This impressive line of artillery is in Willard Park on the grounds of the Washington Navy Yard. While most of the tubes were made on-site at the Naval Foundry and sent to Union Navy ships or land installations, the one second from the right served the Confederacy during the Civil War.
According to WIkipedia, the Washington Navy Yard is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy and currently serves as a ceremonial and administrative center, home to the Chief of Naval Operations. It is headquarters for the Naval Historical Center, the Department of Naval History, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Naval Reactors, Marine Corps Institute, and numerous other naval commands.The Washington Navy Yard was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and designated a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976. nearly 400,000 people visit the U.S. Navy Museum annually.
Colored lithograph published by E. Sachse & Company, Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1862. It depicts the Washington Navy Yard as seen from above the Anacostia River, looking north, with Building # 1 and the trophy gun park in the center. Courtesy of the Navy Historical Center. The museum is housed in Building #76, the old Breech Mechanism Shop of the Naval Gun Factory.
The Navy Museum is filled with statues, paintings, relics and artifacts, ship models, nameplates, carved masthead figures, and other interesting displays. This young “gob” greets visitors near the front entrance to the free museum. The statue of Boatswain’s Mate Charles W. Riggin is made from melted dimes.
The U.S. Navy Museum was established in 1961 and opened to the public in 1963. As one of fourteen Navy museums throughout the country, it is the only one that presents an overview of U.S. naval history. Permanent and temporary exhibitions commemorate the Navy’s wartime heroes and battles as well as its peacetime contributions in exploration, diplomacy, space flight, navigation and humanitarian service.
Individual display cases contain personal property and military accouterments from leading officers, as well as a few lower echelon sailors. Here is a sample of the highest honor a navy man can receive, the Medal of Honor.
A certain Kentucky native turned Illinois lawyer spent considerable time visiting the Navy Yard during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln who awaited war news there. In 1865, the Lincoln assassination conspirators were brought to the Yard following their capture. The body of murderer John Wilkes Booth was examined and identified on the monitor USS Montauk, moored at the Yard.
The commandant’s house at the Washington Navy Yard. At the start of the rebellion, Commandant Franklin Buchanan resigned his commission to join the Confederacy, leaving the Yard to Commander John A. Dahlgren, who entertained President Lincoln here several times.
The famous ironclad USS Monitor was repaired at the Yard after her historic battle with the CSS Virginia (the latter is shown above in the diorama being converted into an ironclad after its service as the USS Merrimac).
The museum contains several display cases with artifacts of the life of Admiral David G. Farragut, but there is surprisingly little mention of the “brown water navy” of Admiral David Dixon Porter and the riverine warfare that destroyed Confederate naval firepower on the Mississippi River, a favorite topic for my wargaming endeavors.
Neither Farragut or Porter (nor famed Rebel raider Raphael Semmes) had this kind of massive firepower! The USS Barry, a vintage U.S. Havy destroyer, is open for free tours at the Washington Navy Yard.
The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends and holidays. It is open every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Individuals above the age of 16 are required to have a valid government-issued ID card, such as a driver’s license, State ID, passport, or Common Access Card (CAC).