The Battle of Point Pleasant

Hi! Dr. Bob here.

Street sign at Point Pleasant
Street sign at Point Pleasant
Point Pleasant monument
Point Pleasant monument

On October 10, 1774, my great, great, great, great grandfather died.

O.K., that’s a lot of “greats,” but there’s a “great” story behind his death on that day in October.

For American history buffs, October 10, 1774 was the date of the Battle of Point Pleasant, which occurred in present-day West Virginia, along the east bank of the Ohio River. My ancestor, Ensign Jonathan Cundiff, was a Colonial rifleman from Bedford, Virginia: he was killed in action during the battle with the Shawnee and Mingo Indians. Cundiff’s name is on the plaque at the base of the obelisk.

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit the battle site, and see the obelisk raised in honor of the fallen. My ancestor’s name is among the soldiers who died in battle.

According to the State Park’s website, “Here at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, the bloody, day-long Battle of Point Pleasant was fought. On October 10, 1774, Colonel Andrew Lewis’ 1,100 Virginia militiamen decisively defeated a like number of Indians lead by the Shawnee Chieftain Cornstalk.” Their website is http://www.tu-endie-weistatepark.com/battle.html.

Under the leadership of Captain Thomas Buford, a contingent of soldiers from Bedford County, Virginia came to join Lewis’ militia. My ancestor was with that group from Bedford County. According to historical records the Bedford officers were the following: Thomas Buford, Captain; Thomas Dooley, Lieutenant; Jonathan Cundiff, Ensign; Nicholas Mead, Sergeant; John Fields, Sergeant; Thomas Fliping, Sergeant; William Kenedy, Sergeant. Under their leadership, 47 other Virginia militiamen followed. The names of all these brave soldiers from Bedford, Virginia are on another monument in their honor outside the Bedford Courthouse.

A summary of the battle can also be found on Wikipedia, at  http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Point_Pleasant.

There has been discussion for more than a century about this battle being part of the Revolutionary War. The U.S. Senate once honored the battle as such, with a bill. The House of Representatives did not follow the Senate’s lead in commemorating the battle as a Revolutionary War incident.

It’s interesting to note that both Ohio and Virginia Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) have honored the battle site. Two websites I found are http://ohssardispatch.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/battle-days-point-pleasant-wv-3/ and http://www.fairfaxresolvessar.org/ffx_observance_pointpleasant.html.

Jonathan Cundiff’s son, Isaac, was not at the battle, but subsequently joined the Revolutionary War effort as a soldier. Isaac’s enlistment records allowed me to become a SAR member.

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