Fort Loudoun (Tennessee)

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Fort Loudoun was a colonial American fort in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee near the villages of the Overhill Cherokee. The British colony of South Carolina built the fort in 1756, naming it for John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun, to defend the frontier against American Indians allied with France during the French and Indian War. Its nominal purpose was to secure the support of the Cherokee, but mutual suspicions and betrayals repeatedly undermined this alliance. Open warfare erupted between the Cherokee and the British in 1759, and the Cherokee laid siege to the fort late in the year. It fell on August 6, 1760, and much of the garrison was slaughtered four days later on their return trek to South Carolina.

Long after its fall, the fort was reconstructed as a historical site, and then abandoned. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The present-day reconstruction of the fort sits on the bank of the Little Tennessee River, but it was not originally on the waterfront. When the construction of Tellico Dam threatened to flood the original fort site, preservationists dug up the surviving stone foundations and used fill dirt to raise the site by 17 feet. The ground was contoured to match the original site, the foundations were replaced, and the wooden structures were rebuilt.

Today the fort is part of a Fort Loudoun State Park along with an interpretive center and recreation area. Loudon County, Tennessee; Loudon, Tennessee; and Fort Loudoun Dam are named for the fort.

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