Parking Deck Leg of Col. Dahlgren

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

U.S. Colonel Ulric Dahlgren lost his leg in 1863 while fighting Confederates in the streets of Hagerstown, Maryland. Luckily for the leg, the colonel was also the son of Admiral John Dahlgren, "father of American naval ordnance." For some reason, the Admiral had the leg saved and entombed in the cornerstone of his new foundry, along with a bronze plaque recording its presence.

The foundry was eventually demolished, as was the building that replaced it and then the building that replaced the replacement. Somewhere in all the demolishing the leg was lost. But the plaque stayed, and when a fourth building -- this time a parking garage -- was built on the spot in 1998, the plaque assumed its perpetual position. Col. Dahlgren, unfortunately, had little time to savor his leg's fame; he was killed by Confederates in Richmond, Virginia, only eight months after its amputation.

Parking Deck Leg of Col. Dahlgren

Isaac Hull Ave., Washington, DC
From M St. SE turn south onto Isaac Hull Ave., which is between 5th St. SE and 7th St. SE. Enter the Washington Navy Yard (photo ID required at gate). Drive south two blocks. You'll see the NavSea parking garage on the left; the plaque is on the outside wall, next to the south entrance.
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