May 16, 1778: Wyandot and Mingo Indians Attack the Fort Randolph


On May 16, 1778, about 300 Wyandot and Mingo Indians attacked the garrison at Fort Randolph in Point Pleasant. Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, Fort Randolph was one of the most important military outposts in Western Virginia during the Revolutionary War.

The attack was perhaps in retaliation for the murder of Indian chiefs Cornstalk and Red Hawk and Cornstalk’s son Elinipsico months earlier. Cornstalk had led Shawnee forces in their valiant but failed effort against the Virginia militia at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. Once the Revolutionary War started, however, Cornstalk, Red Hawk, and other chiefs from nearby Ohio wanted to remain neutral between the Americans and British.

Cornstalk and Red Hawk came to Fort Randolph to warn the Americans they could no longer control their warriors and that an attack could be imminent. Instead of accepting the intelligence information in good faith, the Americans detained the two chiefs at the fort. After an Indian attack on two white hunters in the area, local residents captured and killed the two chieftains and Elinipsico, who’d come looking for his father.