William Fleming arrived in Virginia in time to participate in several engagements of the French and Indian War as a surgeon. He was a lieutenant on the 1756 Sandy Creek expedition. He was then appointed ensign in George Washington’s First Virginia Regiment and served as a surgeon in the Forbes Expedition and the Anglo-Cherokee War. He served in two more campaigns in 1758 and was then made a captain and stationed in Staunton in 1760.
In 1774, during Dunmore’s War, Colonel Fleming led the Botetourt County militia at the Battle of Point Pleasant. He continued to lead his men after being shot twice. A musket ball lodged in his chest was never removed and often caused him great pain. It prevented his military service in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1782, Fleming headed Commissions to Kentucky to settle land claim disputes and attend to other official business. In 1784 he attended the Danville Convention, paving the way for Kentucky’s separation from Virginia.