Fort Nelson (1)

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Fort Nelson (1) (1776-1779, 1794-1824) - A patriot post established in 1776 during the Revolutionary War in Portsmouth City, Virginia. Named for General Thomas Nelson, governor of Virginia. The Fort was attacked 9 May 1779 and burned down. Rebuilt at another location in 1794 and abandoned in 1824.

Fort Nelson Plan 1798
Fort Nelson Plan circa 1886


The Fort was attacked on 9 May 1779 by a combined British land and sea expedition. The Fort's garrison abandoned the Fort before the attack. The British burned down the fort and made off with the armament and supplies.

The fort was rebuilt on a different site in 1794. The new site was opposite Fort Norfolk on the west side of the harbor. The new fort was a bastioned earthwork with two batteries of 24-pounder cannons in embrasures. The Fort was reconstructed starting in 1802 of earth lined with brick from a design by noted architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The cannon were removed from the embrasures and mounted along the parapet.

The Fort was abandoned 1824.

During the U.S. Civil War the fort was occupied by Confederate forces until the fall of Norfolk.

Current Status

Portsmouth Naval Hospital grounds, Portsmouth City, Virginia

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1491086

Location: Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth City, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 36.8479258 Long: -76.3029967



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