Scott Hart, 76, author, newspaper and magazine journalist and a Civil War enthusiast, died of cancer Friday at Fairfax Hospital. He lived in Reston.

He worked as a columnist and then as a feature writer at The Washington Post from 1937 to 1943.

Later, Mr. Hart was a staff correspondent in Washington for Time magazine, chief of the Washington bureau for Coronet-Esquire magazines and an editor of Changing Times magazine.

In the early 1960s he was the official historian of the National Civil War Centennial Commission.

He was born Winston Scott Hart in Farmville, Va., where his father edited a weekly newspaper. He attended Farmville Training School but never made it beyond sixth grade.

He worked for awhile on his father's paper and then became a reporter, first for the Richmond News Leader and then the Roanoke (Va) Times in the 1920s.

Before coming to The Post, Mr. Hart was a reporter for five years with the Richomond Times-Dispatch. At first, at The Post, he tried his hand at the Federal Diary, a column written for government employes.

"I didn't do well on that type of work and was put to general reporting. I consider my best work was on light assignments, with human interest content," he explained later.

Mr. Hart published his first novel while working at The Post, "The Moon Is Waning." He described it as a book about "possum hunting, a sport indigenous to the country and the character of the people in that section of Virginia south of the James River and known as the Southside.'"

His later books included "Eight April Days," a story on the Civil War that was published in 1949 and became an alternate Book-of-the-Month selection, and "route Obscure and Lonely," which dealt with alcoholism.

His last book was "Washington at War: 194l-45," an account of what was going on in the nation's capital, along with anecdotes about some of its more prominent occupants during World War II.

One of the founders of the National Press Club, Mr.Hart had contributed to "Dateline Washington," a history of the club published in 1949.

Mr. Hart also had written for Pageant and True magazines. From 1950 to 1954, he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, and during 1955-58 for the National Geographic. He was a speech writer for the Democratic National Committee in the mid-1940s.

He belonged to the Civil War Round Table.

He is survived by a daughter, Martha Harlan of Reston; a son, Jonathan, of Bethesda; a sister, Martha Jane Hunt of Farmville, and two grandchildren.