The Fort Bastions

The Fort Bastions (HM2KGU)

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N 39° 39.054', W 78° 45.962'

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Fort Cumberland Trail

You stand near the wall of one of Fort Cumberland's four bastions. These (+) an your position (X) are indicated on the fort diagram. A bastion is a projecting portion of a fortification. It's purpose is to allow defenders added firepower along the fort walls and for the placement of artillery. They were constructed here of palisades filled to a height with earth and other suitable material. The one bastion contained a magazine (2) for storing powder, ammunition, etc. The bastions were armed with various pieces of artillery including 4 twelve-pounders, 12 four-pounders, and several small swivel guns. A twelve-pounder is is a gun firing a twelve pound shell and a four-pounder fires a four pound shell. The swivels fired a small shell and got their name from the fact they could readily be swiveled about on their stocks and aimed in any direction. The walls of the bastions contained embrazures (openings) to permit firing artillery through the wall.

Fort Cumberland was thought to be secure when constructed but problems arose. Indians harrassed the garrison by firing into the fort from higher ground across town on McKaig's Hill (to your left) and Knobley Mountain across the Potomac River (to your front). The firing was not too accurate but kept the garrison on edge. When the fort was built, this higher ground was not thought near

enough to be a problem.

Colonel Washington considered this fort a liability because of the surrounding high ground, the resource drain it caused on his command in materials and men, and the fact it could not prevent Indian raids locally or to the east.

The main gate (MG), four other outside wall gates (G), and a sally port (SP) allowed movement about the fort. See the diagrams above. The main gate was nine feet wide and along the western wall of the fort. There were two gates in the palisade walls just beyond the eastern bastions, two water gates along the walls leading to the easternmost point of the fort, and a sally port (entrance or gate) from the bastioned fort to the eastern portion of the fort.

Near the front right cover of the building straight ahead was the fort well. It was sunk inside near the south gate, in 1756, and is indicated on the fort diagram (W). In 1799, this well was cleaned out. Cannon balls, part of a gun carriage, and other military items were removed. Discarded items were often placed in old well shafts. Thus, old abandoned wells have become a valuable tool in the knowledge of our ancestors by historians and archaeologists.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 7th, 2019 at 5:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 691667 N 4391396
Decimal Degrees39.65090000, -78.76603333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 39.054', W 78° 45.962'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 39' 3.2400000000001" N, 78° 45' 57.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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