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Click HERE to see a partial roster of soldiers.
Ninth Volume of the Statutes at Large– Virginia Legislature 1775
And for the better protection and defence of the inhabitants on the frontiers of this colony, Be it farther ordained, by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed and raised, exclusive of the regiments before-mentioned……., also one other company, consisting of one captain, three lieutenants, one ensign, four serjeants, two drummers, and two fifers, and one hundred privates, to be raised in the county of Botetourt, and stationed at Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the great Kanawah
And be it farther ordained, That the commanding-officers to be stationed at Point Pleasant, and Fort Fincastle, shall be under the direction of, and subject to, such orders as they may from time to time receive from the commanding officer at Fort Pitt.
On May 15th, 1776, Captain Arbuckle leaves Fort Pitt with a company of Virginia troops to build a fort at the mouth of the Great Kanawha.
Captain Nevill sends some instructions to the commander of Fort Randolph. Click HERE.
On August 2nd, 1776, Capt. John Stuart writes a letter from the Greenbrier settlements to Col. Fleming asking for militia re-enforcements. He states that Capt. Arbuckle has taken most of their good men ( to serve at Fort Randolph). Click HERE
On August 15th, 1776, Captain Arbuckle wrote a letter to Col. Fleming. Arbuckle had apparently been rebuked for over recruiting at the fort. Arbuckle defends his actions by explaining that he must recruit new soldiers prior to other soldiers being discharged. Arbuckle was also aware that 3 young women had been taken prisoner in Kentucky, and he sent 3 soldiers to demand the prisoners from the Shawnee. These 3 women were the daughters of Col. Callaway and Daniel Boone. On August 15th, the men returned with a Shawnee Chief and Cornstalk’s brother. The Indians told Arbuckle that the women had been rescued, and 2 of their men had been killed. Click HERE
On September 2nd, 1776, a detachment from Fort Randolph was at Fort Pitt under Lt. Andrew Wallace and John Gallaway to acquire cattle. Read HERE.
On September 30th, 1776, Captain McKee wrote a letter to Col. Fleming from Camp Union. He expects to send 30 to 40 recruits to the relief of Fort Randolph. Click HERE
Capt. McKee writes an undated letter to Col. Fleming stating that the detachment arrived safely. McKee had just returned from Williamsburg, and he expected to march 40 to 50 more troops to Fort Randolph the following Monday. Click HERE
On November 1st, Andrew Donnally wrote a letter to Col. Fleming stating that he had purchased a large drove of cattle and hogs for the garrison at Fort Randolph. Click HERE
On November 2nd, Capt. Arbuckle wrote a letter to John Stuart stating that he had sent out some scouts across the Ohio River. The scouts had a skirmish with an Indian across the river from the fort, and one scout was injured. Click HERE
In the summer of 1777, Gen. Hand was ordered by congress to mount a
punitive expedition against the Shawnee towns. He was instructed to
assemble a body of troops at Fort Pitt while Col. Skilleron and Col.
Dickinson were to assemble volunteers in Augusta and Botetourt
counties. Both groups were to rendezvous at Fort Randolph in the
fall of 1777.
On August 31st, 2 men were killed by Indians while attempting to
drive beeves towards the fort. They were supposed to be scouting for
Indians. (One of them may have been Moses Tarfim) Click HERE (Note: Wallis Estill stated in his pension request that he was involved in a skirmish in August 1777 a short distance downriver from the mouth of the Kanawha. He stated that 2 soldiers and 5 Indians were killed. This may have been the same incident.)
Two Shawnee came to the fort on Sept. 19th to ask why a black wampum
was being circulated by the Americans. Arbuckle detained the 2
Indians. Approx. 8 days later, Elinipsico came to the fort to
inquire about the 2 Indians in the fort. Elinipsico told Arbuckle
that Cornstalk and some other chiefs would visit the fort shortly.
As of Oct. 6th, 1777 there were 130 soldiers at Fort Randolph
comprised of 3 companies…Arbuckles, Mckees and Henderson's. Arbuckle
noted that every man was equipped with a good rifle of his own
property. Click HERE .
When Col. Skilleron and Col. Dickinson and their troops arrived at
Fort Randolph on Nov. 5th, they learned that the garrison was
very short of supplies, and Capt. Arbuckle was unable to spare any.
Gen. Hand had not arrived yet, so they decided to wait for him.
Click HERE .
On Nov. 7th, Arbuckle mentions that Cornstalk and 2 other Shawnee are
being held in the fort. Click HERE.
Two men, Lt. Gilmore and Hamilton went across the Kanawha to hunt one
day. (They were not part of the Fort Randolph garrison) Col. John
Stuart and Capt. Arbuckle were standing on the bank
of the Kanawha when they heard a gunshot. Hamilton ran to the bank
and declared that Lt. Gilmore had been shot by Indians. Lt. Robert
Gilmore was part of Capt. John Hall's company, and they were
related. Capt. Hall and his men headed for the fort to kill the
Cornstalk and the other Indians. Arbuckle and Stuart tried to stop
the angry mob to no avail. (Explain the Gilmore and Hamilton
connection to the 1759 Kerr's Creek massacre).
As the mob approached the fort, the interpreter's wife warned
Cornstalk of their intentions.
Cornstalk and the other Indians were murdered.
According to Daniel Davis (part of Hand's campaign), he and 4 or 5
others went on a scalping party under the command of Lt. Estell and
Lt. Wilmot and descended the Ohio as far as the Scioto River. They
returned to the Guyandotte River and camped for 6-10 days.
On Nov. 10th, 3 soldiers gave a deposition at Fort Randolph
concerning the murder of Cornstalk. Click HERE
Gen. Hand arrived on November 18th, and he terminated the expedition
against the Shawnee due to lack of manpower and the lateness of the
season. He ordered Capt. Arbuckle to shorten the pay and daily
allowances of each soldier due to their "living too high". When this
order was put into effect, nearly every man shouldered his pack and
gun and resolved to leave the fort. Major Samuel McDowell acted as a
mediator and restored a semblance of harmony. Also, by the order of
the General, Major McDowell rode before the line and announced the
surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga. Click HERE and HERE
Gen. Hand leaves the fort on Nov. 29th. Capt. Arbuckle left Fort
Randolph on Dec. 5th.
On December 5th, Gen. Hand is camped near Kelly's Fort, and he writes
a letter to Major McDowell. Gen. Hand orders that a mare belonging
to one of the murdered Shawnee should be sold. The money is to be
given to Capt. Arbuckle to be paid to the representative of the
deceased Indians. Click HERE
Between Nov. 29th and December 31st, approx. 20 Indians lured a
detachment from the fort led by Lt. Moore. They fell into an
ambuscade approx. 100 yds from the turnip field. Lt. Moore and a
private were killed. The garrison came to their assistance, but the
Indians fled in different directions. The Indians left a blanket and
a tomahawk. Click HERE
Approx. 8 days later, a man named Morgan fired his gun across the river and said that he was suffering from cold and hunger. McKee sent Katy (Nonhelema) and Fanny (her daughter) across the river to speak with him. Morgan left when he saw that none of the garrison were coming across.
As of Dec. 31st, 1777 seventeen men were inflicted with the measles
or smallpox. There were approx. 90 soldiers assigned to the fort at
this time, with 15 of these on furlough and one absent. Click HERE
Sgt. David Wallace was promoted to 2nd Lt. after the death of Lt.
Moore. Click HERE
Sometime in 1778, Robert Hughes escaped from the Indians and fled to
By January 29th, 6 soldiers had died of smallpox. By March 29th, 6
more soldiers had died at the fort, and one soldier had died while on
furlough for a total of 13. Click HERE
(One of these soldiers was Howard Ignatius.....Click HERE.)
On March 29th, Capt. McKee wrote to Gen. Hand. He stated that he had
learned from a good authority that the Indians intend to strike a
severe blow to the fort in May. Lt. Gilmore is downriver in search
of deserters. Click HERE
Siege of Fort Randolph
May 16th, 1778
A group of Indians appeared near the fort in an attempt to lure the garrison into a pursuit. Lt. James Gilmore led a small detachment just outside the fort. A fire ensued, and Lt. Gilmore was shot and wounded. Pvt. Paddy Sherman ran to Lt. Gilmore and was killed. Lt. Gilmore and the detachment made it back into the fort.
The Indians rose from their hiding places and formed a line stretching from the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. The fort was surrounded on all quarters, and they exchanged gunfire the remainder of the day. The Indians began killing the cattle (approx. 100 head) and stealing the horses.
An Indian approached the fort that night and spoke to Capt. McKee as if they wanted peace. Capt. McKee told him to return the next morning for an answer.
May 17th, 1778
The Indian returned to the fort the next morning. Capt. McKee had several of the men lay down their arms so the Indian would enter the fort. Once inside, a soldier accidentally discharged his firearm, and the Indian climbed the bastion to signal that it was an accident.
Nonhelema was sent to speak with the Indians with a speech from the Governor of Virginia. She learned that they intended to attack the Greenbrier settlements. The Indians appeared pleased with the speech, and they promised to send their men across the river and return the horses the next morning.
May 18th, 1778
A few headmen came to the fort in the morning, but nothing more was seen from the Indians. Capt. McKee asked for 2 volunteers to warn the Greenbrier settlements. John Logan and John Entsminger volunteered and left that night.
May 19th, 1778
Entsminger and Logan were fired upon, and they returned to the fort. Capt. McKee offered an extended furlough to equal a discharge to anyone else that would volunteer. Phillip Hammond, William Pryor and John Pryor volunteered. Hammond chose John Pryor for his superb Indian skills, and both men were disguised as Indians by Nonhelema. They were instructed to return to the fort in 20 days if possible. They arrived at the Greenbrier settlements, and they were able to warn them just before the attack.
Many accounts state that the fort was under siege for a week, however
Capt. McKee's account shows that the actual Siege occurred for 3 days.
How many Indians attacked and who were they?
On June 2nd, 1778, Capt. Matthew Arbuckle wrote a letter to Gen.
Hand. He stated that 300 Indians attacked. Click HERE
On June 9th, 1778, Rev. David Zeisberger wrote a letter to Col.
George Morgan. Zeisberger was a Moravian missionary living among the
Deleware. Zeisberger stated that the Deleware told him that approx.
100 Wyandots and Mingoes attacked Fort Randolph under the Wyandot
Chief Half King. He stated that 3 Indians were wounded during the
Siege. (These Indians went down the Ohio after the Siege) Click HERE
Col. Arthur Campbell wrote a letter to Rev. Charles Cummings on June
10th, 1778. He stated that 200-300 Indians attacked.
On June 21st, 1778, Capt. Mckee wrote a letter to Gen. Hand. He
stated that 400 Indians attacked. Click HERE
On July 5th, 1778, Gen. Hand replied to Capt. Mckee. Gen. Hand
states that accounts from the Delewares confirm the number at approx.
100 warriors, chiefly Wyandots. (It appears that Gen. Hand read the
letter from Rev. Zeisberger). Click HERE
In 1830, Phillip Hammond was honored for his bravery in Jackson
County, Alabama. During his speech, he stated that 900 Indians had
attacked the fort.
In 1832, William Pryor and Zedekiah Shumaker stated that the fort was
attacked by Shawnees in retaliation of the murder of Cornstalk.
Therefore, it is probable that approx. 200 Shawnee and 100 Wyandot
and Mingo attacked the fort. It is also probable that the 200
Shawnee went south to attack the Greenbrier settlements.
After the Siege
On May 23rd, George Rogers Clark stopped at Fort Randolph for a day
on his way to take Vincennes.
On July 25th, 1778, Major Jasper Ewing conducted an inventory of
troops and boats on the frontier. He stated that there were 84 men
and 7 boats at fort Randolph. He also noted that all the boats
between Fort Randolph and Fort Pitt were so open in the seams that it
would be impossible to remove them until repaired.
In the fall of 1778, a man by the name of Morgan arrived at Fort
Randolph with his squaw. Morgan was a white man that had lived among
the Indians for several years. Morgan's father had offered a $300
reward for his return, so Capt. McKee had him put in irons. Morgan
escaped, and Capt. McKee gave an early discharge to Zedekiah
Schumaker and others in case Morgan apprised the Indians of their
original discharge date. Click HERE
On December 21st, 1778 Col. Daniel Broadhead issued these regimental orders:.......Lt. Lawrence Harrison with 1 sergeant, 1 corporal and 15 privates of the 13th VA Regiment are ordered to Fort Randolph on the Canaway to reinforce Capt. Dawson during the winter.
On January 11th, 1779 Gen. McIntosh wrote a letter to the Board of War from Fort Pitt. He stated that Fort Randolph was reinforced with 15 men, the remains of O’hara’s company of the 13th VA Regiment.
Gen. McIntosh writes to Gen. Washington on April 27, 1779 stating that Fort Randolph is garrisoned by Continental troops, still kept up by independent companies.
On July 12, 1779 Col. William Crawford writes to George Washington. He states that Fort Randolph was burned by Indians immediately after its evacuation.
SOLDIERS KILLED AND WOUNDED AT FORT RANDOLPH
Howard Ignatius- Died of Smallpox
In 1786, Sarah Ignatius applied for a pension on behalf of her
late husband, Howard Ignatius. Ms. Ignatius stated that Pvt.
Ignatius died of smallpox while serving at Fort Randolph in the year
1777 ( may have been early 1778). She was awarded twelve pounds yearly by Patrick Henry Governor of Virginia. Click HERE
Two soldiers killed
On August 31st, 1777 two soldiers were killed while herding
beeves towards the fort. These soldiers were supposed to be scouting
for Indians. One of these soldiers may have been Moses Tarfim.
Moses Tarfim- Killed
In 1834, Isaac Nickell applied for a Revolutionary War pension
in Virginia. In his application, he stated that he served at Fort
Randolph from September 1777 to December 1777. During this time, he
stated that two men were killed by Indians, and one of these men was
named Moses Tarfim. He could not remember the name of the other
man. Click HERE
Lt. William Moore and an unknown private
Sometime between Nov. 29th and Dec. 31st, 1777 Lt. Moore led a
detachment out of the fort to pursue approx. 20 Indians. They were
caught in an ambuscade approx. 100 yard from the turnip field. Lt.
Moore and a private were killed. Sgt. David Wallace was promoted to
2nd Lt. after Moore's death.
Lt. Robert Gilmore- Killed
Lt. Robert Gilmore was killed by Indians across the river from
Fort Randolph. This Lt. Gilmore was not part of the regular garrison
at Fort Randolph. He was part of Capt. John Hall's company who
marched under Col.'s Skillern and Dickerson to rendezvous with Gen.
Hand at Fort Randolph. Lt. Robert Gilmore's death is what prompted
the murder of Chief Cornstalk and the other Indians by Capt. John
Hall and his men. It is believed that Capt. John Hall was related to
Lt. Robert Gilmore. This was not the same Lt. Gilmore who was
stationed at Fort Randolph.
Lt. James Gilmore- Wounded
According to letters written by Capt. William Mckee and Capt.
Matthew Arbuckle to Gen. Edward Hand in June of 1778, Lt.
James Gilmore was wounded in May of 1778 during the Siege of Fort
Randolph. He led an attack against the Indians, and Lt. Gilmore was
wounded. Both letters also state that another soldier was killed
during this attack(Pvt. Paddy Sherman). Capt. McKee's letter further
states, "Lt. Gilmore is almost quite well of his wound."
In 1832, William Pryor applied for a Revolutionary War pension.
In his application he stated that Lt. Gilmore was wounded during the
This Lt. James Gilmore was part of the regular garrison at Fort
Randolph. He served at Fort Randolph from 1776 through at least
Paddy Sherman- Killed
According to William Pryor's application for a Revolutionary War
pension, Paddy Sherman was killed during the 1778 siege of Fort
Randolph at the time that Lt. James Gilmore was wounded.
Between January 29th and March 29th, 13 soldiers had died of smallpox.
Moses Tarfim- Killed August 1777
Unk. Private- Killed August 1777
Lt. Robert Gilmore- Killed Nov. 10, 1777
Lt. William Moore- Killed Dec. 1777
Unk. Private- Killed Dec. 1777
Howard Ignatius- Died of smallpox 1777/78
12 soldiers- Died of smallpox 1778
Paddy Sherman- Killed May 16, 1778
Lt. James Gilmore- Wounded May 16, 1778
Total- 19 dead, 1 wounded
INDIANS AND INTERPRETERS AT FORT RANDOLPH
Nonhelema (aka...Grenadier Squaw, Catherine, Katy, Kitty) was the sister of Chief Cornstalk. She resided in the fort from at least 1777-1778.
Fanny (Fawny) was mentioned at the fort in December of 1777 by Capt. Mckee. She may have been the daughter or niece of Nonhelema.
According to Col. John Stuart, there was an interpreter
present at Fort Randolph when Cornstalk was murdered. The
interpreter's wife had been a prisoner among the Indians, and had
recently left them. She warned Cornstalk and the other Indians of
their fate prior to them being murdered. Little is know about the
Henry Aleshite was part of Gen. Hand's Indian campaign, and
he was present at Fort Randolph when Cornstalk was killed. He stated
that one of the murdered Indians was a white man who was married to
During the Siege in May of 1778, Scopatha was sent from the fort to speak
to the Indians.
Click HERE: Arbuckle leaves Fort Pitt to build Fort Randolph; May 1776
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. Arbuckle to Col. Fleming; Aug 15th, 1776
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. McKee to Col. Fleming; Sept 30th, 1776
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. McKee to Col. Fleming; undated 1776
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. Arbuckle to Col. Fleming; July 26th, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. Arbuckle to Gen. Hand; Oct 6th, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. Arbuckle to Gen. Hand; Nov 7th, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Col. Dickinson to Gen. Hand; Nov 7th, 1777
Click HERE: Narrative of John Stuart
Click HERE: Deposition on the murder of Cornstalk; Nov 10th, 1777
Click HERE: Gen. Hand to Col. Fleming from Fort Randolph; Dec 3rd, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Gen. Hand to Maj. Samuel McDowell; Dec 5th, 1777
and a letter from Gen. Hand to Gov. Henry; Dec 9th, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. McKee to Gen. hand; Dec 31st, 1777
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. McKee to Gen. Hand; March 29th, 1778
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. Arbuckle to Gen. Hand; June 2nd, 1778
Click HERE: Narrative of John Stuart about the Siege of Fort Randolph
Click HERE: Letter from Rev. Zeisberger to Col. Morgan; June 9th, 1778
Click HERE: Letter from Capt. McKee to Gen. Hand; June 21st, 1778
Click HERE: Letter from Gen. Hand to Capt. McKee; July 5th, 1778
Click HERE: Regimental orders; Dec 21st, 1778
Click HERE: Letter from Gen. McIntosh to Gen. Washington; April 27, 1779
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