Battle of Mathias Point, Commander James Harmon Ward, Fort Ward, Mathias Point, Virginia

Commander James Harmon Ward – The First Navy Officer To Die In The U.S. Civil War

Commander James Harmon Ward was part of a Union blockade of the Confederate Port Conway, while aboard the USS Thomas Freeborn. On June 27, 1861, during the Battle of Mathias Point, James H. Ward became the first Navy Officer die from the U.S. Civil War.

Engagement at Mathias Point, U.S.S. Thomas Freeborn is on the left. Sketch by Alfred Waud, 1861 (Library of Congress).

The World War 1 naval ship the USS Ward (DD-139) was named after Commander James Harmon Ward. In addition, Fort Ward, one of the 166 forts defending, Washington during the American Civil War, was named after Commander Ward.

Photograph of the USS Ward (DD-139) in 1918.
Alexandria, Virginia, Battle of Mathias Point, Commander James Harmon Ward, Fort Ward, Fort Ward Museum

Fort Ward – The Fifth Largest Fort Protecting Washington D.C. During The Civil War

Fort Ward, was named after Commander James Harmon Ward, whom became the first Union naval officer to die in the U.S. Civil War at the Battle of Mathias in King George County, Virginia. Fort Ward was constructed, within the Union occupied Alexandria County, Virginia, as the fifth largest fort protecting Washington D.C. during the course of the U.S. Civil War.

Cannons along Fort Ward.

Fort Ward was one of the 163 forts that were part of the defense of Washington, D.C. from Confederate army attacks.

In present day the site of the fort has been turned into the Fort Ward Museum.