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Battle of Great Cacapon? Where Exactly?

April 18, 2017 all-day
1.5 miles from Fort Edwards ?
Co Rte 15
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

Compiled by Jim Moyer in April 2015, latest update 9/21/2017


Battle of the Great Cacapon of April 18, 1756

Where ? Exactly?

We think it is the black star in the middle of this map.



A pond and its dam about 1.5 miles away from Fort Edwards is the location.  There was a hill before that pond.


Evidence submitted at a May 2, 1756  Court Martial after the battle:


That the action with the Indians began about one and an half miles from the Fort; and that it continued, he thinks, half an hour, before their party began to retreat—He further says—That their retreat might have been much secured, had a party of even ten men from the Fort taken possession of a hill, betwixt them and a pond, over which they were obliged to pass; but no assistance being there, or nigh them—only Lieutenant Blagg, with a few men upon the opposite side of the pond; they were obliged to retreat with the utmost precipitation, to the Dam of that Pond: otherwise, had the Enemy intercepted them, they must have all been inevitably cut off. 


 …but before he reached the side of the pond, from whence he intended to surprize the Enemy on their Rear, all his men had deserted him but eight or ten—He then marched towards a point; but before he reached that place, he heard our party was beaten, and obliged to retreat over the Dam—He then made toward the Dam; but by the time he came there, he found that our party had got over: It being then very dark, they consulted what was most expedient to be done—They all agreed it the best way to return to the Fort; lest the Enemy should intercept them, and hinder their return.


…Mr Lomax says that his ignorance of our partys success and situation, and the distance of that hill, would have rendered any assistance he could have given, ineffectual: because the Enemy might have got possession there before him, or at least as soon.



The hill or mountain is referenced again.


See William Stark’s report of the engagement in which John Fenton Mercer and others were killed, in Stark to GW, 18 April 1756:


… after following them abot a Mile & an half, on rising a Mountain …



A Valley and Pasture are mentioned here:


From another court martial May 3, 1756 over the same battle:


John Beard2 Sworn says Serjt Lewis ask’d him and the other Soldiers with him to go upon the right of Lieut. Lemons party and that they went about a mile which brought them nigher the Fort, and seeing a Dog they Persued him then hearing Guns fire the[y] Consulted what to do and seeing Mr Blaggs party joind them. and that Lewis and he was never out of the Pasture till they joind Lieut. Blaggs party on their retreat The Deponent says that Lewis seem’d very willing to join Lieut. Blaggs party.


John Whiffle  Sworn says that he and Lewis and the others, march’d up the Pasture, after Leaving Lieut. Lemons party there they heard some Guns fired, and s⟨to⟩pt sometime consulting what to do Lewis was ask’d, if they had not best join the party Engaged to which he answer’d t’was Dangerous and they might be shot by their own Men as well as the Indians, as they knew not which side they were Engaged upon, they afterwards seeing a party come out of the Fort the Deponent ask’d Lewis, if he wou’d not join them. but he said it was too Late and that they woud retreat before they coud join them—he further says several of the men run to Lieut. Blaggs party and he and Lewis being Left, they return’d to the Fort.


Serjt Lewis in Defence says that Lieut. Lemon orderd him to go up a Valley on the right (which Lieut. Lemon Denies, as allso that there was such a Valley) with Lemon,4 he there March’d and Expected to meet with Mr Lemon, as he had promised to join him at the Head of the Valley (which Lieut. Lemon also denie⟨s)⟩ But when he came there he went in Persuit of an Indian Dog wch he saw.




More on the Court Martials

held in Winchester VA

2 week after this battle


Here is a discussion of all the

curiosities of the court martials held in Winchester VA

that followed this

Battle of the Great Cacapon:


Battle of the Great Cacapon





Time of Day of this Battle?


This letter below is time-stamped 18 April 1756, 8pm.

The letter states the battle was “late this evening.”


The time of retreating and taking care of the men

occurred obviously before the writing.


So this was before Daylight Savings, say 6pm ,

before sunset, ending in dusk.


This is an Easter Sunday too.  See source.


Spacing and highlighting provided here for  a quick read.



Click on Founders Online source of this letter:


From William Stark to Colonel George Washington


[Edwards’s Fort, 18 April 1756]




The purport of this is to acquaint you of an Engagemt we had with the Indians late this Evening


Three of our Men going out on pretence

of looking after some Horses

met with a party of Indians

within sight of the Fort

two of which escaped and alarm’d us,

we immediatly pursued them

with a party of between fourty & fifty Men

undr Command of Capt: Mercer

Lieut: Williams,

Ensn Carter

Ensign McCarty

Lt Lemen

& myself1

after following them abot a Mile & an half,

on rising a Mountain

we were fired on very smartly

which we warmly return’d for half an hor

then finding ourselves

almost surrounded we retreated

in the best manner We could to the Fort

we unhappily lost

Capt. Jno. Mercer

Ensign Carter and

fifteen Soldiers &

had two wounded,

we imagined

the Number of the Enemy

to be upwds of an hundred. I am Sr &c.

William Stark

ALSDLC:GWADfS, Richard Maass Collection, White Plains, N.Y.

1. Further details of what happened

near Joseph Edwards’s fort on the Cacapon

late on 18 April

are to be found in the testimony

taken at the trials of Lt. John Edward Lomax,

who remained in the fort

during the engagement

on the orders of Capt. John Fenton Mercer,

and of Sgt. Nathan Lewis,

who was accused of acting the coward’s part

in the skirmish

and was sentenced to death

(Court-Martial, 23 May 1756).


See also Maryland Gazette (Annapolis), 6 May 1756.

The other officer at Edwards’s besides Lomax

not mentioned by Stark

was Lt. John Blagg,

who was asleep when Mercer and his party went out.

Of the three lieutenants named here,

John Williams of Richmond County

was in William Peachey’s company

in the Virginia Regiment,

William Stark probably of Prince George County

was in Thomas Cocke’s company,

and Thomas Lemen of Frederick County

was in William Cocks’s 1st company of rangers.

Denis McCarty was recently commissioned

an ensign in the regiment

after serving as a volunteer.

The slain Thomas Carter,

ensign of Robert Spotswood’s company,

had been in the regiment

since the preceding fall.

John Fenton Mercer had been

with GW at Fort Necessity

and was captain of the 8th company

of the Virginia Regiment.




More reporting on the Battle


From Founders Online Footnote:


See William Stark’s report of the engagement

in which John Fenton Mercer and others were killed,

in Stark to GW, 18 April 1756.


The Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) on 6 May 1756

gave the following report of Mercer’s engagement

taken from the missing

Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) of 23 April:

“Wednesday came to Town

Lieut. Rutherford, from Winchester,

and has brought us an Account of the Defeat

of one of our ranging Parties,

on Sunday last,

under the Command of Capt. John Mercer,

near Edwards’s Fort, on Cape Capon,

about 20 Miles above Winchester:

A Party of Indians appearing

in the Neighbourhood of the Fort,

Capt. Mercer went out with

three Subalterns and sixty pick’d Men,

and about a Mile from the Fort

was attack’d by a superior Number of Indians,

whom they fought for some Time,

with good Success,

but (the Enemy being reinforced by another Party)

were at Length obliged to give Way

and retire to the Fort;

Captain John Mercer,

and Lieutenant Thomas Carter,

two brave Virginian Youths,

Volunteers in the Defence of their Country,

were, with 15 Men left in the Field;

they died bravely the most honourable of Deaths

. . . Lieutenant Williams and

some private Men were wounded.”


Source is a Footnote from Founders Online:






Side Story: Daniel Morgan


Daniel Morgan, is recuperating.

He is  unknown

before his later glory in the War for Independence.

He is recuperating from a bullet though back of his neck

out his left side of his mouth.


See story here.










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