle of Seven Pines near Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, Colonel Bailey was killed instantly at the tragic young age of 28.
Artist's Conception of Battery Bailey, Circa 1862.
Defending the City of Washington
During the Civil War between 1861 and 1865, the Army of the Potomac had a two-fold mission: to defeat the Confederate Army and to defend the City of Washington against enemy attack. To prepare for the possibility of enemy attack, military fortifications connected by lines of earthworks or batteries were constructed on hastily chosen sites around the perimeter of the City at approximately one half mile intervals. By 1864, the Defenses of Washington consisted of over 150 enclosed forts and batteries.
The most westerly fort of the line was Fort Sumner, named for General Erwin Vose Sumner. Corps Commander, Army of the Potomac. Forts Sumner, Mansfield and their connecting batteries, including Battery Bailey, were constructed to guard the receiving reservoir of the Washington Aquaduct and the Potomac River shoreline.
By the end of the War, lest History repeat itself, Army engineers recommended that Washington keep some of the defenses in order. Initially some 24 installations, including Fort Sumner, were deemed worthy of retention with the possibility that the list be further shortened in the future. As the list continued to dwindle and properties returned to rightful owners, time and weather worked to diminish the batteries.
]What is a Battery?Battery
- a fortification formed by moving earth or other materials into hill-like formations to protect artillery, having the following components:
- an elevation of earth that protects soldiers from attack.Terreplain
- the level ground area on the interior of a battery.Banquette
- a step on the inside of the parapet where a soldier can stand to fire a weapon.Embrasure
- an opening in the parapet usually with a platform to permit the stabilization and firing of a large weapon.Barbette
- a raised platform that allows weapons to be fired over the parapet.