a Lettter from an Officer Late Under the Command of
Lord Dunmore, Against the Indians, Dated at Fort Augusta, November 21, 1774
From American Archives, 4th series, 1:1017-18
I returned from the Shawanese expedition to my own house, on the 11th instant, an account of which is as follows:
I left home with my Company the 25th of August, and arrived at the Levels of Greenbrier, (which was the place of general rendezvous,) on the first of September, and against the fifth, we had about eleven hundred men assembled; but the Fincastle men were not yet arrived. However, Colonel Charles Lewis, with the Augusta men, which were about six hundred, marched from that place the 8th of September, and arrived at the mouth of Elk River, (which empties into New River, about sixty miles from the mouth of New River,) the 21st of the same month, where we encamped, and got to making canoes to carry our flour down New River.
Colonel Andrew Lewis, with the Botetourt Troops, joined us at Elk, on the 23d or 24th. We made twenty-seven canoes, and, on the first of October, crossed Elk, loaded our canoes, and fell down into New River; and next day being very wet, we encamped on the other side of the mouth of Elk. The following day we proceeded down New River, and arrived at the mouth of it on the sixth of October. In all this march we were never disturbed by the enemy. Our pack-horse men said they saw Indians at times; and at Elk the Indians viewed us and stole some of our horses.
On our arrival at the mouth of New River, or Great Kenhawa, we sent out spies to search if Indians were in those parts, but they could not discover any. Our men went a hunting every day; and on Monday, the tenth of October, by break of day, a number of our men went out as before, two of whom were fired on by the Indians, about a miles and a half from the Camp; one was killed, the other came into the Camp, with the alarm that he had discovered about thirty Indians, and that his companion was killed; on which the drum beat to arms. Our men started up from their tents, (numbers being in bed, for the sun was not yet up.) Orders were immediately given, that one hundred and fifty men from each line should go in quest of the enemy; on which, Colonel Charles Lewis, with one hundred and fifty of the Augusta Troops, and Colonel Fleming, with one hundred and fifty Botetourt Troops, marched out; the men of each line were ordered to form their own ground. In a few minutes three guns went off within about one hundred and twenty poles of the Camp, which was immediately followed by several hundreds; on which two hundred men were ordered out, who, on their approach, found our men giving way before the enemy; but that reinforcement turned the matter.
The battle continued. Several Companies were again ordered out, among whom I was ordered out with fifty men to a certain place, to prevent the Indians getting round our Camp. I, with my men, run about half a mile, and came to some of our men by a hill; the Indians had retreated. We then pursued them from tree to tree, till rising a small ridge, they had placed themselves behind logs, fired on us, killed three men near me, and wounded ten or twelve more. We pushed up farther, there made a stand, which the whole line from the Ohio to us did at the same time. This happened about one o'clock. There we remained watching the Indians, and they us, till near night, now and then firing as opportunity offered, on both sides. The Indians, at the approach of night, skipped off and left us the field; but carried away all their wounded, and many of their slain. However, we got twenty-one of them dead on the ground; and we afterwards heard they had two hundred and thirty-three killed and wounded; but I cannot say that is true. We had forty men killed that night, and ninety-six wounded, twenty odd of whom are since dead.
On the 17th, we crossed the river to go to the Towns, and marched on with about eleven hundred men, leaving three hundred at the Camp to take care of the wounded and provisions; (for know that the Fincastle Troops, three hundred in number, joined us the night after the battle;) but, on the 24th, we were stopped by express from the Governour, informing us that he had made peace.