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Major General Edward Braddock
General in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in North America

Gen. Braddock

Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek


Ft. Cumberland

cbe-2.jpg barracks
    Fort Cumberland began as a supply storage place for the Ohio Company. The original storehouse was moved from the Virginia side of the river (now Ridgeley, West Virginia) to the hill overlooking the confluence of Wills Creek. Gen. Braddock enlarged the fort and used it as the final staging point for his campaign against Ft. Duquesne. It was used from the winter of 1754-55 until it was abandoned in 1765. Col. George Washington commanded the Virginia Regiment troops stationed here. Although it looked imposing, it never prevented French and Indian war parties from murdering farm families in the cbe-3.jpg bastionvicinity and moving east to attack toward Frederick and Winchester.

    Fort Cumberland was constructed with two parts. The larger area had the barracks for the men and officers; a model is shown in the first photograph above.The more heavily fortified section (shown here to the right) had four earth filled bastions one of which had the powder magazine. The bastions mounted twelve pounders, four pounders and swivel guns. The main part held the stores, the guard house and the commander's office.

    The model below shows a view looking from the main gate of the main section to the less fortified barracks section in the background.


    Also shown here are the only remaining vestages of the fort. Under the church on the hill in Cumberland can be seen the remnants of the underground walkways that connected buildings. Shown below is the tunnel that led to the edge of the hill where soldiers could go to get water in the creek below.

cbe-5.jpg tunnel  cbe-6.jpg church

    The tunnel shown above is in the church basement. The last picture shows the site of Fort Cumberland as it is today. Embedded in the street and sidewalks around the church and city hall are white markers that show the outline of the original fort. Not far away is a cabin supposedly used by Col. Washington.

    The model shown in these pictures is in the Episcopal Church. It is often open on weekends for tours.


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© Charles C. Hall 2003 used by permission
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