Fort Donnally,5-29-1778 Attacked by Native Americans
37.943611,-80.476111, Fort Donnally, Greenbriar Co. WV
Maps: [map notes]
- 37.943611,-80.476111, Fort Donnally
- ACME Mapper.
- National Map
- Confidence: 4
- Wiki: Fort Donnally, West Virginia
- Multiple maps of Fort Donnally location
37.943611, -80.475833 Location basis
- Fort Donnally/Border Heroes historical marker
37° 52.16' N, 80° 32.587' W (37.86933 -80.54312)
Built by Andrew Donnally a few miles north about 1771. Attack on this fort by 200 Indians in 1778 was second most important frontier engagement in the State. The fort was relieved by force under Colonel John Stuart.
Before the Fort Donnally attack, settlement had been warned by Phillip Hammond and John Pryor, scouts at Point Pleasant, who, made-up as Indians by Nonhelema, the sister of Cornstalk, passed and outran the Indians.
Acme map showing marker at Alta and fort location to the NE
- Sharelle Renick, "Attack on Fort Donnally", West Virginia Archives & History.
In the month of May, 1778, a band of Indians crossed the Ohio river at the mouthof Campaign creek, about seven miles up the river from the mouth of Great Kanawha river. They started immediately for the Greenbrier county - as it was then known. As soon as the people knew the direction the Indians had taken, two men set out from the fort at Point Pleasant to notify the settlement of the advance of the Indians. .....
A Grenadier squaw, a sister of Cornstalk, but a friend of the of the white, painted them as Indians, and though the Indians had several days head start still by traveling day and night they were able to overtake the Indians at the mouth of Big Clear creek, only twenty miles from Fort Donnally. They attempted to pass them. Not knowing whether the Indians had attacked the settlement or not, one of the men climbed a tree so by their actions they could judge what they were intending to do. The Indians were preparing for the massacre.
Pryor and Hammond immediately started for the settlement to warn people of their danger. The following men with their families to-wit: Col. Andrew Donnally, Capt. Jack Williams, William Blake, William Hughart Jr., William Hughart Sr., John McFerrin, William McCoy Sr., William McCoy, Jr., Henry Hedrick, James Jordan, Thomas George, William Hamilton, John Pryor, James Graham, William Strickland, Griffith, Philip Hammond, Dick Pointer (colored), William Prichart, Alexander Ockeltree and James Burns were notified of their danger and with their families came to the fort. .....
The Indians made a rush for the door and began to cut it down with their tomahawks. They could open the door only partially, on account of a hogshead of water placed be hind the door. Hammond was soon on his feet. Dick Pointer has seized an old musket loaded heavily with swan shot, etc., and was trying to decide what to do. At this the Indians had partly forced the door open. Hammond cut the first down with his tomahawk and Dick fired, mowing a swathe to the stockade gate, the recoil of the gun knocking him over. This awakened the people above, and springing from their beds, they grasped their rifles and opened a galling fire, which drove the Indians outside the stockade.
Some of the Indians before they retreated got under the floor, and tried to set the building on fire. The striking of the flint and steel attracted attention, and when they tried to raise the floor, the whites helped them, and all the Indians under the floor were killed. The Indians continued the battle, using every conceivable method to capture the fort. By climbing a tree one of the Indians was enabled to glance a bullet so it struck William Blake on the forehead and gave him a scalp wound. But the Indian paid for his folly by receiving a ball from the gun of Capt. Jack Williams, which went through his brains. The whites were scarse of ammunition and were constantly warning each other in the use of their ammunition. An Indian had got within the stockade, and climbed the corner of the fort. He commenced to mock them by Crying, "Load 'em, shoot 'em sure, ammunition scarse, "Richard Williams dug a hole through the mud and sent a ball through his body, which made the Indian swing around and fell into a soap trough.
About the same time, another Indian had got ten under the floor. A kettle of boiling water or soap scared him out and a bullet from Hammond's gun stopped him as he started to climb the stockade fence.
The whites' loss was four men killed and two wounded - Prichart, at the tan trough, Alexander Ockeltree, and James Burns, who were on the road to the fort, and James Graham, within the fort. William Blake was wounded in the head, and William Hamilton in the finger. Burns fell dead when shot, Ockeltree ran about three hundred yards and fell, pierced by seven balls.
The news was carried to Fort Savannah (now Lewisburg) by a scout sent out for the purpose by Capt. John Stuart. He and Col. Lewis, accompanied by sixty-six men, started about noon for the west to Raders creek, then through a rye-field to the fort, arriving about 4 p.m. When they approached they thought the Indians had withdrawn, as firing had ceased, but seeing an Indian behind a tree Capt. Stuart and Charles Gatliff fired and the Indian went to rest. Then with butts of guns foremost they made a rush for the fort. The people within thought it to be a charge of the Indians but soon discovered them to be friends, and threw open the doors. Although the Indians opened fire upon Capt. Stuart and his men, and many of them had their clothes pierced by bullets, not one was injured.
The Indians continued firing slowly from an old barn 200 yards northwest from the fort, and at dark withdrew. A few minutes before dark, an old Indian approached the fort and said they "wanted peace." but the whites could not induce him to enter the fort. They carried away all their dead accessible to them, but seventeen were left within the stockade fence. These Dick Pointer buried the next day in a hole, about thirty yards south of the fort. He dragged them to the fort, hitching a hook in their mouths, with a fork. He dragged them to the fort, hitching a hook in their mouths, with a horse. Where they buried the remainder of them is not known. ....
May 1778 listing: 5/1778 Capt Andrew Donnally's Fort, north of Lewisburg. American victory.