Lord Dunmore's War and the Battle of Point Pleasant

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Lord Dunmore's War was a confrontation between colonial Virginia and the Native Americans of the Ohio Country in 1774.

In 1768, the Iroquois Indians and the English signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. In this agreement, the Iroquois gave all of their lands east and south of the Ohio River to the English. While the Iroquois agreed to give up this land, most Ohio Native Americans did not, including the Delaware Indians, the Mingo Indians, and the Shawnee Indians.

White settlers immediately moved into the region. By the spring of 1774, violent encounters had taken place in the disputed area as the Native Americans, especially the Shawnee, tried to drive the English colonists back to the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. On May 3, 1774, a group of English colonists, seeking vengeance, killed eleven Mingo Indians. At least two of them were relatives of Chief Logan, leader of the Mingos at Yellow Creek (near modern-day Steubenville). Upon hearing of the murders, many Mingos and Shawnees demanded retribution. Some, like the Shawnee leader Cornstalk, urged conciliation. Cornstalk and most other Shawnee natives promised to protect English fur traders in the Ohio Country from retaliatory attacks since the traders were innocent in this attack. Logan, however, was not kept from his vengeance,  Shawnee and Mingo leaders  did not stop him from attacking British colonists living south and east of the Ohio River.

Logan took approximately two dozen warriors to seek revenge on the colonists in western Pennsylvania. There, his followers killed thirteen settlers before returning back west of the Ohio River. Captain John Connolly, commander of Fort Pitt, immediately prepared to attack the Ohio Country natives. John Murray, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, offered his colony's assistance. Dunmore hoped to prevent Pennsylvania's expansion into modern-day West Virginia and Kentucky. He wished to place Virginia militiamen in these regions. He also hoped to open these lands to white settlement.

In August 1774, Pennsylvania militia entered the Ohio Country and quickly destroyed seven Mingo villages, which the Indians had abandoned as the soldiers approached. At the same time, Lord Dunmore sent one thousand men to the Kanawha River in modern-day West Virginia to build a fort and to attack the Shawnees. Cornstalk, who had experienced a change of heart toward the white colonists as the soldiers invaded the Ohio Country, sent nearly one thousand warriors to drive Dunmore's force from the region. The forces met on October 10, 1774, at what became known as the Battle of Point Pleasant. After several hours of intense fighting, the English drove Cornstalk's followers north of the Ohio River. Dunmore, with a large force of his own, quickly followed the Shawnees across the river into the Ohio Country. Upon nearing the Shawnee villages on the Pickaway Plains north of modern-day Chillicothe, Ohio, and near what is now Circleville, Ohio, Dunmore stopped. From his encampment named Camp Charlotte, Dunmore  requested that the Shawnees come to him and discuss a peace treaty. The Shawnees agreed, but while negotiations were under way, Colonel Andrew Lewis and a detachment of Virginia militia that Dunmore had left behind at Point Pleasant crossed the Ohio River and destroyed several Shawnee villages. Fearing that Dunmore intended to destroy them, the Shawnees immediately agreed to terms before more blood was shed.

As a result of this war, some Shawnee Indians agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), and promised to give up some of their lands east and south of the Ohio River. This was the first time that some of the natives who actually lived in the Ohio Country agreed to relinquish some of their land. In addition, these Shawnees also promised to return their white captives and to no longer attack English colonists traveling down the Ohio River.