“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cumberland in Allegany County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Fort Bastions

Fort Cumberland Trail

The Fort Bastions Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 1, 2019
1. The Fort Bastions Marker
Inscription.  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
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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.
The Fort Bastions Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 1, 2019
2. The Fort Bastions Marker
This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraForts and CastlesWar, French and Indian. A significant historical year for this entry is 1756.
Location. 39° 39.054′ N, 78° 45.962′ W. Marker is in Cumberland, Maryland, in Allegany County. Marker is on Washington Street just east of Prospect Square, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 30 Washington Street, Cumberland MD 21502, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Indians and Fort Cumberland (a few steps from this marker); First Church of Christ, Scientist (Hoyt House) (a few steps from this marker); Emmanuel Episcopal Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Gov. Lloyd Lowndes 1845 - 1905 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fort Proper (within shouting distance of this marker); Famous Personalities at Fort Cumberland (within shouting distance of this marker); Perimeter of the Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); Lynching in America / Lynching in Allegany County (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 236 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Feb. 26, 2024