Drawing of Features
The drawing at the right is a representation of the outline of the fort and the location of a few important features. The total distance of the stockade wall as we now know it is just under 150 feet (from "a" to "b"). Note the dashed lines are sections that are assumed; they have not been excavated. The features use the numbers to be found in the final report.
Features 60 and 73 are outside the stockade; it is assumed the stockade may go a bit further than shown before it turns back toward the segments shown at center right which are near the spring. At point "a" the wall feature is eroded away. Feature 60 is a burn feature and may represent campfire area where soldiers camped outside the fort walls. Feature 73 is colonial according to artifacts found associated with it, but we are not able at the present time to say whether or not it was actually associated with the fort. It must be remembered that Joseph Edwards had been settled here over 20 years before the fort was built.
Features #58 and #29 are cellar features within the stockade. There are several other small features nearby. All of these features are as yet unidentified.
Feature #91 is what we now believe may be Joseph Edwards's house. This is still a preliminary assumption since we only discovered it the last afternoon of the dig. However, it is in the area we expected to find the earliest dwelling; we used artifact collection analysis to make this determination.
Features #25 and #26 are stockade features; feature #1 was uncovered by Dr. Gardner in 1990. We do not now know if feature #1 was inside or outside the stockade. We do not know how numbers 25 and 26 relate to the bastion we just found, but we assume a wall goes from the bastion to the area of features #25 and #26.
The lines on the right of the drawing are all going toward the spring which we assume was protected by stockade walls to insure a water supply in case of attack. We do not know how these stockade lines tie in with the ones to the left.
The Stockade Wall
The stockade wall is a very interesting feature. It is unlike any stockade mentioned by Col. George Washington; rather it resembles a fortification designed by Benjamin Franlkin for the Pennsylvania frontier. However, it has a unique addition. The jog in the wall could be included for several reasons. First, it might allow the wall to skirt a building that was in the way of a straight wall line. Or, it could have the purpose of reinforcing fire on an important point in the wall.
If the jog was not there the stretch of the wall we see could only be guarded by fire from the in-wall bastion. However, with the jog in the wall, the area between the in-wall bastion and the jog could be covered by fire from two directions. Could this heavily protected portion of the wall have contained the main gate? We will have to excavate that portion of the wall very carefully in the future to determine if there was a gate or other particularly important feature that the designer was trying to fully protect.
In any case, we can see from the segments of the stockade that we have found that this was a well designed fortification. It was not a hastily thrown up fort without intelligent design. What arouses our curiosity is that there is no record of this design in Col. Washington's writings. Nor is there mention of someone particular assigned to the fort during its construction. Who designed this fort? Were they familiar with Mr. Franklin's design? Why did neither Col. Washington nor contemporary Virginia records make note of this design? So many questions, so few answers!
Burn Areas Outside the Stockade
The burn area outside the stockade and the adjacent rock pile that gave us the eighteenth century bottle base are areas that will have to be revisited in the future. Assuming they are associated with the fort, they show that we need to remember interesting features can be found away from the stockade and the Edwards's house. We know that there were often large numbers of men and supplies at Edwards's Fort as supply trains or troops spend the night on their way to the forts to the west on the South Branch or to Fort Cumberland. There may in fact be many more features outside the stockade than there are inside. Only further searching will reveal the answer to this question.
The finding of the ten plate stove door was also significant. We sometimes forget that our site is more than a fort site. This beautiful piece of stove is a reminder of the continual occupation of our site over 275 years. It also shows us that the possession of artistic items of some value was continued through the era of the second great war that ravaged our county. Hopefully, we can continue to find artifacts that remind us of the personal stories of our site.