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The Other Forts DeRussy

Fort DeRussy, Washington, D. C.:

This Fort DeRussy, also a Civil War fort, is located in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC. It is maintained by the National Park Service. They also "maintain" that it was named for Lewis’ nephew, Gustavus Adolphus DeRussy, but in fact it is the namesake of Gustavus’ father (and Lewis’ brother), René Edward DeRussy.

(The National Park Service says that the fort was "built in 1861 by the 4th New York Heavy Artillery and named after its commander, Colonel Gustavus A. DeRussy." The problem is, the 4th New York Heavy Artillery didn’t arrive in Washington until February 1862, after the fort had already been built and named, and Gustavus DeRussy wasn’t their commander until March 1863.)

Washington’s Fort DeRussy was actively involved in the defense of the city in July, 1864, firing a total of 109 rounds of artillery shells in the defense of Fort Stevens. It is currently in a good state of preservation.

Further information about this fort can be found at

Fort DeRussy, Grand Ecore, Louisiana:

This little known Confederate fort may or may not have ever been an official Fort DeRussy. In the early 1900’s, there was quite a bit of discussion in the local newspapers about whether or not it was ever actually a fort. The fort was located near the site of Lewis DeRussy’s home in Grand Ecore, Natchitoches Parish, on a high bluff overlooking Red River. The earthworks can still be seen near the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at Grand Ecore.

Fort DeRussy, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii:

This is probably the best known of all the forts of this name, and at the same time, the least deserving of the name. Built in 1915 to defend Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, this fort is the namesake of René Edward DeRussy, Lewis’ brother. René served on active duty in the US Army for 59 years, and was in charge of West Coast defenses at the time of his death in 1865. As far as can be determined, he was never in Hawaii in his entire life.

The Coastal Artillery was disbanded in 1950, and Fort DeRussy is now used as an Armed Forces Recreation Area. It is the home of the US Army Museum of Hawaii.

Battery DeRussy, Fort Monroe, Virginia:

Battery DeRussy was a concrete battery built between 1898 and 1903. It was originally named for René DeRussy, but in 1909 the fort’s eponym was officially changed to Gustavus DeRussy, René’s son. The battery was decommissioned in 1944.

Sure, our Fort DeRussy is the real Fort DeRussy. But there are at least four others. Just so you don’t get confused, we’ll tell you a little about them.

And, though all of the Fort DeRussys were not named for the same man, they were all named for the same family: two brothers and a son/nephew, all of whom attended West Point.

Fort DeRussy, Columbus, Kentucky:

This Confederate fort was the first Fort DeRussy to be built, and like our fort, was named for Lewis DeRussy. According to local historians, most of the engineering work was done on the fort by another engineer, but when DeRussy took over as chief engineer for General Leonidas Polk, his stature as one of the elders of the US and Confederate Armies led to the fort being named for him. This did not endear DeRussy to the poor young officer who felt the fort should have been named for himself.

The fort lies on a high bluff on the Mississippi River, and was actively involved in the Battle of Belmont, Missouri on November 7, 1861, shelling Union troops engaged in the fight across the river. The fort was abandoned the following March, and was re-named Fort Halleck by its new Union occupiers

Portions of the fort still exist and are now part of the Kentucky’s Columbus-Belmont State Park.

Further information about this fort can be found at