Historical Marker Text
In November 1862, Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood constructed this fort a half mile northeast on the Rappahannock River in an effort to prevent Union gunboats from ascending the river toward Fredericksburg. Four rifled guns of Capt. H. M. Ross’s Georgia Battery briefly occupied the work, but were withdrawn when the Union army crossed the river upstream from here on 11 December. Two days later, during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Union troops of the Iron Brigade captured the fort after a brief skirmish with the 13th Virginia Cavalry, which guarded this portion of the Confederate line. 
In November 1862, as the Army of the Potomac camped across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, the Army of Northern Virginia arrived and constructed fortifications. In order to prevent Union gunboats from moving up the river, General Robert E. Lee charged his aide, Major General Thomas M. R. Talcott, with finding a suitable site on the riverbank to position artillery. Talcott’s choice site lay about four miles below Fredericksburg at a light bend in the river. There, troops of Major General John Bell Hood’s division built emplacements upon the bluff, and the site became known as Fort
Hood. It consisted of “masked batteries for eight guns, arranged to sweep the river for a long distance” (Civil War Preservation Trust). The guns were placed in pits specially formed to allow the guns to depress their muzzles and target boats on the river (Harrison 151). Among those manning the fort was Captain H. M. Ross’s Georgia battery, part of Brigadier General William Pendleton’s reserve artillery. After Union troops crossed the Rappahannock two miles upriver on December 11, Pendleton ordered Ross’s battery away to occupy a position near Telegraph Hill (CWPT).
On December 13, Union Major General Abner Doubleday’s division headed downriver, protecting the flank of Major General George Meade’s division, which was spearheading an attack against Confederates positioned around Prospect Hill. After Union guns shelled the Confederate-occupied woods from both sides of the Rappahannock, Solomon Meredith’s Iron Brigade went forth to attack the woodlot. They were given minimal resistance from the cavalry pickets they encountered, and easily captured the woodlot and Fort Hood (CWPT). Union troops never removed the guns.
Today, Fort Hood is well-preserved by the Civil War Preservation Trust and has hiking trails within its 5.5-acre easement, situated amidst private property.
“John Bell Hood (1831-1879),” Alabama Department of Archives and History (accessed April 8, 2008).
For Further Reference
“Fort Hood.” Civil War Preservation Trust. http://www.civilwar.org/travelandevents/t_vs_forthood.htm (accessed April 4, 2008).
Harrison, Noel G. Fredericksburg Civil War Sites: April 1861-November 1862. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, Inc., 1995.
McMurry, Richard M. John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
O’Reilly, Francis Augustín. The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2003.
Rable, George C. Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.