Construction Timeline of Fort Loudoun Winchester VA
THIS PAGE IS FAR FROM FINISHED. EDITING, ADDING CHRONOLOGY AND LINKS TO THE ACTUAL PAPERS AND LETTERS FORTHCOMING
Fort Loudoun, Washington's Fort in Virginia by Norman Baker, 2006 - hereafter referred to as "Baker Fort Loudoun."
French and Indian War in Frederick County by Norman Baker, 2000 - hereafter referred to as "Baker Forts"
George Washington and Winchester Virginia 1748-1758 by Garland R Quarles published in in Volume VIII of Winchester Frederick County Historical Society Papers 1974 - hereafter referred to as "Quarles."
The Story of Winchester in Virginia, The Oldest Town in the Shenandoah Valley by Frederick Morton, 1925, republished by Heritage Books 2007 - hereafter referred to as "Morton."
Winchester Virginia and its Beginnings by Katherine Glass Greene, 1926, republished by Heritage Books 2007 - hereafter referred to as "Katherine Glass Greene."
All other references to online sources will have links.
14 August 1755 Washington appointed Commander-in-Chief of all Virginia Forces
3 September 1755 Washington accepted the commission as Colonel and commanding officer of the Virginia Regiment
Page 17 Baker Forts
Washington goes to Boston to appeal to Gov Wm Shirley, Commander of British forces in America, to remove Capt Dagworthy from Ft Cumberland. Shirley agrees with Washington and writes to Maryland Gov to either remove or place him under Washington's command. While Washington is on Boston trip General Assembly ponders his proposal on a string of forts with Winchester being the site of the biggest fort and magazine.
April 1756 many battles, skirmishes, kidappings, desertions.
See "Forts" pages 41-54. See also a partial chronology of the Indian attacks during this time:
March 12, 1756 Norman Baker Page 13
During Washington's Boston trip, the General Assembly approves of a plan of a string of forts with a fort in Winchester
May 3, 1756 page15 Norman Baker
House of Burgesses. No more than a 1000lbs be used to build the fort.
BUILDING OF FORT LOUDOUN BEGINS
Mid May 1756 page 17 Norman Baker
Work has begun building the fort. Mass desertions along the chain of forts.
Blacksmith site created. In Lot 77, corner of today's Braddock Street and Fairfax Lane, Washington erects a Blacksmith's shop. page18 Norman Baker
21 South Loudoun, Wm Cocke. George stays there for a year until he moves into Fort Loudoun officer quarters. page 18 Norman Baker and page 31 and page 11
May 2, 1756
First of several court martials held in Wincester VA. This court martial was not held at the fort since the building of the fort had only just begun. This court martial involved trying Sergeant Nathaniel Lewis for cowardice in the
You can read the results of this trial here:
See Page 46 of "Forts" indicating exculpatory evidence was heard on the first day and so the court "was divided and could come to no conclusion. A second court on the next day was unaminous in its opinion" to sentence Sgt Lewis to death by shooting.
Page 36 Quarles: Entry in Washington's account book:
"May 8, 1756 Paid Godfrey Humbert for making a coffin for a soldier. " That no other coffins were noted paid for by Washington and due to the recent court marshal and firing squad of Sgt Nathaniel Lewis, could this mean this coffin was for this man, Sgt Nathaniel Lewis?
At the same time, another court martial involving Lt John Edward Lomax resulted in his exoneration. Pg 45-46, "Forts."
Like the Battle of the Great Cacapon on April 18 1756, the same Indian, Killbuck was involved in a similar bait and ambush scheme in the Battle of the Trough.
These are just 2 battles of the many skirmishes occurring in April 1756 which resulted in court martials over cowardice in battle and of many desertions and of many settlers leaving the area and which Washington used to promote the building of Fort Loudoun.
May 18, 1756
Letter to Lt Col Adam Stephen that he is detained to start building but needs carpenters.
Letter to Governor Dinwiddie he had begun construction and could not leave or the work won't get done
August 27, 1756 page 30 Norman Baker
Declaration of War. Official public recognition of a Fort Loudoun in Winchester VA. Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg publishes a letter from Winchester telling of a parade and announcing of Britain's Declaration of War on France and naming Fort Loudoun in this published letter.
August 21. 1756
Men are to be marched to Divine Service - Page 30 Norman Baker
August 29, 1756
First payment to a well digger.
Link to Well, chronology of blasting and digging out The Well.Quarles Page 37,
Early September 1756
Cannon at Fort Loudoun. Washington informs Dinwiddie that the ten cannon from Rock Creek Maryland had been brought up some time ago - Page 31 Norman Baker.
September 22, 1756
Lord Loudoun approves building of fort, a fortified magazine in a letter Dinwiddie writes to Washington on October 26. Page 31 Norman Baker
November 16. 1756
Dwinwiddie orders Washington and 100 men to man Fort Cumberland. Washington complains in letters. Dinwiddie rescinds first order and then makes a 2nd mistake in 2nd order by relieving men from the outlying forts to staff Fort Cumberland and let the settlers in the outlying forts defend those forts. Dinwiddie says Lord Loudoun backs him up on this. page 33-36 Norman Baker.
December 2, 1756 page 31.32 Quarles, page 34 Norman Baker
George Washington moves out of Cocke's Tavern 21 South Loudoun to his quarters at Fort Loudoun.
Prior to above date George Washington would head his letters Winchester, but on this date and afterwards all his letters were headed Fort Loudoun. 40lbs paid for a year's rental.
Morton page 74 thinks Tradition has it.that a room in the fort used by Washington was above the gateway commanding a view of Main Street (Loudoun Street).
January 12, 1757
While still at Ft Cumberland, Washington had assigned Capt George Mercer to run the Fort Loudoun construction. See letter, stating Captain didn't know how to engineer the construction. page 37 Norman Baker. Quote on Fort Loudoun Site page of this web site.
Indians arrive. Cherokee, Catawba. Page 38 Norman Baker
April 1, 1757
Second ledger account recorded was August 29,1756
Link to Well, chronology of blasting and digging out The Well. Quarles, Page37
April 5, 1757 page 38 Norman Baker
This order affected resuming construction. Dinwiddie ordered Washington's men to Fredericksburg by April 20 because of South Carolina's Gov Lyttleton's report of possible sea land attack. Washington learns of this April 16 on his way from Alexandria to Fort Loudoun and then to Fort Cumberland. Dinwidde thought Maryland Gov Sharpe had already sent troops to relieve Fort Cumberland but this did not happen. Washington convened a Council of War with his officers at Fort Cumberland who then in unity decided to stay until the Maryland forces arrived. And following day Washington issued that order of the Council of War. So it didn't disobey Gov Dinwiddie, the troops were to do what Dinwiddie ordered once Maryland troops arrived.
May 5. 1757
Captain John Dagworthy issue doesn't go away. He had been in command of Fort Frederick in Maryland. He believes a British Captain outranks a Virginia Regiment Colonel Washington. Took over command of Fort Cumberland with 150 Maryland troops,
May 16, 1757
Dinwiddie orders reorganization of VA Regiment to save costs.
Dinwiddie relieves Washington of command over any Indians. That job goes to Edmond Atkin, merchant of Charleston SC, who was then named Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District and arrives in Winchester June 3, 1757
May 26, 1757
Lt Col Stephen and Capt George Mercer, former commander of Fort Loudoun, boarded ship at Hmpton for Charleston SC and did not return to Winchester until May 1758.
Late May Early June 1757 page 40 Norman Baker
Big Scare of an Invasion.
June 13, 1757
PA agent George Croghan. Col John Armstrong, delegation of Pennsylvanians David Ross and Wm Trent of Maryland visited Winchester and Fort Loudoun in a conference with Indian Superintendent Edmond Atkin to discuss procedures for with with the Cherokee allies. Page 40 Norman Baker.
June 25, 1757
Washington writes to Wm Fairfax that "storm which threatened us with such formidable appearances is, in a manner, blown over." Capt Dagworthy for want of proper interpreter misunderstood the Cherokee Scouts. But the indians were unanimous in seeing a large of French and Indians but they had no artillery.
In same letter saying the men are working day and night.
June 27, 1757
Washington writes to Dinwiddie, "Nay, 300 men could hardly finish it by next October." Same letter details the amount of cannon there when finished.
Wm Fairfax replies to Washington, "Every one that has seen Fort Loudoun speak well of it's structure, Situation & Commander..."
THE COURT MARTIAL, HANGINGS
July 28 Thursday
2 Hangings .
End of July 1757
Major redeployment of Va Regiment to other Forts. Page 42 Norman Baker
August 3, 1757
Washington writes Dinwiddie of the two hangings last Thursday and wonders what Dinwiddie wants to do with the rest. Dinwiddie replies this clemency or not is up to Washington.
August 20, 1757
Paid John Patterson for overseeing the workers at Fort Loudoun from 30 November 1757 to 10th of December. Was he head ? Or acting under Lt Charles Smith? Page 38 Quarles.
Overseer of construction of Fort Loudoun Lt Charles Smith kills a man in a tavern
Late September 1757
Overseer of the construction at Fort Loudon, Lt Charles Smith, (married to Rebecca Hite, daughter of John Hite of Winchester) struck and killed a man during a dispute in a tavern in Fredericksburg VA. Page 42 Norman Baker referencing a Sept 22 Maryland Gazette article.
September 24, 1757 page 43 Norman Baker
George Washington writes Dinwiddie, that sickness of his troops and their need to be deployed elsewhere is retarding construction of fort. Also information on arsenal. He had 4 twelve-pounders and 10 four-pounders for his bastion weapons. George was seeking 10 six pounders to complete the 24 "embrasures" or openings for cannons on the 4 bastions of the fort and that a motars and shells located in Williamsburg would be "of inifinite service here, tho' of little or none where they are."
George Washington becomes sick with Dysentery
Captain Stewart informs Dinwiddie that Washington has been suffering dysentery for the past 3 months. For the next 4 months, Washington recuperates at Mt Vernon.
THIS LETTER to Dinwiddie from Washington is a long report of many issues. After clicking on link, then Ctrl F to create a find box and enter Ignatious Edwards and you will see the portion of this letter dealing with the hangings.
February 23, 1758 - page 27 Quarles
Lt Smith informs Washington work on fort has "gone tolerably well," and :
1. the third barracks was entirely "Covered in"
2. last barracks was being framed in preparation of being raised.
3. "the Parapet on the Last Curtain is up..."
4. "the last Bastian is Lay'd Over with logs
5. its two "ambuziers" embrasures done
6. and now about the other four.
7. bastions wee roofed over to provide storage for the provisions
8. joiner work completed on second barracks
9. Last Barrack in need of a "Double Tens [nails]."
10. Stone masons sick. The stone was for the barracks' chimneys.
11. builders out of iron and plank
12. Blacksmith reported to have "behav'd extreamly well."
13. Status of well:
February 22, 1758 Lt Smith writes from Fort Loudoun to George Washington who is at Mt Vernon trying to get well from his dysentery, that the well now 90 feet in depth had been been almost filled with water but was now cleared (frustrated most likely by seepage and runoff) and the digging resumed. Smith adds," I Cant Say that there Is any Likelihood of any Spring." , Norman Baker, page 44.
March 31, 1758
Captain Lieutenant Thomas Bullitt who succeeded Captain Robert Stewart writes PA Gov Wm Denny that about 400 Indians of the Southern Nations were at Fort Loudoun. Another 300 Cherokee had beenequipped and sent out 12 days earlier to the war front. Norman Baker, page 44.
April 2, 1758
Washington returns and resumes command, after taking time at Mt Vernon since November 1757 to cure and recover from dysentery. Norman Baker, page 44.
Because Washington was back, Bullitt was sent to Patterson, a former settlers' fort on the Potomac, relieving Captain Joshua Lewis.
PREPARING FOR THE FORBES EXPEDITON AGAINST FORT DU QUESNE
April 9, 1758
Washington records 400 Indian had gone out to war (to meet with the Forbes forces in Pennsylvania) and another 140 were expected to come. The Indians came through Fort Loudoun but would return too early from the Forbes expedition to participate in the Forbes campaign.
Washington noted, the Indians are "mercenary: every service of theirs must be purchased; they are easily offended, being thoroughly sensible of their own importance."
Christopher Gist, deputy agent for Indian Affairs in Winchester under Edmond Atkin, (Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District), recorded 174 Indians and that another 343 had gone to war in different war parties.
April 18, 1758
Colonel George Washington orders 3 tons of iron for Fort Loudoun.
Mr John Ballendine.
Sir.Ft Loudoun, the 18th of April, 1758.
We are in great and immediate want of Iron, of the following dimensions; vizt
Two ton, of one-inch, square bars—
One ton, of three-inch broad, and half an inch thick, ditto. Be pleased, therefore, to send the whole, or part thereof to this place, without delay. Dispatch in this, will encourage me to contract with you for iron on future occasions.
Mr Smith has written to you for iron once or twice, before, and received none:1 Pray write me word how far we may depend on you now? I entreat, that you will not disappoint us. I am Sir, Your very hble Servant,
John Ballendine (d. 1782) was among other things an iron-maker with a furnace and forge on Occoquan Creek near Colchester. GW had further dealings with Ballendine after leaving the Virginia Regiment at the end of 1758 to return to Mount Vernon.
1. Undoubtedly it was in his capacity as overseer of the construction of Fort Loudoun that Lt. Charles Smith ordered iron from Ballendine. See John St. Clair to Thomas Bullitt, 13 April 1758, n.3.
This iron might have not been delivered. Or that Ballendine shorted the order and was accused of fraud. This settling of accounts might have been drawn out to 1760.
Location of these ironworks:
May 3, 1758
The companies under Lt Col Adam Stephen and Captain George Mercer return to Fort Loudoun after a year away in the South Carolina campaign.
May 26, 1758
George Washington just before leaving for Williamsburg to work out duties for 2 Virginia Regiments puts Lt Col Adam Stephen in charge of Fort Loudoun construction, specificly ordering that the "New Barrack to be covered in and rough floors laid, as expeditiously as possible, for Lodgements to Companies expected at this place." Norman Baker page 45.
Lt Col Stephens took over this job as overseer since Sir John St Clair, chief commissary for Braddock in 1755 and now same role for Forbes, asked that his "old friend Charles Smith", the same one acquitted for punching and killing a man in a tavern and who was overseer of construction of Fort Loudoun was now requested by Sir John St Clair to build two large flats that could be joined and used at Friend Cox's crossing of the Potomac. Norman Baker, page 44 and 45.
One week later Lt Col Stephens has to leave for the Forbes campaign, leaving Sir John St Clair as ranking officer to write to President John Blair (of the Royal Governor's council) his disgust at the conditions of Fort Loudoun. Norman Baker, page 57.
May 28, 1758
George Washington writes to President Blair, asking what was to be the future of Fort Loudoun, since every preparation and expense was dedicated towards the Forbes campaign. Washington states several reasons for appointing Lt Smith be left in charge. Norman Baker, page 46.
St Clair also recommends to President Blair that 12 or 18 men be left behind to take care of the Fort and its provisions. Norman Baker, page 46.
June 24, 1758
Just before Washington leaves, he orders Lt Charles Smith to ver command Fort Loudoun and do the following:
1. Take over 20 of Capt Robt Rutherford's 20 worst rangers
2. Two sentries in front of the southern bastions facing town
3. Move sick from Bryan Bruin's place to the barracks in the fort.
3, Wm Henry, the fort's armorer clean and store weapons
Norman Baker, page 47
July 1, 1758
Lt Smith reported 28 soldiers left at fort. Rutherford's rangers didn't stick around at the fort, causing trouble in town for John Hite to register a formal complaint.
End of July 1758
New Lt Gov is Francis Faquier, who orders continued digging of the Fort Loudoun well.
Lt Charles Smith lists complaints on paying the "miner", the digger of the well, the sickness, the reporting of how many men were there, no longer listing the Rangers as part of that tally. Norman Baker, page 48.
September to October 1758
Lt Charles Smith reports in letters during this time:
1. Crumbling south bastion
2. first 10 days of October masons working on crumbling
3. need nails for shingling last barracks
4. Well reached 103 feet but no sign of water.
5. Oct 12 another 20lbs is needed to pay the miner.
6. Williamsburg thinks Washington left enough tp pay everything
7. End of October, 54 men at fort
Norman Baker, page 50-51
December 8, 1758
Washington, again sick, returns to Fort Loudoun from the successful Forbes campaign to take Fort Du Quesne.
Later in month arrive the Virginia regiments and the Doctor James Craik with them.
No wood, medicine, water, clothes lamented by Caption Robert Stewart on Dec 12, and by Lt Charles Smith and by Dr James Craik.
Norman Baker page 50-51
George Washington's Resignation
December 31, 1758
Memorial written by the troops when hearing of Washington's planned resignation.
Norman Baker Page 52.
Lt Gov Dinwiddie (in effect acting Governor since the Governor-general was not around) left during this time period thus leaving the President of this advisory council to the Governor the head of Virginia at the time.
"Because no governor-general resided in Virginia between 1706 and 1768, each time the presiding lieutenant governor died or left the colony the administration of government devolved on the Council president. During that time period Council presidents presided over the colony's government on six separate occasions for a total of approximately ten years."
A series of letters to and from and about Washington and his resignation occur.
January 10, 1759
January 23, 1759
Lt Gov Faquier informs the command of all Virginia Regiments will be passed on Colonel William Byrd.
Col Byrd will also have command of Fort Loudoun until Sept 1759.
April 14, 1760
Robert Stewart (name given Stewart Street in Winchester VA) is now a Major in the Virginia Regiment and a Lieutenant in the Royal American Regiment is back at Fort Loudoun.
Major Stewart reports
1. Col Byrd at Fort Loudoun
2. Expecting captured Major Andrew Lewis return from Quebec
3. 166 men at the fort, in bad shape