As they began to plan for developing the Ohio country for settlement by immigrants, the Ohio Company stockpiled supplies in a storehouse on the south side of the Potomac River across from the point where Wills Creek entered it. However, as the need for security increased the depot was moved across the river to a high bluff. Later, as Maryland and Virginia sensed the need for security on the western boundaries of their respective colonies, Maryland enlarged the site. As he passed by on his way to the disaster on the Monongehela River, Gen. Braddock stopped here and strengthened the site. It became a Crown fort that was manned by both Col. Washington's Virginia Regiment and Gov. Shirley's Maryland soldiers. This dual presence precipitated the famous Dagworthy affair that caused Col. Washington to ride to Boston to petition for authority for him to Command at Ft. Cumberland even though Capt. Dagworthy of Maryland held a King's Commission.
The fort was harassed by Indians throughout the early years of the war, and the surrounding country was ravaged. One report written from the Fort mentioned that during a particularly frightful time, one could daily stand on the fort's parapets and see smoke arising in the distance from the farms and homes the Indians were burning. Ft. Cumberland was an important site especially until Gen. Forbes captured Ft. Duquesne and cut off the French route from Canada to the Virginia and Maryland back country.
Today, there are still remains of Fort Cumberland underneath the Episcopal Church. Signs around the area describe the outline of the fort. Like all frontier forts of the time, the wooden stockades have long since disappeared. However, there is a log cabin along the banks of the river that the town of Cumberland maintains was once the office of Col. Washington.
For a model of Fort Cumberland see the
"Sites" button at www.BraddocksMarch.org