Point Pleasant 1774: Prelude to the American Revolution
In the months before the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Pennsylvania and Virginia had disputing claims over the trans-Appalachian area that would become southern Ohio and Kentucky. This area had been ceded by the French at the end of the French and Indian War, aka the Seven Years War. Of course, the native people, the Shawnee, Mingo, and their allies including members of the Delaware, Miami, Ojibwe, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi and Wyandot, also contested the rights to his land.
In time, the colonists allied with each other and sent militias to take the land under the leadership of Virginia’s governor, John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (Lord Dunmore). The regular armies, i.e., the Redcoats did not participate to any great degree in this campaign which culminated in the Battle of Point Pleasant at the convergence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers near present day Charleston, WV.
The colonial militia was outnumbered but the allied Indian forces lost the element of surprise and after a daylong pitched battle of advances and retreats were forced to withdraw. The use of non-traditional fighting, such as using cover and not advancing in rank and file, worked well for the militia.
While this campaign was taking place on the frontier, in Boston and Philadelphia, the colonists were marching inexorably towards revolution. Dunmore, a staunch Loyalist, had refused to participate in the Congress. Given the independent nature of the militia and the refusal by Lord Dunmore to commit his regular troops, this further cemented the southerners with their New England brethren in opposition to the Crown.
This 96 page book chronicles the events of summer and early fall campaign organized by Lord Dunmore in quite some depth. There were times, however, when the narrative got bogged down in the particular individual names, units and camps on the Ohio making the continuity a bit hard to follow.
As a reference for the modeler/historian, it does present a number of detailed maps, both in traditional form and in simulated 3Delevations giving an idea of the terrain on which the battles were fought. Modern photographs show some of the sites as they are in 2014. Also included are several full color two page action illustrations flowed by a smaller annotated version. These will prove very useful for anyone painting figures of Colonial Militia or Woodland Indians of the pre-Revolutionary period.
I’d recommend this book to those interested in late 18th Century American history. Thanks to Osprey publsihing and to the IPMS USA for a chance to review this fine book.