The Story of Fort Roberdeau
In the spring of 1778, the struggle for independence appeared to be over. The British occupied the rebel's capital city, Philadelphia. George Washington's army was destitute at Valley Forge. Tories across the Commonwealth were beginning to take a stand against their rebel neighbors.
Supplies for the army were in short supply. They lacked the basics of food and clothing as well as most of the material they needed to wage war. In particular, there was little lead for bullets and musket balls.
Daniel Roberdeau, a member of the Continental Congress meeting in York since the capture of Philadelphia, became aware of lead mines in central Pennsylvania. He volunteered to organize an expedition to the mines to see if it was possible to obtain a supply of lead.
At his own expense, Roberdeau built a stockade to protect the lead mining and smelting. The fort was a storage depot for ordnance, ammunition, and other supplies until 1780, and was garrisoned by militia of Cumberland and Bedford Counties and the Bedford County Ranging Companies. Settlers often found safety at Fort Roberdeau during times of raids by parties of British rangers and their Indian allies.