Jubal Early's plan was multifaceted and among other things, he didn't want to attack in the obvious places--from the south of west. After all, who would expect the Southern army to attack from the north? Of the weakly manned DC defenses, those to the north were more vulnerable than others. Early's reconnaissance proved this (at least the day before the battle!) Also, Early hoped to meet a naval force at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he could liberate and arm thousands of Confederate troops. The path he took would have put him in position to do this. It's also important to note the Early wasn't "targeting" Fort Stevens in advance. In fact, on the morning on July 11, 1864, Early had scouts probing all along Washington's northernmost defenses, from Fort Reno (which guarded the important roads to Georgetown) out to Fort Lincoln. In the great "Mr. Lincoln's Forts," the authors write that Fort Reno was originally scouted as the site of Early's main attack, but its stout defenses (including a number of howitzers) made Early's scouts head further east, towards Fort Stevens.
In April 1861 at the start of the war, the D.C. area was a hub of activity. Virginia militia was gathering in Arlington Heights - a prime location since it overlooked the Capitol. Petworth was still farmland with Union encampments springing up nearby. Construction was beginning on the ring of forts that would soon surround the city. Lincoln's cottage retreat -- the precursor to Camp David -- was nearby at the Old Soldiers' Home. And 16th Street didn't exist yet; the main road around town was Georgia Ave.
Charles Burr writes in the 1920 records of the Columbia Historical Society:
Uniontown was between the fork created by the Upper Marborough road and the Piscataway road. To the thoroughfare eastward a part of the Marlborough road, was given the name Harrison Street and to the thoroughfare southward a part of the Piscataway road was given the name Monroe Street. The other streets of Uniontown were named in honor of the Presidents.
Uniontown was bounded by Monroe Street (Nichols Avenue, now Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue) on the west, Harrison Street (Good Hope Road) on the north, Taylor Street (16th Street) on the east, and Jefferson Street (W Street) on the south. The other streets were also named after presidents: Fillmore Street (13th Street), Pierce Street (14th Street), Adams Street (15th Street), Jackson Street (U Street), and Washington Street (V Street).
The streets of historic Anacostia have a hidden history that reveals insights into its unique character and place in the larger narrative of the city and even the nation.
After mortally wounding President Lincoln on the evening of April 18 14, 1865 at Ford's Theatre in downtown Washington, John Wilkes Booth escaped on horseback, crossing the Navy Yard Bridge, now the 11th Street Bridge, where he came to Harrison Street, now Good Hope Road.
Booth galloped through what was then known as the new subdivision of Uniontown up Harrison Street to the intersection with Marlboro Road, now Naylor Road. He then rode one and a third miles east on Marlboro Road into Maryland, where he would continue his escape into Virginia.