BATTLE OF CAPTINA
The following story is reproduced from a book titled, the "Combined History and Atlas of Monroe County, Ohio." The material for this book was taken from two nineteenth century books: (1) 'History of Monroe County Ohio,' a product of the H.H. Hardesty & Co., publishers, Chicago and Toledo, 1882 and (2) 'Caldwell's Atlas of Monroe County, Ohio,' a product of Atlas Publishing Company, Mount Vernon, Ohio, 1898. The "Combined History and Atlas of Monroe County, Ohio" was reprinted and is available from the Monroe County Historical Society.
Captina creek is a considerable stream, entering the Ohio about one mile above the Monroe county line. Some of its branches have their source in this county. On the banks of that stream, at an early day, a sanguinary contest took place, known as the "Battle of Captina." Its incidents are given below, as related by Martin Baker, referred to above.
"One mile below the mouth of' Captina, on the Virginia shore, was Baker's Fort, so named after my father. One morning in May, 1794, four men were sent over, according to custom, to the Ohio side, to reconnoitre. They were Adam Miller, John Daniels, Isaac McCowan and John Shoptaw. Miller and Daniels took upstream, the other two down. The upper scouts were soon attacked by Indians and Miller killed. Daniels ran up Captina about three miles, but being weak from the loss of blood issuing from a wound in his arm, was taken prisoner, carried into captivity, and subsequently released at the treaty of Greenville. The lower scouts having discovered signs of the enemy, Shoptaw swam across the Ohio and escaped; but McCowan, going up towards the canoe, was shot by Indians in ambush.
Upon this, he ran down the bank and sprang into the water, pursued by the enemy. who overtook and scalped him. The firing being heard at the fort, they beat up for volunteers, there being about fifty men in the fort. Being much reluctance among them to volunteer, my sister exclaimed, 'She wouldn't be a coward.' This aroused the pride of my brother, John Baker, who before had determined not to go. He joined the others, fourteen in number, including Captain Abram Enochs. They soon crossed the river and went up Captina in single file, a distance of a mile and a half, following the Indian trail. The enemy came back on their trails, and were in ambush on the hillside, awaiting their approach. When sufficiently near, they fired on our people, but being on an elevated position, their balls passed harmless over them. The whites then treed. Some of the Indians came behind and shot Captain Enochs and Mr. Hoffman. Our people soon retreated, and the Indians pursued but a short distance. On their retreat my brother was shot in the hip. Determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, he drew off one side and secreted himself in a hollow, with a rock at his back, offering no chance for the enemy to approach but in front. Shortly after, two shots were heard in quick succession. Doubtless, one of them was fired by my brother, and from the signs afterward, it was supposed he had killed an Indian. The next day the men turned out and visited the spot. Enochs, Hoffman and John Baker were found dead and scalped. Enoch's bowels were torn out, his eyes, and those of Hoffman screwed out with a wiping stick. The dead were wrapped in white hickory bark and brought over to the Virginia shore and buried in their bark coffins. There were about thirty Indians engaged in this action, and seven skeletons of their slain were found long after, secreted in the crevices of rocks."
The youngest man among the whites in this action, was Duncan McArthur, afterwards Governor of Ohio. After the death of Captain Enochs, he was chosen to command, and conducted the battle and retreat with marked ability. The Indians were the worsted party, having lost at least half their number in killed and wounded.