Fort Powhatan

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Fort Powhatan (1808-1830s, 1861-1865) - A U.S. Army Second System coastal fort established in 1808 on the site of previous fortifications in Prince George County, Virginia. Abandoned by the 1830s. Reoccupied by both Confederate and Union forces during the U.S. Civil War. Abandoned at the end of the war in 1865. Also known as Fort Hood.

Civil War Operations at Fort Powhatan, Harpers Weekly, 2 July 1864

Revolutionary War

A two gun battery was originally established during the Revolutionary War by Virginia Militia at John Hood's plantation on the James River in 1779. It became known as Hood's Battery. In January 1781 a British ship under the command of the traitor Benedict Arnold attacked Hood's Battery, bypassed it, and occupied Richmond for several days. The British on the return trip stopped at Hood's Battery, dismantled it and carried off the cannons.

At the end of 1781 it was decided to build a more substantial fortification at nearby Windmill Hill. Named Fort Hood, this fort was to have 8 heavy cannon, barracks, magazines and earthworks as well as a strong redoubt to protect the land side. The fort was completed after the Revolutionary War ended and was not used.

War of 1812

Fort Powhatan Plan circa 1819

Fort Powhatan was started as a Second System fort in 1808 at the site of old Fort Hood at Windmill Hill. This site was at a strategic bend on the James River across from Jamestown Island in present day Prince George County, Virginia. The new fort was designed as a 13-gun masonry fort that included a water battery, barracks, magazines, and a blockhouse. By 1814 the five bastion fort had 22 guns mounted of various calibers. Never attacked by the British during the War of 1812, it was used primarily as a supply depot. The fort was abandoned by the 1830s.

U.S. Civil War

Confederate forces occupied and refortified Fort Powhatan early in the war to prevent Union advances on Richmond. Union gunboats bombarded the fort in 1862 and Union forces seized it in 1863 destroying its magazines and gun platforms. In 1864 several black Union regiments garrisoned the fort and repulsed a Confederate cavalry attack. General Ulysses S. Grant used the fort location for a pontoon bridge across the James River to supply his forces around Richmond. The fort was abandoned at the end of the war.

Current Status

Some ruins remain on private property in Prince George County, Virginia. State marker K-215 located on Virginia Rt 10 at Burrowsville.

Location: Private property in Prince George County, Virginia. Map points may not be accurate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.2685203 Long: -77.0741987

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