Location: Wheeling, West Virginia
Surnames/tags: Fort_Henry Seige_of_Fort_Henry Frontier_Warfare
This attack upon Fort Henry was not the first attempt by the Indians and British. The first attack on Fort Henry occurred in Sep 1777. Prior to the second siege several attacks were planned, the first being in 1781, it was abandoned for some unknown reason; another contemplated attack was planned in the summer of 1782, which Fort Henry defended. However, from September 11-13, 1782, a force of about 300 Wyandot, Shawnee, Seneca, and Delaware Indians laid siege to Fort Henry, Virginia (West Virginia), accompanied by a force of 50 British Rangers. This siege is commonly referred to as "The Last Battle of the Revolutionary War".
|Fort Henry Map|
Prior to the siege, John Lynn, a scout who had been monitoring the trails in the area had seen the advancing group of Indians and British Rangers. Lynn immediately returned to Fort Henry to inform Captain John Boggs, commander of Fort Henry. Upon hearing the news, Captain Boggs departed for aid and to warn the settlers in the area. With Captain Boggs leaving the fort, Colonel Silas Zane was selected to replace him while he was away.
On the evening of the 11th of September, the enemy forces appeared in sight and formed lines around the fort. They demanded the fort surrender, which then Colonel Silas Zane of the fort refused. In doing so, he gave the ordered to fire a shot in their direction. After the refusal, the fort was given until dark to reconsider. At around midnight, the first attack commenced with no success. Then again at 8:00 in the morning the enemy attempted another unsuccessful attack.
After successfully defending against the attacks the individuals within Fort Henry were starting to run low on gun powder. On the second day of the siege, Colonel Silas Zane asked for a volunteer to run to Ebenezer Zane’s cabin. A couple of the men stepped forward and volunteered, however at that moment Elizabeth “Betty” Zane spoke up and said she would go for the gun powder because the men in Fort Henry were more valuable in the defense of the fort. Elizabeth Zane is the sister of Silas and Ebenezer Zane.
|Ebenezer Zane’s Cabin|
At about 12:00 noon, Elizabeth “Betty” Zane opened the front gate of Fort Henry and walked the 60 yards to Ebenezer Zane’s cabin. There was a pause in the fighting while the Indian and British forces stared in awe as she disappeared into the cabin. Zane was not as lucky on her return trip, as she wrapped the powder store in her apron and left the cabin to return to the fort the attackers recognized what she had and opened fire on her. Zane ran the 60 yards up the hill to the fort and made it safely inside unharmed. The powder allowed the settlers to defend the fort until help arrived. Then on the next morning the Indian and British forces left as Captain Boggs arrived with 70 soldiers to aid Fort Henry.
|Elizabeth "Betty" Zane|
There have been several different accounts of the actual history of what happened during the Siege of Fort Henry in 1782. These accounts include the actual number of Indians and British Rangers, which unit the British Rangers were assigned to. Who led the forces some have stated the Indians were led by either Simon Girty or his brother George Girty. Were the rangers from Butler's Rangers or the Queen’s Rangers? Lastly, different accounts have stated the British Rangers were led by either Captain Andrew Bradt or Captain Andrew Pratt. These accounts are dependent upon the source, which like much of history there is always going to be different versions.
American poet Olivia N. Brien reflected on the 1782 Siege of Fort Henry by writing the following poem in response.
|Elizabeth "Betty" Zane Memorial|
The memorial statue is located in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Martins Ferry, Ohio. It was dedicated on 30 May 1928 to honor Elizabeth "Betty" Zane and her heroic actions during the second siege of Fort Henry.
For the full list of individuals who were either defenders, occupants, or attackers during the siege of Fort Henry Click Here. If one of your ancestor’s is not on this list, please let me know so we can recognize them for their heroic contributions.
- Siege of Fort Henry 1782 (9:18)
- Betty Zane: Legend of Fort Henry (4:02)
- Fort Henry Days Part 1 (8:34)
- Fort Henry Days Part 2 (8:15)
- West Virginia History
- The West Virginia Encyclopedia
- Ohio County Public Library, Wheeling, West Virginia
- The WVGenWeb Project
- The Fort Henry Project
- Tales of American History
- Battle Information
- Busch, Clarence M.. ”Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania”. Vol. 2. Pennsylvania”: State Printer of Pennsylvania, 1896. The Darlington Digital Library, University of Pittsburgh
- Perkins, James H., and John Mason Peck. ”Annals of the West : Embracing a Concise Account of Principal Events which have occurred in the Western States and Territories, from the Discovery of the Mississippi Valley to the year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-Six”. Pittsburgh: H.S. Haven, 1856. The Darlington Digital Library, University of Pittsburgh
- McWhorter, Lucullus Virgil, William Elsey Connelley, and J. P. MacLean. "The Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia From 1768 to 1795 : Embracing The Life of Jesse Hughes and Other Noted Scouts of the Great Woods of the Trans-Allegheny". Hamilton: Republican Publication Co., 1915. The Darlington Digital Library, University of Pittsburgh
- Sabin, Edwin L.. ”Boys’ Book of Frontier Fighters”. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Company Publishers, 1919. The Internet Archive
- Fort Henry Defenders and Occupants Grave Site Listing – Ohio County, West Virginia
- Wikipedia: Siege of Fort Henry (1782)
- Wikipedia: Betty Zane
- Wikipedia: Queen’s Rangers
- Wikipedia: Butler’s Rangers
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