Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 20, 1976 · Page 69
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 69

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 20, 1976
Page 69
Start Free Trial

Page 69 article text (OCR)

8F --June 20,1976 Suw/nyC'napHi'-Miif Charleston. West Virginia ~ -Plate Buried ClaimingLand forKingof France By John G. Morgan MOUTH OF THE C H 1 N O D A H I - CHETHA, Va., Aug. 18,1749-A lead plate was buried at the foot of an elm tree here today in the name of King Louis XV of France. ' "ViveleRoi!" (long live the King), proclaimed Capt. Pierre Joseph Celoron, officer in charge of burial rites. A French claim to all lands drained by two great rivers was asserted in the ceremony and by an inscription on the plate. The Chinodahichetha flows into the Ohio, called "la Belle Riviere" (beautiful river), at this place in wild and wonderful country unsettled by white men. Mountain Road To Independence 'Celoron, a 56-year-old, clear-eyed French officer, came ashore during a rainstorm this morning. With him was an expeditionary force of 250 men, which had been moving down the Ohio in a flotilla of canoes. The Rev. Joseph Pierre de Bonnecamps, 42, a Jesuit priest, hydrology professor, sa'iling master and keen observer of rattlesnakes and trees, is among prominent members of the force. Others include eight subaltern officers, six cadets, 20 soldiers, 30 Indians and 180 Canadians. "Many members of the force are dressed in" splendid battle array for this ceremony, the fifth of its kind since the expedition began two months ago with a mission to spread the authority of France. A tin plate, bearing the French coat of arms, was attached to a nearby tree as a part of each ceremony. ; -The. expedition started June 15 at Lachine ; near Montreal, Canada,. It moved along the St. Lawrence River, on the lakes of Ontario and Erie, on several rivers and tributaries, and overland for short distances before reaching the Ohio River. · "Four other lead plates were buried along the Ohio in the name of the French King. One of two, buried beside upper reaches of the river, was placed under a so-called ?'God"Rock." ; Fr. Bonnecamps said there were figures of-men and women, and footprints of goats, turkeys, bears, etc., traced upon the rock. He said drawing styles indicated "the work was done by savages. ; A third plate was buried at the mouth of -a creek called "Rananoura," thought to be a variant of an Iroquian name meaning "head." The fourth was buried at the mouth of the Muskingum River. ! Several English traders, seen during the ·trip, were ordered by French officers to "leave the country. But there was little prospect that the order would be obeyed ·on a permanent basis. I Fr. Bonnecamps, who keeps a journal of ;the trip, has been gloomy at times. He ·wrote of the "Somber and dismal valley hich serves as the bed of the Ohio." He ·commented on scattered villages of Indi- ·ans, including some "lodged in miserable .'cabins." · He made this entry for Aug. 1. when the "expedition was descending the upper -reaches of the Ohio: · "On that day we caught seven rattles- '.nakes, which were the first that I had ·seen. The snakes differ in no way from others, except that its tail is terminated by 7 or 8 little scabs fitting one into another, which make sort of a clicking sound when the creature moves or shakes itself ;'i nave Been told a thousand marvelous things about this reptile, among others that the squirrel, upon perceiving a rattlesnake, immediately becomes greatly agitated; and at the end of a certain period of time--drawn as it were by an invincible attraction--approaches it, even throwing itself into the jaws of the serpent." For Aug. 7, while still on the upper Ohio, the prolific priest wrote: ' "On the same day we dined in a hollow 'cotton tree, in which 29 men could be side by side. "This tree is not rare in these regions: it '.grows on the river banks and in marshy ·places... I do not believe that I have seen two of these trees that were not hollow." Heavy rains continue to fall here, where buffaloes roam in small herds. The expedi- '. tion is scheduled to continue downstream as soon as the weather clears. Next: New Town with a German Accent. -Ohio Historical Society and Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission Sketch Shows French Officers and Men Burying Lead Plate As They Lay Claim to Land All Lands Drained by the Ohio and Great Kanawha Rivers Was Claimed in Ceremony Fort Griswold Massacre Savage Attack The massacre of 79 American militiamen at Fort Griswold in Connecticut in 1781, by a British expedition led by the traitorous Benedict Arnold, was one of the most savage acts of the American Revolution. It was also the last major engagement of the war in the north and the final blow struck by the impetuous Arnold against the young nation for which he had once fought so boldly. Fort Griswold formed the chief defense of the seaport town of New London, three miles up the Thames River from Long Island Sound. The British hoped that a raid on New London would result in destruction of a large quantity of rebel supplies stored there and, even more important, force General Washington, then marching south to engage the enemy in Virginia, to divert a portion of his small army to defend the Connecticut coast. * * * ARNOLD WAS the obvious choice to lead such a raid. He and his Tory marauders had recently returned north after burning and plundering Richmond. Va, and Arnold was f a m i l i a r with the New London area, having spent his boyhood just a few miles to the north. At dawn on Thursday, Sept. 6, a British fleet of 35 sails appeared at the mouth of the Thames, carrying Arnold and 1,700 troops, mostly Tory rangers but including a regiment of British regulars and two detachments of Hessians. By 10 a. m. Arnold had landed half of his men, under Lt. Col. Edmond Eyre, on the east bank of the river to move against Fort Griswold, a mile below and across the river from New London. Arnold landed with the rest of his men on the New London side. Only tiny Fort Trumbull stood between him and the town. Its 24-man garrison fired a single volley, spiked the cannon, and fled in small boats across the river to Fort Griswold. Arnold and his men, meeting only scattered small arms fire, hurried on to New Tales of Revolution London. As terror-stricken families fled to the nearby woods, the raiders set fire to the public buildings, dwellings, warehouses along the wharves, and ships in the harbor. The soldiers roamed the streets brutalizing the inhabitants and plundering the . burning homes. Finally, about noon, large numbers of militiamen from the surrounding countryside were seen gathering on the edge of the burning town and the Tories retreated, suffering several killed and wounded before reaching the safety of their ships. * * * MEANTIME, while Arnold and his men had been burning and pillaging New London, the other raiding party under Lt. Col. Eyre had reached Fort Griswold, commanded by Col. William Ledyard and manned by 157 patriots, including the men from Fort Trumbull. Many of the militiamen were without muskets and armed only with spears. The fort itself was a formidable stronghold overlooking the village of Groton, a single street along the river bank. The Americans refused a demand for surrender and Colonel Eyre led his men in a fierce assault on the fort. They were met by intense fire from the garrison. An old naval officer, a Captain Halsey, stood by a cannon loaded with grapeshot and calmly brought it to bear on the Tories. Twenty of them were killed or wounded by his fire. Time and again the raiders were repulsed and time and again, suffering heavy loss-" es, they returned to the attack. Colonel Eyre was mortally wounded by musket fire and his second-in-command was run through by a spear. Finally the raiders, now led by a Major Bromfield, swarmed over the walls and carried the fort at bayonet point. Colonel Ledyard, surrounded by the enemy, ordered his men to throw'down their arms and Colonel Bromfield, a Tory from New Jersey, cried out: "Who commands this garrison?" Colonel Ledyard answered: "I did sir, but you do now," and stepped forward and presented his sword. Bromfield accepted the sword, suddenly advanced a step and plunged it into Ledyard's body. Ledyard fell to the ground and died in a pool of blood. The massacre was on. With musket and bayonet the raid- ,ers attacked the unarmed militiamen until the fort became a slaughter pen. A SURVIVOR remembered that "the hands of some of the dead soldiers were horribly gashed and mutilated as they encountered the points and.edges of the bayonets in their vain struggles to keep the dreaded weapons from their faces, breasts and throats." Six Americans had been killed in the attack on the fort; now 85 lay dead, some with as many as 13 bayonet wounds in their bodies. Another survivor said: "After the massacre they plundered us of everything we had, and left us literally naked." Sergeant Stephen Hempstead, one of the militiamen, said that he and other wounded men "were put in one of the ammunition wagons and taken to the brow of the h i l l . . . . from whence it was permitted to run down by itself, but was arrested in its course, near the river, by an apple tree. The pain and anguish we all endured in the · rapid descent is inconceivable; and the jar in its arrest was like busting the cords of life asunder . . . our cries were distinctly heard and noticed on the opposite side of the river . . . amidst all the confusion which raged in burning and sacking the town ..." The victorious raiders sailed back to New York where Benedict Arnold reported to his superiors at British headquarters: "The attack was judicious and spirited and reflects the highest honor of the officers and troops engaged." The Nation's Birthday...1776 The State's Birthday.. 1863 And Moore's Birthday.. 1863 113 YEARS of Service! of 76 SALE! SERVING THE CHARLESTON AREA FOR OVER 18 YEARS SPECIAL PATRIOTIC PRICK 1958-1976 --1 GROUP-^ BOYS' LEATHER SANDALS PAIR RK. $9.95 FIRST Win FAMOUS BfAHD OfF*KULA*P*iC£S! y AMHERST INDUSTRIES, INC. Serving The Kanawha Valley And Surrounding Areas W. Va. Approved Agriculture Lime * Indiana Crushed Limestone (All Sizes) * Mason Sand * Concrete Sand .* Concrete Gravel We have barges available for loading -- Our own towboats _ an d barge unloading facilities at Port._Amhgrst PHONE(304)925-1171 Route 60, last, Pff t Amherst, Charleston, W. Va. We at Moore's are dedicated to serving the Charleston area now and in the future. . . The S. Spencer Moore Company is one of Charleston's handiest downtown stores for browsing . . . practically everything on the ground floor level for easy shopping . . . cameras, books, office supplies, desk accessories, students' and teachers' aids. Visit M o o r e ' s . . . on the level! · Everything PHOTOGRAPHIC · OFFICE SUPPLIES · OFFICE FURNITURE ·BOOKS · ART FRAMING 3rd Floor HgeiPiiOLST. across from THEUBRARY 342-6185 M 5T863 oore/s

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page