Fort Cummings (5)
Fort Cummings (5) (1839-1841) - A Seminole War Fort established in 1839 near Lake Alfred, Polk County, Florida. Named Fort Cummings by Major Wilcox after Lt. Colonel Alexander Cummings, 4th U.S. Infantry. Abandoned in 1841.
Established on 22 Jan 1839 by Bvt Major Wilcox, at the direction of Lt. Colonel Alexander Cummings, District commander. Fort Cummings was located in present-day Lake Alfred, Polk County, Florida. The fort was one of a line of forts set up to protect the road from Fort Brooke at Tampa to Fort Mellon at Sanford.
On the 24 Jan 1839, Lt. Colonel Alexander Cummings visited the site of the fort which was nearing completion. He noted:
"I came to the camp where I found Major Wilcox busily employed, the Fort was pretty well advanced, the Blockhouses & storehouses nearly completed. This post is situated on the point of the ridge, with a Lake on each side and a beautiful sheet of Water in front covering about 300 acres, abounding in fine fish & turtle. Between the lake which lies on the north side of this post & that in front, there is a stream which connects the two, about 200 yards in length with a dense Hammock through which a road was cut & a strong bridge built between 200 & 300 feet in length which required great labour, this is 46 1/2 miles from Fort Brooke, the country in advance is unknown to us & to our guides, no white man had yet passed through it."
On 31 Jan 1839, Cummings returned and wrote:
"Arrived at Camp where Major Wilcox had completed the Fort which he named Fort Cummings. Leaving one Company of Artillery at this post under the command of Lieut. Bragg, I directed Major Wilcox to proceed in the direction of Fort Maitland & establish another post between twenty & thirty miles in advance of Ft. Cummings & to build bridges over the Streams which he has done, the station is named Fort Davenport."
The first available post return is for March 1839 and it shows the post garrisoned by some 48 troops with 41 from the 3rd U.S. Artillery, Company E. The post is shown as commanded by 1st Lt. Braxton Bragg of later U.S. Civil War fame.
The fort's last available post return is for February 1841 and shows companies (A, K, I, & P) of the 8th U.S. Infantry and company F of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons in garrison for a total of 374 present. The post and the district are shown as commanded by Colonel William J. Worth, 8th Infantry Regiment for whom Fort Worth, Texas is named.
Fort Cummings was abandoned the following month on 22 Mar 1841
Two markers for the fort are located in and around the town of Lake Alfred. The text marker shown on the left is a standard Flordia historical marker situated in downtown Lake Alfred at the intersection of West Pierce St and South Lake Shore Way, northwest corner. A second unique marker is placed just over the CSX railroad tracks across from the Adams Estate entrance at 2222 Lake Alfred Rd, Lake Alfred, Florida. This is probably the location of the 1839 fort. This marker has only the name of the fort and the dates and it has a unique style as can be seen in the picture above.
Visited: 23 Sep 2021