In 1863, your view from here would have been of a barren, muddy landscape, with crude, smoking huts half buried in the hillsides. The area surrounding the Fort was most likely stripped of timber as the need for open fields of fire, fuel and construction materials would have quickly destroyed available resources.
The remains of several winter quarters hut sites are on a terracebelow you. This group of hut emplacements was much smaller and more isolated than the other infantry camps. Log huts were built into the hillside and partially covered with dirt, Roofs were usually canvas shelter cloths; floors and sometimes chimneys were made from bricks taken from local churches burned during the war.
One of these churches, the Petersburg (Union) Methodist Church on the North Fork Road, was destroyed by Federal troops in 1861. A year later, in 1862, Federal troops burned the Presbyterian Church on Cemetery Hill. The building hadbeen used as a commissary and the Federals were fearful of its capture by Confederate forces.
From the Diary of Joshua Winters, September 21-October 11, 1863. "Mon Sept 21. Vary larg frost this morning. i wet out 17 miles today on the Frankling Rode with the wagon train after hay. we started 6 in the morning, got back in the eaving. Tues 22. clear and nuthing of importence today. Wed 23. plesant days, cold nites. Thur 24. warm and plesant today. Fri 25. fair wethr. i am on gard today at Col Mulligans headqurters. Sat 26. plesant day. i am on pickit over the river today. Mon 28. fair wether. cut sum logs today for a house. Tues 29. warm today. i went with the train after hay today. we got it in 9 miles of Moorefield We go tpaid today for to munts. Wed 30. plesant wether. we raised our house. Thur Oct 1 1863. Plesant day. it commenced to rain at dark. Fri 2. it raind hard all day. clear and cold tonight. i am on gard in the fort at the qurtermaster. Sat 3. plesant day. Sun 4. clear and winday. Mon 5. clear and no noos. Tues 6 clear. i was out on a ass today. Wed 7. it raind today and tonight i am on pickit gard. Thur 8. clear today and nuthing strange. Sat 10. clear. Sun 11. beautiful day. thair was inspection this morning."