Fort Boykin

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Fort Boykin (1776-1862) - A Continental Army fort established on the site of earlier fortifications in 1776 during the Revolutionary War in present day Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Named for Major Francis Boykin, who served on General George Washington's Staff. Rebuilt and used during the War of 1812 and by the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War. Abandoned in 1862.

Fort Boykin Gun Position
Fort Boykin Well
Fort Boykin Entrance

Revolutionary War (1775–1783)

Fort Boykin Overlay of Forts on the Site from the Park Display

A Revolutionary War defense was built on the site of an earlier 1623 fortification known in the area as "The Castle" but it saw no action during the war and was abandoned at the end of the conflict.

War of 1812 (1812-1814)

The old Revolutionary War fort was expanded and built out as a star earthworks with gun emplacements and a bombproof magazine. The British attempted a landing below the fort but were unsuccessful. The fort saw no further action and was abandoned at the end of the war.

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

During the U.S. Civil War Confederate forces occupied the old fort expanding the perimeter and adding gun positions. The fort occupy a strategic position on the James River at a point where the ship channel was close to the shore and passing ships were vulnerable to the fort's fire. The combination of the fort and the CSS Virginia ironclad Confederate ram was able to block Union traffic up the James River. With the capture of Norfolk and the sinking of the CSS Virginia Union gunboats were able to bombard Fort Boykin while remaining out of range of the fort's guns. The Confederate garrison was forced to abandon the fort on 8 May 1862 and Union forces blew up the powder magazines destroying the fort on 17 May 1862.

Current Status

Fort Boykin Entrance Sign

Fort Boykin County Park, Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Extensive earthworks and some remains of the fortifications. Excellent information and diagrams on the entrance sign boards. The fort interior has cleared areas, some heavy undergrowth and lots of flies and mosquitos during our visit (May).

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1739995

Location: Fort Boykin County Park, 7410 Fort Boykin Trail, Isle of Wight County, Virginia 23430

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.034854 Long: -76.618521



Visited: 15 May 2013

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