Fort Stevens was built in 1861 on land that was partly owned by Elizabeth Proctor Thomas, a free black woman. Her house was torn down by soldiers in 1862 to make room for the fort. When President Abraham Lincoln visited Fort Stevens, he promised to pay her for the loss, but there’s no record that she was compensated. Thomas lived in the community until her death in 1917. A reconstruction of Fort Stevens, which deteriorated after the war, was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and stands on the original site. It was the site of the District’s only Civil War battle, on July 11, 1864, ending in a Union victory.
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