The Arlington Line
was a series of fortifications erected in present-day
Arlington County, Virginia to protect the City of Washington during the American
Just across the Potomac River from the Union capital, Confederate
Virginia was a major Union concern when the war began. In May 1861, federal
troops seized much of present-day Arlington County (which borders the Potomac),
and immediately began constructing an extensive network of fortifications to
protect Washington. That network eventually became known as the Arlington Line.
The pace of construction accelerated after the Confederacy defeated the Union at
the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861.
The Arlington Line was quite strategically effective. It was never attacked,
even after the Union's disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in
Major D.P. Woodbury was the Union engineer who designed and constructed the
Arlington Line, and one of its forts, Fort Woodbury (which once stood in what is
today Arlington's Courthouse neighborhood), was named for him.
Historical markers showing the locations of each of the former Arlington Line
fortifications and providing brief descriptions of each can be found throughout
- Arlington Historical Society - Arlington Line
- Arlington Historical Society - Military-use structures