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Chronicles of Border Warfare
by Alexander Scott Withers
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In the latter end of April 1774, a party of land adventurers, who had fled from the dangers which threatened them below, came in collision with some Indians, near the mouth of Captina, sixteen miles below Wheeling. A slight skirmish ensued, which terminated in the discomfiture of the whites, notwithstanding they had only one man wounded, and one or two of the enemy were killed. About the same time, happened the affair opposite the mouth of Yellow creek; a stream emptying into the Ohio river from the northwest, nearly midway between Pittsburg and Wheeling.[10]

In consequence of advices received of the menacing conduct of the Indians, Joshua Baker (who lived at this place) was preparing, together with his neighbors, to retire for safety, into some of the nearer forts, or to go to the older and more populous settlements, remote from danger. There was at that time a large party of Indians, encamped on both sides of Yellow creek, at its entrance into the river; and although in their intercourse at Baker's, they had not manifested an intention of speedily commencing depredations, yet he deemed his situation in the immediate contiguity of them, as being far from secure, and was on the eve of abandoning it, when a party of whites, who had just collected at his house, fired upon and killed some Indians, who were likewise there.—Among them were the brother and daughter of the celebrated chief, Logan.[11]

In justification of this conduct it has been said, that on the preceding evening a squaw came over from the encampment and informed Mrs. Baker that the Indians meditated the murder of her family on the next day; and that before the firing [113] at Baker's, two canoes, containing Indians painted and armed for war, were seen to leave the opposite shore. Under these circumstances, an apparently slight provocation, and one, which would not perhaps have been, otherwise heeded, produced the fatal result. As the canoes approached the shore, the party from Baker's commenced firing on them, and notwithstanding the opposition made by the Indians, forced them to retire.

An interval of quiet succeeded the happening of these events; but it was as the solemn stillness which precedes the eruption of an earthquake, when a volcanic explosion has given notice of its approach;—rendered more awful by the uncertainty where its desolating influence would be felt. It was however, a stillness of but short duration. The gathering storm soon burst over the devoted heads of those, who had neglected to seek a shelter from its wrath. The traders in the Indian country were the first victims sacrificed on the altar of savage ferocity; and a general massacre of all the whites found among them, quickly followed. A young man, discovered near the falls of Muskingum and within sight of White Eyes town, was murdered, scalped; literally cut to pieces, and the mangled members of his body, hung up on trees. White Eyes, a chief of the friendly Delawares, hearing the scalp halloo, went out with a party of his men; and seeing what had been done, collected the scattered limbs of the young man, and buried them. On the next day, they were torn from the ground, severed into smaller pieces, and thrown dispersedly at greater distances from each other.

[114] Apprized of impending danger, many of the inhabitants on the frontiers of North Western Virginia, retired into the interior, before any depredations were committed, in the upper country; some took refuge in forts which had been previously built; while others, collecting together at particular houses, converted them into temporary fortresses, answering well the purposes of protection, to those who sought shelter in them. Fort Redstone, which had been erected after the successful expedition of General Forbes; and Fort Pitt, at the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers, afforded an asylum to many. Several private forts were likewise established in various parts of the country;[12] and every thing which individual exertion could effect, to ensure protection to the border inhabitants, was done.

Nor did the colonial government of Virginia neglect the security of her frontier citizens. When intelligence of the hostile disposition of the Natives, reached Williamsburg, the house of Burgesses was in session; and measures were immediately adopted, to prevent massacres, and to restore tranquillity. That these objects might be the more certainly accomplished, it was proposed by General Andrew Lewis (then a delegate from Bottetourt,) to organize a force, sufficient to overcome all intermediate opposition, and to carry the war into the enemy's country. In accordance to this proposition, orders were issued by Governor Dunmore for raising the requisite number of troops, and for making other necessary preparations for the contemplated campaign; the plan of which was concerted by the Governor, Gen. Lewis and Colonel Charles Lewis (then a delegate from Augusta.) But as some time must necessarily have elapsed before the consummation of the preparations which were being made; and as much individual suffering might result from the delays unavoidably incident to the raising, equipping and [115] organizing a large body of troops, it was deemed advisable to take some previous and immediate step to prevent the invasion of exposed and defenceless portions of the country.—The best plan for the accomplishment of this object was believed to be, the sending of an advance army into the Indian country, of sufficient strength to act offensively, before a confederacy could be formed of the different tribes, and their combined forces be brought into the field. A sense of the exposed situation of their towns in the presence of an hostile army, requiring the entire strength of every village for its defence, would, it was supposed, call home those straggling parties of warriors, by which destruction is so certainly dealt to the helpless and unprotected. In conformity with this part of the plan of operations, four hundred men, to be detailed from the militia west of the mountains, were ordered to assemble at Wheeling as soon as practicable. And in the mean time, lest the surveyors and land adventurers, who were then in Kentucky, might be discovered and fall a prey to the savages, Daniel Boone was sent by the Governor to the falls of Ohio, to conduct them home from thence, through the wilderness; the only practicable road to safety, the Ohio river being so effectually guarded as to preclude the hope of escaping up it.[13]

Early in June, the troops destined to make an incursion into the Indian country, assembled at Wheeling, and being placed under the command of Colonel Angus McDonald, descended the Ohio to the mouth of Captina. Debarking, at this place, from their boats and canoes, they took up their march to Wappatomica, an Indian town on the Muskingum. The country through which the army had to pass, was one unbroken forest, presenting many obstacles to its speedy advance, not the least of which was the difficulty of proceeding directly to the point proposed.[14] To obviate this, however, they were accompanied by three persons in the capacity of guides;[15] whose knowledge of the woods, and familiarity with those natural indices, which so unerringly mark the direction of the principal points, enabled them to pursue the direct course.—When they had approached within six miles of the town, the [116] army encountered an opposition from a party of fifty or sixty Indians lying in ambush; and before these could be dislodged, two whites were killed, and eight or ten wounded;—one Indian was killed, and several wounded. They then proceeded to Wappatomica without further molestation.[16]

When the army arrived at the town, it was found to be entirely deserted. Supposing that it would cross the river, the Indians had retreated to the opposite bank, and concealing themselves behind trees and fallen timber, were awaiting that movement in joyful anticipation of a successful surprise.—Their own anxiety and the prudence of the commanding officer, however, frustrated that expectation. Several were discovered peeping from their covert, watching the motion of the army; and Colonel McDonald, suspecting their object, and apprehensive that they would recross the river and attack him in the rear, stationed videttes above and below, to detect any such purpose, and to apprise him of the first movement towards effecting it. Foiled by these prudent and precautionary measures and seeing their town in possession of the enemy, with no prospect of wresting it from them, 'till destruction would have done its work, the Indians sued for peace; and the commander of the expedition consenting to negotiate with them, if he could be assured of their sincerity, five chiefs were sent over as hostages, and the army then crossed the river, with these in front.

When a negotiation was begun, the Indians asked, that one of the hostages might be permitted to go and convoke the other chiefs, whose presence, it was alleged, would be necessary to the ratification of a peace. One was accordingly released; and not returning at the time specified, another was then sent, who in like manner failed to return. Colonel McDonald, suspecting some treachery, marched forward to the next town, above Wappatomica, where another slight engagement took place, in which one Indian was killed and one white man wounded. It was then ascertained, that the time which should have been spent in collecting the other chiefs, preparatory to negotiation, had been employed in removing their old men, their women and children, together with what property could be readily taken off, and for making preparations for a combined attack on the Virginia troops. To punish this duplicity and to render peace really desirable, Col. McDonald burned their towns and destroyed their crops; [117] and being then in want of provisions, retraced his steps to Wheeling, taking with him the three remaining hostages, who were then sent on to Williamsburg.[17]

The inconvenience of supplying provisions to an army in the wilderness, was a serious obstacle to the success of expeditions undertaken against the Indians. The want of roads, at that early period, which would admit of transportation in wagons, rendered it necessary to resort to pack horses; and such was at times the difficulty of procuring these, that, not unfrequently, each soldier had to be the bearer of his entire stock of subsistence for the whole campaign. When this was exhausted, a degree of suffering ensued, often attended with consequences fatal to individuals, and destructive to the objects of the expedition. In the present case, the army being without provisions before they left the Indian towns, their only sustenance consisted of weeds, an ear of corn each day, and occasionally, a small quantity of venison: it being impracticable to hunt game in small parties, because of the vigilance and success of the Indians, in watching and cutting off detachments of this kind, before they could accomplish their purpose and regain the main army.

No sooner had the troops retired from the Indian country, than the savages, in small parties, invaded the settlements in different directions, seeking opportunities of gratifying their insatiable thirst for blood. And although the precautions which had been taken, lessened the frequency of their success, yet they did not always prevent it. Persons leaving the forts on any occasion, were almost always either murdered or carried into captivity,—a lot sometimes worse than death itself.

Perhaps the first of these incursions into North Western Virginia, after the destruction of the towns on the Muskingum, was that made by a party of eight Indians, at the head of which was the Cayuga chief Logan.[18] This very celebrated [118] Indian is represented as having hitherto, observed towards the whites, a course of conduct by no means in accordance with the malignity and steadfast implacability which influenced his red brethren generally; but was, on the contrary, distinguished by a sense of humanity, and a just abhorrence of those cruelties so frequently inflicted on the innocent and unoffending, as well as upon those who were really obnoxious to savage enmity. Such indeed were the acts of beneficence which characterized him, and so great his partiality for the English, that the finger of his brethren would point to his cabin as the residence of Logan, "the friend of white men." "In the course of the French war, he remained at home, idle and inactive;" opposed to the interference of his nation, "an advocate for peace." When his family fell before the fury of exasperated men, he felt himself impelled to avenge their deaths; and exchanging the pipe of peace, for the tomahawk of war, became active in seeking opportunities to glut his vengeance.[19] With this object in view, at the head of the party which has been mentioned, he traversed the county from the Ohio to the West Fork, before an opportunity was presented him of achieving any mischief. Their distance from what was supposed would be the theatre of war, had rendered the inhabitants of that section of country, comparatively inattentive to their safety. Relying on the expectation that the first blow would be struck on the Ohio, and that they would have sufficient notice of this to prepare for their own security, before danger could reach them, many had continued to perform the ordinary business of their farms.

On the 12th day of July, as William Robinson, Thomas Hellen and Coleman Brown were pulling flax in a field opposite the mouth of Simpson's creek, Logan and his party approached unperceived and fired at them. Brown fell instantly; his body perforated by several balls; and Hellen and Robinson [119] unscathed, sought safety in flight. Hellen being then an old man, was soon overtaken and made captive; but Robinson, with the elasticity of youth, ran a considerable distance before he was taken; and but for an untoward accident might have effected an escape. Believing that he was outstripping his pursuers, and anxious to ascertain the fact, he looked over his shoulder, but before he discovered the Indian giving chase, he ran with such violence against a tree, that he fell, stunned by the shock and lay powerless and insensible. In this situation he was secured with a cord; and when he revived, was taken back to the place where the Indians had Hellen in confinement, and where lay the lifeless body of Brown. They then set off to their towns, taking with them a horse which belonged to Hellen.

When they had approached near enough to be distinctly heard, Logan (as is usual with them after a successful scout,) gave the scalp halloo, and several warriors came out to meet them, and conducted the prisoners into the village. Here they passed through the accustomed ceremony of running the gauntlet; but with far different fortunes. Robinson, having been previously instructed by Logan (who from the time he made him his prisoner, manifested a kindly feeling towards him,) made his way, with but little interruption, to the council house; but poor Hellen, from the decrepitude of age, and his ignorance of the fact that it was a place of refuge, was sadly beaten before he arrived at it; and when he at length came near enough, he was knocked down with a war club, before he could enter. After he had fallen, they continued to beat and strike him with such unmerciful severity, that he would assuredly have fallen a victim to their barbarous usage, but that Robinson (at some peril for the interference) reached forth his hand and drew him within the sanctuary. When he had however, recovered from the effects of the violent beating which he had received, he was relieved from the apprehension of farther suffering, by being adopted into an Indian family.

A council was next convoked to resolve on the fate of Robinson; and then arose in his breast, feelings of the most anxious inquietude. Logan assured him, that he should not be killed; but the council appeared determined that he should die, and he was tied to the stake. Logan then addressed them, and with much vehemence, insisted that Robinson too should be spared; and had the eloquence displayed on that occasion been less than Logan is believed to have possessed, [120] it is by no means wonderful that he appeared to Robinson (as he afterwards said) the most powerful orator he ever heard. But commanding as his eloquence might have been, it seems not to have prevailed with the council; for Logan had to interpose otherwise than by argument or entreaty, to succeed in the attainment of his object. Enraged at the pertinacity with which the life of Robinson was sought to be taken, and reckless of the consequences, he drew the tomahawk from his belt, and severing the cords which bound the devoted victim to the stake, led him in triumph, to the cabin of an old squaw, by whom he was immediately adopted.

After this, so long as Logan remained in the town where Robinson was, he was kind and attentive to him; and when preparing to go again to war, got him to write the letter which was afterwards found on Holstein at the house of a Mr. Robertson, whose family were all murdered by the Indians. Robinson remained with his adopted mother, until he was redeemed under the treaty concluded at the close of the Dunmore campaign.

——- [1] Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes on Virginia, represents this as happening at Grave creek, which empties into the Ohio from the south eastern, or Virginia side of this river, twelve miles below Wheeling. Those who lived near at the time and are supposed to have had the best opportunity of ascertaining the fact, say that it happened near the mouth of Captina, a creek sixteen miles below Wheeling, and on the Ohio side.

———

Comment by R. G. T.—What is called the "Captina affair" happened April 27th, at Pipe Creek, emptying into the Ohio from the west, fourteen miles below Wheeling, and six above Captina Creek. Two friendly Shawnees were killed here by a party commanded by Michael Cresap, of Redstone, who at the time was in the neighborhood of Wheeling, surveying and clearing farms for new settlers. Cresap and his men, among whom was George Rogers Clark, then a young surveyor who had a claim at the mouth of Fish Creek, thereupon started out to destroy Chief Logan's camp, at Baker's Bottom, opposite the mouth of Yellow Creek, fifty-three miles up the Ohio, and forty miles west of Pittsburg by land; but as Logan was a well-known friend of the whites, they became ashamed of their project, and marched on across country to Fort Redstone. Meanwhile, as will be seen in due course, others were preparing to destroy Logan's band, and on April 30th occurred that infamous massacre which Logan wrongly believed to be Cresap's work.

[2] Capt. Bull was a Delaware chief whose original village of Oghkwaga was on Unadilla Kiver, an eastern branch of the Susquehanna, in what is now Boone county, N. Y. He had been the prime mover in an attempt to interest the Delawares in Pontiac's conspiracy (1763). In March, 1764, a strong party of whites and friendly Indians were sent out to capture him, by Sir William Johnson, English Indian superintendent in New York. After a sharp struggle, Bull and a number of his adherents were captured and conveyed in irons to New York City, where they were imprisoned for a time, but finally discharged. The Delaware towns on the Unadilla having been burned, Bull and five families of his relatives settled what the whites called Bulltown, on the Little Kanawha. This was at a salt spring about a mile and a quarter below the present Bulltown P. O., Braxton county, Va. Capt. Bull and his people were inoffensive, and very friendly to their white neighbors, as our author says.—R. G. T.

[3] Adam Stroud lived on Elk River, a few miles south of Indian Bulltown. The massacre of his family—his wife and seven children—occurred in June, 1772. Shawnees were the murderers, and not Bull's people.—R. G. T.

[4] Mr. McWhorter writes me that two others were Jesse Hughes and John Cutright (corruption of Cartwright?), both of them settlers on Hacker's Creek. Hughes was a noted border scout, but a man of fierce, unbridled passions, and so confirmed an Indian hater that no tribesman, however peaceful his record, was safe in his presence. Some of the most cruel acts on the frontier are by tradition attributed to this man. The massacre of the Bulltown Indians was accompanied by atrocities as repulsive as any reported by captives in Indian camps; of these there had long been traditions, but details were not fully known until revealed by Cutright upon his death-bed in 1852, when he had reached the age of 105 years. Want of space alone prevents me from giving Mr. McWhorter's narrative of Hughes's long and bloody career. "Hughes died," he says, "in Jackson county, W. Va., at a date unknown to me, but in very old age. While he was a great scout and Indian trader, he never headed an expedition of note. This no doubt was because of his fierce temperament, and bad reputation among his own countrymen." In studying the annals of the border, we must not fail to note that here and there were many savage-hearted men among the white settlers, whose deeds were quite as atrocious as any attributed to the red-skins. Current histories of Indian warfare seldom recognize this fact.—R. G. T.

[5] Lord Dunmore's War (1774) was a natural outgrowth of the strained relations which had long existed between the savages and the white colonists in their midst. As our author has made clear, minor hostilities had broken out here and there ever since the Pontiac uprising, but there had been no general campaign since Bouquet's treaty in 1764. Affairs had come to that pass by the early spring of 1774, that diplomacy was no longer possible, and an Indian war was inevitable. It was merely a question of detail, as to how and when. The immediate cause of precipitation—not the cause of the war, for that lay deeper—was the territorial dispute over the Ft. Pitt region, between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Dunmore, as royal governor of Virginia, had several reasons for bringing matters to a head—he was largely interested in land speculations under Virginia patents that would be vitiated if Pennsylvania, now becoming aggressive, should succeed in planting her official machinery at Ft. Pitt, which was garrisoned by Virginia; again, his colonists were in a revolutionary frame of mind, and he favored a distraction in the shape of a popular Indian war; finally, it seemed as though a successful raid by Virginia militia would clinch Virginia's hold on the country and the treaty of peace that must follow would widen the area of provincial lands and encourage Western settlements. April 25, 1774, he issued a proclamation in which, after reference to Pennsylvania's claims, it was asserted that Ft. Pitt was "in danger of some annoyance from the Indians," and he called on his local military commandant, the fire-eating Dr. John Connolly, "to embody a sufficient number of men to repel any insult." Connolly, evidently as part of a preconcerted plan, at once (April 26) issued a circular letter to the excited borderers, which was well calculated to arouse them, being in effect a declaration of war against the Indians. The very next day occurred the Pipe Creek affair, then came the Logan tragedy at Baker's Bottom, three days later, and at once the war was on at full-head.—R. G. T.

[6] Of John Findlay (so he signed his name), "the precursor and pilot of Daniel Boone to Kentucky," but little is known and less has been published. Apparently he was a native of the north of Ireland. In early life he emigrated to the neighborhood of Carlisle, Cumberland county, Pa., a district almost wholly settled by Scotch-Irish Protestants. In February, 1752, we find him a trader among the Shawnees; the following year, he was robbed and driven off. It is probable that he served in the Pennsylvania frontier militia from the opening of the French and Indian War (1754). Boone met him on the Braddock campaign (1755), and they became fast friends. Findlay had already (1752) been in Kentucky as far as the Falls of the Ohio, in the course of his ramblings as a trader, and inspired Boone with an intense desire to seek this El Dorado of the West. It was in 1767, when settled near the head of the Yadkin River, that Boone first tried to reach Kentucky by way of the Sandy, but failed. In the winter of 1768-69, Findlay, now a peddler, with a horse to carry his traps, appeared at Boone's cabin on the Yadkin, and the two old comrades had a happy time rehearsing their various adventures during the thirteen years of separation. An expedition to Kentucky was agreed upon, and the party set out from Boone's cabin, May 1, 1769; it was composed of Findlay, now advanced in years, Daniel Boone, the latter's brother-in-law, John Stuart, and three Yadkin neighbors, Joseph Holden, James Mooney, and William Cooley. The story of their expedition through Cumberland Gap, and their long hunt, is now familiar to readers of Western history. Their principal camp was probably on Red Lick Fork of Station Camp Creek. In December, Stuart and Boone were captured by Indians, but escaped early in January (1770), and on rejoining their comrades on Rockcastle River found that Daniel's brother, Squire, had arrived with fresh horses and traps from the North Carolina home; and with him was Alexander Neely, whom Squire had found on New (Great Kanawha) River. Findlay, Holden, Mooney, and Cooley now elected to return home, leaving the others to spend a longer period in Kentucky; Findlay took the left-hand road through the West Virginia settlements, to Pennsylvania, and the others, turning to the right, wended their way to North Carolina through Cumberland Gap. Not long after this, Stuart was killed by Indians, while alone in the woods, and Neely, discouraged by his fate, returned home. The story, often copied from Withers, that Neely was killed by a wolf, is erroneous. As for Findlay, he appears to have again become an Indian trader in Western Pennsylvania; for late in 1771 he is reported to have been robbed of $500 worth of goods, by a Seneca war party raiding the Youghiogheny district. There is a tradition that not long after this he "was lost in the wilds of the West." Holden and Cooley spent the rest of their days on the Upper Yadkin. Mooney was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant (1774).—R. G. T.

[7] The Boones and five other families set out from their homes on the Yadkin, Sept. 25, 1773. In Powell's Valley they were joined by forty people under Boone's brother-in-law, William Bryan. While the main party were slowly advancing through the valley, a small squad, under Boone's oldest son, James, went on a side expedition for flour, cattle, and other supplies. With these they had nearly caught up to the advance, when, not knowing they were so near, they camped on the evening of October 9 a few miles in the rear. Early in the morning of the 10th, a small band of Shawnees and Cherokees, who were nominally at peace with the whites, fell upon and, after cruel tortures, slaughtered them. In Dunmore's speech at Fort Pitt, this tragedy in Powell's Valley was alluded to as one of the chief causes of the Indian war of 1774. At the Camp Charlotte treaty (October, 1774), some of the plunder from this massacre was delivered up by the savages. After the tragedy, the greater part of the Kentucky caravan returned to their homes, but the Boones spent the winter of 1773-74 at a settlement some forty miles distant, on Clinch River. During the Dunmore War, Boone was active as an Indian fighter.—R. G. T.

[8] The leader of this party was Capt. Thomas Bullitt. He was born in Fauquier county, Va., in 1730; was one of Washington's captains at the Great Meadows (1754), and fought gallantly with Braddock (1755) and Forbes (1758); in 1763, was made adjutant-general of Virginia; during the early part of the Revolution he held the same office in the Southern Department of the United States, but resigned in 1776 because not promoted; he died in Fauquier county, in 1778. The project of Franklin, Walpole, and others to found the Colony of Pittsylvania, with its seat at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, greatly stimulated Western land speculation, and there was a rush of those holding military land warrants to locate claims. Lord Dunmore's agent at Fort Pitt, Dr. John Connolly—with whom his lordship was doubtless in partnership—had large interests of this character, and Bullitt went to the Falls of the Ohio (1773) to survey lands for him. Bullitt had a surveyor's commission from Williams and Mary College, but Col. William Preston, county surveyor for Fincastle county—in which Kentucky was then included—declined to recognize any but his own deputies. Preston carried his point, and the lands were re-surveyed the following year (1774) by his deputies. Bullitt had laid off a town on this Connolly survey; but the Revolution soon broke out, Bullitt was otherwise engaged, Dunmore was deposed, Connolly was imprisoned, and the scheme fell through. In 1778, George Rogers Clark camped at the Falls on his way to the Illinois, and the garrison he established there grew into the town of Louisville. With Bullitt's surveying party in 1773, were James Douglas, James Harrod, James Sodousky, Isaac Hite, Abraham Haptonstall, Ebenezer Severns, John Fitzpatrick, John Cowan,—prominent names in later Kentucky history,—and possibly others. George Rogers Clark was probably with the party during a part of its canoe voyage down the Ohio, but seems to have gone no farther than Big Bone Creek.—R. G. T.

[9] This was done by a party of men from the Monongahela, under the guidance of James Harrod; by whom was built the first cabin for human habitancy ever erected in Kentucky. This was on the present site of Harrodsburg.

[10] These are the Pipe Creek and Baker's Bottom affairs, respectively mentioned on pp. 134, 149, notes. Yellow Creek, opposite Baker's Bottom, empties into the Ohio 51 miles below Pittsburg; Wheeling is 91 miles below Pittsburg, and Pipe Creek 104.—R. G. T.

[11] There is some difficulty in fixing on the precise time when these occurrences happened. Col. Ebenezer Zane says that they took place in the latter part of April, and that the affair at Captina preceded the one at Yellow creek a few days. John Sappington, who was of the party at Baker's, and is said to be the one who killed Logan's brother, says, the murders at that place occurred on the 24th of May, and that the skirmish at Captina was on the day before (23rd May.) Col. Andrew Swearingen, a presbyterian gentleman of much respectability, one of the early settlers near the Ohio above Wheeling, and afterwards intimate with those engaged at both places, says that the disturbance opposite Yellow creek preceded the engagement [113] at Captina, and that the latter, as was then generally understood, was caused by the conduct of the Indians, who had been at Yellow creek and were descending the river, exasperated at the murder of their friends at Baker's. Mr. Benjamin Tomlinson, who was the brother-in-law of Baker and living with him at the time, says that this circumstance happened in May, but is silent as to the one at Captina. These gentlemen all agree in the fact that Logan's people were murdered at Baker's. Indeed Logan himself charges it as having been done there. The statement of Sappington, that the murders were caused by the abusive epithets of Logan's brother and his taking the hat and coat of Baker's brother in law is confirmed by Col. Swearingen and others; who also say that for some days previous, the neighborhood generally had been engaged in preparing to leave the country, in consequence of the menacing conduct of the Indians.

———

Comment by R. G. T.—The date is now well established—April 30. Withers is altogether too lenient, in his treatment of the whites engaged in this wretched massacre. Logan, encamped at the mouth of Yellow River, on the Ohio side, was a peaceful, inoffensive Indian, against whom no man harbored a suspicion; he was made a victim of race hatred, in a time of great popular excitement. Joshua Baker, who was settled opposite him on Baker's Bottom, in Virginia, kept a low grog-shop tavern, and had recently been warned not to sell more liquor to Indians. Daniel Greathouse lived in the vicinity—a cruel, bloodthirsty fellow, who served Connolly as a local agent in fomenting hatred of Indians. It will be remembered (p. 131, note) that Cresap's party were intending to strike the camp of Logan, but that they abandoned the project. In the meantime, probably without knowledge of Cresap's intent, Greathouse had collected a party of 32 borderers to accomplish the same end. Logan's camp seemed too strong for them to attack openly; so they secreted themselves in Baker's house, and when Logan's family, men and women, came over to get their daily grog, and were quite drunk, set upon them and slew and tomahawked nine or ten. The chief, standing on the Ohio bank, heard the uproar and witnessed the massacre; he naturally supposed that the murderers were led by Cresap. From a friend of the whites, Logan became their implacable enemy, and during the ensuing war his forays were the bloodiest on the border. We shall hear of him and his famous speech, later on.

[12] It was then that Westfall's and Casinoe's forts were erected in Tygart's valley,—Pricket's, on Pricket's creek,—Jackson's on Ten Mile, and Shepherd's on Wheeling creek, a few miles above its mouth. There were also others established in various parts of the country and on the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. Nutter's fort, near to Clarksburg, afforded protection to the inhabitants on the West Fork, from its source, to its confluence with the Valley river; and to those who lived on Buchannon and on Hacker's creek, as well as to the residents of its immediate vicinity.

[13] June 20, Col. William Preston, having charge of the defenses of Fincastle county, authorized Capt. William Russell to employ two faithful woodsmen to go to Kentucky and inform the several surveying parties at work there, of their danger. June 26, Russell replied, "I have engaged to start immediately on the occasion, two of the best hands I could think of—Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner; who have engaged to reach the country as low as the Falls, and to return by way of Gasper's Lick on Cumberland, and through Cumberland Gap; so that, by the assiduity of these men, if it is not too late, I hope the gentlemen will be apprized of the imminent danger they are daily in."

Boone and Stoner journeyed overland to Harrodsburg, where Col. James Harrod and thirty men were making improvements and laying out the town. The thrifty Boone secured a good lot, hastily built a claim cabin, and proceeded on his tour. At Fontaine Blue, three miles below Harrodsburg, the two scouts found another party of surveyors, whom they warned; and in going down the Kentucky River came across Capt. John Floyd's surveying party,—eight men, who had left Preston's house for Kentucky, April 9,—who agreed to meet them farther down the river. But circumstances prevented a reunion, and Floyd's band penetrated through the wilderness on their own account, and had a painful journey of sixteen days' duration before reaching Russell's Fort on Clinch River. Meanwhile, Boone and Stoner descended to the mouth of the Kentucky, and thence to the Falls of the Ohio, and found more surveyors at Mann's Lick, four miles southeast. Indians were making bloody forays through the district, and the scouts had frequent thrilling adventures. Finally, after having been absent sixty-one days and travelled 800 miles, they reached Russell's on the Clinch, in safety. Russell was absent on the Point Pleasant campaign, and Boone set out with a party of recruits to reinforce him, but was ordered back to defend the Clinch settlements. He was busy at this task until the close of the war. He was present at the Watauga treaty, March 17, 1775; later that year, he led another band to Kentucky, and early in April built Fort Boone, on Kentucky River, "a little below Big Lick," the nucleus of the Henderson colony.—R. G. T.

[14] The party numbered about four hundred men. The line of march was about ninety miles in length, as estimated by the zig-zag course pursued.—R. G. T.

[15] They were Jonathan Zane, Thomas Nicholson and Tady Kelly. A better woodsman than the first named of these three, perhaps never lived.

[16] Doddridge locates Wapatomica "about sixteen miles below the present Coshocton." Butterfield (History of the Girtys) places it "just below the present Zanesville, in Logan county, Ohio, not a great distance from Mac-a-cheek." For localities of Indian towns on the Muskingum, see map in St. John de Creve Coeur's Lettres d'un Cultivateur Americain (Paris, 1787), III., p. 413.—R. G. T.

[17] John Hargus, a private in Capt. Cresap's company, while stationed as a vidette below the main army, observed an Indian several times raising his head above his blind, and looking over the river. Charging his rifle with a second ball, he fired, and both bullets passed through the neck of the Indian, who was found next day and scalped by Hargus.

[18] Logan was the son of Shikellemus, a celebrated chief of the Cayuga nation, who dwelt at Shamokin, and always attached to the [118] English, was of much service to them on many occasions. After the close of Dunmore's war, Logan became gloomy and melancholy, drank freely and manifested symptoms of mental derangement. He remained some time at Detroit, and while there, his conduct and expressions evinced a weariness of the world. Life he said had become a burden to him, he knew no more what pleasure was, and thought it had been better if he had never existed. In this disponding and disconsolate condition he left Detroit, and on his way between that place and Miami, is said to have been murdered.

[19] See p. 149, note, for account of the massacre.—R. G. T.



[121] CHAPTER VII.

When information of the hostile deportment of the Indians was carried to Williamsburg, Col. Charles Lewis sent a messenger with the intelligence to Capt. John Stuart, and requesting of him, to apprize the inhabitants on the Greenbrier river that an immediate war was anticipated, and to send out scouts to watch the warrior's paths beyond the settlements. The vigilance and activity of Capt. Stuart, were exerted with some success, to prevent the re-exhibition of those scenes which had been previously witnessed on Muddy creek and in the Big Levels: but they could not avail to repress them altogether.

In the course of the preceding spring, some few individuals had begun to make improvements on the Kenhawa river below the Great Falls; and some land adventurers, to examine and survey portions of the adjoining country. To these men Capt. Stuart despatched an express, to inform them that apprehensions were entertained of immediate irruptions being made upon the frontiers by the Indians, and advising them to remove from the position which they then occupied; as from its exposed situation, without great vigilance and alertness, they must necessarily fall a prey to the savages.

When the express arrived at the cabin of Walter Kelly, twelve miles below the falls, Capt. John Field of Culpepper (who had been in active service during the French war, and was then engaged in making surveys,) was there with a young Scotchman and a negro woman. Kelly with great prudence, directly sent his family to Greenbrier, under the care of a younger brother. But Capt. Field, considering the apprehension as groundless, determined on remaining with Kelly, who from prudential motives did not wish to subject himself to observation by mingling with others.[1] Left with no persons but the Scotchman and negro, they were not long permitted to doubt the reality of those dangers, of which they had been forewarned by Capt Stuart.

[122] Very soon after Kelly's family had left the cabin, and while yet within hearing of it, a party of Indians approached, unperceived, near to Kelly and Field, who were engaged in drawing leather from a tan trough in the yard. The first intimation which Field had of their approach was the discharge of several guns and the fall of Kelly. He then ran briskly towards the house to get possession of a gun, but recollecting that it was unloaded, he changed his course, and sprang into a cornfield which screened him from the observation of the Indians; who, supposing that he had taken shelter in the cabin, rushed immediately into it. Here they found the Scotchman and the negro woman, the latter of whom they killed; and making prisoner of the young man, returned and scalped Kelly.

When Kelly's family reached the Greenbrier settlement, they mentioned their fears for the fate of those whom they had left on the Kenhawa, not doubting but that the guns which they heard soon after leaving the house, had been discharged at them by Indians. Capt. Stuart, with a promptitude which must ever command admiration, exerted himself effectually to raise a volunteer corps, and proceed to the scene of action, with the view of ascertaining whether the Indians had been there; and if they had, and he could meet with them, to endeavor to punish them for the outrage, and thus prevent the repetition of similar deeds of violence.

They had not however gone far, before they were met by Capt. Field, whose appearance of itself fully told the tale of woe. He had ran upwards of eighty miles, naked except his shirt, and without food; his body nearly exhausted by fatigue, anxiety and hunger, and his limbs greviously lacerated with briers and brush. Captain Stuart, fearing lest the success of the Indians might induce them to push immediately for the settlements, thought proper to return and prepare for that event.

In a few weeks after this another party of Indians came to the settlement on Muddy creek, and as if a certain fatality attended the Kelly's, they alone fell victims to the incursion. As the daughter of Walter Kelly was walking with her uncle (who had conducted the family from the Kenhawa) some distance from the house, which had been converted into a temporary fort, and in which they lived, they were discovered and fired upon; the latter was killed and scalped, and the former being overtaken in her flight, was carried into captivity.

After the murder of Brown, and the taking of Hellen and Robinson, the inhabitants on the Monongahela and its upper branches, alarmed for their safety, retired into forts. But in the ensuing September, as Josiah Pricket and Mrs. Susan Ox, who had left Pricket's fort for the purpose of driving up their cows, were returning in the evening they were way laid by a party of Indians, who had been drawn to the path by the tinkling of the cowbell. Pricket was killed and scalped, and Mrs. Ox taken prisoner.

[123] It was in the course of this season, that Lewis Wetsel[2] first gave promise of that daring and discretion, which were so fully developed in his maturer years, and which rendered him among the most fortunate and successful of Indian combatants. When about fourteen years old, he and his brother Jacob, (still younger) were discovered some distance from the house, by a party of Indians, who had been prowling through the settlements on the Ohio river, with the expectation of fortunately meeting with some opportunity of taking scalps or making prisoners. As the boys were at some distance from them, and in a situation too open to admit of their being approached without perceiving those who should advance towards them, the Indians determined on shooting the larger one, lest his greater activity might enable him to escape. A shot was accordingly discharged at him, which, partially taking effect and removing a portion of his breast bone, so far deprived him of his wonted powers, that he was easily overtaken; and both he and his brother were made prisoners. The Indians immediately directed their steps towards their towns, and having travelled about twenty miles beyond the Ohio river, encamped at the Big Lick, on the waters of McMahon's creek, on the second night after they had set off. When they had finished eating, the Indians laid down, without confining the boys as on the preceding night, and soon fell to sleep. After making some little movements to test the soundness of their repose, Lewis whispered to his brother that he must get up and go home with him; and after some hesitation on the part of Jacob, they arose and set off. Upon getting about 100 yards from the camp, Lewis stopped, and telling his brother to await there, returned to the camp and brought from thence a pair of mocasons for each of them. He then observed, that he would again go back and get his father's gun; this he soon effected, and they then commenced their journey home. The moon shining brightly, they were easily able to distinguish the trail which they had made in going out; but had not however pursued it far, before they heard the Indians coming in pursuit of them. So soon as Lewis perceived by the sound of their voices that they were approaching tolerably near to them, he led his brother aside from the path, and squatting down, concealed themselves 'till their pursuers had passed them; when they again commenced travelling and in the rear of the Indians. Not overtaking the boys as soon as was expected, those who had been sent after them, began to retrace their steps. Expecting this, the boys were watchful of every noise or object before them, and when they heard the Indians returning, again secreted themselves in the bushes, and escaped observation. They were then followed by two, of the party who had made them prisoners, on horseback; but by practising the same stratagem, they eluded them also; and on the next day reached the Ohio river opposite to Wheeling. Apprehensive that it would be dangerous to apprize those on the opposite side of the river of their situation, by hallooing, Lewis set himself to work as silently, and yet as expeditiously [124] as possible, and with the aid of his little brother, soon completed a raft on which they safely crossed the Ohio; and made their way home.

That persons, should, by going out from the forts, when the Indians were so generally watching around them, expose themselves to captivity or death, may at first appear strange and astonishing. But when the mind reflects on the tedious and irksome confinement, which they were compelled to undergo; the absence of the comforts, and frequently, of the necessaries of life, coupled with an overweening attachment to the enjoyment of forest scenes and forest pastimes, it will perhaps be matter of greater astonishment that they did not more frequently forego the security of a fortress, for the uncertain enjoyment of those comforts and necessaries, and the doubtful gratification of this attachment. Accustomed as they had been "free to come and free to go," they could not brook the restraint under which they were placed; and rather than chafe and pine in unwilling confinement, would put themselves at hazard, that they might revel at large and wanton in the wilderness. Deriving their sustenance chiefly from the woods, the strong arm of necessity led many to tempt the perils which environed them; while to the more chivalric and adventurous "the danger's self were lure alone." The quiet and stillness which reigned around, even when the enemy were lurking nearest and in greater numbers, inspired many too, with the delusive hope of exemption from risk, not unfrequently the harbinger of fatal consequences. It seemed indeed, impracticable at first to realize the existence of a danger, which could not be perceived. And not until taught by reiterated suffering did they properly appreciate the perilous situation of those, who ventured beyond the walls of their forts. But this state of things was of short duration. The preparations, which were necessary to be made for the projected campaign into the Indian country, were completed; and to resist this threatened invasion, required the concentrated exertions of all their warriors.

The army destined for this expedition, was composed of volunteers and militia, chiefly from the counties west of the Blue ridge, and consisted of two divisions. The northern division, comprehending the troops, collected in Frederick, Dunmore,[3] and the adjacent counties, was to be commanded by Lord Dunmore, in person;[4] and the southern, comprising the different companies raised in Botetourt, Augusta and the adjoining counties east of the Blue ridge, was to be led on by Gen. Andrew Lewis. These two divisions, proceeding by different routes, were to form a junction at the mouth of the Big Kenhawa, and from thence penetrate the country north west of the Ohio river, as far as the season would admit of their going; and destroy all the Indian towns and villages which they could reach.

About the first of September, the troops placed under the command [125] of Gen. Lewis rendezvoused at Camp Union (now Lewisburg) and consisted of two regiments, commanded by Col. William Fleming of Botetourt and Col. Charles Lewis of Augusta, and containing about four hundred men each. At Camp Union they were joined by an independent volunteer company under Col. John Field of Culpepper; a company from Bedford under Capt. Buford and two from the Holstein settlement (now Washington county) under Capts. Evan Shelby and Harbert. These three latter companies were part of the forces to be led on by Col. Christian, who was likewise to join the two main divisions of the army at Point Pleasant, so soon as the other companies of his regiment could be assembled. The force under Gen. Lewis, having been thus augmented to eleven hundred men, commenced its march for the mouth of Kenhawa on the 11th of September 1774.[5]

From Camp Union to the point proposed for the junction of the northern and southern divisions of the army, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, the intermediate country was a trackless forest, so rugged and mountainous as to render the progress of the army, at once, tedious and laborious. Under the guidance of Capt. Matthew Arbuckle, they however, succeeded in reaching the Ohio river after a march of nineteen days; and fixed their encampment on the point of land immediately between that river and the Big Kenhawa.[6] The provisions and ammunition, transported on packhorses, and the beeves in droves, arrived soon after.

When the army was preparing to leave Camp Union, there was for a while some reluctance manifested on the part of Col. Field to submit to the command of Gen. Lewis. This proceeded from the fact, that in a former military service, he had been the senior of Gen. Lewis; and from the circumstance that the company led on by him were Independent Volunteers, not raised in pursuance of the orders of Governor Dunmore, but brought into the field by his own exertions, after his escape from the Indians at Kelly's. These circumstances induced him to separate his men from the main body of the army on its march, and to take a different way from the one pursued by it,—depending on his own knowledge of the country to lead them a practicable route to the river.[7]

While thus detached from the forces under Gen. Lewis, two of his men (Clay and Coward) who were out hunting and at some little distance from each other, came near to where two Indians were concealed. Seeing Clay only, and supposing him to be alone, one of them fired at him; and running up to scalp him as he fell, was himself shot by Coward, who was then about 100 yards off. The other Indian ran off unarmed, and made his escape. A bundle of ropes found where Clay was killed, induced the belief that it was the object of these Indians to steal horses;—it is not however improbable, that they had been observing the progress of the army, and endeavoring to ascertain its numbers. Col. Field, fearing that he might [126] encounter a party of the enemy in ambush, redoubled his vigilance 'till he again joined General Lewis; and the utmost concert and harmony then prevailed in the whole army.[8]

When the Southern division arrived at Point Pleasant, Governor Dunmore with the forces under his command, had not reached there; and unable to account for his failure to form the preconcerted junction at that place, it was deemed advisable to await that event; as by so doing, a better opportunity would be afforded to Col. Christian of coming up, with that portion of the army, which was then with him.[9] Meanwhile General Lewis, to learn the cause of the delay of the Northern division, despatched runners by land, in the direction of Port Pitt, to obtain tidings of Lord Dunmore, and to communicate them to him immediately. In their absence, however, advices were received from his Lordship, that he had determined on proceeding across the country, directly to the Shawanee towns; and ordering General Lewis to cross the river, march forward and form a junction with him, near to them. These advices were received on the 9th of October, and preparations were immediately begun to be made for the transportation of the troops over the Ohio river.[10]

Early on the morning of Monday the tenth of that month, two soldiers[11] left the camp, and proceeded up the Ohio river, in quest of deer. When they had progressed about two miles, they unexpectedly came in sight of a large number of Indians, rising from their encampment, and who discovering the two hunters fired upon them and killed one;—the other escaped unhurt, and running briskly to the camp, communicated the intelligence, "that he had seen a body of the enemy, covering four acres of ground as closely as they could stand by the side of each other." The main part of the army was immediately ordered out under Colonels Charles Lewis,[12] and William Fleming; and having formed into two lines, [127] they proceeded about four hundred yards, when they met the Indians, and the action commenced.

At the first onset, Colonel Charles Lewis having fallen, and Colonel Fleming being wounded, both lines gave way and were retreating briskly towards the camp, when they were met by a reinforcement under Colonel Field,[13] and rallied. The engagement then became general, and was sustained with the most obstinate fury on both sides. The Indians perceiving that the "tug of war" had come, and determined on affording the Colonial army no chance of escape, if victory should declare for them, formed a line extending across the point, from the Ohio to the Kenhawa, and protected in front, by logs and fallen timber. In this situation they maintained the contest with unabated vigor, from sunrise 'till towards the close of evening; bravely and successfully resisting every charge which was made on them; and withstanding the impetuosity of every onset, with the most invincible firmness, until a fortunate movement on the part of the Virginia troops, decided the day.

Some short distance above the entrance of the Kenhawa river into Ohio, there is a stream, called Crooked creek, emptying into the former of these, from the North east,[14] whose banks are tolerably high, and were then covered with a thick and luxuriant growth of weeds. Seeing the impracticability of dislodging the Indians, by the most vigorous attack, and sensible of the great danger, which must arise to his army, if the contest were not decided before night, General Lewis detached the three companies which were commanded by Captains Isaac Shelby, George Matthews, and John Stuart, with orders to proceed up the Kenhawa river, and Crooked creek under cover of the banks and weeds, 'till they should [128] pass some distance beyond the enemy; when they were to emerge from their covert, march downward towards the point and attack the Indians in their rear.[15] The manoeuvre thus planned, was promptly executed, and gave a decided victory to the Colonial army. The Indians finding themselves suddenly and unexpectedly encompassed between two armies, & not doubting but that in their rear, was the looked for reinforcement under Colonel Christian, soon gave way, and about sun down, commenced a precipitate retreat across the Ohio, to their towns on the Scioto.

Some short time after the battle had ended, Colonel Christian arrived with the troops which he had collected in the settlements on the Holstein, and relieved the anxiety of many who were disposed to believe the retreat of the Indians to be only a feint;[16] and that an attack would be again speedily made by them, strengthened and reinforced by those of the enemy who had been observed during the engagement, on the opposite side of the Ohio and Kenhawa rivers. But these had been most probably stationed there, in anticipation of victory, to prevent the Virginia troops from effecting a retreat across those rivers, (the only possible chance of escape, had they been overpowered by the enemy in their front;) and the loss sustained by the Indians was too great, and the prospect of a better fortune, too gloomy and unpromising, for them to enter again into an engagement. Dispirited by the bloody repulse with which they had met, they hastened to their towns, better disposed to purchase security from farther hostilities by negotiation, than risk another battle with an army whose strength and prowess, they had already tested; and found superior to their own. The victory indeed, was decisive, and many advantages were obtained by it; but they were not cheaply bought. The Virginia army sustained, in this engagement, a loss of seventy-five killed, and one hundred and forty wounded.—About one fifth of the entire number of the troops.

Among the slain were Colonels Lewis and Field; Captains Buford, Morrow, Wood, Cundiff, Wilson, and Robert McClannahan; and Lieutenants Allen, Goldsby and Dillon, with some other subalterns. The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained. On the morning after the action, Colonel Christian marched his men over the battle ground and found twenty-one of the Indians lying dead; and twelve others [129] were afterwards discovered, where they had been attempted to be concealed under some old logs and brush.[17]

From the great facility with which the Indians either carry off or conceal their dead, it is always difficult to ascertain the number of their slain; and hence arises, in some measure, the disparity between their known loss and that sustained by their opponents in battle. Other reasons for this disparity, are to be found in their peculiar mode of warfare, and in the fact, that they rarely continue a contest, when it has to be maintained with the loss of their warriors. It would not be easy otherwise to account for the circumstance, that even when signally vanquished, the list of their slain does not, frequently, appear more than half as great, as that of the victors. In this particular instance, many of the dead were certainly thrown into the river.

Nor could the number of the enemy engaged, be ever ascertained. Their army is known to have been composed of warriors from the different nations, north of the Ohio; and to have comprised the flower of the Shawanee, Delaware, Mingo, Wyandotte and Cayuga tribes; led on by men, whose names were not unknown to fame,[18] and at the head of whom was Cornstalk, Sachem of the Shawanees, and King of the Northern Confederacy.[19]

This distinguished chief and consummate warrior, proved himself on that day, to be justly entitled to the prominent station which he occupied. His plan of alternate retreat & attack, was well conceived, and occasioned the principal loss sustained by the writes. If at any time his warriors were believed to waver, his voice could be heard above the din of arms, exclaiming in his native tongue, "Be strong! Be strong;" and when one near him, by trepidation and reluctance to proceed to the charge, evinced a dastardly disposition, fearing the example might have a pernicious influence, with one blow of the tomahawk he severed his skull. It was perhaps a solitary instance in which terror predominated. Never did men exhibit a more conclusive evidence of bravery, in making a charge, and fortitude in withstanding an onset, than did these undisciplined soldiers of the forest, in the [130] field at Point Pleasant. Such too was the good conduct of those who composed the army of Virginia, on that occasion; and such the noble bravery of many, that high expectations were entertained of their future distinction. Nor were those expectations disappointed. In the various scenes through which they subsequently passed, the pledge of after eminence then given, was fully redeemed; and the names of Shelby, Campbell, Matthews, Fleming, Moore, and others, their compatriots in arms on the memorable tenth of October, 1774, have been inscribed in brilliant characters on the roll of fame.[20]

Having buried the dead, and made every arrangement of which their situation admitted, for the comfort of the wounded, entrenchments were thrown up, and the army commenced its march to form a junction with the northern division, under Lord Dunmore. Proceeding by the way of the Salt Licks, General Lewis pressed forward with astonishing rapidity (considering that the march was through a trackless desert); but before he had gone far, an express arrived from Dunmore, with orders to return immediately to the mouth of the Big Kenhawa. Suspecting the integrity of his Lordship's motives, and urged by the advice of his officers generally, General [131] Lewis refused to obey these orders; and continued to advance 'till he was met, (at Kilkenny creek, and in sight of an Indian village, which its inhabitants had just fired and deserted,) by the Governor, (accompanied by White Eyes,) who informed him, that he was negotiating a treaty of peace which would supersede the necessity of the further movement of the Southern division, and repeating the order for its retreat.

The army under General Lewis had endured many privations and suffered many hardships. They had encountered a savage enemy in great force, and purchased a victory with the blood of their friends. When arrived near to the goal of their anxious wishes, and with nothing to prevent the accomplishment of the object of the campaign; they received those orders with evident chagrin; and did not obey them without murmuring. Having, at his own request, been introduced severally to the officers of that division; complimenting them for their gallantry and good conduct in the late engagement, and assuring them of his high esteem, Lord Dunmore returned to his camp; and General Lewis commenced his retreat.[21]

If before the opening of this campaign, the belief was prevalent, that to the conduct of emissaries from Great Britain, because of the contest then waging between her and her American colonies, the Indian depredations of that year, were mainly attributable; that belief had become more general, and had received strong confirmation, from the more portentous aspect which that contest had assumed, prior to the battle at Point Pleasant. The destruction of the tea at Boston had taken place in the March preceding. The Boston Port Bill, the signal for actual conflict between the colonies and mother country, had been received early in May. The house of Burgesses in Virginia, being in session at the time, recommended that the first of June, the day on which that bill was to go into operation, be observed throughout the colony "as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, imploring the divine interposition to avert the heavy calamity which threatened destruction to their civil rights, and the evils of a civil war." In consequence of this recommendation and its accompanying resolutions, the Governor had dissolved the Assembly. The Legislature of Massachusetts had likewise passed declaratory resolutions, expressive of their sense of the state of public affairs and the designs of Parliament; and which led [132] to their dissolution also. The committee of correspondence at Boston, had framed and promulgated an agreement, which induced Governor Gage, to issue a proclamation, denouncing it as "an unlawful, hostile and traitorous combination, contrary to the allegiance due to the King, destructive of the legal authority of Parliament, and of the peace, good order, and safety of the community;" and requiring of the magistrates, to apprehend and bring to trial, all such as should be in any wise guilty of them. A congress, composed of delegates from the different colonies, and convened for the purpose "of uniting and guiding the councils, and directing the efforts of North America," had opened its session on the 4th of September. In fine, the various elements of that tempest, which soon after overspread the thirteen united colonies, had been already developed, and were rapidly concentrating, before the orders for the retreat of the Southern division of the army, were issued by Lord Dunmore. How far these were dictated by a spirit of hostility to the cause of the colonies, and of subservience to the interests of Great Britain, in the approaching contest, may be inferred from his conduct during the whole campaign; and the course pursued by him, on his return to the seat of government. If indeed there existed (as has been supposed,) between the Indians and the Governor from the time of his arrival with the Northern Division of the army at Fort Pitt, a secret and friendly understanding, looking to the almost certain result of the commotions which were agitating America, then was the battle at Point Pleasant, virtually the first in the series of those brilliant achievements which burst the bonds of British tyranny; and the blood of Virginia, there nobly shed, was the first blood spilled in the sacred cause of American liberty.[22]

It has been already seen that Lord Dunmore failed to form a junction with General Lewis, at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa, agreeably to the plan for the campaign, as concerted at Williamsburg by the commanding officer of each division. No reason for changing the direction of his march, appears to have been assigned by him; and others were left to infer his motives, altogether from circumstances.

While at Fort Pitt Lord Dunmore was joined by the notorious Simon Girty,[23] who accompanied him from thence 'till the close of the expedition. The subsequent conduct of this man, his attachment to the side of Great Britain, in her [133] attempts to fasten the yoke of slavery upon the necks of the American people,—his withdrawal from the garrison at Fort Pitt while commissioners were there for the purpose of concluding a treaty with the Indians, as was stipulated in the agreement made with them by Dunmore,—the exerting of his influence over them, to prevent the chiefs from attending there, and to win them to the cause of England,—his ultimate joining the savages in the war which (very much from his instigation,) they waged against the border settlements, soon after,—the horrid cruelties, and fiendish tortures inflicted on unfortunate white captives by his orders and connivance;—all combined to form an exact counterpart to the subsequent conduct of Lord Dunmore when exciting the negroes to join the British standard;—plundering the property of those who were attached to the cause of liberty,—and applying the brand of conflagration to the most flourishing town in Virginia.

At Wheeling, as they were descending the river, the army delayed some days; and while proceeding from thence to form a junction with the division under general Lewis, was joined, near the mouth of the Little Kenhawa, by the noted John Connoly, of great fame as a tory.

Of this man, Lord Dunmore thence forward became an intimate associate; and while encamped at the mouth of Hock Hocking—seemed to make him his confidential adviser. It was here too, only seventy miles distant from the head quarters of General Lewis, that it was determined to leave the boats and canoes and proceed by land to the Chilicothe towns.[24]

The messengers, despatched by Lord Dunmore to apprize the lower army of this change of determination, were Indian traders; one of whom being asked, if he supposed the Indians would venture to give battle to the superior force of the whites, replied that they certainly would, and that Lewis' division would soon see his prediction verified.[25] This was on the day previous to the engagement. On the return of these men, on the evening of the same day, they must have seen the Indian army which made the attack on the next morning; and the belief was general on the day of battle, that they had communicated to the Indians, the present strength and expected reinforcement of the southern division. It has also been said that on the evening of the 10th of October, while [134] Dunmore, Connoly and one or two others were walking together, his Lordship remarked "by this time General Lewis has warm work."[26]

The acquaintance formed by the Governor with Connoly, in the ensuing summer was further continued, and at length ripened into one of the most iniquitous conspiracies, that ever disgraced civilized man.

In July, 1775, Connoly presented himself to Lord Dunmore with proposals, well calculated to gain the favor of the exasperated Governor, and between them a plan was soon formed, which seemed to promise the most certain success. Assurances of ample rewards from Lord Dunmore, were transmitted to such officers of the militia on the frontiers of Virginia, as were believed to be friendly to the royal cause, on putting themselves under the command of Connoly; whose influence with the Indians, was to ensure their co-operation against the friends of America. To perfect this scheme, it was necessary to communicate with General Gage; and about the middle of September, Connoly, with despatches from Dunmore, set off for Boston, and in the course of a few weeks returned, with instructions from the Governor of Massachusetts, which developed their whole plan. Connoly was invested with the rank of Colonel of a regiment, (to be raised among those on the frontiers, who favored the cause of Great Britain,) with which he was to proceed forthwith to Detroit, where he was to receive a considerable reinforcement, and be supplied with cannon, muskets and ammunition. He was then to visit the different Indian nations, enlist them in the projected enterprise, and rendezvous his whole force at Fort Pitt. From thence he was to cross the Alleghany mountain, and marching through Virginia join Lord Dunmore, on the 20th of the ensuing April, at Alexandria.

This scheme, (the execution of which, would at once, have laid waste a considerable portion of Virginia, and ultimately perhaps, nearly the whole state,) was frustrated by the taking of Connoly, and all the particulars of it, made known. This development, served to shew the villainous connexion existing between Dunmore and Connoly, and to corroborate the suspicion of General Lewis and many of his officers, that the conduct of the former, during the campaign of 1774, was [135] dictated by any thing else than the interest and well being of the colony of Virginia.

This suspicion was farther strengthened by the readiness with which Lord Dunmore embraced the overtures of peace, and the terms on which a treaty was concluded with them; while the encamping of his army, without entrenchments, in the heart of the Indian country, and in the immediate adjacency of the combined forces of the Indian nations of Ohio, would indicate, that there must have been a friendly understanding between him and them. To have relied solely on the bravery and good conduct of his troops, would have been the height of imprudence. His army was less than that, which had been scarcely delivered from the fury of a body of savages inferior in number, to the one with which he would have had to contend; and it would have been folly in him to suppose, that he could achieve with a smaller force, what required the utmost exertions of General Lewis and his brave officers, to effect with a greater one.[27]

When the Northern division of the army resumed its march for Chilicothe, it left the greater part of its provisions in a block house which had been erected during its stay at the mouth of the Hockhocking, under the care of Captain Froman with a small party of troops to garrison it. On the third day after it left Fort Gore (the block house at the mouth of Hockhocking) a white man by the name of Elliott came to Governor Dunmore, with a request from the Indians that he would withdraw the army from their country, and appoint commissioners to meet their chiefs at Pittsburg to confer about the terms of a treaty. To this request a reply was given, that the Governor was well inclined to make peace, and was willing that hostilities should cease; but as he was then so near their towns, and all the chiefs of the different nations were at that time with the army, it would be more convenient to negotiate then, than at a future period. He then named a place at which he would encamp, and listen to their proposals; and immediately despatched a courier to General Lewis with orders for his return.[28]

The Indian spies reporting that General Lewis had disregarded these orders, and was still marching rapidly towards their towns, the Indians became apprehensive of the result; and one of their chiefs (the White Eyes) waited on Lord Dunmore in person, and complained that the "Long Knives" [136] were coming upon them and would destroy all their towns. Dunmore then, in company with White Eyes, visited the camp of General Lewis, and prevailed with him, as we have seen, to return across the Ohio.

In a few days after this, the Northern division of the army approached within eight miles of Chilicothe, and encamped on the plain, at the place appointed for the chiefs to meet without entrenchments or breast works, or any protection, save the vigilance of the sentinels and the bravery of the troops.[29] On the third day from the halting of the army eight chiefs, with Cornstalk at their head, came into camp; and when the interpreters made known who Cornstalk was, Lord Dunmore addressed them, and from a written memorandum, recited the various infractions, on the part of the Indians, of former treaties, and different murders, unprovokedly committed by them. To all this Cornstalk replied, mixing a good deal of recrimination with the defence of his red brethren; and when he had concluded, a time was specified when the chiefs of the different nations should come in, and proceed to the negotiation of a treaty.

Before the arrival of that period, Cornstalk came alone to the camp, and acquainted the Governor that none of the Mingoes would attend; and that he was apprehensive there could not a full council be convened. Dunmore then requested that he would convoke as many chiefs of the other nations as he could, and bring them to the council fire without delay, as he was anxious to close the war at once; and that if this could not be effected peaceably, he should be forced to resume hostilities. Meantime two interpreters were despatched to Logan,[30] by Lord Dunmore, requesting his attendance;—but Logan replied, that "he was a warrior, not a councillor, and would not come."[31]

On the night after the return of the interpreters to camp [137] Charlotte (the name of Dunmore's encampment,) Major William Crawford, with three hundred men, left the main army about midnight, on an excursion against a small Mingo village, not far off. Arriving there before day, the detachment surrounded the town; and on the first coming out of the Indians from their huts, there was some little firing on the part of the whites, by which one squaw and a man were killed—the others about 20 in number were all made prisoners and taken to the camp; where they remained until the conclusion of a treaty. Every thing about the village, indicated an intention of their speedily deserting it.[32]

Shortly after Cornstalk and two other chiefs, made their appearance at camp Charlotte, and entered into a negotiation which soon terminated in an agreement to forbear all farther hostilities against each other,—to give up the prisoners then held by them, and to attend at Pittsburgh, with as many of the Indian chiefs as could be prevailed on to meet the commissioners from Virginia, in the ensuing summer, where a treaty was to be concluded and ratified—Dunmore requiring hostages, to guarantee the performance of those stipulations, on the part of the Indians.

If in the battle at Point Pleasant, Cornstalk manifested the bravery and generalship of a mighty captain; in the negotiations at camp Charlotte, he displayed the skill of a statesman, joined to powers of oratory, rarely, if ever surpassed. With the most patriotic devotion to his country, and in a strain of most commanding eloquence, he recapitulated the accumulated wrongs, which had oppressed their fathers, and which were oppressing them. Sketching in lively colours, the once happy and powerful condition of the Indians, he placed in striking contrast, their present fallen fortunes and unhappy destiny. Exclaiming against the perfidiousness of the whites, and the dishonesty of the traders, he proposed as the basis of a treaty, that no persons should be permitted to carry on a commerce with the Natives, for individual profit; but that [138] their white brother should send them such articles as they needed, by the hands of honest men, who were to exchange them at a fair price, for their skins and furs; and that no spirit of any kind should be sent among them, as from the "fire water" of the whites, proceeded evil to the Indians.[33]

This truly great man, is said to have been opposed to the war from its commencement; and to have proposed on the eve of the battle at Point Pleasant, to send in a flag, and make overtures for peace; but this proposal was overruled by the general voice of the chiefs. When a council was first held after the defeat of the Indians, Cornstalk, reminding them of their late ill success, and that the Long Knives were still pressing on them, asked what should be then done. But no one answered. Rising again, he proposed that the women and children should be all killed; and that the warriors should go out and fight, until they too were slain. Still no one answered. Then, said he, striking his tomahawk into the council post, "I will go and make peace." This was done, and the war of 1774 concluded.

——- [1] He is said to have committed some offence, in the upper part of South Carolina, which rendered him obnoxious to the laws of that colony, and to evade the punishment for which, he had fled to the wilderness and taken up his abode in it.

[2] Lewis Wetzel, the son of a German settler on Wheeling Creek, some fourteen miles above its mouth, was born about 1764. He and his brothers Martin, Jacob, John, and George became famous in border warfare after the close of the Revolution; the annals of the frontier abound in tales of their hardy achievements. Martin and Lewis were the heroes of most remarkable escapes from Indian captivity; John was also famous as an Indian fighter; and Jacob's name will ever be connected with the exploits of that other great border scout, Simon Kenton. But of all the brothers, Lewis achieved the widest celebrity, and two biographies of him have been published: by Cecil B. Hartley (Phila., 1860), and by R. C. V. Meyers (Phila., 1883).—R. G. T.

[3] Now Shenandoah.

[4] The northern wing was composed of men from Frederick, Berkeley, and Dunmore (afterwards Shenandoah) counties, and Col. Adam Stephen was placed in command. With this wing went Lord Dunmore and Major John Connolly. Counting the forces already in the field under Maj. Angus McDonald and Capt. William Crawford, this levy numbered some twelve hundred men. Among them, as scouts, were George Roger Clark, Simon Kenton, and Michael Cresap.—R. G. T.

[5] Lewis was colonel of the militia of Botetourt county. Camp Union (so called because several bodies of troops met there) was on the Big Savannah or Great Levels of Greenbrier River; the town of Lewisburg now occupies the site.

In Dunmore's letter to Andrew Lewis, dated July 12, he directed him to raise a sufficient body of men, and proceeding to the mouth of the Great Kanawha there erect a fort; if he deemed best he was to cross the Ohio, proceed directly to the Indian towns, and destroy their crops and supplies; in any event he was to keep communication open between Fort Wheeling and Fort Dunmore (Pittsburg). It is evident that his lordship then contemplated no separate expedition of his own, for he talks of sending Major Angus McDonald's party and a new levy to Lewis's assistance. But he changed his mind, and August 30 wrote to Lewis directing that the latter meet him at the mouth of the Little Kanawha. Lewis replied through Col. William Preston that it was now too late to change his plans; he should proceed at once with the levy just summoned, to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, and there await further orders.—R. G. T.

[6] This cape was called Point Pleasant, and is now occupied by the West Virginia town of that name.—R. G. T.

[7] This is misleading. On September 6, Col. Charles Lewis, with his Augusta troops, numbering about six hundred, were detached to proceed to the mouth of the Elk, and there make canoes for transporting the supplies to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. This body had in charge a drove of 108 beef cattle, and 400 pack-horses laden with 54,000 lbs. of flour. Field's company soon followed this advance.—R. G. T.

[8] Saturday, the 10th, Clay and Coward were sent out to hunt deer for Field's company, on the banks of the Little Meadow. Then occurred the incident related by Withers. The Indian who escaped, hurried on to the Shawnee towns and gave them their first notice of the approach of the army. Alarmed at this incident, Field hurried and caught up with the advance under Charles Lewis. The text reads as though he had hastened back to Andrew Lewis, who had not yet left Camp Union.—R. G. T.

[9] Col. Andrew Lewis marched out of Camp Union the 12th, with about 450 men. These consisted of Fleming's Botetourt troops, three companies of Fincastle men under Capts. Evan Shelby, William Herbert, and William Russell, the Bedford men under Thomas Buford, and Dunmore men under Slaughter. They had with them 200 pack-horses laden with flour, and the remainder of the beeves. Col. William Christian, who arrived at Camp Union the day Andrew Lewis left, was ordered, with the rest of the Fincastle men, to remain there, to guard the residue of the provisions, and when the brigade of horses sent to the mouth of the Elk had returned, to hurry every thing forward to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. Five weeks were thus consumed in transporting the troops and the supplies a distance of 160 miles through the tangled forest, to Point Pleasant, where the main army, upwards of 1,100 strong, had arrived, quite spent with exertions, on the 6th of October.

When Christian left Camp Union for the front, Anthony Bledsoe, with a company of Fincastle men, was detailed to remain behind with the sick, while the base of supplies at the mouth of the Elk was placed in charge of Slaughter. As will be seen, Christian arrived too late to engage in the battle of Point Pleasant.—R. G. T.

[10] When Lewis arrived at Point Pleasant (October 6th), he found awaiting him in a hollow tree dispatches from Dunmore, brought by Simon Kenton and two companions, directing him to join his lordship at the mouth of the Big Hockhocking, where the governor's northern wing, under Major Crawford, was building a stockade. But Lewis's men were spent, and pens had to be built for the cattle, and shelter for the stores, so no move was made. On Saturday, the 8th, came a further message from the governor, who was still at the Big Hockhocking. Lewis replied that he would join him there as soon as the troops, food supply, and powder had all reached Point Pleasant. His men were angry at Dunmore's interference, and argued with Lewis that it was sixty miles by river and over half that by land, to Dunmore's camp, whereas it was less than either to the hostile towns which they had started out to attack; and to turn aside from this purpose was to leave open for the hostiles the back-door to the frontier settlements of Virginia. The 9th was Sunday, and these sturdy Scotch-Irish Presbyterians spent the day in religious exercises, listening to a stout sermon from their chaplain. On the morrow, they were surprised by the Indians, as the sequel relates.—R. G. T.

[11] James Mooney, of Russell's company, and Joseph Hughey, of Shelby's. They were surprised at the mouth of Old Town Creek, three miles distant. Hughey was killed by a shot fired by Tavenor Ross, a white renegade in Cornstalk's party.—R. G. T.

[12] Few officers were ever more, or more deservedly, endeared to those under their command than Col. Charles Lewis. In the many skirmishes, which it was his fortune to have, with the Indians he was uncommonly successful; and in the various scenes of life, thro' which he passed, his conduct was invariably marked by the distinguishing characteristicks of a mind, of no ordinary stamp. His early fall on this bloody field, was severely felt during the whole engagement; and to it has been attributed the partial advantages gained by the Indian army near the commencement of the action. When the [127] fatal ball struck him, he fell at the root of a tree; from whence he was carried to his tent, against his wish, by Capt. Wm. Morrow and a Mr. Bailey, of Captain Paul's company, and died in a few hours afterwards. In remembrance of his great worth, the legislature named the county of Lewis after him.

[13] An active, enterprising and meritorious officer, who had been in service in Braddock's war, and profited by his experience of the Indian mode of fighting. His death checked for a time the ardor of his troops, and spread a gloom over the countenances of those, who had accompanied him on this campaign.

[14] A half-mile up the Big Kanawha.—R. G. T.

[15] From MS. journals and letters in possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society, it appears that the conduct of the battle was as follows: Andrew Lewis, who as yet thought the enemy to be but a scouting party, and not an army equal in size to his own, had the drums beat to arms, for many of his men were asleep in their tents; and while still smoking his pipe, ordered a detachment from each of the Augusta companies, to form 150 strong under Col. Charles Lewis, with John Dickinson, Benjamin Harrison, and John Skidmore as the captains. Another party of like size was formed under Col. Fleming, with Captains Shelby, Russell, Buford, and Philip Love. Lewis's party marched to the right, near the foot of the hills skirting the east side of Crooked Creek. Fleming's party marched to the left, 200 yards apart from the other. A quarter of a mile from camp, and half a mile from the point of the cape, the right-going party met the enemy lurking behind trees and fallen logs at the base of the hill, and there Charles Lewis was mortally wounded. Fleming marched to a pond three-quarters of a mile from camp, and fifty rods inland from the Ohio—this pond being one of the sources of Crooked Creek. The hostile line was found to extend from this pond along Crooked Creek, half way to its mouth. The Indians, under Cornstalk, thought by rushes to drive the whites into the two rivers, "like so many bullocks," as the chief later explained; and indeed both lines had frequently to fall back, but they were skillfully reinforced each time, and by dusk the savages placed Old Town Creek between them and the whites. This movement was hastened, a half hour before sunset, by a movement which Withers confounds with the main tactics. Captains Matthews, Arbuckle, Shelby, and Stuart were sent with a detachment up Crooked creek under cover of the bank, with a view to securing a ridge in the rear of the enemy, from which their line could be enfiladed. They were discovered in the act, but Cornstalk supposed that this party was Christian's advance, and in alarm hurried his people to the other side of Old Town Creek. The battle was, by dark, really a drawn game; but Cornstalk had had enough, and fled during the night.—R. G. T.

[16] During the day, a messenger had been dispatched to hurry on Christian, who with 250 men was convoying cattle and powder. In the early evening, fifteen miles from Point Pleasant, this rear party was found, toiling painfully over the wilderness trail. Christian at once left his property in charge of a small party, and arrived in camp by midnight.—R. G. T.

[17] Most of the killed and wounded, on both sides, were shot in the head or breast, which indicates good marksmanship. The Indians, though skillful marksmen, did not exhibit sufficient mechanical knowledge to enable them properly to clean their guns, and thus were at some disadvantage.

The statistician was at work in those days, as now, for we learn from an old diary that at Old Town Creek were found by the white victors, 78 rafts with which the Indians had crossed the Ohio to the attack, the night of October 9-10; and on the battlefield during the 10th and 12th, were collected 23 guns, 27 tomahawks, 80 blankets, and great numbers of war-clubs, shot-pouches, powder-horns, match-coats, deer-skins, "and other articles," all of which were put up at auction by the careful commissary, and brought nearly L100 to the army chest.—R. G. T.

[18] Such were Redhawk, a Delaware chief,—Scoppathus, a Mingo,—Ellinipsico, a Shawanee, and son to Cornstalk,—Chiyawee, a Wyandotte, and Logan, a Cayuga.

[19] The first recorded foray of Cornstalk was on October 10, 1759, against the Gilmore family and others, on Carr's Creek, in what is now Rockbridge county, Va. "The Carr's Creek massacre" was long remembered on the border as one of the most daring and cruel on record. He was again heard of during the Pontiac conspiracy, in 1763, when he led a large war-party from the Scioto towns against the Virginia frontier. Both at Muddy Creek, and the Clendenning farm near Lewisburg, on the Levels of the Greenbrier, the marauders pretended to be friendly with the settlers, and in an unguarded moment fell upon and slew them. Other massacres, in connection with the same foray, were at Carr's Creek, Keeney's Knob, and Jackson's River. The story of the captivity of Mrs. Clendenning and her children, who were taken to the Shawnee towns on the Scioto, is one of the most heartrendering in Western history. In 1764, Bouquet raided these towns, and Cornstalk was one of the hostages sent to Fort Pitt in fulfillment of the terms of the treaty, but later he effected his escape. Nothing more is heard of this warrior until 1774, when he became famous as leader of the Indians at the battle of Point Pleasant. Cornstalk's intelligence was far above that of the average Shawnee. He had, before the Dunmore War, strongly counseled his people to observe the peace, as their only salvation; but when defeated in council, he with great valor led the tribesmen to war. After the treaty of Fort Charlotte, he renewed his peace policy, and was almost alone in refusing to join the Shawnee uprising in 1777. Late in September, that year, he visited his white friends at Fort Randolph (Point Pleasant), and was retained as one of several hostages for the tribe. Infuriated at some murders in the vicinity, the private soldiers in the fort turned upon the Indian prisoners and basely killed them, Cornstalk among the number. Governor Patrick Henry and General Hand—the latter then organizing his futile expedition against the Shawnees—wished to punish the murderers; but in the prevalent state of public opinion on the border, it was easy for them to escape prosecution.—R. G. T.

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