Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
Fort Assumption was erected in 1739 by Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, who landed with a French force at the Wolf River to establish a base of operations against the Chickasaw Indians, allies of the English. The fort was named in honor of the day on the church calendar that construction began. The French abandoned and destroyed it in 1740, when they made peace with the Chickasaws and Bienville disbanded the Choctaws and his other Indian allies. Though the remains have been obliterated by modern urban construction, a State historical marker indicates the site.
The first English settlement west of the Smoky Mountains, Fort Loudoun figured prominently in the French and Indian War. Started in 1756, the year before the French began construction of Fort Massac, near the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, it was completed in 1757 and occupied until 1760. Its primary purpose was to protect and support the Cherokees against the French and their Indian allies, and thus to protect the English frontier. Relations between the English and the Cherokees deteriorated, however, and in 1760 the Indians laid siege to Fort Loudoun. When Capt. Paul Demere, commander of the fort, surrendered, he obtained a promise of safe conduct to Fort Prince George, in present South Carolina, for all the soldiers and their families. Less than 15 miles from Fort Loudoun, the Indians attacked, killed 27 soldiers and 3 women, and took all the survivors as prisoners.
Extensive archeological excavations at the fort have yielded exact information on its size, shape, and constructionnot only concerning the palisade but also many of the structures inside. Portions of the fort have been reconstructed, and it is open to the public daily from March through October. The site is administered by the Fort Loudoun Association. Fort Loudoun is eligible for the Registry of National Historic Landmarks (relating primarily to the development of the English colonies, 1700-1783).
NHL Designation: 06/23/65
La Salle built Fort Prudhomme in 1682, on his first voyage down the Mississippi. One of the first forts or habitations of any kind built in the Tennessee country by Europeans, it was named after Pierre Prudhomme, armorer of the expedition. After Prudhomme failed to return from a hunting trip, La Salle built the fort for temporary protection during the search. After Prudhomme was found, La Salle left him in charge of the fort and continued to explore the Mississippi. On La Salle's return trip, he became ill and remained at the fort for 40 days before being able to continue upriver. The fort was then abandoned and fell into ruins. No remains are visible today.
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005