Forts of Dunmore's War in Southwest Virginia

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This list is based on information given in Hamilton, 1968, supplemented with information from Thwaites and Kellogg, 1905. Both sources made use of information in the Draper Manuscript Collection. Hamilton's article is readily available on the net, and frequently pointed to as a valuable source of information on these forts.

A number of forts were established throughout the Clinch and Holston River Valleys of Virginia at the onset of Dunmore's War in 1774. Some of these forts were palisaded structures, while others were what was known as "fort-houses". The former were large enough to accomodate multiple families, while the latter were designed primarily for the protection of a single family. Apart from size, the presence of a palisade seems to be the defining difference between these structures.

Forts of SW VA


The most important of these forts were located along the what was then known as the "Road to the Clinch". That road roughly followed modern State Route 19 from Tazewell to Lebanon, and then SR 65 and 72 south from Castle's Woods along the Clinch River to Blackmore's Fort in Rye Cove. In 1773 Boone guided a party from Castle's Woods with the intent of going through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. The party followed the "road to the Clinch", which would later become variously known as the"Kentucky Road", the "Kentucky Trace" and Boone's Road. They were stopped well short of their goal when attacked by Indians on 10 October 1773. This event marked the beginning of hostilities in this portion of SW Virginia that would continue through 1792 with the death of Benge, an Indian leader. In 1774 Lord Dunmore took action to curb attacks on the settlers; his efforts culminated with the defeat of the Indians at the Battle of Point Pleasant. Coincidentally, the Battle of Point Pleasant took place on 10 October 1774, the 1 year anniversary of the attack on the Boone party.

Fort AKA Distance (1) Location Men Listed Officer in Charge
(2) (3) (2) (3)
Blackmore's Fort - - Mouth of Stony Creek, on Clinch River, Rye Cove, Scott County 16 - Sergeant Moor -
Moore's Fort Snoddy's Fort, Fort Byrd 20 miles Castle's Woods, Russell County 20 - Daniel Boone -
Russell's Fort Fort Preston, Cowan's Fort, Bickley's Fort 4 miles Modern Castlewood, Russell County 20 - W. Poage, Sergeant -
Glade Hollow Fort Jeremy Smith's Station, Fort Christian 12 miles on Cedar Creek (modern Big Cedar Creek) between Dickinsonville and Lebanon, Russell Co. Exact location uncertain. 15 15 John Dunkin, Sergeant 1 Ensign, 1 Sergeant,
Elk Garden Fort - 14 miles SR 19, on Elk Garden Creek, south end of Webb Mt 18 15 John Kinkead, Sergeant 1 Sergeant,
Daniel Smith's Fort ? at Maxwell's Mill, and home of Capt. Daniel Smith 5 15 - -
Maiden Spring Fort - 23 miles SR 19 On Maiden Springs Br, 12 miles SW of Tazewell 5 15 Joseph Cravens, Sergeant Brown & Cravens (Sergeants)
Witten's Big Crab Orchard Fort Whittens Fort, The Upper Station 12 miles SR 19/460, business Rt 19 near Tazewell, Tazewell Co 3 44 Ensign (John) Campbell 1 Ensign, Sergeants Spratt & Whitten,

(1) Distance between consecutive forts. Distances are as listed originally, but appear to be slightly exaggerated.
(2) Draper Mss 3 QQ 116. List dated 6 October 1774
(3) Draper Mss 5 XX 2 List dated end of October, 1774

Original Source, Emory Hamilton, 1968, in Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Number 4, 1968, pages 1 to 26

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