North American Fortifications
An American Forts Network historical website


Historical Park

Morgarts Beach on Burwell Bay
near Smithfield in
Isle of Wight County, Virginia

(1623 - 1862)

Contact Information:
Isle of Wight County Parks & Recreation 757-357-2291

History: In 1623 this site was chosen by the early Jamestown colonists to be a point of defense known as The Castle. It was refortified during the Revolution and named after Major Francis Boykin of the Continental Army. Then it was rebuilt into an irregular seven-pointed star type of fortification during the War of 1812. It is believed that this fort repelled a British landing party and sunk two man-of-war vessels. The Confederate Army refortified the earthworks to help protect Richmond from the Union fleet. In 1862, the Union cannons aboard ship could hit the fort, but the fort's cannons could not reach the ships. Rebel forces decided to abandon the fort.
Remains of two magazines are here. They were destroyed by the Union landing party. Part of the fort has eroded off the bluff and into the James River, but most of the fort is in good shape. A view off the bluff will give you a nice panoramic of the river, from which you can see the "Ghost Fleet" of retired military vessels. And on the distant shore is Fort Eustis - a current US Army base. Fort Eustis was first established by the Coast Artillery after Fort Monroe became overcrowded. But prior to that, a small Confederate fort was there and in many other places along the river.



Satellite Images of Fort Boykins
courtesy of Microsoft TerraServer

Launched: February 28, 2004

last updated: 14 November, 2004

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