During the French and Indian War (1754-1763) the British Colony of South Carolina felt threatened by French activities in the Mississippi Valley. To counter this threat, the Colony sent the Independent Company of South Carolina to construct and garrison what became Fort Loudoun. This move helped to ally the Overhill Cherokee Nation in the fight against the French and guaranteed the trade would continue between the Cherokee and South Carolina.
In the course of the fort’s four-year existence, relations between South Carolina and the Cherokee Nation broke down. In August, 1760, the Cherokee captured Fort Loudoun and its garrison.
After the surrender in 1760, Fort Loudoun was never used again for any military purpose. It is thought the Cherokees destroyed the fort sometime shortly after the English marched away. In 1762, Lt. Henry Timberlake wrote in his memoirs that he “went to Tommotly, taking Fort Loudon (sic) in the way, to examine the ruins”.
Nature reclaimed the site and there was no public recognition of the Fort until 1917. In November of that year the Colonial Dames of America placed a commemorative marker at the Fort Loudoun site. They hoped there would be interest in preserving the site for future generations. In 1933, the Tennessee General Assembly purchased the site of Fort Loudoun and created the Fort Loudoun Association to manage it. The Fort Loudoun Association ran the site for nearly 45 years until it reverted to Tennessee State Parks in 1977.
Fort Loudoun continues to be managed as a day use park with a visitor’s center, reconstructed Fort Loudoun (the reconstruction sits on a 17’ deep backfill which was necessary to raise it above the summer pool level of Tellico Lake), picnic area, fishing pier, hiking trails and boat dock.