William Christian to Col. William Preston
Camp at Point Pleasant, at Mouth of ye Great Kanawha. 15th Oct. 1774
From Documentary History of Dunmore's War, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905), p. 261-66
Dear Sir - I have been enquiring for some days for an opp'y to send some letters to Greenbryer, as I wanted to write to you and some other friends. I can find no certain one, but I have some thought that some person will be going off tomorrow or next day as several talk of it. About one hour ago Col. Lewis asked me if I had written to you, I told him I had not, but would this evening. He desired me to tell you that he was hurryed and that my letter you would please to accept of from both; as I was to include you a state of the battle fought here on Monday the loth instant, which I will do, I have a copy ready as drawn up by Col Lewis himself, from which you can have an idea of it. I will also inclose you a state of the killed and wounded. I made it today from what scattering accounts I could gather. I have been through all the camps and believe that many more .men will die. There are many shot in two places, one in particular I observed with two bullits, some in three. They are really in a deplorable situation, bad doctors, few medicines, nothing to eat or dress with proper for them makes it still worse. I intended being here on Tuesday, but on Monday evening about 12 or 15 miles off I heard they were fighting and reached it about midnight. The cries of the wounded prevented our resting any that night. We are building a breastwork. The Fincastle men have just finished their proportion and I hope all will be done tomorrow. We should have crossed the Ohio for the Towns ere now, but we must secure our wounded. His Lordship was to march with 1200 men last Thursday morning for the Towns, and wrote to Col. Lewis to meet him about 20 miles on this side of Chillicossee at a large ridge. Chillicossee lyes about 20 miles farther than the Towns we intended for and is of course 90 from here, our pilot says loo. His orders were to meet next Tuesday at noon, that we cant do, as we dont propose crossing Ohio before Monday, perhaps some may Sunday in the night James Fowler, James McAnore and Sam Huff started on Wednesday morning from here with an acco[unt] of the battle, begging him to fall down in his vessels. On Thursday morning by day a little Billey Mann and some others who had been sent up by land, came down in a canoe, with the Govr's orders. I mentioned we were then embarrased not knowing what his Lordship would do on hearing how we were situated. I have hopes we will hear from him Monday night, Col Lewis thinks Sunday night. If no accident happened him, he would be gone 2 days before our scouts got to his Camp, which was at Heekhocking, 15 miles on this side of Little Kanawha. His Lordship has about 170 beeves, 250,000 of flour for 1300 men, about 100 of which would remain at Camp. Tis said that he had about 30 pack horses to take and that he would drive with him 100 beeves. Perhaps humanity will induce him to return and come to us if he is found but a little way off as Col. Lewis earnestly begged he would do so by Fowler. But should he not our wounded must be done with the best we can And if we dont hear more from him before, we shall march on Tuesday morning with about 12 days provisions. Tis said the Enemy's whole forces and families are assembled at Chillicossee where they have homes and plenty of provisions amunition in the greatest plenty They have cleared the weeds and bushes to a great distance around Town. Some here think the Govr's Army will be for pushing on before us, some that they will join us here and send in haste to tell us so. Some that they will stand fast until we are as far forward as them. We shall cross with some more than 1000 men, to-wit: - abt. 400 Augusta, 320 Bot[etourt], Abt. 320 Fincastle and leave between two and three hundred here. All of us that does return home I think will do it in Novr. Mann says that he had persuaded the Govr. to come here, but Major Connelly prevented it.
From what I can gather here I cannot describe the bravery of the enemy in the battle. It exceeded every mans expectations. They had men planted on each river to kill our men as they would swim over, making no doubt I think of gaining a complete victory. Those over the Ohio in the time of battle called to the men to "drive the white dogs in." Their Chiefs ran continually along the line exhorting the men to "lye close" and "shoot well", "fight and be strong". At first our men retreated a good ways and until new forces were sent out on which the enemy beat back slowly and killed and wounded our men at every advance Our people at last formed a line, so did the enemy, they made may attempts to break our lines, at length our men made a stand, on which the enemy challenged them to come up and began to shoot. I conclude a few of their braves did that as in their rear [blank in MS.] It was supposed several hundred Tomhake [tomahawks] were employed in cutting saplins to take off their wounded. Our men could have forced them away precipitately but not without great loss, and so concluded to maintain their ground all along the line. Which they did until Sundown, when the enemy were supposed to be all gone. Our people then moved backward, scalping the enemy and bringing in the dead and wounded.
The enemy came over on rafts about six miles up Ohio & set at the same place. They encamped within two miles of this place the night before the battle and killed some of our beeves, their loss I think is great. Late in the evening they called to our men that tomorrow they wd have 2000 men for them, to fight on for they had 1100 men as well as them. They damnd our men often for Sons-of-Bitches, said "Don't you whistle now" (deriding the fife) and made very merry about a treaty.
Ch. Lewis was shot in clear ground as he had not taken a tree while speaking to his men to come on He turned and handed his gun to a man and walked to Camp telling the men as he passed along "I am wounded, but go you on and be brave"
Col. Field was killed behind a great tree, looking for an Indian who was tal [k] ing to amuse him whilst some others were above him on his right hand among some loggs, who shot him dead.
Col. Flemming was shot with three balls, two in the left arm and one in the left breast, while speaking to his divission in a peace of clear ground, with great coolness and deliberation he stept slowly back and told them not to mind him but to go up and fight.
Poor Col. Lewis soon after he reached the camp died & I fear poor Flemming will. I hope and fear for him may times in ye day. His loss here is irreprable, If Col. Thomas don't come down with medicines,
Col. Lewis wrote his Lordship who had informed him he would have "all requisites" he was begged for medicines and a surgeon. We have Watkins here. I wish you would write P. Henry if you can have an Opp'y something about ye battle, as I want my dear wife to know that I am well.
Bless you & yours, I am your very well wisher.
P. C. 16. Poor Flemming seems like living today, has some hopes that the ball was far spent and has not gone far through his body. He got up just now and seems hearty. Yesterday we gave him over for lost If he mends fast he can see to nursing ye wounded soon. It is getting dark