On August 13, 1763, George Washington outlined his plans to defend western Virginia against Pontiac’s Rebellion. His key strategy was to station 500 Virginia militiamen on the western frontier.
Pontiac’s Rebellion was an uprising against settlers, occurring at the end of the French and Indian War. Many western tribes had aligned themselves with France during the war. Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, realized that with the English victory, settlers would pour into the West and take more lands from Indians. He helped forge a military alliance among the Ottawa, Delaware, Kickapoo, Miami, Potawatomi, Seneca, Shawnee, and Wyandotte Indians.
In Western Virginia, the deadliest attacks of Pontiac’s Rebellion occurred in the Greenbrier region, where Shawnee chief Cornstalk’s warriors killed dozens of white settlers.
Pontiac’s Rebellion was stopped at Detroit—one of the last standing British forts. Pontiac was forced to negotiate a peace in 1766. Although Britain’s King George tried to ease tensions by banning white settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains, many pioneers ignored the warnings. By the 1770s, Pontiac’s prophecy had come true, as settlers moved into western Virginia in record numbers.