Argument over first Battle
Eg Ite Palm Beach Post-Times, Post-Times, Post-Times, Sunday, Aug. 27, 1967 , - V- V- i mmv i . . 'A J tz.,'iiLiL,'iA .i fttoff etwt by Lou payne) A BATTLE IN BOXES Patricia Burton sits by Oct. 10, 1774. The battle, Miss Burton states, is the the "files" of material she has collected since 1964 first battle of the American Revolution. In her research of the Battle of Point Pleasant on Honors For First Battle Of Revolution Disputed By FRANK MESSERSMTTH Stall Writer Patricia Barton, a Palm Beach County title examiner, la out to prove that the first shot of the American Revolution Revolution that was "heard around the world" was not fired at Lexington, Masi. And Miss Burton has accumulated accumulated material to back her claim that the first ahot was actually fired Oct. 10, 1774, more than six month before the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. The earlier battleground, Miss Burton states, was at the mouth of the Great Kanawha Kanawha River at Point Pleasant, W. Va., where about 1,100 members of the first organized organized colonial army met In a bloody day-long day-long day-long battle with a confederacy of Indians about 1,000 strong. The Indian force was comprised comprised of members of the Shawnee, Delaware, Mingo, Wyandotte and Cayuga tribes. Miss Burton, the granddaughter granddaughter of Detroit historian Clarence Monroe Burton, has been researching the battle since 1964 when she was living In a remote section of the Virginia Virginia mountains, "where I came across not only this little little known war but the entire army that fought It." Much of her Information came from two out-of-print out-of-print out-of-print out-of-print out-of-print books, "The History of Highland Highland County," and "The Annals Annals of Bath County" by Oren F. Morton, which were found In the Burton Historical Collection Collection In Detroit, Mich. Traveling many miles through Virginia and West Virginia countryside and talking talking with scores of "old-timers" "old-timers" "old-timers" who were residents In the areas where the battle was fought, Miss Burton collected collected a great wealth of facte concerning the little-known little-known little-known battle. Only recently, Miss Burton has enlisted the aid of Florida Congressman Paul Rogers and other sources, such as university libraries to aid her In her fight to have the battle recognized as the first battle of the Revolution. According to the strawberry blonde-haired blonde-haired blonde-haired Miss Burton, the fierce battle between the Indians and the frontiersmen Battle Veterans Became Leaders An Interesting factor In the Battle of Point Pleasant Is the significance the men who fought there were later to have upon the growth and development of young America, especially through the troubled years of the Revolution. From the bloodied grounds of the Point, the members of Gen. Lewis' army marched and fought !n virtually every important important battle of the revolution. And not only on the field of battle did the men distinguish themselves. They later became frontier explorers, lawmakers and military and civil commanders. commanders. Among those gathered at Point Pleasant and their later accomplishments were: Capt. George Mathews, who became the second governor of Georgia and later was the first man to raise the U.S. flag over Florida. Capt. William Russell, who became a general In the Revolutionary Revolutionary army. Capt. William Campbell, a hero In the revolution In the battle of King's Mountain. Capt. Evan Shelby and his ion, Lt. Isaac Shelby, founders of what Is now Tennessee. Capt. Mathew Arbucke, who accompanied the Lewis and Clarke expedition In 1778. Of the men who fought at the Point, seven later became gen-rals gen-rals gen-rals and six led regiments, At age 63, one survivor of the Point Pleasant battle led the Americans at the Battle of the Thames In 1813 and secured a victory over the British In the Northwest. Six Point Pleasant soldiers later later became U.S. representatives, three U.S. senators, one a territorial territorial governor, four state governors, governors, one the surveyor-general surveyor-general surveyor-general of the thirteen original colonies, another the largest manufacturer and wealthiest man In Ohio. Many became state senators and leaders In the drawlng up of Individual state constitutions. constitutions. The names of the men who fought at Point Pleasant are still remembered and preserved in the names of counties and towns throughout the nation. One county in Pennsylvania, three In Ohio, four in Indiana, four in Illinois, four In West Virginia, five in Tennessee and 10 in Kentucky bear the names of the Point Pleasant soldiers. Towns named in honor of the men Include Christlanburg. Va., Lewisburg, W. Va., Clendenln, W. Va., Flemlngburg and Har-rodsbury, Har-rodsbury, Har-rodsbury, Ky., Clarksvllle and Sevierville, Tenn., and Shelby-vllle, Shelby-vllle, Shelby-vllle, Ind. and HI. Captives Eyed By Exile Unit SAN JUAN, P.R. (UPI) - A Cuban exile group Saturday said lt Is organizing a fleet of boats to Join a Miami mercy flotilla that wlU sail to Cuba In an attempt to make the Fidel Castro regime release Its political political prisoners. A spokesman for the antl-Castro antl-Castro antl-Castro "Catholic Cuba" group said the Puerto Rlcan flotilla will leave San Juan on Sept. 13 or 14. Max Borges Jr. explained that If Castro's government "Is as humane as he claims, then it will have to release Its political prisoners." Borges said the group hopes to organize 50 yachts and other vessels to carry relatives of persons persons held In Cuban Jails to Havana Havana and back. Borges, the assistant editor of the magazine "Catholic Cuba," said the Castro government has never definitely turned down a request for the release of prisoners. prisoners. The Idea of sending a flotilla to Cuba was announced this week by Ramon Donestevez, who has sailed several times to Havana In futile attempts to bring back prisoners. at Point Pleasant was the result result of "subversive" tactics by the British Royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore. Miss Burton gives the following following account of events precipitating precipitating the organization of the first American army, the first battle of the Revolution, and the tremendous impact those men who participated in the battle had in forming our country. Lord Dunmore was described described as a man of high talents, talents, especially for Intrigue and diplomatic skill ... to serve the views of Great Britain. Britain. On July 24, 1774. he dispatched dispatched orders to a General Andrew Lewis In Botetourt County, Va., Instructing Lewis to organize an army of frontiersmen frontiersmen to combat the ever-Increasing ever-Increasing ever-Increasing raids by marauding Indians. Gen. Lewis, who In the southern counties had a reputation reputation as a military commander commander equal to that of George Washington, Immediately summoned summoned all the fighting men In his area to attend a council council of war Aug. 12, 1774, at the Lewis home. The assembled military men, while communicating with Lord Dunmore, organized organized a two division army, one to be headed by the English governor, and the other to be commanded by Gen. Lewis. Lord Dunmore was to travel north to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.) with his men and enlist the aid of more soldiers and then travel down the Ohio River to Join Gen. Lewis at Point Pleasant. From there they would move against the Indians. On Sept. 11, 1774, Gen. Lew-Is Lew-Is Lew-Is commanded his 1,500-strong 1,500-strong 1,500-strong force gathered at Camp Union (now Lewisburg, W. Va.,) to begin a 19-day 19-day 19-day march through the wilderness to the Point Pleasant rendezvous spot. After an exhausting trek, the colonial army reached Point Pleasant on Sept. SO and set up camp to await the Oct. 1 planned arrival of Lord Dunmore. Dunmore. Meanwhile, Lord Dunmore, upon reaching Fort Pitt, began began to "take great note" of the growing breach of discontent discontent between England and the American colonies. In fact, Miss Burton says, Lord Dunmore realized the Inevitability Inevitability of war and Initiated plans In accordance with his dedication to England. The British subject wanted to destroy Gen. Lewis' army and to put the colonists in such fear of the Indians that they would rely on the military military support of England, thus stifling the drive for independence. independence. Miss Burton claims that Lord Dunmore Incited the Indians Indians to attack the Americans by taunting them about the encroachment of the colonists upon the Indian hunting grounds. Lord Dunmore, after forming forming an alliance with the Indians, Indians, left Fort Pitt with an army of about 1,500 men and Journeyed down the Ohio to Fort Gower, south of what is now Wheeling, W. Va., Just u p r 1 v t r from Point Pleasant. Pleasant. Gen. Lewis, anxious over Lord Dunmore's failure to rendezvous as planned on Oct. 1, dispatched messengers to find the missing division. Meanwhile, the Indians, under under the leadership of Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, and his commanding commanding officers, Chiefs Logan, Logan, Red Hawk, Blue Jacket, and Ellntp'ico, moved to a spot about three miles from Point Pleasant, crossed the river and began filtering to ward the Lewis encampment hoping to take the army by surprise in the early morning hours. But a group of hunters from the camp spotted the Indians and reported to Gen. Lewis that "there are three acres of Indians out there." The first American army prepared for a vicious battle. battle. To quote one historian: "It was throughout a terrible scene the ring of rifles and the roar of muskets, the clubbed .guns, the flashing knives the fight, hand-to-hand hand-to-hand hand-to-hand hand-to-hand hand-to-hand the scream for mercy, mercy, smothered In the death groan the crashing through the brush the advance the r e t r e a t the pursuit, every man for himself, with his enemy In view the scattering scattering on every side the sounds of battle, dying away Into a pistol shot here and there through the wood, and a shriek the collecting again of the whites, covered with gore and sweat, bearing trophies of the slain, their dripping knives In one hand, and a rifle barrel, bent and smeared with brains and hair, in the other. No language can adequately describe it." The day-long day-long day-long battle raged continuously, without rest or food for either side. When the Indians retreated at sundown carrying their dead and wounded, the Americans Americans had won the battle at a cost of 82 dead and 142 wounded. Directly uprlver at Fort Gower, Gower, Lord Dunmore could hear the shots being fired In the battle, but he refused to send even a token force to relieve the b s 1 e g e d colonists. colonists. Instead, he abandoned the Ohio River encampment and headed towards the Indian towns on the Pickaway Plains to negotiate a treaty. The beleaguered forces of Gen. Lewis later regrouped and moved towards Lord Dunmore's Dunmore's encampment In an effort effort to combine forces. Lord Dunmore dispatched two messengers to Gen. Lewis, Lewis, ordering him to halt his army and retrace his steps, but he would not. At a point about three miles from the Governor's division, Lord Dunmore, accompanied by Chiefs Cornstalk, White Eyes and others, appeared In person and ordered Gen. Lewis Lewis to halt. Lord Dunmore said that he was negotiating a treaty and that Gen. Lewis and his division division should return to Camp Union and disband. With reluctance the American American general obeyed and was almost forced physically to restrain restrain his men from killing Dunmore and the Indians on the spot. After Lexington, the Assembly Assembly of Virginia declared Lord Dunmore's office vacant and Gen. Lewis and his men were called upon to drive Dunmore from the American shores. The members ot this first army eventually enlisted In the Continental Army of the revolution, and representatives representatives of that 1774 encounter fought on almost every major battlefield of the Revolution. The significance of the Battle Battle of Point Pleasant was finally finally recognized as "the battle of the revolution fought at that point between the colonial colonial troops and Indians" by the Sixtieth Congress of the United States meeting In May 30, 1908. The Congress appropriated $10,000 to be used for the construction construction of an 88-foot 88-foot 88-foot high obelisk to commemorate the Point Pleasant battle.