Fort Vause

Built by Ephraim Vause.

Located in Shawsville, VA.

On June 25th, 1756, John Smith directed a group of about 15 men in a valiant defense of Fort Vause against 205 Shawnees and 25 French Canadians led by a French Military officer, François-Marie Picoté de Belestre, Sieur de Belestre. Finally after an intense all day battle, the buildings in Fort Vause were burned and Belestre promised safety for John Smith, his soldiers, and the settlers if they surrendered. At that time, Major John Smith decided it would be best to surrender, and he did. However, Belestre had been twice wounded; and once he left to get medical treatment, the Indians became more hostile and burned John Smith’s namesake son to death while they forced John Smith to watch. Then they left with their captives including John Smith and his son Joseph, who had also been wounded. The major accomplishment of their valiant Fort Vause defense was that the wounding of the French leader stopped the French-led group of Shawnees from further executing their plan to advance further east into Virginia towards Williamsburg.

A relief party led by Maj. Andrew Lewis arrived too late to save most of the occupants. Capt. Peter Hogg quickly rebuilt the fort, as a composite earth-and-palisade structure. George Washington inspected Fort Vause in October 1756 during his tour of Virginia's frontier defenses.

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