Fort Dobbs and the Indian Attack – 1760

fort dobbs

Twenty-seven miles west of modern-day Salisbury, North Carolina, Fort Dobbs is located in Iredell County.  In 1756, colonial Governor Arthur Dobbs commissioned the construction of the fort to protect Piedmont settlements during the French and Indian War (1754-1763).  At that time, Fort Dobbs was North Carolina’s only frontier fort; all others were on the coast.

Captain Hugh Waddell led forty-six soldiers in constructing Fort Dobbs so that colonists could be protected from possible French, Cherokee, and Catawba attacks.  Francis Brown and Richard Caswell were sent by the Legislature to inspect Ft. Dobbs in December 1756.  They reported that the fort was a “good and Substantial Building . . . it contains three floors, and there may be discharged from each floor at one time and the same time about one hundred Musketts.”

The drawing depicts Fort Dobbs and you can read more at the following link.

On February 27, 1760, the Fort was attacked by the Cherokee.  What follows is Hugh Waddell’s letter to Arthur Dobbs describing the attack.

Colonial and State Records of North Carolina

Letter from Hugh Waddell to Arthur Dobbs [Extract]

Waddell, Hugh, 1734?-1773

February 29, 1760

Volume 06, Pages 229-230

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. Vol. 72.]

Extract of Major Waddell’s Letter 29 Feby 1760

In Return to your Excellency’s News I shall give you a little nigher home, for several Days I observed That a small party of Indians were constantly about the fort, I sent out several small parties after them to no purpose, the Evening before last between 8 & 9 o’clock I found by the Dogs making an uncommon Noise there must be a party nigh a Spring which we sometimes use. As my Garrison is but small, and I was apprehensive it might be a Scheme to draw out the Garrison, I took out Capt Bailie who with myself and party made up ten: We had not marched 300 yds from the fort when we were attacked by at least 60 or 70 Indians I had given my party Orders not to fire until I gave the word, which they punctually observed: We recd the Indian’s fire: When I perceived they had almost all fired, I ordered my party to fire which We did not further than 12 Steps each loaded with a Bullet and 7 Buck shot, they had nothing to cover them as they were advancing either to tomahawk or make us Prisoners: They found the fire very hot from so small a Number which a good deal confused them; I then ordered my party to retreat, as I found the Instant our skirmish began

——————– page 230 ——————–

another party had attacked the fort, upon our reinforcing the Garrison the Indians were soon repulsed with I am sure a considerable Loss, from what I myself saw as well as those I can confide in they cou’d not have less than 10 or 12 killed and wounded, and I believe they have taken 6 of my horses to carry off their wounded; The next Morning we found a great deal of Blood and one dead, whom I suppose they cou’d not find in the night. On my side I had 2 Men wounded one of whom I am afraid will die as he is scalped, the other is in a way of Recovery, and one boy killed near the Fort whom they durst not advance to scalp. I expected they wou’d have paid me another visit last night, as they attack all Fortifications by Night, but find they did not like their Reception.

To His Ecy Govr Dobbs.

Thanks to Sharron for the Hugh Waddell letter.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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