There was raised upon the floor of
Congress, April 1936, the question of the observance of the first battle of the
American Revolution. Immediately the question was propounded by Hon. Sol Bloom,
a recognized patron of History, "Where was it fought and when was it
The erection of a monument, the dedicatory
speech of Hon. Edward Everett Hale, the inscription of Emmerson’s Concord Ode
upon the Lexington Monument was cited as evidence and there came the further
challenge—"You fellows had better learn your history."
Mr. Bloom, broadcasting over the radio
says letters, telegrams and data have poured in to him from all over the
We refer Mr. Bloom and the members of both
branches of Congress to the accompanying statement, together with the brochure
THE BATTLE OF POINT PLEASANT, FIRST BATTLE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, herein,
containing the consensus of leading historians; the enactment of the Congress of
the United States; of the State of West Virginia and in lieu of a hymn, to be
inscribed, there will be upon the base of the Point Pleasant Battle monument at
Point Pleasant (to which the Congress has already contributed, "AS OF THE
REVOLUTION"), a Roster of 1122 names of participants of that battle, fought
October 10, 1774, official report of which was never made by General Andrew
Lewis. The Roster to be inscribed upon a structural base, yet necessary, which
we hope and believe the Congress will gratefully supply. This we hope, to be
followed by a National Celebration and Dedication; the Masonic Grand Lodge of
the United States to dedicate the base and tablets following the precedent
whereby the Masonic Grand Lodge of West Virginia, by special dispensation
dedicated the towering eighty-four foot shaft October 9th (the 10th being
Sunday), 1909, witnessed by an assemblage of thirty thousand people. There will
be room enough and honor enough for all to share in lifting anew the banner of
patriotism to which the world will pay homage.
THE BATTLE PRECIPITATED
The Resolution of Lord North was presented
to the British House of Parliament of date May, 1774, whereby it was proposed to
further supply the American Allied Indians with arms, ammunition and tomahawks.
To this procedure, barbaric even beyond Indian conception, the younger Pitt
protested, in a speech yet so largely quoted as one of the world's most
outstanding orations, when he (Pitt) warned the Parliament that "if the
North resolution prevailed it would not only lose the hearts of the American
Colonists, but the Colonies as well."
The first incoming ship to America brought
the tidings and further aroused the indignation of the Colonies, who had been
speeding by correspondence the convening of the Continental Congress soon to
assemble in the City of Philadelphia.
The Colonists, by their original Charter,
had been granted territorial rights "from coast to coast." They had
protected the Colonies from Indian attacks; they had colonized and established
all the forms of Civil Government they might, and had contributed the expense
attendant thereto. But they were not privileged to select their own Governors or
have representation in the House of Parliament. They were compelled to pay taxes
levied by the Crown without voice in the Parliament of England. They had been
protesting against such injustice for years.
Following Braddock’s defeat, 1755, the
Colonists carried the French and Indian Wars to a conclusion within the
Colonies, to the great advantage of Great Britain.
While England applauded the Colonies for
their most valuable contribution, she at the same time feared their
resourcefulness and courage.
Following the Braddock Massacre England
hastened to make allies among the Indian Nations. When the Battle of Quebec was
fought she had then acquired 100,000 Indian allies. By the aid of thousands of
them available she was enabled to drive the French out of Quebec and Canada.
1759, France was then obliged to cede that territory to England, not concluded
by treaty until 1763.
In the meantime all of the North West
Territory had been ceded by England to the allied Indians of America with the
guarantee of being kept as their homes and happy hunting grounds, and guaranteed
by England to be protected and kept inviolate from occupation by the Colonists.
The Colonies had been officially notified
of the restrictions placed against their going upon what they believed and knew
was their own rightful territory, and the resistance to England was fomenting
speedily throughout the Colonies.
John Adams, of Massachusetts, fixed the
date of "Colonial Decision as of 1764" before the Battle of Point
Pleasant was fought and England long knew the war was inevitable.
When the news of the Parliamentary
enactment of May 1774 reached the Colonists, carried to them by the first
incoming ship from England, the Indians had already been incited to and were
making attacks upon the inhabitants below the Ohio River and the frontiersmen
were calling for relief.
Virginia learning of the NORTH RESOLUTION,
indignation and resentment thereof was unbounded. She was eager not alone to
protect her frontier, but to assert her rights to territory held in common with
Massachusetts and Connecticut. She hastened to take up arms to assert her own
rights although not herself making a general declaration of war.
It was Virginia that defended it and it
was to Virginia the North West Territory was ceded by the Indians, they yielding
their bravest warriors as hostages for the maintenance of inviolate peace for
three years. Thus enabling Virginia (instead of having to protect her frontier)
to go into the Revolution.
The Continental Congress had already been
convened a month (September 1774), when the Battle of Point Pleasant was fought
October 10, 1774, the First Battle of the American Revolution.
The order of the Virginia House of
Burgesses of which Col. Andrew Lewis was then a member was to assemble an army
to march in two separate divisions, one commanded by Governor Dunmore in person,
the other by Col. Andrew Lewis, who was in command, to assemble an army, both
wings to meet at the mouth of the Kanawha river and from thence to pursue the
Indians into their own country, north of the Ohio river, and there subdue them.
This plan, however, as the world now
knows, was thwarted as to the place of conflict, when the traitorous Dunmore
failed to join Lewis at the mouth of the Kanawha river and they to march
together into the "enemy’s country."
The treaty between the Indians that ceded
to Virginia the North West Territory was in effect until the surrender of
Yorktown. Virginia made a gift of that entire Territory to the United States,
1784, ultimately making possible thereby the adoption of the Constitution, 1787,
and the establishment of the United States of America.
The territorial acquisitions following
upon the heels of all the chain of events focusing, as they did, both before and
after the Battle of the American Revolution at Point Pleasant (October 10. 1774)
would establish a right of inheritance to land title in any courts of justice of
the nation. You will find that the title of Virginia to the North West Territory
is legally established by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States
in the case of Handly vs. Anthony, reported in 5 Wheaton 376, in its unanimous
opinion being given by Chief Justice Marshall.
Then why should it be questioned as to its
having been a Battle of the Revolution as to its right of priority; the honor
that the Congress of the United States has so rightfully recognized (See Senate
Bill No. 160, February 17, 1908).
The Bill of Congress was passed without a
dissenting voice or discussion.
Following the surrender of Cornwallis at
Yorktown, by the treaty at Paris, England ceded to Virginia, not to the
Colonists, mark you, all of the North West Territory, that she had previously
ceded to the Indians and they to Virginia.
The ceding of the North West Territory by
Virginia made possible the organization of the United States Government and the
adoption of the Constitution of the United States. It was without money or
without price, save the blood of the men of the battle. That acquisition was the
result of the Battle of Point Pleasant and makes that Battle the furthest
reaching in results of any battle ever fought upon the American Continent.