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Map+of+Point+of+Fork+by+Capitaine+du+Chesnoy%2C+Michel+%281746-1804%29+-+This+map+is+available+from+the+United+States+Library+of+Congress.

Courtesy of United States Library of Congress

Map of Point of Fork by Capitaine du Chesnoy, Michel (1746-1804) – This map is available from the United States Library of Congress.

The Hidden History of Point of Fork

February 2, 2022

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Few Fluvanna residents know about the background of significant locations in the county during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. One important landmark during this time was the Point of Fork, which connects the James and Rivanna rivers. This landmark was once owned by David Ross, a Commissioner for Virginia. During the Revolutionary War, this spot near present-day Columbia provided locals with the opportunity to transport supplies and easily escape from threats.

An arsenal built there in 1781 soon became the training ground for Virginia troops. According to former Fluco and now Colonial Williamsburg Military Interpreter John Settle, it also became “one of the arsenals for the commonwealth of Virginia during the American Revolution.” Soon after, it was raided by the British, who forced the Virginians out, but not before they were able to save some of their supplies and weapons. This battle ended with no casualties, 30 Virginians taken prisoner, and the loss of some canons. Eventually, Virginians resumed operations at the arsenal. Today, you can see some parts of the arsenal, but it is on private property.

Point of Fork is also known for the weapons that were made there. “After the British 1781 raid, the site made shovels and spakes and other digging equipment for the Continental Army which was used by Washington’s troops during the Siege of Yorktown,” said Settle. In 1794, thousands of muskets that were made at this arsenal were used for the Whiskey Rebellion. One other important use for the weapons that were made here was for the Siege of Yorktown.

The land was then purchased by James Galt, who built a two-story brick house and plantation there in 1794. This soon became the headquarters for a significant Civil War arsenal. During this time, Point of Fork served as an encampment for federal troops. At one point, a skirmish was fought there between the Pennsylvania Cavalry and the Confederate Cavalry.” Over three days, 10,000 troops passed over the property,” said Settle.

Today, Point of Fork is a source of controversy because the James River Water Authority wants to build a water pump for Zion’s Crossroads. There have been many meetings with the Monacan Indian Nation which does not want to lose its homeland. According to The Central Virginian, it was decided the authority will instead choose an alternate site that is still connected to Point of Fork. They note that the tribe’s only condition is that the “landowners turn over Indian artifacts that are found.” However, it has almost been concluded that they are not going to use this historic piece of land for their water needs.

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About the Contributor
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Kayleigh Knight, FCHS Journalist

Kayleigh is a junior and a new journalist this year.  She plays softball and loves listening to music, hanging out with friends, and playing with her...

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    Shain VerowFeb 6, 2022 at 6:57 AM

    That’s a really interesting story! It’s interesting to see the history of this place related to how people are using it today.

     
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