— Fort Cumberland Trail —
Most of the early frontier forts were of the palisado type. Before you is a small sample of this type construction. A palisade is a fence of pales or stakes set firmly in the ground, as for enclosure or defense. The word usage in the 1700's was palisado fort while later usage in the 1800's referred to stockade fort. A stockade is defined as a defensive barrier made of strong posts or timbers fixed upright in the ground.
Fort Cumberland and Fort Necessity were palisado works. Fort Necessity (near Uniontown, Pa.) is a fully reconstructed palisado fort. The original fort there was built under Colonel Washington's supervision and he fought his first major engagement there. Washington later commanded a whole string of frontier forts along the Virginia frontier from Fort Cumberland to Fort Dinwiddie. Fort Cumberland was the outermost point of defense.
Most of Fort Cumberland was a palisado work—all but the bastioned work at the western end. The palisades were logs cut to a length of eighteen feet, and buried in the ground to a depth of six feet, forming a close wooden wall twelve feet high. The logs were spiked together, with leather strips and metal pins, on the inside, and the wall was pierced with openings for firing from within. There were loopholes for small arms fire along the fort's entire face and embrazures (large openings) for cannon along the bastion walls. The logs of the palisade came to a point at the top.
Timber was readily available in those days for general building purposes and was utilized for defensive structures as well. The areas below the fort bluff and along the streams where you stand was wooded. Other forts were built in the South Branch Valley, at Frankfort (Fort Ashby), and at Winchester (Fort Loudoun)
Inside the stockade, wooden barracks and other buildings were built to furnish quarters and facilities for two hundred men and the company officers. Twenty-seven barracks (15x20 feet) were built for the enlisted men and five barracks for the officers. Additional barracks were constructed outside the main fort between the present Prospect Square and Smallwood Street.Fort Cumberland Trail