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Doug Mouton / Eyewitness Sports
Email: dmouton@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dmoutonwwl

LEWISBURG, West Va. -- Lewisburg, West Va., is home to a key battle early in the Civil War, and even though West Virginia didn't become a state until 1863, a key site in the Revolutionary War.

And it all began at an unassuming park in downtown Lewisburg, Andrew Lewis Park, where surveyors led by his father, John Lewis, came in roughly 1750.

'The reason they made this park their base camp is because behind this building is a spring,' said Jim Talbert, a local historian with the Greenbrier Historical Society.

After the nearby land was surveyed, settlers moved in.

'The Shenandoah Valley, over in Virginia, was crowded, it was full, there was no more farmland,' Talbert said. 'So the settlers had to go someplace, so they went over the mountain to the Greenbrier Balley.'

But Native Americans attacked the first three attempts at West Virginia settlements and wiped all three out.

'The governor of Virginia decided it was time to put an end to the Indian attacks on the frontier settlers,' Talbert said.

So in 1774, he organized an attack led by Col. Andrew Lewis. Lewis raised his army and attacked the Native Americans at Point Pleasant nearby and won.

'This battle at Point Pleasant is what we call the first battle of the American Revolution, because it was an all-American militia six months before the uprising in Massachusetts,' Talbert said. 'It was definitely the first major American military campaign with Americans in command.'

Lewisburg also played a major role in the Civil War. Ninety-five Confederate soldier are buried in a mass grave of unknowns. A Union army of roughly 600 was on its way to break a Confederate transportation route and camped there.

A Confederate army of a thousand approached and camped on an opposing ridge, and on the morning of May 23, 1862, the confederates attacked.

'And awakened the northern forces with cannon fire,' Talbert said.

The south had the advantage, but the north rallied and successfully fought back. The Confederate army retreated across the Greenbrier River.

The entire battle of Lewisburg took less than an hour, and as Talber says, 45 minutes of fighting that we've been talking about for more than 150 years.

Both sides can claim the win. The Union army won the battle, but they did not break the Confederate transportation line.

'They won this battle, but they did not accomplish the mission,' Talbert said.

It's Civil War history and Revolutionary War history in a town named for Andrew Lewis and his family.

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