The Battle of Point of Fork

June 5, 1781 at Point of Fork, Virginia

Facts about the Battle of Point of Fork

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Maj. Gen. Friedrich W.A. von Steuben and consisted of about 500 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by Lt. Col. John G. Simcoe and consisted of about 400 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were estimated to be 30 captured/missing. British casualties were unknown.
  • Outcome - The result of the battle was a British victory.

Battle Begins

Lieutenant Colonel John G. Simcoe, along with 100 Queen's Rangers and and 300 infantry, left Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis' camp on the North Anna River. They were on a mission to conduct a raid on Major General Friedrich W.A. von Steuben's main supply depot at Point of Fork, which had 500 Continental recruits guarding it. Point of Fork was located where the Fluvanna River and the Rivanna River joined together to form the James River. It was 45 miles north of Richmond.

On June 5, Steuben learned of Simcoe's raid and had his men ferry the supplies across the Fluvanna River before the British arrived. Steuben sent out a 30-man rear guard to delay the British advance. The rear guard was eventually all either killed or captured. Simcoe did not have any boats to cross the river, so instead he deployed his men along the banks and lit campfires to exaggrate his troop strength.

This made it appear that he was the advance guard of an entire British army. Steuben fell for the ruse. He quickly abandoned the supply stores in order to protect his men from being destroyed by the British. Simcoe sent his troops across the river to destroy the American supplies.

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