Fort Hunt played a key role in military development and defense. It was used as a major fortification during the Spanish-American War, as a logistical/training support center during peacetime, and as a military installation during WWI and WWII.
By 1917, with advances in military technology, fortifications like the ones in front of you became outdated. The military dismantled the fort's guns and sent them abroad to be mounted on railway cars where they could be used in support of WWI operations.
Between the first and second World Wars, military activity continued at Fort Hunt. This included housing troops, hosting a short-lived U.S. Army Finance School, and providing a training area for an African-American Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit.
During WWII, the military operated two top-secret programs at Fort Hunt. Enemy prisoners-of-war (POWs) were detained and interrogated on site. The fort was also used as a manufacturing center for secret escape devices sent to American POWs abroad.
Battery Mount Vernon
Endicott Coastal Defense System: In 1885, Secretary of War William C. Endicott led a study which recommended upgrading our Nation's coastal defense system. As a result, batteries (concrete platforms for guns) like the one in front of you were built along coastal waterways.
Completed: August 1898
Dimension: 417 feet wide x 88 feet deep x 23 feet high
Artillery: Three 8-inch breech-loading disappearing guns
Range of Fire: 8 miles
Special Features: The gun carriages could be raised and lowered to "disappear" below the battery's protective wall.