Fort Pleasant was built during the French and Indian War on Henry Van Meter’s farm at Old Fields, near Moorefield, to protect the local settlers from Indian raids. The fort was constructed in late winter and early spring of 1756 by a detachment of the Virginia Regiment commanded by Thomas Waggoner. George Washington instructed that the fort be built in a quadrangular shape with 90-foot-long walls, bastions in the corners, barracks, and a magazine.
Once completed, the fort served as the headquarters for the Virginia Regiment on the South Branch. The fort was never directly attacked by Indians but several raids occurred nearby. In April 1756, the Battle of the Trough occurred just northeast of Fort Pleasant on the opposite side of the river at the head of the canyon known as the Trough, between a large group of Indians and 16 to 18 militiamen from other forts. More than half of the militiamen were killed along with an unknown number of Indians. Captain Waggoner heard them engaged but was unable to send aid because of high water.
A drawing of Fort Pleasant signed by James Witt and dated May 1770 is on file at the Hardy County Library. The drawing shows blockhouses at the corners of the fort, suggesting that the fort was either remodeled or totally rebuilt sometime after the French and Indian War. During a visit to Abraham Hite at Old Fields on September 28, 1784, George Washington indicated in his diary that the old fort was still standing.
Written by Greg Adamson
Ansel, William H. Jr. Frontier Forts Along the Potomac and its Tributaries. Parsons: McClain, 1984.
The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1984.
Callahan, James M. History of West Virginia vol. 1. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923.