George Washington Papers
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Enclosure: Proposal for Frontier Forts, 9 November 1756


Proposal for Frontier Forts

[c.9 November 1756]

A Plan of the number of Forts, and strength necessary to each, extending entirely across our Frontiers, from South to north.

Names of the
forts, or persons
Commandg in ’em.

On what waters
Distance from each
other in
No. of men
Capt. Harris Mayo 20
Galloway Smith’s-river 15 miles 20
Terry Black-water 26 20
Hogg Roanoke 26 150
Not built Do at Bryants [William Bryan] 18 50
Fort William Catawba Bra. of Jas river 18 75
Not built Craiks-Creek, Br. of do 15 40
Dickensons Jackson’s-river 18 250
Brakenridge Do 16 40
Fort Dinwiddie Do 14 100
Christy Do 15 40
Between this & Trout Rock, not yet built 18 50
Trout-Rock not bu. So. Branch 15 75
Upper Settlement Do 20 60
Fort Defiance Do 20 60
Fort Pleasant Do 20 60
Fort at Cockes’s Patt. Creek 20 500
Fort at Ashby’s Do 12 60
Fort at Parkers So. Branch 10 30
Enocks, not built Cacapehon 15 75
Maidstone Potomack 30 125
Winchester 100
Total 2,000

This plan is calculated upon the most moderate and easy terms for sparing the Country expences, and I believe with tolerable justness may answer the design of protecting the inhabitants. It may be objected, that the distance between some of the forts is too small; in answer to which I must observe, they are generally fixed upon the heads of creeks, &c. extending towards the alleghany mountains, with almost inaccessible mountains between them, and are placed in the most commodious manner for securing the inhabitants of such waters. Some Garrisons are larger than others, according as they cover a thick or thin Settlement. The fort at Vass’s, (which Capt. Hogg is now building) is in a much exposed gap, subject to the inroads of the southern Indians, and in a manner covers the greatest part of Bedford & Hallifax—Dickensons is situated for the defence of a once numerous & fertile Settlement, on the Bull Cow & calf-pastures; and lies directly in the Shawnese path to Ohio, and must be a place of rendezvous, if an Expedition is conducted against the Ohio Indians below Du Quesne.1 The Garrisons on the potomack-waters, are yet larger than any; because an invasion is most to be dreaded on this Quarter.

It will be seen Fort Cumberland is not mentioned in this plan. If we act only on the defensive (a System on which this plan is founded) I think it employs a large garrison to very little advantage to Virginia: If we act offensively, it may be of infinite use, if properly fortified; and the Garrison at Cockes’s, will then only consist of about 50 or 60, as the rest may be removed to Fort Cumberland.


1When appropriate and possible, further information about these forts will be given when the name of a fort is first mentioned in the documents printed in these volumes. See also the maps appearing in volume 3 of Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends .

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