north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      In January 1781, Nathanael Greene sent orders to Gen. Alexander Lillington of the North Carolina militia to construct a supply depot on a high hill near the east bank of the Pee Dee River. The installation would support Greene’s army as it passed through the area. Greene dispatched Polish engineer, Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko, to overlook the construction, and gave Lillington twelve days to complete it.

      The depot stood in the vicinity of William Colson’s mill on Rocky River, and thus became known as Colson’s supply depot. William Colson and his father John operated a tavern, mill, and ferry in the region. Remaining loyal to King George III, the Colson families fled in July 1780 when William Lee Davidson’s Whig militia defeated Samuel Bryan’s Tories near John Colson’s ordinary in a fight at Colson’s.

      No description of the structure is known to exist; however, records indicate a stockade was in place, surrounded by trenches. Located on a steep hill, the position maintained a commanding view of the Pee Dee Road (presently the Montgomery-Richmond County Line Road), Colson’s Ferry on the Pee Dee, and the area known as Colson’s Low Grounds to the west.

      The only documented military activity after the construction came shortly after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse when Greene’s army stopped and replenished his supplies en route to South Carolina. The depot remained in active service until the close of the war, when the stores were removed and the post abandoned. Locals began calling the site Fort Hill in the early twentieth-century.

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, 16 vols. (1886-1890)
Theodore Thayer, Nathanael Greene: Strategist of the American Revolution (1960)
Rockingham Post-Dispatch, September 13, 1962
William S. Powell, Encyclopedia of North Carolina History (2006)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources