Fort Cumberland, in two volumes
Fort Cumberland was erected along the Potomac River at the mouth of Wills Creek in 1754, forming the nucleus of what would eventually become the town of Cumberland, Maryland. The fort, and early commercial activity at Wills Creek, played an outsized role in shaping the destiny of North America.
Mr. Dietle's 982-page two-volume book "Fort Cumberland" is the definitive reference on the military and civilian history of Fort Cumberland and its environs prior to the founding of the town of Cumberland, Maryland. The book achieves this status by presenting abstracts of and excerpts from original French and British documents in chronological order, immersing the reader in history through the eyes of the individuals who experienced it firsthand.
The book commences by tracing the non-native settlement of the region beginning in 1722, when escaped slaves found refuge from their former masters at King Opressa's Town. Parallel chapters cover the pre-1754 timeframe. One chapter documents the development, extent, and individual members of a surprisingly litigious agriculture and trade-based frontier community. The other documents the complex factors that brought a devastating genocidal war to the region -- the French and Indian War.
Individual chapters cover the 1754 to 1786 military and civilian history of the region on a year-by-year basis, with a level of detail never before attempted. In these chapters you will witness the initial whirlwind construction of the fort, you will understand the weaknesses inherent in its construction and location, and you will learn about radical alterations designed to overcome those weaknesses and make the fort defensible. By reading military letters, diaries, contemporaneous newspaper accounts, etc., you will learn about the military roles Fort Cumberland fulfilled during the French and Indian War, Pontiac's Rebellion, Lord Dunmore's War, and the Revolutionary War -- and the many trials and tribulations of frontier military service. You will come to understand the horrific civilian massacres that occurred throughout the region, and how those experiences influenced subsequent relations with Native Americans. You will also develop an understanding of the rapid post-1758 recovery of the non-native population, which established the conditions necessary for the founding of the town of Cumberland.
Volume 1 (482 pages) covers the history of Fort Cumberland and its environs through 1757. Volume 2 (500 pages) focuses on the 1758 to 1786 time period and includes a modest amount of material dating from the 1787 to 1898 time period. All proceeds benefit the Allegany County Historical Society.
To purchase the book via Amazon, follow these links:
Print Volume 1
Print Volume 2
Kindle version (two volumes in one)
The print version can also be purchased at the Book Center, 15 N Centre Street, Cumberland, Maryland, 21502. Call (301) 722-2284 for availability.
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