Near Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Fort Boykin Historic Park
By 1609, drought had withered the crops, and the Natives were weary of English demands for food. A peace treaty and the marriage of Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas to John Rolfe in 1614 led to quieter times, during which the English expanded their holdings far beyond their agreement with Powhatan. In 1622, Powhatan’s successor, Opechancanough, organized punitive attacks against the incursive settlements, which killed many colonists. He then withdrew, but the English responded with warfare against all of the region’s Indians.
A True Servant to the Country.
Fort Boykin began its role in American history in 1623 and since then has been involved in every military campaign fought on American soil. On May 11, 1623, Capt. Roger Smyth was commissioned to construct a fortification to protect the colonists against “Spaniards by sea and Indians by land.” The steep cliff here, its commanding view of the James River and its naturally deep ditches made the site of Fort
During the Revolutionary War, Fort Boykin was refortified and renamed after Maj. Francis Boykin, then serving on Gen. George Washington’s staff. The fort was again used during the War of 1812.
The present earthwork fortification was constructed during the Civil War by the Confederate army between June 1861 and May 1862. It was part of the system for blocking access to Richmond by river. The fort was captured by Union troops shortly after its completion and since then has remained essentially intact.
Capt. John Smith’s Trail
John Smith knew the James River by its Algonquian name: Powhatan, the same as the region’s paramount chief. Smith traveled the river many times between 1607 and 1609, trading with Virginia Indians to ensure survival at Jamestown. What he saw of Virginia’s verdant woodlands and pristine waters inspired him to explore the greater Chesapeake Bay, chronicling its natural wonders. • Capt. John Smith’s Trail on the James is a 40-site water trail and auto tour for modern explorers.
Erected by Captain John Smith’s Adventure on the James. (Marker Number 35.)
Location. 37° 2.029′ N, 76° 37.071′ W. Marker is near Smithfield, Virginia Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Smithfield VA 23430, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Boykin (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Fort Boykin Historic Park (a few steps from this marker); Bennett’s Plantation (approx. 1.6 miles away); Basse’s Choice (approx. 1.6 miles away); Wrenn’s Mill (approx. 2½ miles away); Old Town (approx. 3½ miles away); Isle of Wight County War Memorial (approx. 3.6 miles away); Battle of Smithfield (approx. 3.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithfield.
Categories. • Colonial Era • Exploration • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 24, 2007, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,339 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 24, 2007, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia. 2. submitted on May 4, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3. submitted on September 24, 2007, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.