Point of Fork, Virginia

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Point of Fork, Virginia

POINT OF FORK, VIRGINIA. 5 June 1781. With the worn-out men of the Queen's Rangers and the remnants of the Seventy-first Foot, John Simcoe moved from Cornwallis's camp on the North Anna to raid Friedrich von Steuben's main supply depot at Point of Fork. This place was where the Fluvanna and Rivanna joined to form the James River, about forty-five miles above Richmond. Steuben was located there with about four hundred of his Continental recruits. Learning of Simcoe's roundabout approach only at the last minute, the Americans were caught trying to evacuate the supplies across the Fluvanna. Simcoe skillfully entered Point of Fork with his one hundred cavalry, three hundred infantry, and one light three-pounder shortly before nightfall. Unable to pursue because he lacked boats, Simcoe knew that he had one major advantage over Steuben. Because the Americans lacked cavalry, they could not perform adequate reconnaissance. Simcoe deployed his troops along the river and lighted campfires to exaggerate his strength and make it appear that he was the advance of the entire British army. Deceived, Steuben abandoned the stores and marched his troops to safety during the night. The next morning Simcoe sent men across in canoes to destroy the supplies.

SEE ALSO Cornwallis, Charles; Simcoe, John Graves; Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm von; Virginia, Military Operations in.


Simcoe, John Graves. A Journal of the Operations of the Queen's Rangers. New York: New York Times, 1968.

Ward, Christopher. The War of the Revolution. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1952.