Letter: Fort Nonsense could predate Civil War
My son and I attended last week’s groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Nonsense. The Mathews County Historical Society is to be congratulated for the culmination of approximately 12 years of work to arrive at this point.
However, I am not convinced that Fort Nonsense is simply an unused Civil War fortification. Apparently in 1982, the Historical Society was not convinced of that either. In their publication, History and Progress Mathews County, there is a letter from Maj. Jeffery Montague (Army-ret.) in which he states:
"Fort Nonsense, that mysterious massive earthwork in the road junction at the entrance to Mathews County, is unexplainable militarily unless Lewis had it built as a point of support to fall back upon in case he lost his battle with Dunmore."
That "Lewis" refers to General Andrew Lewis, who defeated Lord Dunmore, the last Royal Governor of Virginia, at the Battle of Cricket Hill in 1776 at Gwynn’s Island.
The Revolutionary War fortifications at Yorktown and Tyndall’s Point were rebuilt during the Civil War, so why not Fort Nonsense? Yes, the Middle Peninsula chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia has conducted test holes at the fort and found colonial artifacts, but no military items. Yet, most of us are aware that treasure hunters have combed those piles of dirt for years without letting the rest of us know what they found.
Please understand, I am not pretending that I know the fortifications are older than the Civil War. But I do know that I was taught as a child that the first Jamestown fort was somewhere in the James River. Then along came Mr. Kelso with an open mind and a different perspective. Perhaps we need to keep open minds also.
Nancy S. James