This book uses documentary evidence to show that that Fort Cumberland, Maryland was a bustling supply center for the Western Department of the Continental Army during the Revolution. It is published in print and Kindle versions by the Allegany County Historical Society of Cumberland, which sells it primarily through Amazon. The beautiful Gothic church building that is illustrated on the cover of the book is built on the eastern end of the site of Fort Cumberland.
The conventional wisdom about military activity at Fort Cumberland, Maryland
Fort Cumberland, Maryland was a British fort that was built along the North Branch of the Potomac River at the mouth of Wills Creek in 1754. It is most famous for being used as an assembly point for General Braddock's disastrous campaign against Fort Duquesne in 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was also used as a British military outpost and a place of refuge for local settlers during Pontiac's War. The Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Cumberland, Maryland is now located on the eastern portion of the site of Fort Cumberland. The western end of the site of Fort Cumberland is occupied by a large brick house that is now used for office space.
According to oft-repeated conventional wisdom, Fort Cumberland was abandoned in the mid-1760s, and was never again used for military purposes until militia troops were briefly assembled there during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. For example, the well-respected 1878 book "History of Cumberland (Maryland)" by William H. Lowdermilk includes the statement, "The cessation of Indian hostilities rendered a garrison at Fort Cumberland longer unnecessary, and after the abandonment of the place by the English soldiers, the provincial stores were removed, and the post was never again occupied, save for a few days, in 1794, when the troops engaged in suppressing the whisky insurrection were gathered here." For another example, Bernard C. Steiner's 1902 book "Western Maryland in the Revolution" makes no mention of Fort Cumberland whatsoever.
The conventional wisdom completely misses the fact that Fort Cumberland was a bustling supply center for the Western Department of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. This previously unknown Revolutionary War history was discovered by Lannie Dietle, who documented his findings in Volume 2 of his 2019 book "Fort Cumberland" by quoting contemporaneous documents.
An overview of the Revolutionary War history of Fort Cumberland
As an overview, Mr. Dietle's book documents the following references to American military activity at or related to Fort Cumberland on Wills Creek during the Revolutionary War:
The book also documents the following British activities related to Fort Cumberland during the Revolutionary War:
An important addition to the history of western Maryland
In addition to documenting the Revolutionary War history of Fort Cumberland, Mr. Dietle's two-volume book set details the history of the environs of Wills Creek before the founding of the town of Cumberland — including the initial construction of Fort Cumberland as a palisade fort and its evolution into an earthen fort. Because the book covers time periods that Lowdermilk's book largely avoids, it is an important addition to the recorded history of Allegany County and western Maryland.
Lannie Dietle discovered the Revolutionary War history of Fort Cumberland, Maryland while researching the origin of the Turkey Foot Road. His book, "Fort Cumberland" is an important addition to the recorded history of western Maryland in the Revolutionary War.
The Turkey Foot Road is an important part of the history of western Maryland in the Revolution. It was cut northwest from Fort Cumberland in 1779 to supply Fort Pitt. By staying on the east side of the Youghiogheny River it saved 20 to 25 miles compared to Bradock's old road. It allowed more reliable supply operations, which were sometimes delayed on Braddock's road due to dangerous high-water conditions at the fording sites of the Youghiogheny River. For the best clarity, view this video on YouTube using the high-definition mode (one hour and 48-minutes).