Upton Hill played a locally important role during the Civil War, as the Union Army command used the site as its headquarters. A large masonry fort was constructed opposite the road, at the hill’s topmost point. This fort was originally called Fort Upton but was later renamed Fort Ramsay. By the end of the war, the Union Army built a tall wooden observation tower atop Congressman Upton’s home, affording it line-of-sight communications with the Washington Monument and other observation and signal stations in the region. National history was made when one of the most famous songs of all time, Battle Hymn of the Republic, was composed as a result of events on Upton’s Hill.