Fort Henry (Virginia)

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For the fort on the site of present day Wheeling, West Virginia, see Fort Henry (West Virginia).

Fort Henry was an English frontier fort in 17th century colonial Virginia near the falls of the Appomattox River. Its exact location has been debated, but the most popular one (marked by Virginia Historical Marker QA-6) is on a bluff about four blocks north of the corner of W. Washington and N. South Streets in modern-day Petersburg, Virginia.

Fort Henry was built in 1645 by order of the House of Burgesses. It marked the 1646 treaty frontier between the white settlers and the Native Americans following the Second Anglo-Powhatan War. It was situated near the Appomattoc Indian tribe. It was the only point in Virginia where Indians could be authorized to cross eastward into white territory, or whites westward into Indian territory, from 1646 until around 1691. In later years it also came to be known as Fort Wood, after its first commander, Abraham Wood (1614-82), who sent out several exploratory expeditions from there. In 1675, command of the fort and adjacent Indian trading post passed to Wood's son-in-law, Peter Jones. The post became known as "Peter's Point", and eventually grew into modern Petersburg. At some unknown point the original fort fell into ruins.

An earlier, smaller fort also known as Fort Henry, with a garrison of 15, had been erected in 1610 by Thomas Gates as part of a series of fortifications within modern Hampton, Virginia; this was defunct by the time the fort on the Appomattox was built.