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by E. Caylor Bowen


(continued from page 9) G.M. Hopkins Book of Surveys and Plats of Properties in the City of Washington, this small rectangular plot (615 X 250 feet), selected by President Jefferson in 1801, was the headquarters of British Troops under Maj-Gen. Ross during the occupation of Washington in 1814.

With the arrival of sailors and a detachment of marines in Washington, a small naval hospital was established near the yard. The Civil and Military List of February 17, 1801, shows 2,488 Navy uniformed personnel and 524 Marines; absolute population figures for the District of Columbia in 1800 were 10,066 white, 783 free colored, and 3,244 slaves, for a total of 14,093. An act of 1834 clarified the dual status of the Marine Corps, originally created in 1798 for service under the Army or Navy, making it a part of the Navy.

Outside of the technical activities of shipbuilding, ordnance-making, and scientific experiments, navy yard history between the War of 1812 and the Civil War is generally without incident. By the middle of the nineteenth century the work at the yard centered on the manufacture and development of heavy ordnance, and the name was officially changed to the Naval Gun Factory on November 28, 1945 (or December 1, 1945), and under the Potomac River Naval Command. On July 1, 1959, the gun factory was redesignated the U.S. Naval Weapons Plant; and on July 1, 1962, the weapons plant was disestablished and the area it occupied became known as the U.S. Navy Yard Annex, an integral part of the U.S. Naval Station, Washington, D.C. Today, the designation Washington Navy Yard remains over the main gate entrance at 8th and M Streets, southeast.

This site is sponsored by the Friends of the Old Naval Hospital

Last updated November 22, 2008