The strategic importance of Fort Mulligan becomes evident as you observe the surrounding terrain. Roads leading north to New Creek, west to Beverly, Buckhannon and Grafton, southto Franklin and Staunton and east to Moorefield, Winchester and Harrisonburg all meet here. The height of Fort Mulligan dominated them all.
Tents would have dominated the view here during several periods of the Civil War. Nearly 20,000 Federal troops under Major General John C. Fremont camped in the surrounding fields in the spring of 1862. The winter of 1863-1864 saw large numbers of troops quartered in this area during the construction of Fort Mulligan. Directly beneath this point, part of the infantryof Mulligan's Irish Brigade made their winter quarters.
As you explore the Fort, notice the strength of its outer works. A thickness of 10 to 15 feet of earth would have stopped the heaviest artillery shell and two feet was sufficient to have stopped a rifle shot.
From the Diary of Joshua Winters, September 3-7, 1863. "Thur Sept 3 1863. it raind this eaving. Fri 4. clear. all quiet till eaving. the rebels attacked Stevens at Moorefield. we fell back. our 4 Co dug intrenchments. the 29th tride to go through the Gap to Moorefield but fell back at dark. our Co and the 29th went back 12 mile to meet Stevens. Met him at 12. Sat 5. this morning at three oclock we started back to Petersburg, got hear before 8. lade in camp all day. both of our regements worked on the intrenchments. Stevens and 5 Co staid at the gun stock. all quiet today. Sun 6. Sum rain today. both of ourregements digging on the intrenchments. the 54 com hear today. thay had a squrmish a comin. Sum Cavery com hear today. one Co of the 10th VA com hear today. Mon 7. clear today. our Co is on pickit today. nuthing strange."