Grave Site of Revolutionary War Soldier McCager (Micajah) Frasher.
Backstory and Context
The Frasher Cemetery in the town of Fort Gay, West Virginia, contains the grave of Revolutionary War Soldier McCager (Micajah) Frasher (1753-1843) and his wife Susan Hamilton. Frasher enlisted in the Revolutionary Army in 1780 at the age of 27 and participated in the battle of Yorktown, one of the most important American Victories of the Revolutionary War. He helped construct breastworks and trenches during the battle under the leadership George Washington. After the victory at Yorktown, Frasher aided in the transport of prisoners to Winchester, Virginia. He moved and settled in the Big Sandy River Valley near the present day town of Fort Gay, WV, around 1802.
The Battle of Yorktown (also known as the Siege of Yorktown) was one of the most important American victories of the Revolutionary War. In September 1781, a large British force of around 8,000 soldiers was positioned in Yorktown, Virginia, under the leadership of General Lord Cornwallis. At the same time, George Washington and an army of around 17,600 American and allied French soldiers (including McCager Frasher) had gathered in nearby Williamsburg, Virginia, with plans of attacking the British at Yorktown. In late September, with the numbers against him and attack imminent, Cornwallis began constructing a ring of small forts called redoubts, batteries, and trenches to defend the town against the revolutionary forces. He also sent a series letters to British forces in the north requesting aid and additional forces. Unfortunately for the British, the call for help could not be answered in time.
On September 28, Frasher and the rest of the American and French forces marched to Yorktown and began preparations to take the city. 800 yards from the British line, the allies dug a series of trenches and on October 9th the trenches were complete and artillery began firing upon the British. By October 11th, nearly all of the British’s artillery had been destroyed and the allied forces advanced forward and dug a new series of trenches about 400 yards from the British. However, the new line could not be established until two of the small British forts were captured. On October 14th, a force of 400 French troops stormed the first fort while 400 American troops stormed the second. The forts were taken in less than 30 minutes with only 24 American and French casualties. On October 16th, Cornwallis realizing defeat was near, made several failed attempts at retreat. The next day a drummer followed by a British officer with a white flag marched out of Yorktown to request a ceasefire and on October 19th, George Washington accepted Lord Cornwallis’ surrender. The allies disarmed the British and took a large number of prisoners. These prisoners were taken to prison camps in Winchester, Virginia, and Frederick, Maryland. Frasher served as a guard during the transport of these prisoners.
Around 1802, Frasher and his family moved to the Big Sandy River Valley near present day Fort Gay, WV. He fathered a large family and resided in the area until his death in 1843.
West Virginia Memory Project - Highway Markers Search Results. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvmemory/hmresults.aspx?county=wayne&title=&words=&op=and Historical data - MICAJAH FRASHE. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://www.wcghs.com/Rev. War Soldiers/Micajah Frasher Marker.htm United States. National Park Service. (2015, January 22). History of the Siege. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://www.nps.gov/york/historyculture/history-of-the-siege.htm Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8398583
This area in Wayne County was surveyed by George Washington. There is also a marker in the town of Fort gay that gives a description of the battles of the Revolutionary War