During the Civil War, both Federal or Confederate troops occupied the hill and surrounding area beginning at least as early as August, 1861. The fort was built by Union Colonel James A. Mulligan, from Illinois, along with his 23rd Illinois troops and more from Ohio, Pennsylvania and western Virginia. During an expedition to the area in 1864, Major General Jubal A. Early praised the fortifications and commended the efforts of the men. The fort is still regarded as one of the best preserved fortifications in West Virginia.