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Title: Tales, Traditions and Romance of Border and Revolutionary Times

Author: Edward Sylvester Ellis

Release date: April 26, 2016 [eBook #51864]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Richard Tonsing, David Edwards and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber's Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


Traditions and Romance

iiEntered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1864,
by Beadle and Company, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United
States for the Southern District of New York.


In this volume we offer the reader a combination of two of the most fascinating qualities which a book can possess. It is almost strictly historical, and yet as marvelous as the most romantic fiction. The sketches and incidents here gathered are all authenticated; yet many of them, in their wonderful interest and pathos, exceed the bounds of fancy. They belong to two classes: those which are connected with the Revolution, and those which chronicle the peculiar events of our Frontier History. While they will absorb the attention of the most intelligent reader, they are charmingly adapted to attract young people, who will be both instructed and delighted. Boys will find examples worthy of emulation, and will learn to appreciate those traits of character which made the glory and the progress of our young republic; while girls may gain dignity of mind by contemplating the devotion, courage and endurance of the women of those days.

An insight will be afforded into the customs of the Indians, and into the manner of life of the early settlers, whose dangers and difficulties, privations and calamities, are almost incredible. Many of the most thrilling events in our national history are herein related, along with the fearless adventures of our brave pioneers, and the perils and catastrophes which befell the families of those whose protectors were absent on the field of battle, or whose cabins failed to find sufficient defense in the rifles of their owners.

ivThe reader will linger over these pages, thrilled by the consciousness that the scenes so vividly brought before him are real—a living, abiding part of our existence as a people. The "storied Rhine" and "classic Italy" are laid and overlaid thickly with traditions which give a vague interest to soil, ruin, mountain and sky. We, also, have our traditions—different in kind, but of wild and marvelous interest—and the day shall come when the banks of the fair Ohio, the blue Muskingum, the picturesque Allegany, the noble Mississippi, shall be trodden by reverent feet, while the thoughts of the traveler speed back to the days of the lurking red-man and the bold ranger. It is no mean duty of the chronicler to treasure up the threads of a thousand little facts, and weave them into a web which shall perpetuate them for the future.

The publishers believe that this volume will not only be a favorite in the hands of men, young and old, but will have its appropriate place by the fireside.



Abduction of General Wadsworth, 236
Anecdotes of an early settler of Kentucky, 61
Anecdotes of juvenile heroism, 202
Anecdotes of Washington, 111
A remarkable hunting excursion, 133
Big Joe Logston's struggle with an Indian, 69
Boquet's expedition into Indian territory, 277
Brady's leap, 363
Brant and the boy, 32
Brave deeds of Logan, 245
British atrocities during the Revolution, 340
Captain Hubbell's adventure on the Ohio, 123
Captain John Sevier, 313
Captivity of Jonathan Alder, 270
Close quarters with a rattlesnake, 141
Colonel Horry, of Marion's brigade, 143
Davy Crockett's adventure with a cougar, 56
Deborah Sampson, the maiden warrior, 82
Dick Moxon's fight with the deer, 137
Downing's remarkable escape from an Indian, 120
Elerson's twenty-five mile race, 160
Ethan Allen, a prisoner of war, 229
Execution of Colonel Isaac Hayne, 335
Female characters of the Revolution, 175
General Dale's adventure, 310
Harrison's invasion of Canada and death of Tecumseh, 219
Heroic death of Cornstalk, sachem of the Shawnees, 252
Horrible atrocities by savages, 264
Horrible cruelties by British troops, 297
Horsewhipping a tyrant, 223
Interesting anecdotes of Mrs. Fisher's courage, 352
John Minter's bear fight, 53
Joseph Bettys' bloody career, 291
Major Robert Rogers' adventure, 303
viMarvelous escape of Weatherford, 309
Miss Sherrill's flight to the fort, 314
Molly Pitcher at Monmouth, 172
Moody, the refugee, 286
Morgan's prayer, 100
Mrs. Austin and the bear, 48
Mrs. Slocumb at Moore's Creek, 347
Murphy saving the fort, 18
Nathan Hale's arrest and execution, 341
Proctor's massacre at River Basin, 212
Sargeant Jasper's adventures in the British camp, 153
Sargeant Jasper and the young Creole girl, 88
Simon Girty's attack on Bryant Station, 317
Simon Kenton and his Indian torture-ride, 5
Spirited adventures of a young married couple, 350
Tecumseh saving the prisoners, 309
The Baroness de Reidesel, 183
The chieftain's appeal, 325
The Grand Tower massacre, 76
The implacable governor, 332
The Johnson boys killing their captors, 116
The leap for life, 300
The little sentinel, 197
The mother's trial, 242
The women defending the wagon, 261
Thrilling anecdotes of women of the Revolution, 93
William Kennan's flight from thirty Indians, 165



Simon Kenton's Torture-Ride—Page 9.

Traditions and Romance
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for
the Southern District of New York.


Foremost among the wild and terrific scenes which arise before our startled eyes when we turn the pages of border warfare, is the ride of Simon Kenton—not that the cruelty of its devisers was so atrocious, nor the final results so dreadful, as in many other instances; but the novelty, the unique savageness of the affair, strikes upon the imagination, as if it were one of those thrilling stories related of ages and people which never were, instead of an event that actually occurred to one of our own countrymen in one of our own territories.

In the early light of morning breaking through the trees which surround them, a group of Indians are preparing to resume their march, after a night of repose. They have with them a solitary prisoner. Corraled about them are numbers of horses, the recovery of which has been the object of the expedition. Before these are released and the day's march resumed, the prisoner must be disposed of. While his captors are deciding this important matter, we will discover who he is and what has brought him into his present state.

About the first of September, 1778, Simon Kenton—the friend and younger coadjutor of Boone, who had been with the latter for some time at Boonesborough Station, employed in protecting the surrounding country, and engaging in occasional skirmishes with the Indians—becoming tired of a temporary inactivity which his habits of life rendered insupportable, determined to have another adventure with the Indians. For this purpose he associated with Alex. Montgomery and George Clark, to go on an expedition for stealing horses from the Shawnees.

6The three brave scouts reached old Chilicothe without meeting with any thing exciting. There they fell in with a drove of Indian horses, feeding on the rich prairie, and securing seven of the drove, started on their return. Reaching the Ohio, they found the river lashed into fury by a hurricane, and the horses refused to cross. Here was an unlooked-for dilemma. It was evening; they felt sure of being pursued; no time was to be lost. As the only resource, they rode back to the hills, hobbled the animals, and then retraced their steps to see if they were followed. Finding as yet no signs of pursuit, they took what rest their anxiety would allow them. The next morning, the wind having subsided, they sought their horses and again attempted to cross the river, but with the same result; the horses, from fright, refused to take to the water, and they were driven to the alternative of parting with them. Selecting each one of the best, they turned the others loose, and started for the Falls of the Ohio, (now just below Louisville); but disliking thus to abandon the fruits of their expedition, they unwisely returned again, to attempt to retake and lead the others. This was by no means an easy task, and while engaged in the endeavor, they were surprised by a party of mounted savages, who had followed their trail with vengeful pertinacity. The whites were separated; and Kenton, hearing a whoop in the direction of his comrades, dismounted, creeping cautiously in the direction of the sound, to discover, if possible, the force of the enemy. Dragging himself forward on his hands and knees, he came suddenly upon several Indians, who did not discover him at the moment. Being surrounded, and thinking the boldest game the best, he took aim at the foremost and pulled trigger, but his gun missed fire. This, of course, discovered his position, and he was instantly pursued. Taking advantage of some fallen timber, he endeavored to elude his pursuers, by dodging them, and hiding in the underbrush, where their horses could not follow; but they were too cunning, or rather too many for him. Dividing their forces and riding along either side the timber, they "beat it up," until, as he was emerging at the further end, he was confronted by one of the savages, who, the moment he discovered his white foe, threw himself from his horse and rushed upon Kenton with his tomahawk. Kenton drew back his arm to defend himself with the butt end of 7his gun; but as he was about to strike, another stalwart savage, whom he had not observed, seized him in his powerful grasp, preventing the descending blow. He was now a prisoner, compelled to yield, with such grace as he could, to superior numbers. While they were binding him, his companion, Montgomery, made his appearance, firing at one of the savages, but missing his mark. He was immediately pursued; in a few moments one of the pursuers returned, shaking the bloody scalp of his friend in Kenton's face. Clark succeeded in making his escape, and crossing the river, arrived in safety at Logan's Station.

That night the Indians encamped on the banks of the river; in the morning they prepared to return with their unfortunate prisoner, who had passed an uneasy night, bound to the ground, and not knowing precisely what vengeance his enemies might be pleased to visit upon him. Some of them knew him well, and he realized that there were long scores to be wiped off against him. However, the red-man had a keen appreciation of bravery, and he did not anticipate any severer fate upon that account. Some little time elapsed before they succeeded in catching all their horses. The day had well advanced before they were ready to march, and the annoyance consequent upon this delay so exasperated them, that they determined to make their captive pay the full penalty of the trouble he had caused them. They therefore selected the wildest and most restive horse among their number, and proceeded to bind Kenton upon his back. Their mode of proceeding was as follows: a rope was first passed round the under jaw of the horse, either end of which was held by an Indian; yet even with this advantage, it required the assistance of others to control the vicious beast, which was determined not to receive its burden. Kenton was first seated upon the horse with his face toward the tail, and his feet tied together under the animal. Another rope confined his arms, drawing the prisoner down upon his back. A third, secured about his neck, was fastened to the horse's neck, thence extending longitudinally down his person to the animal's tail, where it was secured, and answered well for a crupper. In this way he was fastened to the wild and frantic steed, beyond the possibility of escape. To make the matter sure against contingencies, the now delighted savages passed another rope about 8his thighs, securing it to the one which served as a girth. They then fastened a pair of moccasins upon his hands to prevent his defending his face. During the time they were thus preparing him for his Mazeppa-like ride, they taunted him by asking if he wanted to steal any more horses. They danced around him, yelped and screamed, and, in every possible manner, expressed their infernal delight at the anticipated sufferings of their victim. The heart of Simon Kenton seldom quailed before any danger; but it must have been supernaturally strengthened not to have sickened during those moments of preparation and anticipation. To be bound to unspoken torture, which could end, at the last, only in death—death long deferred, perhaps into hours and days, whose every minute and second would be sharp with anguish—to be so helpless to resist the evils which were sure to come, with the close rope strangling the breath in his throat whenever he attempted to raise his head to see the cruelties which he felt—to add all the mental miseries of suspense to the horrible realities before him—this was enough surely to shake even the sturdy spirit of the defiant pioneer. For a moment he was inclined to beg of his tormentors to tomahawk him then and there; but he knew that such an appeal would gratify their malice while it would produce no other effect; and he closed his lips tightly, resolved that they should enjoy no sign of fear or dismay to enhance their inhuman delight. One glance at the blue sky smiling down between the lightly-waving branches of the trees—one scornful look into the demon-faces about him, and, for an instant, his eyes closed; he felt like one falling from a precipice into terrific depths yawning to receive him.

With stripes and demoniac yells they at length turned loose the almost savage horse, which was goaded to desperation by the tumult and the blows. The infuriated beast at once bounded away on its aimless, erratic course, anxious only to rid itself of its strange burden.

"'Twas scarcely yet the break of day,
And on he foamed—away!—away!—
The last of human sounds which rose,
As he was darted from his foes,
Was the wild shout of savage laughter
Which on the wind came roaring after."

9Frantic with fright, the noble animal went careering through the woods, rearing and plunging in his madness, inflicting upon his tortured rider countless wounds and blows as he endeavored to dash him against the trees, or rushed through the tangled brush, lacerating the flesh of both with innumerable thorns and briers. In one of the mad dashes which the horse gave through the unpitying forest, Kenton's arm came with such force against a tree that it was broken—he knew it by its becoming so limp and helpless, as well as from the knife-like pain which darted from it. The wretched man could only hope that the horse would some time tire; that, wearied out with its useless efforts to free itself from its burden, it would subside into some quiet, which might give a moment's ease to his aching and mangled limbs; but he hoped in vain!

"Each motion which he made to free
His swollen limbs from their agony,
Increased its fury and affright;
He tried his voice—'twas faint and low,
But yet it swerved, as from a blow;
And, starting at each accent, sprang
As from a sudden trumpet's clang.
Meanwhile the cords were wet with gore,
Which, oozing from his wounds, ran o'er;
And on his tongue the thirst became
A something fiercer far than flame."

Oh, that horrible thirst which takes possession of the person suffering exquisite pain, until the torture seems to exceed that of the anguish which causes it. None but those who have experienced this extremity of mortal suffering can picture it; none but those who have suffered the horrible pangs of thirst can sympathize with the unutterable pain which Simon Kenton endured for the next few hours. Yes, for hours! The harassed steed, at length, with wasted strength and trembling limbs, returned to the point from which he had started, with his now almost inanimate rider, who must have sunk into insensibility long before, had not the fever of his pain kept him from that blessed relief. The hunter hoped that now he would either be killed outright, or relieved of his present position; but such was not the intention of the red devils who had him in their power.

Worn out with fatigue, and satisfied of his inability to rid himself of his unwelcome burden, the exhausted horse took his place in the 10cavalcade, which had already started for its home. The only mercy they vouchsafed the prisoner was to give him, twice or thrice, some water. His sufferings had only commenced—death, in its worst form, would have been preferred to the ordeal through which he had yet to pass. To feel certain of death—to count the lingering hours as they pass—to know that each is but a step toward a certain doom—to feel that doom impending day by day, and yet to see it postponed through miserable stretches of suffering—to endure continually all the anguish of which the human frame is capable, and all this time to know that hope has fled beyond recall—that all this protracted agony must end in inevitable death, is too terrible to contemplate.

All this Simon Kenton bore for three days and nights. It seems incredible that life should have held out so long; but his previous training in the schools of endurance seemed only to have fitted him now to hold out through what no other man could have borne. Through three nights he lay in his cradle of anguish; through three days he was racked by the motion of the animal which bore him; and when the Indians reached their village, he was still alive.

It had been the intention of the savages to procure his death by means of the wanton torture they had instituted; but when he reached his destination alive, owing to some custom or superstition of their own, they delivered him over to the care of their squaws. These took him from the rack, bathed his disfigured body, set his broken arm, bandaged his wounds, made soothing and healing washes from the herbs of the forest, nourished him with drinks and food, and gradually restored him to health. Not only was his life saved, but his iron constitution remained unbroken by the fearful trial through which it had passed. As soon as his renewed strength warranted the attempt, he set about planning the mode of his escape, which he successfully accomplished, returning to the friends who had long since given him up for lost, to relate to their almost incredulous hearts the story of his sufferings.

This remarkable episode is but one of countless adventures in which Simon Kenton was engaged. Our readers may hear from him again in scenes equally thrilling. He was, without doubt, one of the bravest and most interesting of the western pioneers; he was excelled by none, and scarcely equaled by his precursor, Daniel 11Boone. His biography, as far as it has been preserved, will be read with interest by all; his name will never be forgotten in the valley of the great West. He was the coadjutor of Boone throughout the protracted struggle for the occupancy of the rich forests and prairies on either side of the Ohio. The almost incessant exposure and life of self-denial which these resolute adventurers endured can scarcely be appreciated by us of this generation who enjoy in peace the fruits of their sufferings.

While the United States were British Colonies, and Kentucky and Ohio still were primeval in their solitudes, filled with Indians, and wholly destitute of white inhabitants, these two heroic men, Boone and Kenton, as if moved by the finger of Providence, left the shades of civilization, entire strangers to each other, and ventured into the midst of a boundless wilderness, neither having any knowledge of the purpose or movement of the other. Boone led the way from North Carolina, crossed the mountains, and entered the valley of Kentucky in 1769; Kenton followed from Virginia, in 1773. The former emigrated from choice, to gratify his natural taste, after full deliberation, and after having calculated the consequences. Not so with Kenton; he fled to the wilderness to escape the penalty of a supposed crime. He had, unfortunately, become involved in a quarrel with a young man of his neighborhood, with whom he had lived in habits of great intimacy and friendship, and, as he supposed, had killed him in a personal conflict. To avoid the consequences of that imaginary homicide, and to escape, if possible, from the distress of his own feelings, he left home and friends, without waiting to ascertain the result. Unaccompanied by any human being, he crossed the mountains and descended into the valley of the Big Kanawha, under the assumed name of Simon Butler. He retained that name several years, until he received information that the friend whom he supposed had fallen under his hand, had recovered from the blow, and was alive and in health. He then resumed his proper name, and disclosed the reason which had led him to assume that of Butler; but a love for the wild life to which he had exiled himself had now taken such strong hold of him that he made no effort to return to the ties from which he had so hastily fled.

It is a matter of regret that so small a portion of the achievements 12of this interesting man have been perpetuated. This may be accounted for by the fact that so large a portion of his life was spent in the wilderness, either in solitude, or associated with others of the same adventurous cast with himself; and it explains the reason why we are not only without a connected record of his life, but have so few of its isolated transactions preserved. It is known, however, that, after he joined the adventurers in the district of Kentucky, about two years before the Declaration of American Independence, he engaged in most of the battles and skirmishes between the white inhabitants and the savages which followed, during 1774 to 1783. He became an enterprising leader in most of the expeditions against the Indian towns north-west of the Ohio. These conflicts, indeed, continued during the long period of twenty years, intervening between their commencement and the decisive victory of "Mad Anthony" Wayne at the rapids of the Maumee, in August, 1794, which was followed by the celebrated treaty of Greenville, and peace to the afflicted border. Kenton was always considered one of the boldest and most active defenders of the western country, from the commencement of its settlement until the close of Indian hostilities. In all their battles and expeditions he took a conspicuous part. He was taken prisoner several times and conveyed to the Shawnee towns, but in every instance he made his escape and returned to his friends.

On one occasion he was captured when on an expedition against the Wabash (Miami) villages, and taken to one of the remote Indian towns, where a council was held to decide on his fate. Again he was fated to endure one of their cruel and peculiar modes of inflicting punishment. He was painted black, tied to a stake, and suffered to remain in this painful position for twenty-four hours, anticipating the horrors of a slow and cruel death, by starvation or fire. He was next condemned to run the gauntlet. The Indians, several hundred in number, of both sexes, and every age and rank, armed with switches, sticks, bludgeons and other implements of assault, were formed in two lines, between which the unhappy prisoner was made to pass; being promised that, if he reached the door of the council-house, at the further end of the lines, no further punishment would be inflicted. He accordingly ran, with all the speed of which his 13debilitated condition rendered him capable, dreadfully beaten by the savages as he passed, and had nearly reached the goal, when he was knocked down by a warrior with a club; and the demoniac set, gathering around the prostrate body, continued to beat him until life appeared to be nearly extinguished.

In this wretched condition, naked, lacerated and exhausted, he was marched from town to town, exhibited, tortured, often threatened to be burned at the stake, and compelled frequently to run the gauntlet. On one of these occasions he attempted to make his escape, broke through the ranks of his torturers, and had outstripped those who pursued him, when he was met by some warriors on horseback, who compelled him to surrender. After running the gauntlet in thirteen towns, he was taken to the Wyandot town of Lower Sandusky, in Ohio, to be burned. Here resided the white miscreant, Simon Girty, who, having just returned from an unsuccessful expedition against the frontiers of Pennsylvania, was in a particularly bad humor. Hearing that there was a white prisoner in town, the renegade rushed upon him, struck him, beat him to the ground, and was proceeding to further atrocities, when Kenton had the presence of mind to call him by name and claim his protection. They had known each other in their youth; Kenton had once saved the life of Girty; and deaf as was the latter, habitually, to every dictate of benevolence, he admitted the claim of his former acquaintance. Actuated by one of those unaccountable caprices common among savages, he interceded for him, rescued him from the stake, and took him to his own house, where, in a few days, the prisoner recovered his strength. Some of the chiefs, however, became dissatisfied; another council was held, the former decree was reversed, and Kenton was again doomed to the stake.

From this extremity he was rescued by the intercession of Drewyer, a British agent, who, having succeeded in obtaining his release, carried him to Detroit, where he was received by the British commander as a prisoner of war. From that place he made his escape, in company with two other Americans; and, after a march of thirty days through the wilderness, continually exposed to recapture, had the good fortune to escape all perils, and to reach the settlements of Kentucky in safety.

14Hall, from whose sketches of the West we have gathered this account of his running the gauntlet, states that all those horrors were endured upon the occasion of his captivity following his Mazeppa-like ride, although Burnet, in his "Notes," speaks of it as upon another and a future occasion.

After the fall of Kaskaskia, which took place in 1778, and in the expedition against which Kenton took an active part, he was sent with a small party to Kentucky with dispatches. On their way the rangers fell in with a camp of Indians, in whose possession were a number of horses, which the daring fellows took and sent back to the army, then in great need of the animals.

Pursuing their way by Vincennes, they entered that French-Indian town at night, traversed several of the streets, and departed without being discovered, taking from the inhabitants two horses to each man. When they came to White river, a raft was made on which to cross, while the horses were driven in to swim the river. On the opposite shore a party of Indians was encamped, who caught the horses as they ascended the bank. Such are the vicissitudes of border incident! The same horses which had been audaciously taken only the night before from the interior of a regularly garrisoned town, were lost by being accidentally driven by their captors into a camp of the enemy! Kenton and his party, finding themselves in the utmost danger, returned to the shore from which they had pushed their raft, and concealed themselves until night, when they crossed the river at a different place, reaching Kentucky in safety.

The expedition against Kaskaskia was one of the earliest made by the Americans beyond the Ohio. This place, as well as the posts upon the Lakes, was then in possession of the British, with whom we were at war. Being one of the points from which the Indians were supplied with ammunition, and thus enabled to harass the settlements in Kentucky, its capture was considered so important that the legislature of Virginia were induced to raise a regiment for the purpose. The command was given to Colonel George Rogers Clarke, the young military hero, to whom, more than to any other one person, Kentucky owes her successful foundation as a State. He was, as a military leader, what Kenton was as a scout and skirmisher—one 15of those men who seemed raised up, providentially, to master great difficulties.

The story of the campaign by which he took Kaskaskia is one of the most interesting of our border experiences. With two or three hundred men, mostly raised in Virginia, he crossed the mountains to the Monongahela, and descended by water to the Falls of the Ohio, where he was joined by some volunteers from Kentucky, among whom was Simon Kenton. After a halt of a few days to refresh his men, he proceeded down the Ohio to the neighborhood of Fort Massac, a point about sixty miles above the mouth of that river, where he landed and hid his boats, to prevent their discovery by the Indians. He was now distant from Kaskaskia about one hundred and thirty miles. The intervening country must have been, at that time, almost impassable. His route led through a flat region, overflowed by the backwater of the streams, and entirely covered with a most luxuriant vegetation, which must have greatly impeded the march of his troops. Through this dreary region, the intrepid young leader marched on foot, at the head of his gallant band, with his rifle on his shoulder and his provisions on his back. After wading through swamps, crossing creeks by such methods as could be hastily adopted, and sustaining two days' march after the provisions were exhausted, he arrived in the night before the village of Kaskaskia. Having halted and formed his men, he made them a speech, which contained only the brief sentence: "The town must be taken at all events." Accordingly it was taken, and that without striking a blow; for, although fortified, the surprise was so complete that no resistance was attempted. This exploit was followed up by a series of the same character; in all of which Kenton played his part, being chosen, as we have seen, after this expedition, to be the bearer of important dispatches through a hostile country. In all emergencies like this, his aid was invaluable.

Simon Kenton was a striking example of cool, deliberate bravery, united with a tender, sympathizing heart. In times of danger and conflict, all his energies were enlisted in the struggle. He fought for victory, regardless of consequences; but the moment the contest was over, and his feelings resumed their usual state, he could sit down and weep over the misery he had assisted in producing. 16Doubtless this extreme sensibility was the cause of his being driven into the wilds of the West—the wretchedness he suffered on account of the blow he had dealt in a moment of passion being such as permitted his mind no repose for a long period after the deed was committed. Such tenderness of heart is not incompatible with the sternest bravery—indeed, the most heroic are, usually, also the most gentle and generous in times of repose. During a large portion of his life, solitude, danger and want were his attendants; necessity had so familiarized him to privation, that he could endure abstinence from food, and subsist on as small a quantity of it, without detriment to health or strength, as the savages themselves.

During his residence in the wilderness, the land-warrants issued by the commonwealth of Virginia were easily obtained. After the holders were permitted to locate them west of the mountains, he found no difficulty in possessing himself of as many of them as he desired; and having traversed the wilderness in every direction, his topographical knowledge enabled him to select for location the best and most valuable lands in the country. Well, too, had he earned these estates, for his hand had opened them not only to himself but for thousands of others to possess and enjoy. Had he possessed the information necessary to enable him to make his entries sufficiently special to stand the test of legal scrutiny, his locations would have been the foundation of a princely fortune for himself and his descendants. Unfortunately, however, he was uneducated; and, although his locations were judicious, and his entries were made in the expressive language suggested by a vigorous mind, yet they were not sufficiently technical; in consequence of which the greater part of them were lost, by subsequent entries more specifically and technically made. He succeeded in retaining a few of them however, and these were sufficient to make him entirely independent.

The first authentic information we have of him, after he left the place of his nativity, is that he was engaged in the great battle fought at the mouth of the Big Kanawha, between the Indians and the troops of Lord Dinsmore, while he was Governor of the Province of Virginia; in which he, Kenton, was distinguished for his bravery.

The next intelligence is, that in 1775, he was in the district of Kentucky commanding a station, near the spot where the town of 17Washington now stands. Not long after that work was done, the station was discovered, attacked and destroyed by the Indians, and it does not appear that he made any effort to reoccupy it until the year 1784, after the treaty of peace with Great Britain. In that year he rebuilt his block-house and cabins, and proceeded to raise a crop; and though frequently disturbed by the Indians, he continued to occupy and improve it, until he removed his family to Ohio, some eight or ten years after the treaty of Greenville.

At the commencement of the war of 1812, Kenton was a citizen of Ohio, residing in the vicinity of Urbana. He then bore on his person the scars of many a bloody conflict; yet he repaired to the American camp and volunteered in the army of Harrison. His personal bravery was proverbial; his skill and tact in Indian warfare were well known; and as the frontier at that time abounded with Indians, most of whom had joined the British standard, the services of such an experienced Indian-fighter as Simon Kenton were highly appreciated by General Harrison and Governor Meigs, each of whom had known him personally for many years. His offer was promptly accepted, and the command of a regiment conferred upon him. While a portion of the army was stationed at Urbana, a mutinous plan was formed by some of the militia to attack an encampment of friendly Indians, who, threatened by the hostile tribes, had been invited to remove their families within our frontier settlements for protection. Kenton remonstrated against the movement, as being not only mutinous, but treacherous and cowardly. He appealed to their humanity, and their honor as soldiers. He told them that he had endured suffering and torture at the hands of these people again and again, but that was in time of war; and now, when they had come to us under promise of safety, he should permit no treachery toward them. Finding the mutineers still bent on their purpose, he took a rifle and called on them to proceed, declaring that he should accompany them to the encampment, and shoot down the first man who attempted to molest it. Knowing that the veteran would keep his promise, no one ventured to take the lead. Thus generous was Kenton in times of peace; thus brave in times of war.

We have said that he secured enough land—despite of the entries made after and upon his—to render him independent for life; but 18there were not wanting those, in his latter days, base enough to defraud the confiding and noble old hero out of the remainder of his affluence. In 1828 Congress granted him a pension, dating back many years, which afforded him an ample support the remainder of his life.

The records of such lives as his should be carefully preserved, that the luxurious and effeminate young men of to-day, and those of the future, may know by what courage and hardships their ease has been secured to them.


Suddenly, through the clear stillness of an autumn morning rung out the three rapid reports of an alarm-gun, which had been agreed upon by the three frontier forts defending the valley of the Schoharie, as a signal of danger. The faint flush in the eastern sky was as yet not strong enough to tinge the white frost glittering over leaf and grass; the deep repose of earliest dawn rested over all things in that beautiful vale; but as the thunder of that alarm-gun rolled sullenly along the air, every eye unclosed, every heart awoke from the even pulse of sleep to the hurried beat of fear and excitement.

Not even the inhabitants of Gettysburg, nor the plundered, misused people of East Tennessee, can imagine the appalling terrors which beset our ancestors during those "days which tried men's souls," when they fought for the liberties which now we are bound to defend in all their sanctity against foes at home or abroad. When we recall the price paid for our present position in the van of progress and free government, well may our hearts burn with inextinguishable resolve never to give up what was so nobly purchased.

Pardon the reflection, which has nothing to do with the story we have to tell of Timothy Murphy, the celebrated rifleman of Morgan's Corps. Only this we must say: our English neighbors, who are so much shocked at the way we have managed our civil war, ought to turn back to that disgraceful page of their history 19whereon is written the hideous record of Indian barbarities which they employed against us—against our women and children, our firesides, our innocent babes!

The signal was fired by the upper fort; but when those of the middle fort sprung to the ramparts to ascertain the cause of alarm, they found their own walls completely invested. A combined force of British troops, Hessian hirelings and tories, with a body of Indians of the Six Nations, under their war-chief, Joseph Brant—the whole under the command of Sir John Johnson—passing the first fort unobserved, had entered the valley. After the usual manner of their warfare, the work of destruction upon peaceable inhabitants immediately commenced. Farm-houses were in flames; women and children, who ran from them, found refuge only in the tortures of the savages waiting without; barns, filled with the plenty of autumn, blazed up a few moments with the wild brightness of ruin, and then sunk back, a smoldering heap, to tell of poverty and famine. While this cruel work was progressing, a column of the enemy, with two small mortars and a field-piece called a "grasshopper,"—from being mounted upon legs instead of wheels—was sent to occupy a height which commanded the middle fort. This, with its little garrison of about two hundred men, was surrounded, and lay completely under the enemy's fire.

Under these circumstances the men turned to their commander for instructions. Unfortunately, Major Woolsey was a fallen star amid that glorious galaxy to which we look back with such pride—he was that pitiable object at which women blush—a coward in epaulettes! Where was he in the emergency which ought to have called forth all his powers? "Among the women and children in a house of the fort!" says the historian, but the narrator does not inform us whether or not the Major absolutely begged the shelter of their skirts! And, "when driven out by the ridicule of his associates, he crawled around the intrenchments upon his hands and knees." There was one way in which this incident was of service to the troops who awaited the orders of their commander. The Major's cowardice was so utterly ridiculous that the jeers and laughter it called forth restored courage to the men, who had been so suddenly surprised as to be at first disheartened.

20Among those who shook with mingled wrath and laughter at sight of the impotence of their leader was Murphy. At the first note of danger he had sprung to the ramparts, his unerring rifle in hand, his bright eye flashing fire. He should have been in the Major's place. It is men like him who electrify their comrades with the thrilling enthusiasm and reliance of their own courage—men who know not fear, who think nothing of themselves and all of their cause—cool, prompt, ready for any emergency. He should have been the leader: but he was only a militiaman, whose term of service had expired at that, and who was "fighting on his own account." But he could not brook the disgrace of such leadership; when the commander of the fort went creeping about on his hands, the militiaman felt that it was time to take the reins in his own grasp, and he did it. Implicit obedience from the soldier to the officer is a necessity; but there are exceptions to all rules, and this was one of them; to be mutinous then was to be true to duty and to honor. Deeming the fort their own, the enemy sent out an officer with a flag of truce. As soon as he came in sight, the relieved Major got off his knees, commanding his men to cease all firing. Now it was that this justifiable mutiny ensued. Murphy, from his position on the ramparts, answered to the flag, warning it away, threatening in event of its closer approach to fire upon it. This remarkable assumption of authority confounded all within the fort. He was ordered by the officers of the regular troops to forbear, but the militiamen, whose hero he was, cheered him, and swore he should have his way. Thus supported, as soon as the flag of truce came within range, he fired purposely missing the messenger who bore it, when the flag quickly retired. This "outrage" at once closed all avenues to a peaceful surrender. The enemy's artillery opened upon the fort. A continual fusillade was kept up by the mortars, the grasshopper, and the rifles of the Indians, fortunately with little effect. Many an Indian, who considered himself at a prudent distance, bit the dust, as the smoke cleared away from the busy rifle of Timothy Murphy. Hour after hour the attack continued. A number of shells were thrown, but only two of them fell inside the walls; one of these pierced the house within the palisades, and descending to the first story, smothered itself in a feather-bed, without doing any 21fatal injury. The gallant Major commanding should have been ensconced for safety in those feathers! The other shell set fire to the roof, which was saved from destruction by a pail of water carried by the intrepid Philip Graft, the sentinel who had first discovered the approach of the British troops.

Many exciting events occurred during that long forenoon. A large barn, filled with grain, and surrounded by several stacks of wheat, stood a few hundred feet from the fort. It was several times set on fire. As it was important to save its contents, Lieutenant Spencer, with his band of forty men, sallied out on each occasion, and extinguished the flames. This heroic party also made sorties, whenever the enemy approached too near the fort, which could not be properly protected, owing to a short supply of ammunition.

Now it was, also, that the courage of women—which the annals of the Revolution set forth in such noble luster—shone resplendent above the craven fear of the commander. Some of the women armed themselves, avowing their determination to aid in the defense, should the attack reach the walls. The supply of water threatening to give out, a soldier was ordered to bring some from a well outside the works. He turned pale and stood trembling in his shoes, between the double danger of disobedience and exposure to the enemy's fire.

"Give the bucket to me!" cried a girl, not over nineteen years of age, her red lip curling slightly with scorn, as she took the bucket from his yielding hand, and went forth after the much-needed necessary of life.

A shout of enthusiasm broke from the spectators. With a smile on her face and a clear luster in her eyes, inspiriting to see, she went out on her dangerous journey. Without the least appearance of trepidation, she filled her bucket and returned, passing within range of the enemy's fire. This errand she performed several times in safety.

All this time the rifle of Murphy was doing its appointed work. In the course of the forenoon he saw a second flag approaching to demand the surrender of the fort. Seeing him preparing to salute it as he had the former, Major Woolsey ordered the independent rifleman from the ramparts.

22"I shan't come down," said the sturdy patriot. "I'm going to fire on that white rag."

"Then I shall be obliged to kill you on the spot," said the Major, drawing his sword, and making a flourish.

Murphy only took one eye from the advancing flag; his weapon was sighted; he was not sufficiently alarmed by this threat to lose its position.

"Kill away, Major, if you think best. It won't better your situation much. I know you, and what you will do. You will surrender this fort. Yes, sir; in the hopes of saving your miserable skin, you'll surrender! But you won't even save your own carcass. You can believe what I tell you. I know them troops out thar, and their way of fightin'. You won't make nothing by surrendering to them, and Tim Murphy, for one, ain't going to surrender. No, sir!"

Again the gallant militiamen applauded his sentiments, which were no sooner uttered than the rifleman discharged his piece at the approaching officer, missing him, as before, purposely. Of course, at this, hostilities were renewed; but, as the rifleman said, he knew which of two dangers was most to be dreaded; and, if he must perish, he preferred to die in defense of what had been intrusted to them rather than to be smote down after the humiliation of a surrender by murderers who respected none of the laws of war. It is true, that, to fire upon a flag of truce, was a breach of military usage, and, in almost any circumstances, inexcusable; but not so now, when the garrison would only meet with the most fatal treachery as the result of any interview. The officers of the regulars, however, did not so regard the affair. Brought up under the stern discipline of military rule, they took sides with the Major, and expostulated with Murphy upon his unwarrantable violation of the laws of war.

"Don't talk," he cried, impatiently. "Jest come up here and take a look at the smoke arising from the homes of defenseless citizens. Take a look at the red-skins dancing around 'em, like devils around the fires of hell. Hear the screams of them women and children they are murderin' in cold blood. By the God above, if I could get at them fiends, I'd stop that music!" His teeth were 23firmly set; his face hardened; his eyes shone like two coals of fire; and, disdaining to argue his point at a moment like that, he settled his weapon for the next victim who should venture within range.

The garrison could indeed hear, in the intervals of the cannon's silence, the shrieks of helpless families smote down by the tomahawk.

"Do you hear it?" he cried again, as the shrill cry of a female voice pierced the air. "That's the kind of enemy you've got to deal with, and there you stand, balancing yourselves on a p'int of law! If you open your gates and lay down your arms, you, nor your wives and children, won't meet any better fate. If you want to be tortured by red-skins, and your families given up to their devilment, let 'em in, let 'em in! I shan't have a hand in it."

The signs of a final charge about to be given allowed no time for farther argument. Sir John, drawing up his regular troops in the rear of a frame building standing near the fort, prepared for an assault, while the garrison within made what readiness they could to repel it. The women, knowing how little they had to expect if the place fell, grasped the weapons they had solicited and took their stations near the men, resolved to deal such blows as they could in self-defense. With pale cheeks, but hearts that had outgrown their natural timidity, they awaited the expected blow.

At this moment of peril and suspense, for the third time a flag of truce was seen approaching Fort Hunter. Again the undaunted Murphy prepared to fire upon it; but this time, made desperate by his very cowardice, Major Woolsey commanded his soldiers to arrest the disobedient rifleman. The militia, however, gathered around their hero, threatening any and all who should molest him; they had confidence that the judgment of one so brave was superior to that of the officer who had shown himself so unfit for his position. In the mean time, precious time was being lost. In a moment more Murphy would enrage the foe by again insulting their flag. The commander ordered a white flag to be shown. A handkerchief was placed on a staff and a soldier ordered to display it.

"The man who dares attempt it will be shot down by my own rifle," thundered the inexorable militiaman, who thus braved the regular authority. The men knew that he meant what he said, and not one was found to attempt to execute the order of Woolsey.

24"Who commands here, you or I?" shouted the enraged Major.

"I reckon I do, as far as not givin' up goes," was the cool answer.

At this crisis, Captain Reghtmeyer, of the militia, feeling that their commander was about to betray them all, took up his station by the rifleman and ordered him to fire.

Exasperated by such contumacy, Woolsey drew his sword upon the Captain, threatening to cut him down unless his orders were obeyed. It was a strange time for persons associated in such imminent peril to fall out among themselves; but the brave and unflinching were not disposed to yield their fate into the hands of the weak and vacillating. Captain Reghtmeyer, in answer to this threat, clubbed his gun, and awaited the attack of the Major, resolved to dash out his brains if he assaulted him; whereupon that officer, thinking in this, as in other cases, that discretion was the better part of valor, subsided into silence.

The flag-officer of the enemy, as soon as he came within range, seeing Murphy bring his rifle to his shoulder, immediately turned and ran back; he had no mind to encounter the sharp warning which had been given his predecessors.

Then followed a moment of suspense. The little garrison expected nothing better than an angry and overwhelming assault; the men breathed heavily, grasping their muskets sternly, while the women's faces grew like those of their fathers and husbands, settling into the firm lines of resolve. Moment after moment crept away; a half-hour sped, and yet the roar of artillery and the nearer shouts of the expected assailants were not heard.

"You needn't give yourself no further oneasiness, Major," at length spoke the gallant Murphy, contempt mingling with relief and joy in his voice. He had kept his gaze fixed upon the movements of the enemy, and now perceived that they were retiring. "The red-coats and red-skins are takin' themselves off. It's jest as I told you—the spunk we've shown makes 'em think us stronger than we are, and they've made up their minds to back out."

And so, indeed, it proved! "The spunk we've shown" Murphy modestly said; which was really the spunk he had shown. His courage and persistence saved Fort Hunter. The British officers naturally supposed their flag of truce would not be three times fired upon unless that fort was to be defended to the death. They therefore decided to withdraw, and to abandon the attempt for its capture.


Murphy Saving the Fort—Page 22.

27Thus was the fort, with all its precious lives, preserved by the tact as well as the determination of a single man. However chagrined the "gallant" Major may have been at the flagrant disobedience of an inferior, the results were such as to nullify the consequences of his anger. The fact that the fort was saved was the mutineer's justification.

This affair occurred in 1780. It was not the first gallant exploit of our hero—nor the last. He had already made himself famous by deeds both of daring, dashing boldness, and deliberate courage.

Three years before the attack on Fort Hunter, at the battle of Stillwater in 1777, he had killed the British General, Frazer, by a ball from his unerring rifle. This is the first record we have of him; but after that many instances were noted of his extraordinary prowess, and many more, doubtless, of equal interest, never have received a chronicle. He had a peculiar hatred of the Indians, called forth by the many proofs of their treachery and cruelty. He was a valuable acquisition to any party of scouts who might be out after the red-skins; and many were the marvelous escapes he had.

As an instance of that obstinacy of his character exhibited in his conduct at the attack upon Fort Hunter, we must give the reader an account of another and quite different circumstance, in which he displayed the same determination to have his own way—and in which he had it! This little episode in the life of the celebrated rifleman is not only interesting in itself, but also as showing under what difficulties the little GOD OF LOVE will struggle and triumph.

"Love rules the court, the camp, the grove:"

and not the fiery sword of Mars himself can frighten him from his universal throne.

After the attack upon Fort Hunter, Murphy, although his period of enlistment had expired, still remained with the garrison. It was not long after this that something besides duty to his country began to bind him to the valley of the Schoharie. The heart which had never quailed before an Indian or red-coat, was brought low by a shaft from the bright eyes of a maiden of sixteen!

Not far from the fort dwelt a family by the name of Feeck, whose 28home had escaped destruction from the advent of the enemy. Their daughter Margaret was a spirited and handsome girl, in whose dark blue eyes laughed mischief and tenderness combined; her auburn hair shaded cheeks rosy with health; her form was just rounding into the fullness of maidenhood, with a grace all its own, acquired from the fresh air and bountiful exercise to which she was accustomed. The historian does not tell us how the first meeting occurred, but certain it is that the indomitable heart of the rifleman was conquered at last. Murphy was then twenty-eight years of age and Margaret but sixteen. There is something in the nature of a woman which does homage to bravery in a man. The man who has the reputation of cowardice may be handsome and elegant, but she will despise him; he alone who is famous for courage commands woman's full respect and love. When the invincible rifleman, whose iron nerves shrunk from no exposure, and whose energy was daunted by no difficulties, betrayed to the young girl, by his faltering manner in her presence, that she could do what armies could not—confuse and master him—her breast thrilled with pride and delight. The disparity of their ages was nothing to her; she felt honored at being the choice of a brave man; her timid glance, usually so mischievous, encouraged him to speak, and when he did he was not rejected.

Whether it was that Margaret's parents thought her too young, or that there was too great a discrepancy in their ages, or that they had some prejudice against Murphy, we are not advised; but they strenuously opposed the intimacy, forbidding the lover to enter their house. Then it was that he again questioned the authority of the ruling powers. It was not in his nature to submit to this arbitrary decree. As once before he had "had his own way" in defiance of superiors, he was resolved to have it now. He loved the maiden and she him; there was none who should keep them apart. When he made a resolution it might be considered as carried out. Margaret, drooping about the house, doing her work listlessly, instead of with joyous singing, received a communication which brought back the roses to her cheeks in fuller bloom than ever. A faithful friend of Murphy, living not far from the Feeck family, on the Schoharie creek, was the person who wrought this change in the young girl. During a visit to the parents, he contrived to arrange a meeting at 29his own house with her lover. Thither she went one day on a pretended errand, and found her lover awaiting her. During the interview a plan was arranged for eluding the vigilance of her parents and consummating their happiness by marriage.

There was some difficulty about this, for her father and mother had instituted a close surveillance over all the "coming and going." Margaret herself, though willing, was timid, shrinking from the danger of detection and the anger of her parents.

"Pshaw!" said Murphy, squeezing the hand he held in his own broad palm, "it's likely I can't take care of you, Maggie! I've trailed too many Injuns, and dodged too many bullets, to think much of carrying off my girl when I want her. Jest you be on the spot, and leave the rest to me."

She promised, and they separated to wait impatiently for the appointed evening. When it came, Margaret, under pretense of going to milk, some distance from the house, stole away from home to meet her intended husband. She dared not make the least change in her apparel, lest suspicion should be excited; and when she made her appearance at the appointed spot, she presented but little of the usual semblance of an expectant bride. She was barefoot and bareheaded, and wore the short gown and petticoat, so much the vogue among females of that day as a morning or working-dress; but beneath the humble garb beat a true and ingenuous heart, worth more than outward trappings to any man. The form, arrayed in homespun, was of a blooming and substantial beauty, which needed not the "foreign aid of ornament."

She was first at the place of rendezvous, where she waited with fear and impatience for her lover, but no lover came. Twilight was fast fading into darkness, and yet he came not. From her little nook of concealment, behind a clump of alders which grew on a bend of the stream, out of sight of her home, she strained her eyes to look for the approaching form, which still came not. The pink tinge which flushed the silver water died off into the gray of evening; every moment she expected to hear the stern voice of her father calling her. What should she do? It would not answer to return home, for she already had been gone too long. The cow had not been milked, and if she went back now, her unusual absence must 30excite suspicions, which would prevent a future meeting with her lover. This was her greatest dread. She had dwelt on their union too fondly to endure the return now to a hopeless separation.

Margaret was not long in making up her mind what course to pursue. Since Murphy had not come to her she would go to him! She knew him brave and honorable, and that some important matter must have kept him from the tryst. In order to reach the fort she was obliged to ford the stream. About this she had no squeamishness, as she had performed the feat one hundred times before; the stream was shallow and not very wide. Evidently she was fortunate in not being troubled with shoes and stockings in the present emergency; it did not trouble her much to hold up her short skirts from the water into which she waded; and, as her little feet felt their cautious way across the creek, no doubt she looked as pretty to her lover, in her attitudes of unconscious grace, as other brides have done under more fortunate circumstances; for Murphy saw the whole proceeding with a pleased eye, taking her advance as a proof both of her love for, and faith in, himself. He had been detained at the fort by some provoking duties, and had ridden up to the brook just as Margaret began to cross.

Although in her heart she felt inwardly relieved to find him there, the maiden began to pout at his tardiness, and to regret that she had taken a step beyond the trysting-place to meet a lover who would not take the trouble to be punctual to an appointment like this.

"I shall go home again, Tim," she cried, concealing her blushes under a frown, which, though pretty, was not at all frightful.

"Not to-night, Maggie," he said, as, lifting her up behind him, he sped away to the fort.

Murphy was a general favorite among the garrison; not an individual there who would not willingly have aided and assisted him in his nuptial enterprise. His plans were well known; and, as the happy couple rode in at the gate, lighted by the last lingering gleam of sunset in the west, they were received with three hearty cheers. The circumstances were such as to call forth the warmest interest of the female part of the population. The young maiden was taken in charge by them. As there was no minister to perform the ceremony of marriage, the couple would be obliged to take a trip to 31Schenectady, twenty-five miles distant. The evening was spent in preparation. Various choice articles of apparel and ornament, some of which, doubtless, had served a similar purpose on former occasions, were brought forth; all went to work with a will to fit out this impromptu bridal trousseau. By morning every thing was in readiness except the proper dress. This, Murphy decided to procure in Schenectady.

As time was precious they started at dawn, and made the whole distance in four hours. A handsome silk dress was here purchased and placed in the hands of a dressmaker and some friends, who performed wonders which would astonish a modiste of to-day: they completed the dress in the course of the afternoon! The couple stopped at the house of friends, who did all they could to assist in the pleasant project. Before dark the bride was arrayed in a manner becoming the important occasion. A gay company, composed of some of their acquaintances, accompanied the happy pair to the residence of the Rev. Mr. Johnson, where the solemn ceremony which united their lives in one was performed; after which they returned to the house of their friends to spend the wedding-night.

We are afraid if some of the dainty belles of the present day had to accomplish as much in one day as had been done by this bride, before they could find themselves safely wedded to the object of their choice, they would shrink away dismayed, and settle down into old maids. To run away from home barefoot; to wade a creek; to ride into a fort behind her lover; to ride twenty-five miles; to buy and make a wedding-dress, and attire herself for the ceremony; to go to the minister and get married, all in twenty-four hours, showed an energy worthy of the times. Such kind of women were fit wives for the men who bore the perils of the Revolution, and whose strength of mind and heart, whose unconquerable love of liberty, secured to us our inheritance.

On their return to Schoharie, the parents of the bride were exceedingly wroth at the disobedience of their daughter, and at the presumption of the daring rifleman. For a time they refused to be reconciled; but, reflecting that no opposition could alter or recall the act, they at length concluded to overlook all and receive the couple to their love.

32The brave rifleman made a true husband. Margaret, who lived with him happily for nearly thirty years, had no reason to regret the hour when she forded Schoharie creek in search of her tardy lover.

Despite of the eventful perils into which he was always flinging himself, Murphy lived to see years of peace, dying of cancer in the throat, in 1818, at the age of sixty-eight. He was an uneducated man; but, possessed of a strong will and an amiable disposition, he exerted an unbounded influence over the minds of a certain class of men, who, like himself, were schooled in trial. His power was that of originality, independence and courage—qualities which will make any man a leader of the people among whom he moves. Men of his stamp were a necessity of the times in which they lived; they seemed to spring up in the hour of need, having patience, perseverance, endurance and boldness to cope with the stealthy and murderous foes who hung upon the path of our civilization. They deserve to be embalmed in the annals of the country in whose guard they fought.


One bright summer morning, a lad by the name of M'Kown was engaged in raking hay in a field some distance from any house, and—as was the custom with all who labored abroad in those days of danger and sudden surprise—was armed with a musket, which, however, he had stood against a tree; but in the progress of his work had advanced beyond its immediate proximity. While busily occupied, and intent upon his work, he heard a slight jingling behind him, and turning suddenly around, he beheld an Indian within three feet of him, who bore in his mien and costume the appearance of a chief; and although his position indicated peaceful intentions, the tomahawk in his right hand betokened his readiness for hostilities if occasion required it. Startled at this sudden and unexpected apparition, the youth, with a natural impulse, raised his rake to defend himself, thoughtless of the insufficiency of his weapon. His fears were dissipated by the Indian, who remarked:


Brant and young M'Kown—Page 35.

35"Do not be afraid, young man; I shall not hurt you."

He then inquired of the lad if he could direct him to the residence of a noted loyalist by the name of Foster. Young M'Kown gave him the necessary directions to enable him to find that personage, and then, emboldened by the apparent peaceable intentions of the other, asked him if he knew Mr. Foster.

"I am partially acquainted with him," was the reply, "having once met him at the half-way creek."

The Indian then entered into a familiar conversation with his interrogator, in the course of which he asked him his name, and upon being informed, he added:

"You are a son, then, of Captain M'Kown, who lives in the north-east part of the town, I suppose. I know your father very well; he lives neighbor to Captain M'Kean. I know M'Kean very well, and a very fine fellow he is, too."

Thus the parties conversed together in a social manner for some time, until the boy—emboldened by the familiarity which had been established between them—ventured to ask the Indian his name in turn. This he did not seem disposed to give him, hesitating for a moment, but at length replied:

"My name is Brant."

"What! Captain Brant?" eagerly demanded the youth.

"No; I am a cousin of his," replied the Indian, at the same time accompanying his assertion with a smile and expression of countenance which intimated his attempt to deceive his interlocutor. It was indeed the terrible Thayendanega himself, who was associated, in the mind of the youth, with every possible trait of a fiendlike character; and it is not to be wondered at, that he trembled as he felt himself to be in the presence of one whose delight, it had been represented to him, was to revel in slaughter and bloodshed. He was somewhat reassured, however, by the thought, that, if his intentions had been hostile toward him, he could easily have executed them before; but he did not feel fully assured of his safety until the Indian had taken his departure, and he had reached his home with his life and scalp intact.

36This little incident is but one of many, told to prove that Brant was not the bloodthirsty monster which, for many years after the Revolution, he had the reputation of being. He was a Freemason: and on several occasions, during the war, his fraternal feelings were called into play, in behalf of prisoners who belonged to that order. Among others we are told:

Jonathan Maynard, Esq.—afterward a member of the Massachusetts Senate—who was actively engaged in the Revolutionary war, was taken prisoner at one time by a party of Indians under the command of Brant. The younger warriors of the party seemed disposed to put him to death, in accordance with their determination to exterminate the whites, as agreed upon by the tories and Indians in that section of the country. Preparations had been made to carry out their intentions, when, having been partially stripped of his clothing, Brant observed the emblems of Masonry indelibly marked upon the prisoner's arms, and feeling bound to him by a tie which none but a brother can appreciate, he interposed his authority, saved his life, and sent him to Canada, to keep him out of harm's way; and he remained in durance for several months, until exchanged and allowed to return home.

There is another incident, where Brant met one of his old schoolmates; but where the circumstances of their early intimacy would not have interfered between the white officer and death, had he not saved himself by means of justifiable duplicity.

In the month of April, in 1780, it was the intention of Captain Brant, the Indian chieftain, to make a descent upon the upper fort of Schoharie, but which was prevented by an unlooked-for circumstance. Colonel Vrooman had sent out a party of scouts to pass over to the head-waters of the Charlotte river, where resided certain suspected persons, whose movements it was their duty to watch. It being the proper season for the manufacture of maple sugar, the men were directed to make a quantity of that article, of which the garrison were greatly in want. On the 2d of April this party, under the command of Captain Harper, commenced their labors, which they did cheerfully, and entirely unapprehensive of danger, as a fall of snow, some three feet deep, would prevent, they supposed, the moving of any considerable body of the enemy, while in fact they 37were not aware of any body of the armed foe short of Niagara. But on the 7th of April they were suddenly surrounded by a party of about forty Indians and tories, the first knowledge of whose presence was the death of three of their party. The leader was instantly discovered in the person of the Mohawk chief, who rushed up to Captain Harper, tomahawk in hand, and observed: "Harper, I am sorry to find you here!"

"Why are you sorry, Captain Brant?" replied the other.

"Because," replied the chief, "I must kill you, although we were schoolmates in our youth"—at the same time raising his hatchet, and suiting the action to the word. Suddenly his arm fell, and with a piercing scrutiny, looking Harper full in the face, he inquired: "Are there any regular troops in the fort in Schoharie?" Harper caught the idea in an instant. To answer truly, and admit there were none, as was the fact, would but hasten Brant and his warriors forward to fall upon the settlements at once, and their destruction would have been swift and sure. He therefore informed him that a reinforcement of three hundred Continental troops had arrived to garrison the forts only two or three days before. This information appeared very much to disconcert the chieftain. He prevented the further shedding of blood, and held a consultation with his subordinate chiefs. Night coming on, the prisoners were shut up in a pen of logs, and guarded by the tories, while among the Indians, controversy ran high whether the prisoners should be put to death or carried to Niagara. The captives were bound hand and foot, and were so near the council that Harper, who understood something of the Indian tongue, could hear the dispute. The Indians were for putting them to death, but Brant exercised his authority to effectually prevent the massacre.

On the following morning Harper was brought before the Indians for examination. The chief commenced by saying that he was suspicious he had not told him the truth. Harper, however, although Brant was eyeing him like a basilisk, repeated his former statements, without the improper movement of a muscle, or any betrayal that he was deceiving. Brant, satisfied of the truth of the story, resolved to retrace his steps to Niagara. But his warriors were disappointed in their hopes of spoils and victory, and it was 38only with the greatest difficulty that they were prevented from putting the captives to death.

Their march was forthwith commenced, and was full of pain, peril and adventure. They met on the succeeding day with two loyalists, who both disproved Harper's story of troops being at Schoharie, and the Captain was again subjected to a piercing scrutiny; but he succeeded so well in maintaining the appearance of truth and sincerity as to arrest the upraised and glittering tomahawk. On the same day an aged man, named Brown, was accidentally fallen in with and taken prisoner, with two youthful grandsons; the day following, being unable to travel with sufficient speed, and sinking under the weight of the burden imposed upon him, the old man was put out of the way with the hatchet. The victim was dragging behind, and when he saw preparations making for his doom, took an affectionate farewell of his little grandsons, and the Indians moved on, leaving one of their number with his face painted black—the mark of the executioner—behind with him. In a few moments afterward, the Indian came up, with the old man's scalp dangling from between the ramrod and the muzzle of his gun.

They constructed floats, and sailed down the Susquehanna to the confluence of the Chemung, at which place their land-traveling commenced. Soon after this, a severe trial and narrow escape befell the prisoners. During his march from Niagara on this expedition, Brant had detached eleven of his warriors, to fall once more upon the Minisink settlement for prisoners. This detachment, as it subsequently appeared, had succeeded in taking captive five athletic men, whom they secured and brought with them as far as Tioga Point. The Indians slept very soundly, and the five prisoners had resolved, on the first opportunity, to make their escape. While encamped at this place during the night, one of the Minisink men succeeded in extricating his hands from the binding cords, and with the utmost caution, unloosed his four companions. The Indians were locked in the arms of deep sleep around them. Silently, without causing a leaf to rustle, they each snatched a tomahawk from the girdles of their unconscious enemies, and in a moment nine of them were quivering in the agonies of death. The two others were awakened, and springing upon their feet, attempted to escape. One of them was 39struck with a hatchet between the shoulders, but the other fled. The prisoners immediately made good their own retreat, and the only Indian who escaped unhurt returned to take care of his wounded companion. As Brant and his warriors approached this point of their journey, some of his Indians having raised a whoop, it was returned by a single voice, with the death yell! Startled at this unexpected signal, Brant's warriors rushed forward to ascertain the cause. But they were not long in doubt. The lone warrior met them, and soon related to his brethren the melancholy fate of his companions. The effect upon the warriors, who gathered in a group to hear the recital, was inexpressibly fearful. Rage, and a desire of revenge, seemed to kindle every bosom, and light every eye as with burning coals. They gathered around the prisoners in a circle, and began to make unequivocal preparations for hacking them to pieces. Harper and his men of course gave themselves up for lost. While their knives were unsheathing, and their hatchets glittering, as they were flourished in the sunbeams, the only survivor of the murdered party rushed into the circle and interposed in their favor. With a wave of the hand, as of a warrior entitled to be heard—for he was himself a chief—silence was restored, and the prisoners were surprised by the utterance of an earnest appeal in their behalf. He eloquently and impressively declaimed in their favor, upon the ground that it was not they who murdered their brothers; and to take the lives of the innocent would not be right in the eyes of the Great Spirit. His appeal was effective. The passions of the incensed warriors were hushed, their eyes no longer shot forth the burning glances of revenge, and their gesticulations ceased to menace immediate and bloody vengeance.

True, it so happened, that this chief knew all the prisoners—he having resided in the Schoharie canton of the Mohawks during the war. He doubtless felt a deeper interest in their behalf on that account. Still, it was a noble action, worthy of the proudest era of chivalry, and in the palmy days of Greece and Rome, would have crowned him almost with "an apotheosis and rights divine." The interposition of Pocahontas, in favor of Captain Smith, before the rude court of Powhatan, was, perhaps, more romantic; but when the motive which prompted the generous action of the princess is 40considered, the transaction now under review exhibits the most of genuine benevolence. Pocahontas was moved by the tender passion—the Mohawk Sachem by the feelings of magnanimity, and the eternal principles of justice. It is a matter of regret that the name of this high-souled warrior is lost, as, alas! have been too many that might serve to relieve the dark and vengeful portraiture of Indian character, which it has so well pleased the white man to draw! The prisoners themselves were so impressed with the manner of their signal deliverance, that they justly attributed it to a direct interposition of Providence.

After the most acute sufferings from hunger and exhaustion, the party at last arrived at Niagara. The last night of their journey, they encamped a short distance from the fort. In the morning the prisoners were informed that they were to run the gauntlet, and were brought out where two parallel lines of Indians were drawn up, between which the prisoners were to pass, exposed to the whips and blows of the savages. The course to be run was toward the fort. Harper was the first one selected, and at the signal, sprung from the mark with extraordinary swiftness. An Indian near the end of the line, fearing he might escape without injury, sprung before him, but a blow from Harper's fist felled him; the Indians, enraged, broke their ranks and rushed after him, as he fled with the utmost speed toward the fort. The garrison, when they saw Harper approaching, opened the gates, and he rushed in, only affording sufficient time for the garrison to close the gates, ere the Indians rushed upon it, clamoring for the possession of their victim. The other prisoners, taking advantage of the breaking up of the Indian ranks, took different routes, and all succeeded in reaching the fort without passing through the terrible ordeal which was intended for them.

This was in the April preceding the final attack upon the fort in the Schoharie valley, which took place in the fall, as described in the second article of this number; and at which Murphy, the rifleman, so distinguished himself.

As further illustrating this magnanimity which—certainly at times—distinguished Brant, it is said that at the horrible massacre of Cherry Valley, Butler—the tory Captain, son of the Butler who fulfilled his hideous part in the destruction of Wyoming—on entering a 41house, ordered a woman and child to be killed who were found in bed. "What!" exclaimed Brant; "kill a woman and child? No! that child is not an enemy to the king, nor a friend to Congress. Long before he will be big enough to do any mischief, the dispute will be settled."

The life of Brant was, to say the least, peculiar. An Indian, but an educated and traveled one, with much of the tact of civilization, and all the cunning and wild freedom of the savage, he made a character for himself which always will occupy a niche in history. Whether the conflicting statements in regard to him ever will be so reconciled as to decide whether he was a generous and humane enemy, or a most subtle and ferocious one, we know not; but this is certain, he was our enemy, and a most efficient ally of the British in their attempts to put out the rising fires of Liberty which were kindling in our valleys, over our plains, and upon our hills. It was a most unfortunate thing for the struggling colonists when Brant took up the hatchet in behalf of the king, for his arm was more to be dreaded than that of King George.

Joseph Brant was an Onondaga of the Mohawk tribe, whose Indian name was Thayendanega—signifying, literally, a brant, or wild-goose. The story that he was but a half-Indian, the son of a German, has been widely spread, but is denied by his son, and is now believed to be false. There are those, however, whose opinion is of weight, who assert that he was the son of Sir William Johnson; and such, all circumstances considered, is most likely to have been the fact. He was of a lighter complexion than his countrymen in general, and there are other evidences of his having been a half-breed. He received a very good English education at Moore's charity-school, in Lebanon, Connecticut, where he was placed by Sir William Johnson, in July, 1761. This General Sir William Johnson was British agent of Indian affairs, and had greatly ingratiated himself into the esteem of the Six Nations. He lived at the place since named for him, upon the north bank of the Mohawk, about forty miles from Albany. Here he had an elegant country-seat, at which he often would entertain several hundred of his red friends, sharing all things in common with them. They so much respected him, that, although they had the fullest liberty, they would take nothing which was not 42given to them. The faster to rivet their esteem, he would, at certain seasons, accommodate himself to their mode of dress. He also, being a widower, took as a companion Molly Brant, (a sister of Brant,) who considered herself his wife, according to Indian custom, and whom he finally married, to legitimize her children. He had received honors and emoluments from the British Government; and the Indians, through him, obtained every thing conducive to their happiness. Hence, it is not strange that they should hold in reverence the name of their "great father," the king; and think the few rebels who opposed his authority, when the Revolution began, to be inexcusable and unworthy of mercy.

Brant, by this time a man in the first flush of his strength, and with as good an education as the majority of his white friends, went to England in 1775, in the beginning of the great Revolutionary rupture, where he was received with attention. Doubtless his mind was there prepared for the part he acted in the memorable struggle which ensued. He had a Colonel's commission conferred upon him in the English army upon the frontiers; which army consisted of such tories and Indians as took part against the country.

Upon his return from England—Sir William Johnson having died the previous year—Brant attached himself to Johnson's son-in-law, Guy Johnson, performing the part of secretary to him when transacting business with the Indians. The Butlers, John and Walter—whose names, with those of Brant, are associated with the horrid barbarities of Wyoming and Cherry Valley—lived not far from the village of Johnstown, and upon the same side of the Mohawk.

After the battle of Bunker Hill, General Schuyler compelled Guy Johnson, and his brother-in-law, Sir John Johnson, to give their word of honor not to take up arms against America; but this did not prevent Guy from withdrawing into Canada and taking with him Brant, with a large body of his Mohawks. Sir John also fled to Canada, where he became a powerful adversary. The Butlers were also in the train.

Here, having had some disagreement with Johnson, Brant returned to the frontiers with his band of warriors. Some of the peaceable Mohawks had been confined to prevent their doing injury, as were some of the Massachusetts Indians in King Philip's war. 43Brant was displeased at this. He came with his band to Unadilla, where he was met by the American General, Herkimer; and the two had an interview, in which Brant said that "the king's belts were yet lodged with them, and they could not falsify their pledge; that the Indians were in concert with the king," etc. It has never been explained why Herkimer did not then and there destroy the power of Brant, which he could have done, for his men numbered eight hundred and eighty, while Brant had but one hundred and thirty warriors. It is supposed the American General did not believe that the Mohawks actually would take up arms against the country. It was a fatal mistake, which deluged hundreds of homes in blood, or wrapped them in fire.

Thereafter followed a succession of bloody and terrible affairs, in which Brant and the two Butlers were leaders. It has been said, and with truth, that of those three, the white men were the most ferocious; that they out-Heroded Herod; that Brant often spared where they refused. Out of these isolated facts it is sought to build up a reputation for generosity and magnanimity, to which Brant is not entitled. Some moments of mercy he had; while those arch fiends, the Butlers, never relaxed into the weakness of mercy; but the name of Brant, nevertheless, is written too redly in the blood of our ancestors for us ever to regard him with other feelings than those of horror and dread. His knowledge of the detestation in which the whites regarded the Indian modes of warfare, acted upon his pride; he did not wish to be classed with the untutored of his own race; so that his regard for appearances caused him frequently to forbear the cruelties which his associates practiced.

The first affair of importance in which we hear of him is the battle of Oriskany. It was on the 6th of August, 1777. Brant was under the direction of General St. Leger, who detached him, with a considerable body of warriors, for the investment of Fort Stanwix. Colonel Butler was commander-in-chief of the expedition, with a band of tories under his immediate charge. The inhabitants in the valley of the Mohawk determined to march to the assistance of the fort, which they did in two regiments, with General Herkimer at their head. As is usual with militia, they marched in great disorder, and through the inadvertence of General Herkimer—who, influenced 44by sneers at his cowardice in taking such a precaution, failed to throw forward scouts as he should have done—were surprised by the Indians as they were crossing an almost impassable ravine, upon a single track of logs. The ambush selected by Brant could not have been better fitted for his purpose. The ravine was semicircular, and Brant and his forces occupied the surrounding heights.

The first intimation of the presence of the enemy was the terrifying yells of the Indians, and the still more lasting impressions of their rifles. Running down from every direction, they prevented the two regiments from forming a junction—one of them not having entered the causeway. A part of the assailants fell upon those without, a part upon those within. The former fared worse than the latter; for, in such a case a flight almost always proves a dismal defeat, as was now the case. The other regiment, hemmed in as it was, saw that

"To fight, or not to fight, was death."

They therefore, back to back, forming a front in every direction, fought like men in despair. With such bravery did they resist, in this forlorn condition, that the Indians began to give way, and but for a reinforcement of tories, they would have been entirely dispersed. The sight of this reinforcement increased the rage of the Americans. The tory regiment was composed of the very men who had left that part of the country at the beginning of the war, and were held in abhorrence for their loyalty to the king. Dr. Gordon says that the tories and Indians got into a most wretched confusion, and fought one another; and that the latter, at last, thought it was a plot of the whites to get them into that situation, that they might be cut off. General Herkimer got forward an express to the fort, when he was reinforced as soon as possible, and the remnant of his brave band saved. He beat the enemy from the ground, and carried considerable plunder to the fort; but two hundred Americans were lost, and among them the General himself, who died, soon after, from the effects of a wound received at the time.

In the early part of the contest, General Herkimer had been struck by a ball, which shattered his leg and killed his horse. Undaunted by this accident, and indifferent to the severity of the pain, the brave old General continued on his saddle, which was placed on 45a little hillock, near a tree, against which he leaned for support, while giving his orders with the utmost coolness, though his men fell in scores about him, and his exposed position made him a mark for the enemy. Amid the clashing of weapons, the roar of artillery, and the yells of the combatants, all mingled in wild confusion, General Herkimer deliberately took his pipe from his pocket, lit it, and smoked with seeming composure. On being advised to remove to a place of greater security, he said, "No; I will face the enemy." It is said that Blucher, at the battle of Leipsic, sat on a hillock, smoking, and issuing his orders; but Blucher was not wounded.

General Herkimer's leg was amputated after the battle, but it was done so unskillfully that the flow of blood could not be stopped. During the operation he smoked and chatted in excellent spirits; and when his departure drew nigh, he called for a Bible, and read aloud, until his failing strength compelled him to desist. Such is the stuff of which heroes are made.

The night which followed the battle was one of horror for the prisoners taken by the enemy. As usual, the Indians slaked their thirst for blood and torture, which the battle had awakened, in pitiless cruelties upon their defenseless captives. It does not seem that Brant here exercised, or caused to be exercised, any clemency. Some of the doomed creatures begged of Butler, the British officer, to use his influence with the Indians; and to their appeals were joined the entreaties of the guard—the tories, in whose breasts some humanity remained; but this fiend, more savage than the savages, only cursed them for their folly in pleading for "infernal rebels." All manner of tortures, including roasting, was practiced upon the captives, as was testified to by one of their number, Dr. Younglove, who, after enduring every thing but death, finally escaped from his tormentors.

In June of the next year, 1778, Brant came upon Springfield, which he burned, and carried off a number of prisoners. The women and children were not maltreated, but were left in one house unmolested. About this time great efforts were made to secure the wary chief, but none of them were successful.

The next event of importance in which Brant was engaged was 46the destruction of Wyoming, that most heart-rending affair in all the annals of the Revolutionary war. The events of that awful massacre, the treachery of Butler, the ferocity of the savages, and the still more hellish malignity of their white allies, are known to all. The wail which then arose from innocent women and helpless babes, consumed in one funeral pyre, together, will never die—its echoes yet ring upon the shuddering senses of each successive generation. Of late years an effort has been made to prove that Brant was not even present at that massacre; but of this there is no proof. Campbell, the author of "Gertrude of Wyoming," was so worked upon by the representations of a son of Brant, who visited England in 1822, that he recalled all he said of

"The foe—the monster Brant,"

and wished him, thereafter, to be regarded as a "purely fictitious character."

One thing is certain. Brant was at the massacre of Cherry Valley, which settlement, in the November following the destruction of Wyoming, met a fate nearly similar. At this terrible affair was repeated the atrocities of the former. A tory boasted that he killed a Mr. Wells while at prayer. His daughter, a beautiful and estimable young lady, fled from the house to a pile of wood for shelter, but an Indian pursued her; and composedly wiping his bloody knife on his leggin, seized her, and while she was begging for her life in the few words of Indian which she knew, he ruthlessly killed her. But why speak of one, where hundreds met a similar fate? It is said that Brant, on this occasion, did exercise clemency; and that he was the only one who did. It was shortly after this that Sullivan's army was organized to march upon the Indian country and put a stop to such outrages. Brant met it and was repulsed and fled. It has been made a matter of complaint that our forces destroyed the Indian villages and crops. But with such wrongs burning in their breasts, who could ask of them the practice of extraordinary generosity toward monsters who would not respect nor return it? The same complaint is made to-day against the exasperated Minnesotians, who claim the fullest vengeance of the law against the stealthy panthers, and worse than wild beasts, who have recently ravaged their State. They ask it, and should have it.

47In the spring of 1780, Brant renewed his warfare against our settlements. He seems, in almost all cases, to have been successful, uniting, as he did, the means of civilized warfare with all the art and duplicity of the savage.

In later years Colonel Brant exerted himself to preserve peace between the whites and Indians; and during the important treaties which were made in 1793 he was in favor of settling matters amicably. He had won from the British Government all the honors it was willing to bestow upon a savage ally, and what were they? A Colonel's commission, with liberty to do work for the king which British soldiers did not care to do—the slaughter of women and children, and the sacking of villages. It is quite probable that, after Wayne's decisive castigation of the Indians, and British insolence had thereby also received a blow, Brant retired from a service which he knew must be worse than fruitless.

Colonel Brant was married, in the winter of 1779, to the daughter of Colonel Croghan by an Indian woman. He had lived with her some time, according to the Indian manner; but being present at the wedding of Miss Moore, (one of the Cherry Valley captives,) he took a fancy to have the "civilized" ceremony performed between himself and his partner. King George III. conferred valuable lands upon him, and he became quite wealthy. He owned, at one time, thirty or forty negroes, to whom he was a most brutal master. Brant professed to be a great admirer of Greek, and intended to study that language so as to be able to make an original translation of the New Testament into Mohawk.

He died in November, 1807, and was said to have been sixty-five years old at the time of his death. He left several children, some of whose descendants are wealthy and respectable people. His wife, at his death, returned to her wild Indian life.



One of the great and almost insurmountable difficulties attendant upon the settlement of a new country, is that of rearing farm stock, and preserving it from the attacks of wild beasts. The experience of the pioneers of civilization in the valley of the Ohio, on this point, taught them that, until the country became more fully settled, and the increase of inhabitants so great as to drive back the denizens of the forest to more distant lairs, they must depend upon their rifles alone for a supply of animal food for the table. On the principle of recompense, perhaps, it was not so hard as it might otherwise seem, for when pork and beef were scarce, "b'ar meat" was plenty—and vice versa. But then, it was hard when one took a notion to raise a pig or two to furnish his table in time of need, to find it missing some bright morning, and know that all that pork had gone to fill the greedy stomach of a bear or "painter." Many and frequent were the encounters at the sty between the settler and his dusky neighbor, the bear, in which the contest for the possession of the pork was maintained with vigor and determination on the one side, and on the other with a hungry energy, which was deserving of commendation, if not of success.

Except when he could accomplish his object by stealth, however, bruin seldom came off the victor. The first note of alarm was sufficient to call from his pallet the watchful hunter, and the deadly rifle generally sent the intruder off a cripple, or stretched his carcass on the greensward, a trophy to the skill of his opponent. The women, too, were not backward in defense of their porcine friends when necessity called for exertion on their part to save them from destruction, as is evidenced by several anecdotes of their intrepidity on such occasions.


Mrs. Austin and the Bear—Page 51.

51A Mrs. John Austin, of Geneva Township, one day while her husband was absent from home, was alarmed by the sound of an unusual commotion among her pigs, and looking in the direction of the sty, which stood just back of the cabin, she beheld a bear just in the act of climbing over the inclosure among a group of three or four promising shotes, which she fondly hoped would one day fill the pork barrel and serve to supply her table with animal food during the long dreary months of the next winter. For a period of many weeks had she nursed, watched and fed them, in anticipation of their future usefulness, and she could not bear the thought of parting with them. But how to save them?—that was the question. There was no one near to aid in their salvation, and she must depend upon herself, or lose her pork. The danger was imminent, and decisive action necessary. Her mind was soon made up; she'd save her pigs or perish in the attempt. Calling her children, she sent them up into the loft and took away the ladder, that they might be safe in case she was unsuccessful or should be overcome by the bear. Taking down her husband's rifle, which hung on its pegs behind the door of the cabin, she carefully examined it to see if it was loaded, but in her haste overlooked the priming. The increasing confusion in the sty warned her that delays were dangerous, and she sallied forth to encounter bruin, who was already on his way to the forest with one of the pigs in his arms. The latter was giving vent to his fears in the most piercing and pitiful tones, while his captor, intent only on securing his prize, was marching off at a rapid pace on his hind feet, holding the pig as a mother holds her babe, and indifferent alike to his struggles and his pathetic appeals for mercy and relief. A momentary tremor seized upon the frame of the heroine, and the blood ran chill through her heart, as her gaze revealed the figure of a bear of the largest size—an antagonist whom many a stalwart hunter would have hesitated before attacking. No time was given her, however, to deliberate, for the bear had discovered her approach almost as soon as she turned the corner of the cabin. Dropping his burden, he turned to face his enemy, and presented a front which might have appalled a much stouter heart than that of our heroine; while the pig—language fails me in the attempt to describe the emotions which filled the breast of that now overjoyed pig, as he took his way with hasty strides to his former quarters, and snuggled down by the side of his companions, with many a grunt of satisfaction at his escape from the jaws of impending 52death. I leave it to the imagination of my reader, with the aid of the illustration, to supply a deficiency which my pen is utterly incapable of doing.

Standing thus at bay, in an attitude which threatened an attack on his part, the bear awaited the coming of his adversary. Fortunately, between her and him there was a Virginia worm fence, which formed a sort of breastwork, and offered a very eligible rest for her rifle. Resting her weapon upon the upper rail of the fence, she kneeled upon one knee, and took deliberate aim at the heart of her savage enemy. For the space of a minute the two remained in this position, until, assured of her aim, Mrs. Austin pulled the trigger. To her horror and dismay, the steel emitted sparks, but no report followed. The trusty rifle had missed fire. How shall I describe the feelings which heaved her bosom, as her eye glanced along the barrel until it rested upon the dark form of the bear, fearing lest he should spring upon her and tear her limb from limb. Her own life, and the lives of her children rested upon the success of her shot, and should he change his position so as to present a less vulnerable part to her aim, she felt that her hope was void and her fate certain. The animal still remained in the same position, however, and with as little movement as possible, she drew back the hammer, and again aimed full at his breast. Again the piece missed fire, and her heart sunk within her as she saw the bear move, as though he disliked his ambiguous position, and desired to change it. Not daring to lower her piece to examine it, and hoping that the third attempt might be more effectual, she again essayed to discharge it; but when, for the third time it failed to explode, she felt a sensation of horror creep over her which seemed to curdle the life-blood in her veins, and her limbs seemed palsied with terror as the bear—who had by this time become disgusted with the idea of being made a target of—and that, too, by a woman—dropped upon all fours, and as she thought, prepared to spring upon her. Satisfied, however, with his own exhibition of prowess—or, perhaps, fearful of attacking one who had shown herself so brave, he turned on his heels, and started off on a sidelong trot for the woods, the deep recesses of which soon hid him from sight.

Perhaps it was fortunate for Mrs. Austin that her rifle failed to 53explode. Had she wounded the animal instead of killing him, or failed to hit a vital part, no power on earth could have saved her from his savage vengeance. A wounded bear is one of the most terrific beasts to encounter, and the hunter will seldom attack one of these dusky denizens of the forest unless he has other arms to depend upon, should his rifle fail to strike the seat of life. She did not stop to consider the subject, however, but hastening back to her cabin, she threw herself upon the floor, and gave vent to her overwrought feelings in a flood of tears. The excitement which had gradually wrought her up to a fearful pitch of feeling was gone, and the revulsion was so great as to completely unnerve her. She soon rallied again, and her first act, on becoming more calm, was to offer thanks to that Providence which had watched over and protected her in her hour of need.

One of the most terrible bear-fights on record, which throws the exploits of Davy Crockett, and even of "old Grizzly Adams" into the shade, was that which took place some thirty years ago, between a man by the name of John Minter, and one of the largest and most ferocious of the species of black bears. Captain Minter was one of the settlers of Ohio, and, in his youth, had been a great hunter, spending most of his time in the woods in pursuit of game; and such was his proficiency with the rifle, that he seldom failed to bring down the fleetest-winged denizen of the air, or the swiftest-footed deer. His last hunt, however, was the crowning glory of his exploits, brilliant enough to satisfy his ambition, and induce him to "retire upon his dignity;" in fact, his passion for hunting was suddenly changed to disgust, and he gave up the rifle for the plow.

He had been out one day, as usual, with his rifle, in pursuit of a flock of turkeys, but had been unsuccessful, and was returning home in a surly mood, when he came, rather unexpectedly, upon a large black bear, who seemed disposed to dispute his passage. Quick as thought his piece was at his shoulder, and the bullet whizzed through the air, striking the bear full in the breast, and he fell to the ground—as Minter supposed—dead. Carefully reloading his rifle, not to throw away a chance, he approached the bear, and poked his nose with the muzzle, to see if any spark of life remained. Bruin was only "playing 'possum" as it seems, for with far more agility than 54could be anticipated of a beast who had a rifle-ball through his body, he reared upon his hind-feet and made at the hunter. Minter fired again, but in his haste and trepidation, arising from the sudden and unexpected attack, he failed to hit a vital part, and a second wound only served to make the brute more savage and desperate. Drawing his tomahawk, he threw that; and as the bear dodged it and sprung upon him, he clubbed his rifle and struck him a violent blow across the head with the butt, which resulted in shivering the stock, and, if possible, increasing his rage. Springing back to avoid the sweep of his terrible claws, Minter drew his long, keen hunting-knife, and prepared for the fatal encounter which he knew must ensue. For a moment the combatants stood gazing at each other, like two experienced duelists, measuring each the other's strength. Minter was a man of powerful frame, and possessed of extraordinary muscular development, which, with his quick eye and ready hand, made him a very athletic and dangerous enemy. He stood six feet high, and was beautifully proportioned. The bear was a male of the largest size, and, rendered desperate by his wounds, which were bleeding profusely, was a fearful adversary to encounter under any circumstances; more particularly so to Minter, who now had simply his knife to depend upon, to decide the contest between them. As Bruin advanced to seize him, he made a powerful blow at his heart, which, had it taken effect, would have settled the matter at once; but the other was too quick for him, and with a sweep of his tremendous paw, parried the blow, and sent the weapon whirling through the air to a distance of twenty feet; the next instant the stalwart hunter was enfolded in the embrace of those fearful paws, and both were rolling on the ground in a death-like grapple.

The woods were open, and free from underbrush to a considerable extent, and in their struggles they rolled about in every direction. The object of the bear was, of course, to hug his adversary to death, which the other endeavored to avoid by presenting his body in such a position as would best resist the vice-like squeeze, until he could loosen his grasp; to accomplish which, he seized the bear by the throat with both hands, and exerted all his energy and muscular power to throttle him. This had the twofold effect of preventing him from using his teeth, and compelling him to release the hug, to 55knock off the other's hands with his paws; thus affording Minter an opportunity to catch his breath, and change his position. Several times he thought he should be crushed under the immense pressure to which he was subjected; but was buoyed up with the hope of reaching his knife, which lay within sight, and toward which he endeavored to fall every time they came to the ground. With the hot breath of the ferocious brute steaming in his face, and the blood from his own wounds mingling with that of the bear, and running to his heels, his flesh terribly cut up and lacerated by his claws, he still continued to maintain the struggle against the fearful odds, until he was enabled to reach the weapon, which he grasped with joy, and clung to with the tenacity of a death-grip. With his little remaining strength, and at every opportunity between the tremendous hugs, he plied the knife until the bear showed evident signs of weakness, and finally bled to death from the numerous wounds from whence flowed, in copious streams, his warm life's blood, staining the leaves and greensward of a crimson hue.

Releasing himself from the embrace of the now inanimate brute, Minter crawled to a decaying stump, against which he leaned, and surveyed the scene. His heart sickened as he contemplated his own person. He had gone into the battle with a stout, heavy hunting-shirt, and underclothing; with buckskin leggins and moccasins; and had come out of it with scarcely a rag upon him, except the belt around his waist, which still held a few strips of tattered cloth, and a moccasin on one foot. His body, from his neck to his heels, was covered with great gaping wounds, many of which penetrated to the bone, and the blood was flowing in torrents to the ground, covering him with gore from head to foot. For a space of more than half an acre, the ground was torn up, and had the appearance of a butcher's shambles.

As soon as he had recovered his breath, he commenced to crawl toward his home, where he arrived after nightfall, looking more like a slaughtered beef than a human being. His wounds were dressed by his family and friends, and after being confined to his bed for many weeks, thanks to his healthy, rugged constitution, he entirely recovered; but he bore to the grave the marks of his terrible contest, in numerous cicatrices and welts which covered his 56back, arms and legs, where the bear's claws had left ineffaceable marks of his strength and ferocity.

Speaking of Davy Crockett, reminds us that there was one of his adventures which deserves to be classed with the "highly exciting" experiences of which Captain Minter's was so good in its way. It was during the Colonel's travels through Texas; he had left his party, to give chase to a drove of mustangs over a prairie; he had pursued them to the banks of the Navasola river, where they had plunged into the stream, and where his own tough little animal had fallen to the ground, apparently in a state of exhaustion. But we must give Colonel Crockett's story in his own words, unless we wish to rob it of its peculiar grace. He says:

"After toiling for more than an hour to get my mustang upon his feet again, I gave it up as a bad job, as little Van did when he attempted to raise himself to the moon by the waistband of his breeches. Night was fast closing in, and as I began to think that I had just about sport enough for one day, I might as well look around for a place of shelter for the night, and take a fresh start in the morning, by which time I was in hopes my horse would be recruited. Near the margin of the river a large tree had been blown down, and I thought of making my lair in its top, and approached it for that purpose. While beating among the branches I heard a low growl, as much as to say, 'Stranger, the apartments are already taken.' Looking about to see what sort of a bedfellow I was likely to have, I discovered, not more than five or six paces from me, an enormous Mexican cougar, eyeing me as an epicure surveys the table before he selects his dish, for I have no doubt the cougar looked upon me as the subject of a future supper. Rays of light darted from his large eyes, he showed his teeth like a negro in hysterics, and he was crouching on his haunches ready for a spring; all of which convinced me that unless I was pretty quick upon the trigger, posterity would know little of the termination of my eventful career, and it would be far less glorious and useful than I intend to make it.

"One glance satisfied me that there was no time to be lost, as Pat thought when falling from a church steeple, and exclaimed, 'This would be mighty pleasant now, if it would only last,' but there was no retreat either for me or the cougar, so I leveled my 57Betsy and blazed away. The report was followed by a furious growl, (which is sometimes the case in Congress,) and the next moment, when I expected to find the tarnal critter struggling with death, I beheld him shaking his head as if nothing more than a bee had stung him. The ball had struck him on the forehead and glanced off, doing no other injury than stunning him for an instant, and tearing off the skin, which tended to infuriate him the more. The cougar wasn't long in making up his mind what to do, nor was I neither; but he would have it all his own way, and vetoed my motion to back out. I had not retreated three steps before he sprung at me like a steamboat; I stepped aside, and as he lit upon the ground, I struck him violently with the barrel of my rifle, but he didn't mind that, but wheeled around and made at me again. The gun was now of no use, so I threw it away, and drew my hunting knife, for I knew we should come to close quarters before the fight would be over. This time he succeeded in fastening on my left arm, and was just beginning to amuse himself by tearing the flesh off with his fangs, when I ripped my knife into his side, and he let go his hold, much to my satisfaction.

"He wheeled about and came at me with increased fury, occasioned by the smarting of his wounds. I now tried to blind him, knowing that if I succeeded he would become an easy prey; so as he approached me I watched my opportunity, and aimed a blow at his eyes with my knife, but unfortunately it struck him on the nose, and he paid no other attention to it than by a shake of the head and a low growl. He pressed me close, and as I was stepping backward my foot tripped in a vine, and I fell to the ground. He was down upon me like a nighthawk upon a June bug. He seized hold of the outer part of my right thigh, which afforded him considerable amusement; the hinder part of his body was toward my face; I grasped his tail with my left hand, and tickled his ribs with my hunting-knife, which I held in my right. Still the critter wouldn't let go his hold; and as I found that he would lacerate my leg dreadfully, unless he was speedily shaken off, I tried to hurl him down the bank into the river, for our scuffle had already brought us to the edge of the bank. I stuck my knife into his side, and summoned all my strength to throw him over. He resisted, was desperate heavy; but 58at last I got him so far down the declivity that he lost his balance, and he rolled over and over till he landed on the margin of the river; but in his fall he dragged me along with him. Fortunately, I fell uppermost, and his neck presented a fair mark for my hunting knife. Without allowing myself time even to draw breath, I aimed one desperate blow at his neck, and the knife entered his gullet up to the handle, and reached his heart. I have had many fights with bears, but that was mere child's play; this was the first fight ever I had with a cougar, and I hope it may be the last.

"I now returned to the tree-top to see if any one else would dispute my lodging; but now I could take peaceable and quiet possession. I parted some of the branches, and cut away others to make a bed in the opening; I then gathered a quantity of moss, which hung in festoons from the trees, which I spread on the litter, and over this I spread my horse-blanket; and I had as comfortable a bed as a weary man need ask for. I now took another look at my mustang, and from all appearances, he would not live until morning. I ate some of the cakes that little Kate of Nacogdoches had made for me, and then carried my saddle into my tree-top, and threw myself down upon my bed with no very pleasant reflections at the prospect before me.

"I was weary, and soon fell asleep, and did not awake until daybreak the next day. I felt somewhat stiff and sore from the wounds I had received in the conflict with the cougar; but I considered myself as having made a lucky escape. I looked over the bank, and as I saw the carcass of the cougar lying there, I thought that it was an even chance that we had not exchanged conditions; and I felt grateful that the fight had ended as it did. I now went to look after my mustang, fully expecting to find him as dead as the cougar; but what was my astonishment to find that he had disappeared without leaving trace of hair or hide of him! I first supposed that some beasts of prey had consumed the poor critter; but then they wouldn't have eaten his bones, and he had vanished as effectually as the deposits, without leaving any mark of the course they had taken. This bothered me amazing; I couldn't figure it out by any rule that I had ever heard of, so I concluded to think no more about it.

59"I felt a craving for something to eat, and looking around for some game, I saw a flock of geese on the shore of the river. I shot a fine, fat gander, and soon stripped him of his feathers; and gathering some light wood, I kindled a fire, run a long stick through my goose for a spit, and put it down to roast, supported by two sticks with prongs. I had a desire for some coffee; and having a tin cup with me, I poured the paper of ground coffee that I had received from the bee-hunter into it, and made a strong cup, which was very refreshing. Off of my goose and biscuit I made a hearty meal, and was preparing to depart without clearing up the breakfast things, or knowing which direction to pursue, when I was somewhat taken aback by another of the wild scenes of the West. I heard a sound like the trampling of many horses, and I thought to be sure the mustangs or buffaloes were coming upon me again; but on raising my head, I beheld in the distance about fifty mounted Comanches, with their spears glittering in the morning sun, dashing toward the spot where I stood at full speed. As the column advanced, it divided, according to their usual practice, into two semicircles, and in an instant I was surrounded. Quicker than thought I sprung to my rifle, but as my hand grasped it, I felt that resistance against so many would be of as little use as pumping for thunder in dry weather.

"The chief was for making love to my beautiful Betsy, but I clung fast to her, and assuming an air of composure, I demanded whether their nation was at war with the Americans. 'No,' was the reply. 'Do you like the Americans?' 'Yes; they are our friends.' 'Where do you get your spear-heads, your rifles, your blankets, and your knives from?' 'Get them from our friends, the Americans.' 'Well, do you think, if you were passing through their nation, as I am passing through yours, they would attempt to rob you of your property?' 'No, they would feed me, and protect me; and the Comanche will do the same by his white brother.'

"I now asked him what it was had directed him to the spot where I was, and he told me that they had seen the smoke from a great distance, and had come to see the cause of it. He inquired what had brought me there alone; and I told him that I had come to hunt, and that my mustang had become exhausted and though I 60thought he was about to die, that he had escaped from me; at which the chief gave a low, chuckling laugh, and said it was all a trick of the mustang, which is the most wily and cunning of all animals. But he said, that as I was a brave hunter, he would furnish me with another; he gave orders, and a fine young horse was immediately brought forward.

"When the party approached there were three old squaws at their head, who made a noise with their mouths, and served as trumpeters.

"I now told the chief that, as I now had a horse, I would go for my saddle, which was in the place where I had slept. As I approached the spot, I discovered one of the squaws devouring the remains of my roasted goose, but my saddle and bridle were nowhere to be found. Almost in despair of seeing them again, I observed, in a thicket at a little distance, one of the trumpeters kicking and belaboring her horse to make him move off, while the sagacious beast would not move a step from the troop. I followed her, and thanks to her restive mustang, secured my property, which the chief made her restore to me. Some of the warriors had by this time discovered the body of the cougar, and had already commenced skinning it; and seeing how many stabs were about it, I related to the chief the desperate struggle I had had; he said, 'Brave hunter, brave man,' and wished me to be adopted into his tribe, but I respectfully declined the honor. He then offered to see me on my way; and I asked him to accompany me to the Colorado river, if he was going in that direction, which he agreed to do. I put my saddle on my fresh horse, mounted, and we darted off, at a rate not much slower than I had rode the day previous with the wild herd, the old squaws at the head of the troop braying like young jackasses the whole way."

The more we study the history of frontier life, the more we are surprised at the characters of such men as Simon Kenton in one way and David Crockett in another. It would seem as if they were made to command the circumstances in which they were placed—indigenous to the soil in which they grew—with traits which sprung up to meet every emergency of their times and places. They were of a new race, the like of which no other sun nor age had looked upon—Americans, indeed, in the broadest sense—men sent to prepare the 61soil of civilization for the rich fruit and flowers which already cover the furrows turned by their brave and vigorous arms.

David Crockett's grandparents were murdered by Indians; and he was born and reared in the midst of those privations which helped to make him what he was. It is quite delightful, in reading his "life" to see with what ease and nonchalance he dispatches a few bears in the course of a day, or does any other work which is thrown in his way. As in the specimen we have quoted, he conquers his cougar, and ingratiates himself with a roving band of Comanches, and "does up" enough adventures in a chapter to satisfy any ordinary man, if stretched through a long lifetime. Let us treasure up the records of "Davy Crockett," for we shall never have another like him.

To show the perfect isolation in which some of the pioneers lived, and the manner of their lives, we will give an anecdote of a Mr. Muldrow, one of the settlers of Kentucky, whose name is still attached to a range of savage precipices in the central part of the State, called Muldrow's hill. The individual referred to settled here at a time when there was not a single white man but himself in this vicinity, and here he had resided for a year with his wife, without having seen the face of any other human being. Perhaps, as it was his choice to reside in a wilderness, isolated from his own species, he might have thought it prudent to conceal his place of abode from the Indians, by erecting his cabin in an inhospitable waste, difficult of access, where there were no pastures to invite the deer or buffalo, and no game to allure the savage hunter, and where his family remained secure, while he roved with his gun over some hunting-ground at a convenient distance.

After passing a year in this mode of life, he was one day wandering through the woods in search of game, when he heard the barking of a dog, and supposing that an Indian was near, concealed himself. Presently a small dog came running along his track, with his nose to the ground, as if pursuing his footsteps, and had nearly reached his hiding-place, when it stopped, snuffed the air, and uttered a low whine, as if to admonish its master that the object of pursuit was near at hand. In a few minutes the owner of the dog came stepping cautiously along, glancing his eyes jealously around, and uttering low signals to the dog. But the dog stood at fault, 62and the owner halted within a few yards of our hunter and exposed to view.

The new-comer was a tall, athletic man, completely armed with rifle, tomahawk and knife; but whether he was a white man or an Indian, could not be determined either by his complexion or dress. He wore a hunting-shirt and leggins, of dressed deer-skin, and a hat from which the rim was entirely worn away, and the crown elongated into the shape of a sugar-loaf. The face, feet and hands, which were exposed, were of the tawny hue of the savage; but whether the color was natural, or the effect of exposure, could not be ascertained even by the keen eye of the hunter; and the features were so disguised with dirt and gunpowder, that their expression afforded no clue by which the question could be decided whether the person was a friend or foe. There was but a moment for scrutiny; the pioneer, inclining to the opinion that the stranger was an Indian, cautiously drew up his rifle, and took deliberate aim; but the bare possibility that he might be pointing his weapon at the bosom of a countryman induced him to pause.

Again he raised his gun, and again hesitated; while his opponent, with his rifle half-raised toward his face, and his finger on the trigger, looked eagerly around. Both stood motionless and silent—one searching for the object of his pursuit, the other in readiness to fire. At length the hunter, having resolved to delay no longer, cocked his rifle—the click reached the acute ear of the other, who instantly sprung behind a tree; the hunter imitated his example, and they were now fairly opposed, each covered by a tree, from behind which he endeavored to get a shot at his adversary without exposing his own person.

And now a series of stratagems ensued, each seeking to draw the fire of the other, until the stranger, becoming weary of suspense, called out:

"Why don't you shoot, you etarnal cowardly varmint?"

"Shoot, yourself, you bloody red-skin!" retorted the other.

"No more a red-skin than yourself!"

"Are you a white man?"

"To be sure I am. Are you?"

"Yes; no mistake in me!"

63Whereupon, each being undeceived, they threw down their guns, rushed together with open arms, and took a hearty hug. The hunter now learned that the stranger had been settled, with his family, about ten miles from him, for several months past, and that each had frequently roamed over the same hunting-ground, supposing himself the sole inhabitant of that region. On the following day the hunter saddled his horse, and taking up his good wife behind him, carried her down to make a call upon her new neighbor, who doubtless received the visit with far more sincere joy than usually attends such ceremonies.

There is a well-accredited bear-story which belongs to the early history of Ohio, and which is of a little different type from most of the adventures with these ugly animals. An old pilot of the Ohio was once obliged to give a bruin a free ride—but he could hardly blame the bear, after stopping so kindly to take him in. But we must let him tell his own story. "Twenty odd year ago," said the pilot, "there warn't a great many people along the Ohio, except Injins and b'ars, and we didn't like to cultivate a clust acquaintance with either of 'em; fer the Injins were cheatin', scalpin' critters, and the bears had an onpleasant way with them. Ohio warn't any great shakes then, but it had a mighty big pile of the tallest kind of land layin' about, waitin' to be opened to the sunlight. 'Arly one mornin' when my companions was asleep, I got up and paddled across the river after a deer, for we wanted venison for breakfast. I got a buck and was returnin', when what should I see but a b'ar swimmin' the Ohio, and I put out in chase right off. I soon overhauled the critter and picked up my rifle to give him a settler, but the primin' had got wet and the gun wouldn't go off. I didn't understand b'ar as well then as I do now, and I thought I'd run him down and drown him or knock him in the head. So I put the canoe right eend on toward him, thinkin' to run him under, but when the bow teched him, what did he do but reach his great paws up over the side of the canoe and begin to climb in. I hadn't bargained for that. I felt mighty onpleasant, you may believe, at the prospect of sech a passenger. I hadn't time to get at him with the butt of my rifle, till he came tumbling into the dugout, and, as he seated himself on his starn, showed as pretty a set of ivory as you'd wish to see. Thar we sot, 64he in one end of the dugout, I in t'other, eyein' one another in a mighty suspicious sort of way. He didn't seem inclined to come near my eend of the canoe, and I was principled agin goin' toward his. I made ready to take to the water, but at the same time made up my mind I'd paddle him to shore, free gratis for nothin' if he'd behave hisself. Wal, I paddled away, the b'ar every now and then grinnin' at me, skinnin' his face till every tooth in his head stood right out, and grumblin' to hisself in a way that seemed to say, 'I wonder if that chap's good to eat.' I didn't offer any opinion on the subject; I didn't say a word to him, treatin' him all the time like a gentleman, but kept pullin' for the shore. When the canoe touched ground, he clambered over the side, climbed up the bank, and givin' me an extra grin, made off for the woods. I pushed the dugout back suddenly, and give him, as I felt safe agin, a double war whoop, that astonished him. I learned one thing that morning—never to try to drown a b'ar—'specially by running him down with a dugout—it wont pay!"


Big Joe Logston's Encounter with an Indian—Page 7.

Traditions and Romance
68Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for
the Southern District of New York.


We have plentiful stories of encounters between the white man and the red, in which the fierce rivalry is contested with rifles, knives, or the swift foot-race for life; but it is seldom we hear of a genuine fist-fight between the hardy men of the forest and their implacable foe. Only two or three such novel incidents occur in the history of the Western border.

Joe Logston was one of the race of famous frontier men, the "Hunters of Kentucky," whose exploits have been told in story and sung in song. He could, to use his own words, "outrun, outhop, outjump, throw down, drag out and whip any man in the country"—which was saying a good deal for those days, when men like Brady, Wetzel, M'Clelland, Adam Poe and Kenton sprung up to face the dangers of the hour.

Joe was a powerful fellow of six foot three in his stockings, and proportionately stout and muscular, with a handsome, good-natured face, and a fist like a sledge-hammer. Fear was a word of which he knew not the meaning, while to fight was his pastime, particularly if his own scalp was the prize he fought for.

On one occasion he was mounted on his favorite pony, bound on an expedition outside the fort. The pony was leisurely picking his way along the trail, with his head down and half asleep, while his rider was enjoying a feast on some wild grapes which he had gathered as he passed along. Neither dreamed of danger, until the crack of two rifles on either side the path killed the horse and wounded the rider. A ball struck Joe, grazing the skin above 70the breast-bone, but without doing any material damage. The other ball passed through his horse, just behind the saddle. In an instant Joe found himself on his feet, grasping his trusty rifle, which he had instinctively seized as he slipped to the ground, ready for the foe. He might easily have escaped by running, as the guns of the Indians were empty, and they could not begin to compete with him in speed. But Joe was not one of that sort. He boasted that he had never left a battle-field without making his "mark," and he was not disposed to begin now. One of the savages sprung into the path and made at him, but finding his antagonist prepared, he "treed" again. Joe, knowing there were two of the varmints, looked earnestly about him for the other, and soon discovered him between two saplings, engaged in reloading his piece. The trees were scarcely large enough to shield his person, and in pushing down the ball, he exposed his hips, when Joe, quick as thought, drew a bead, and firing, struck him in the exposed part. Now that his rifle was empty, the big Indian who had first made his appearance, rushed forward, feeling sure of his prey, and rejoicing in the anticipated possession of the white man's scalp. Joe was not going to resign this necessary and becoming covering to his head without a struggle, and stood, calmly awaiting the savage, with his rifle clubbed and his feet braced for a powerful blow. Perceiving this, his foe halted within ten paces, and with all the vengeful force of a vigorous arm, threw his tomahawk full at Joe's face. With the rapidity of lightning it whirled through the air; but Joe, equally quick in his movements, dodged it, suffering only a slight cut on the left shoulder as it passed, when he "went in."

The Indian darted into the bushes, successfully dodging the blows made at his head by the now enraged hunter, who, becoming excited to madness at the failure of his previous efforts, gathered all his strength for a final blow, which the cunning savage dodged as before, while the rifle, which by this time had become reduced to the simple barrel, struck a tree and flew out of Joe's hands at least ten feet into the bushes.

The Indian sprung to his feet and confronted him. Both empty-handed, they stood for a moment, measuring each the other's strength; it was but a moment, for the blood was flowing freely 71from the wound in Joe's breast, and the other thinking him more seriously wounded than he really was, and expecting to take advantage of his weakness, closed with him, intending to throw him. In this, however, he reckoned without his host. In less time than it takes to recount it, he found himself at full length on his back, with Joe on top. Slipping from under him with the agility of an eel they were both on their feet again—and again closed. This time the savage was more wary, but the same result followed—he was again beneath his opponent. But having the advantage of Joe, in being naked to his breech-cloth, and oiled from head to foot, he could easily slip from the grasp of the hunter and resume his perpendicular. Six different times was he thrown with the same effect; but victory—fickle jade—seemed disposed to perch on the banner of neither of the combatants. There were no admiring thousands looking on at this exciting "mill"—no seconds to insist upon fairness and preserve the rules of the ring—only one poor wounded spectator, and two foes fighting not for fame but life.

By this time they had, in their struggles and contortions, returned to the open path, and Joe resolved upon a change of tactics. He was becoming sensibly weaker from loss of blood, while, on the other hand, the savage seemed to lose none of his strength by the many falls he had experienced. Closing again in a close hug, they fell as before; this time, instead of endeavoring to keep his antagonist down, Joe sprung at once to his feet, and, as his antagonist came up, dealt him a blow with his fist between the eyes, which felled him like an ox, at the same time falling with all his might upon his body.

This was repeated every time he rose, and began to tell with fearful effect upon the savage's body as well as his face, for Joe was no light weight, and at every succeeding fall the Indian came up weaker, seeming finally disposed to retreat; this his opponent decidedly objected to; his "spunk was up;" he dealt his blows more rapidly, until the savage lay apparently insensible at his feet. Falling upon him, he grasped the Indian's throat with a grip like a vice, intending to strangle him. He soon found that the savage was "playing possum," and that some movement was going forward, the purport of which he could not immediately guess. Following with his eye the 72direction of the movement, Joe found that he was trying to disengage his knife which was in his belt, but the handle of which was so short that it had slipped down beyond reach, and he was working it up by pressing on the point. Joe watched the effort with deep interest, and when it was worked up sufficient for his purpose, seized it, and with one powerful blow drove it to the owner's heart, leaving him quivering in the agonies of death.

Springing to his feet the victor now bethought him of the other red-skin, and looked around to discover him. He still lay, with his back broken by Joe's ball, where he had fallen, and, having his piece loaded, was trying to raise himself upright to fire it; but every time he brought it to his shoulder he would tumble forward and have again to renew the effort. Concluding that he had had enough fighting for exercise, and knowing that the wounded Indian could not escape, Joe took his way to the fort.

Although he presented a frightful sight when he reached there—his clothes being torn nearly from his person, which was covered with blood and dirt from his head to his feet—yet his account was hardly believed by some of his comrades, who thought it one of Joe's "big stories," which had the reputation of being as big as himself, though not half so well authenticated. "Go and satisfy yourselves," said he; and a party started for the battle-ground, where their suppositions were confirmed, as there were no Indians about, and no evidence of them, except Joe's dead horse in the path. On looking carefully about, however, they discovered a trail which led a little way into the bushes, where they discovered the body of the big Indian buried under the dead leaves by the side of a stump. Following on, they found the corpse of the second, with his own knife thrust into his heart and his grasp still upon it, to show that he died by his own hand. Nowhere could they discover the knife with which Joe had killed the big Indian. They found it at last, thrust into the ground, where it had been forced by the heel of his wounded companion, who must have suffered the most intense agony while endeavoring to hide all traces of the white man's victory.

Joe got the credit for his story, while his comrades universally lamented that they had not been spectators of this pugilistic encounter between "big Indian" and "big Joe."

73Another one of the forest scenes which stand out so vividly in pictures of American life, occurs to us. It is unique in its character, and will excite a smile, as well as a feeling of admiration for the tact and courage which enacted it.

In the early part of the Revolutionary war, a sargeant and twelve armed men undertook a journey through the wilderness, in the State of New Hampshire. Their route was remote from any settlements, and they were under the necessity of encamping over night in the woods. Nothing material happened the first day of their excursion; but early in the afternoon of the second, they, from an eminence, discovered a body of armed Indians advancing toward them, whose number rather exceeded their own. As soon as the whites were perceived by their red brethren, the latter made signals, and the two parties approached each other in an amicable manner. The Indians appeared to be much gratified with meeting the sargeant and his men, whom they observed they considered as their protectors; said they belonged to a tribe which had raised the hatchet with zeal in the cause of liberty, and were determined to do all in their power to repel the common enemy. They shook hands in friendship, and it was, "How d'ye do, pro, how d'ye do, pro," that being their pronunciation of the word brother. When they had conversed with each other for some time, and exchanged mutual good wishes, they at length separated, and each party traveled in a different direction. After proceeding to the distance of a mile or more, the sargeant, who was acquainted with all the different tribes, and knew on which side of the contest they were respectively ranked, halted his men and addressed them in the following words:

"My brave companions, we must use the utmost caution, or this night may be our last. Should we not make some extraordinary exertions to defend ourselves, to-morrow's sun may find us sleeping never to wake. You are surprised, comrades, at my words, and your anxiety will not be lessened, when I inform you, that we have just passed our most inveterate foe, who, under the mask of pretended friendship you have witnessed, would lull us to security, and by such means, in the unguarded moments of our midnight slumber, without resistance, seal our fate."

The men with astonishment listened to this short harangue; and 74their surprise was greater, as not one of them had entertained the suspicion but they had just encountered friends. They all immediately resolved to enter into some scheme for their mutual preservation and destruction of their enemies. By the proposal of their leader, the following plan was adopted and executed:

The spot selected for their night's encampment was near a stream of water, which served to cover their rear. They felled a large tree, before which on the approach of night, a brilliant fire was lighted. Each individual cut a log of wood about the size of his body, rolled it nicely in his blanket, placed his hat upon the extremity, and laid it before the fire, that the enemy might be deceived, and mistake it for a man. After logs equal in number to the sargeant's party were thus fitted out, and so artfully arranged that they might be easily mistaken for so many soldiers, the men with loaded muskets placed themselves behind the fallen tree, by which time the shades of evening began to close around. The fire was supplied in fuel, and kept burning brilliantly until late in the evening, when it was suffered to decline. The critical time was now approaching, when an attack might be expected from the Indians; but the sargeant's men rested in their place of concealment with great anxiety till near midnight, without perceiving any movement of the enemy.

At length a tall Indian was discovered through the glimmering of the fire, cautiously moving toward them, making no noise, and apparently using every means in his power to conceal himself from any one about the camp. For a time his actions showed him to be suspicious that a guard might be stationed to watch any unusual appearance, who would give the alarm in case of danger; but all appearing quiet, he ventured forward more boldly, rested upon his toes, and was distinctly seen to move his finger as he numbered each log of wood, or what he supposed to be a human being quietly enjoying repose. To satisfy himself more fully as to the number, he counted them over a second time, and cautiously retired. He was succeeded by another Indian, who went through the same movements, and retired in the same manner. Soon after the whole party, sixteen in number, were discovered approaching, and greedily eyeing their supposed victims. The feelings of the sargeant's men can better be imagined than described, when they saw the base and cruel 75purpose of their enemies, who were now so near that they could scarcely be restrained from firing upon them. The plan, however, of the sargeant, was to have his men remain silent in their places of concealment till the muskets of the savages were discharged, that their own fire might be more effectual, and opposition less formidable.

Their suspense was not of long duration. The Indians, in a body, cautiously approached, till within a short distance; they then halted, took deliberate aim, discharged their pieces upon inanimate logs, gave the dreadful war-whoop, and instantly rushed forward with tomahawk and scalping-knife in hand, to dispatch the living, and obtain the scalps of the dead. As soon as they had collected in close order, more effectually to execute their horrid intentions, the party of the sargeant, with unerring aim, discharged their pieces, not on logs of wood, but perfidious savages, not one of whom escaped destruction by the snare into which they led themselves.

There must have been a touch of grim humor about that sargeant as well as of cool courage.

Many instances are on record of those days of danger—where either in battle or in the settlement of new countries, the cruel and crafty red-man had to be encountered—where the minds of men have been thrown from their balance by the sight of barbarities, or the suffering of afflictions, which overthrow their shuddering reasons. Some men have been called monomaniacs, from the fact of their restless and rankling hatred of the race who had inflicted some great misery upon them or theirs. But it is hardly strange that when they saw those savages behave worse than tigers, they decided to treat them like wild beasts, and that they were justified in the attempt to exterminate them. There must be men in Minnesota, at this day, who are monomaniacs on the subject of the red-skins. One of the most noted of these Indian haters was John Moredock, of Kentucky; and these are the circumstances which made him so, as given in a fine paper on the early settlers, in Harper's Magazine for 1861:

Toward the end of the last century there lived at Vincennes a woman whose whole life had been spent on the frontier. She had been widowed four or five times by the Indians; her last husband, 76whose name was Moredock, had been killed a few years before the time of which we speak. But she had managed to bring up a large family in a respectable manner. Now, when her sons were growing up, she resolved to better their condition by moving "West." The whole of Illinois was a blooming waste of prairie land, except in a few places where stood the trading-posts built a hundred years before by the French.

The lower peninsula of Illinois was not of a nature to attract emigrants when so much finer lands were to be found on the banks of the Great River and its tributaries; nor was a land journey over that marshy region, infested as it was by roving bands of savages, to be lightly undertaken, when the two rivers furnished a so much more easy though circuitous way to the delightful region beyond. Hence it was usual for a company of those intending to make the journey to purchase a sufficient number of pirogues, or keel-boats, in them descend the Ohio, and then ascend the Mississippi to the mouth of the Kaskaskia, or any other destined point. By adopting this mode of traveling all serious danger of Indian attacks was avoided, except at one or two points on the latter stream, where it was necessary to land and draw the boats around certain obstructions in the channel.

To one of these companies the Moredock family joined itself—several of the sons being sufficiently well-grown to take a part not only in the ordinary labors of the voyage but in any conflict that might occur. All went well with the expedition until they reached the rock known as the "Grand Tower" on the Mississippi, almost within sight of their destination. Here, supposing themselves to be out of danger, the men carelessly leaped on shore to drag the boats up against the current, which here rushed violently around the base of the cliff. The women and children, fifteen or twenty in number, tired of being cooped in the narrow cabins for three or four weeks, thoughtlessly followed. While the whole party were thus making their way slowly along the narrow space between the perpendicular precipice on one hand, the well-known yell of savage onset rung in their ears, and a volley of rifles from above stretched half a dozen of the number dead in their midst, while almost at the same moment a band of the painted demons appeared at each end of the fatal pass. The experienced border men, who saw at a glance that 77their condition was hopeless, stood for one moment overwhelmed with consternation; but in the next the spirit of the true Indian fighter awoke within their hearts, and they faced their assailants with hopeless but desperate valor.

The conflict that ensued was only a repetition of the scene which the rivers and woods of the West had witnessed a thousand times before, in which all the boasted strength and intelligence of the whites had been baffled by the superior cunning of the red-men. "Battle Rock," "Murder Creek," "Bloody Run," and hundreds of similar names scattered throughout our land, are but so many characters in that stern epitaph which the aborigines, during their slow retreat across the continent toward the Rocky Mountains, and annihilation, have written for themselves in the blood of the destroying race. The history of Indian warfare contains no passage more fearful than is to be found in the narrative of the massacre at the Grand Tower of the Mississippi. Half armed, surprised, encumbered with their women and children, and taken in so disadvantageous a situation, being all huddled together on a narrow sand-beach, with their enemies above and on either side, their most desperate efforts availed not even to postpone their fate; and in the space of ten minutes after the warning yell was heard, the mangled bodies of forty men, women and children lay heaped upon the narrow strip of sand. The conflict had ended in the complete destruction of the emigrant company—so complete that the savages imagined not a single survivor remained to carry the disastrous tidings to the settlements.

But one such wretched survivor, however, there was. John Moredock, who, having fought like a young tiger until all hope of saving even a part of the unfortunate company was lost, and who then, favored by the smoke, and the eagerness of the assailants for scalps, and the plunder of the boats, glided through the midst of the savages and nestled himself in a cleft of the rocks. Here he lay for hours, sole spectator of a scene of Indian ferocity which transformed his young heart to flint, and awoke that thirst for revenge which continued to form the ruling sentiment of his future life, and which raged as insatiably on the day of his death, forty years later, when he had become a man of mark, holding high offices in his adopted State, as it did when crouching among the rocks of the Grand 78Tower; and, beholding the bodies of his mother, sisters and brothers mangled by the Indian tomahawk, he bound himself by a solemn oath never from that moment to spare one of the accursed race who might come within reach of his arm; and especially to track the footsteps of the marauding band who had just swept away all that he loved on earth, until the last one should have paid the penalty of life for life.

How long he remained thus concealed he never knew; but at length, as the sun was setting, the Indians departed, and John Moredock stepped forth from his hiding-place, not what he had entered it, a brave, light-hearted lad of nineteen, the pride of a large family circle and the favorite of a whole little colony of borderers, but an orphan and an utter stranger in a strange land, standing alone amidst the ghastly and disfigured corpses of his family and friends. He had hoped to find some life still lingering amidst the heaps of carnage; but all, all had perished. Having satisfied himself of this fact, the lonely boy—now transformed into that most fearful of all beings, a thoroughly desperate man—quitted the place, and, guiding himself by the stars, struck across the prairie toward the nearest settlement on the Kaskaskia, where he arrived the next morning, bringing to the inhabitants the first news of the massacre which had taken place so near their own village, and the first warning of the near approach of the prowling band which had been for several months depredating, at various points along that exposed frontier, in spite of the treaties lately made by their nations with the Federal Government.

John Moredock was by nature formed for a leader in times of danger, and his avowed determination to revenge the massacre of his friends and kindred by the extirpation of the murderous band coincided so exactly with the feelings of the frontiersmen, that, in spite of his lack of previous acquaintance, he in a few days found himself at the head of a company of twenty-five or thirty young men, whose lives had been spent in the midst of all kinds of perils and hardships, and who now bound themselves to their leader by an oath never to give up the pursuit until the last one of the marauding band engaged in the attack at Grand Tower should be slain.

Stanch as a pack of blood-hounds this little company of avengers 79ranged the frontier from the Des Moines to the Ohio, now almost within reach of their victims, and now losing all trace of them on the boundless prairies over which they roamed, unconscious of the doom by which they were being so hotly but stealthily pursued. Once, indeed, the whites came up with their game on the banks of a tributary of the Missouri, a hundred and fifty miles beyond the utmost line of the settlements; but as the Indians, though unsuspicious of any particular danger, had pitched their camp in a spot at once easy to defend and to escape from, and as Moredock wished to destroy and not to disperse them, he forbore striking a partial blow, and resolved rather to postpone his revenge than to enjoy it incompletely.

Fortune, however, seemed to repay him for this act of self-restraint by presenting the very opportunity he had sought, when, a few weeks afterward, he discovered the whole gang of marauders encamped for the night on a small island in the middle of the Mississippi. After a hasty consultation with his companions, a course of procedure was determined upon which strikingly displays both the monomaniacal tendency of the leader and the desperate ascendancy he had acquired over his followers. This was nothing less than to shut themselves up on that narrow sand-bar and to engage the savages in a hand-to-hand conflict—a conflict from which neither party could retreat, and which must necessarily end in the total destruction of one or the other. A most desperate undertaking truly, when we reflect that the numbers of the combatants were about equal, and that to surprise an Indian encampment was next to impossible. But John Moredock, and, probably, more than one of his companions, were monomaniacs, and considerations of personal danger never entered into their calculations. Revenge, not safety, was their object, and they took little thought of the latter when the opportunity of compassing the former was presented.

Slowly and stealthily, therefore, the canoes approached the island when all sounds there had ceased, and the flame of the camp-fire had sunk into a pale-red glow, barely marking the position of the doomed party among the undergrowth with which the central portion of the little isle was covered. The Indians, confiding in their natural watchfulness, seldom place sentinels around their camps; and 80thus Moredock and his band reached the island without being discovered. A few moments sufficed to set their own canoes as well as those of the Indians adrift, and then, with gun in hand and tomahawk ready, they glided noiselessly, as so many panthers, into the thicket, separating as they advanced so as to approach the camp from different quarters. All remained still as death for many minutes while the assailants were thus closing in around their prey, and not a twig snapped, and scarcely a leaf stirred in the thick jungle through which thirty armed men were making their way in as many different directions, but all converging toward the same point, where a pale glimmer indicated the position of the unsuspected savages. But though an Indian camp may be easily approached within a certain distance, it is almost impossible, if there be any considerable number of them, to actually strike its occupants while asleep. As savages, roaming at large over the face of the continent without fixed habitations, and relying upon chance for the supply of their few wants, they know nothing of that regularity of habit which devotes certain fixed portions of time to the various purposes of life, but each one eats, sleeps or watches, just as his own feelings may dictate at the moment, without any regard to established usages of time or place. Hence the probability of finding all the members of an Indian party asleep at the same time is small indeed.

On the present occasion two or three warriors, who were smoking over the embers, caught the alarm before the assailants had quite closed in. Still the surprise gave the white men a great advantage, and half a dozen of the savages were shot down in their tracks before they comprehended the meaning of the hideous uproar, which suddenly broke the midnight stillness as Moredock and his company, finding their approach discovered, rushed in upon them. This fatal effect of the first volley was a lucky thing for the adventurers; for the Indians are less liable to panics than almost any other people, and they closed with their assailants with a fury that, combined with their superior skill in nocturnal conflict, would have rendered the issue of the struggle a very doubtful matter had the number of combatants been more nearly even. As it was, the nimble warriors fought their way against all odds to the point where their canoes had been moored. Here, finding their expected means of flight 81removed, and exposed upon the naked sand-beach, the survivors still made desperate battle until all were slain except three, who plunged boldly into the stream, and, aided by the darkness, succeeded in reaching the main land in safety.

Twenty-seven of those engaged in the massacre at the Grand Tower had been destroyed at a single blow. But three had escaped from the bloody trap, and while these lived the vengeance of John Moredock was unsatisfied. They must perish, and he determined that it should be by his own hand. He therefore dismissed his faithful band, and thenceforth continued the pursuit alone. Having learned the names of the three survivors he easily tracked them from place to place, as they roamed about in a circuit of three or four hundred miles. Had the wretches known what avenger of blood was thus dogging their tracks, the whole extent of the continent would not have afforded space enough for their flight, or its most retired nook a sufficiently secure retreat. But quite as relentless Moredock pursued his purpose, and but few even of his acquaintances knew the motive of his ceaseless journey along the frontiers from Green Bay to the mouth of the Ohio, and far into the unsettled wastes beyond the Mississippi.

At length, about two years after the massacre of his family at the Tower, he returned to Kaskaskia, having completed his terrible task, and bearing the scalp of the last of the murderers at his girdle.

Moredock lived to be a popular and leading man in his State, an office-holder, a kind neighbor and beloved head of a family, yet he never relaxed in his hatred of the race who had poisoned the fountain of youthful hope for him.



There comes to us, from the days of chivalry, in song and story, legends of ladies who followed their lords to the distant field of Palestine, hiding their soft hearts under the disguise of the page's dress. Time, the romancer, has thrown his enchanting vail over their adventures, surrounding them with the grace of mystery and the glory of sentiment.

Perhaps in the far-away future of our immortal republic, young men and maidens will dream over the story of Deborah Sampson, the girl-soldier of that Revolution which won us our liberties. It will not be said that she donned the uniform and shouldered the musket for the sake of some dear lover, that she might ever be near to watch over him in the hour of danger, and to nurse him if wounded, with all the tender solicitude of woman's love; but it will be told that she went into the service of her country because men were few and her heart was in the cause. She had health and courage, and that high patriotism which burned alike in manly and feminine breasts. That she was brave, is proven by her being twice wounded in battle. There is no need of putting any other construction than that of pure patriotism upon her actions; the steadiness with which she performed her duties show that it was no wild love of adventure which possessed her.

Deborah Sampson was born in the county of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Her parents were poor and vicious, and their children were taken from them by the hand of charity, to be placed with different families, where there was a prospect of their being better cared for. Deborah found a home with a respectable farmer, by whom she was treated as one of the family, except in the matter of education. To overcome this deprivation she used to borrow the books of school children, over which she pored until she learned to read tolerably well. This simple fact reveals that her mind was no ordinary one. She was a true child of New England, ambitious to be 83the equal of those by whom she was surrounded, and looking upon ignorance almost as degradation. Many of our now famous minds began their culture in this humble way, by the side of the kitchen fire, perhaps with a pine-torch, by the light of which to pursue their eager groping after knowledge.

As soon as the completion of her eighteenth year released her from indenture, she hastened to seek a situation in which to improve herself, and made arrangements with a family to work one-half her time for her board and lodging, while, during the other half, she attended the district-school. Her improvement was so rapid, that in a comparatively short space of time she was thought competent to teach, and by doing so for one term, the ambitious girl amassed the sum of twelve dollars! In all this we see the remarkable energy and force of character which enabled her to carry out the career she afterward chose. The young bound-girl who so soon would raise herself to the position of teacher, must have had in her elements, which, had she been a man, would have urged her to the performance of deeds that would have given her prominence in those stirring days.

While Deborah was teaching her little summer school, the spirit of resistance to tyranny which long had struggled toward the light, burst forth over the whole country, never to be hid again. The first battle had been fought at Lexington; the sound of the cannon had rolled from Bunker Hill in echoes which would not die. They thrilled and trembled along the air, in never-ending vibrations, smiting the ears of patriots, and rousing their hearts to the duties and perils of the hour. Deborah, in her little schoolroom, heard the sound. For her it had a peculiar message; it called her—she could not resist! Something in her courageous breast told her that she was as well fitted to serve her beloved country as the young men, who, with kindling eyes and eager feet, were rushing to its assistance. Walking slowly home from her school, along the lonely road, looking out at night from the little window of her chamber at the stars, she pondered the voice in her heart. The more she thought, the more earnest she became in her desire. There was no reason why she should silence the resolution which called her. She was accountable to none; was friendless, without kindred or home. Why 84was she given this vigorous and healthy frame, and this heroic heart, if not for the service of her suffering country? Perhaps Providence had loosened her from other ties, that she might attach herself solely to this holy cause. With such arguments as these she quieted the timidity which arose solely from maidenly fears that she might be detected in her plans, and subjected to the embarrassment of being refused or ridiculed on account of her sex.

With that humble wealth of twelve dollars she purchased the materials for a suit of men's clothing. Upon the cloth she worked secretly, as she found the opportunity, each article, upon completion, being hidden in a stack of hay. When her arrangements were completed she announced a determination to seek better wages, and took her departure, without her real purpose being suspected. When far enough away to feel secure, she donned her male attire, and pursued her way to the American army, where she presented herself in October, 1778, as a young man anxious to join his efforts to those of his countrymen in their endeavors to oppose the common enemy. She is described as being, at this time, of very prepossessing features, and intelligent, animated expression, with a fine, tall form, and such an air of modest courage and freshness as inspired confidence and respect in those who had become associated with her. She was gladly received, as a promising recruit, and enrolled in the army under the name of Robert Shirtliffe, the period of her enlistment being for the war.

While the company was recruiting she was an inmate of the Captain's family, and, by her exemplary conduct, won the esteem of all. A young girl, visiting in the family, was much in the company of young "Robert;" and, being of a coquettish disposition—priding herself, perhaps, on the conquest of the young soldier—she suffered her partiality to be noticed. "Robert," having no objections to see how easily a maiden's heart could be won, encouraged the feeling, until the Captain's wife, becoming alarmed, took occasion to remonstrate with the youth upon the subject. "Robert" took the matter in good part, and the affair ended in the exchange of some few tokens of remembrance at parting.

At the end of six or seven weeks, the company being full, was ordered to join the main army, and Deborah's military life 85commenced in earnest. The record does not give all the details of her career, though the record of a life in camp and on the field, under such circumstances, must be full of interest. She herself has said that volumes might be filled with her adventures. She performed her duties to the entire satisfaction of her officers; was a volunteer on several expeditions of a hazardous nature, and was twice wounded severely; the first time by a sword-cut on the side of her head, and the second by a bullet-wound through the shoulder. She served three years, and, during all that time, her sex never was suspected, though often in circumstances where detection seemed unavoidable. The soldiers nicknamed her "Molly," in playful allusion to her want of a beard; but little did they suspect that their gallant comrade was, indeed, a woman.

The last wound which she received, of a bullet through her shoulder, gave her great uneasiness, for fear that the surgeon, upon dressing it, would discover the deception which had been so long and so successfully practiced. She always described the emotion, when the ball entered, to be one of mental, not of physical anguish—a sickening terror at the probability of her sex being revealed. She felt that death on the battle-field would be preferable to the shame she would suffer in such a case, and prayed rather to die than to be betrayed. Strange as it may appear, she again escaped undetected. Recovering rapidly, she soon resumed her place in the ranks, as brave and willing as ever.

Sickness, however, was destined to bring about the catastrophe which the perils of the battle-field had never precipitated. She was seized with brain fever, then prevailing among the soldiers. For the few days that reason struggled with the disease her sufferings were great; and these were intensely aggravated by her mental anxiety—that ever-present fear, lest, during her unconsciousness, her carefully-guarded secret should become known. She was carried to the hospital, where the number of the patients and the negligent manner in which they were attended still secured her escape. Her case was considered hopeless, on which account she received still less attention. She continued to sink, until consciousness was gone, and life itself trembled on the faintest breath which ever held it.

One day, the surgeon of the hospital inquiring "how Robert 86was?" received assurance from the nurse that "poor Bob was gone." Going to the bed, and taking the wrist of the youth, he found the pulse still feebly beating. Attempting to place his hand on the heart, he found a bandage bound tightly over the breast. Then it was that the secret of the girl-soldier became known to the physician; but if she had been his own daughter he could not have guarded it more delicately. Deborah had fallen into good hands, in this crisis of her affairs.

It was Dr. Birney, of Philadelphia, who was then in attendance at the hospital. Without communicating his discovery to any one, he gave his patient such care that she was raised from the grave, as it were; and when sufficiently recovered to be removed, he had her conveyed to his own house, where she was the recipient of every kind attention from the family as long as she remained an invalid. And now occurred another of those romantic episodes which give an interest to the history of our hero-heroine. If Deborah Sampson had indeed been the "Robert" she professed to be, she would have been a favorite with the softer sex; since, without her seeking it, twice the affections of fair maidens were laid at her feet. We may conjecture, to the credit of the fair sex, that the purity and modesty of "Robert"—his unassuming excellence and womanly goodness, had much to do with success in this line.

A niece of the doctor's, a young and wealthy lady, became interested in the youth whom she had aided in restoring to health, by her attentions. "Pity," which is "akin to love," gradually melted into that warmer feeling. The modest and handsome young man, who shrunk from taking the slightest advantage of her kindness, aroused all the compassion and sensibility of her heart. Lovely and young, conscious that many, more influential than he, would be honored to sue for her hand, she yet allowed her affections to turn to the pale and unassuming, the humble and poor, soldier. The uncle was warned of his imprudence in allowing the young couple to be so much together, but he laughed in his sleeve at such suggestions, tickling his fancy with the idea of how foolish the censorious would feel when the truth should be made known. He had not confided his knowledge even to the members of his own family. It is not probable that he really believed his niece's feelings were 87becoming so warmly interested, or he would have given her a sufficient caution; she was allowed to be with the convalescent as much as she liked.

At first the heart of "Robert" opened to this innocent and lovely girl, whom she loved as a sister, and whose gentle kindness was so winning; she showed the gratitude which she felt, and perhaps even confided to her some of the lonely emotions which had so long remained unspoken in her breast; but it was not long before the young soldier, warned by past experience, felt apprehensive of the return of affection which she received, and strove, delicately, to withdraw from the painful position in which she was being placed. Taking this shrinking embarrassment for the sensitive modesty of one who, friendless and poor, dared not aspire to the hand of one so much above him in social position, the fair heiress, trusting the evident goodness of his heart, and actuated alike by love and the noblest generosity, made known her attachment to "Robert," and signified her willingness to furnish him the means of fitting himself for such a station, and then to marry him.

When Deborah beheld this guileless young creature, with blushes and tears, making this unexpected and unwelcome avowal, she felt, with bitter pain, the position in which she was placed. Then she wished that she indeed was the Robert Shirtliffe she had assumed to be, rather than wound the feelings of one to whom she was so much indebted, by a refusal of what had been so timidly offered. Yet to reveal her true character would be still more awkward and painful. The wounded sensibility of the young girl did not, in that hour, cause her so much suffering, as the remorse and regret of the false "Robert" caused him.

Saying that they should meet again, and that, though ardently desiring an education, she could not accept her noble offer, Deborah endeavored to hurt the sensitive girl as little as possible, while withdrawing from the dilemma in which she was placed. Shortly after, she departed, taking with her several articles of clothing, such as in those days were frequent gifts to the soldiers from the hands of fair women, and which were pressed upon her acceptance by the young lady.

The denouement rapidly followed her recovery. The physician 88had a conference with the commanding officer of the company with which Robert had served, which was followed by an order to the youth to carry a letter to General Washington. She now became aware, for the first time, that her secret was known, and that detection was no longer avoidable. She had suspected that Dr. Birney knew more than he had given intimation of, but her most anxious scrutiny of his words and countenance had never assured her of the truth of her fears. Now that the worst was come, she had no way but to meet it with that courage which was a part of her nature. Yet she would rather have faced the fire of the British cannon than to have confronted Washington with that letter in her hand.

Trembling and confused, she presented herself before the Commander-in-Chief, who, noticing her extreme agitation, with his usual kindness endeavored to restore her confidence; but finding her still so abashed, bade her retire with an attendant, who was ordered to procure her some refreshment, while the General read the letter of which she had been the bearer.

When she was recalled to his presence, he silently put into her hand a discharge from service, along with a brief note of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her to some place where she might find a home. Very glad and grateful was she to escape thus unrebuked out of that presence.

After the war she married; and while Washington was President she paid a visit to the seat of Government on his invitation. She was received with every attention. Congress was then in session, and passed a bill granting her a pension for life. She lived in comfortable circumstances, passing from the stage of human life at an advanced age.

It is probable that, after several generations of historians, poets and romance writers have embellished the story of Deborah Sampson, she will become invested, to the eyes of our descendants, with a glory like that which encircles the memory of the Maid of Orleans.

There is an incident of a most romantic and touching nature, connected with the history of the brave Sergeant Jasper, of Marion's brigade. A young girl, in this instance, followed the fortunes of war, not out of patriotic motives, like those which inspired Deborah Sampson, but impelled by a love which no wildest romance of the olden time can more than match. The page who drew the poison from her lover's wound, on the distant plains of the Holy Land, proved not so devoted as this young American girl, throwing her tender bosom between Jasper's heart and death.


Deborah Sampson, the Maiden Warrior.

91Sergeant Jasper was one of the bravest of Marion's men, possessing remarkable talents as a scout, and often chosen for such expeditions. He was one of those of whom Bryant says:

"Our band is few, but true and tried,
Our leader frank and bold;
The British soldier trembles
When Marion's name is told.
Our fortress is the good greenwood,
Our tent the cypress tree;
We know the forest 'round us,
As seamen know the sea.
We know its walls of thorny vines,
Its glades of reedy grass,
Its safe and silent islands
Within the dark morass."

Sometime just before, or about the beginning of the war, Jasper had the good fortune to save the life of a young, beautiful, and dark-eyed Creole girl, called Sally St. Clair. Her susceptible nature was overcome with gratitude to her preserver, and this soon ripened into a passion of love, of the most deep and fervent kind. She lavished upon him the whole wealth of her affections, and the whole depths of a passion nurtured by a Southern sun. When he was called upon to join the ranks of his country's defenders, the prospect of their separation almost maddened her. Their parting came, but scarcely was she left alone, ere her romantic nature prompted the means of a reunion. Once resolved, no consideration of danger could dampen her spirit, and no thought of consequences could move her purpose. She severed her long and jetty ringlets, and provided herself with male attire. In these she robed herself, and set forth to follow the fortunes of her lover.

A smooth-faced, beautiful and delicate stripling appeared among the hardy, rough and giant frames who composed the corps to which Jasper belonged. The contrast between the stripling and these men, in their uncouth garbs, their massive faces, embrowned and discolored by sun and rain, was indeed striking. But none 92were more eager for the battle, or so indifferent to fatigue, as the fair-faced boy. It was found that his energy of character, resolution and courage amply supplied his lack of physique. None ever suspected him to be a woman. Not even Jasper himself, although she was often by his side, penetrated her disguise.

The romance of her situation increased the fervor of her passion. It was her delight to reflect that, unknown to him, she was by his side, watching over him in the hour of danger. She fed her passion by gazing upon him in the hour of slumber, hovering near him when stealing through the swamp and thicket, and being always ready to avert danger from his head.

But gradually there stole a melancholy presentiment over the poor girl's mind. She had been tortured with hopes deferred; the war was prolonged, and the prospect of being restored to him grew more and more uncertain. But now she felt that her dream of happiness could never be realized. She became convinced that death was about to snatch her away from his side, but she prayed that she might die, and he never know to what length the violence of her passion led her.

It was an eve before a battle. The camp had sunk into repose. The watch-fires were burning low, and only the slow tread of sentinels fell upon the profound silence of the night air, as they moved through the dark shadows of the forest. Stretched upon the ground, with no other couch than a blanket, reposed the warlike form of Jasper. Climbing vines trailed themselves into a canopy above his head, through which the stars shone down softly. The faint flicker from the expiring embers of a fire fell athwart his countenance, and tinged the cheek of one who bent above his couch. It was the smooth-faced stripling. She bent low down as if to listen to his dreams, or to breathe into his soul pleasant visions of love and happiness. But tears trace themselves down the fair one's cheek, and fall silently but rapidly upon the brow of her lover. A mysterious voice has told her that the hour of parting has come; that to-morrow her destiny is consummated. There is one last, long, lingering look, and then the unhappy maid is seen to tear herself away from the spot, to weep out her sorrows in privacy.

Fierce and terrible is the conflict that on the morrow rages on 93that spot. Foremost in the battle is the intrepid Jasper, and ever by his side fights the stripling warrior. Often during the heat and the smoke, gleams suddenly upon the eyes of Jasper the melancholy face of the maiden. In the thickest of the fight, surrounded by enemies, the lovers fight side by side. Suddenly a lance is leveled at the breast of Jasper; but swifter than the lance is Sally St. Clair. There is a wild cry, and at the feet of Jasper sinks the maiden, with the life-blood gushing from the white bosom, which had been thrown, as a shield, before his breast. He heeds not now the din, nor the danger of the conflict, but down by the side of the dying boy he kneels. Then for the first time does he learn that the stripling is his love; that often by the camp-fire, and in the swamp, she had been by his side; that the dim visions, in his slumber, of an angel face hovering above him, had indeed been true. In the midst of the battle, with her lover by her side, and the barb still in her bosom, the heroic maiden dies!

Her name, her sex, and her noble devotion soon became known through the corps. There was a tearful group gathered around her grave; there was not one of those hardy warriors who did not bedew her grave with tears. They buried her near the river Santee, "in a green, shady nook, that looked as if it had been stolen out of Paradise."

The women of the Revolution won a noble name by the part they took in the conflict which has secured for their descendants so glorious an inheritance. Privations of all kinds they endured patiently, joyfully sending their dearest ones to the field, while they remained in their lonely homes, deprived of the care and society of fathers and sons; finding their pleasantest relief from the heart-ache of grief and suspense in labors at the loom or with the needle for the benefit of the ill-provided soldiers.

Many individual instances of female heroism are preserved, where the bravery of naturally timid hearts was tested in exposure to the rudest vicissitudes of war. They played the parts of spies, messengers, and defenders. Among other anecdotes we have one of a young girl of North Carolina. At the time General Greene retreated before Lord Rawdon from Ninety-Six, when he had passed Broad River, he was very desirous to send an order to General Sumter, 94who was on the Wateree, to join him, that they might attack Rawdon, who had divided his force. But the General could find no man in that portion of the State who was bold enough to undertake so dangerous a mission. The country to be passed through for many miles was full of bloodthirsty Tories, who, on every occasion that offered, imbrued their hands in the blood of the Whigs. At length this young girl, Emily Geiger, presented herself to General Greene, proposing to act as his messenger, and he, both surprised and delighted, closed with her proposal. He accordingly wrote a letter and delivered it, while, at the same time, he communicated the contents of it verbally, to be told to Sumter, in case of accident.

She started off on horseback, and on the second day of her journey was intercepted by Lord Rawdon's scouts. Coming from the direction of Greene's army, and not being able to tell an untruth without blushing, Emily was suspected and confined to a room; but as the officer in command had the delicacy not to search her at the time, he sent for an old Tory matron to perform the duty. Emily was not wanting in expedient; as soon as the door was closed, and the bustle a little subsided, she ate up the letter, piece by piece. After a while the matron arrived, who found nothing of a suspicious nature about the prisoner, though she made a careful search, and the young girl would disclose nothing. Suspicion being thus allayed, the officer commanding the scouts suffered Emily to depart whither she said she was bound; she took a circuitous route to avoid further detection, soon after striking into the road which led to Sumter's camp, where she arrived in safety. Here she told her adventure and delivered Greene's verbal message to Sumter, who, in consequence, soon after joined the main army at Orangeburg. This young heroine afterward married a rich planter, named Therwits, who lived on the Congaree.

A similar adventure is related of Miss Moore, daughter of Captain Moore, who was present at Braddock's defeat, and who died in 1770. This girl was also a "daughter of the Carolinas." Alas, that the fair descendants of women so brave as these, should aid in imperiling the country and the cause for which their mothers sacrificed and suffered so much!

Her youth was passed among the eventful scenes of our Revolution, 95and a number of incidents are related, that go to prove her calm courage, and her inflexibility of purpose. She was born in 1764, and, therefore, in the earlier part of the contest was nothing more than a child.

The terrors of the war were often enacted before the very door of her step-father's residence. On one occasion, a most sanguinary skirmish took place just before the house, between a body of Colonel Washington's cavalry and some of Rawdon's men. Shortly after, a party of the British in search of plunder broke into the house. But the family had been forewarned, and concealed their treasures. In searching for plunder they discovered a quantity of apples, and began to roll them down the stairs, while the soldiers below picked them up. Miss Moore, nothing fearing, commanded them to desist, with an air so determined and resolute, that an officer standing by, admiring so courageous a spirit in a girl so young, ordered the soldiers to obey her.

On another occasion, a party of Tories, in pillaging the house, commanded one of the servants to bring them the horses. Miss Moore commanded him not to obey. The Tories repeated the order, accompanied with a threat to beat him if he refused. The command of the young girl was reiterated, and just as the Tory was about putting his threat into execution, she threw herself between them, and preserved the slave from the intended violence.

At one time, great danger was threatening Captain Wallace, who commanded a small force, a few miles distant. It was of the utmost importance that this intelligence should be conveyed to him, but there was no male whose services could be commanded, and, therefore, Miss Moore volunteered to convey the message herself. This was when she was but fifteen. Midnight was chosen as the hour, and accompanied by her little brother and a female friend, she set out in a canoe up the river toward the encampment of the Whigs. Silently and swiftly they propelled their frail vessel up the dark current, through forests buried in darkness, and a profound silence that awed them; with the calm stars above, and the deep river gloomily rolling by, and no human sounds to relieve the oppressive solemnity of the hour. It was the hour, too, when the enemy usually set out on their marauding expeditions, and the young girls 96knew that neither their sex nor their innocence would preserve them from ruthless foes, who were more relentless and cruel than the swarthy savages of the forest. But the fate of many of their countrymen depended on their exertions, and, as it proved, the future destiny of our heroine was involved in the successful issue of their enterprise. Undismayed by the perils of the journey, the young girls bent their energies to the task before them, and at last saw lights glimmering in the distance, that pointed out their destination. They soon reached the encampment, a picturesque scene, with the ruddy glow from the camp-fires casting the surrounding scene in still greater shadow, and motley groups of figures gathered around the fires, sleeping, talking, eating, etc. After delivering the warning to Captain Wallace, the girls embarked in their canoe to return, and soon left the encampment behind, winding their way through dense forests, and reached their home in safety.

The next morning, a handsome and gallant-looking American officer rode up to the door of Captain Savage's residence, and requested to make a few inquiries of the young lady by whose energy and zeal her countrymen had been saved from an impending danger. Miss Moore appeared, and when her youthful and blooming beauty greeted the eyes of the young officer, an exclamation of pleasure burst from his lips. He almost forgot to make his inquiries, until reminded by the blushing damsel, but her voice rather increased than relieved his embarrassment. All his questions having been at last answered, and having no excuse by which to prolong the interview, he was reluctantly compelled to depart, but his eyes to the last rested on the fair girl's form. It is said that the young lady was no less struck with the handsome dragoon's figure, and that his face came often to her in her dreams that night.

It was not long before the young officer made an excuse for again visiting the house where resided the beauty who had bound him captive to her charms, and as these impressions were reciprocal, he soon discovered welcome in her manner, and drew happy auguries therefrom. He became an accepted suitor. But their love, in a measure, verified the old adage. The step-father opposed the union; at first strenuously, but the perseverance of the lover gradually broke down his opposition, and he eventually yielded consent.

97This officer was Captain, afterward General, Butler. They were married in 1784. Mrs. Butler filled a distinguished place in society, being celebrated both for her virtues and graces.

Even the meek spirit of the non-resisting Quakers was roused to patriotic ardor by the noble stake for which the battles of the Revolution were fought. In proof of what one of their women did in aid of the good cause, we have the following account of a signal service rendered by a Quakeress:

When the British army held possession of Philadelphia, General Harris' head-quarters were in Second street, the fourth door below Spruce, in a house which was before occupied by General Cadwalader. Directly opposite, resided William and Lydia Darrah, members of the Society of Friends. A superior officer of the British army, believed to be the Adjutant-General, fixed upon one of their chambers, a back room, for private conference; and two of them frequently met there, with fire and candles, in close consultation. About the second of December, the Adjutant-General told Lydia that they would be in the room at seven o'clock, and remain late, and that they wished the family to retire early to bed; adding, that when they were going away, they would call her to let them out, and extinguish their fire and candles. She accordingly sent all the family to bed; but, as the officer had been so particular, her curiosity was excited. She took off her shoes, and put her ear to the keyhole of the conclave. She overheard an order read for all the British troops to march out, late in the evening of the fourth, and attack General Washington's army, then encamped at White Marsh. On hearing this, she returned to her chamber and laid herself down. Soon after, the officers knocked at her door, but she rose only at the third summons, having feigned to be asleep. Her mind was so much agitated that, from this moment, she could neither eat nor sleep, supposing it to be in her power to save the lives of thousands of her countrymen, but not knowing how she was to convey the necessary information to General Washington, nor daring to confide it even to her husband. The time left was, however, short; she quickly determined to make her way, as soon as possible, to the American outposts. She informed her family, that, as they were in want of flour, she would go to Frankfort for some; her husband 98insisted that she should take with her the servant-maid, but, to his surprise, she positively refused. She got access to General Howe, and solicited—what he readily granted—a pass through the British troops on the lines. Leaving her bag at the mill, she hastened toward the American lines, and encountered on her way an American, Lieutenant-Colonel Craig, of the light horse, who, with some of his men, was on the look-out for information. He knew her, and inquired whither she was going. She answered, in quest of her son, an officer in the American army, and prayed the Colonel to alight and walk with her. He did so, ordering his troops to keep in sight. To him she disclosed her momentous secret, after having obtained from him the most solemn promise never to betray her individually, since her life might be at stake with the British. He conducted her to a house near at hand, directed a female in it to give her something to eat, and he speeded for head-quarters, where he brought General Washington acquainted with what he had heard. Washington made, of course, all preparation for baffling the meditated surprise. Lydia returned home with her flour; sat up alone to watch the movement of the British troops; heard their footsteps; but when they returned, in a few days after, did not dare to ask a question, though solicitous to learn the event. The next evening, the Adjutant-General came in, and requested her to walk up to his room, as he wished to put some questions. She followed him in terror; and when he locked the door, and begged her, with an air of mystery, to be seated, she was sure that she was either suspected or had been betrayed. He inquired earnestly whether any of her family were up the last night he and the other officer met; she told him that they all retired at eight o'clock. He observed: "I know you were asleep, for I knocked at your chamber door three times before you heard me; I am entirely at a loss to imagine who gave Washington information of our intended attack, unless the walls of the house could speak. When we arrived near White Marsh, we found all their cannon mounted, and the troop prepared to receive us; and we have marched back like a parcel of fools."

In contrast with these, and hundreds of similar instances of courage and sagacity combined with ardent patriotism, the occasions upon which American women played the part of traitors are few 99indeed. Efforts have been made, of late years, to affix to the memory of the wife of Benedict Arnold a still blacker ignominy than that which blasted the name of the husband whom she is said to have persuaded into his treachery. In a "Life of Aaron Burr," published three or four years ago, we have a story whose truth we may well doubt, unsupported as it is by any corroborative evidence:

"It fell to Burr's lot to become acquainted with the repulsive truth. He was sitting one evening with Mrs. Prevost (his future wife), when the approach of a party of horse was heard, and soon after, a lady, vailed and attired in a riding-habit, burst into the room, and hurrying toward Mrs. Prevost, was on the point of addressing her. Seeing a gentleman present, whom, in the dim light of the room, she did not recognize, she paused, and asked, in an anxious tone:

"'Am I safe? Is this gentleman a friend?'

"'Oh, yes,' was Mrs. Prevost's reply; 'he is my most particular friend, Colonel Burr.'

"'Thank God!' exclaimed Mrs. Arnold, for she it was. 'I've been playing the hypocrite, and I'm tired of it.'

"She then gave an account of the way she had deceived General Washington, Colonel Hamilton and the other American officers, who, she said, believed her innocent of treason, and had given her an escort of horse from West Point. She made no scruple of confessing the part she had borne in the negotiations with the British General, and declared it was she who had induced her husband to do what he had done. She passed the night at Paramus, taking care to act the part of the outraged and frantic woman whenever strangers were present. Colonel Burr's relations with the Shippen family, of which Mrs. Arnold was a member, had been of the most intimate character from boyhood. They had been his father's friends; and the orphan boy had been taken from his mother's grave to their home in Philadelphia. He stood toward this fascinating, false-hearted woman almost in the light of a younger brother, and he kept her secret until she was past being harmed by the telling of it."

Now Colonel Burr was not present at that interview, but was told of it, some time after, by Mrs. Prevost, then Mrs. Burr. We should hesitate before we consigned Mrs. Arnold to infamy upon such 100testimony. It is true that the authorities of Philadelphia were suspicious of her, as they compelled her, against her will, to leave the city and go to her husband. On the other side, it is said that she declared her abhorrence of her husband's crime, and her desire for a separation from him, after his treachery; that her father and brother, influential persons in Philadelphia, begged for her not to be banished to one from whom her heart recoiled, and that she promised never to write to her husband, or to receive any letters from him except such as the authorities should read, if permitted to remain with her family. Such, however, was the feeling against her, that she was compelled to leave the State. If these proceedings against her were just, swift was the punishment which overtook the traitress, for she never realized the brilliant position which she hoped to achieve by going over to the king's side, and has left only infamy as a legacy to the future. But if she were, indeed, as innocent as we have good reason for hoping was the case, it is melancholy to think of her gentle soul being crushed beneath the weight of retribution which fell upon her husband, and thus also upon her.


There never was a man so bold that his soul has not, at times, felt its own powerlessness, and silently appealed to the mighty God for a strength to sustain it in the hour of need. Daniel Morgan, as rough and self-reliant as he was brave, did not hesitate to confess that more than once in the hour of approaching trial, when the weight of responsibility was more than he could bear, he threw off the burden of his cares and fears at His feet who bears the destinies of the universe.

"Ah," said he, on one occasion, "people thought that Morgan was never afraid—people said that 'Dan Morgan never prayed.' I'll tell you what it is, Daniel Morgan, as wicked as he was, has prayed as hard and as earnestly as ever a man prayed in this world."

101We look back now with pride to the victory of the Cowpens, which was one of Morgan's most glorious achievements. But before that battle was fought, while it was being decided upon and prepared for, one of those moments occurred to the intrepid leader, of inward dismay and trouble, which it would never do to disclose to his men, looking to him for direction and example. It is not strange that his soul was troubled. His whole command consisted of not more than six hundred men—three hundred infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Howard, two hundred Virginia riflemen, and about one hundred gallant dragoons under Colonel Washington. With this little band he was retreating, with consummate prudence, before the "haughty Tarleton," who had been sent by Cornwallis, to force him into action, with eleven hundred veteran soldiers, besides two field-pieces well served by artillerists. Tarleton had light and legion infantry, fusileers, three hundred and fifty cavalry, and a fine battalion of the Seventy-First regiment; he promised himself an easy victory over the American "wagoner," as well he might, with the forces at his disposal.

Boldly he pursued the retreating enemy, expecting to overtake only to destroy him. But he had now to encounter a General who had braved the snows of Camden, had scaled the walls of Quebec, and had faced the legions of Burgoyne. With the greatest prudence, Morgan retreated until he reached the memorable field of Cowpens, near one of the branches of the Pacolet river. Here, in the face of superior numbers, as well as superior arms and discipline, he resolved to make a stand. He communicated his design to his inferior officers, who with ready spirit prepared the minds of their men for the combat. These, hating the British for their late oppressions, burning with the love of liberty and the desire for revenge, and placing implicit confidence in the wisdom of the General who ordered the battle, declared themselves ready for the fray.

Morgan's arrangement was simple but masterly, showing a perfect knowledge of the character both of his own force and that of Tarleton. In the open wood which formed the Cowpens, he established three lines. The first consisted of the militia under Colonel Pickens, a brave officer who had been recently relieved from captivity among the English. The next line embraced all the regular infantry 102and the Virginia riflemen, and was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Howard. The third was formed by Washington's dragoons, and about fifty mounted militia armed with pistols and swords. Knowing that the militia, though full of courage, were liable to panics, Morgan directed that the first line, if overpowered, should gradually retire and form on the right and left of the second.

Thus prepared, he awaited the attack of the foe, who had come up, and was rapidly forming in the front. His face did not betray the trepidation of his heart. He knew how much depended upon the result, and when he looked upon his own small army, composed of such rude material, wretchedly equipped and but poorly disciplined, and his gaze wandered through the open forest and rested upon veteran troops with whom he was about to contend, his heart failed him. Not daring to betray his despondency to those who looked up to him for the courage so much needed, in that solitary and friendless hour, when even the brave officers by his side could give no comfort to his mental trouble, the rough, heroic General made God his friend and adviser. In a quiet dell just back of the spot where his reserve was posted, he found a large tree which had been blown up by the roots. Hidden by the branches of this giant of the forest, he threw himself upon his knees before the Lord of battles, beseeching Him to wield the lance of delivery on the side of those who were fighting for their homes, their families and their liberties. With an impulsive force characteristic of his nature, he wrestled with his Maker, with an energy of spirit and a power of language scarcely to be expected in one so unused to the "melting mood." Rising from his knees with feelings relieved, and an oppressive weight taken from his soul, he returned to the lines, where he cheered his men in his own blunt, impulsive manner, and was replied to by shouts and huzzas which showed on their part a determination to do or die.

When Tarleton found his foe drawn up in battle order, he rejoiced in the hope of a speedy victory, and though his troops were somewhat fatigued by a rapid march, he gave orders for a charge. Before his first line was perfectly formed, he placed himself at its head, and in person rushed to the onset. Colonel Pickens ordered his men not to fire until their adversaries were within fifty yards, and their 103fire was delivered with great steadiness and severe effect. But so impetuous was the British charge, that the militia gave way, and attempted to form on the second line.

At the head of his fusileers and legion, Tarleton pressed upon the regulars and riflemen, who, notwithstanding their stern resistance, were borne down by numbers, and forced to yield their ground. The British regarded their victory as secured, and for a moment the hearts of the republicans failed. But Morgan was everywhere, encouraging his men by his voice and presence. At this time, when their very success had caused some confusion among the fusileers, Washington, at the head of his dragoons, made a furious charge, and dashing in among them, overthrew them in a moment. His horses passed over the British infantry like a storm, and the swords of his men hewed them down with resistless fury. In this happy crisis Howard succeeded in restoring the Continentals to order, while Pickens rallied the militia, and brought them again into line.

"By the wind the smoke-cloud lifted lightly drifted to the nor'ward,
And displayed, in all their pride, the scarlet foe;
We beheld them, with a steady tramp and fearless moving forward,
With their banners proudly waving, and their bayonets leveled low.
"Morgan gave his order clearly: 'Fall back nearly to the border
Of the hill, and let the enemy come nigher!'
Oh, they thought we had retreated, and they charged in fierce
When out rang the voice of Howard: 'To the right, about face! fire!'
"Then upon our very wheeling came the pealing of our volley,
And our balls made a red pathway down the hill;
Broke the foe, and shrunk and cowered; rang again the voice of Howard:
'Give the hireling dogs the bayonet!' and we did it with a will."

Struck with astonishment at finding themselves thus assaulted by men they had just regarded as defeated, the English troops wavered and broke in disorder. In vain their officers endeavored to rally them for a renewed stand. The spirits of the patriots were roused, and pressing forward with their bayonets, they carried every thing before them. Nearly two hundred of Tarleton's horse, and among them the haughty Tarleton himself, retreated in dismay from the field, riding over their comrades and involving them in hopeless confusion. The Americans gained the two field-pieces, and Colonel Howard, coming up with a large body of infantry, and summoning 104them to surrender, they laid down their arms on the field. The rout of the British was complete; a more signal victory our forces had never obtained. Washington and his horse followed the flying foe for several hours; Tarleton himself narrowly escaped falling into the hands of his determined pursuer.

May we not safely conjecture that after this brilliant success Morgan returned thanks to the Lord of victories as ardently as he had implored him for aid?

On another occasion, previous to this, Morgan had knelt in the snows of Canada, to beseech the blessing of God upon an undertaking as important as it was arduous. It was in 1775. Montgomery was already in Canada, where partial success had crowned his arms; but the capture of Quebec was deemed all-important, and to insure it, Washington resolved to send a detachment across the unexplored country between the province of Maine and the St. Lawrence River. To form any idea of the difficulty of this route it must be remembered that the whole of that region was then covered by gloomy forests, in which even the red-man could hardly find subsistence, and that in the winter season the country was bound in ice and snow. To command the expedition, Colonel Benedict Arnold was selected, and Morgan, then a Captain, eagerly sought a service so congenial to his habits and character.

The whole detachment consisted of eleven hundred men, who were formed into three divisions. After ascending the Kennebec as far as it was navigable, they were forced to take the forest roads. Morgan, at the head of his riflemen, formed the vanguard, upon whom devolved the duty of exploring the country, sounding the fords, pioneering for his companions, and seeking out spots where the bateaux might again be employed in the streams. They were then forced to pass through forests where men had never dwelt, to scale rugged hills, to contend with torrents swollen with the snow-storms of that region, to wade through marshes which threatened to ingulf them. Not only the baggage of the army, but often their boats were borne upon their shoulders at those places where the river was frozen, or where rapids and cataracts impeded their progress. The sufferings of this devoted band can not be exaggerated. No subsistence could be obtained from the country, and to their other trials was added that of famine. They were driven to feed upon their dogs, and even upon the leather of their shoes, before they reached the first settlement of Canadians, and astonished them by their account of their achievements.


General Morgan Praying—Page 38.

107The spirit which endured such trials was the best surety of their success. But reinforcements had been received in Quebec. The garrison was prepared, and Arnold, after making some demonstrations, retired to Point au Tremble, twenty miles distant, to await the coming of Montgomery. When the two forces were joined, they were yet inadequate to the attack of the strongest fortress in America; but the hero who now commanded the Americans could not endure the thought of retreat.

On the last day of the year 1775, in the midst of a furious snowstorm, the memorable attack was made. On this occasion it was, as Morgan confessed afterward, that he was "afraid"—but fear, to his nature, was not a passion which weakened him, but which urged him on. It was not for himself, personally, that he was afraid; no, he dreaded the effect of a defeat upon his country; he could not see, without shrinking, his brave friends and comrades rushing upon what seemed like death in the land of the enemy. In his own words we have his thoughts:

"The night we stormed Quebec, while I was waiting with my men, in the cold, driving storm, for the word to advance, I felt unhappy; I looked up at the frowning battlements above me, and then around upon my armful of men, and felt that the enterprise was more than perilous; I felt that nothing short of a miracle could prevent our being destroyed in a contest where we fought at such an immense disadvantage. With such feelings I stepped aside, and kneeling down in the snow, alongside an old gun, with the storm beating into my face, I poured out my soul in an humble petition to God, beseeching him to be my shield and protection in the coming struggle—for nothing but an Almighty arm could save us—and I really and sincerely feel that I owed my safety to the interposition of Providence, and I thought so at the time."

In the attack which followed, and which was unsuccessful, Morgan did all that a brave man could do. He scaled the walls of the fortress, and sprung down alone amid the surprised garrison, though 108speedily followed by numbers of his men. The enemy, appalled by such heroism, fell back to the second barrier, and here, had he been properly supported, Morgan might have been again successful; but the men had rendered their guns useless; the riflemen who had followed him were unsupported; to face a double row of bayonets and climb a wall was beyond the power of the most desperately brave. After an obstinate resistance Morgan and his corps were forced to surrender.

So much did Morgan's bravery impress the English, that, when a prisoner in their hands, he was offered the rank of Colonel in the English service, and many persuasive reasons were given why he should accept it. It need not be said that he rejected the temptation with scorn.

General Daniel Morgan was born of Welch parentage, in New Jersey, in the year 1736. Like so many of our most illustrious heroes, he was a "self-made man." His family, which belonged to the "middle class," had an interest in some Virginia lands, to attend to which he visited that colony when about seventeen years old. Glowing with health, and full of that love of adventure which always characterized him, he determined to remain in Virginia, and begin the business of life for himself. He had money enough for the purchase of a wagon and pair of horses. With these he entered upon the employment which gave him the name of the "wagoner" long after he had risen to military fame. He remained near Winchester for about two years. When General Braddock's army commenced its march against Fort Duquesne it was accompanied by several corps of provincial troops. Morgan, the "ruling passion" thus early displaying itself, joined one of these corps. He drove his own team in the baggage-train. On the way occurred one of those instances, too frequent in military experience, where the power of an officer is used with meanness and tyranny against the soldier in his power. The ruggedness of the way causing much trouble with the train, and Morgan's team becoming impeded, along with many others, a British officer approached him, and, with much impatience demanded why he did not move along. He replied that he would move as soon as he was able. The officer, yielding to his irritable temper, with unmerited harshness declared that if he did not move along he would 109run him through with his sword. The high spirit of the wagoner-boy could not brook this insult; he gave a fierce reply, when the officer at once made a pass at him with his weapon. Morgan held in his hand a heavy wagon-whip; parrying the stroke with the quickness of thought, he closed with his superior; the sword was broken in the struggle; then, using his whip with the skill which long practice had given him, he inflicted upon the Englishman a severe castigation. Such a breach of military law of course was not to be forgiven. Morgan was tried by a court-martial, which sentenced him to receive five hundred lashes. The sentence was carried into effect. The young victim bore this horrible punishment with mute heroism, silently fainting from torture and exhaustion, while fifty lashes were yet in reserve, which were of necessity remitted. Three days afterward, the officer who had been the occasion of this barbarity became convinced of his injustice, and, seeking Morgan in the camp hospital, implored his forgiveness. Through this miserable occurrence, the brave young volunteer was disabled from duty, and escaped the danger and disgrace of Braddock's defeat.

Not long after his return from this unhappy campaign, he was appointed an ensign in the colonial service. His merit had become apparent to the Government of the colony; already he had won the friendship of Washington, which afterward availed him on many trying occasions. His known courage and activity caused him to be employed in the most dangerous services. On one occasion, accompanied by two soldiers, he was carrying dispatches to one of the frontiers of Virginia, infested by cunning and ferocious savages. While in cautious progress through the forest, unaware that any eye was upon them, or any stealthy step tracking them fatally and silently, suddenly the discharge of rifles was heard; his two companions fell dead by his side. Morgan himself received the only severe wound he ever had during his military career; a rifle ball entered the back of his neck, and, shattering his jaw, passed out through his left cheek. Though he believed himself mortally wounded, his presence of mind did not fail. Leaning forward on his saddle, he grasped the mane of his horse, and pressing the spurs into his sides, darted forward at full speed toward the fort. A single 110Indian followed him, eager for his scalp. Morgan, in after years, often spoke of the appearance of this savage, who ran with his mouth open, and his tomahawk raised to strike the fatal blow. Finding his pursuit in vain, the Indian finally threw the tomahawk with all his force, hoping it would hit the soldier; but it fell short; the horse, with his bleeding rider, gained the fort. Morgan was perfectly insensible when taken from the animal; but proper treatment, and the vigor of his constitution, restored him to health in six months.

From this time until the commencement of the Revolutionary War, he remained in Frederick, employed in his old business as a wagoner. At this time, he was wild and reckless, proud of his immense strength, inclining to rough society, fond of the most rollicking pastimes, and even, it is said, frequenting the gaming-table. His nature was of that active and superabundant kind, that he could not live without excitement; that which in times of idleness became a fault, or almost a crime, leading him into wild excesses, was the same energy which, as soon as there was a noble object for its exercise, sprung to the labor of defending liberty.

It is said that pugilistic encounters were his daily pastime—such from the fact that he was usually the victor. Few men of his time encountered him without signal defeat. But though Morgan was generally successful, we have an account of a reverse which he experienced, too salutary in the lesson it inculcated to be lost. General Carson, of Frederick county, Virginia, where the affair took place, tells the anecdote as one entirely authentic:

"Passing along a road with his wagon, Morgan met a gentleman of refined manners and appearance, who, as he approached the wagoner, had his hat struck off by a bough overhead. This stopped him for a moment, and Morgan, thinking that the stranger felt undue pride in sustaining the character of a gentleman, determined to humble him. Alighting from his horse—which he rode, teamster-fashion, instead of driving—he addressed the traveler:

"'Well, sir, if you want a fight, I'm ready for you!'

"The stranger, in amazement, assured him that he wanted no fight, and had made no signals to such a purpose. But Morgan was not to be thus repulsed, and urged a contest upon him, until the stranger, 111becoming enraged, in short terms accepted the challenge. The battle commenced. In brief space the well-dressed man planted such a series of rapid and scientific blows upon Morgan's front, that he knocked him down, and inflicted upon him a severe chastisement. Morgan never forgot this reverse; he found that he was not the only man in the world—that 'might did not make right.' He often spoke of it afterward as having had a happy effect upon his character."

In after years, he gained more dignity of character, these youthful ebullitions merging into deeds of valor of which his country is proud.

Immediately upon the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, he stood ready to aid his country. Congress appointed him a Captain of provincials, and so great was his reputation, that, in a short time after his call for recruits, ninety-six riflemen were enrolled in his company. This was the nucleus of that celebrated rifle corps which rendered so much brilliant service during the war. It was composed of men who had been trained in the forest, and who had each been accustomed to the use of his own rifle with wonderful skill. They were hardy in body and dauntless in heart. From this time on, his career was one of glory, although the hardships which he suffered finally undermined his splendid health, and forced him to retire, with the rank of Major-General, to his estate near Winchester, called "Saratoga," after one of the places where he had distinguished himself.

It was here that he died in 1802, in the 67th year of his age. A passer-by would hardly notice the humble slab, of little pretension, which marks his grave in the Presbyterian church-yard, at Winchester; yet on it is inscribed a name which Americans will ever delight to honor: "The hero of Quebec, of Saratoga, and the Cowpens: the bravest among the brave, and the Ney of the West."

In Irving's Life of Washington we have read an amusing account of an impromptu fray, one party to which was a corps of Virginia riflemen, very likely to be those commanded by Morgan, in which it would appear as if the early habits of their leader had infected his men, and in which the immortal Washington himself appears in a new and picturesque attitude. "A large party of Virginia riflemen," says the author, "who had recently arrived in camp, were strolling about Cambridge, and viewing the collegiate buildings, now turned 112into barracks. Their half-Indian equipments, and fringed and ruffled hunting-garbs, provoked the merriment of some troops from Marblehead, chiefly fishermen and sailors, who thought nothing equal to the round-jacket and trowsers. A bantering ensued between them. There was snow upon the ground, and snow-balls began to fly when jokes were wanting. The parties waxed warm with the contest. They closed and came to blows; both sides were reinforced, and in a little while at least a thousand were at fisticuffs, and there was a tumult in the camp worthy of the days of Homer. 'At this juncture,' writes our informant, 'Washington made his appearance, whether by accident or design, I never knew. I saw none of his aids with him; his black servant just behind him, mounted. He threw the bridle of his own horse into his servant's hands, sprung from his saddle, rushed into the thickest of the melée, seized two tall, brawny riflemen by the throat, keeping them at arm's length, talking to and shaking them.' As they were from his own province, he may have felt peculiarly responsible for their good conduct; they were engaged, too, in one of those sectional brawls which were his especial abhorrence; his reprimand must, therefore, have been a vehement one. He was commanding in his serenest moments, but irresistible in his bursts of indignation. On the present occasion, we are told, his appearance and rebuke put an instant end to the tumult. The veteran who records this exercise of military authority, seems at a loss which most to admire, the simplicity of the process, or the vigor with which it was administered. 'Here,' writes he, 'bloodshed, imprisonments, trials by court-martial, revengeful feelings between the different corps of the army, were happily prevented by the physical and mental energies of a single person, and the only damaging result from the fierce encounter was a few torn hunting-frocks and round-jackets.'"

We may well believe that what was done by Washington was well done, even to the stilling of this Homeric tumult.

Occasions of great danger and trial were so frequent that the leaders of the Revolution had recourse to prayer more frequently, we are led to believe, than history mentions. One anecdote is told of Washington's having been overheard supplicating at the throne of grace, but how can we conceive the Father of his Country as other 113than the devout leader who at all times felt and acknowledged the hand of Providence over him? The anecdote specially referred to was related by Potts, the Quaker. During the winter of 1777, the Continental army was encamped at Valley Forge—a suffering, dispirited, yet still patriotic little host. Clothing was scant, food was scarce, numbers were too few for opposing the triumphant foe, and all things seemed to betoken a most inauspicious future for the patriot cause. Washington, outwardly firm, resolved, and apparently not dissatisfied, was, as his correspondence shows, deeply concerned for the result of the early spring campaign; and that, in his hour of trial, he prayed for aid from on high we can well believe.

One day, Potts had occasion to go to a certain place, which led him through a large grove, at no great distance from head-quarters. As he was proceeding along, he thought he heard a noise. He stopped and listened. He did hear the sound of a human voice at some distance, but quite indistinctly. As it was in the direct course he was pursuing, he went on, but with some caution. Occasionally he paused and listened, and with increasing conviction that he heard some one. At length he came within sight of a man, whose back was turned toward him, on his knees, in the attitude of prayer. It was a secluded spot—a kind of natural bower; but it was the house of prayer. Potts now stopped, partly leaned forward, and watched till whoever it might be was through his devotions. This was not long. And whom should he now see but Washington himself, the commander of the American armies, returning from bending prostrate before the God of armies above.

Potts himself was a pious man. He knew the power of prayer; and no sooner had he reached home, than in the fullness of his faith he broke forth to his wife Sarah, in the language of a watchman:

"Wife—Sarah, my dear, all's well—all's well! Yes, George Washington is sure to beat the British—sure!"

"What—what's the matter with thee, Isaac?" replied the startled Sarah. "Thee seems to be much moved about something."

"Well, and what if I am moved? Who would not be moved at such a sight as I have seen to-day?"

"And what has thee seen, Isaac?"

"Seen! I've seen a man at prayer, in the woods—George 114Washington himself! And now I say—just what I have said—'All's well; George Washington is sure to beat the British—sure!'"

Whether Sarah's faith was as strong as Isaac's, we can not say; but Potts' logic was sound—that in a good cause, a man of prayer is sure to succeed—SURE!

That Washington was a constant attendant upon divine worship, and a man of prayer, admits of no doubt. This was highly to his credit; for it too often happens that men in important stations think that their pressure of business will justly excuse them for neglecting all religious duties.

It is related of Washington, that in the French and Indian war, when he was a Colonel, he used himself, in the absence of the chaplain, on the Sabbath, to read the Scriptures to the soldiers of his regiment, and to pray with them; and that more than once he was found on his knees in his marquee at secret prayer.

While at home at Mount Vernon, he was always punctual to go to church. Sometimes he had distinguished men to visit him, and who he knew had no great regard for religion. This made no difference with his conduct. On such occasions he regularly attended church, and invited them to accompany him.

During his residence in Philadelphia, as President of the United States, he was a constant attendant at the house of God, on the Sabbath; thus setting a becoming example to others in authority. And it has often been remarked, that in all his public messages to Congress, he was particular to allude in some appropriate manner to God's overruling providence, and his sense of his own and the nation's dependence upon divine favor, for individual and national prosperity.

The greatness of Washington was conceded even more fully by the great than by the "common herd" of mankind. Bonaparte paid a tribute to the American's fame scarcely to be exceeded for its terms of admiration.

"Ah, gentlemen," the French General exclaimed to some young Americans happening at Toulon, and anxious to see the mighty Corsican, had obtained the honor of an introduction to him, "how fares your countryman, the great Washington?"

"He was very well," replied the youths, brightening at the thought 115that they were the countrymen of Washington, "he was very well, General, when we left America."

"Ah, gentlemen," rejoined he, "Washington can never be otherwise than well. The measure of his fame is full. Posterity will talk of him with reverence as the founder of a great empire, when my name shall be lost in the vortex of revolutions."

This recalls the celebrated "toast scene" wherein Dr. Franklin "paid his respects" to the English and French. It is thus recited:

Long after Washington's victories over the French and English had made his name familiar to all Europe, Dr. Franklin chanced to dine with the English and French embassadors, when the following toasts were drunk. By the British embassador: "England—the sun, whose bright beams enlighten and fructify the remotest corners of the earth." The French embassador, glowing with national pride, but too polite to dispute the previous toast, drank: "France—the moon, whose mild, steady and cheering rays are the delight of all nations, consoling them in darkness, and making their dreariness beautiful."

Dr. Franklin then rose, and with his usual dignified simplicity, said: "George Washington—the Joshua, who commanded the sun and moon to stand still, and they obeyed him."

We could fill many pages with anecdotes of Washington, illustrative of his goodness, his real, heart piety, his reliance on an overruling Providence; but will not, at this time, devote more space to the theme, promising ourselves the pleasures of again recurring to the truly august subject.



The father of the little heroes whose daring exploit is here illustrated, removed from Pennsylvania in 1786, or thereabouts, and settled on what was called Beech-bottom Flats, in the State of Ohio, some two miles from the Ohio River, and three or four miles above the mouth of Short Creek. In common with all the early settlers of that State, Johnson was subject to the depredations of the Indians, who felt that the white men were encroaching upon their hunting-grounds, and did not hesitate to inflict upon them the fullest measure of vengeance. Protected by the station, or fort, near which they resided, the family enjoyed, however, a tolerable share of security.

One Sunday morning, in the fall of 1793, two of his sons—John, aged thirteen, and Henry, eleven—started for the woods to look for a hat which the younger had lost the previous evening, while out after the cows. Having found the hat, they started for home, but coming to the foot of a hickory tree, whose tempting fruit lay in bounteous profusion on the ground before them, they, boylike, and dreaming neither of Indians nor of any other danger, sat down on a fallen log and amused themselves cracking and eating nuts. While thus engaged, they observed two men approaching from the direction of the station, who, from their dress and appearance, they took to be neighbors, seeking for strayed horses, one of them having a bridle in his hand. Satisfied of this fact, they continued their employment, until the men had approached quite near to them, when, upon looking up, they discovered, to their horror, that they were Indians, dressed in the garb of white men. Their first impulse was to fly; but upon rising to their feet, one of the intruders presented his rifle, and told them to stop or he would shoot. Coming up to them, the other presented his hand, and said: "How do, brodder?" The oldest boy, John, immediately—instinctively, as it were—called into requisition a tact perfectly astonishing in such a child. Accepting the savage's hand, he shook it with a smile, asking with apparently 117pleased curiosity if they were Indians. Their captors replied that they were, telling the boys that they must go with them. Concealing their feelings of fear and distress, the little fellows submitted, and took up their line of march for the wilderness, not without the most poignant emotions at thus being rudely torn from their home and parents. They had heard enough, young as they were, of Indian captivity, to guess what was in store for them—that, even at the very best, there would be years of wild, uncivilized life before them, should they be spared to live at all. But hiding the sinking of his heart, the oldest took the small buckskin bag which was given him to carry, with outward cheerfulness, and entered with spirit into the search of the Indians after the horses of the white men. The bag, from its weight, he supposed to contain money, the product of their depredations upon the white community.

The Indians and their captives spent the afternoon in pursuit of horses, taking a circuitous route through the bottom and over the Short Creek hill; but evening approaching without their meeting with success, they drew off some distance into the woods, in search of some place to camp.

Coming to a spring in a hollow, which answered their purpose, they halted; and while one of them scouted around the camp, the other proceeded to build a fire, by flashing his gun into some dry "tinder" wood. While the latter was gone to procure the wood from a decayed stump, John took up the gun he had left behind, and cocked it, with the intention of shooting him as he came back; but Henry stopped him, for fear the other might be near, and able to overpower them, at the same time promising to aid his brother if he would wait until the Indians were asleep.

After they had cooked their supper, and eaten it by the fire, the savages began to converse apart in their own tongue. The result of their council soon became painfully apparent to the boys. Drawing their knives, they began to whet them, at the same time continuing their discussion, with occasional sidelong glances at the boys. Seeing this, with that remarkable discretion which had hitherto marked his conduct, John entered into conversation with them, in the course of which he remarked that he led a hard life with his parents, who were cross to him, and made him work hard, giving 118him no chance for play. For his part, he liked to hunt and fish, and when he got to their towns, he meant to be a warrior and live with them. This pleased the Indians, and led to further converse, during which one of them asked the boys which way home was. John, who assumed to be spokesman, answered, always pointing the wrong way, which led them to believe that their captives had lost their reckoning. The business of sharpening the knives was suspended, and John's bright eyes, smiling but anxious, were not sorry to see them restored to the belts of the wearers.

The Indians, although pleased and conciliated, were careful not to trust their little prisoners too far, but pinioned their arms, and when they laid down to sleep for the night, placed the boys between them, secured by a large strap, which passed under their own bodies. Late in the night, one of the savages, becoming cold, stirred in his sleep, caught hold of John in his arms, and turned him over to the outside, soon relapsing into sound slumber with the renewed warmth thus obtained. In this situation the boy, awake and alert, found means to get his hands loose; he then nudged his brother, made him get up, and untied his arms. This done, Henry thought of nothing but of running off as fast as possible; but when about to start, his brother caught hold of him, whispering: "We must kill these Indians before we go." After some hesitation, Henry agreed to make the attempt. John took one of the rifles of their captors, and placed it on a log with the muzzle close to the head of one of them. He then cocked the gun, and placed his little brother at the breech with his finger on the trigger, with instructions to pull it as soon as he should strike the other Indian. He then took one of the tomahawks, and placed himself astride the second foe. All this time the savages slumbered on in their fancied security. That moment he gave the word to fire, while he brought the tomahawk down with all the force of his young arm upon his sleeping enemy. The blow, however, fell upon the back of the neck and to one side, so as not to be fatal; the wounded savage attempted to spring up, but the little fellow, urged to desperation, plied his blows with such force and rapidity upon the Indian's skull, that, to use his own words in describing it, "the Indian laid still and began to quiver."

At the moment of the first stroke given by the elder brother, the 119younger one pulled the trigger, as directed; but his shot was not more fatal than the other's blow, for he only succeeded in blowing off a large part of his antagonist's lower jaw. This Indian, an instant after receiving the wound, began to flounce about and yell in the most frightful manner. The boys were glad to abandon him to his fate. They made the best of their way to the fort, reaching it a little before daybreak. On getting near the station, they found the people all up, and a great anxiety on their account. On hearing a woman exclaim: "Poor little fellows, they are killed or taken prisoners!" the eldest one answered: "No, mother, we are here yet!"

Having brought away nothing from the Indian camp, their relation was not credited, and a party was made up to go in search of its truth. On arriving at the camp, they found the Indian whom John had tomahawked, dead; the other had crawled away, leaving a heavy, bloody trail, by which he was traced to the top of a fallen tree, where he had ensconced himself, determined to sell his life dearly. At the approach of the party he attempted to fire upon them; but his gun flashed in the pan; and one of the men remarking that he "didn't care about being killed by a dead Injin," they left him to die of his wounds. His skeleton and gun were found, some time afterward, near the spot. It was conjectured that the bag of specie which the Indians had, was appropriated by one of the settlers, who had slipped off in advance upon hearing the story of the boys. For some time after this person seemed better supplied with money than he had ever been before.

The story of the heroism of the little warriors got abroad, and even the Indians themselves gave them credit for it. After the treaty with General Wayne, an old Indian, who was a friend of the two who were killed (and who, it seems, had been distinguished warriors), inquired of a man from Short Creek what they had done with the two young braves who had killed the Indians. Being answered that they lived at the same place with their parents, he replied: "Then you have not done right; you should have made kings of those boys."

There are a good many stories told of those early days, far pleasanter for the boys of this generation to read in safety, by the 120comfortable winter fire, than it was for the hardy and sagacious little heroes to enact them.

In August, 1786, a lad by the name of Downing, who lived at a fort near Slate Creek, in what is now Bath county, was requested by an older companion to assist him in hunting for a horse which had strayed away the preceding evening. Downing readily complied, and the two friends searched in every direction, until at length they found themselves in a wild valley, some six or seven miles from the fort. Here Downing became alarmed, and repeatedly told his companion, Yates, that he heard sticks cracking behind them, and was certain that Indians were dogging them. Yates, an old backwoods-man, laughed at the fears of the boy, and contemptuously asked him at what price be rated his scalp, offering to insure it for sixpence. Downing, however, was not so easily satisfied. He observed that in whatever direction they turned, the same ominous sounds continued to haunt them, and as Yates continued to treat the matter recklessly, he resolved to take measures for his own safety. Gradually slackening his pace, he permitted Yates to advance twenty or thirty steps ahead, and immediately afterward, as they descended the slope of a gentle hill, Downing slipped aside and hid himself in a thick cluster of whortleberry bushes. Yates proceeded on, singing carelessly some rude song, and was soon out of sight. Scarcely had he disappeared, when Downing beheld two savages put aside the stalks of a cane-brake, and cautiously look out in the direction Yates had taken. Fearful that they had seen him step aside, he determined to fire upon them, and trust to his heels for safety; but so unsteady was his hand, that in raising his gun to his shoulder, it went off before he had taken aim. He immediately ran, and after proceeding about fifty yards, met Yates, who had hastily retraced his steps. The enemy were then in full view, and the woodsman, who might have outstripped the lad, graduated his steps to those of his companion. The Indians, by taking a shorter path, gained rapidly upon the fugitives, across whose way lay a deep gully. Yates easily cleared it, but Downing dropped short, and fell at full length upon the bottom. The savages, eager to capture Yates, continued the pursuit, without appearing to notice Downing, who, quickly recovering his strength, began to walk slowly up the ditch, fearing to leave it, lest the enemy should see him. He had scarcely emerged into the open ground before he saw one of the Indians returning, apparently in quest of him. His gun being unloaded, Downing threw it away, and again took to flight; but his pursuer gained on him so rapidly, that he lost all hope of escape. Coming at length to a large poplar, which had been blown up by the roots, he ran along the body of the tree on one side, while the Indian ran along the other, expecting to intercept his game at the root. But here fortune favored the latter in the most singular manner. A she-bear which was suckling her cubs in a bed at the root of the tree, suddenly sprung upon the Indian, and while the latter was yelling and stabbing his hirsute antagonist with his knife, Downing succeeded in reaching the fort, where he found Yates reposing after a hot chase, in which he, also, had distanced his pursuers.


The Johnson Boys Killing their Captors.

123Whether the bear or the Indian came off victor in the impromptu engagement so suddenly entered into, the historian sayeth not.

In the following narrative, the incidents of which are included in the History of the State of Kentucky, will be noticed the fortitude of another little hero, who, in the midst of appalling circumstances, received two severe wounds, one of which must have been extremely painful, yet who made no sign—would not even allow it to be known that he was injured, until the conflict was over.

In March, 1788, Captain William Hubbell, floating down the Ohio River in his flat-boat, on his return from the east, after leaving Pittsburg, saw traces of Indians along the banks of the stream, which excited his suspicions and increased his watchfulness. On the boat, besides Captain Hubbell, were Daniel Light, and William Plascut and his family. Before reaching the mouth of the Great Kanawha, their number was increased to twenty, among whom were Ray, Tucker and Kilpatrick, also two daughters of the latter, a man by the name of Stoner, an Irishman, and a German. Information at Gallipolis confirmed their previous expectation of a conflict with a large body of Indians; Captain Hubbell therefore made every preparation to resist the anticipated attack. The men, divided into three watches for the night, were alternately on the look-out for two hours at a time. The arms on board unfortunately consisted mainly of old 124muskets much out of order. These were put in the best possible condition for service.

On the 23d, Hubbell's party overtook a fleet of six boats descending the river in company, and, for mutual protection, at first concluded to join them. Finding them, however, a careless, noisy set of people, more intent on dancing than watching for Indians, Hubbell determined to push forward alone. One of the six boats, desirous of keeping up with Hubbell, pushed forward for a short time; but its crew at length dropped asleep, and it was soon left in the rear. Early in the night, a canoe was seen flying down the river, in which probably were Indians on the watch. Fires and other signs also were observed, which indicated the presence of a formidable body of the savages.

At daybreak, before the men were at their posts, a voice some distance below repeatedly solicited them, in a plaintive tone, to come on shore, representing that some white persons wished to take a passage in their boat. This the Captain naturally concluded to be an Indian artifice. He accordingly placed every man upon his guard. The voice of entreaty soon was changed into insult, and the sound of distant paddles announced the approach of the savage foe. Three Indian canoes were seen through the mist rapidly advancing. With the utmost coolness, the Captain and his companions prepared to receive them. Every man was ordered not to fire until the savages came nearly up to the boat; the men, also, were directed to fire in succession, that there might be no intervals.

The canoes were found to contain from twenty-five to thirty Indians each. When within musket-shot, they poured in a general fire from one of the canoes, by which Tucker and Light were wounded. The three canoes now placed themselves on the bow, stern and side of the boat, opening a raking fire upon the whites; but the steady firing from the boat had a powerful effect in checking the confidence and the fury of the savages. Hubbell, after firing his own gun, took up that of one of the wounded men, and was in the act of discharging it when a ball tore away the lock. He deliberately seized a brand of fire, and, applying it to the pan, discharged it with effect. When in the act of raising his gun a third time, a ball passed through his right arm, which for a moment disabled him. Seeing 125this, the savages rushed for the boat, to board it. Severely wounded as he was, Hubbell rushed to the bow, and assisted in forcing the enemy off, by the discharge of a pair of horse pistols, and by billets of wood. Meeting with so desperate a resistance, the Indians at length discontinued the contest, for the moment.

The boat which Hubbell had recently left behind now appearing in sight, the canoes rushed toward it. They boarded it without opposition, killed Captain Greathouse and a lad, placed the women in the center of their canoes, and then manning them with a fresh reinforcement from the shore, again pursued Hubbell and his party. The melancholy alternative now presented itself to these brave but desponding men, either of falling a prey to the savages, or to run the risk of shooting the white women in the canoes, purposely placed there by the Indians, in the hope of obtaining protection by their presence. Hubbell, well knowing how little mercy was to be expected if the savages were victorious, did not hesitate. He resolved to war to the last.

There were now but four men left on board of the boat capable of defending it. The Captain himself was severely wounded in two places. Yet the second attack was resisted with incredible firmness. Whenever the Indians would rise to fire, the whites would, commonly, give them the first shot, which in almost every instance would prove fatal. Notwithstanding the disparity of numbers and the exhausted condition of Hubbell's party, the Indians, despairing of success, retired to the shore. Just as the last canoe was departing, Hubbell called to the Indian chief in the stern, and on his turning round, discharged his piece at him. When the smoke was dissipated, the savage was seen lying on his back, severely, perhaps mortally, wounded.

Unfortunately, the boat had drifted near to shore, where the Indians were collected, and a large concourse, probably between four and five hundred, were seen rushing down on the bank. Ray and Plascut, the only men remaining unhurt, took to the oars. As the boat was not more than twenty yards from shore, it was deemed prudent for them to lie down, and attempt to paddle out into the river with the utmost practicable rapidity. While thus covered, nine balls were shot into one oar, and ten into the other, without 126wounding the rowers, who were protected by the side of the boat and the blankets in its stern. During this exposure to the fire, which continued about twenty minutes, Kilpatrick observed a particular Indian, whom he thought a favorable mark for his rifle, and, despite the solemn warning of Captain Hubbell, rose to shoot the savage. He immediately received a ball in his mouth, which passed out at the back part of his head, and was, almost at the same moment, shot through the heart. He fell among the horses that about the same time were killed, presenting to his afflicted daughters and fellow travelers, who were witnesses of the awful occurrence, a spectacle of horror which it were impossible to describe.

The boat, providentially, was then suddenly carried out into the stream, beyond reach of the enemy's balls. The little band, reduced in numbers, wounded, afflicted, and almost exhausted by fatigue, still were unsubdued in spirit, and being assembled in all their strength, men, women and children, with an appearance of triumph gave three hearty cheers, calling to the Indians to come on again if they were fond of the sport.

Thus ended this stubborn conflict, in which only two out of nine men escaped unhurt. Tucker and Kilpatrick were killed on the spot, Stoner was mortally wounded, and died on his arrival at Limestone, and all the rest, excepting Ray and Plascut, were severely wounded. The women and children all were uninjured, excepting a little son of Mr. Plascut, who, after the battle was over, came to the Captain, and with great coolness requested him to take a ball out of his head. On examination, it appeared that a bullet, which had passed through the side of the boat, had penetrated the forehead of this little hero, and still remained under the skin. The Captain took it out, when the youth, observing, "That is not all," raised his arm, and exhibited a piece of bone at the point of his elbow, which had been shot off, and hung only by the skin. His mother exclaimed:

"Why did you not tell me of this?"

"Because," he coolly replied, "the Captain directed us to be silent during the action, and I thought you would be likely to make a noise if I told you."

Here was true pluck.

127The boat made its way down the river as rapidly as possible, the object being to reach Limestone that night. The Captain, tormented by excruciating pain, and faint through loss of blood, was under the necessity of steering the boat with his left arm, till about ten o'clock that night, when he was relieved by William Brooks, who resided on the bank of the river, and who was induced by the calls of the suffering party to come out to their assistance. By his aid, and that of some other persons, who were in the same manner brought to their relief, the party was enabled to reach Limestone about twelve o'clock that night. On the arrival of Brooks, Captain Hubbell, relieved from labor and responsibility, sunk under the weight of pain and fatigue, and became for a while totally insensible. When the boat reached Limestone, he found himself unable to walk, and was carried up to the tavern. Here he continued several days, until he acquired sufficient strength to proceed homeward.

On the arrival of Hubbell's party at Limestone, they found a considerable force of armed men ready to march against the Indians. They now learned that, on the Sunday preceding, these very same savages had cut off a detachment of men ascending the Ohio from Fort Washington, at the mouth of Licking River, and had killed with their tomahawks, without firing a gun, twenty-one out of twenty-two men, of which the detachment consisted!

Crowds of people, as might be expected, came to examine the boat which had been the scene of so much heroism and such horrid carnage, and to visit the resolute little band by whom it had been so gallantly defended. On examination, it was found that the sides of the boat were literally filled with bullets and bullet-holes. There was scarcely a space of two feet square in the part above water, which had not either a ball remaining in it, or a hole through which a ball had passed. Some persons who had the curiosity to count the number of holes in the blankets which were hung up as curtains in the stern of the boat, affirmed that in the space of five feet square there were one hundred and twenty-two. Four horses out of five were killed. The escape of the fifth, amidst such a shower of balls, appears almost miraculous.

The day after the arrival of Captain Hubbell and his companions, the five boats passed on the night preceding the battle reached 128Limestone. The Indians, it would appear, had met with too formidable a resistance from a single boat to attack a fleet, and suffered them to pass unmolested. From that time, it is believed that no boat was assailed by Indians on the Ohio.

The force which marched out from Limestone to disperse this formidable body of savages discovered several Indians dead on the shore, near the scene of action. They also found the bodies of Captain Greathouse and several others—men, women and children—who had been on board of his boat. Most of them appeared to have been whipped to death, as they were found stripped, tied to trees, and marked with the appearance of lashes; and large rods, which seemed to have been worn with use, were observed lying near them.

It is wonderful, when we consider the perils which beset the early settlers, that Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana did not remain untenanted by white men. We can not open the history of the years, from 1787 to 1814, that we do not find, upon almost every page, a story of suffering, of miraculous escape, or of appalling death which everywhere seemed to be in store for the daring pioneer. In the course of this series of tales we shall have occasion to repeat many of those stirring episodes, which will be perused with commingled feelings of pain and admiration. Every youth, and particularly every one dwelling west of the Alleghanies, should study these episodes, and learn from them through what trials came their blessings.


Sweatland's Thrilling Hunting Adventure—Page 6.

Traditions and Romance
132Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for
the Southern District of New York.


On a September morning of the year 1817, Solomon Sweatland, of Conneaut, on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie, had risen at earliest dawn to enjoy his favorite amusement of hunting deer. Royal game was this, and hunted in royal parks, which the dukes and princes of haughty old England might envy, and, best of all, they were not barred from the poorest settler. There was no punishment for "poaching" on the magnificent prairies, and in the glorious forests of the West. The men who there slung their rifles over their shoulders, and set out, careless whether they met a fawn or a panther, would have sneered at an English hunting-ground as a bit of a handkerchief which one of their favorite "per-raries" could tuck away in her pocket and never feel it. Men who can "drive the nail" and "snuff a candle," three shots out of six, and who kill such dainty game as squirrels by blowing the breath out of them with the wind of their bullets instead of lacerating their little bodies with the ball; who have hand-to-hand, or hand-to-paw, tussles with ferocious grizzlies, and make nothing of two or three deer before breakfast, may afford to smile at their fox-hunting, partridge-shooting English cousins. Such were the men who first settled our now populous Western States; and we may well believe that the healthy and thrilling excitement of pursuits like these compensated for the want of many luxuries, and that they became so attached to their free and venturesome modes of life, as to feel stifled at the idea of the constraints of society.

"Their gaunt hounds yelled, their rifles flashed—
The grim bear hushed his savage growl;
134In blood and foam the panther gnashed
His fangs, with dying howl;
The fleet deer ceased its flying bound,
Its snarling wolf-foe bit the ground,
And, with a moaning cry,
The beaver sunk beneath the wound,
Its pond-built Venice by."

Fascinating, even in contemplation, is a life like this. It makes the blood tingle in the veins, the sinews stretch, and the lungs expand, to read of the scenes which cluster around it, and to breathe, in fancy, the pure air, and sweep, with our vision, the wide horizon.

But we must go back to our hunter, who stood, in the gray light of dawn, without coat or waistcoat, outside his cabin, listening to the baying of the dogs, as they drove the deer. In this part of the country, lying along the lake, it was the custom for one party, aided by dogs, to drive the deer into the water, when another would pursue them in boats, and when the game was a little tired, shoot it without difficulty. Sweatland had a neighbor who hunted with him in this manner, and he it was who had already started a noble buck, which dashed into the lake, while Sweatland stood listening for the direction of the dogs.

In the enthusiasm of the moment, he threw his hat on the beach, jumped into his canoe, and pulled out after the animal, every nerve thrilling with intense interest in the pursuit. The wind, which had been blowing steadily from the south during the night, had now increased to a gale, but he was too intent upon securing the valuable prize which was breasting the waves in advance, to heed the dictates of prudence. The race promised to be a long one, for the buck was a powerful animal, and was not easily to be beaten by a log canoe and a single paddle.

A considerable distance from the land had been obtained, and the canoe had already shipped a heavy sea, before he overtook the deer, which turned and made for the opposite shore. Upon tacking to pursue him, Sweatland was at once apprised of his danger by the fact that, with his utmost exertions, he not only made no progress in the desired direction, but was actually drifting out to sea. He had been observed, as he left the shore, by his neighbor, and also 135by his family, and as he disappeared from sight, great apprehension was felt for his safety.

The alarm was soon given in the neighborhood, and it was decided by those competent to judge, that his return would be impossible, and unless aid was afforded him, that he was doomed to perish.

Actuated by those generous impulses which often induce men to risk their own lives for the salvation of others, three neighbors took a light boat and started in search of the wanderer. They met the deer returning, but saw nothing of their friend. They made stretches off shore in the probable range of the hunter, until they reached a distance of five or six miles from land, when, meeting with a heavy sea, in which they thought it impossible for a canoe to live, and seeing no signs of it on the vast expanse of waters, they reluctantly, and not without danger to themselves, returned to shore, giving Sweatland up as lost.

Meantime, the object of their search was laboring at his paddle, in the vain hope that the wind might abate, or that aid might reach him from the shore.

"An antlered dweller of the wild
Had met his eager gaze,
And far his wandering steps beguiled
Within an unknown maze."

Willingly would he now have resigned every lordly buck of the forest, to warm himself by his cabin fire, hear the laugh of his little ones, and breathe the odor of the welcome breakfast—ay, even for his coat and a biscuit he would have given much.

One or two schooners were in sight in the course of the day, but although he made every effort to attract the notice of their crews, he failed to do so. For a long time the shore continued in sight, and as he traced its fast-receding outline, and recognized the spot where stood his home, within whose precincts were the cherished objects of his affection, now doubly dear from the prospect of losing them forever, he felt that the last tie which united him in companionship with his fellow-men was about to be dissolved—the world, with all its busy interests, was floating far away.

Sweatland possessed a cool head and a stout heart; these, united to considerable physical strength and power of endurance, fitted him 136for the emergency in which he found himself. He was a good sailor, and his experience taught him that "while there was life there was hope." Experience taught him also, as the outline of the far-off shore receded from sight, that his only expedient was to endeavor to reach the Canada shore, a distance of fifty miles.

It was now blowing a gale, so that it required the most incredible exertions to trim his uncouth vessel to the waves. He was obliged to stand erect, and move cautiously from one end to the other, well aware that one lost stroke of the paddle, or a tottering movement, would bring his voyage to a sudden termination. Much of his attention was likewise required in bailing out the canoe, which he managed to do with one of his shoes, which were a substantial pair of stogas. Hitherto he had been blessed by the light of day, but now, to add to his distress, night approached, and he could only depend upon a kind Providence to guide him over the watery waste. The sky, too, began to be overcast; an occasional star, glistening through the scudding clouds, was all the light afforded him through that long and fearful night.

Wet to the skin by the dashing spray; part of the time in water half way to his knees; so cold that his blood chilled in his veins, and almost famished, he felt that death was preferable to such long-continued suffering; and nothing but the thought of his family gave him courage to keep up his exertions.

When morning dawned, the outline of the Canada shore greeted his sight; he soon made the land in the vicinity of Long Point. Here he met additional difficulties in an adverse wind and heavy breakers, but the same hand which had guided him thus far remained with him still; he succeeded in safely landing. What his emotions were upon again treading "the green and solid earth," we may faintly imagine; but his trials were not ended. Faint with hunger and exhausted by fatigue, he was forty miles from human habitation, while the country which intervened was a desert, filled with marshes and tangled thickets, from which nothing could be drawn to supply his wants. These difficulties, together with his reduced state, made his progress toward the settlements very slow.

On his way he found a quantity of goods which had been thrown ashore from the wreck of some vessel, which, though they afforded 137no immediate relief, were afterward of service to him. After a long and toilsome march through the wilderness, he arrived at a settlement, where he was treated with great kindness by the people. When his strength was sufficiently recruited, he procured a boat, and went after the wrecked goods, which he found and brought off. He then started overland for Buffalo, where he disposed of part of his treasure, and with the proceeds furnished himself with a complete outfit. Here, finding the Traveler, Captain Brown, from Conneaut, in the harbor, he engaged passage on board of her. The Captain and crew, having heard of his disappearance, looked upon him almost as one risen from the dead. His story was so astonishing as hardly to be credible; but as he was there, in person, to verify it, they were obliged to believe the testimony.

Within a day or two, he was on his way to rejoin his family, who, the Captain informed him, had given him up, and were in great grief and distress. When the packet arrived opposite the house, the crew gave three loud, long and hearty cheers, and fired guns from the deck in token of joy, which led the family to anticipate his return.

On landing, he found that his funeral sermon had been preached, and had the rare privilege of seeing his own widow clothed in the habiliments of mourning.

Deer hunting, even down to a recent period, was a chosen amusement in Ohio. At this time the animal is only found in the great forests of the north-west counties of Paulding, Van Wart, Williams, etc., and in the heavy woods of Wyandot and Hardin counties. Sandusky Bay, an estuary of Lake Erie, and one of the most beautiful sheets of water in America, is yet a great sportsman's resort, though now chiefly for wild water-fowl, whose spring and fall season calls thither many a modern Nimrod. The writer of this has spent many a season among the marshes and overflow-lands at the head of the bay in pursuit of game which, with proper care, will continue for years to afford good gunning. Only keep out the murderous blunderbusses of certain Englishmen, which sweep away a whole flock of green-heads and canvas-backs at a shot. We have often been tempted to have arrested, as a common nuisance, these sneaking prowlers after "a shot for twenty birds—not a whit less." But it was not of 138birds we are to write. Sandusky Bay, in days gone by, used to afford rare sport in deer-hunting in the water. To illustrate:

The bay is bounded on the east by a narrow strip of sand and cedars, which divides it from Lake Erie. On the north is the peninsula, another strip of rich soil, once densely covered with forests, stretching far to the west. The sport practiced in early times was to drive the deer with dogs from Cedar Point and the peninsula into the water, when they would make for the opposite shore, above the town of Sandusky. The heads of the beautiful animals could be seen a great distance, as they glided along the surface of the clear waters. Then boats would put out, in each of which was a dog—no guns being allowed—the men being armed only with a knife. The deer always would scent the danger from afar, and, with extraordinary celerity, move off up the bay, followed by the boats. When a comparatively near approach was at length made, after hard pulling for two or three miles, the dogs were let loose. Being fresh, and the deer somewhat exhausted from their long swim, the dogs would gain on their prey rapidly, and soon the struggle in the water would commence—the noble bucks always receiving their enemy, while the ewes and fawns were kept out of harm's reach. The bucks were, if not too much exhausted, quite a match for the dogs. Not unfrequently their antlers would crimson the water with the blood of their canine foe. The boats, meanwhile, were but spectators of the contest, and only came up when their dogs showed signs of defeat. A good dog, however, generally succeeded in fastening to the throat of his prey, and there clung with such tenacity as to sink and rise with the buck, avoiding the terrific strokes of its hoofs by laying close to the deer's body. One blow of a fore-hoof has been known to smash the skull of a mastiff. The sport, to those in the boats, is exciting in the extreme; but strict honor used to govern the combats. The fawns and most of the ewes were permitted to escape, and the bucks were only slaughtered with the knife when it became evident that the dogs would be overpowered, or when some favorite mastiff brought his game to the boat in a conquered condition.

A startling adventure once occurred in the waters of the bay. A well-known hunter, named Dick Moxon, somewhat addicted to drink, one day saw a fine drove of deer coming in to land from the opposite 139shore. He at once advanced, knife in hand, into the water to his waist. The bucks, three of them, led the convoy, and made directly for their enemy to cover the retreat of the females. The hunter found himself in a position of imminent danger, and sought to retreat, but this the deer did not permit, as one of them drove him down into the water by a terrible butt with his ugly antlers. Moxon grappled the deer, but the animal trampled the hunter and kept him down. With great presence of mind, Moxon disappeared under water and swam for the shore, coming up a rod nearer the land. This dodge did not save him, however, for the infuriated bucks pursued, and soon the combat became terrible. Moxon cut right and left with his knife, making shocking wounds in the glistening bodies of the noble beasts; but the fight was not stayed, and the hunter's strength, so severely overtaxed in the first encounter in deep water, began to give way entirely. A few minutes more must have seen him down in the water under the hoofs of the frenzied animals. At this moment a woman appeared on the shore. It was Moxon's wife, whose cabin was not far distant in the woods. Sally Moxon was as "coarse as a cow, but brave as a catamount," as her husband always averred; and so she proved in this moment of Dick's peril. Seizing his rifle, which lay on the bank, she advanced to the rescue. One buck quickly fell from the well-aimed shot. Then she "clubbed" her gun, and made at the nearest beast with great caution. The buck made a furious dash at her, leaping at a bound out of the water, almost upon her, but Sally was wide awake, and was not caught by the ugly horns and hoofs. She struck the beast such a blow on its neck as broke both the gunstock and the buck's spinal column. With the rifle-barrel still in her hand, Sally then made for the last buck, a very savage fellow, who still confronted Dick in a threatening manner. The fight which followed was severe. Sally was knocked down into the water, but Moxon's knife saved his spouse from being "trampled into a pudding," as he afterward expressed it. With all his remaining strength, he seized the deer by the horns, while with his left hand he buried his knife to the hilt in the animal's shoulder. The deer fell in the water, and Moxon went down under him; but Sally was, by this time, on her feet again, and dragged Dick's almost inanimate form to the shore. The victory was 140complete, though Dick was so terribly bruised that the meat of the three bucks was long gone before the hunter could again go forth to kill more. The moral of the story is that he learned not only never to attack three bucks, single-handed, in four feet of water, but to let the whisky bottle alone.

The adventure which we are now about to chronicle is quite as marvelous as those above related, although of another character. It is deeply interesting, as illustrating one of the many phases of danger which constantly lurked on the steps of the pioneers. Startling as were the romantic realities of those early days, needing not the touch of fiction to heighten their interest, it will be confessed that few incidents can equal this for a novel combination of perils.

The family of John Lewis were the first settlers of Augusta, in the State of Virginia, and consisted of himself, his wife, and four sons, Thomas, William, Andrew and Charles. Of these, the first three were born in Ireland, from whence the family came, and the last was a native of Virginia.

Lewis was a man of wealth and station in the old country, and the cause of his present emigration to America was an attempt, on the part of a man of whom he hired some property, to eject him therefrom, which led to an affray, in which the noble landlord lost his life. Fearing, from the high standing of his antagonist, the desperate character of his surviving assailants, and the want of evidence to substantiate his case, that his life would be in danger if he stayed, Lewis fled the country, accompanied by a party of his tenantry, and settled in the then western wilds of Virginia.

The father appears to have been a man of remarkable force and energy, and all four of his sons rendered themselves conspicuous for deeds of daring and determined bravery during the early history of Western Virginia, and that of her infant sisters, Ohio and Kentucky, which would require volumes to relate.

Charles Lewis, the hero of this sketch, was, even in early youth, distinguished for those qualifications which have rendered the class to which he belonged—the Indian fighters—so remarkable among men. He was a young man when the Indians commenced their attacks upon the settlement of Western Virginia, but entered the contest with a zeal and courage which outstripped many of his 141older and more boastful compeers. His astonishing self-possession and presence of mind carried him safely through many a gallant exploit, which has rendered his name as familiar, and his fame as dear to the memories of the descendants of the early settlers, as household words. Cool, calm and collected in the face of danger, and quick-witted where others would be excited and tremulous, he was able to grasp on the instant the propitious moment for action, and render subservient to his own advantage the most trifling incident.

He was so unfortunate, on one occasion, as to be taken prisoner by a party of Indians while on a hunting excursion. Separated from his companions, he was surprised and surrounded before he was aware of his danger, and when he did become aware of his critical situation, he saw how futile it was to contend, and how reckless and fatal it must be to himself, should he kill one of his antagonists. He knew full well that the blood of his enemy would be washed out in his own, and that, too, at the stake; whereas, if he surrendered peaceably, he stood a chance of being adopted by the Indians as one of themselves. Revolving these things in his mind, he quietly delivered up his rifle to his captors, who rejoiced exceedingly over their prisoner. Bareheaded, with his arms bound tightly behind him, without a coat, and barefooted, he was driven forward some two hundred miles toward the Indian towns, his inhuman captors urging him on when he lagged, with their knives, and tauntingly reminding him of the trials which awaited him at the end of his journey. Nothing daunted, however, by their threats and menaces, he marched on in the weary path which led him further and further from his friends, perfectly tractable, so far as his body was concerned, but constantly busy in his mind with schemes of escape. He bided his time, and at length the wished-for moment came.

As the distance from the white settlements increased, the vigilance of the Indians relaxed, and his hopes strengthened. As the party passed along the edge of a precipice, some twenty feet high, at the foot of which ran a mountain torrent, he, by a powerful effort, broke the cords which bound his arms, and made the leap. The Indians, whose aim was to take him alive, followed him, and then commenced a race for life and liberty, which was rendered the more exciting by 142the fact that his pursuers were close upon him, and could at any moment have dispatched him. But such was not their desire, and on, on he sped, now buoyed up by hope as his recent captors were lost to sight, and anon despairing of success as he crossed an open space which showed them almost at his heels. At length, taking advantage of a thicket, through which he passed, and which hid him from their sight for a moment, he darted aside and essayed to leap a fallen tree which lay across his path. The tangled underbrush and leaves which grew thickly around and almost covered the decaying trunk, tripped him as he leaped, and he fell with considerable force on the opposite side. For an instant he was so stunned by the fall as to lose his consciousness, but soon recovered it to find that the Indians were searching every nook in his immediate vicinity, and that he had fallen almost directly upon a large rattlesnake which had thrown itself into the deadly coil so near his face that his fangs were within a few inches of his nose. Is it possible for the most vivid imagination to conceive of a more horrible and terrifying situation?

The pursuit of his now highly exasperated and savage enemies, who thirsted for his recapture that they might wreak upon him an appalling revenge, which of itself was a danger calculated to thrill the nerves of the stoutest system, had now become a secondary fear, for death in one of its most terrifying and soul-sickening forms was vibrating on the tongue, and darting from the eye of the reptile before him, so near, too, that the vibratory motion of his rattle as it waved to and fro, caused it to strike his ear. The slightest movement of a muscle—a convulsive shudder—almost the winking of an eyelid, would have been the signal for his death. Yet, in the midst of this terrible danger, his presence of mind did not leave him, but like a faithful friend did him good service in his hour of trial. Knowing the awful nature of his impending fate, and conscious that the slightest quivering of a nerve would precipitate it, he scarcely breathed, and the blood flowed feebly through his veins as he lay looking death in the eye. Surrounded thus by double peril, he was conscious that three of the Indians had passed over the log behind which he lay without observing him, and disappeared in the dark recesses of the forest. Several minutes—which to him were as many 143hours—passed in this terrifying situation, until the snake, apparently satisfied that he was dead, loosed his threatening coil, and passing directly over his body, was lost to sight in the luxuriant growth of weeds which grew up around the fallen tree. Oh! what a thrill—what a revulsion of feeling shook his frame as he was relieved from this awful suspense. Tears—tears of joyous gratitude coursed down his cheeks as he poured out his heart to God in thankfulness for his escape. "I had eaten nothing," said he to his companions, after his return, "for many days; I had no fire-arms, and I ran the risk of dying with hunger before I could reach the settlements; but rather would I have died than have made a meal of that generous beast."[1] He was still in imminent danger from the Indians, who knew that he had hidden in some secluded spot, and were searching with the utmost zeal every nook and corner to find him. He was fortunate enough, however, to escape them, and after a weary march through the wilderness, during which he suffered intensely from hunger, he reached the settlements.

1.  It was no unusual thing for hungry hunters, like the Indians, to dine upon broiled rattlesnake!


It is much to be regretted that the chronicles of the war of the Revolution in the South are so meager in personal incidents. There can be but one reason for this: the want of a local historian to gather up and preserve in print the details of the contest, ere the actors of those stirring scenes had passed from the stage—for the wild and stirring adventures of "Marion's Men," and of others in North and South Carolina, must have been as full of romance as the heart of the historian could desire.

It is fortunate that one of Marion's officers did wield the pen a little, as well as the sword. Colonel Horry served under General Marion. His adventures were numerous and some of them amusing. He left a manuscript memoir, giving the particulars of some of his exploits, among others the one illustrated in our engraving.

144He was brave, and ambitious of distinction. This ambition led him to desire a command of cavalry rather than of infantry. But he was no rider—was several times unhorsed in combat, and was indebted to the fidelity of his soldiers for his safety. On one occasion his escape was more narrow from a different cause. Crossing the swamp at Lynch's Creek, to join Marion, in the dark, and the horse swimming, he encountered the bough of a tree, to which he clung while his horse passed from under him. He was no swimmer, and but for timely assistance from his followers would have been drowned.

Another story is told of him which places him in a scarcely less ludicrous attitude:

He was ordered by Marion to await, in ambush, the approach of a British detachment. The duty was executed with skill: the enemy was completely in his power. But he labored under an impediment in his speech, which we may readily suppose was greatly increased by anxiety and excitement. The word "Fire!" stuck in his throat, as "amen" did in that of Macbeth. The emergency was pressing, but this only increased the difficulty. In vain did he make the attempt. He could say: "Fi—fi—fi!" but he could get no further; the "er" was incorrigible. At length, irritated almost to madness, he exclaimed:

"Shoot, d—n you, shoot! you know what I would say! Shoot, and be d——d to you!"

He was present, and acted bravely, in almost every affair of consequence, in the brigade of Marion. At Quimly, Captain Baxter, a man distinguished by his great strength and courage, as well as size, and by equally great simplicity of character, cried out:

"I am wounded, Colonel!"

"Think no more of it, Baxter," was the answer of Horry, "but stand to your post."

"But I can't stand," says Baxter, "I am wounded a second time."

"Lie down then, Baxter, but quit not your post."

"They have shot me again, Colonel," said the wounded man, "and if I stay any longer here, I shall be shot to pieces."

"Be it so, Baxter, but stir not," was the order, which the brave fellow obeyed, receiving a fourth wound ere the engagement was over.


Colonel Horry and Captain Merritt's Conflict.—Page 15.

147Another adventure is thus related by Horry himself: "I was sent," he writes, "by General Marion to reconnoiter Georgetown. I proceeded with a guide through the woods all night. At the dawn of day, I drew near the town. I laid an ambuscade, with thirty men and three officers, near the road. About sunrise a chair appeared with two ladies escorted by two British officers. I was ready in advance with an officer to cut them off, but reflecting that they might escape, and alarm the town, which would prevent my taking greater numbers, I desisted. The officers and chair halted very near me, but soon the chair went on, and the officers galloped in retrograde into the town. Our party continued in ambush, until ten o'clock, A. M. Nothing appearing, and men and horses having eaten nothing for thirty-six hours, we were hungered, and retired to a plantation of my quartermaster's, a Mr. White, not far distant. There a curious scene took place. As soon as I entered the house, four ladies appeared, two of whom were Mrs. White and her daughter. I was asked what I wanted. I answered, food, refreshment. The other two ladies were those whom I had seen escorted by the British officers. They seemed greatly agitated, and begged most earnestly that I would go away, for the family was very poor, had no provisions of any sort—that I knew that they were Whigs, and surely would not add to their distress. So pressing were they for my immediately leaving the plantation, that I thought they had more in view than they pretended. I kept my eyes on Mrs. White, and saw she had a smiling countenance, but said nothing. Soon she left the room, and I left it also and went into the piazza, laid my cap, sword and pistols on the long bench, and walked the piazza;—when I discovered Mrs. White behind the house chimney beckoning me. I got to her, undiscovered by the young ladies, when she said: 'Colonel Horry, be on your guard; these two ladies, Miss F— and M—, are just from Georgetown; they are much frightened, and I believe the British are leaving it and may soon attack you. As to provisions, which they make such a rout about, I have plenty for your men and horses in yonder barn, but you must affect to take them by force. Hams, bacon, rice and fodder are there. You must insist on the key of the barn, and threaten to split the door with an ax if not immediately opened.' I begged her to say no more, for I was 148well acquainted with all such matters—to leave the ladies and every thing else to my management. She said 'Yes; but do not ruin us: be artful and cunning, or Mr. White may be hanged and all our houses burned over our heads.' We both secretly returned, she to the room where the young ladies were, and I to the piazza I had just left."

This little narrative will give some idea of the straits to which the good whig matrons of Carolina were sometimes reduced in those days. But no time was allowed Horry to extort the provisions as suggested. He had scarcely got to the piazza when his videttes gave the alarm. Two shots warned him of the approach of the foe, and forgetting that his cap, saber and pistols lay on the long bench on the piazza, Horry mounted his horse, left the inclosure, and rushed into the melée. The British were seventeen in number, well mounted and commanded by a brave fellow named Merritt. The dragoons, taken by surprise, turned in flight, and, smiting at every step, the partisans pursued them with fatal earnestness. But two men are reported to have escaped death or captivity, and they were their Captain and a Sergeant. It was in approaching to encounter Merritt that Horry discovered that he was weaponless. "My officers," says he, "in succession, came up with Captain Merritt, who was in the rear of his party, urging them forward. They engaged him. He was a brave fellow. Baxter, with pistols, fired at his breast, and missing him, retired; Postelle and Greene, with swords, engaged him; both were beaten off. Greene nearly lost his head. His buckskin breeches were cut through several inches. I almost blush to say that this one British officer beat off three Americans." The honor of the day was decidedly with Merritt, though he was beaten. He was no doubt a far better swordsman than our self-taught cavalry, with broadswords wrought out of mill-saws. Merritt abandoned his horse, and escaped to a neighboring swamp, from whence, at midnight, he got into Georgetown.

Colonel Horry, after the war, met Captain Merritt in New York, when the latter recognized him, and in the interview which followed, confessed, that although so desperate in his self-defense he was never more frightened in his life.

"Believe me, sir," said he, "when I assure you that I went out 149that morning with my locks as bright an auburn as ever curled upon the forehead of youth, but by the time I had crawled out of the swamp into Georgetown that night, they were as gray as a badger!"

If this is true, he must indeed have been wofully frightened, for the records of such an effect of terror are few and far between. One of Byron's heroes says that

"His locks grew white,
In a single night."

But that was with grief, and not with fear.

Horry's award of praise to the British Captain for his courage in beating off three of his own men, was both generous and ingenious, when it is considered that the Englishman was a scientific swordsman, possessing a superior weapon, while his antagonists were self-taught, and their swords, if not beaten out of "plowshares," were veritably made out of mill-saws.

In one of his numerous encounters, while his men were individually engaged and scattered through the woods around him, he suddenly found himself alone, and assailed by a Tory Captain, named Lewis, at the head of a small party. Lewis was armed with a musket, and in the act of firing, when an unexpected shot from the woods tumbled him off his horse, in the very moment when his own gun was discharged. The bullet of Lewis took effect on Horry's horse. The shot which so seasonably slew the Tory was sent by the hand of a boy named Given.

Colonel Horry gives, in his memoirs, a good illustration of the mingled firmness and forbearance with which Marion enforced discipline amidst men and circumstances not any too easily governed. Marion had placed one of his detachments at the plantation of George Crofts, on Tampit Creek. This person had proved invariably true to the American cause; had supplied the partisans frequently, though secretly, with munitions of war, cattle and provisions. He was an invalid, however, suffering from a mortal infirmity, which compelled his removal, for medical attendance, to Georgetown, then in possession of the enemy. During the absence of the family, Marion placed a Sergeant in the house for its protection. This guard was expelled from the premises by two officers of the brigade, who stripped the house of its contents. Colonel Horry disclosed these facts to 150General Marion—the Colonel having received them from Mrs. Crofts, who had pointed to the sword of her husband hanging by the side of the principal offender. The indignation of Marion was not apt to expend itself in words. Redress was promised to the complainant, and she was dismissed.

The offenders were men of some influence, and had a small faction in the brigade, which had already proved troublesome, and which might easily become dangerous. One of them was a Major, the other a Captain. They were in command of a company of men known as the Georgia Refugees. Upon the minds of these men the offenders had already sought to act, in reference to the expected collision with their General.

Marion dispatched Horry to the person who had possession of the sword of Crofts, with a formal demand for the weapon. He refused to give it up, alleging that it was his, and taken in war.

"If the General wants it," he added, "let him come for it himself."

When this reply was communicated to Marion, he instructed Horry to renew the demand. His purpose seems to have been, discovering the temper of the offender, to gain the necessary time. His officers, meanwhile, were gathering around him. He was making his preparations for a struggle which might be bloody—which might, indeed, involve, not only the safety of the brigade, but his own future usefulness. Horry, with proper spirit, entreated not to be sent again to the refractory officer, giving as the reason for his reluctance, that, in consequence of the previous rudeness of the other, he was not in the mood to tolerate a repetition of the indignity, and might, if irritated, be provoked to violence.

Marion then dispatched his orderly to the guilty Major, with a civil request that he might see him at head-quarters. The Major appeared, accompanied by the Captain who had joined him in the outrage, and under whose influence he appeared to act. Marion renewed his demand, in person, for the sword of Crofts. The Major again refused to deliver it, asserting that Crofts was a Tory, even then with the enemy in Georgetown.

"Will you deliver me the sword, Major?" repeated the General.

"I will not."

151"At these words," says Horry, in his memoirs, I could forbear no longer, and said with great warmth, and a great oath: "Did I, sir, command this brigade, as you do, I would hang them both in half an hour!"

Marion sternly replied:

"This is none of your business, sir; they are before me! Sergeant of the guard, bring me a file of men with loaded arms and fixed bayonets."

"I was silent," added Horry. "All our field-officers in camp were present, and they had put their hands to their swords in readiness to draw. My own sword was already drawn."

In the regular service, with officers bred up to the severe sense of authority considered necessary to proper discipline, the offender would probably have been hewn down in the moment of disobedience. The effect of such a measure, in this instance, might have been most unhappy. The esprit du corps might have prompted the Major's immediate followers to have resisted, and, though annihilated, as Horry says they would have been, yet several valuable lives would have been lost, which their country could ill spare. The mutiny would have been put down, but at what a price!

The patience and prudence of Marion's character taught him forbearance. His mildness, by putting the offender entirely in the wrong, so justified his severity, as to disarm the followers of the criminals, who were about sixty in number.

Horry continues: "The purpose of the officers was, to call upon these men for support—we well knew they meant, if possible, to intimidate Marion, so as to compel him to come into their measures of plunder and Tory killing. The affair, fortunately, terminated without any bloodshed. The prudence of the General had its effect. The delay gave time to the offender for reflection. Perhaps, looking around upon their followers, they saw no consenting spirit of mutiny in their eyes; for, though many of the refugees were present, none offered to back the mutinous officers—and when the guard which was ordered appeared in sight, the companion of the offender was seen to touch the arm of the other, who then proffered the sword to Marion, saying:

"'General, you need not have sent for the guard.'"

152Marion, refusing to receive it, referred him to the Sergeant of the guard, and thus, doubly degraded, the dishonored Major of the Continentals disappeared from sight, followed by his associate.

Another one of Marion's bravest men was Sergeant Jasper, of whom the readers of a former number have already heard in connection with the melancholy and romantic story of the young Creole girl, who followed him to camp, in the disguise of a soldier, and sacrificed her life to preserve that of the man she loved, by rushing in between him and the shot aimed at his breast.

Sergeant William Jasper, at the time of the affair which we are about to relate, belonged to the Second regiment of the South Carolina militia, having enlisted under Marion, who was then a Captain. Jasper, from the day of his entering the camp, had been proverbial for his bravery. His coolness and valor in times of emergency, and more than all, his utter disregard of danger, had won for him the golden opinions of his comrades, with the esteem and confidence of his commander. Jasper possessed remarkable talents and capacity for a scout. Bold, active and shrewd, with a frame capable of every endurance—the result of a hardy, backwoods life—and retaining those noble qualities of bravery and generosity which were the shining points of his character, he was admirably adapted for that dangerous but important branch of the service. Combining, in happy harmony, so many virtues, it is not surprising that he won the affections of his associates, and the entire confidence of his commander, who was so assured of his fitness that he granted him a roving commission, with full power to select from the brigade such men and as many as he should think proper. But of these he never, or seldom, selected more than six or eight, preferring, by this small band, celerity and secrecy. He was almost universally successful, often penetrating the enemy's camp, or cutting off his rear or advanced guard, and then returning with his prisoners, or his information, according to the circumstances of the case. So rapid were his movements, that he has been known to disappear from the camp and return again with his prisoners, ere his absence was noticed by the commandant. He would often enter the enemy's camp as a deserter, and complaining of the ill usage he had received from his countrymen, so gain upon their confidence, that he would completely disarm 153them of his real intentions, and after satisfying himself of their strength, position, intentions, and the like, would return and report his knowledge to the commander. On one of these occasions, he remained in the enemy's camp eight days, and then returned, after first informing himself of every thing necessary that could be of any use to his General. This game, however, could be played but once. Never at a loss how to proceed, he, with his usual promptness, devised other ways and means to gain his information.

It was while he was in the employment of one of these roving expeditions, that he prepared to again enter the camp of the British at Ebenezer. It so happened that he had a brother at this post, who was in the employ of the enemy—a melancholy instance among many other cases of a like nature, which occurred during the war—who was a Tory, and who held the same rank in the British army that he possessed in the American. The brothers were equally dear to each other, though opposite in political sentiment.

William Jasper loved his brother in the natural warmth of his generous heart, and wished to see him. He also wished to inform himself of the enemy's movements. With this double object in his mind, he therefore prepared for his departure, taking with him only one companion, a brave young fellow, like himself, who had shared with him many a "happy hunt," as he termed it, to the united honor of both. This young officer's name was Newton, holding the same rank in the service as Jasper, namely, a Sergeant.

It was about sunset when the two young officers left the camp for their destination. Passing the American lines, they proceeded on rapidly toward the British camp, which lay some few miles from Abercorn. Taking the direct road to the latter place, they traveled rapidly until they arrived in sight of the encamped British force, at Abercorn.

"We must now make a detour," said Jasper, halting, "in order to avoid the British at this place, and not be discovered. Our route lies to the south-east a little, and to shorten the journey, we must pass yonder forest, the southern side of which borders upon a small lake or pond, a very convenient place for a respite after the toils and fatigues of a whole day's travel. I have often met straggling parties of Tories or British in this forest, or around the margin of the lake, 154and it is necessary, therefore, to proceed carefully while passing it. Just beyond the lake is a small hill, from the summit of which the town of Ebenezer can be seen some three or four miles distant. After we pass this forest and hill, we must observe the utmost silence and scrutiny, for we are then in the immediate vicinity of and between the two British posts, which will necessarily place us in a double danger from the meeting of scouts or Tories from either or both camps."

With these directions the two now resumed their journey, taking a small path leading to the left, and directly in line of the forest. A few minutes of brisk walking brought them to the outskirts of the forest, which was an extensive piece of woodland, stretching with occasional intervals far to the south-east, interrupted by a few broken and uneven ranges of hills, somewhat elevated, but scarcely sufficiently so to be called mountains. On the left of our travelers, the forest broke off abruptly, a short distance above them, while its width was about a quarter of a mile. It was quite dark ere they reached the woods, which seemed to them almost impenetrable, having nothing but the faint glimmering of the stars to guide them. The day had been very clear, however, which left the atmosphere perfectly free, with nothing to interrupt the twinklings of the little suns in the distant spheres.

As they entered the forest, they turned to the right, and struck into the main road leading from Abercorn. They had proceeded some fifty yards, when Jasper's accustomed ear caught the sound of horses' hoofs upon the dry soil, moving somewhat rapidly toward them. Motioning his comrade to halt, he remained an instant listening to the sound, and then darted off into the thicket on his left, quickly followed by Newton. Scarcely were they concealed behind a thick cluster of small cedars, ere the horsemen, for such they proved to be, came up. Jasper instantly recognized them as a party of British horse, bound on some scouting expedition. Halting directly opposite to our travelers, two of them, who appeared to be the leaders of the squad, dismounted and withdrew a short distance. The road, at this place, was considerably wider than the usual width, which caused a small opening in the wood, and which seemed a very convenient situation for a halt. As the officers retired, they fortunately 155came directly abreast of the cedars, behind which Jasper and his comrade were ensconced, so that their conversation could easily be distinguished by both of the latter.

"Our prisoners are no doubt safely within the lines of Ebenezer, ere this," began the first, "unless rescued by some of their rebel brethren, which I think can hardly be the case, as we were close to the town when we left them."

"No fear of that, Lieutenant," replied the second, "for the rebel dogs would not dare to be so audacious."

"I am not so sure of that," exclaimed the other, doubtingly; "that Jasper has the audacity of Satan himself, and if he should be in the neighborhood, I should almost fear for our prisoners. However, if they are once within the lines, no power will save them, as I am assured by the commandant that they will be sent to Savannah for trial and execution, which will have the effect of intimidating, at least, these rebel curs from further marauding expeditions;" and he chuckled with an air of self-satisfaction at the thought of their petty victory.

"Well, be that as it may, Lieutenant," replied his comrade, "it is another letter in our catalogue of victories, which serves to make us more popular with the commandant. In either case, we get our thanks, you know, and that is something toward elevating us toward our desired height."

"True," rejoined the Lieutenant. "But let us not waste more time and words than is necessary. Let me see," he added, thoughtfully, "we will pursue our course north to Abercorn, and deliver our message to the commander, and then shape our proceedings as shall seem most fit."

With these words, the two officers mounted their horses, and were soon lost to view, with their party, on the road to the northern station.

Jasper and his friend now emerged from their place of concealment, and taking the road opposite to the direction of the royalists, resumed their journey.

"So, so," exclaimed Jasper, as they hurried along, "they have taken some 'rebel curs' prisoners, have they? And they will no doubt give them the benefit of 'short shrift and sudden cord,' if they 156act in consonance with their general character. But we must endeavor to rescue them, if their guard is not too strong for us, which I hardly think will be the case, as they will have no fear of such a thing in the immediate vicinity of their own lines."

"It is a hazardous undertaking, Jasper," replied Newton, "and must be attended with a great deal of risk, as, you know, the enemy occupy every point of note between this and Savannah; and besides, there is scarcely an hour of the day that some of their scouting-parties do not prowl between the posts."

"So much the more glory if we succeed," said the noble Jasper; "and if we fail, why then we share their fate. And we could not sacrifice ourselves in a nobler cause. There is another reason why we should endeavor to rescue them, and that is, they are prisoners, and will, no doubt, be driven to their execution within the walls of Savannah without even the right of a trial; for the British are notorious for their bloody propensities, and seek to vent their hate upon poor captives in a cruel and shameful manner."

"I am certainly of your opinion," said Newton, "still we must not be impetuous. Our country needs all the help she can command, and she does not require us to sacrifice our lives in endeavoring to accomplish impossibilities. However, we shall soon see."

The officers had now nearly reached the limits of the forest, and taking the right of two roads which here joined, they were presently in the open country. Nothing of importance occurred to them during the rest of the journey, which was accomplished in safety to the British lines. Arriving at the advanced guard, and having left Newton concealed until his return, Jasper promptly gave the password, and soon found himself within the enemy's camp. Passing on hastily, he entered his brother's quarters, whom he found just about issuing forth to detail a file of men for special duty to guard the prisoners recently captured, having been sent into Ebenezer on their way to Savannah for trial.

These prisoners had taken up arms against their countrymen at the beginning of the contest; but as the British had been in a measure overthrown, they again joined the ranks of the patriots, and on being taken, were to be executed. This was only one instance of hundreds of others who had acted similarly.

157The brothers Jasper were mutually rejoiced to see each other; but the Tory shook his head doubtfully as he beheld his brother again within the British camp, after having so shrewdly deceived them on a former occasion. But William Jasper quickly reassured his mind on this point, and bade him be under no uneasiness.

Having ascertained from his brother the number of men who were to conduct the prisoners to Savannah, at what time they intended to leave, and also making such other inquiries as he deemed proper, Jasper bade him adieu, and soon sought his comrade, Newton, whom he found anxiously waiting his return.

"I have received information from my brother," he said, "that these prisoners leave to-morrow morning at sunrise for Savannah, under a guard of eight men, and accompanied by a Sergeant and a Corporal. The odds is not so very great after all; and I think by a little stratagem and boldness we can succeed in rescuing them. At all events, let us make the trial."

But Jasper's friend was not so sure of success. Ten to two, and those two unarmed, seemed to him too great odds to contend with, as having any chance of succeeding. But when Jasper related to him that one of these prisoners was a woman who had a young child, and that she was the wife of one of the captured men, his heart was touched at the melancholy spectacle, and he instantly coincided with his friend that they should attempt their rescue. This being their conclusion, they conferred as to the best means of accomplishing the desired object. This was soon decided upon. They determined to linger around the fortifications until they should see the prisoners, with their guard, set out for the place of destination, and then follow their footsteps until a convenient opportunity offered to put into force the execution of their design. Accordingly, selecting a secure concealment near the lines to await the approach of dawn, they threw themselves upon the ground, and being somewhat fatigued, soon fell asleep. The day was just beginning to emerge ere Jasper awoke, so sound had been his rest, and springing up, he aroused his friend.

All was activity in the British camp. Men were hurrying to and fro, preparing for the duties of the day. In fact, the whole camp seemed to be astir to Jasper and his comrade, as they issued 158from their place of concealment to watch the movements of the enemy.

They had not proceeded far before their attention was arrested by a file of soldiers marching out into the inclosure and then coming to a halt, as though waiting further orders. Presently a body of men, with their arms pinioned, was marched directly to their front. Dividing their force, the prisoners were placed in the center, with a portion of their guard in front and rear. Every thing being now in readiness, the whole party started off toward their destined point, leaving the village at the southern extremity.

Jasper and his companion now made a circuit of the village, so as not to be discovered, and in order to place themselves on the track of the troop. Having secured a suitable distance from the guard, they followed them silently, watching their opportunity when to make the endeavor. In this way they continued to track their friends and their guards for some time, without any prospect of accomplishing their design, until they were within two miles of Savannah. They had become nearly discouraged, when Jasper suddenly recollected that just ahead of them there was a noted spring, at which place they conjectured the guard would halt, with their prisoners, to refresh themselves. The spring was known to travelers, who, when journeying that way, seldom or never passed it without tasting its crystalline waters. Jasper and Newton were right in their conjectures. Arriving opposite the spring, the guard halted their prisoners in the road under the shade of a large oak-tree, which stood just on the margin of the road, and between that and the spring. Our heroes, however, had reached the spring before the British, having taken an obscure path with which they were well acquainted, and placing themselves in ambush, awaited the arrival of the enemy.

The day was warm, and as the guard halted, the prisoners, glad to rest their wearied limbs after so long a march, threw themselves upon the earth under the shade of the tree, little dreaming of the succor so near at hand. Very soon after, they were conducted to the spring by the Corporal with four men. The remainder of the guard were under the charge of the Sergeant, who halted them on the road a short distance from the spring, and having ordered them 159to stack their arms, brought up the rear. After having sufficiently quenched their thirst, the whole party returned, leaving two men on guard of the arms which were all stacked near the spring. These two men kept guard but indifferently. They had nothing to fear within so short a distance of the fortress at Savannah, conscious of being surrounded by none of their foes, and inclosed within the very stronghold of the British lines. It is not surprising that they should not maintain a very strict watch under such circumstances.

The propitious moment for the daring and hazardous attempt was drawing near, which was eagerly watched by Jasper and his comrade in their adjoining ambush.

The localities of the place, the position of the guard, the nearness of the ambush—in short, every thing seemed most appropriate and advantageous.

The spring, as we have said, was situated on the left, within a few feet of the road, between which and the water stood the arms of the guard in charge of the two men, who were lazily employed in watching the bubblings of the fountain, and then tracing its clear waters as they flowed silently off in a small rivulet in a winding direction, until lost in the thick foliage a few rods below. Beyond, and in full view, were the walls and fortifications of Savannah, almost within hailing distance of the spot which our heroes have rendered immortal by their daring achievement.

The remaining guard stood in a group on the opposite side of the road, conversing freely and gayly, and utterly unconscious of the presence of an enemy, while the prisoners were reclining under the stately oak, a little on the left of the British.

The two soldiers were conversing cheerfully, having seated themselves by the side of the spring, little dreaming that this colloquy was destined to be their last.

Presently, the two arose, and leaning their muskets against a small tree, close to where Jasper and his comrade lay concealed, they proceeded to fill their canteens with the refreshing draught of the spring.

At this moment Jasper gave the signal. Springing out from their ambush, he and his companion seized the loaded weapons, and instantly leveling them, shot the two soldiers dead upon the ground. 160Then rushing upon the guard, they clubbed their muskets, and assailing two of the remaining soldiers, who were in advance of the rest, they felled them to the earth, and before the astonished guard could recover from their surprise, they rushed to the stack of arms, and with presented weapons, instantly demanded the surrender of the whole troop. The British officers seeing their perilous situation, and noticing the determined looks of Jasper and Newton, and being withal deprived of their arms, complied with their demand, and yielded themselves and their men as prisoners of war. To set free the captives was but the work of an instant, and placing the muskets of the captured British into their hands, Jasper ordered the irons to be placed upon the new prisoners; and then hurrying away from this spot, which they have immortalized with a name not soon to be forgotten, they crossed the Savannah with both friends and foes, and were soon rapidly marching toward the American camp.

Thus was this noble act achieved, of which history furnishes but few parallels; and which strikingly illustrates the coolness, determination and bravery, which ever characterized the noble-hearted Jasper. But, unfortunately for his country, she was soon destined to lose his valuable services, when, in the very hey-day of his youth, he sealed his patriotism with his heart's blood before the walls of Savannah.



Elerson's Twenty-Five Mile Race—Page 32.

163Among the members of that celebrated rifle corps, commanded by Daniel Morgan, to which we already have referred, was a man by the name of Elerson, who, in deeds of daring and intrepidity, was almost a match for Timothy Murphy, whose frequent companion he was when on an expedition against their mutual enemies, the Tories, red-coats, and Indians. Quick of perception, rapid in his conclusions and his actions, light of foot, and brave as a lion, he was an enemy whom the Indians feared, and a friend whom all reckoned as second only to the renowned Murphy himself. The corps to which these celebrated marksmen belonged was attached to the expedition of Generals Clinton and Sullivan against the Six Nations in 1779. Elerson was with Clinton when that officer halted at Otsego Lake, to await the coming up of his superior, from the direction of Wyoming. While the army lay at this place, Elerson rambled off from the main body, in search of adventure, and pulse for the dinner of the mess to which he belonged. Regardless of danger, he wandered about until he had procured a quantity of the weed, when he prepared to return to camp. It seems that he had been discovered and tracked by a party of Indians, who determined upon his capture. As he was adjusting his burden, he heard a rustling of the leaves near him. Looking in the direction indicated, he discovered a band of six or eight Indians, stationed between him and the camp, so as to cut off his retreat in that direction, and who were in the act of springing upon him. Conscious of their object—for he might have been shot down with ease—he determined to foil them if in his power, knowing full well the fate of a prisoner in their hands. Seizing his rifle, he dropped his bundle, and fled through the only avenue left open for his escape, followed by the whole pack, hooting and yelling at his heels. As he started to run, half a dozen tomahawks were hurled at him, and came whizzing and flying through the air. Fortunately but one reached its object, and that nearly cut the middle finger from his left hand. With the agility of the hunted stag, Elerson bounded over an old brushwood fence which stood in his path, and darted into the shades of the forest, followed by his no less rapid pursuers. Aware that the course he had taken was away from the camp—so also were his enemies—he prepared himself for a mighty effort, trusting that an opportunity would offer to "double" and find his way back. Vain hope! The Indians, aware that such would naturally be his aim, took care to prevent it by spreading themselves somewhat in the form of a crescent; but, in so doing, they nearly lost sight of their prey. Fearful that he might escape, they discharged their rifles—hoping to wound or kill him—but with no effect. The brave fellow tried every nerve to outstrip, and every stratagem and device to mislead his savage pursuers; but they were too cunning to be deceived, and kept on his track with the ardor of blood-hounds. Four long hours the chase continued 164thus, until overtasked nature threatened to give way, and yield him to the tomahawk and scalping-knives of his enemies. Like some powerful engine, his heart was forcing the blood through his distended and throbbing veins, which were swollen to bursting with the mighty efforts of the chase. His breath came short and rapid, betokening a speedy termination of the race, unless a breathing spell was afforded him. An opportunity at last was offered, when, having, as he thought, outstripped his pursuers for a moment, he halted in a little lonely dell to recover his waning strength. His hope was destined to disappointment, however, for the circle closed in upon him, and the bust of an Indian presented itself at a slight opening in front. He raised his rifle to fire, but at that moment a shot from his rear admonished him that danger was all around; another took effect in his side, and warned him of the danger of delay. The Indian in front had disappeared, and he hastened forward, with the love of life still strong in his breast. The wound in his side bled freely, although only a flesh-wound, and therefore not dangerous nor painful. It served, however, to track him by, and, conscious of the fact, he managed to tear a strip from his hunting-shirt and staunch the blood. On, on went pursuer and pursued—over hill and dale, brook, stream-let and running stream—through brier and bramble, through field and wood—until the parched and burning tongue of the fugitive protruded from his mouth swelled to such distention as almost to stop his breathing. Exhausted nature could do no more; he threw himself prostrate on the bank of a tiny brook, resolved to yield the contest for the sake of a hearty draught of its clear, sparkling waters. He bathed his brow in the cool element, and drank deeply of its reviving virtues. Raising his head, he discovered the foremost of the now scattered and equally exhausted enemy, crossing the brow of a ridge over which he had just passed. The instinct of preservation was awakened afresh in his bosom at the sight; he started to his feet and raised his rifle, but failing strength would not allow of a certain aim, and an empty weapon would insure his death. Another moment, and he would be at the mercy of his enemy, without hope or chance of life. Again he raised his trusty rifle, and, steadying its barrel against a sapling, he secured his aim, fired, and the Indian fell headlong in death. Before the echoes of the report 165had died away in the neighboring hills, he beheld the remainder of the band of eager, hungry pursuers coming over the ridge; he then felt that his minutes indeed were numbered. Hidden partially by the tree behind which he stood, they did not discover him, however; and while they paused over the body of their fallen comrade, he made another attempt to fly. He staggered forward—fell—and, exerting his failing powers to the utmost, he managed to reach a thicket of young trees, overgrown with wild vines, into which he threw himself with the energy of desperation. Fortune favored him; he discovered the rotten trunk of a fallen tree, whose hollow butt, hidden and screened by the deep shadow of the surrounding foliage, offered an asylum from the impending death which seemed so near. The approaching steps of the savages quickened his movements, as he crawled head first into the recess, which was barely large enough to admit his person. Here he lay within hearing of the efforts made to discover his hiding-place, until they died away in the distance. Conscious, however, that the Indians would search long and anxiously for him, he lay in this situation for two days and nights. When he ventured out he knew not which way to turn, but striking off at random, he soon emerged upon a clearing near Cobbleskill—a distance of twenty-five miles from his place of starting. The brave fellow had earned his liberty; and the Indians never ceased to recur to the race, with grunts of approbation at the white man's power of endurance.

Another race for life, not so lengthy, but equally exciting while it lasted, is related in the historical records of Kentucky—that State whose infancy was "baptized in blood." William Kennan, a brother spirit of Kenton, Hunt, and Boone, a ranger renowned for strength and courage, had joined the expedition of St. Clair against the Indians. In the course of the march from Fort Washington he had repeated opportunities of testing his surprising powers, and was admitted to be the swiftest runner of the light corps. This expedition of St. Clair was organized after the disastrous defeat of Harmar by the Indians, in 1779. Washington, who was at this time President, determined to employ a force sufficient to crush out the savages. This force was to have been two thousand regular troops, composed of cavalry, infantry and artillery, and a large number of 166militia which were ordered to move from the several States in which they had been enlisted, toward Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, where the men rendezvoused in September. The object of the campaign was to establish a line of posts, stretching from the Ohio to the Maumee, to build a strong post on the latter river, and by leaving in it a garrison of a thousand men, to enable the commander of the fort to send out detachments to keep the Indians in awe. But there was difficulty about organizing the army, St. Clair being very unpopular in Kentucky; the season was far advanced before he took the field, and when he did, he had only about two thousand men all told, and from these, desertions were continually taking place. The Kentucky levies were reckless and ungovernable, the conscripts from the other States were dissatisfied, and to make matters worse, the mountain leader, a Chickasaw chief, whose knowledge of Indian tactics would have been invaluable, losing faith in the success of the whites, abandoned the enterprise with his band of warriors.

St. Clair, however, continued his march; and on the evening of the third of November, halted on one of the tributaries of the Wabash. A few Indians were seen, who fled with precipitation. The troops encamped; the regulars and levies in two lines, covered by the stream; the militia on the opposite shore, and about a quarter of a mile in advance. Still further in advance was posted Captain Hough with a company of regulars. His orders were to intercept small parties of the enemy, should they venture to approach the camp, and to give intelligence of any occurrences which might transpire.

Colonel Oldham, who commanded the Kentucky levies, such as had not deserted, was cautioned to remain on the alert during the night, and to send out patrols of twenty-five or thirty men each, in different directions, before daylight, to scour the adjoining woods.

Kennan was with one of these patrols. Just as day was dawning he perceived about thirty Indians within one hundred yards of the guard fire, cautiously approaching the spot where he, with about twenty other rangers, stood, the rest of his company being considerably in the rear. Supposing it to be a mere scouting party, not superior in numbers to the rangers, he sprung forward a few paces to shelter himself in a spot of tall grass, where, after firing with 167quick aim upon the foremost savage, he fell flat upon his face, rapidly reloading his gun, not doubting but what his companions would maintain their position.

However, as the battle afterward proved, this, instead of being a scouting-party of savages, was the front rank of their whole body, who had chosen their favorite hour of daybreak for a fierce assault upon the whites, and who now marched forward in such overwhelming masses, that the rangers were compelled to fly, leaving Kennan in total ignorance of his danger. Fortunately, the Captain of his company, observing him throw himself in the grass, suddenly exclaimed:

"Run, Kennan! or you are a dead man!"

Instantly springing to his feet, he beheld the Indians within ten feet of him, while his company was more than a hundred yards in front. He had no time for thought; but the instinct of self-preservation prompted him to dart away, while the yells of his pursuers seemed absolutely close in his ears. He fancied he could feel their hot breath. At first, he pressed straight toward the usual fording-place in the creek, which was between the savages and the main army. Ten feet behind him! ay, they were before, and all about him! Several savages had passed him, as he lay in the grass, without discovering him; and these now turned, heading him off from the ford.

There was but one way possible for him to reach the camp, which was to dart aside, between his pursuers, and make a long circuit. He had not succeeded in reloading his rifle; with a pang of regret, he threw it down, for it encumbered him, in the exertions he was making, and putting every nerve to its utmost strain, he bounded aside and onward. Running like a deer, he soon had the relief of outstripping all his pursuers but one, a young chief, perhaps Messhawa, who displayed a swiftness and perseverance equal to his own.

Here was a race worth seeing! With long, panther-like bounds, the agile Indian chased the fugitive, who scarcely knew whether he fled on air or earth. The distance between them on the start was about eighteen feet; the herculean efforts of Kennan could not make it one inch more, nor the equally powerful leaps of the savage make it one inch less. Kennan was at a great disadvantage. He had to 168watch the pending blow of his adversary, whose tomahawk was poised in the air, ready for the first favorable opportunity to be discharged at him. This gave him small chance to pick his footsteps with prudence.

Growing tired of this contest of skill, in which neither gained, the ranger, seeing that no other Indian was near enough to interfere, resolved to end the matter by a hand-to-hand conflict. Feeling in his belt for his knife, he found that it was gone.

"I'm tellin' the straight out-and-out truth, my friends," Kennan used to remark, when he related this adventure, "when I felt for sartin that knife was lost, my ha'r just lifted my cap off my head—it stood straight up—that's a fact!"

But if fear lifted his hair up, it lifted his body up, likewise. The thought of his unarmed condition gave him wings, which, verily, he needed, for he had slackened his pace as he felt for his knife, and the tomahawk of his enemy was now almost at his shoulder.

For the first time he gained ground a trifle. He had watched the motions of his pursuer so closely, however, as not to pay attention to the nature of the ground, so that he suddenly found himself in front of a large tree, which had been torn up by the winds, and whose dry branches and trunk made an obstacle eight or nine feet high. As he paused before this hindrance, the young chief gave a whoop of triumph.

"Yell yer throat open, yer blasted red blood-hound!" thought the invincible Kentucky ranger.

Putting his soul into the effort, he bounded into the air with a power which astonished himself as much as his pursuers; trunk, limbs, brush, were cleared—he alighted in perfect safety on the other side. A loud yell of amazement burst from the band of savages who witnessed the feat, which not even the young chief, Messhawa, had the hardihood to repeat.

Kennan, however, had no leisure to enjoy his triumph. Dashing into the creek, where its high banks protected him from the fire of the Indians, he ran up the edge of the stream until he came to a convenient crossing-place, when he rejoined the encampment, where he threw himself on the ground, exhausted by his exertions.

He had little time for rest. The Indians had begun a furious 169attack, which raged for three hours, and which resulted in a defeat of the whites still more disastrous than that of Harmar's.

In the retreat which followed, Kennan was attached to the battalion which had the dangerous service of protecting the rear. This corps quickly lost its commander, Major Clarke, and was completely demoralized. Kennan was among the hindmost when the retreat commenced; but the same powers which had saved him in the morning enabled him to gain the front, passing several horsemen in his flight. The retreat of the whole army was in the utmost disorder. The camp, artillery, baggage and wounded were left in the hands of the enemy. Most of the officers, who had fought bravely, were already fallen.

St. Clair himself, who had been confined to his tent with the gout, made his escape on a pack-horse, which he could neither mount nor dismount without assistance. The flying troops made their way back to Fort Jefferson. Under such circumstances, it may be imagined that the line of flight was a scene of fearful disorder. The Indians, making matters more appalling by their yells of triumph, pursued the routed foe. Giving up all efforts to protect the rear, the battalion to which Kennan belonged fled as it could, every man for himself.

It was here, as he was making good his own retreat, that our hero came across a private in his own company, an intimate friend, lying upon the ground with his thigh broken, who, in tones of piercing distress, implored each horseman to take him up. When he beheld Kennan coming up on foot he stretched out his hands entreatingly. Notwithstanding the imminent peril, his friend could not withstand this passionate appeal; he lifted him upon his back, and ran in that manner several hundred yards.

The enemy gained upon them so fast that Kennan saw the death of both was certain unless he relinquished his burden. He told his friend that he had done all he could for him, but that it was in vain. He could not save him, and unless he wished both to perish, to let go his clasp about his neck. The unhappy man only clung the more tenaciously; Kennan staggered on under his burden, until the foremost of the enemy were within twenty yards of him—then, yielding to a cruel necessity, he drew his knife from its sheath and 170severed the fingers of the wounded man, who fell to the ground, and was tomahawked three minutes after.

But if unsuccessful in the attempt to save this fated fellow-soldier, he had the pleasure, before the race was over, of saving the life of one who afterward became his warm and helpful friend.

Darting forward with renewed swiftness, after cutting his burden from him, he was again out of immediate danger, when he came across a young man, sitting upon a log, calmly awaiting the approach of his enemies. He was deadly pale, but his refined and handsome face wore not the least expression of fear.

"Don't you know the red-skins are upon us?" called out the ranger.

"I know it; but I can not help it. I have never been strong, and now I am wounded. I could not take another step to save my life. Go on—don't stop to pity me."

Kennan was too brave himself not to admire the calm courage of this young man. He looked about. A short distance off he saw an exhausted horse, refreshing himself upon the luxuriant grass. Running after the animal, he caught him without difficulty, brought him up, assisted the wounded stranger to mount, and ran by his side until they were out of danger. Fortunately the pursuit ceased about that time, the spoils of the camp offering attractions to the savages more irresistible even than the blood of the remaining whites. The stranger thus saved by Kennan was Madison, afterward Governor of Kentucky, who continued through life the friendship formed that day.

Kennan never entirely recovered from the superhuman exertions he was compelled to make on that disastrous day.

Of this melancholy campaign of St. Clair's, Hall, in his sketches of the West, says: "The fault was not in the leader, but in the plan of the expedition, and the kind of troops employed. All that an old commander could effect with such a force, under the circumstances by which he was surrounded and overruled, was accomplished by General St. Clair. The brilliant talents of this brave soldier and veteran patriot were exerted in vain in the wilderness. The wariness and perseverance of Indian warfare created every day new obstacles and unforeseen dangers; the skill of the experienced leader 171was baffled, and undisciplined force prevailed over military science. The art of the tactician proved insufficient when opposed to a countless multitude of wily savages, protected by the labyrinths of the forest and aided by the terrors of the climate. At a moment of fancied security his troops were assailed upon all sides by a numerous and well-organized foe, who had long been hanging on his flanks, and had become acquainted with his strength, his order of encampment, and the distribution of his force—who knew when to attack and where to strike."

The loss on this occasion was mournfully great; thirty-eight officers and eight hundred men were slain.

Hall further says: "In reference to all these (Indian) wars, it has never been sufficiently urged, that they were but a continuation, and a protracted sequel to the War of Independence. For years after the United States had been acknowledged as a nation, Great Britain continued to hold a number of military posts within her Northwestern limits, and to urge a destructive warfare through her savage allies. It was against Britain that St. Clair, Harmar, Wayne and Harrison fought; and they, with others, who bled in those Western wilds, contributed as much to the purchase of our independence, as those who fought for our birthright at an earlier period."

Oh, mother-country; how very like the worst personification of a stepmother thou hast ever been, and still art, to this fairest of thy children.

The Indians are remarkable for fleetness of foot and endurance. Trained from childhood to the forest and chase, to run without tiring is one of their most esteemed virtues. They have been known frequently to run down the deer. We have seen them, on the western plains, exhaust the horse in the contest for strength of "wind." One savage of the Osages used to run from one village to another, a distance of fifteen miles, in one hundred minutes, for a swallow of "fire-water," and his squaw once performed the feat in the space of two hours, for the price of three yards of red ribbon. The stories now related of Ellerson and Kennan prove that, in speed and endurance, the white man sometimes excels even the savages. We shall, in the course of these pages, have occasion to mention other instances of running for life.



The battle of Monmouth was one of the most severely contested engagements of the Revolution. From the rising to the setting sun, on that sultry Sabbath in June, two armies strove for the mastery of that ensanguined field, until heaps of dead and dying strewed the plain, marking the path of the serried ranks as the ebb and flow of battle changed their relative positions. Both armies fought with a desperate determination to conquer, and instances of personal bravery and daring were innumerable; yet, when night drew her sable mantle over the earth, shrouding from sight the soul-sickening scene, neither party could claim the meed of victory. Of the many thrilling incidents of that eventful day, that which brought into conspicuous notice the heroine of our story was not the least interesting.

Molly Pitcher, or, as she was afterward more familiarly known, Captain Molly, was a sturdy young Irish woman of some twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, short, thick-set, with red hair, a freckled face, and a keen, piercing eye, which gave token of a spirit of mischief ever ready for a frolic or a fight. She was the wife of a Sergeant in an artillery corps, which had seen service since the commencement of the war, and was attached to him with all the warmth of the Irish disposition. She had followed him through all his campaigns, and was with him at Fort Clinton, in the Hudson highlands, when that post was attacked and captured by Sir Henry Clinton. Here, too, she gave a specimen of that reckless courage which distinguished her at Monmouth some nine months after. Her husband, who was in the act of touching off his piece, seeing the British scaling the walls, and getting in his rear, dropped his match, and calling to Molly to follow, fled as fast as his legs would carry him. She, determined not to waste powder and ball, and knowing that her "petticoats" would protect her retreat in a measure, picked up the linstock, fired the piece, and then scampered off. She 173escaped scot-free, and when the scattered fugitives from the forts were collected, and the artillery was attached to the main army, she accompanied her husband as a sutler, and was with him through that bitter winter at Valley Forge.

When Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia, and took up his march across the Jerseys, Washington left his winter camp and prepared to follow, hoping to get an opportunity to strike a blow which should animate his own troops and effectually cripple, perhaps capture, the British army. On the plains of Monmouth the hostile armies met in battle array. Of the details of the action it is not our province to speak. It will suffice our purpose to say that Lee had been ordered to attack the British on their first movement, and engage them until the main army of the Americans could be brought into action by Washington in person. The first part of his orders he had obeyed; the latter, for reasons never fully explained, he did not conform to, but retreated unexpectedly toward the main body, which movement was timely checked by Washington, who ordered the whole army into action. It became necessary, however, for a portion to fall back a second time; and to check the pursuit, the artillery, to which Molly's husband was attached, was stationed on an eminence, in the rear of a hedge-row, for that purpose. Molly herself was engaged in bringing water from a spring to assuage the thirst of the men at the guns, when she saw her husband struck down by a cannon-shot from the enemy, which cut him nearly in two, killing him instantly; at the same time she heard the commandant order the piece withdrawn, as he had no one to fill the place now vacant. Molly heard the order, and maddened by her loss, rushed forward, exclaiming as she did so: "No! you shan't remove the gun, neither. Shure, can't I ram it as well as Tom, there? Ah! it's kilt entirely he is, bad luck to the bloody vagabond that p'inted the gun that shot him. Sorra a day was it when ye 'listed, darlint, to leave me a lone widdy now, with nary a soul to care whether I live or die. But I'll pay the dirty vagabonds for this day's work, cuss 'em." And thus alternately apostrophizing her husband and anathematizing the British, she continued to ram the gun until it was withdrawn. The activity and courage which she exhibited attracted the attention of all who witnessed it, and on the 174morning after the battle the circumstance was reported to General Greene, who was so much pleased at her bravery and spirit that he sent for her and determined to present her to the Commander-in-Chief. This he did, covered with dirt and blood as she was, and Washington, after questioning her, conferred on her a warrant as Sergeant, and subsequently, by his influence, her name was placed on the list of half-pay officers for life. She went ever after by the name of "Captain Molly," and the French officers, particularly, took a great deal of notice of her, and made her many presents. She dressed in a mongrel suit, composed of a cocked hat, soldier's coat with an epaulette on one shoulder, and petticoats. In this rig she would pass along the French lines any day and get her hat filled with crowns.

Molly Pitcher's bravery was not, perhaps, of the highest order, being a part of the natural recklessness of her character; but there were women, plenty of them, in the time of our country's peril, and during the still more dreadful dangers of the new country, who proved their heroism to be of the noblest sort. Not only the heroism of endurance, in which women always excel—the endurance of fear, privation, loneliness and grief—but the heroism of action. Of such metal was the deed of prowess which has immortalized the name of Elizabeth Zane. In 1777, Fort Henry, in Ohio county, Virginia, was attacked by Indians. The defence was made with vigor, until the ammunition became exhausted, when surrender seemed the only alternative—a fearful alternative, in view of the treacherous character of their enemies. There was a keg of powder in a house about twelve rods distant, to obtain which would prolong the defense, and perhaps preserve the lives of the whole garrison. It was resolved that one person should venture out, and, if possible, secure and bear into the fort the valued prize. The Indians having retired a little distance, a favorable opportunity was afforded; but it became difficult to decide who should undertake the service, as many soldiers were emulous for the honor of executing the perilous enterprise.

Their contention was cut short by Miss Zane, who claimed to be chosen for performing the duty, upon the ground that the life of a soldier was more valuable to be employed in defending the fort, and also that her sex might save her errand from suspicion and thus 175secure its success. It was the latter plea, which was somewhat plausible, united to her resolution, which overcame the scruples of the officer in command, far enough to permit her to make the attempt.

Her sex might protect her! Ah! no one better than the girl herself knew how very slender was that "might"—for an instant her heart stood still in her bosom, as the gate of the fort opened a little and closed behind her, shutting her out in the very shadow of the valley of death! For one instant her eyes grew dark and her ears rung, and in her bosom she felt, by apprehension, the piercing anguish of a dozen bullets; but, as quickly, she rallied, and with a light, fleet foot passed on to the house, not running, for fear of calling down the suspicions of the murderous eyes which watched her every movement. The Indians observed her leave the fort, but, as she had hoped, did not at first comprehend her actions, allowing her to pass on to the building, without molesting her, probably absorbed in a momentary wonder at her sex and her audacity.

She reached the house, seized the powder, and hastened to return. By this time the savages had recovered from the spell which the first sight of the young heroine had thrown upon them; they saw the keg of powder in her arms, and with yells of anger, fired a volley after her as she ran rapidly toward the fort. Fortunately, not a bullet touched her. As they rattled about her, singing past her ears, they only gave activity to her movements. In another moment she was safe within the gate, to the unbounded joy of the garrison. Animated by so noble an example, the men fought with a vigor which the enemy could not overcome, who were compelled to raise the siege.

The following anecdote, which is too well authenticated to be disputed, furnishes one instance, among thousands, of that heroic spirit which animated the American women during the struggle for Independence.

In 1775, a good lady lived on the seaboard, about a day's march from Boston, where the British then were. By some unaccountable mistake, a rumor was spread, in town and country, in and about her residence, that the regulars were on a march for that place, where they would arrive in about three hours. This was after the battle 176of Lexington, and all, as might be supposed, was in sad confusion; some were boiling with rage and full of fight; some in fear and tribulation were hiding their treasures; others flying for life. In this wild moment, when most people, in one way or another, were frightened from propriety, our heroine, who had two sons, aged respectively nineteen and sixteen, was seen preparing them to discharge their duty in the emergency. The eldest she was enabled to equip in fine style; she took her husband's fowling-piece, "made for duck or plover," (the good man being absent on a coasting voyage to Virginia,) and with it, the powder-horn and shot-bag. But the lad, thinking the duck and geese-shot not quite the size to kill regulars, his mother, with the chisel, cut up her pewter spoons, hammered them into slugs, put them into his bag, and he set off in great earnest, calling a moment, on the way, to see the parson, who said:

"Well done, my brave boy. God preserve you!"

The youngest was importunate for his equipments, but his mother could find nothing to arm him with but an old rusty sword. The boy seemed unwilling to risk himself with this alone, lingering in the street until his mother thus upbraided him:

"You, John H——, what will your father say, if he hears that a child of his is afraid to meet the British? Go along; beg or borrow a gun, or you'll find one, child; some coward, I dare say, will be running away; then take his gun and march forward! If you come back, and I hear you have not behaved like a man, I shall carry the blush of shame on my face to the grave."

She then shut the door, wiped the tear from her eye, and abided the issue.

There were not wanting American ladies whose wit and courage could bring the blush of shame or anger to the haughty faces of the British officers. There is scarcely a more stinging retort on record than that which was given to the insolent Tarleton by a lady at Washington, before whom he was boasting his feats of gallantry. Said he:

"I have a very earnest desire to see your far-famed hero, Colonel Washington."

"Your wish, Colonel, might have been fully gratified," she promptly replied, "had you ventured to look behind you at the battle of the Cowpens."


Molly Pitcher at Monmouth.—Page 44.

179It was in that battle that Washington had wounded Tarleton, which gave rise to an equally pointed remark from Mrs. Wiley Jones, to whom Tarleton had observed:

"You appear to think very highly of Colonel Washington; yet I have been told that he is so ignorant a fellow that he can hardly write his own name."

"It may be the case," she readily replied, "but no one knows better than yourself that he knows how to make his mark."

We should think that he would have been ready to drop the subject in the presence of ladies so well able to defend their country's gallant officers.

Mrs. Thomas Heyward, in two instances, with the utmost firmness refused to illuminate for British victories. An officer forced his way into her presence, sternly demanding:

"How dare you disobey the order which has been issued? Why, madam, is not your house illuminated?"

"Is it possible for me, sir," replied the lady, with perfect calmness, "to feel a spark of joy? Can I celebrate the victory of your army while my husband remains a prisoner at St. Augustine?"

"That is of little consequence," rejoined the officer; "the last hopes of the rebellion are crushed by the defeat of Greene at Guilford. You shall illuminate."

"Not a single light," replied the lady, "shall be placed on such an occasion, with my consent, in any window of my house."

"Then, madam, I will return with a party, and before midnight, level it with the ground."

"You have power to destroy, sir, and seem well disposed to use it; but over my opinions you possess no control. I disregard your menaces, and resolutely declare—I will not illuminate!"

Mrs. Rebecca Motte was another lady who proved, in a signal manner, that her patriotism was equal to the severest test. After the abandonment of Camden to the Americans, Lord Rawdon, anxious to maintain his posts, directed his first efforts to relieve Fort Mott, at the time invested by Marion and Lee. This fort, which commanded the river, was the principal depot of the convoys from Charleston to Camden, and the upper districts. It was occupied by a garrison, under the command of Captain McPherson, of one hundred 180and sixty-five men, having been increased by a small detachment of dragoons from Charleston, a few hours before the appearance of the Americans.

The large new mansion-house belonging to Mrs. Motte, which had been selected for the establishment of the post, was surrounded by a deep trench, along the interior margin of which was raised a strong and lofty parapet. Opposite, and northward, upon another hill, was an old farm-house to which Mrs. Motte had removed when dismissed from her mansion. On this height Lieutenant-Colonel Lee took position with his force, while Marion occupied the eastern declivity of the ridge on which the fort stood, the valley running between the two hills permitting the Americans to approach within four hundred yards.

McPherson was unprovided with artillery, but hoped to be relieved by the arrival of Lord Rawdon to dislodge the assailants before they could push their preparations to maturity. He therefore replied to the summons to surrender—which came on May twentieth, about a year after the victorious British had taken possession of Charleston—that he should hold out to the last moment in his power.

The besiegers had carried on their approaches rapidly, by relays of working-parties, and, aware of the advance of Rawdon with all his force, had every motive for perseverance. In the night a courier arrived from General Greene, to advise them of Rawdon's retreat from Camden, and to urge redoubled activity; and Marion persevered through the hours of darkness in pressing the completion of the works. The following night Lord Rawdon encamped on the highest ground in the country opposite Fort Motte, where the despairing garrison saw with joy the illumination of his fires, while the Americans were convinced that no time was to be lost.

The large house in the center of the encircling trench left but a few yards of ground within the British works uncovered; burning the mansion, therefore, must compel the surrender of the garrison. This expedient was reluctantly resolved upon by Marion and Lee, who, always unwilling to destroy private property, felt the duty to be unusually painful in the present case. It was the summer residence of the owner, whose deceased husband had been a firm friend to his country, and whose daughter (Mrs. Pinckney) was the wife of 181a gallant officer then a prisoner in the hands of the British. Lee had made Mrs. Motte's dwelling his quarters, at her pressing invitation, and with his officers had shared her liberal hospitality. Not satisfied with polite attentions to the officers while they were entertained at her luxurious table, she had attended, with active benevolence, to the sick and wounded, soothed the infirm with kind sympathy, and animated the desponding to hope.

It was thus not without deep regret that the commanders determined upon the sacrifice, and the Lieutenant-Colonel found himself compelled to inform Mrs. Motte of the unavoidable necessity of destroying her property. The smile with which the communication was received gave instant relief to the embarrassed officer. Mrs. Motte not only assented, but declared that she was "gratified with the opportunity of contributing to the good of her country, and should view the approaching scene with delight." Shortly after, seeing by accident the bows and arrows which had been prepared for to carry combustible matter, she sent for Lee, and, presenting him with a bow and its apparatus, which had been imported from India, requested his substitution of them, as better adapted for the object than those provided.

An interesting incident, illustrative of female patriotism and activity, is given by Mr. Headley as occurring in the church at Litchfield, Connecticut. The pastor, Judah Champion, was an ardent patriot, and on a certain Sabbath was earnestly preaching and praying for the success of the American arms. During the service a messenger arrived, announcing that St. John's—which had been besieged six weeks, and was regarded as the key to Canada—was taken. "Thank God for the victory!" exclaimed the patriot preacher, and the chorister, clapping his hands vigorously, shouted: "Amen, and amen!"

The communication of the messenger announced that our army was in a suffering condition, destitute of clothing, without stockings or shoes. "Sorrows and pity took the place of exultation, and generous sympathetic eyes filled with tears on every side. There was scarcely a dry eye among the females of the congregation. As soon as the audience was dismissed, they were soon gathered together in excited groups, and it was evident that some scheme was on foot that would not admit of delay. The result was, that when 182the congregation assembled in the afternoon, not a woman was to be seen. The men had come to church, but their earnest, noble wives and daughters had taken down their hand-cards, drawn forth their spinning wheels, set in motion their looms, while the knitting and sewing needles were plied as they never were before. It was a strange spectacle to see that Puritan Sabbath turned into a day of secular work. The pastor was at the meeting-house, performing those duties belonging to the house of God, and the voice of prayer and hymns of praise ascended as usual from devout and solemn hearts; but all through the usually quiet streets of Litchfield the humming of the spinning-wheel, the clash of the shuttle flying to and fro, were heard, making strange harmony with the worship of the sanctuary. But let it not be supposed that these noble women had gone to work without the knowledge of their pastor. They had consulted with him, and he had given them his sanction and blessing.

"Swimming eyes and heaving bosoms were over their work, and lips moved in prayer for the destitute and suffering soldier. The pastor's wife contributed eleven blankets from her own stores to the collection."

The women of the Revolution were active in their service of relief and comfort to the armies of the country. "The supply of domestic cloth designed for families was in a short time, by the labor of the females, converted into coats for the soldiers; sheets and blankets were fashioned into shirts; and even the flannels already made up were altered into men's habiliments. Such aid was rendered by many whose deeds of disinterested generosity were never known beyond their own immediate neighborhood."

Weights of clocks, pans, dishes, pewter services of plate, then common, were melted by the women and given to the army to be used in defense of freedom.

In 1776, Lafayette passed through Baltimore, and was honored with a public reception. In the gayeties of the scene he was seen to be sad. "Why so sad?" said a gay belle. "I can not enjoy these festivities," said Lafayette, "while so many of the poor soldiers are without shirts and other necessaries." "They shall be supplied," responded the fair ladies; and the scenes of the festive hall were exchanged for the service of their needles. They immediately made 183up clothing for the suffering soldiers—one of the ladies cutting out five hundred pairs of pantaloons with her own hands, and superintending the making.

In 1780, a cold and dreary winter, when the soldiers greatly suffered, the ladies of Philadelphia formed an Industrial Association for the relief of the American army. They solicited money, sacrificed their jewelry, and labored with their own hands. Mrs. Bache, daughter of Dr. Franklin, was a leading spirit in these patriotic efforts. "She conducted us," said a French nobleman, in describing the scene, "into a room filled with work lately finished by the ladies of Philadelphia. It was shirts for the soldiers of Pennsylvania. The ladies bought the cloth from their own private purses, and took a pleasure in cutting them out and sewing them together. On each shirt was the name of the married or unmarried lady who made it; and they amounted to twenty-two hundred. During the cold winter that followed, thousands of poor soldiers in Washington's camp had occasion to bless the women of Philadelphia for these labors of love."


One of the most interesting papers of personal reminiscences, which has come down to us from Revolutionary times, is the narrative by the Baroness de Reidesel, wife of the distinguished German, the Baron de Reidesel, a Major-General in Burgoyne's army of invasion. With all the truth of a high-minded lady, and the devotion of a true wife and mother, she accompanied her husband to America, and was present at the disastrous defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga. Her story gives us an inside view of the British camp, and reveals the hardships to which she was exposed. After the battle of Saratoga she witnessed the British retreat, and never after could refer to 184it without weeping—the terrible scene so affected her. In his rather pretentious "memoirs," General Wilkinson has engrafted her entire narrative. We give our readers so much of the interesting document as our space permits. The "women of America" will peruse it with intense interest. After detailing her experiences up to the day of battle, (October 7th, 1779,) she proceeds:

"I was at breakfast with my husband and heard that something was intended. On the same day I expected Generals Burgoyne, Phillips and Frazer to dine with us. I saw a great movement among the troops; my husband told me it was merely a reconnoissance, which gave me no concern, as it often happened. I walked out of the house and met several Indians in their war-dresses, with guns in their hands. When I asked them where they were going, they cried out: 'War! war!' meaning that they were going to battle. This filled me with apprehension, and I had scarcely got home before I heard reports of cannon and musketry, which grew louder by degrees, till at last the noise became excessive.

"About four o'clock in the afternoon, instead of the guests whom I expected, General Frazer was brought on a litter, mortally wounded. The table, which was already set, was instantly removed, and a bed placed in its stead for the wounded General. I sat trembling in a corner; the noise grew louder, and the alarm increased; the thought that my husband might be brought in, wounded in the same manner, was terrible to me, and distressed me exceedingly. General Frazer said to the surgeon, 'Tell me if my wound is mortal; do not flatter me.' The ball had passed through, his body, and, unhappily for the General, he had eaten a very hearty breakfast, by which his stomach was distended, and the ball, as the surgeon said, had passed through it. I heard him often exclaim, with a sigh, 'Oh fatal ambition! Poor General Burgoyne! Oh! my poor wife!' He was asked if he had any request to make, to which he replied, that, 'If General Burgoyne would permit it, he would like to be buried, at six o'clock in the evening, on the top of a mountain, in a redoubt which had been built there.'

"I did not know which way to turn; all the other rooms were full of sick. Toward evening I saw my husband coming; then I forgot all my sorrows, and thanked God that he was spared to me. 185He ate in great haste, with me and his aid-de-camp, behind the house. We had been told that we had the advantage over the enemy, but the sorrowful faces I beheld told a different tale; and before my husband went away he took me aside, and said every thing was going very badly, and that I must keep myself in readiness to leave the place, but not to mention it to any one. I made the pretense that I would move the next morning into my new house, and had every thing packed up ready.

"Lady Ackland had a tent not far from our house; in this she slept, and the rest of the day she was in the camp. All of a sudden a man came in to tell her that her husband was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. On hearing this she became very miserable. We comforted her by telling her that the wound was very slight, and advised her to go over to her husband, to do which she would certainly obtain permission, and then she could attend him herself. She was a charming woman, and very fond of him. I spent much of the night in comforting her, and then went again to my children, whom I had put to bed.

"I could not go to sleep, as I had General Frazer and all the other wounded gentlemen in my room, and I was sadly afraid my children would wake, and by their crying disturb the dying man in his last moments, who often addressed me and apologized 'for the trouble he gave me.' About three o'clock in the morning, I was told that he could not hold out much longer; I had desired to be informed of the near approach of this sad crisis, and I then wrapped up my children in their clothes, and went with them into the room below. About eight o'clock in the morning he died.

"After he was laid out, and his corpse wrapped up in a sheet, we came again into the room, and had this sorrowful sight before us the whole day; and, to add to the melancholy scene, almost every moment some officer of my acquaintance was brought in wounded. The cannonade commenced again; a retreat was spoken of, but not the smallest motion was made toward it. About four o'clock in the afternoon, I saw the house, which had just been built for me, in flames, and the enemy was now not far off. We knew that General Burgoyne would not refuse the last request of General Frazer, though, by his acceding to it, an unnecessary delay was occasioned, 186by which the inconvenience of the army was much increased. At six o'clock the corpse was brought out, and we saw all the Generals attend it to the mountain. The Chaplain, Mr. Brudenell, performed the funeral service, rendered unusually solemn and awful from its being accompanied by constant peals of the enemy's artillery. Many cannon-balls flew close by me, but I had my eyes directed toward the mountain, where my husband was standing, amidst the fire of the enemy; and, of course, I could not think of my own danger.

"General Gates afterward said, that, if he had known it had been a funeral, he would not have permitted it to be fired on.

"As soon as the funeral service was finished, and the grave of General Frazer closed, an order was issued that the army should retreat. My calash was prepared, but I would not consent to go before the troops. Major Harnage, though suffering from his wounds, crept from his bed, as he did not wish to remain in the hospital, which was left with a flag of truce. When General Reidesel saw me in the midst of danger, he ordered my women and children to be brought into the calash, and intimated to me to depart without delay. I still prayed to remain, but my husband, knowing my weak side, said, 'Well, then, your children must go, that at least they may be safe from danger.' I then agreed to enter the calash with them, and we set off at eight o'clock.

"The retreat was ordered to be conducted with the greatest silence, many fires were lighted, and several tents left standing; we traveled continually through the night. At six o'clock in the morning we halted, which excited the surprise of all; this delay seemed to displease everybody, for if we could only have made another good march we should have been in safety. My husband, quite exhausted with fatigue, came into my calash, and slept for three hours. During that time, Captain Willoe brought me a bag full of bank notes, and Captain Grismar his elegant gold watch, a ring, and a purse full of money, which they requested me to take care of, and which I promised to do, to the utmost of my power. We again marched, but had scarcely proceeded an hour, before we halted, as the enemy was in sight; it proved to be only a reconnoitering party of two hundred men, who might easily have been made prisoners, if General Burgoyne had given proper orders for the occasion.

187"The Indians had now lost their courage, and were departing for their homes; these people appeared to droop much under adversity, and especially when they had no prospect of plunder. One of my waiting-women was in a state of despair, which approached to madness; she cursed and tore her hair, and when I attempted to reason with her, and to pacify her, she asked me if I was not grieved at our situation, and on my saying I was, she tore her hat off her head and let her hair fall over her face, saying to me, 'It is very easy for you to be composed and talk; you have your husband with you; I have none, and what remains to me but the prospect of perishing or losing all I have?' I again bade her take comfort, and assured her I would make good whatever she might happen to lose; and I made the same promise to Ellen, my other waiting-woman, who, though filled with apprehension, made no complaints.

"About evening we arrived at Saratoga; my dress was wet through and through with rain, and in this state I had to remain the whole night, having no place to change it; I however got close to a large fire, and at last lay down on some straw. At this moment General Phillips came up to me, and I asked him why he had not continued our retreat, as my husband had promised to cover it, and bring the army through? 'Poor, dear woman,' said he, 'I wonder how, drenched as you are, you have the courage still to persevere, and venture further in this kind of weather; I wish,' continued he, 'you was our commanding General; General Burgoyne is tired, and means to halt here to-night and give us our supper.'

"On the morning of the 17th, at ten o'clock, General Burgoyne ordered the retreat to be continued, and caused the handsome houses and mills of General Schuyler to be burnt; we marched, however, but a short distance, and then halted. The greatest misery at this time prevailed in the army, and more than thirty officers came to me, for whom tea and coffee was prepared, and with whom I shared all my provisions, with which my calash was in general well supplied, for I had a cook who was an excellent caterer, and who often in the night crossed small rivers, and foraged on the inhabitants, bringing in with him sheep, small pigs, and poultry, for which he very often forgot to pay, though he received good pay from me so long as I had any, and was ultimately handsomely rewarded. Our 188provisions now failed us, for want of proper conduct in the commissary's department, and I began to despair.

"About two o'clock in the afternoon, we again heard a firing of cannon and small-arms; instantly all was alarm, and every thing in motion. My husband told me to go to a house not far off. I immediately seated myself in my calash, with my children, and drove off; but scarcely had we reached it before I discovered five or six armed men on the other side of the Hudson. Instinctively I threw my children down in the calash, and then concealed myself with them. At this moment the fellows fired, and wounded an already wounded English soldier, who was behind me. Poor fellow! I pitied him exceedingly, but at this moment had no means or power to relieve him.

"A terrible cannonade was commenced by the enemy, against the house in which I sought to obtain shelter for myself and children, under the mistaken idea that all the Generals were in it. Alas! it contained none but wounded and women. We were at last obliged to resort to the cellar for refuge, and in one corner of this I remained the whole day, my children sleeping on the earth with their heads in my lap; and in the same situation I passed a sleepless night. Eleven cannon-balls passed through the house, and we could distinctly hear them roll away. One poor soldier who was lying on a table, for the purpose of having his leg amputated, was struck by a shot, which carried away his other; his comrades had left him, and when we went to his assistance, we found him in the corner of a room, into which he had crept, more dead than alive, scarcely breathing. My reflections on the danger to which my husband was exposed now agonized me exceedingly, and thoughts of my children, and the necessity of struggling for their preservation, alone sustained me.

"The ladies of the army who were with me, were Mrs. Harnage, a Mrs. Kennels, the widow of a Lieutenant who was killed, and the lady of the commissary. Major Harnage, his wife, and Mrs. Kennels, made a little room in a corner with curtains to it, and wished to do the same for me, but I preferred being near the door, in case of fire. Not far off my women slept, and opposite to us three English officers, who, though wounded, were determined not to be left behind; one of them was Captain Green, an aid-de-camp to Major-General 189Phillips, a very valuable officer and most agreeable man. They each made me a most sacred promise not to leave me behind, and, in case of sudden retreat, that they would each of them take one of my children on his horse; and for myself, one of my husband's was in constant readiness.

"Our cook, whom I have before mentioned, procured us our meals, but we were in want of water, and I was often obliged to drink wine, and to give it to my children. It was the only thing my husband took, which made our faithful hunter, Rockel, express one day his apprehensions, that 'the General was weary of his life, or fearful of being taken, as he drank so much wine.' The constant danger which my husband was in, kept me in a state of wretchedness; and I asked myself if it was possible I should be the only happy one, and have my husband spared to me unhurt, exposed as he was to so many perils. He never entered his tent, but lay down whole nights by the watch-fires; this alone was enough to have killed him, the cold was so intense.

"The want of water distressed us much; at length we found a soldier's wife, who had courage enough to fetch us some from the river, an office nobody else would undertake, as the Americans shot at every person who approached it; but out of respect for her sex, they never molested her.

"I now occupied myself through the day in attending to the wounded; I made them tea and coffee, and often shared my dinner with them, for which they offered me a thousand expressions of gratitude. One day a Canadian officer came to our cellar, who had scarcely the power to hold himself upright, and we concluded he was dying for want of nourishment; I was happy in offering him my dinner, which strengthened him, and procured me his friendship. I now undertook the care of Major Bloomfield, another aid-de-camp of General Phillips; he had received a musket-ball through both cheeks, which in its course had knocked out several of his teeth, and cut his tongue; he could hold nothing in his mouth, the matter which ran from his wound almost choked him, and he was not able to take any nourishment except a little soup, and something liquid. We had some Rhenish wine, and in the hope that the acidity of it would cleanse his wound, I gave him a bottle of it. He took a little 190now and then, and with such effect that his cure soon followed: thus I added another to my stock of friends, and derived a satisfaction which, in the midst of suffering, served to tranquilize me.

"One day, General Phillips accompanied my husband, at the risk of their lives, on a visit to us. The General, after having witnessed our situation, said to him, 'I would not for ten thousand guineas come again to this place, my heart is almost broken.'

"In this horrid situation we remained six days; a cessation of hostilities was now spoken of, and eventually took place. A convention was afterward agreed on; but one day a message was sent to my husband who had visited me, and was reposing in my bed, to attend a council of war, where it was proposed to break the convention; but, to my great joy, the majority were for adhering to it. On the sixteenth, however, my husband had to repair to his post, and I to my cellar. This day fresh beef was served out to the officers, who till now had only had salt provisions, which was very bad for their wounds. The good woman who brought us water made us an excellent soup of the meat, but I had lost my appetite, and took nothing but crusts of bread dipped in wine. The wounded officers, my unfortunate companions, cut off the best bit, and presented it to me on a plate. I declined eating any thing, but they contended that it was necessary for me to take nourishment, and declared they would not touch a morsel till I afforded them the pleasure of seeing me partake. I could no longer withstand their pressing invitations, accompanied as they were by assurances of the happiness they had in offering me the first good thing they had in their power, and I partook of a repast rendered palatable by the kindness and good-will of my fellow-sufferers, forgetting for a moment the misery of our apartment, and the absence of almost every comfort.

"On the 17th of October, the convention was completed. General Burgoyne and the other Generals waited on the American General Gates; the troops laid down their arms, and gave themselves up prisoners of war! And now the good woman who had supplied us with water at the hazard of her life received the reward of her services; each of us threw a handful of money into her apron, and she got altogether about twenty guineas. At such a moment as this how susceptible is the heart of feelings of gratitude!

191"My husband sent a message to me, to come over to him with my two children. I seated myself once more in my dear calash, and then rode through the American camp. As I passed on, I observed, and this was a great consolation to me, that no one eyed me with looks of resentment, but that they all greeted us, and even showed compassion in their countenances at the sight of a woman with small children. I was, I confess, afraid to go over to the enemy, as it was quite a new situation to me. When I drew near the tents, a handsome man approached and met me, took my children from the calash, and hugged and kissed them, which almost affected me to tears. 'You tremble,' said he, addressing himself to me; 'be not afraid.' 'No,' I answered, 'you seem so kind and tender to my children, it inspires me with courage.' He now led me to the tent of General Gates, where I found Generals Burgoyne and Phillips, who were on a friendly footing with the former. Burgoyne said to me, 'Never mind; your sorrows have an end.' I answered him, 'that I should be reprehensible to have any cares, as he had none; and I was pleased to see him on such friendly footing with General Gates.' All the Generals remained to dine with General Gates.

"The same gentleman who received me so kindly, now came and said to me, 'You will be very much embarrassed to eat with all these gentlemen; come with your children to my tent, where I will prepare for you a frugal dinner, and give it with a free will.' I said, 'You are certainly a husband and a father, you have showed me so much kindness.' I now found that he was General Schuyler. He treated me with excellent smoked tongue, beefsteak, potatoes, and good bread and butter! Never could I have wished to eat a better dinner; I was content; I saw all around me were so likewise; and what was better than all, my husband was out of danger.

"When we had dined, he told me his residence was at Albany, and that General Burgoyne intended to honor him as his guest, and invited myself and children to do so likewise. I asked my husband how I should act; he told me to accept the invitation. As it was two days' journey there, he advised me to go to a place which was about three hours' ride distant. General Schuyler had the politeness to send with me a French officer, a very agreeable man, who commanded the reconnoitering party of which I have before 192spoken; and when he had escorted me to the house where I was to remain, he turned back again.

"Some days after this we arrived at Albany, where we so often wished ourselves; but we did not enter it as we expected we should—victors! We were received by the good General Schuyler, his wife and daughters, not as enemies, but as kind friends; and they treated us with the most marked attention and politeness, as they did General Burgoyne, who had caused General Schuyler's beautifully finished house to be burnt. In fact, they behaved like persons of exalted minds, who determined to bury all recollections of their own injuries in the contemplation of our misfortunes. General Burgoyne was struck with General Schuyler's generosity, and said to him, 'You show me great kindness, though I have done you much injury.' 'That was the fate of war,' replied the brave man, 'let us say no more about it.'"

This presents a picture of those trying times upon which it is both pleasurable and painful to dwell. It outlines General Schuyler as a noble nature, which is true to history. He was a brave among the brave—chivalrous as the Cid, gentle as a woman, wise as Solomon. Next to Greene, he is regarded by those most conversant with the men of the Revolution, as the column which most sustained Washington in his gigantic labors; while, as one of those who, after our independence was won, contributed most toward the reorganization of government and society. It is agreeable to contemplate such a character, for it heightens the worship which this generation feels for those who won the priceless boon of a nation's freedom!


The Little Sentinel.—Page 7

Traditions and Romance
196Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for
the Southern District of New York.


A tall, portly-looking man stood on a table in the midst of a crowd of farmer-like individuals, haranguing them in an energetic manner regarding the crisis in affairs of the country. He was dressed in the scarlet and buff regimentals of a British officer, although, like the most of his audience, he was a resident of the neighborhood. The time was that important period in the history of our country just succeeding the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, when every man felt called upon to decide the part he should take in the contest which all saw was impending. The place was the vicinity of Scoharie Kill, a branch of the Mohawk river, in the State of New York. The persons, George Mann, a loyalist of great wealth, three of the king's Commissioners, and the yeomanry of the neighborhood, from the gray-haired man of sixty winters, to the youth of sixteen and eighteen summers: in fact, all the male population of the Scoharie valley capable of bearing arms. The king had "honored" Mann with a Captain's commission, and the Commissioners had called the people together for the purpose of administering the oath of allegiance and recruiting from their number a company, to the command of which Mann was to be assigned. They had been ordered to bring their arms with them, and a large majority had done so. Their equipments were as varied as their opinions—and these were of many shades—from the determined and bitter Tory, through the various degrees of loyalty to the wavering and undecided; and thence to the lukewarm, warm, devoted, and ardent Whig. Such as had taken the oath were adorned with a piece of scarlet cloth stuck in their hats; while some, more enthusiastic than others, wore 198scarlet caps. All these were enrolled and mustered under arms, preparatory to receiving the drill from their new Captain. Many of the lukewarm and undecided took the oath of allegiance from fear of consequences. There were but a limited few bold and determined enough to abjure the oath and all allegiance to the king. Of this number were Nicholas Stemberg and William Dietz, who had been so earnest in their denunciations of the tyranny and injustice of the mother country, that, when they left for home on the evening of the first day, they were assailed with denunciations of vengeance. They were proclaimed as traitors, and threatened with a nocturnal visit by the bitterest among those whom the occasion had shown to be their enemies. Fearing these threats would be put into execution, Stemberg spent the night in the woods, while his family were trembling with fear at home. On his return to that home in the morning, he was agreeably disappointed to find it undisturbed, and, with his neighbor Dietz, again repaired to the parade, with an unaltered determination, however, to take no obligation of allegiance. They found, on arriving at Mann's house, that upward of one hundred were enrolled and scattered about the grounds; while others, who had not made up their minds upon which side they should range themselves, were listening to an ardent harangue from the Captain. Mounted on a table, and dressed in all the paraphernalia of war, he was alternately coaxing, wheedling, and urging them to take part in the raid against rebellion, commanding those who had already enrolled themselves, and threatening dire vengeance, confiscation of property, imprisonment and death, against those who dared to side with the rebels. The hour seemed propitious, and the loyal Captain was carrying every thing before his storm of eloquence and denunciations, when, in the twinkling of an eye, a storm of a different kind burst upon his head, which scattered to the winds the results of all his efforts. News of the Captain's labors had been conveyed to Albany, and while he was in the midst of one of his most earnest appeals, two hundred horsemen, under command of Captain Woodbake, made their appearance, tearing up the road, with sabers drawn and determination flashing from their eyes. One glance was all-sufficient for the doughty Captain, and the next moment—his coat-skirts flying in the wind, his queue sticking straight out behind him—he was on 199his way to the shelter of the neighboring woods as fast as his legs could carry him. His followers were immediately transformed into firm and devoted patriots, except a certain few who had been such enthusiastic Tories that they could not hope to escape merited punishment, and these pursued their flying commander. The scarlet badges disappeared in the most sudden and unaccountable manner, and when Captain Woodbake and his party reached the spot where the loyal Captain had stood, he found none but Whigs to receive him. His object, therefore—the dispersion of the meeting without bloodshed—was accomplished, and he proceeded to proclaim the rule of Congress. Before doing so, however, he gave orders that Mann should be taken, either dead or alive. There were plenty willing to undertake this task, and patrols were soon stationed in every direction, so that it was nearly impossible for him to escape.

Among others who volunteered for this duty, was Lambert, the eldest son of Nicholas Stemberg, a lad of fifteen or sixteen years. He was stationed by the side of one of those structures called barracks, so often seen in a new country, consisting of a thatch supported on four posts over a stack of wheat or hay. The youth was proud of his trust, desiring nothing more earnestly than to meet with the Captain and take him prisoner. During the afternoon, a violent thunder-storm arose, and to shelter himself from its inclemencies, the young sentry climbed to the top of the stack, where, to his astonishment, he found the loyal fugitive snugly ensconced. Presenting his musket to his breast, he informed him that his orders were to take him, dead or alive—and he must surrender or be shot. The Captain, whose courage and lofty bearing had left him simultaneously with the appearance of Woodbake, begged hard for his life, and besought the young patriot to allow him to escape; for, if taken prisoner, he would be hung by the militia men to the first tree, without shrift or absolution. Stemberg replied that his orders were imperative, and he dared not disobey them. But Mann implored for mercy in such piteous tones—reminding him that he was a neighbor, had never done him harm, had ever been kind to him, &c., &c.—that a violent struggle took place in the breast of the young soldier between his duty and his sympathy. He could not shoot him in cold blood, and he would not surrender; so, 200to compromise the matter with himself, he proposed to fire his musket in token of alarm, that others might come and take his prisoner. This was earnestly objected to by the Captain, who saw the struggle going on in his captor's breast, and determined to take advantage of it. Watching his opportunity, therefore, when his attention was removed from him, and a violent clap of thunder covered his movement, he slipped off the stack, and sliding down one of the posts, made a rapid retreat for the mountains. Stemberg, as in duty bound, fired his musket at him, but was not sorry that his shot was fruitless. The report soon brought others to the spot, and after hearing the story of the tender-hearted sentinel, they immediately started in pursuit of the fugitive, who had many narrow escapes, but finally eluded their vigilance and hid himself in the fastnesses of the hills, where he remained for two weeks. He was induced, at the end of that time, to surrender, upon the condition that he should not suffer personal injury. He was taken to Albany, where he was kept a close prisoner until the end of the war, when he again returned to his estate, and, becoming a firm Republican, ended his days there.

Those who think young Stemberg's neighborly feelings made him too lenient toward the humiliated loyalist, will be better pleased with the following record of the resolute manner in which another lad captured and controlled a couple of desperadoes.

On a fine May morning, 1780, as the family of Sheriff Firman, of Freehold county, New Jersey, was at breakfast, a breathless soldier burst into the room, stating that as he and another were conducting to the court-house two men, taken up on suspicion at Colt's Neck, they had knocked down his comrade, seized his musket, and escaped. The Sheriff, on hearing this relation, mounted his horse and galloped to the court-house to alarm the guard. His son, Tunis, a lad of about seventeen, small of his age, seized a musket, loaded only with small shot to kill blackbirds in the cornfields, and, putting on a cartridge-box, sent his little brother up stairs for the bayonet, and then, forgetting to wait for it, hurried off alone in pursuit.

After running in a westerly direction about a mile, he discovered the men sitting on a fence, who, perceiving him, ran into a swamp. As the morning was warm, he hastily pulled off his shoes and coat, and darted in after them, keeping close after them for over a mile, 201when they got out of the swamp, and climbed into separate trees. As he came up one of them discharged at him the musket taken from the guard. The ball whistled over his head. Feeling for his bayonet, he discovered that it was still with his little brother. He then pointed his gun at the man with the musket, but deemed it imprudent to fire, reflecting that, even if he killed him, his comrade could easily match such a stripling as himself. He compelled the man to throw down the musket by threatening him with instant death if he did not comply. Then, loading the fusee from his cartridge-box, he forced his prisoners down from the trees, and, armed with his two loaded muskets, drove them toward the court-house, careful, however, to keep them far apart, to prevent conversation. Passing by a spring, they requested permission to drink.

"No!" replied the courageous boy, understanding their design, "you can do without it as well as myself; you shall have some by-and-by."

Soon after, his father, at the head of a party of soldiers, galloped past in the road within a short distance. Tunis hallooed, but the clattering of their horses' hoofs drowned his voice. At length he reached the village, and lodged his prisoners in the county prison.

It was subsequently discovered that these men were brothers, from near Philadelphia; that they had robbed and murdered a Mr. Boyd, a collector of taxes in Chester county, and, when taken, were on their way to join the British. As they had been apprehended on suspicion merely of being refugees, no definite charge could be brought against them. A few days later, Sheriff Firman saw an advertisement in a Philadelphia paper, describing them, with the facts above mentioned, and a reward of twenty thousand dollars (Continental money,) offered for their apprehension. He, accompanied by his son, took them on there, where they were tried and executed. On entering Philadelphia, young Tunis was carried through the streets in triumph upon the shoulders of the military. In the latter part of the war this young man became very active, and was the special favorite of General David Firman.

Not solitary are the incidents of boyish heroism on record; and yet how far the larger number must have passed unnoticed, in the midst of the trials and excitements of those troublous Revolutionary 202times. Children catch the fire which burns in the parent heart; and where the father rushes eagerly to the salvation of his country, and the mother—concealing her sadness and fears, puts on a hopeful countenance, speaking the ennobling sentiments of patriotism—it may well be credited that the boys were not cowards. We have some very interesting recollections of that period preserved in the private Diary of the wife of a Revolutionary officer, who, while her husband served his country on the battle-field, remained with her father, who was a clergyman of the Church of England, at their little parsonage on Long Island, and whose daily jottings down of events and emotions, just as they were seen and felt, make her simple pictures full of the power of reality. When we read them we feel as if that time were before us, and those actors still lived. Long Island, after the memorable retreat of Gen. Washington, on the morning of the 30th of August, 1776, remained in the hands of the enemy, and was the scene of many distressing outrages and calamities of all kinds—pillage, insult, robbery, the destruction of farm implements, the impressment of men and horses, with the horrors of a prowling hired soldiery, and frequent murders, being among the dark list. Speaking of the spirit of the boys of those days, leads us to quote from the lady's Diary:

"Wednesday, Nov. 24th, 1776.—Yesterday my indignation was aroused to a high degree. I was sitting in the end of the porch, my father at my side, and little Mary, with your letter in her hands, pretending to read it, when a loud cry startled us. It seemed to come from Pattison's, our nearest neighbor. Charles went over, returned, and gave us this account of the affair. It appears that Edmund Pattison was enjoying his noon rest quietly in the barn (he is a noble-looking lad of eighteen, tall, athletic, and of a high spirit,) when a light-horseman rode up to the door.

"'Youngster,' said he, 'make haste and bestir yourself. Go and assist that driver of the two yoke of oxen there to unload his cart of timber into the road.'

"Now, Edmund had been hard at work with his own hired man, loading the wagon, to take the timber to a farmer three miles off, to whom it was sold by his father; the wagon and teams both belonged to the Pattisons.

203"'Hurry, sir,' said the light-horseman.

"Edmund firmly replied: 'I shall not do it.'

"'What, sirrah! we shall see who will do it,' and drawing his sword, he held it over Edmund's head, cursing, swearing, and threatening to cut him down unless he instantly unloaded his team and helped to carry in it provisions to the British army.

"With unblanched cheek, Edmund Pattison reiterated his denial, telling him to do it for himself. Enraged beyond measure at such a contempt of orders, it seemed as if the man must strike and kill the stubborn boy, who, firm and undaunted, said not a word.

"At this time our Charles, who was on the spot, ran to the house and told Mrs. Pattison that 'the Britisher was going to kill her Edmund.'

"Her cry it was that we heard from the porch. She ran to the barn and begged the soldier to desist. He was more furious than ever, supposing the fears of the mother would induce compliance. She, too, expostulated with her son, imploring him to assist in unloading the wagon, and save himself from death.

"'No fear of death, mother; he dare not touch a hair of my head.'

"The boy grew more determined, the soldier more enraged—flourishing his saber and swearing that he would be the death of him.

"'You dare not. I will report you to your master for this,' said Edmund, boldly. Upon this the light-horseman mounted, telling the boy once more that if he did not instantly begin the work he would cut him into inch pieces. Edmund coolly walked across the barn floor, armed himself with a pitchfork, and took his station in the doorway.

"'You cowardly rascal,' said he, 'clear out, or I'll stab you with my pitchfork!'

"His mother could endure the scene no longer; she ran to the house, where she met her husband, and sent him to rescue Edmund. Friend Pattison, a sensible, clear-headed man, rode up, and seeing matters at this high pass, said to the Britisher: 'You know your duty; you have no right to lay a finger on him, a non-combatant on neutral ground.' Seeing no signs of relenting, farmer Pattison turned his horse toward the road, saying he would soon see Colonel Wurms, 204and know who had the power to threaten and abuse the farmers of the country in that style. The light-horseman was now alarmed. Thinking it best to get there first, he put spurs to his horse, riding off with awful imprecations.

"Thus Edmund escaped for this time; though I much fear his defying, fearless spirit may yet cost him dear."

On another page she relates an anecdote of her own son.

"Tuesday.—A press for horses yesterday. I will relate how Charley saved our young horse. He and James Pattison were idly sitting on the fence, the other side of the pond, talking indignantly of the insults of the British, to whom the former shows no mercy, when they espied a light-horsemen at a farm-house door. They knew the next place would be Isaac Willett's, which, though only across the pond, is completely hid from our view by a stately row of poplars, forming a leafy screen; and they knew his errand, too—that he would be here in an instant, for when 'pressing' they galloped from house to house with violent speed.

"'Fleetfoot shall not go,' said Charles, 'without an effort to save him,' and, running with all his might to the barn, he jumped on his back and rode for the woods.

"On the instant he was seen by the red-coat, who put spurs to his horse, and came on a full run toward the woods, where Charles had disappeared. My heart beat quick when the red-coat, too, was lost to sight. My dear, brave child might fall from his horse, and be dashed against the trees in the hot pursuit of the light-horseman.

"My father and I sat gazing intently toward the woods, awaiting the result in breathless anxiety, astonished at the boy's daring, and ready to reprove his rash spirit, in attempting to save the young horse at the risk of his own neck. In about an hour's time we saw the red-coat come out of the woods below. He stopped a man in the road and made inquiries, but getting no satisfaction, rode off.

"At nightfall, peeping his way through the wood, Charles made his appearance, still mounted on his favorite Fleetfoot. By signs we made known to him that the danger was past, and he rode up to the house.

"Overjoyed to see him, he told us his story, which Grace and Marcia drank in with greedy ears. Indeed, the scene on the porch 205was worthy of Hogarth's pencil. On one side was his poor affrighted mother, and the little girls, with eyes wide open, full of wonder; near by, the venerable grandfather, with silver locks parted on a peaceful brow; and Charley, standing close by his steed, as he recounted his hair-breadth ''scape,' leaning his head occasionally against his proud neck, so that my boy's curls of gold mingle with the ebon mane of Fleetfoot.

"He said that he struck deeper and deeper into the woods, going from one place to another, until the forest became very dense and dark. He rode into a tangled, marshy place, where he stood five hours without moving! At one time he heard his pursuer close by, heard his fearful oaths, heard him lashing the sides of his own jaded steed. Charley's heart beat violently. But the bog was wet and gloomy, and the soldier's ardor was dampened—he durst not venture. So Charley and Fleetfoot were left to themselves in the deep wood. A brave feat for a boy of only fourteen."

One more extract from this lively diary we will give to show the influence of the maidens on the hard hearts of the enemy—that the girls as well as the boys had their parts to play in the drama.

"Wednesday.—Charles accompanied John Harris home from school, with my permission, last night. He returned this morning, with a story of the night, which he related to me in breathless excitement.

"A family living a mile from us were quietly sitting together in the evening, when a noise was heard at the door like that of a sharp instrument thrust into it. On opening the door there stood a red-coat with his saber in his hand, which he had stuck into the wood an inch or two. He was backed by a dozen men. They pushed their way in, and were very unruly, rummaging and ransacking every drawer and closet; but the family had long before taken the precaution to place all their money and valuables in a small room, which opened out of the common sitting-room, putting a large cupboard before the door, which covered it entirely; so that the Hessians quartered there last winter never discovered the device.

"The red-coats, highly incensed at finding nothing, began to threaten terrible things if they did not divulge the hiding-place. Mr. M. told them that if they dared do any violence, he would report them to the 206commanding officer. Whereupon, they actually went into the kitchen, kindled some light wood, came out, and set a burning brand at each corner of the house. The family were exceedingly alarmed. In great terror, Sarah, the youngest daughter, rushed out. She is famed through all the north-side for her comeliness. I can well imagine that she must have appeared to them like a lovely apparition with her glowing cheek and flashing eye. The ringleader, astonished, stood with his torch in his hand, gazing at her. At length he said:


"'Stop, I entreat you!' said Sarah.

"His looks were riveted upon her with an ardent admiration which embarrassed her.

"'I will, on one condition,' said he.

"'What is it?'

"'Will you give it?'

"'If I can,' replied Sarah.

"'It is, that you will allow me to kiss you.'

"'Oh, if that is all,' said her father, 'comply, my daughter.'

"So, as she made no resistance, the rough soldier planted a fervent kiss on her lips, expressed himself satisfied, and departed. They found, before her baby-house, that the soldiers had stuck the dolls on their bayonets, and railed among themselves and laughed.

"It is seldom that a man's house is attacked more than once. Mr. Harris had his turn some time ago; therefore, although he saw some suspicious-looking persons lurking about, he feared nothing, and arose at daylight, with the intention of going to the south of the island for salt hay. Mrs. Harris, however, began to feel uneasy and timid, from the reports she heard during the following day, and the recollection of her never-to-be-forgotten injuries, and persuaded her husband to stay at home. That night passed without disturbance. About nine o'clock the next evening, a neighbor stopped at the gate in his wagon, and he and Mr. Harris were talking over the exciting times and scenes enacting around the country, when they saw a man moving about the fields, and passing now and then in and out of the edge of the woods. One of the serving-women, too, had seen some one about dark standing close by the wood-pile, who had vanished on her appearance at the door of the kitchen. In consequence of 207these signs Mr. Harris concluded to sit up, and keep lights and fires burning about the house. Charles, and the older children, were sent to bed, but not to sleep—that was impossible with their perturbed and excited imaginations. About twelve o'clock, Mr. Harris being on the look-out, saw a man at a short distance from the house, reconnoitering; he now held a consultation with his wife and the two hired men. They came to the conclusion that an attack was meditated, and that it was time to act; they determined to leave the house in a body, taking the two loaded guns, the money, silver, and small valuables. Though the next house was full two miles off, there seemed no other alternative. The poor little frightened children were hurried up and dressed; their fears and cries were hushed, and they were carried down stairs. As quietly as possible, all left the house by the back door. It was a moment of intense anxiety; their hearts beat with dread; with trembling limbs, which almost refused to bear them, they moved on. 'Faint, though pursuing,' they endeavored to stay their minds above. At length, arrived at Mr. S.'s, another difficulty presented itself. The family would inevitably take them for robbers, and be liable to fire upon them. In this dilemma Mr. Harris thought it best to go close to the door and call out his name, trusting that his voice would be recognized, which was the case. The poor wanderers were kindly received, and after they had talked over their fright, were provided with comfortable beds. The house of Mr. S. has never been attacked, it is so well secured, the doors and windows being lined and bound with iron, a fact well known to the marauders."

Thus the little diary goes on. Sometimes the brutal bands murdered those who opposed them in their own houses, upon their own hearthstones. Reared in the midst of such excitement, it would be but natural that the youth of the struggling country should become quick-witted and self-reliant.

And since we have shown how brave the boys could be, let us repeat an incident of the heroism of a little girl in these same days of trial:

"Robert Gibbs, a gentleman earnestly devoted to the patriotic cause, was the owner of a plantation on the Stono, a few miles from Charleston, on which, on a certain occasion, a Hessian battalion encamped, 208compelling the family to surrender to their use the lower part of the mansion, and to confine themselves in the upper story. While here on one dark and stormy evening, two galleys appeared, ascending the river, which forthwith began a most destructive fire upon the Hessian encampment. The house appeared particularly exposed, although the vessels had been commanded to avoid firing upon it, and to confine their attack to the enemy's encampment. Of this Mr. Gibbs was not aware, and with the permission of the English commander, he set out, although suffering acutely from an infirmity, and with his numerous family, hastened to the protection of a neighboring plantation. The balls were falling thick and fast, sometimes scattering dirt and sand over the party, while their loud whizzing, mingled with the fury of the distant affray, rendered the scene one of danger and terror. But scarcely had they proceeded so far as to be out of danger from the balls, when to their unutterable agony they discovered, that in the confusion and hurry of departure, an infant had been left behind. To leave the child alone in his danger was impossible, and to return for him was an attempt of imminent peril. Mr. Gibbs was suffering under an infirmity that made his movements exceedingly slow and painful, and therefore it was impracticable for him to return. The frightened and chattering servants stood trembling around, looking from one to the other in bewildering despair. Of all the rest of the party, saving Mrs. Gibbs, who was severely indisposed, none were above the age of childhood. While thus undecided, Miss Mary Ann Gibbs, but thirteen years of age, sprung forward and heroically offered to go for the lad, who was a son of Mrs. Fenwick, Mrs. Gibbs' sister-in-law. The night was dark and stormy, the distance considerable, and the whole space swept by the cannon of the assailants. But without fear she retraced her way, and reached the house without injury, where the scene was one of unmingled terror. Undismayed by the thundering of the cannon, the crashing of the balls, the shrieks, shouts and imprecations of the combatants, she sprung to the door with the intention of entering, when she was brutally refused by the sentinel. But tears, entreaties, and the natural eloquence prompted by her heroism and the high purpose on which she was bent, overcame his opposition, and she was permitted to enter. With rapid steps she ascended to 209the third story, and finding the child there in safety, she clasped it to her bosom, and hastened to overtake her retreating family, her course, as before, full of danger, and often the plowing balls would scatter clouds of dust over her person. Uninjured, her perilous journey was performed, and when she reached her friends, she was welcomed by shouts of enthusiasm and admiration. The intrepid action, worthy of an adult, and all glorious in a child, borrows a fair share of romance by the reflection that the child thus saved afterward became Lieutenant-Colonel Fenwick, so highly distinguished by his services in the last war with Great Britain."


The siege of Fort Meigs during the war of 1812, by a combined British and Indian force, under command of General Proctor, was attended by one of those thrilling incidents which chill the blood with horror, and which have stained the escutcheon of Great Britain with indelible infamy. It is with no desire, however, to harrow up the feelings of our readers at a tale of soul-sickening massacre, nor yet with a wish to undertake the invidious task of reprobating the course of the English Government in connection with the war, that we have introduced the following narrative; but simply with a view of presenting the character of that brave and patriotic chieftain, Tecumseh, in its true light as regarding his magnanimity, and freedom from those brutal propensities and inclinations which have conduced so strongly to stigmatize the Indians as savages.

The fort was invested on the 26th of April, and from that period up to the 5th of May, a constant fire had been kept up by the British batteries on the opposite side of the river, without serious injury to the works. General Clay, with a reinforcement of twelve hundred Kentucky militia, arrived in the neighborhood on the 4th, and received orders to detach eight hundred men to attack the British batteries while the remainder was to aid a sortie against the Indians, who had established themselves in the immediate vicinity of the fort, and who 210were a source of great annoyance to its garrison. Colonel Dudley was placed in command of the larger party, and, agreeably to his instructions, landed on the right bank, and completely succeeded in driving the enemy from his works, and in spiking the cannon. His orders were peremptory to return immediately to his boats on the accomplishment of this object, and repair to the fort; but his men had tasted the sweets of victory, and the rashness which follows success on the part of militia, proved their ruin. They allowed themselves to be amused by some faint attempt at resistance on the part of a small body of Indians in the woods, until the main body of the British, which was some distance in the rear, could be brought up, and a severe and bloody action soon followed. It can hardly be called an action, for the militia were in detached parties, pursuing the scattering troops, when they suddenly found themselves confronted and surrounded by a force double their number, and after a manly effort to retain the victory they had won, they attempted to retreat but found themselves cut off from the river by a force which had got into their rear, to whom they were obliged to surrender themselves prisoners of war. Out of the eight hundred who landed in the morning, only one hundred and fifty escaped massacre or captivity. Colonel Dudley was severely wounded, and afterward tomahawked and scalped. A large portion of the prisoners were marched to the British fort lower down the river, where they immediately became the sport and prey of the Indians, who commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the unarmed men, until the entreaties of some of the more humane British officers checked it for a time. Another party were placed in charge of a Sergeant and fifty men for the purpose of being embarked in the gunboats, where it was supposed they would be safe from the attacks of the infuriated savages. Upon reaching the encampment, which at that time happened to be deserted by the troops, they were met by a band of Indians who had not been engaged in the contest at all, but, actuated by a brutal thirst for blood, and disappointed at not having a share of the plunder, to which they thought themselves entitled, they determined to satisfy their desires by murdering and stripping the prisoners before them. Perhaps they were actuated by a spirit of revenge for the loss which had been sustained by their friends in the action. Be this as it may, they 211each selected a victim from the ranks, and with fearful yells commenced the work of slaughter. With a magnanimity scarcely to be expected of men who had witnessed the cold-blooded murders at the river Raisin, the British guard threw themselves between the savages and their intended victims, and endeavored to dissuade, and then to coerce them from their horrid butchery. But in vain. Excited to the highest pitch of ferocity by the blood they had already shed, they were not to be deterred from their purpose; and the soldiers—after witnessing the death of one of their number, who was stabbed to the heart by a savage from whom he had snatched a prisoner—finding their interposition to be fruitless, withdrew and left the unfortunate men to their fate. Surrounded upon all sides by the savages, with no chance of escape, with none to interfere, the prisoners were huddled together; those in front striving to screen themselves behind their comrades; while those in the rear, with the love of life urging them with an equal force, endeavored to keep them from doing so, they surged to and fro, the tomahawk and scalping-knife doing its work, until forty of their number lay stiff in the embrace of death. The Sergeant in command of the guard, who had been forced to leave their charge to the tender mercies of the savages, sought for Tecumseh, and informed him of the horrid butchery which was being enacted. The eyes of the chieftain lit up with a consuming blaze, and his nostrils dilated and contracted as his breast heaved with the mighty passion which the soldier's story had roused within him. He stopped but a moment to hear the end, and then dashing his heels against his horse's sides, he darted off in the direction of the scene. Raising his voice as he approached, in thunder-tones he commanded the Indians to desist from their brutal work. A few, startled at the unexpected interference, drew back; but the majority, regardless of his authority, and drunk with passion, refused to obey. Precipitating himself between these and their prey, he forced them back, and, drawing his tomahawk, he whirled it over his head, while his face was wrought into an expression of the most fearful and scorching rage, as he threatened to cleave to the earth the first one who offered to disobey him. This was effectual with some, but there were still a few who continued their bloody work, and one after another the miserable prisoners were falling, like sheep in the 212shambles, before the unrelenting knives and hatchets of their executioners. None but a man destitute of fear would have dared to rush between these and their victims. It was tearing the carcass of his prey from the jaws of the lion to interfere between these ferocious fiends and their feast of blood. But, the chief knew no fear: he was wrought to such a fearful state of excitement as not to heed the dictates of prudence. Leaping from his horse and drawing his knife, he threw himself upon them with all the fury of a tigress divested of her young. Seizing one by the throat, and another by the breast, he hurled them to the ground, and thus, one after another, he beat them back with a strength which nothing could withstand. Taking his station in front of the remnant of the band which still remained alive, and raising his tomahawk high above his head, while his whole figure dilated to a greater height by the passions which raged within his bosom, he dared them, in tones which thrilled through them like electricity, to strike another blow. None were found so bold as to tempt his arm or disobey his command, and the prisoners were saved. Looking around for Proctor, he espied him as he approached, and demanded why he had not stopped the massacre. "Sir," said he, "your Indians are not to be commanded." "Begone!" replied Tecumseh, as a look of the greatest disdain and contempt swept over his swarthy visage, "you are unfit to command; go and put on petticoats!"

This Proctor, the British commander, had already branded himself with indelible infamy at the battle of the River Raisin, in January of the same year. In reference to this battle, we will briefly state the object of General Harrison's campaign was to take Detroit, and expel the British from the territory of the United States—and to protect the extensive frontier; also to furnish such protection as was possible to the settlers in Ohio, Indiana, etc., from the savages in the pay of the British. The points to be defended were scattered over a vast region of country; and though the care of it fell upon General Harrison, officers in the different sections were frequently obliged to act for themselves. It was thus that General Winchester, failing to receive counter-orders sent after him by Harrison, and unaware of the full force of the enemy, was induced to make an imprudent, though brave, movement against a body of English and Indians who 213were coming from Malden and the Raisin to attack his camp at the rapids.

He pressed forward and found the enemy prepared to meet him at Frenchtown; they were posted among the houses, but were soon dislodged and driven to the woods. Here a short, desperate engagement took place, and the English were driven two miles before the continual charge of the brave Kentuckians, though the latter had made that day a forced march of over eighteen miles over ice. In reporting the action, afterward, General Harrison said: "The troops amply sustained the double character of Americans and Kentuckians."

Thus far our heroes were successful; instead of retiring after this brilliant affair, they determined to maintain their position; they remained in Frenchtown two or three days, part of their forces being exposed in an open field, and a part sheltered by the garden pickets of the town. During the night of the 21st of January, the British came up, unobserved, and at daylight fired bombs, balls and grape-shot from heavy pieces of artillery, at a distance of only three hundred yards. The troops in the open field were sadly injured by this fire, and soon fled across the river in the utmost confusion. The Indians gained our flank and rear, butchering our soldiers shockingly. General Winchester was taken prisoner and marched to the British camp. Colonel Lewis still maintained his position in the town, frequently repulsing the enemy, until the Indians gained his flank, when a general and indiscriminate massacre ensued. Colonel Lewis was made a prisoner, had his coat stripped off, and was conducted to the enemy's camp. Colonel Allen, being badly wounded, surrendered to an Indian. Another assailed him, whom Allen struck dead at his feet, and was in turn shot down by a third savage. Garrett, with fifteen or twenty men, surrendered, and all but himself were butchered on the spot.

Two other officers, Graves and Madison, still maintained their position within the picketing, and with their troops, behaved most gallantly. The former being severely wounded, and as he sat down, wiping the blood from his wounds, cried: "Never mind me, my boys, fight on!" Proctor, with all his British regulars and savage allies, could not subdue this band—they gave not an inch to the foe.

A flag was at last sent to Madison, with an order from Winchester 214to surrender. Proctor accompanied the flag, and made the demand, but Major Madison replied that he would not surrender unless the safety of his men could be guaranteed. Proctor demanded:

"Sir, do you mean to dictate to me?"

"No," returned the intrepid Major, "I intend to dictate for myself; and we prefer selling our lives as dearly as possible, rather than be massacred in cold blood."

The surrender was made on express conditions, that the officers should retain their side arms, the sick and wounded to be carefully removed, private property to be respected, and the prisoners protected by a guard. Proctor disregarded all stipulations, and handed over the prisoners to the Indians, who butchered them without mercy. Some of their bodies were thrown into the flames of the burning village, while others, shockingly mangled, were left exposed in the streets. These awful deeds were continued for several days.

For the massacre of the River Raisin, in return for which any other civilized government would have dismissed, if not gibbeted, the commander, Colonel Proctor received the rank of Major-General in the British army. This infamous officer it was who shortly after commenced the siege of Fort Meigs, his mind filled with visions of conquest, personal glory and official promotion. He was assisted by Tecumseh, with fifteen hundred of his warriors; but even the Indian nature revolted at the more savage deeds of the English General. From this siege of Fort Meigs Proctor was obliged to retreat toward Malden in disgrace and confusion.

In the May following, however, Proctor, thinking to surprise Fort Meigs, made a second attack upon it with a large force of British regulars and Canadians, and several thousand Indians under Tecumseh, but was again obliged to retreat in disgrace.

On the first day of August, General Proctor appeared with five hundred regulars, and about eight hundred Indians of the most ferocious kind, before fort Stephenson, twenty miles above the mouth of the river Sandusky. There were not more than one hundred and thirty-three effective men in the garrison, and the works covered one acre of ground; it was a mere outpost of little importance; and General Harrison, acting with the unanimous advice of his council of war, had sent orders to Major Croghan, who commanded the 215garrison, to evacuate the fort, and make good his retreat to head-quarters, provided the enemy should approach the place with artillery, and a retreat be practicable. But the first step taken by Proctor was to isolate the fort by a cordon of Indians, thus leaving to Major Croghan no choice but between resistance and submission. A messenger was sent to demand the surrender of the fort. He was met by Ensign Shipp, to whom the messenger observed that General Proctor had a considerable body of regular troops, and a great many Indians, whom it was impossible to control, and if the fort was taken by force, he must expect that the mildest instruments made use of would be the tomahawk and scalping-knife! Shipp replied, that it was the commander's intention to defend the garrison or be buried in it, and that they might do their worst. The messenger, startled at the reply of Shipp, again addressed him: "You are a fine young man. I pity your situation. For God's sake surrender, and prevent the dreadful slaughter which must inevitably follow resistance." The gallant Shipp turned from him with indignation, and was immediately seized by a frightful-looking savage, who attempted to wrest his sword from him, but the Ensign was fortunately too quick for him, and buried the blade to the hilt in his body, and succeeded in reaching the fort in safety. The attack now commenced. About four P. M., all the enemy's guns were concentrated against the northwestern angle of the fort, for the purpose of making a breach. To counteract the effect of their fire, the commander caused that point to be strengthened by means of bags of flour, sand and other materials, in such a manner that the balls of the enemy did but little injury. But the enemy, supposing that their fire had sufficiently shattered the pickets, advanced, to the number of six hundred, to storm the place, the Indians shouting in their usual manner. As soon as the ditch was pretty well filled with the copper-colored assailants, the commander of the fort ordered a six-pounder, which had been masked in the block-house, to be discharged. It had been loaded with a double charge of musket-balls and slugs. The piece completely raked the ditch from end to end. The yell of the savages was at this instant horrible. The first fire leveled the one half in death; the second and third either killed or wounded all except eleven, who were covered by the dead bodies. The Americans 216had but one killed, and seven slightly wounded. Early the ensuing morning the few regulars and Indians that survived retreated down the river, abandoning all their baggage.

The time was now at hand when General Harrison and his army were to reach the full completion of all the contemplated objects of the expedition.

Among the earliest recommendations of General Harrison to the Government the year before, and immediately after he commenced operations, had been that of constructing and equipping a naval armament on the lakes. In one letter he says: "Admitting that Malden and Detroit are both taken, Mackinaw and St. Joseph will both remain in the hands of the enemy until we can create a force capable of contending with the vessels which the British have in Lake Michigan," etc. And again, in another letter: "Should any offensive operation be suspended until spring, it is my decided opinion that the cheapest and most effectual plan will be to obtain command of Lake Erie. This being once effected, every difficulty will be removed. An army of four thousand men, landed on the north side of the lake, below Malden, will reduce that place, retake Detroit, and, with the aid of the fleet, proceed down the lake to coöperate with the army from Niagara." These sagacious instructions, being repeatedly and strenuously urged by him, and reinforced also from other quarters, were adopted and acted upon by the Government. Commodore Perry was commissioned to build, equip and command the contemplated fleet; and, on the 10th of September, with an inferior force, he met the enemy, and gained the brilliant victory of Lake Erie.

Meanwhile, Colonel Richard M. Johnson, then a member of Congress from Kentucky, had devised the organization of two regiments of mounted militia, which he was authorized by the Government to raise, as well for service against the Indians, as to coöperate with Harrison. Colonel Johnson crossed the country of Lower Sandusky, where he received orders from the war department to proceed to Kaskaskia, to operate in that quarter; but, by the interference of Harrison, and at the urgent request of Colonel Johnson, who said, for himself and his men, that the first object of their hearts was to accompany Harrison to Detroit and Canada, and to partake in the danger and honor of that expedition, under an officer in whom they had confidence, and who had approved himself "to be wise, prudent, and brave,"—the orders of the department were countermanded, and Colonel Johnson attained his wish.


Tecumseh Saving the Prisoners.—Page 19.

219General Harrison now prepared to strike the great blow. Aided by the energetic efforts of Governor Meigs, of Ohio, and Governor Shelby, of Kentucky, he had ready on the southern shore of Lake Erie, by the middle of September, a competent force, destined for the immediate invasion of Canada. Between the 16th and the 24th of September, the artillery, military stores, provisions, and troops, were gradually embarked, and on the 27th the whole army proceeded to the Canada shore. "Remember the river Raisin," said General Harrison, in his address to the troops, "but remember it only while victory is suspended. The revenge of a soldier can not be gratified on a fallen enemy." The army landed in high spirits; but the enemy had abandoned his stronghold, and retreated to Sandwich, after dismantling Malden, burning the barracks and navy-yard, and stripping the adjacent country of horses and cattle. General Harrison encamped that night on the ruins of Malden.

On the 2d of October, arrangements were made for pursuing the retreating enemy up the Thames. The army was put in motion on the morning of the 4th. General Harrison accompanied Colonel Johnson, and was followed by Governor Shelby with the infantry. Having passed the ground where the enemy had encamped the night before, the General directed the advance of Colonel Johnson's regiment to accelerate their march, for the purpose of ascertaining the distance of the enemy.

The troops had now advanced within three miles of the Moravian town, and within one mile of the enemy. Across a narrow strip of land, near an Indian village, the enemy were drawn up in line of battle, to prevent the advance of the American troops. The British troops amounted to six hundred, the Indians to more than twelve hundred. About one hundred and fifty regulars, under Colonel Ball, were ordered to advance and amuse the enemy, and, should a favorable opportunity present, to seize his cannon. A small party of friendly Indians were directed to move under the bank. The regiment of Colonel Johnson was drawn up in close column, with its 220right a few yards distant from the road. General Desha's division covered the left of Johnson's regiment. General Cass and Commodore Perry volunteered as aids to General Harrison.

On the 5th, the enemy was discovered in a position skillfully chosen, in relation as well to local circumstances as to the character of his troops. A narrow strip of dry land, flanked by the river Thames on the left and by a swamp on the right, was occupied by his regular infantry and artillery, while on the right flank lay Tecumseh and his followers, on the eastern margin of the swamp. But, notwithstanding the judicious choice of the ground, Proctor had committed the error of forming his infantry in open order. Availing himself of this fact, and aware that troops so disposed could not resist a charge of mounted men, he directed Colonel Johnson to dash through the enemy's line in column. The movement was made with brilliant success.

The mounted men charged with promptitude and vigor, broke through the line of the enemy, formed in the rear, and assailed the broken line with a success seldom equaled, for nearly the whole of the British regular force was either killed, wounded, or taken prisoners.

On the left the contest was much more serious. Colonel Johnson's regiment, being there stationed, received a galling fire from the Indians, who seemed not disposed to give ground. The Colonel gallantly led his men into the midst of them, and was personally attacked by a chief, whom he dispatched with his cutlass the moment the former was aiming a blow at him with his tomahawk. The savages, finding the fire of the troops too warm for them, fled across the hills and attempted to seek shelter in a piece of woods on the left, where they were closely pursued by the cavalry. At the margin of the wood Tecumseh stationed himself, armed with a spear, tomahawk, &c., endeavoring to rally and persuade his men to return to the attack. At this point a considerable body of Indians had collected; but this brave savage saw that the fortune of the day was against him, and the battle was lost. Proctor had cowardly fled from the field, and left him and his warriors alone to sustain themselves against a far superior force; and he knew that there was no chance of contending with any hope of success. He therefore stood, like 221a true hero, disdaining to fly, and was, with many of his bravest warriors around him, shot down by the Kentucky riflemen. It has been published to the world, and by many believed, that this distinguished warrior was killed by a pistol-shot from Colonel Johnson; but this is undoubtedly a mistake, which probably originated from the circumstance of the Colonel's having killed a chief by whom he was attacked, as has before been related. That he fell by a rifle-shot, there can be no doubt; but by whom fired, it was not certainly known, or probably never can be satisfactorily proved. No less than six of the riflemen and twenty-two Indians fell within twenty-five yards of the spot where Tecumseh was killed.

The Indians continued a brisk fire from the margin of the wood until a fresh regiment was called into action to oppose them. A company of cavalry having crossed the hills and gained the rear of the savages, the rout became general. They fought bravely, and sustained a heavy loss in killed and wounded. The death of their leader, Tecumseh, was an irreparable loss to them.

Tecumseh was the most extraordinary Indian that has ever appeared in history. He was by birth a Shawanese, and would have been a great man in any age or nation. Independent of the most consummate courage and skill as a warrior, and all the characteristic acuteness of his race, he was endowed by nature with the attributes of mind necessary for great political combinations. His acute understanding, very early in life, informed him that his countrymen had lost their importance; that they were gradually yielding to the whites, who were acquiring an imposing influence over them. Instigated by these considerations, and, perhaps, by his natural ferocity and attachment to war, he became a decided enemy to the whites, and imbibed an invincible determination (he surrendered it with his life) to regain for his country the proud independence which he supposed she had lost. For a number of years he was foremost in every act of hostility committed against those he conceived the oppressors of his countrymen, and was equally remarkable for intrepidity as skill, in many combats that took place under his banner. Aware, at length, of the extent, number, and power of the United States, he became fully convinced of the futility of any single nation of red-men attempting to cope with them. He formed, therefore, the 222grand scheme of uniting all the tribes east of the Mississippi into hostility against the United States. This was a field worthy of his great and enterprising genius. He commenced in the year 1809; and in the execution of his project he displayed an unequaled adroitness, eloquence, and courage. He insinuated himself into every tribe, from Michilimackinack to Georgia, and was invariably successful in his attempts to bring them over to his views.

The following characteristic circumstance occurred at one of the meetings at Vincennes. After Tecumseh had made a speech to General Harrison, and was about to seat himself in a chair, he observed that none had been placed for him. One was immediately ordered by the Governor, and, as the interpreter handed it to him, he said, "Your father requests you to take a chair." "My father!" said Tecumseh, with an indignant expression; "the sun is my father, and the earth is my mother, and on her bosom will I repose," and immediately seated himself, in the Indian fashion, upon the ground.

Tecumseh was born about 1770, and was supposed to be in his forty-fourth year at the time of his death. He received the commission of Brigadier-General in the British army; but aversion to civilization was a prominent trait in his character, and it is not supposed that he received the red sash and other badges of office, because he was fond of imitating the whites, but only as a means of inspiring respect and veneration among his own people, which was so necessary in the work he had undertaken. He was about five feet ten inches in height, of a noble appearance, and a perfectly symmetrical form. His carriage was erect and lofty, his motions quick, his eyes penetrating, his visage stern, with an air of hauteur in his countenance, which arose from an elevated pride of soul. It did not leave him, even in death. Had he not possessed a certain austerity of manners, he could never have controlled the passions of those whom he had led to battle. The Indians are usually fond of gaudy decorations; but Tecumseh was an exception. Clothes and other valuable articles of spoil frequently fell into his possession; yet he invariably wore a deer-skin coat and pantaloons. He had frequently levied subsidies, to a comparatively large amount; yet he retained little or nothing for himself. It was not wealth, but glory, that was his ruling passion.

223Previously to General Brock's crossing over to Detroit, he asked Tecumseh what sort of a country he should have to pass through in case of his proceeding further. Tecumseh, taking a roll of elm-bark, and extending it upon the ground, by means of four stones, drew forth his scalping-knife and with the point sketched upon the bark a plan of the country: its hills, woods, rivers, morasses and roads; a plan, which, if not as neat, was for the purpose fully as intelligible as if Arrowsmith himself had prepared it. Pleased with this unexpected talent in Tecumseh, as also with his having induced the Indians not of his immediate party to cross the Detroit, prior to the departure of the regulars and militia, General Brock, as soon as business was over, publicly took off his sash and placed it around the body of the chief. Tecumseh received the honor with evident gratification, but was, the next day, seen without his sash. General Brock, fearing something had displeased the Indian, sent his interpreter for an explanation; who soon returned with an account that Tecumseh, not wishing to wear such a mark of distinction, when an older, and, as he said, abler, warrior was present, had transferred the sash to the Wyandot chief, Roundhead.


General Prescott, the commander of the British troops in Rhode Island, was one of those mean-spirited, petty tyrants, who, when in power, exercise their ingenuity in devising means of harassing all who have the misfortune to be subject to their authority; but, when circumstances place them in the power of others, are the most contemptible sycophants and parasites. Narrow-minded in the extreme, with a heart which had not one benevolent impulse, he was far from being a fit officer to be placed in authority over the people of Rhode Island, who could be more easily conquered by lenient measures than by the use of unnecessary harshness. From the first day of his power he pursued a system of pitiless tyranny. Writhing under a sense of wrongs, maddened to desperation by the meanness and malignity of 224their oppressor, the people of the Island resolved to rid themselves of the cause, no matter at what risk or sacrifice. Various plans were suggested, and even assassination was hinted at. His harsh treatment of Colonel Ethan Allen, a prisoner in his hands, combined with his haughty and arrogant conduct toward all, increased the feeling against him. To add to all this, General Lee was a prisoner in the British jail, and confined in a cell under the pretense that he was a deserter, having once been an officer in the British army; Washington had no prisoner of equal rank to offer in exchange.

If the capture of Prescott could be effected, it would not only rid the Rhode Islanders of his hated rule, but would afford an officer to be exchanged for General Lee, whom Washington was most anxious to rescue. Under these circumstances, many enterprises were projected; but it was reserved for Lieutenant-Colonel Barton, of the Rhode Island line, to successfully plan and accomplish the much-desired object. He was stationed with a force of militia on the main-land, when he received word that Prescott was quartered at a country-house near the western shore of the Island, about four miles from Newport, totally unconscious of danger, though in a very exposed situation. Conceiving this to be the favorable opportunity, Barton began to prepare for the execution of his bold design. The enterprise proposed was bold and hazardous, and its failure would be sure to bring upon him the charge of being rash and foolhardy; but then, if successful, an honorable renown would be the reward of those concerned.

He communicated his design to Colonel Horton, his superior officer, who gave it his commendation, and permitted him to select from his regiment such men and officers as he desired to assist him in the plot. From an apprehension that his plans might become known to the enemy, he did not make a selection of the necessary number of men until the last moment, and then, with a desire that he might be accompanied only by volunteers, he ordered his whole company upon parade, and in a brief speech stated that he wished to obtain forty volunteers for an expedition of great hazard, and all that wished to accompany him, should signify it by stepping from the ranks. Without one exception, the whole regiment advanced. He now found it necessary to make the selection himself, and he did so, 225choosing those whose courage and fidelity were tested. Several officers had personally volunteered, but not one of the party besides Barton himself, knew of the object in view, but all trusted to the honor and courage of their leader.

Some delay was experienced in procuring boats, but on the 4th of July, 1777, they embarked from Tiverton for Bristol. In crossing Mount Hope Bay, they suffered from a severe storm, but they arrived at Bristol at midnight. On the morning of the 5th, the Major, with his officers, went over to Hog Island for the purpose of reconnoitering the position of the enemy. Here he revealed the object of the expedition, and his plan for its accomplishment.

It was not until the evening of the 5th, that the party again embarked. Crossing Narragansett Bay, they landed on Warwick Neck, but were here detained by a severe storm which retarded their plans considerably. On the 9th, however, it became clear, and they prepared once more to sail, with the intention of proceeding directly to Rhode Island. Some hours after the set of sun, all was still, and the darkness affording them a protection from observation, the little squadron shot out from the land, and proceeded noiselessly and cautiously on its course. This was a very hazardous part of the enterprise, as there was great danger of being discovered by some of the ships of war that lay near the shore. Cautiously gliding along between the islands of Prudence and Patience, by which means they were secured from observation from the enemy's shipping that lay off by Hope Island, they advanced rapidly to their destination. While passing the north end of Prudence Island, they could distinctly hear the sentinels from the ships, cry out, "All's well." The night was one of excessive darkness, and this fortunate circumstance, no doubt, contributed largely to the success of the plan.

The landing was effected without difficulty. In order to secure a rapid retreat, one man was commanded to remain in each boat, and instructed to be ready for departing at a moment's notice. When all were on shore, the requisite instructions were given, and the party advanced rapidly in the direction of General Prescott's head-quarters. The difficulties of Major Barton's situation will be readily appreciated. Even should he surprise General Prescott, a very few moments would suffice for an alarm to be carried to the enemy, and if so, the whole 226British army would be upon them before they could get to their forts. Or, even should they reach their boats, if an alarm was conveyed to the enemy's shipping, their retreat would, with certainty, be cut off. It was, therefore, necessary to proceed with the utmost caution and care; and to act with equal daring, prudence, and celerity.

The distance to the residence of the English General was about a mile. The party was divided into five divisions: one to approach the door on the south side, another one on the east, and a third on the west side, there being three doors to the house, while the fourth division was to guard the road, and the fifth to be ready to act on emergencies. They were obliged, in order to reach the house, to pass the guard-house of the enemy, on the left, and on their right a house occupied by a company of cavalry. On arriving at Prescott's head-quarters, they were challenged by a sentinel who was stationed at the gate of the front yard. The darkness of the night prevented him from determining the nature of the party approaching, but, as they continued to advance in silence, he again challenged them, demanding:

"Who goes there?"

"Friends," said Barton.

"Advance and give the countersign," was the rejoinder.

"Pho!" replied Barton, as he continued to advance close to the person of the sentinel, "we have no countersign—have you seen any rascals to-night?"

Almost simultaneous with this remark, Barton suddenly seized the musket of the sentinel, and charged him to make no noise on the penalty of instant death. So much had been accomplished in perfect silence. The divisions rapidly advanced to their respective positions, while Barton questioned the bewildered and terrified sentinel, as to whether the General was in the house, who replied that he was. The signal was now given, and in an instant the south door was burst open, and the division there stationed rushed into the building, followed by the Major.

The first person Barton met was Mr. Perwig, who denied that General Prescott was in the house, and his son also obstinately denied the presence of the English officer. Not being able to find him in their rapid search through the apartments, Barton now had resort to 227stratagem. In a loud voice, he declared his intention of capturing the General dead or alive, and ordered his soldiers immediately to set fire to the house. At this juncture, a voice which Barton suspected to belong to the General, inquired the cause of the disturbance. Barton rushed to the apartment from which came the voice he heard, and finding there an elderly gentleman, just rising from his bed, he accosted him as General Prescott. To this the gentleman assented, and declared he bore the name and title.

"Then you are my prisoner," replied Barton.

"I acknowledge I am," was the rejoinder.

He was only allowed time to partially dress himself, when he was hurried off by his captors.

Meanwhile a singular circumstance had occurred. At the very moment when Barton first gained admission into the house, one of the British soldiers managed to escape, and flew to the quarters of the main guard to give the alarm. This man, in the alarm of the moment, rushed forth with no other clothing than his shirt; and having hastily explained the matter to the sentinel on duty, he passed on to the quarters of the cavalry, which was much more remote from the head-quarters of the General. But when the sentinel came to explain the matter to the officer of the guard, it seemed so incredible, that he was laughed at, and was told that he had seen a ghost. He admitted that the messenger was clothed in white, and after being heartily laughed at for his credulity, was ordered back to his station, and the guard went back to their quarters. This was a most fortunate circumstance, for had the alarm of the soldier been believed, nothing could have preserved the gallant Major and his band from destruction.

The whole party, with the English General in their midst, marched rapidly toward the shore. When they arrived at the boat, their prisoner, who had been hurried away half-dressed, was permitted to complete his toilet. They re-embarked with all possible haste, and had not got far from the island, when the discharge of cannon and three sky-rockets gave the signal of alarm. But, for some cause, the signal was not understood by those on the ships, and, by this fortunate circumstance, the gallant band was preserved, for it would have been easy for their enemy to have cut off their retreat. Although 228full of anxiety and apprehension, they bent every nerve to reach their port of destination, happily succeeding without meeting an obstacle. When they landed, General Prescott said to Lieutenant-Colonel Barton:

"Sir, you have made an amazing bold push to-night."

"We have been fortunate," was the modest reply.

Before morning the prisoner was in Providence, where he was delivered into the custody of General Spencer, who treated him with consideration far above his deserts. After a few days' stay in Providence, Prescott was sent, under an escort, to the head-quarters of Washington on the Hudson. On reaching Lebanon, the party stopped at the tavern of a Captain Alden, who was an ardent Whig, and hated the very name of Prescott. Nothing could have afforded him greater gratification than an opportunity to inflict condign punishment upon the tyrant, and the General unwittingly gave him that opportunity.

At the table Mrs. Alden waited upon the General; among the dishes presented for his acceptance, was some "succotash," or corn-and-beans, a favorite dish with the New England people, but which seemed to excite the wrath and resentment of the little-great General, whose temper was probably not improved by the events of the last few days.

Taking the dish in his hand, and forgetting that his position was that of prisoner not of master, he looked at it a moment, and exclaimed:

"What's this! what's this! are you going to treat me with the food of hogs?"

Saying which, he dashed the tureen upon the floor, breaking it, and strewing the contents in all directions. Mrs. Alden had too much spirit to brook such an insult to her cookery and table, and left the room to inform her husband of the occurrence. In a few moments, Captain Alden, bearing a large cart-whip in his hand, entered the room, demanding of the British General what he meant by such conduct in his house. Seeing vengeance written in every lineament of the Captain's face, the General appealed to the officers of his escort for protection.

"Protection!" said the landlord; "I'll show you the protection you deserve;" and seizing him by the collar, he dragged the whilom 229haughty dictator from his chair, when, with all the force of an arm nerved by the memory of the wrongs of good Americans, he rained down a shower of blows which made the victim writhe, and cry for that mercy which he had so often denied to others.

"I'll teach you manners," panted Alden, between the blows, "I'll teach you to insult those who are giving you better than you deserve, you tyrannical minion of English oppression!" While at every word the long lash of the whip descended upon the groveling shoulders of his enemy, until, from mere exhaustion, Alden ceased, remarking:

"There, if ever you want another lesson in good manners, come to me and I'll give it to you with pleasure."

The officers present made no serious attempt to relieve their prisoner from his predicament. They felt that he richly merited the castigation; while the crestfallen General was too well assured of their feelings toward him to reproach them—but he took a terrible revenge, when, after a time, being exchanged, he returned to his command at Newport, where he burned the towns and villages, turning the inhabitants houseless upon the world. He never forgot or forgave this infliction of personal punishment; and when, upon a subsequent occasion, three of the citizens of Newport waited upon him concerning the business of the town, he stormed and raved at one of them in such a manner that he was compelled to withdraw. After the others had announced their business, and the General had become somewhat calm, he inquired:

"Was not my treatment of Folger rather uncivil?"

Upon being assured that it certainly was, he explained it, by remarking:

"He looked so much like a —— Connecticut man, who horsewhipped me once, that I could not bear the sight of him."

The accounts which are given of General Prescott's treatment of Ethan Allen, are no more to the credit of his dignity than the story of the succotash.

Shortly after Ethan Allen's celebrated conquest of Ticonderoga, he joined the expedition into Canada, under Generals Schuyler and Montgomery. He had no commission from Congress, but was induced by the commanding officers to follow the army, under a promise that he should command certain detachments in the army, when 230occasion required. He was dispatched into Canada with letters to the Canadians, explaining the object of the expedition, which was not aimed against the inhabitants of the country, their liberties or religion, but against the British possessors. The Canadians were invited to make common cause with the Continentals, and expel the invader. His message was partially successful, and numbers of the Canadians joined the Congressional banner.

On a second expedition of a similar nature, he was induced to undertake the enterprise against Montreal. Matters promised him success, but at a critical moment many of his Canadian allies abandoned him. The result was a total defeat, which ended in the surrender of himself and party.

When he was brought before General Prescott, the commanding English officer, he was asked by him his name and title. The reply cast the Briton into a towering passion. He could not forget the loss of Ticonderoga, and time had not softened the bitterness of hatred he felt against the hero of that glorious adventure. The Englishman so far forgot his position as to threaten the person of Allen with his cane, and applied to him every offensive epithet he could command. Finding that Allen confronted him with an undaunted gaze, he looked around for something else on which to wreak his hatred. He ordered the Canadians who had been taken with Allen, to be brought forward, and executed. As they were brought forward, wringing their hands in consternation at the prospect of death, the heart of Allen was touched, as he could but feel their present position was brought about by his instrumentality. He therefore flung himself between the executioners and the intended victims, opened his coat, and told General Prescott to let his vengeance fall on him alone, as he was the sole cause of the Canadians taking up arms.

The guard paused, and looked toward their General, and, indeed, it was a moment of suspense and interest to all present. The General stood quiet a moment or two in hesitation, and then said:

"I will not execute you now; but you shall grace a halter at Tyburn," accompanying his speech with a series of emphatic oaths.

Allen was now removed on board the Gaspee schooner of war, loaded with irons of immense weight, and cast into the hold of the vessel. Here his sufferings were of the most acute nature. His 231only accommodations were a chest, on which he sat during the day and which served him as a couch at night. The irons upon his ankles were so tight, that he could scarcely lie down, and then only in one position. Here he was visited by many officers of the English army, some of whom treated him civilly, but others were abusive and insulting.

At the expiration of six weeks, he was removed to a vessel off Quebec, where he received kind and courteous treatment. Here he remained until his removal on board of the vessel which was to carry him to England. Here all of the prisoners, thirty-four, were thrust into a small apartment, each heavily ironed. They were compelled during the whole voyage to remain in their confinement, and were subjected to every indignity that cruelty could invent.

When first ordered to enter into their filthy apartment, Allen refused, and endeavored to argue their brutal keeper out of his inhuman purpose, but all in vain. The reply to his appeal was insults of the grossest kind, and an officer of the vessel insulting him by spitting in his face. Handcuffed as he was, the intrepid American sprung upon the dastard, and knocked him at length upon the floor. The fellow hastily scrambled out of the reach of Allen, and placed himself under the protection of the guard. Allen challenged him to fight, offering to meet him even with irons upon his wrists, but the Briton, trembling with fear, contented himself with the protection afforded him by British bayonets, and did not venture to oppose the intrepid American. The prisoners were now forced into their den at the point of the bayonet.

The sufferings of the captives during the voyage were intense. Their privations soon brought on diarrhœa and fevers. But, notwithstanding their sickness, they received no attention from their jailers, and even those who were crazed with raging thirst, were denied the simple boon of fresh water.

On arriving at Falmouth, the prisoners were all marched through the town, to Pendennis Castle, about a mile distant. The fame of Allen had preceded him, and multitudes of people were gathered along the route to gaze upon him, and the other prisoners. The throng was so great, that the guard were compelled to force a passage through the crowd. Allen appeared conspicuous among his 232fellow prisoners, by his eccentric dress. When captured, he was taken in a Canadian dress, consisting of a red shirt, a red worsted cap, a short fawn-skin jacket, and breeches of sagathy; and in this dress he was escorted through the wondering crowd at Falmouth. Ticonderoga was a place of notoriety, in England, and the hero who had so signally conquered it was an object of interest and wonder to the people.

Allen was now visited by a great number of people, some of whom were attracted from great distances, in order to see and converse with the American celebrity. Discussion ran high as to his eventual disposal. Some declared that he would be hung, and argued the justice of the act. But others defended and supported the Americans. Even in parliament the merits of the question were discussed.

From their prison in Pendennis Castle they were removed to the Solebay Frigate, to be conveyed to America, stopping at Cork for provisions and water. The commanding officer was harsh and cruel, and, on the first day, ordered the prisoners from the deck, declaring that it was a place for gentlemen only to walk. A few days after, Allen shaved and dressed, and proceeded to the deck. The Captain addressed him in great rage, and said:

"Did I not order you not to come on deck?"

Allen replied that he had said that it was a place for gentlemen to walk, and that he was Colonel Allen, a gentleman and soldier, who had been properly introduced to him.

His reply was characteristic of his brutal despotism: "Don't walk on the same side of the deck that I do," with an oath.

The sufferings of the prisoners continued, but when at Cork, their situation received the attention of several benevolent gentlemen, who exerted themselves to relieve them. Ample stores and clothing were sent on board, but the Captain refused privilege to the prisoners to enjoy them.

The vessels proceeded to America, first casting anchor in the harbor of Cape Fear, North Carolina. From this place Allen was removed to Halifax. Here his treatment continued of the same kind, that, from the first, had characterized his captivity. He received here some kind attentions from Captain Smith, which he afterward had occasion to return in a signal manner. After a confinement of two months he was removed to a man-of-war, to be conveyed to New York, for the purpose of effecting an exchange. When arrived on board of the vessel, he was delighted to find that he was under the command of Captain Smith, who had before served him.


Horsewhipping a Tyrant.—Page 37.

235When Colonel Allen met Captain Smith on board the vessel, he greeted him with thanks for his kindness. The noble Captain disclaimed all merit, and said: "This is a mutable world, and one gentleman never knows but that it may be in his power to help another." This sentiment was strikingly verified in the course of the voyage.

One night, as they were sailing along the coast of Rhode Island, Captain Burke and a few other prisoners came to Allen with a plan for destroying the British officers, seizing the vessel, and carrying her into some friendly port. A large quantity of cash on board was held up as an inducement for the enterprise. But Captain Smith had generously distinguished the prisoners, and for this reason Allen strongly condemned the plan. He declared that if the attempt was made, he would assist in the defense of the Briton, with all his skill and strength. Finding the conspiracy so strenuously opposed by the most influential of the prisoners, it was abandoned, upon the assurance that they should not be betrayed.

Upon arriving in New York, Colonel Allen was released on parole, but restricted to the limits of New York. An attempt was made soon after to induce him to join the British ranks. He was offered a heavy sum of money, and large tracts of land, either in New Hampshire or Connecticut, when the country was conquered. The integrity of the man, however, was unassailable. His reply to the proposition was characteristic. He said that the offer reminded him of a certain incident in Scripture. The devil, he said, took Christ to a high hill, and showing him the kingdoms of earth, offered him their possession, if he would fall down and worship him, "when all the while the damned soul had not one foot of land upon earth!" It may be believed that those sent to negotiate with him did not fail to understand the illustration.

Colonel Allen, in a narrative of his captivity, written by himself, gives a fearful account of the condition of the American prisoners in New York. Before he was exchanged he was arrested on the absurd 236charge of breaking his parole, and thrown into the Provost jail. Here he remained from August to May, during which time he witnessed instances of suffering of the most agonizing kind, and was himself compelled again to feel the barbarous treatment of British officials. At the expiration of the above period he was exchanged, and once more tasted of the sweets of freedom.

It may not be out of place here, since we have given an account of Barton's brilliant exploit in the capture of General Prescott, to relate the story of General Wadsworth's abduction, who fell into the hands of the British in a manner somewhat similar, though the affair was characterized by no such daring on the part of the enemy as our own young officer showed, in venturing into the lines of the English, since General Wadsworth was known to be almost wholly unprotected at the time it was resolved to take him.

In the spring of 1780 he was appointed to the command of a party of State troops in Canada, in the district of Maine. At the expiration of the time for which the troops were engaged, General Wadsworth dismissed them, retaining six soldiers only as his guard, as he was making preparations to depart from the place. A neighbor communicated his situation to the British commander at Penobscot, and a party of twenty-five soldiers, commanded by Lieutenant Stockton, was sent to make him a prisoner. They embarked in a small schooner, and, landing within four miles of the General's quarters, they were concealed in the house of a Methodist preacher by the name of Snow—professedly a friend to us, but really a traitor—until eleven in the evening, when they made their arrangements for the attack.

The party rushed suddenly on the sentinel, who gave the alarm, and one of his comrades instantly opened the kitchen door, and the enemy were so near as to enter with the sentinel. The lady of the General, and her friend, Miss Fenno, of Boston, were in the house at the time. Mrs. Wadsworth escaped from her husband's room into that of Miss Fenno.

The assailants soon became masters of the whole house, except the room where the General was, and which was strongly barred, and they kept up a constant firing of musketry into the windows and doors, except into those of the ladies' room. General Wadsworth 237was provided with a pair of pistols, a blunderbuss and a fusee, which he employed with great dexterity, being determined to defend himself to the last moment. With his pistols, which he discharged several times, he defended the rooms of his window and a door which opened into a kitchen. His blunderbuss he snapped several times, but unfortunately it missed fire; he then secured his fusee, which he discharged on some who were breaking through the windows, and obliged them to flee. He next defended himself with his bayonet, till he received a ball through his left arm, when he surrendered, which terminated the contest. The firing, however, did not cease from the kitchen until the General unbarred the door, when the soldiers rushed into the room, and one of them, who had been badly wounded, pointing a musket at his breast, exclaimed, with an oath, "you have taken my life, and I will take yours." But Lieutenant Stockton turned the musket aside, and saved his life. The commanding officer now applauded the General for his admirable defense, and assisted in putting on his clothes, saying, "you see we are in a critical situation, and therefore you must excuse haste." Mrs. Wadsworth threw a blanket over him, and Miss Fenno affixed a handkerchief closely around his wounded arm.

In this condition, though much exhausted, he, with a wounded American soldier, was directed to march on foot, while the British wounded soldiers were mounted on a horse taken from the General's barn. They departed in great haste. When they had proceeded about a mile, they met, at a small house, a number of people collected, and who inquired if they had taken General Wadsworth. They said no, and added that they must leave a wounded man in their care, and if they paid proper attention to him, they should be compensated; but if not, they would burn down their house. The man appeared to be dying. General Wadsworth was mounted on the horse behind the other wounded soldier, and was warned that his safety depended on his silence. Having passed over a frozen mill-pond about a mile in length, they were met by some of their party who had been left behind. At this place they found a British privateer, which brought the party from the fort. The Captain, on being told that he must return there with the prisoner and the party, and seeing some of his men wounded, became outrageous, and 238cursing the General for a rebel, demanded how he dared to fire on the king's troops, and commanded him to help launch the boat, or he would put his hanger through his body. The General replied that he was a prisoner, and badly wounded, and could not assist in launching the boat. Lieutenant Stockton, on hearing of this abusive treatment, in a manner honorable to himself, told the Captain that the prisoner was a gentleman, had made a brave defense, and was to be treated accordingly, and added, that his conduct should be represented to General Campbell. After this the Captain treated the prisoner with great civility, and afforded him every comfort in his power.

General Wadsworth had left the ladies in the house, not a window of which escaped destruction. The doors were broken down, and two of the rooms were on fire; the floors were covered with blood, and on one of them lay a brave old soldier dangerously wounded, begging for death, that he might be released from misery. The anxiety and distress of Mrs. Wadsworth were inexpressible, and that of the General was greatly increased by the uncertainty in his mind respecting the fate of his little son, only five years old, who had been exposed to every danger by firing into the house; but he had the happiness, afterward, of hearing of his safety.

Having arrived at the British fort, the capture of General Wadsworth was soon announced, and the shore thronged with spectators, to see the man who, through the preceding year, had disappointed all the designs of the British in that quarter; and loud shouts were heard from the rabble that covered the shore. But when he arrived at the fort, and was conducted into the officer's guard-room, he was treated with politeness. General Campbell, the commandant of the British garrison, sent his compliments to him, and a surgeon to dress his wound, assuring him that his situation should be made comfortable. The next morning, General Campbell invited him to breakfast, and at table paid him many compliments in the defense he had made, observing, however, that he had exposed himself in a degree not perfectly justifiable. General Wadsworth replied that from the manner of the attack, he had no reason to suspect any design of taking him alive, and that he intended, therefore, to sell his life as dearly as possible. He was then informed that a room in the 239officers' barracks within the fort, was prepared for him, and that an Orderly Sergeant should daily attend him to breakfast and dinner at the commandant's table. Having retired to his solitary apartment, and while his spirit was extremely depressed by a recollection of the past, and by his present situation, he received from General Campbell several books of amusement, and soon after a visit from him, kindly endeavoring to cheer the spirits of his prisoner by conversation. The principal officers of the garrison also called upon him, and from them all, whom he daily met at the commandant's table, he received particular attention and kindness.

"He now made application for a flag of truce, by which means he could transmit a letter to the Governor of Massachusetts, and another to Mrs. Wadsworth. This was granted on the condition that the letter to the Governor should be inspected. The flag was intrusted to Lieutenant Stockton, and on his return, the General was relieved from all anxiety respecting his wife and family. At the end of five weeks, he requested of General Campbell the customary privilege of parole, and received in reply that his case had been reported to the commanding officer at New York, and that no alteration could be made, till orders were received from that quarter. In about two months' time, Mrs. Wadsworth and Miss Fenno arrived, and the officers of the garrison contributed to render their visit agreeable to all concerned.

"About the same time, orders were received from the commanding General at New York, which were concealed from General Wadsworth, but he finally learned that he was not to be paroled nor exchanged, but was to be sent to England as a rebel of too much consequence to be at liberty. Not long afterward, Major Benjamin Benton, a brave and worthy man, who had served under the General the preceding summer, was taken and brought into the fort, and lodged in the same room with him. He had been informed that both himself and the General were to be sent immediately after the return of a privateer now on a cruise, either to New York or Halifax, and thence to England. The prisoners immediately resolved to make a desperate effort to effect their escape. They were confined in a grated room in the officers' barracks within the fort. The wells of this fortress, exclusively of the depth of the ditch surrounding it, 240were twenty feet high, with fraising on top, and chevaux-de-frise at the bottom.

"Two sentinels were always in the entry, and their door—the upper part of which was glass—might be opened by their watchmen whenever they thought proper, and was actually opened at seasons of peculiar darkness and silence. At the exterior doors of the entries, sentinels were also stationed, as were others in the body of the fort, and at the quarters of General Campbell. At the guard-house a strong guard was daily mounted. Several sentinels were stationed on the walls of the fort, and a complete line occupied them by night. Without the ditch, glacis and abattis, another complete set of soldiers patroled through the night, and a picket guard was placed in or near the isthmus leading from the fort to the main land. Notwithstanding all these fearful obstacles to success, they resolved to make the perilous attempt.

"The room in which they were confined was railed with boards. One of these they determined to cut off so as to make a hole large enough to pass through, and then to creep along till they should come to the next or middle entry; and there lower themselves down into this entry by a blanket. If they should not be discovered, the passage to the walls of the fort was easy. In the evening, after the sentinels had seen the prisoners retire to bed, General Wadsworth got up, and standing in a chair attempted to cut with his knife, the intended opening, but soon found it impracticable. The next day, by giving a soldier a dollar they procured a gimlet. With this instrument they proceeded cautiously and as silently as possible to separate the board, and in order to conceal every appearance from their servants and from the officers, their visitors, they carefully covered the gimlet holes with chewed bread. At the end of three weeks, their labors were so far completed, that it only remained to cut with a knife, the parts which were left to hold the piece in its place. When their preparations were finished, they learned that the privateer in which they were to embark was daily expected.

"In the evening of the 18th of June, a very severe storm of rain, with great darkness and almost incessant lightning, came on. This the prisoners considered as the propitious moment. Having extinguished their lights, they began to cut the corners of the board, 241and in less than an hour the intended opening was completed. The noise which the operation occasioned was drowned by the rain falling on the roof. Major Benton first ascended to the ceiling, and pressed himself through the opening. General Wadsworth next, having put the corner of his blanket through the hole and made it fast by a strong wooden skewer, attempted to make his way through, standing on a chair below, but it was with extreme difficulty that he at length effected it, and reached the middle entry. From this he passed through the door which he found open, and made his way to the wall of the fort, and had to encounter the greatest difficulty before he could ascend to the top. He had now to creep along the top of the fort between the sentry boxes, at the very moment when the relief was shifting sentinels, but the falling of the heavy rain kept the sentinels within their boxes, and favored his escape. Having now fastened his blanket round a picket at the top, he let himself down through the chevaux-de-frise to the ground, and, in a manner astonishing to himself, made his way into the open field. Here he was obliged to grope his way among rocks, stumps and brush in the darkness of night, till he reached the cove. Happily the tide had ebbed, and he was enabled to cross the water, which was about a mile in breadth, and not more than three feet deep.

"About two o'clock in the morning, General Wadsworth found himself a mile and a half from the fort, and he proceeded through a thick wood and brush to the Penobscot river, and, after passing some distance along the shore, being seven miles from the fort, to his unspeakable joy he saw his friend Benton advancing toward him. Major Benton had been obliged to encounter in his course equal difficulties with his companion, and such were the incredible perils, dangers and obstructions which they surmounted, that their escape may be considered almost miraculous.

"It was now necessary that they should cross the Penobscot river, and very fortunately they discovered a canoe with oars on the shore suited to their purpose. While on the river, they discovered a barge with a party of the British from the fort, in pursuit of them, but by taking an oblique course, and plying their oars to the utmost, they happily eluded the eyes of their pursuers, and arrived safe on the western shore. After having wandered in the wilderness 242for several days and nights, exposed to extreme fatigue and cold, and with no other food than a little dry bread and meat, which they brought in their pockets from the fort, they reached the settlements on the river St. George, and no further difficulties attended their return to their respective families."


Who has not heard of Logan, "the white man's friend"—that noble specimen of the Indian race, who, by his forbearance, prudence, and magnanimity, has done so much toward elevating the character of the red-man to that high standard so forcibly depicted in the works of America's great novelist—Cooper. That there may have been thousands among the tribes who inhabited this continent at the period of its settlement by the whites, who were actuated and controlled by the savage impulses of their naturally brutal and cruel propensities, there can be no doubt; but these pages give striking evidence that there were many who were governed by the dictates of higher instincts and loftier sentiments than those of passion and prejudice.

In early life Logan lived at a place called Logan's Spring, in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania. The first settler in his immediate neighborhood was William Brown, who afterwards became an associate Judge to Mifflin county, a post which he held until his death, at the age of ninety. While engaged in looking for a convenient spot on which to erect his cabin, he visited Logan at his camp, accompanied by his brother, and while there, engaged in a friendly contest of skill in the use of the rifle with the chieftain. A dollar a shot was the wager for which they contended, and when they ceased it was found that Logan was the loser of several shots. Going to his cabin, he returned with as many deer-skins as he had lost dollars, and handed them to the winner, who refused to take them, 243alleging that he was his guest, and did not come to rob him; that the bet had been a mere nominal one, and he did not expect him to pay it. The chief drew himself up to his full height, while a frown of injured dignity darkened his brow, and exclaimed: "Me bet to make you shoot your best; me gentleman, and me take your money if me beat," and as there was no wish to insult him, the winner was obliged to take the skins from their host, who would not accept even a horn of powder in return. So much for the Indian's honesty and integrity.

Mrs. Norris, a daughter of Judge Brown, gives some particulars relating to Logan, which are highly interesting. She says: "Logan supported himself by killing deer and dressing their skins, which he sold to the whites. He had sold quite a quantity to one De Yong, a tailor, who lived in Fuguson's valley, below the Gap. Tailors, in those days, dealt extensively in buckskin breeches. Logan received his pay, according to stipulation, in wheat. The wheat, on being taken to the mill, was found so worthless that the miller refused to grind it. Logan was much chagrined, and attempted in vain to obtain redress from the tailor. He then took his case before his friend Brown, then a magistrate; and on the Judge's questioning him as to the character of the wheat, and what was in it, Logan sought for words in vain to express the precise nature of the article with which the wheat was adulterated, but said that it resembled in character the wheat itself.

"It must have been cheat," said the Judge.

"Yoh!" said Logan, "that very good name for him."

A decision was given in Logan's favor, and a writ given to him to hand to the constable, which, he was told, would bring the money for the skins. But the untutored Indian—too uncivilized to be dishonest—could not comprehend by what magic this little bit of paper would force the tailor against his will to pay for the skins. The Judge took down his own commission, with the arms of the king upon it, and explained to him the first principles and operations of civil law. "Law good," said Logan; "make rogues pay."

But how much more efficient the law which the Great Spirit had impressed upon the Indian's heart—to do unto others as he would be done by.

244When one of Judge Brown's children was just learning to walk, its mother happened to express a regret that she could not get a pair of shoes to support its first efforts. Logan, who stood by, overheard the remark, but apparently paid no attention to it, although he had determined in his own mind that the want of shoes should not hinder the little girl in her first attempts. Two or three days passed, and the remark had been forgotten by all save the chieftain, when, happening into their house, he asked the mother if she would allow the child to go with him, and spend the day at his cabin. Mrs. B. could not divine the reason of such a request, and all her suspicions were aroused at the idea of placing her little cherub in the hands of one whose objects she could not understand. The proposition alarmed her, and, without giving a decided negative, she hesitated to comply. The matter was left to her husband, who urged her to consent, representing the delicacy of Logan's feelings, his sensitiveness, and his character for truth and plain dealing. With much reluctance, but with apparent cheerfulness, the mother at length complied, although her heart was filled with forebodings, as she saw her little one disappear in the woods in the arms of the chieftain. Slowly passed the sad hours away, and the poor mother could do nothing but think of her absent one, in the hands of a savage warrior, the natural enemy of the pale-face. As the day drew to a close, she took her station at the window, and watched with the most intense solicitude for the return of her child; but hour after hour passed away without bringing any relief to her anxious heart. A thousand vague fears and conjectures filled her mind with the many tales of Indian barbarity and treachery which she had heard, and as the shades of evening drew around the landscape, and her little one had not returned, she felt that to hear of her death at the hands of the chief would be a relief to her overwrought brain. Her husband endeavored to calm her agitated feelings, and soothe her into confidence in the integrity of Logan—but with little effect; and it is probable that her apprehensions would have driven her to go to the cabin of the Indian in search of her child. Just after the sun went down, however, he made his appearance in the dim twilight, bearing the little treasure in his arms, who seemed delighted with her conductor for her arms were thrown about his neck as he bore her along with 245firm and rapid steps to her home. The mother's heart leaped with joy as she recognized the persons of the chief and the child. She sprung from her chair, where she had passed so many anxious moments, and prepared to receive the little one, around whom had been concentrated all her maternal feelings that tiresome, lonely, and weary day. A few brief moments, which to her seemed hours, brought the chief to the door, where he released the child from its embrace, and sat it down upon the floor. The mother caught it in her arms and hugged it to her bosom, while the father addressed his thanks to the proud and gratified chief for a pair of beautiful little moccasins, adorned with beads and all the fancy work of an Indian's taste, which covered and supported the feet of the little girl. During all that day, which had been so tedious and full of anxiety to the mother, Logan had been engaged in constructing and ornamenting the little gift, by which he intended to show his appreciation of the many favors he had received at the parents' hands.

Logan was called a Mingo chief, or Mengwe, whose father was chief of the Cayugas, whom he succeeded. His parent being attached, in a remarkable degree, to the benevolent James Logan, after whom he named his son. The name is still perpetuated among the Indians. For magnanimity in war, and greatness of soul in peace, few, in any nation, ever surpassed Logan. He was inclined to friendship with the whites; nothing but aggravated wrongs succeeded in making him their enemy. He took no part in the French wars, ending in 1770, except that of peacemaker—was always acknowledged to favor us, until the year 1774, when his brother, and several others of the family, were murdered.

The particulars were these. In the spring of that year some Indians were reported to have robbed the people upon the Ohio river, who were in that country, exploring the lands, and preparing for settlements. These land-jobbers, becoming alarmed at what they considered the hostile character of the Indians, collected themselves at a place called Whiting creek, the site of the present town of Wheeling, and, learning that there were two Indians on the river above, Captain Michael Cresap, belonging to the exploring party, proposed to fall upon and kill them.

His advice was first opposed, then followed—the two Indians were 246slain. The same day, it being reported that there were Indians below Wheeling, on the river, Cresap and his party immediately marched to the place, and at first appeared to show themselves friendly, suffering the Indians to pass by them unmolested, to encamp still lower down, at the mouth of Grove Creek. Cresap now followed, attacked and killed several, having one of his own men wounded by the fire of the savages. Here some of the family of Logan were slain. This affair was exceedingly aggravating, inasmuch as the whites pretended no provocation.

Soon after this the whites committed another unprovoked outrage upon the Indian encampment, about thirty miles above Wheeling, on the opposite side of the river. A white man by the name of Greathouse lived opposite the encampment. He collected a party of thirty-two men, who secreted themselves, while he, under pretense of a friendly visit, crossed the river to ascertain the number of the Indians. On counting them, he found they were too numerous for his own party. These Indians had heard of the late murder of their friends, and had resolved to be revenged. Greathouse did not know of the danger he was incurring, until a squaw advised him of it, in friendly caution to "go home." He then invited the Indians to come over the river and drink with him, this being a part of his plan for separating them, that they might be more easily destroyed. The offer was accepted by a good many, who, being collected at a tavern in the white settlement, were treated freely to liquor, and all killed, except a little girl. Among the murdered was a brother and sister of Logan.

The remaining Indians, upon the other side of the river, upon hearing the firing, sent off two canoes with armed warriors, who, as they approached the shore, were fired upon by the whites, who lay concealed awaiting them. Nothing prevented their taking deadly aim, so that their fire was terribly destructive, and the canoes were obliged to return. This affair took place in May, 1774. These were the events which led to a horrid Indian war, in which many innocent families were sacrificed to satisfy the vengeance of an injured, incensed people. A calm followed the first outbreak; but it was the calm which precedes the storm, and lasted only while the tocsin of war was being sounded among the distant nations.

247In July of the same year, Logan, at the head of eight warriors, struck a blow upon some inhabitants in Michigan, where no one expected it. He left the settlement of the Ohio, which all supposed would be first attacked in case of war, and hence the reason of his great successes. His first attack was upon three men who were pulling flax in a field. One was shot down, and the two others taken. These were marched into the wilderness, and, as they approached the Indian town, Logan gave the scalp halloo, and they were met by the inhabitants, who conducted them in. Running the gauntlet was next to be performed. Logan took no delight in torture, and he instructed one of the prisoners how to proceed to escape the severities of the gauntlet. This same captive, whose name was Robison, was afterward sentenced to be burned, but Logan, though not able to rescue him by his eloquence, with his own hand cut the cords which bound him to the stake, and caused him to be adopted into an Indian family. Robison afterward became Logan's scribe, and wrote for him the letter, tied to a war-club, which was left, that same season, at the house of a family cut off by the Indians, and which served to alarm the inhabitants, and to call out the militia for their protection. It ran thus:

"Captain Cresap: What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for? The white people killed my kin at Conestoga, a great while ago, and I thought nothing of that. But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek, and took my cousin prisoner. Then I thought I must kill, too; and I have been to war three times since. But the Indians are not angry—only myself.

"Captain John Logan."

There was a chief among the Shawanese more renowned as a warrior than even Logan at that time. Cornstalk was his name, and to him seems to have fallen the principal direction of the war which was now begun. We do not propose to give a detailed history of the fierce struggle which followed; but some account of the great battle at Point Pleasant cannot be uninteresting.

General Lewis, with eleven hundred men, gave battle to fifteen hundred savage warriors, under Logan, Cornstalk, Ellinipsico (Cornstalk's son,) Red Eagle, and other mighty chiefs of the tribes of the Delawares, Shawanese, Cayugas, Wyandots, and Mingoes. The 248battle began a little after sunrise, on a narrow point of land, between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha rivers. The breastworks of the Indians, constructed of brushwood, extended from river to river; their plan of attack was the best conceivable, for in the event of victory on their part, not a Virginian would have escaped. They had stationed men on both sides of the river, to prevent the escape of such as might attempt it, by swimming from the apex of the triangle made by the confluence of the two rivers. The Virginians, like their opponents, covered themselves with trees, or whatever shelter offered; but the Indians had every advantage. Hour after hour the battle lasted, the Indians slowly retreating to their breastworks, while the Virginians fought with desperate courage, for life itself was at stake for all of them. Colonel Lewis, brother of the commanding General, soon fell, under the fire to which his uniform particularly exposed him. His division was broken, while another division, under Colonel Fleming, was attacked at the same moment, and the Colonel received two balls in his left wrist, but continued to exercise his command with the greatest coolness. His voice was continually heard: "Advance—outflank the enemy; get between them and the river. Don't lose an inch of ground!" But his men were about to be outflanked by the body which had just defeated Lewis, when the arrival of Colonel Field's division turned the fortune of the day, but not without severe loss. Colonel Fleming was again wounded by a shot through the lungs, and Colonel Field was killed while leading on his men.

The Indians fought with an equal bravery. The voice of Cornstalk was often heard during the day, above the din of strife, calling on his warriors in these words: "Be strong! be strong!" and when, by the repeated charge of the whites, some of his men began to waver, he is said to have sunk his hatchet in the brain of one who was cowardly attempting to retreat.

General Lewis finally decided the contest by getting three companies of men into the rear of the Indians; these companies got unobserved to their destination upon Crooked Creek, a little stream running into the Kanawha, whose high, wood-covered banks sheltered them, while they made a furious attack upon the backs of the Indians, who, thinking reinforcements had arrived, fled across the Ohio, and immediately took up their march for their towns on the Scioto. It was sunset when the battle ended.


The Mother's Trial—Page 52.

251There was a kind of stratagem used in this contest, which was more than once practiced by the experienced Virginia riflemen, during their fight with the savages. The soldiers in Colonel Fleming's corps would conceal themselves behind a tree, or some other shelter, and then hold out their caps from behind, which the Indians, seeing, would mistake as covering the heads of their opponents, and shoot at them. The cap being dropped at the moment, the Indian would dart out from his covert to scalp his victim, and thus meet a sure death from the tomahawk of his adversary. This game was practiced only by the "prime riflemen," accustomed to a backwoods life.

After this signal defeat, the Indians were prepared to treat for peace. General Lewis, after burying his dead, took up his perilous and difficult march, his troops eager to exterminate the Indians; but Governor Dunmore, having received numerous offers of peace, finally ordered him to retreat. Lord Dunmore, with a force equal to that of Lewis, was now at Chilicothe, where he began a treaty, conducted on the part of the whites with great distrust, who never admitted but a few Indians at a time into their encampment. The business was commenced by Cornstalk, in a speech of great length, in which he charged upon the whites the main cause of the war; and mainly in consequence of the murder of Logan's family. A treaty, however, was the result of this conference, and this conference was the result of the Mingo chief's famous speech, since known throughout both hemispheres. It was not delivered in Lord Dunmore's camp, for, although desiring peace, Logan would not meet the whites in council, but remained in his cabin in sullen silence, until a messenger was sent to him with the treaty, to know if he consented to its articles. To this messenger he pronounced that memorable speech:

"I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat; if he ever came cold and naked, and I clothed him not.

"During the course of the last long, bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the 252whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said: 'Logan is the friend of the white man.'

"I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing his women and children.

"There was not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge; I have sought it. I have killed many—I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one!"

Cornstalk, a chief excelling even Logan in natural nobility of character, and great bravery, who conducted the battle and the treaty, lost his life within a year from that time, under circumstances painful to all lovers of justice.

Upon the breaking out of the Revolution, the year following, the British Government, through their agents, made the most strenuous efforts to induce the Indians to take up the tomahawk in behalf of the king, and were but too successful. Cornstalk, however, actuated by a high-toned feeling of repugnance at the idea of breaking his plighted faith, and foreseeing the inevitable issue of the struggle—being, moreover, a firm and consistent friend of the Americans—refused to take any part in the contest, and exerted the utmost of his influence to prevent his tribe from joining the coalition. His efforts proved futile, however, and the influence of British presents, and the example of the neighboring tribes, had the effect which he most dreaded. He did not live to see the result of the struggle, being killed on the spot where he had but a year before fought so bravely in defense of his home and the graves of his sires. After the truce between the tribes and Governor Dunmore had been agreed upon, a fort was erected at Point Pleasant to commemorate the battle and keep the Indians in check, and to this fort Cornstalk, after finding that his efforts to preserve that compact intact would be unavailing, repaired to explain the position of affairs to its commanding officer, Captain Arbuckle, and take his advice as to what course he should 253pursue. Red-hawk, the Delaware chief, who had also fought so bravely at Point Pleasant, and who was likewise opposed to resuming the hatchet, accompanied him in his visit. The chieftain explained in the fullest manner the state of affairs among the Indians, and informed Arbuckle that he should be unable to restrain his tribe, who seemed determined to dig up the hatchet, and once more commence an exterminating war against the settlers. Under these circumstances, Arbuckle felt himself justified in detaining the chief and his companion as hostages, supposing that the fact of their principal leader being in the hands of the Americans would have the effect of deterring his tribe from active hostilities. Thinking themselves that such a result might follow, and earnestly desirous of not taking part in the contest, which they knew must follow if they returned to their people, they remained willing captives in the hands of Arbuckle, little dreaming of the fate which awaited them, and giving all the information which they possessed regarding the anticipated movements of the various tribes, and of the British agents among them.

The young chief, Ellinipsico, becoming anxious at the protracted absence of his father, set out in search of him, and, having traced him to the fort, he made his appearance on the opposite side of the river, and, being recognized by the chieftain, permission was given him to enter the fort, where the meeting between them was of the most affecting nature. They entertained for each other the warmest feelings of affection, which the young man displayed on the present occasion, by the enthusiastic manner in which he embraced his parent, and sought to show his joy at meeting him.

The hostages had been quartered in one of the cabins within the pickets of the fort, which, from its position, afforded safety and security—although they were not confined thereto, but allowed the range of the inclosure, and thither they bent their steps, and father and son sat down to take counsel in the present state of affairs. Ellinipsico, in common with the young men of his tribe, was in favor of joining in the war, being anxious to distinguish himself, and win his way by feats of arms to the proud position which would be his own inheritance on the death of his father. From such a course, Cornstalk endeavored to dissuade him with all the eloquence for which he was distinguished—but with little effect. The young 254man felt the unconquerable enmity of his race toward the white men, and burned to wash out in their blood the many wrongs and injuries he had received at their hands. The afternoon and evening having been spent in conversation upon this subject, without any result, the chieftain and his son laid down to sleep on the floor of their cabin—the last sleep they were destined to take this side of eternity.

On the morning after the arrival of Ellinipsico, two men of the garrison, named Hamilton and Gillmore, started out to hunt on the opposite side of the Kanawha river, not dreaming of any danger to be apprehended from the Indians, hostilities not having as yet commenced. On their return about noon, they were fired upon by two Indians, who had come across the Ohio to reconnoiter the fort, and hidden themselves in the weeds and brush, and Gillmore was killed. Colonel Stewart and Captain Arbuckle were standing on the opposite shore when the firing was heard, and expressed their surprise to one another at the occurrence, as strict orders had been given against all firing in the immediate vicinity of the fort. While anxiously awaiting a solution to the mystery, they discovered Hamilton on the other bank, who called to them, told them that Gillmore had been killed, and entreated them to send a canoe across to his relief. Captain Hall was dispatched with several men to the relief of the fugitive, and in a few moments they stood by his side.

A careful search in the adjacent bushes discovered the body of their comrade, shot through the head, and scalped. Placing the bloody corpse in the canoe, they recrossed the river, and with feelings of dire revenge demanded the lives of the hostages in the fort. Pale with rage, and terribly excited at the murder of one of his companions, Captain Hall placed himself at the head of his men, and marched toward the fort, threatening death to the unarmed hostages. Captain Arbuckle and several of the officers threw themselves in their way, and endeavored to prevent the execution of their bloodthirsty purpose; but this only excited the passions of the soldiers to the most ungovernable pitch, and cocking their pieces, they threatened death to all who interfered between them and their victims. Arbuckle was forced to give way, and witness a scene he was unable to prevent, and the exasperated men rushed into the fort. The interpreter's wife, who had been a captive among the Indians, and 255felt an affection for them, rushed to the cabin to inform them that Captain Hall's men were advancing to put them to death, because they entertained the idea that the Indians who had killed their comrade had come with Ellinipsico the day previous. This Ellinipsico earnestly denied, averring that he had come alone, with the only purpose of meeting his father, and without dreaming of hostility. The clamor without announced the rapid approach of their executioners, and Ellinipsico, being highly excited at the idea of being put to death for a wrong he had not committed, showed considerable agitation. The veteran chief, however, had faced death on too many battle-fields to be alarmed at his approach now, and endeavored to reassure his son, and induce him to die as became the child of such a sire. "If the Great Spirit," said he, "has decided that I should die, my son, and has sent you here to die with me, you should submit to your fate as becomes a warrior and a chief." With courage revived by the exhortation of his father, Ellinipsico prepared to meet with composure the death which he saw was inevitable. Covering his face with his hands that he might not see his executioners, he calmly awaited the stroke which was to deprive him of life, and send him to the "happy hunting grounds" of his race. As the door of the cabin was burst open, Cornstalk rose with dignity, and presented his breast to the rifles of the infuriated soldiers. Seven bullets pierced his noble form, and he died without a struggle. His son was killed at the same instant, and both fell to the ground together. Red-hawk, who had endeavored to hide himself, was dragged from his place of concealment and killed, as was another Indian who was in the fort, and who was fearfully mangled in the struggle.

"Thus," says Withers, in his Indian chronicles, "perished the mighty Cornstalk, sachem of the Shawnees, and king of the Northern confederacy in 1774—a chief remarkable for many great and good qualities. He was disposed to be, at all times, the friend of the white men, as he was ever the advocate of honorable peace. But when his country's wrongs summoned him to the battle, he was the thunderbolt of war, and made his enemies feel the weight of his arm. His noble bearing, his generous and disinterested attachment to the colonies, his anxiety to preserve the frontiers of Virginia from desolation and death, all conspired to win for him the esteem and 256respect of others; while the untimely and perfidious manner of his death caused a deep and lasting feeling of regret to pervade the bosoms, even of those who were enemies to his nation, and excited the indignation of all toward his inhuman murderers."

We would not be thought the apologist for a deed like that which has been narrated; but, at the same time, cannot join the cry which is raised against it by those authors who stigmatize it is a "cruel, bloodthirsty, inhuman, fiendlike murder." All the harshest terms in our language have been hurled at the heads of those who were engaged in it, and with great injustice. Cruel and bloodthirsty it undoubtedly was, but it was the natural consequence of the war which was waged between the white and red-men, in which revenge for injuries inflicted was held to be a sacred duty. Stone, with great want of candor, omits to mention the fact that Hall and his companions entertained the idea that the Indians who had accompanied Ellinipsico had killed their fellow soldier; but, in language of the severest cast, would lead us to suppose their act a mean, cowardly, cold-blooded massacre. He says: "A party of ruffians assembled, under command of a Captain Hall—not to pursue or punish the perpetrators of the murder, but to fall upon the friendly and peaceable Indians in the fort." What would have been the conduct of the Indians under similar circumstances? The pages of his own work exhibit many instances of similar cruelty and revengeful practice on their part; and even Brant himself is not free from it.

True, in the present case, the perpetrators were white men, civilized and enlightened; but in the long and bloody wars of extermination which they had waged with the savages, they had learned their mode of warfare; in fact, they could not hope for success in any other way, and the long account of murders, massacres, burnings at the stake, and inhuman tortures, which, even at the present day, thrill the blood with horror, had exasperated the feelings of those men who were surrounded by the actual reality, and expected no better fate themselves at the hands of Indians, should they be so unfortunate as to be captured, and they lost sight of the dictates of justice in the all-powerful and blinding spirit of revenge.


The Women Defending the Wagon.—Page 8.

Traditions and Romance
260Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for
the Southern District of New York.


Between the Blue Ridge and the western range of the Alleghany Mountains, in the northern part of the State of Virginia, is located Shenandoah County, which derives its name from the beautiful river, one branch of which flows through its entire length, from south to north. Its county seat is Woodstock, a thriving town, with a population of between one and two thousand inhabitants. This place was settled, previous to the French and Indian war, by hardy German yeomanry from Pennsylvania, who were tempted to leave the rugged hills of the Keystone State, by the glowing reports which had reached their ears of the surprising fertility and beauty of the valley of the Shenandoah. Gathering up their household goods, they turned their backs upon the homes of their first choice, and took their way through pathless forests to "the promised land." Arrived at their new home, they selected the site of the present flourishing town as the nucleus of the settlement, and commenced, with a will, the laborious task of felling the forest and the erection of their homes. A stockade fort was erected as a protection against the incursions of predatory bands of Indians. A short time sufficed to place them in circumstances which, if not actually flourishing, were comparatively thrifty, and so far promising as to the future, that they were led to look forward with hope to a long continued prosperity. They were a plain, frugal and industrious people, unacquainted with the luxuries and only desiring the substantial requisites of an humble life, which were furnished in abundance by the fertile soil of the valley in which they had taken up their abode. A traveler among them during the French and Indian war thus speaks of their happy condition:

262"I could not but reflect with pleasure upon the situation of these people, and think, if there is such a thing as true happiness, in this life, they enjoy it. Far from the bustle of the world, they live in the most delightful climate and possess the richest soil imaginable. They are everywhere surrounded by beautiful prospects and sylvan scenes. Lofty mountains, transparent streams, falls of water, rich valleys and majestic woods—the whole interspersed with an infinite variety of flowering shrubs—constitute the landscape surrounding them. They are subject to few diseases, are generally robust, and live in perfect liberty. They are ignorant of want, and are acquainted with few vices. Their inexperience of the elegancies of life precludes any regret that they have not the means of enjoying them; but they possess what many princes would give half their dominions for—health, content and tranquility of mind."

Among others who had been attracted to this valley by the glowing accounts of its fertility and comparative security, were two heads of families by the names of Sheits and Taylor. The former was of German parentage, the latter of English birth, but having both married American women, and being drawn together by that bond of sympathy which, in a new country, where danger is a common heritage, unites with a stronger tie than that of blood—they were more like one family than two separate households.

Being driven from their homes by the massacre of two of their neighbors and their families, they hastily collected a few necessaries, placed them, with their wives and children, in a wagon, to which was attached their respective horses, and started in search of a new home. Woodstock was the nearest town, or station, where there was a fort, and toward that place they directed their steps.

The family of Taylor embraced himself, wife, and three children, while that of Sheits numbered but three—himself, wife, and one child. The few articles which the limited room in the wagon, and the hurried nature of their departure allowed them to remove, were a chest of drawers, which was a gift from the parents of Mrs. T., a feather bed, also a parental gift to Mrs. S., a brass kettle or two, some few culinary articles, and the axes and rifles of the men. These and their horses, and a stout farm wagon, were all they had saved, yet they were well content to come off with their lives, and trudged along, 263satisfied if they could but reach a haven of safety from the barbarities which had been inflicted upon their less fortunate neighbors and friends.

The greater portion of their way lay through the forest, where every sound to their affrighted ears gave token of an enemy lurking in their path, and the rustling of a leaf, or the sighing wind, awoke their fears, and called up their latent courage. This had been passed, however, in safety, and they had reached the brow of the hill from whence they had a view of the beautiful valley below, where they hoped to find a haven of rest. Pausing for a moment to admire the scene which opened before them, they gave vent to their feelings in eulogies upon the lovely landscape, and words of encouragement to their wives and children. Alas, as they spoke, the deadly rifle of a concealed foe was leveled full at their breasts, and the savage red-skin was thirsting for their blood, within a few feet of them. Hidden by the thick underbrush which grew up by the side of the road, five tawny warriors, painted and bedecked with their war feathers, lay crouching like wild beasts, ready to spring upon their prey. Just as they started to resume their way, and descend the hill toward the settlement, the crack of two rifles, the whizzing of two leaden messengers, and the fall of their husbands, alarmed the women and widowed them at the same instant. The aim had been sure, and both the men fell without a groan, pierced through the heart with a bullet from an unerring rifle. Quick as the flash from a summer cloud were all their hopes of safety and future happiness blasted, stricken to the earth with the fall of their husbands. No cry escaped the now bereaved women. Their feelings were too deep for utterance, nor was there any time for grief or repining. Left in an instant self-dependent, they looked around for the foe and for means of defense. Nothing was within reach but the axes of their husbands; these they seized, awaiting the onset of the savages. They had not long to wait. Pushing aside the foliage, the five warriors sprang, with a grunt of satisfaction, from the thicket into the road, and made for the wagon to secure their prisoners. The first who came up seized the son of Mrs. Taylor, and endeavored to drag him from the wagon, but the little fellow resisted manfully, looking, meanwhile, up into his mother's face, as if to implore protection at her hands. The 264appeal was not lost upon her. Seizing, with both hands, the axe of her husband, and swinging it around her head, she brought it down, with all the vengeful force of her arm, upon the shoulder of the Indian, inflicting a wound which sent him off howling with pain. Turning to another, she served him in like manner, while Mrs. Sheits had sent a third back to his lair with a severe blow across the hand which severed all his fingers. The other two were wise enough to keep without the reach of their blows, but endeavored to intimidate them by terrific yells and brandished tomahawks. Nothing daunted, however, the heroic women maintained their attitude of defense, until wearied of their efforts, and, fearing the approach of relief from the garrison of the fort, the two unwounded Indians rushed into the thicket for their rifles, to end the conflict. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the women started the horses, and the red-skins, not daring to pursue them, they were permitted to reach the fort in safety, from which a party set out to bring in the dead and scalped bodies of their husbands.

Stories of such danger and fortitude as this can be but dimly realized by the women of to-day. Yet the annals of our early history are all too painfully darkened by such records; and it is well for the heroes of the prosperous present to know through what hardships this rich inheritance was secured to them. Emigration did not stop in Virginia any more than it had rested in Pennsylvania:

"Westward to the star of empire takes its way;"

and the glorious Valley of the Mississippi won forward the daring steps of the pioneers. It is known how long and terrible was the contest by which Kentucky was wrested, inch by inch, from her ancient owners, until her lovely soil, baptized in sorrow, received the name of the "dark and bloody ground." Here, as always where there is a chance for her development, and she is permitted to play her free part by the side of man, woman did her share of the onerous work, and had her share of the perils. One of the most terrible of the family histories of that period is the following, of the household of a widow, by the name of Shanks, full particulars of which are given in the history of Kentucky.

On the night of the 10th of April, 1787, the house of Mrs. Shanks, on Cooper's Run, in Bourbon County, was attacked by Indians. This 265house, which was a double cabin, consisting of two rooms, with an open way between, contained, at the time the assault was made, besides the widow herself, a widowed daughter, three other daughters, a young girl, and two sons of adult age. Although the hour was near midnight, one of the young men still remained up, and in the opposite room a sister was busily engaged at the loom.

An hour before, while they were yet unconscious of the actual presence of Indians, the suspicions of the son was aroused by the cry of owls, hooting to each other in the adjoining wood, in a rather unusual manner, and by the terror and excitement of the horses, who were enclosed, as customary, in a pound near the house.

Several times the young man was on the point of awaking his brother, but as often refrained, through fear of being ridiculed for his timidity. At length hasty steps were heard without, and then came several sharp knocks at the door, accompanied by the usual question of the wayfarer, "Who keeps this house?" spoken in very good English.

He hastily advanced to withdraw the bolt which secured the door, supposing the new comer to be some benighted settler, when his mother, whose greater experience had probably detected the Indian accent, instantly sprang out of bed, and warned her son that the men outside were savages.

The other son being by this time aroused, the two young men, seizing their rifles, which were always charged, prepared to repel the enemy. Conscious that their true character was discovered, the Indians now strove to break in the door; but a single shot from the loop-hole compelled them to shift their point of attack, when, unfortunately, they discovered the door of the other cabin, which contained the three daughters.

By some oversight in the construction of the cabin, none of the loops enabled the brothers to cover the door of the room in which their sisters were. The Indians soon forced it open by means of rails taken from the yard fence. The girls being thus placed at the mercy of the savages, one was instantly secured; but the eldest defended herself desperately with a knife, and succeeded in mortally wounding a savage before she was tomahawked. The youngest girl darted out into the yard, and might have escaped in the darkness; but the poor 266creature ran around the house, and, wringing her hands in terror, kept crying out that her sisters were killed.

The brothers, agonized almost to madness by her cries, were prepared to sally out to her assistance, when their mother stayed them, and calmly declared that the child must be abandoned to her fate. The next instant, the child uttered a loud scream, followed by a few faint moans, and then all was silent.

That portion of the house which had been occupied by the daughters was now set on fire, and the flames soon communicating to the opposite room, the brothers were compelled to fling open the door, and attempt to seek safety by flight.

The old lady, supported by her eldest son, sought to cross the fence at one point, while the widowed daughter, with her child in her arms, and attended by the younger of the brothers, ran in a different direction. The blazing roof shed a light over the yard but little inferior to that of day, and the savages were distinctly seen awaiting the approach of their victims. The old lady was permitted to reach the stile unmolested, but, in the act of crossing, received several balls in her breast, and fell dead. Her son providentially remained unhurt, and, by extraordinary agility, effected his escape. The other brother, being assailed by the Indians, defended his sister desperately for some time, and drew the attention of the savages so closely to himself, that she succeeded in eluding their vigilance. The brave and devoted young man was less fortunate; he fell beneath repeated blows from the tomahawks of his enemies, and was found at daylight, scalped and mangled in a most shocking manner.

Of the whole family, consisting of eight persons when the attack commenced, only three escaped. Four were killed on the spot, and one, the second daughter, carried off prisoner.

The alarm was soon given, and by daylight thirty men were assembled under Colonel Edwards, who pursued the Indian trail at a gallop, tracking the footsteps of the savages in the snow. The trail led directly into the mountainous country bordering upon Licking, and afforded evidences of great precipitation on the part of the Indians. Unfortunately, a hound had been permitted to accompany the whites, and, as the trail became fresh, and the scent warm, she pursued it with eagerness, baying loudly and giving alarm to the savages. The 267consequence of this imprudence was soon displayed. The enemy, finding the pursuit keen, and perceiving the strength of their prisoner beginning to fail, instantly sank their tomahawks in her head, and left her, still warm and bleeding, upon the snow. As the whites came up, she retained strength enough to wave her hand in token of recognition, and appeared desirous of giving them some information in regard to the enemy; but her strength was too far gone. Her brother sprang from his horse, and endeavored to stop the effusion of blood, but in vain. She gave him her hand, muttered some inarticulate words, and expired within two minutes after the arrival of the party.

The pursuit was renewed with additional ardor, and, in twenty minutes, the enemy was within view. They had taken possession of a narrow ridge, magnifying their numbers in the eyes of the whites, by running rapidly from tree to tree, and maintaining a steady yell in their most appalling tones.

The pursuers, however, were too experienced to be deceived by so common an artifice. Being satisfied that the number of the enemy must be inferior to their own, they dismounted, tied their horses, and flanking out in such a manner as to enclose the savages, ascended as rapidly as was consistent with a due regard to the shelter of their persons.

The firing commenced, and now they discovered, for the first time, that only two Indians were opposed to them. They had voluntarily sacrificed themselves for the safety of the main body, and had succeeded in delaying pursuit until their friends could reach the mountains. One of them was shot dead, and the other was badly wounded, as was evident from the blood upon his blanket, as well as that which filled the snow for a considerable distance. The pursuit was recommenced, and urged keenly until night, when the trail entered a running stream, and was lost.

We know of nothing more powerfully illustrating the life led by the women of those days, than the following statements, brief and simple as they are, made in the record of General Samuel Dale:

"About this time Joe Horn and Dave Calhoun went to their clearings to plant corn, very imprudently taking their wives and children with them, who camped in the field. Being both off hunting one 268day, the prowling savages made a clean sweep of these two families. The poor, heart-stricken husbands, almost crazy, returned to the fort, and the whole night was passed by all of us in lamentations and vows of vengeance.

"For several months after this, we were not troubled, and my brother and myself were boarded about ten miles off, at Halbert McClure's, to go to school. Returning, one morning, from a visit home, we fell in with old Mr. Bush, of Castlewood Fort, who informed us that he saw Shawnee 'signs' about, and that we must go back to Glade Hollow, and give the alarm. Unfortunately, father had left, the day before, for the salt works, on Holton river, and mother and the children were alone. About nine at night, we saw two Indians approaching. Mother immediately threw a bucket full of water on the fire, to prevent their seeing us, made us lie on the floor, bolted and barred the door, and posted herself there with an ax and a rifle. We never knew why they desisted from an attack, or how father escaped, who rode up three hours afterward.

"In two or three days all of us set out for Clinch Mountain, to the wedding of Hoppy Kincaid, a clever young fellow from Holston, and Sally McClure, a fine, bouncing girl of seventeen, modest and pretty, yet fearless and free. We knew the Shawnees were about—that our fort and household effects must be left unguarded, and might probably be destroyed—that we incurred the risk of a fight, or an ambuscade, capture, or even death, on the road; but in those days, in that wild country, folks did not calculate consequences closely, and the temptation to a frolic, a feast, a wedding, a dance till daylight, and often for several days together, was not to be resisted, and off we went.

"In half an hour we fell in with Captain Barnett, and twenty men from Holston, who warned us that Indians were about, and that he was scouting for them. Father, ever eager for a fight, joined this company, and we trudged on to Clinch Mountain. Instead of the bridal party, the well-spread table, the ringing laughter, and the sounding feet of buxom dancers, we found a pile of ashes and six or seven ghastly corpses, tomahawked and scalped! Poor Hardy McClure was dead; several others lay around. One daughter was still breathing, but soon expired. Mrs. McClure, her infant, and three other 269children, including Sally, the intended bride, had been carried off by the savages. They soon tore the poor infant from its mother's arms, and killed it, that she might travel faster.

"While they were scalping this child, Peggy McClure, a girl twelve years old, perceived a sink-hole at her feet, and dropped silently into it. It communicated with a ravine, down which she ran, and brought the news into the settlement. The Indians were too apprehensive of pursuit to search for her. The same night Sally, who had been tied and forced to lie down between two warriors, contrived to loosen her thongs and make her escape. She struck for the cane-brake, then for the river, and, to conceal her trail, resolved to descend it. It was deep wading, and the current was so rapid, she had to fill her petticoat with gravel to steady herself. She soon, however, recovered confidence, returned to shore, and finally reached the still-smoking homestead about dark next evening. A few neighbors, well armed, had just buried the dead. Kincaid was among them. The last prayer had been said when the orphan girl stood among them, and was soon in the arms of her lover. Resolved to leave no more to chance, at his entreaty, and by the advice of all, the weeping girl gave her consent, and, by the grave of the household, and near the ruined dwelling, they were immediately married."

Can imagination add anything to this vivid picture?



The narrative of the captivity of Jonathan Alder is one of great interest and value, being a source from whence can be derived much important information regarding the customs, habits and manners of the Indians, among whom he spent fifteen years of his early life. We regret that it is impossible to give more than an outline sketch of the incidents connected with his capture and adoption by the savages.

He was born in New Jersey, but removed with his father to Wythe County, Virginia, about 1780. In March, 1782, while he and his brother David were in search of a mare and her foal, which had strayed off into the woods, they were surprised by the appearance of a small party of Indians, who darted upon them from behind the trees, and, before Jonathan had time to make an effort at escape, he found himself in the grasp of a stalwart warrior, who threatened him with his tomahawk, and checked the effort, if the idea had risen in his mind. David, however, started to run, and was pursued by one of the Indians, who soon returned, leading him by one hand, and with the other holding the handle of a spear, which he had thrown at him, and which still remained in his body. On seeing this, another savage stepped up and took hold of the boy, holding him firmly in his grasp, while the first pulled the spear out of the wound by main strength. The poor fellow uttered a shriek of pain at this barbarous surgery, whereupon Jonathan moved toward him and inquired if he was hurt. He replied that he was, and in a few moments sank dying to the ground. Jonathan was hurried forward, while one of the Indians remained with the other boy; but in a few moments made his appearance with the scalp of David in his hand, and, as he approached, with an exhibition of the most fiendish delight, he shook the reeking trophy, from which the blood was still dripping, in the face of the lad, who was so horror-stricken at the fate of his brother as to be scarcely able to proceed. Finding it 271necessary, however, for the salvation of his own life, he urged himself to his utmost, and they soon overtook the balance of the party, with whom he found a Mrs. Martin, a neighbor, and a child, about five years old, whom the Indians had taken captive after murdering the husband of Mrs. Martin, and all the rest of her family. They did not long leave her this solace to her misery, but finding the boy somewhat troublesome, they killed and scalped it, and, to still the agonizing cries of the broken-hearted mother, one of the inhuman wretches drew the edge of his knife across her forehead, at the same time crying "scalp! scalp!" to intimate the fate in store for her if she did not stop her screams. Finding threats of no avail, they then cut switches, with which they beat her until she became quiet. One day, as the boy Alder was sitting on the ground, after eating his dinner, and being completely worn out with the fatigue of their long and rapid march, not having risen when ordered to do so, he observed the shadow of some one standing behind him with a tomahawk in his hand, in the attitude of striking. He turned suddenly around and beheld a warrior just in the act of tomahawking him. Finding himself discovered, perhaps, or struck with the good-natured look which the boy's face wore, he withheld the blow, and commenced feeling of his head. He afterward told the boy that the color of his hair had saved his life; for, upon noticing that it was black and thick, he had thought that he would make a good Indian, and therefore had concluded to take him to his tribe.

The party by whom Alder had been taken belonged to the Mingo tribe, whose village was on the north side of Mad River. After many days of weary travel, and foot-sore and weary, they arrived in its vicinity. The usual scalp-yell and whoop, announcing the presence of prisoners in the party, having been given, the whole village turned out to receive them, and Alder was obliged to undergo the ordeal of running the gauntlet. Two rows of Indian boys and girls were stationed in front of the council-house, armed with switches, and, exhausted as he was, he was compelled to run between them, and make his way within the door of the council-house for safety from their blows. Fortunately he accomplished this with his life, and was soon after adopted into an Indian family, after being purified of his white blood. This was done by washing him in a decoction 272of herbs, with soap; and after being dressed in the Indian fashion, with shirt, leggins, breech-clouts and moccasins, he was considered as one of the tribe. It is not to be wondered at that it was long before he could become in any way reconciled to his new way of life, and that he should mourn for that home which he never again expected to see. For all one year, the poor boy longed to return to his mother, brothers and sisters. Every thing was new and strange to him; he could not speak a word of their language; their food and manner of life disagreed with him; and, as if to render his misery more complete, he suffered dreadfully with the fever and ague. His adopted father was chief of the tribe, and he, as well as his squaw, endeavored to comfort him in every way possible, and render his situation comfortable; but they could not quiet his longings for home, and the poor little fellow spent many lonely, bitter hours, near the foot of a walnut-tree in the adjacent forest, weeping over his hard lot. The chief had three daughters, named Mary, Sally and Hannah. Of these, Sally was harshest, making Jonathan do all the work, and stigmatizing him as a "mean, lousy prisoner." Mary, the eldest, married a distinguished Shawnee chief, called Colonel Lewis, and Jonathan went to live with them for a time. Of this couple he speaks in the warmest eulogy. He says: "The Indians would generally collect at our camp evenings, to talk over their hunting expeditions. I would sit up to listen to their stories, and frequently fell asleep just where I was sitting. After they left, Mary would fix my bed, and Colonel Lewis would carefully take me up and carry me to it. On these occasions they would often say, supposing me to be asleep: 'Poor fellow, we have set up too long for him, and he has fallen asleep on the cold ground.' And then how softly would they lay me down and cover me up. Oh, never have I, nor can I, express the affection I had for these two persons."


The Captivity of Jonathan Alder.—Page 15.

275At the end of a year, or little more, Jonathan acquired their language, and became in a measure reconciled and contented; but their food, which was principally hominy and meat, went against him for a long time. As soon as he grew stout enough to carry a rifle, they gave him an old musket to begin with, and told him he must learn to hunt. Delighted with his new trust, and pleased with the idea of becoming a hunter and a warrior, he devoted himself to learn the use of the piece. His first essays were made upon mud-turtles, which he would approach as they lay basking on a rock in the sunshine; and when he had acquired skill enough to kill them by hitting the rock just beneath them, and thus blowing them into the air—sometimes to the height of six or seven feet—he tried his skill upon larger game. Alder remained with the Indians until after the treaty with Wayne, in 1795. He gives many particulars of great interest concerning the movements of the Indians during the long and bloody wars which preceded that propitious event. Peace being established, and almost all the white prisoners having returned to their former homes and friends, he began to feel a desire to see his mother and his relatives again. His long residence among the Indians, however, had deprived him of all knowledge of the English language, and he had lost all recollection even of the State in which he had lived. He had not, therefore, the least clew to aid him in the search.

Watching his opportunity, however, and having long entertained the idea of escaping, he at last succeeded in eluding the suspicions of his red friends, and in beginning his enterprise. Choosing a season of the year when game and berries were plenty, and stocking his bag with dried venison, he set out, avowedly, on a hunting expedition; and the true object of his journey was not suspected for some days after the time of his expected return. He had nothing to guide him toward the white settlements, except a knowledge that they lay in a northerly direction. His skill in woodcraft being equal to that of the Indians', he was enabled to bear the fatigues and discouragements of his wanderings. A band of red men, whom he encountered, treated him as one of themselves, they belonging to a friendly tribe; and, after three weeks of solitary marches, sleeping at night as the circumstances permitted, he emerged into a country once familiar to him, but now considerably changed during the fifteen years of his absence.

But his friends, nor their surroundings, were not so much changed as himself. He was not only an Indian in his appearance, but in many of his feelings. Glad as he was to get back, he soon became very home-sick for the wild life he had abandoned. The clothes, the warm beds, the chairs, the food and table, the restraints of civilization, 276were, for a time, almost insupportable. It was but very gradually that the white blood of his ancestors begun to stir anew in his veins, and the powerful ties and instincts of early associations to break up the strong bonds of more recent habits. He was almost as many years in becoming a white man as he had been in growing an Indian.

A writer upon the character of the Indians, in his defense of them, says that if an Anglo-American were placed in the same circumstances with a native, he would make a precisely similar person in every trait and habit. "This averment is sustained by a reference to the white people who had been taken prisoners in childhood and brought up among the Indians. In every such case, the child of civilization has become the ferocious adult of the forest, manifesting all the peculiarities, tastes and preferences of the native Indian. His manners, habits, propensities and pursuits have been the same; his fondness for the chase and his aversion to labor the same; so that the most astute philosophical observer has been unable to detect any difference, except in the color of the skin; and, in some instances, even this distinction has been removed by long exposure to the weather, and the free use of oils and paints. There have been cases in which the children of white parents, who have been raised among the Indians from early infancy, have been taken home, in middle life, to their relatives, but have refused to remain, and have returned to the tribes in which they were brought up. One case of this kind occurred within the knowledge of the writer. A female, captured in infancy, and reared among the Indians, was brought in by them at the treaty of Greenville, and sent to her parents in Kentucky. She soon became so discontented and restless that, in spite of all their efforts, she left them, returned to her former associates, and was again happy." All of which is doubtless true, but does not disprove the many barbarous instincts of the red-men.

In the fall of 1788, Matthias Van Bebber, aged eighteen, and Jacob, aged twelve years, were out a short distance from Point Pleasant, with a horse, when they were waylaid by four Indians. Jacob was leading the horse, and Matthias was a short distance ahead, with a rifle across his shoulder, when the Indians fired two guns at Matthias. One of the balls struck him over the eyes, momentarily blinding him; 277he sprang one side, and fell into a gully. Jacob, on hearing the report of the guns, fled, pursued by three of the savages. Matthias, in the mean time, sprang up and took to a tree. The remaining Indian did the same. The lad brought up his gun to an aim, the Indian dodged, when the former improved the opportunity to fly, and escaped to the fort. The other three, after a tight chase of half a mile, caught Jacob, who, being very active, would have escaped, had not his moccasins been too large. They then retreated across the Ohio with their prisoner. He was a sprightly little fellow, small of his age, and his captors, pleased with him, treated him kindly. On the first night of their encampment, they took him on their knees and sang to him. He turned away his head to conceal his tears.

On arriving at their town, while running the gauntlet between the children of the place, an Indian boy, much larger than himself, threw a bone, which struck him on the head. Enraged by the pain, Jacob drew back, and running with all his force, butted him over, to the great amusement of the gazing warriors. He was adopted into an Indian family, where he was used with kindness. On one occasion his adopted father whipped him, but not severely, which affected his new mother and sister to tears. After remaining with the tribe about a year, he escaped, traveling five days through the wilderness to his home. When he arrived at maturity he was remarkable for his fleetness. None of the Indians who visited the Point could distance him in running.

One of the most interesting histories on record of the return of white prisoners from among the red-men is connected with Boquet's defense of Fort Pitt, and his expedition from that fort into the wilderness, to overawe his adversaries by the display of his strength, and to recover the vast number of men, women and children, held by the savages, amounting, in all, to over three hundred. Fort Pitt stood on the present site of Pittsburg, and, at the time of which we write, 1772, was the only spot, excepting Fort Detroit, from the Falls of Niagara to the Falls of St. Mary, over which the English flag waved. Our splendid territories were being ravaged by the Indians; families, who had effected a home and comforts, being driven back by the tomahawk, with their scattered remnants, to the East, from which they had emigrated, or into Fort Pitt, which alone opposed itself to 278the murderous waves which dashed against, and threatened to undermine it. It withstood, like Fort Detroit, a long siege by the savages, was reinforced, the reinforcements, before reaching the fort, having given battle to, and defeated the Indians.

The Indians, disheartened by their overwhelming defeat, and despairing of success against the fort, now that it was so heavily reinforced, retired sullenly to their homes beyond the Ohio, leaving the country between it and the settlement free from their ravages. Communication being rendered safe, the fugitives were able to return to their friends, or take possession of their abandoned cabins. By comparing notes, they were soon able to make out an accurate list of those who were missing—either killed or prisoners among various tribes—when it was found to contain the names of more than two hundred men, women and children. Fathers mourned their daughters, slain or subject to a captivity worse than death; husbands, their wives, left mangled in the forest, or forced to follow their savage captors—some with babes at their breasts, and some, whose offspring would first see the light in the red-man's wigwam—and loud were the cries for vengeance which went up on every hand.

Boquet wished to follow up his success, and march at once into the enemy's country, and wring from the hostile tribes, by force of arms, a treaty of peace, which should forever put an end to those scenes of rapine and murder. But his force was too small, and the season too far advanced. He matured his plans during the winter, and in the spring began his preparations. The Indians, in the meantime, had procured powder from the French, and, as soon as the snow melted, commenced their ravages along the frontier. The aroused and desperate people of Pennsylvania furnished a thousand men, and Virginia a corps of volunteers, which, added to Boquet's five hundred regulars, made a force of nearly two thousand men, with which he was instructed to advance into the enemy's territory, and, by one grand movement, crush the offending tribes. His route was without any water communication, and lay through the heart of an unbroken wilderness. The expedition was to be carried out without boats, wagons, or artillery, and without a post to fall back upon in case of disaster. It was, indeed, an isolated and a novel affair. It was autumn before all obstacles were overcome, and the army under way. It struck directly 279into the trackless forest, with no definite point in view, and no fixed limit to its advance. It was intended to overawe by its magnitude—to move, as an awful exhibition of power, into the heart of the red-man's dominions. Expecting to be shut up in the forest at least a month, receiving in that time no supplies from without, it had to carry along an immense quantity of provisions. Meat, of course, could not be preserved, and so the frontier settlements were exhausted of sheep and oxen for its support. These necessarily caused the march to be slow and methodical. The corps of Virginia volunteers went in front, preceded by three scouting parties—one of which kept the path—while the two others moved in a line abreast, on either side, to explore the woods.

Under cover of these, the ax companies, guarded by two companies of light infantry, cut two parallel paths, one each side of the main path, for the troops, pack-horses, and cattle, which followed. First marched the Highlanders, in column, two deep, in the centre path, and in the side paths, in single file, abreast—the men six feet apart—and behind them the corps of reserve, and the second battalion of Pennsylvania militia. Then came the officers, and pack-horses, followed by the droves of cattle, filling the forest with their loud complainings. A company of light-horse walked slowly after these, while the rear-guard closed the long array. No talking was allowed, and no music cheered the way. In this order the unwieldy caravan struggled along, neither extremity of which could be seen from the centre, it being lost amid the thickly-clustering trunks and foliage in the distance.

Some days they would make but two or three miles, and again, when the way was less obstructed, would make ten, fifteen or eighteen miles. On the fourth day of their march, near some deserted Indian huts, they came upon the skull of a child, stuck upon a pole.

There was a large number of men in the army who had wives, children and friends prisoners among the Indians, and who had accompanied the expedition for the purpose of recovering them. To these the skull of this little child brought sad reflections. Some one among them was, perhaps, its father, while the thought that it might stand as an index, to tell the fate of all who were captured, made 280each one shudder. As they looked at it, bleached by the sun and rain, the anxious heart asked questions it dared not answer.

Keeping on their course, they pursued their difficult march, day after day, much of the time through a tangled wilderness, but occasionally, from some high point, catching glimpses of marvellous splendor of sky and scenery, the purpled sunlight of October wrapping all objects in a kind of enchantment. At times the path was so overgrown with bushes, that every step had to be cleared with the ax; again, it would be over marshes, so wet that bridges had to be constructed, to keep the cattle from sinking; and still again, the men would be cheered by an easy and rapid day's journey, along the banks of some pleasant stream. Ohio is even yet renowned for its glorious forests, and these, now dressed in all the gorgeous coloring of Indian summer, gave frequent pictures of beauty which impressed the roughest of the sturdy soldiers.

At length they descended to a small river, which they followed until it joined the main force of the Muskingum, where a scene of a very different character awaited them. A little above and below the forks, the shores had been cultivated, and lined with Indian houses. The place was called Tuscarora, and, for beauty of situation, could not well be surpassed. The high, luxuriant banks, the placid rivers, meeting and flowing on together, the green fields, sprinkled with huts, and bordered with rich, autumnal foliage, all basking in the mellow October light, and so out of the way there in the wilderness, combined to form a sweet picture, which was doubly lovely to them after being so long shut up in the forest. They reached this beautiful spot Saturday afternoon, and, the next day being Sunday, they remained in camp, men and cattle being allowed a day of rest. The latter, revived under the swell of green grass, and, roaming over the fields, gave a still more civilized aspect to the quiet scene. The next day, the army moved two miles further down the Muskingum, and encamped on a high bank, where the stream was three hundred feet wide.

The following day six chiefs came into camp, saying that all the rest were eight miles off, waiting to make peace. Boquet told them he would be ready to receive them next day. In the meantime he ordered a large bower to be built, a short distance from camp, while 281sentinels were posted in every direction, to prevent surprise, in case treachery was meditated.

The next day, the 17th, he paraded the Highlanders and Virginia volunteers, and, escorted by the light-horse, led them to the bower, where he disposed them in the most imposing manner, so as to impress the chiefs, in the approaching interview. The latter, as they emerged from the forest, were conducted, with great ceremony to the bower, which they entered with their accustomed gravity, where, without saying a word, they quietly seated themselves, and commenced smoking. When they had finished they laid aside their pipes, and drew from their pouches strings of wampum. The council, being thus opened, they made a long address, in which they were profuse in their professions of peace, laying the whole blame of the war on the young men, whom, they said, they could not control.

Boquet, not wishing to appear eager to come to a settlement, replied that he would give his answer the next day, and the council broke up. A passing storm, however, prevented a meeting of the council until the day following that first set. Boquet's answer was long and conciliatory; but the gist of it was that he would make peace on one condition, and no other—that the Indians should give up all the prisoners in their possession within ten days.

Remaining quietly in camp until Monday, he again ordered the tents to be struck, and recommenced his march, to show his determination to enforce his commands. In three days he reached the forks of the Muskingum; and, judging this to be as central a position as he could find, he resolved to remain there until his mission was accomplished. He ordered four redoubts to be built, erected several store-houses, a mess-house, a large number of ovens, and various other buildings for the reception of captives, which, with the white tents scattered up and down the forks of the river, made a large settlement in the wilderness, filling the Indians with alarm. A town with nearly two thousand inhabitants, well supplied with horses, cattle and sheep, and with ample means of defense, was well calculated to awaken the gloomiest anticipations in the breasts of the ancient inheritors. The steady sound of the ax, day after day, the lowing of cattle, and all the bustle of civilization, echoing along the banks of the Muskingum, within the very heart of their territory, was more 282alarming than the resistless march of a victorious army; and, anxious to get rid of such unwelcome company, they made every effort to collect the prisoners scattered amid the various tribes.

Boquet remained here two weeks, occupied with sending and receiving messengers who were charged with business relating to the restoration of the captives. At the end of this time, two hundred and six, the majority of them women and children, had been received into camp. An hundred more yet remained in the hands of the Indians. These they solemnly promised to restore in the spring, and, as the leafless forest, the biting blast, and occasional flurries of snow, reminded Boquet of the coming on of winter, he determined to retrace his steps to Fort Pitt.

These two weeks, during which the prisoners were being brought in, were filled with scenes of the most intense, and often painful excitement. Some of the captives had been for many years with the Indians, recipients of their kindness and love; others had passed from childhood to maturity among them, till they had forgotten their native language, and the past was to them, if remembered at all, but a half-forgotten dream. All of them—men, women and children—were dressed in Indian costume, and their hair arranged in Indian fashion. Their features, also, were bronzed by long exposure to the weather, so that they appeared to have passed more than half way to a purely savage state. As troop after troop came in, the eager looks and inquiries of those who had accompanied the army to find their long-lost families and kindred, made each arrival a most thrilling scene. In some instances, where the separation had only been for a short time, the recognition was simultaneous and mutual, and the short, quick cry, and sudden rush into each other's arms, brought tears to the eyes of the hardy soldiers. In others, doubt, agony, fear and hope, would in turn take possession of the heart, chasing each other like shadows over the face, as question after question was put, to recall some event or scene familiar to both, till at last a common chord would be touched, when the dormant memory would awake as by an electric shock, a flood of fond recollections sweep away all uncertainty, and the lost one be hurried away amid sobs and cries of joy. Sometimes the disappointed father or brother would turn sorrowfully away, and, with that hope deferred which maketh 283the heart sick, sadly await the arrival of another group. But the most painful sight was when a mother recognized her own child, which, however, in turn, persisted in looking on her as a stranger, coldly turning from her embrace, and clinging to its savage protector; or when a mutual recognition failed to awaken affection on one side, so entirely had the heart become weaned from its early attachments. In these cases, the joy of the captors knew no bounds; the most endearing epithets and caresses would be lavished on the whilome prisoner. But when they saw them taken away, torrents of tears attested their sincere affection and grief. The attitude of intense interest, and the exhibition of uncontrollable sorrow of these wild children of the forest, on one side, and, on the other, the ecstatic joy of the white mother as she folded her long-lost child in her arms, and the deep emotion of the husband as he strained his recovered wife to his bosom, combined to form one of the most moving, novel spectacles ever witnessed in the American wilderness.

One of the captive women had an infant, three months old, at her breast, born in the Indian's wigwam. A Virginia volunteer instantly recognized her as his wife, stolen from his log-cabin six months previous, and rushing forward he snatched her to his bosom, and flew with her to his tent, where, tearing off the savage costumes of both, he clothed them in their proper garments. After the first burst of joy was over, he inquired after his little boy, two years old, who was carried off at the same time she was made prisoner; but his wife could give no tidings of him. A few days after, another party of prisoners arrived, in which was a child whose appearance answered to the description of this little fugitive. The woman was sent for and the child placed before her. She looked at it a moment and shook her head. But the next instant the powerful maternal instinct triumphed, and, recognizing in the little savage before her her lost darling, she dropped her babe, and snatching him to her bosom, burst into a torrent of tears. The husband caught the babe from the ground, and the couple hurried away to his tent. The poor Indian mother watched their retreating forms, and then burying her head in her blanket, sobbed aloud. A scene equally affecting occurred between an aged mother and her daughter, who had been carried off nine years before, and adopted in a distant tribe. 284Though the latter had passed from childhood to womanhood in the forest, differing from other young squaws only in the tint of her skin, which her wild life could not wholly bronze, the eyes of the parent detected the features of her child in the handsome young savage, and calling her by name, she rushed forward to embrace her. The latter, having forgotten her name and language, and all her childhood's life, looked on wondering, and turned, frightened, to her Indian parent. The true mother tried in every way to recall the memory of her child, and awaken recognition, but in vain. At length, despairing of success, she gave way to the most passionate grief. Boquet had been a silent witness of the painful interview. Moved at the grief of the mother, he approached her, and asked if she could not recall some song with which she used to sing her child to sleep. Brightening at the suggestion, she looked up through her tears, and struck a familiar strain, with which she used to quiet her babe. The moment the ears of the maiden caught the sound, her countenance changed, and as the strain proceeded, a strange light stole over her features. All stood hushed as death, as that simple melody floated out through the forest, watching with intense interest the countenances of the two actors in this touching scene. The eager, anxious look of the mother, as she sang, and the rapidly changing expression of the captive's face as she listened, awoke the profoundest sympathy of Boquet's generous heart, so that he could hardly restrain his feelings. Slowly, almost painfully, the dormant memory awoke from its long sleep; at length the dark cloud was rent asunder, and the scenes of childhood came back in all the freshness of their early springtime, and the half-wild young creature sank in joy on her mother's bosom.

Some of the children had been so long with their captors that they regarded them as their true parents, crying bitterly at being separated from them. Stranger still, the young women had become so attached to their savage but kind husbands, that, when told they were to be given up to their white friends, they refused to go; and many of them had to be bound and brought as prisoners to camp. The promise that they should take their half-breed children with them, could not change their wishes. On the other hand, the Indians clung to them with a tenacity and fondness which made the 285spectators forget that they were gazing upon savages. It was pitiful to see their habitual stoicism give way so completely at the prospect of separation. They made no effort to conceal their grief; the chieftain's eye, which gleamed like his tomahawk in battle, now wept like a child's. His strong nature seemed wholly subdued; his haughty bearing changed to one of humility, as he besought the white men to treat his pale-face squaw tenderly. His wild life suddenly lost all its charms, and he hung round the camp to get a sight of her whom, though she was lost to him, he still loved. He watched near the log-building in which she was left, leaving it only to bring from the forests pheasants, wild pigeons, or some delicacy to lay at her feet. Some of the young captive wives refused to be comforted, and, using that sagacity they had acquired during their sojourn with the red-men, managed to escape from their white friends, and, joining their swarthy lovers, fled with them to the forest.

The American wilderness never before presented such a spectacle as was exhibited on the banks of the Muskingum. It was no longer a hostile camp, but a stage on which human nature was displaying its most noble, attractive traits; or, rather, a sublime poem, enacted in that lovely natural temple, whose burden was human affection, and whose great argument, the common brotherhood of mankind.

Boquet and his officers were deeply impressed. They could hardly believe their own eyes when they saw young warriors whose deeds of daring ferocity had made their names a terror on the frontier, weeping like children over their bereavement.

A treaty of peace having been concluded between the various tribes, Boquet, taking hostages to secure their good behavior, and the return of the remaining prisoners, broke up his camp on the 18th of November, and began to retrace his steps towards Fort Pitt. The leafless forest rocked and roared above the little army, as it once more entered its gloomy recesses; and that lovely spot on the banks of the Muskingum, which had witnessed such strange scenes, lapsed again into its primeval quiet.



In about the central part of Sussex county, New Jersey, two miles south of the village of Newton, the county seat, are two ponds or bodies of water, which go by the name of the "Big" and "Little Muckshaw." The lower, or Little Muckshaw, loses itself, at its western extremity, in a marsh or swamp, which is almost impassable, except after a long drought. This vicinity possesses some considerable interest, from having been the haunt of one of those fiends in human shape, who preyed upon the substance of the patriotic citizens of the neighborhood during that gloomy period in our Revolutionary contest, when even the Father of his country was wrapped in despondency at the prospect for the future.

Bonnel Moody was a ruffian of the deepest dye, and possessed of all those qualities which constitute an accomplished freebooter and highwayman. He was cunning as a fox; energetic and determined in the pursuit of an object; void of all pity or remorse; avaricious as a miser; and with a brute courage which made him formidable in combat, he was a dangerous enemy in the midst of the inhabitants of Sussex county, as they learned to their cost during the war. His place of retreat, or rather, his lair—for it was more like the haunt of some wild beast than the abode of human beings—was on the west side of the swamp above mentioned, where nature seemed to have provided him with a retreat more impregnable than art could have furnished him. A point of land projects into the western side of the marsh, affording only a very narrow and difficult foothold for one man to pass between its base and an inlet of the pond which washes the foot of the rocks. The ledge then recedes in the shape of a crescent, forming a little cove, with water in front and rocks behind and above. About forty-five yards from this point is a huge rock, screened by overhanging trees and shrubs, in which is a cavern, where Moody and his gang of marauders found shelter when their deeds of rapine and murder had roused the inhabitants 287of the vicinity to rid themselves of the dangerous foe. This cavern is eighteen feet high in front, gradually receding until it meets the foundation at a distance of fifteen feet, and about fifty feet in length from north to south. Beyond this cavern the ledge again approaches the marsh, into which it projects, forming an elbow almost impossible to pass around, and on the opposite side it again recedes, presenting a bold and rugged aspect, heightened by the gloom of perpetual shade, numerous cavern-like fissures, and masses of rock which have fallen, from time to time, from the overhanging ledge. One of these is a large, flat slab, about ten feet long, six high, and between three and four feet thick, which has fallen in such a position as to leave a passage behind it of about a yard in width. The rocks above project over this slab, so as to shield it effectually from that quarter, and a half-dozen men might defend themselves behind this natural buckler against the attack of an army. Such was the haunt of Moody, and his congenial band of Tory cut-throats and murderers; and from here, like a flock of ravenous wolves would they issue, when opportunity offered, and lay waste and destroy all within their reach until danger threatened, when they would retreat to this natural fastness with their ill-gotten plunder, here to divide and secrete it. From the brow of the ledge, which rises nearly a hundred feet from the water, they had a fair view of every avenue to their hiding-place, and no one ever approached it alive except Moody and his associates, or perhaps some friend of theirs, with provision or information. There were those so lost to principle as to furnish this crew of land-pirates with the necessaries of life, and with accurate intelligence of every movement, on the part of the Americans, which occurred in the vicinity. Several attempts to capture the wretch were frustrated by these loyal friends. At one time, when a party, having tracked him for some distance, were about to spring upon him, he was alarmed by a negro in time to make his escape; and on another occasion a young woman mounted a horse and rode some twelve or fourteen miles, of a dark night, to warn him of a projected attack by a party of Whigs, who had determined to capture him at all hazards. One cold winter night he broke into the house of a Mr. Ogden, and after robbing it of every thing of any value, he took the old man out in the yard, and made him take an oath not to make 288known his visit until a sufficient time had elapsed for himself and his party to make their escape. Two or three men who were working for Mr. Ogden, and who slept in a loft up stairs, not feeling bound by the old man's oath, alarmed the neighborhood and commenced a pursuit. Their track was easily followed in the snow, and in the morning they came upon a camp where the marauders had slept over night, and where their fires were still burning. The chase was kept up until they reached Goshen, in the State of New York, where they recovered part of the plunder, but the rascals escaped. These expeditions in pursuit of the Tory wretch were called "Moody-hunting," and were followed up frequently with great energy.

One night, about twelve o'clock, he made his appearance at the bedside of the jailer, and demanded the key of the jail. The poor frightened official readily gave it up, although he had often declared that he would not surrender it to him, and with it Moody opened the doors and set all the prisoners free. Two of them were condemned to death; one, who was condemned to die for robbery, being unacquainted with the neighborhood, wandered about all night and next day in the woods, and was discovered in a hollow tree the next evening by a party of "coon-hunters," who brought him back; and he was hung in front of the jail, protesting his innocence to the last. He was subsequently proved to be guiltless of the crime for which he suffered; and the wretch who actually committed the deed confessed on his death-bed that he it was who did the act for which another had suffered. On this occasion, Moody was more just than the law, and the prisoner's cause better than his fortune.


Moody, the Refugee.—Page 32.

291While the American army was encamped at Morristown, a man very shabbily dressed, and mounted on a broken-down nag, all of whose "points" were exhibited to the fullest extent, was seen one day to enter the camp, and pass leisurely through it, scrutinizing every thing as he went; and although he assumed a perfect nonchalance, and was to all appearance a simple-hearted and rather soft-headed country farmer, yet there was something in his manner which attracted the attention of an officer, who was drilling a squad of recruits in the open air. One of these thought there was something about the face which he recognized, and told his officer so. One of the squad was mounted and ordered to bring him back. Moody—for he it was who had thus boldly entered the American lines and reconnoitered their ranks—shot him dead as he came up, and secreted the body by the side of the road. Another being sent to assist the first, Moody secreted himself in the woods and escaped. Having been driven from his former haunts by the untiring activity of the Whigs, and being too well known to venture much abroad, he determined to join the British army in New York. While attempting to cross to the city with a companion in an open boat, they were captured, brought back to Morristown, and hung as traitors and spies. Moody was said to have come from Kingwood township, Hunterton County, and was employed by the British to obtain recruits in New Jersey among the Tory inhabitants, act as a spy upon the Americans, and by his maraudings to keep the inhabitants so busy at home as to prevent their joining or aiding the American army.

Another desperado of those days was Joseph, or "Joe Bettys," a remarkable character, who figured in the border wars of the Revolution. He was a renegade from the American army, and for a long while was the scourge of the New York frontier. His deeds were marked by an equal boldness and cruelty, that made him the terror of all who had the misfortune to be ranked as his enemies. His principal employment was the abduction of citizens to be conveyed into Canada, for each of whom he received a bounty; and in his expeditions for this purpose, he was always accompanied by small bodies of Indians. His hour for executing his projects was at night, and it frequently happened that his conduct was not confined to the securing of prisoners, but he often reveled in the destruction of property and the infliction of cruelty, and his victims were often tormented by every means his savage ingenuity could devise. Cold-blooded murder, and reckless barbarities of every kind, continually stained his soul. The section of country which suffered from his marauding expeditions, to this day is rife with stories of his daring and ferocity.

In the year 1776, he entered as Sergeant in the New York forces, in which capacity he served his country faithfully, until, being exasperated at the treatment which he received from one of his superior officers, and retorting with threats and menaces, he was reduced to 292the position of a common sentinel. This was more than he could bear, and he would have deserted, had not Lieutenant Ball, who had before befriended him, anticipating such a step, applied and procured for him appointment as Sergeant on board one of the vessels on Lake Champlain, commanded by Arnold, which he accepted. In an action that ensued, Bettys displayed a wonderful daring and gallantry, which receiving no other notice than the thanks of his General, he conceived himself slighted, and determined to retaliate. In the spring of 1777, he deserted and went over to the British forces, where he was soon elevated to the position of a spy, in which character he carried on the depredations we have spoken of.

Among the prisoners that he secretly seized and carried off in the early part of his career, was Samuel Patchim, afterward a Captain in the army. The account of his captivity and subsequent hardships, as here given, is as it was related by himself:

"I was captured by Bettys, taken into Canada, and confined in Chamblee prison, in irons. I was the only prisoner whom he had on this occasion brought into Canada. There were six or seven more of my neighbors when we started, to whom he gave the oath of allegiance and sent them back. As for myself, he said I had served Congress long enough, and that I should now serve the king. He wished me to enlist in his company, but soon found that this was not agreeable to my feelings. He then swore, that if I would not serve the king, I should remain in irons. I was confined in Chamblee prison four months; then I was removed to Montreal, and thence to an island, forty-five miles up the St. Lawrence, opposite Cadalake Fort. There I remained about one year. There were five prisoners in all, and we were guarded by sixty soldiers, seven sentinels at night. They had left no boats on the island by which we might make our escape, yet we all crawled out of the barracks at night, and went to the river side; there we made a raft by means of two or three logs and our suspenders, on which we sailed down the river five miles, when we landed on the Canada shore. There we appropriated to our own use a boat belonging to the British, and crossed over to the American shore. While going down the rapids, we had lost our little stock of provisions, and for eight days out of twelve which we spent in the woods, we had nothing to eat save 293frogs and rattlesnakes, and not half enough of them. We were chased eight days by the Indians, and slept every night on the boughs of some hemlock trees. At length we arrived at Northwest Bay, on Lake Champlain, when my companions, unable longer to travel, utterly gave out. I then constructed a raft on which to cross the lake, and having stripped my companions of their clothing, in order to make myself comfortable, left them to die of hunger and fatigue, and committed myself to the wintry waves. When in about the center of the lake, I was taken by the crew of a British ship, and conveyed to St. John's, from thence to Quebec, and finally to Boston, where I was exchanged and sent home."

Bettys seemed to have a particular delight in taking prisoners among his own townsmen, and especially those against whom he held any grudge. On one occasion, having taken one whom he supposed to be the object he sought, and his prisoner managing to escape, he deliberately shot him dead, and then discovered that he had made a fatal mistake, and killed one of his best friends.

But his bloody career was destined to find a retributive end. One day, in the winter of 1781-2, a suspicious-looking person was seen to pass over the farm of one John Fulmer, situated near Ballston Lake, in Albany County. A son of the farmer, Jacob, immediately obtained the aid of three of his neighbors, James and John Cory, and Francis Perkins, and started in pursuit of the suspicious stranger. There was a light fall of snow on the ground, by which means his course was easily tracked. But we will give an account of the enterprise in the words of Jacob Fulmer, one of the party:

"The morning had been foggy, and it appeared by the track that the man had made a circuitous route, as if lost or bewildered. After making several turns, we came at length in sight of a log house, where one Hawkins, a noted Tory, lived, toward which it appeared he had laid a regular line. We followed the track, and found that it went into the house. We approached undiscovered, for the snow was soft, and our footsteps were not heard. We went up to the door, and found it was unfastened, but heard people talking within. John Cory, who was the strongest of the party, now went forward, we following closely behind, and burst open the door. The man who was the object of our suspicions and search sat at the table 294eating his breakfast, with the muzzle of his gun leaning upon his shoulder, and the breech upon the floor between his knees. He grasped his musket, and presented it to fire at us, but was hindered for a moment to remove the deer-skin covering from the lock, and that moment lost his life. We seized him, took possession of his gun, and also two pistols, which he had in his coat pockets, and a common jack-knife. We then bound his arms behind him, with a pocket handkerchief, and conveyed him to my father's house. As yet, we knew not the name of our prisoner, but having asked him, he said: 'My name is Smith.' My mother knew him, and said: 'It is Joe Bettys.' He hung his head, and said: 'No, my name is Smith.' My sister Polly then came to the door, and said: 'This is Joe Bettys, I know him well.' She had known him before he went to Canada, as he had boarded at Lawrence Van Epps, in Schenectady Patent, while she lived in the same house. We then conveyed him to John Cory's house, about a quarter of a mile distant, where we pinioned him more firmly. He sat down in a chair by the fire, and asked permission to smoke, which was granted, and he then took out his tobacco box, and seemed to be engaged in filling his pipe, but as he stooped down, under pretence of lighting it, he threw something toward the fire which bounded from the forestick and fell upon the hearth. He then seized it, and threw it into the fire, before any one could prevent. John Cory then snatched it from the fire, with a handful of live coals. It was not injured. It was a piece of lead about three inches long, and one and a quarter inch wide, pressed together, and contained within it a small piece of paper, on which were twenty-six figures, which none of our company could understand. It also contained an order, drawn on the Mayor of New York, for thirty pounds sterling, payable on the delivery of the sheet-lead and paper inclosed. Bettys showed much uneasiness at the loss of the lead, and offered one hundred guineas to allow him to burn the paper. This we refused, for, though we did not understand the figures, we well knew the character of Bettys, as I had heard that he had killed two men at Shenesborough, near Whitehall, for fear of being betrayed in regard to the burning and plundering of a house in Chaughnawaga, and that he was generally known as a spy."

The narrative goes on to give the particulars of the journey to 295Albany, and the precautions taken to convey their prisoner safely through a district abounding with Tories, who were affected to Bettys, but no rescue was attempted.

Much rejoicing was expressed at the capture of the notorious Bettys, and when he was marched through Albany, the people gathered in masses to look upon him. In a short time he was brought to trial, on the charge of being a spy, found guilty, condemned, and accordingly executed in the month of April, 1782.

Among other similar excursions, Bettys once made an audacious eruption into the city of Albany, for the purpose of abducting General Schuyler, for whom he would have received a most liberal reward from the authorities in Canada, who so long and so vainly endeavored to get that chivalric officer into their possession. He was unsuccessful.

The attempt, referred to above, of Joe Bettys, to assassinate or take prisoner General Schuyler, was not singular in the history of that brave and beloved officer. He seemed fated to be ever surrounded with perils, in the seclusion of his home quite as much as on the field of battle. His noble private character, his fortune, and his high, unequalled, unresting patriotism, made him a shining mark for the malevolence of the British and Tories. His beautiful mansion, on Fish Creek, with his mills and property, to the amount of twenty thousand dollars, was wantonly burned by order of Burgoyne; and his life was in constant jeopardy from the hatred of his minions.

On one occasion a Tory, by the name of Wattenneyer, with a gang of miscreants like himself, assaulted his house, burst in the doors, took the guards—who were asleep in the basement—prisoners, and sought the person of the General; but, by a well-managed ruse, he frightened them into the belief that they were being surrounded, and they decamped, taking with them a large amount of silver plate and other valuables. At another period, an Indian had crept stealthily into the house, and concealed himself behind the door, where he awaited an opportunity to strike General Schuyler as he should pass to his chamber. A female servant, coming in through the hall, seeing the gleam of a blade in the dim light, which just enabled her to recognize the outline of a dusky figure, with much presence of mind, appeared not to have made the discovery, but passed into the room 296where the General sat, and, while pretending to arrange some articles upon the mantel, in a low voice informed him of her discovery at the same time adding, aloud:

"I will call the guard!"

This alarmed the secreted warrior, and, hearing the servant tread upon a creaking board in another hall, and believing the household aroused, he fled.

After the surrender of Burgoyne, the Tories, smarting under the disappointment of that event, and more deeply incensed than ever at General Schuyler, in whom they recognized one of the active causes of the British defeat, resolved upon his destruction. To attain this object, they selected two individuals, an Indian and a white man. The former had been in the habit of hunting and fishing on the General's place, and knew every part of the grounds, with the places in which they would be most likely to meet him, in his daily perambulations. He was a powerfully-built and active fellow, a dangerous opponent under any circumstances. The other was a weak-minded Irishman, who had received many favors from the General, and was, even then, in his employ; notwithstanding which, he could not resist the offered bribes, and consented to imbue his hands in his benefactor's blood, for a price. On the afternoon of a certain day, the two secreted themselves in a leafy copse, near which the General must pass in his accustomed ride. It was not long before they saw him approaching on horseback, and they proposed to shoot him as he passed.

General Schuyler had been made fully aware, by the abduction of so many of his friends and neighbors, who had been dragged from their homes and carried off to Canada—there to be retained as prisoners until exchanged—as well as by the many attempts to get possession of his own person, that he was in constant danger of being seized; but he did not imagine that his enemies would descend to the use of the assassin's knife, and much less did he fear that such a blow would come from those whom he had befriended—who had eaten of his bread and been nourished by his bounty. His was one of these generous natures which, being devoid of guilt, loved not to suspect others. But civil war destroys all ties, severs all bonds, arouses man's most vindictive passions, arraying friend against friend, 297sometimes brother against brother. Conscience will, at times, assert herself, even under such influences. She reminded the Indian—savage as he was, unlettered, untutored in the finer feelings—of the many favors he had received at the hands of the man he was about to destroy; even as his eye glanced along the barrel of the rifle aimed at his benefactor, he repented his intention, and, with an impulse which did credit to his heart, he struck up the weapon of his companion, saying:

"I cannot kill him—I've eat his bread too often!"

The General rode by, unconscious that his life hung by the slender thread of an Indian's conscience.

One of the saddest pages in the history of our struggle for Independence is that which tells of hearths and homes desecrated, which should have enjoyed immunity, even in times of warfare. Not only did the British encourage the marauding of such desperadoes as Moody and Bettys, but their more brutal Hessians seemed hired to wreak the horrors of war upon the innocent dwellings of women and children.

The Rev. James Caldwell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, acted as Chaplain of the American army while in New Jersey, and, by his zealous patriotism, and patriotic appeals, often contributed to arouse the spirits of the soldiers, and to inspire them with a greater energy in the performance of their trying duties. He was very popular in the community, and received the unlimited confidence of Washington.

But his lofty patriotism, and unflinching zeal in the American cause, made him hated by the enemy, who sought every means to get him into their power, and a price was set upon his head. When preaching, he frequently was compelled to lay his loaded pistols by his side in the pulpit. At one time he resided in Springfield, but afterward removed to "Connecticut Farms," about four miles from Elizabethtown. Here was enacted the first part of the tragedy we are about to relate.

A company of British troops from New York, under command of the Hessian General, Knyphausen, landed in Elizabethtown, in June of 1780, and, marching directly into the interior, proceeded to wreak their cruelty upon every living thing that fell in their way. Houses 298were fired, cattle destroyed, helpless people murdered, or left without shelter, clothing or food. Mr. Caldwell heard of their approach, and immediately prepared to escape. He put his elder children in a wagon, and sent them on to some of his friends for protection. He then desired his wife, with the younger children, to take means of flight, but she announced her determination of remaining, as none would have cause to offer injury to her. Finding she would not yield to his persuasion, and believing it impossible that their resentment could extend to an unprotected mother, with her babe clasped to her heart, Mr. Caldwell resolved to leave them, and seek his own safety alone. He was mounted, and receiving the last assurance of her resolve to stay, when the gleam of arms announced the approach of the enemy, and he rode rapidly off.

Mrs. Caldwell, having concealed what things were of value, took her infant in her arms, and retired to her chamber, the window of which commanded the road. Here, with her three little ones around, she awaited the approach of the enemy, feeling conscious that her unprotected state would secure respect and safety. One little girl was standing by the window, watching the approach of the troops, when one of the soldiers left the road, and came to the window, which he had no sooner reached than he placed the muzzle of his gun against it, and deliberately fired, when Mrs. Caldwell fell suddenly back, and almost instantly expired.

Not content with depriving her of life, the inhuman monsters wreaked their cruelty on her senseless body. Her clothes were nearly torn off, and her body removed to the roadside, where it was subjected to every indignity, while the torch was applied to the dwelling, and then the work of destruction was done.

The effect of this terrible blow upon the husband can only be imagined. He was, that morning, standing upon the heights of Springfield, and, by the aid of a spy-glass, could see the smoke from the burning houses.

"Thank God," he exclaimed, "the fire is not in the direction of my house."

He was too soon to learn the sad mistake.

The royalists attempted to throw off the responsibility of this act, by asserting that Mrs. Caldwell was killed by a chance shot. But 299all the evidence goes to show that it was deliberately planned, and that the soldier by whose hand the bloody deed was committed, only acted in accordance with his orders. The fact that her body was allowed to be so rudely treated, while many of the officers felt their abhorrence for the deed, proves that, although they felt respect for her remains, they knew the will of their superiors, and therefore dared not show it.

The following anecdote, connected with this invasion, shows pretty clearly who were the murderers of Mrs. Caldwell. The flames from the burning dwelling could be seen from "Liberty Hall," the residence of Governor Livingston, who was, at that time, absent from home. Parties of soldiers were continually passing the house, but, for some reason, it was spared. But about midnight a party of soldiers, partially intoxicated, rushed into the house. The maid-servant—all the males in the establishment having taken refuge in the woods, early in the day, to avoid being made prisoners—fastened herself in the kitchen; and the ladies—Mrs. Livingston and her daughters—crowded together like frightened deer, locked themselves in another apartment. Their place of retreat was soon discovered by the ruffians; and, afraid to exasperate them by refusing to come out, one of Governor Livingston's daughter's opened the door. A drunken soldier seized her by the arm; she grasped the villain's collar, and, at the very moment, a flash of lightning illuminated the hall, and, falling upon her white dress, he staggered back, exclaiming, with an oath:

"It's Mrs. Caldwell, that we killed to-day."

One of the party was at length recognized, and, by his intervention, the house was finally cleared of the assailants.[2]

2.  Life of Livingston.

But the vengeance of Mr. Caldwell's enemies was not yet satiated; the tragedy so far was incomplete. It was on the 24th of November, 1781, that he himself fell beneath the ruthless murderer's hand, and the blow this time came from a source where he thought himself secure. On the day above mentioned, he went to Elizabethtown Point, for a Miss Murray, who had come from New York, under a flag of truce. After conducting her to his gig, he returned to the boat, to obtain a bundle which had been left behind. As he came on 300shore, the American sentinel challenged him, and demanded what "contraband goods" he had there. Mr. Caldwell stepped forward to tender the bundle to the proper officer, not wishing to enter into a dispute about it then, when the report of a musket was heard, and he fell dead, pierced by two balls. He had been shot by a man named Morgan, who had just been relieved from duty as a sentinel. He was arrested, tried, condemned, and was executed. There can be no doubt but that he was bribed to the deed by British gold, as there was no shadow of a cause to suppose that enmity existed between Mr. Caldwell and him.

Viewed from any point, these two murders were among the most atrocious acts perpetrated by the invaders of our country, and, in a history full of atrocities, they will always rank as bloody, fiendish and treacherous.


At the siege of Fort Henry, near Wheeling, by a band of Indians, under the infamous Simon Girty, Major Samuel McCullough performed an act of daring—nay, desperate horsemanship, which has seldom, if ever, been equalled by man or beast, and before which the effort of the Pomfret hero pales into insignificance. Let us turn to the record.

Fort Henry was situated about a quarter of a mile above Wheeling Creek, on the left bank of the Ohio river, and was erected to protect the settlers of the little village of Wheeling, which, at the time of its investment, consisted of about twenty-five cabins. In the month of September, 1775, it was invested by about four hundred warriors, on the approach of whom the settlers had fled into it, leaving their cabins and their contents to the torch of the savages. The whole force comprising the garrison consisted of forty-two fighting men, all told; but there were among them men who knew the use of the rifle, and who were celebrated throughout the borders as the implacable enemies of the red-man, and as the best marksmen in the world. Of these, however, more than one half perished in an ill-advised 301sortie, before the siege commenced, and, when the fort was surrounded by the foe, but sixteen men remained to defend it against their overwhelming numbers. But their mothers, wives and daughters were there, and nerved the Spartan band to deeds of heroism to which the records of the wars of ancient and modern history present no parallel. Here it was that Elizabeth Zane passed through the fire of the whole body of red-skins, in the effort to bring into the fort the ammunition so necessary to its defense; here it was, also, that the wives and daughters of its noble defenders marched to a spring, in point blank range of the ambuscaded Indians, in going to and fro, for the purpose of bringing water for the garrison.

Messengers had been dispatched at the earliest alarm to the neighboring settlements for succor, and, in response to the call, Captain Van Swearingen, with fourteen men, arrived from Cross Creek, and fought his way into the fort without the loss of a man. Soon afterward, a party of forty horsemen, led by the brave and intrepid McCulloch, were seen approaching, and endeavoring to force their way through the dense masses of Indians, which nearly surrounded the station. Their friends within the fort made every preparation to receive them, by opening the gates, and organizing a sortie to cover their attempt. After a desperate hand-to-hand conflict, in which they made several of the Indians bite the dust, they broke through the lines, and entered the fort in triumph, without the loss of an individual. All except their daring leader succeeded in the effort. He was cut off, and forced to fly in an opposite direction. McCulloch was as well known to the Indians as to the whites, for his deeds of prowess, and his name was associated in their minds with some of the most bloody fights in which the white and red-men had contended. To secure him alive, therefore, that they might glut their vengeance upon him, was the earnest desire of the Indians, and to this end they put forth the most superhuman exertions. There were very few among them who had not lost a relative by the unerring aim and skill of the fearless woodsman, and they cherished toward him an almost phrensied hatred, which could only be satisfied in his torture at the stake.

With such feelings and incentives, they crowded around him as he dashed forward in the rear of his men, and succeeded in cutting him 302off from the gate. Finding himself unable to accomplish his entrance, and seeing the uselessness of a conflict with such a force opposed to him, he suddenly wheeled his horse, and fled in the direction of Wheeling hill, at his utmost speed. A cloud of warriors started up at his approach, and cut off his retreat in this direction, driving him back upon another party who blocked up the path behind; while a third closed in upon him on one of the other sides of the square. The fourth and open side was in the direction of the brow of a precipitous ledge of rocks, nearly one hundred and fifty feet in height, at the foot of which flowed the waters of Wheeling Creek. As he momentarily halted and took a rapid survey of the dangers which surrounded him on all sides, he felt that his chance was a desperate one. The Indians had not fired a shot, and he well knew what this portended, as they could easily have killed him had they chosen to do so. He appreciated the feelings of hatred felt toward him by the foe, and saw at a glance the intention to take him alive, if possible, that his ashes might be offered up as a sacrifice to the manes of their departed friends, slain by his hand. This was to die a thousand deaths, in preference to which he determined to run the risk of being dashed to pieces; and he struck his heels against the sides of his steed, who sprang forward toward the precipice. The encircling warriors had rapidly lessened the space between them and their intended victim, and, as they saw him so completely within their toils, raised a yell of triumph, little dreaming of the fearful energy which was to baffle their expectations. As they saw him push his horse in the direction of the precipice, which they had supposed an insurmountable obstacle to his escape, they stood in amazement, scarcely believing that it could be his intention to attempt the awful leap, which was, to all appearance, certain death. McCulloch still bore his rifle, which he had retained, in his right hand, and, carefully gathering up the bridle in his left, he urged his noble animal forward, encouraging him by his voice, until they reached the edge of the bank, when, dashing his heels against his sides, they hung, shivering on the brink of the abyss:

"For the horse, in stark despair,
With his front hoofs poised in air,
On the last verge rears amain.
303"Now he hangs, he rocks between,
And his nostrils curdle in;
Now he shivers, head and hoof,
And the flakes of foam fall off,
And his face grows fierce and thin!
"And a look of human wo,
From his staring eyes did go;
And a sharp cry uttered he
In a foretold agony
Of the headlong death below."

The next moment horse and rider were in the air. Down, down they went with fearful velocity, without resistance or impediment, until one-half of the space was passed over, when the horse's feet struck the smooth, precipitous face of the rock, and the remainder of the distance was slid and scrambled over until they reached the bottom, alive and uninjured! With a shout which proclaimed his triumphant success to his foes above him, McCulloch pushed his steed into the stream, and in a few moments horse and rider were seen surmounting the banks on the opposite side.

No pursuit was attempted, nor was a shot fired at the intrepid rider. His enemies stood, in awe-struck silence, upon the brow of the bank from whence he had leaped, and, as he disappeared from their view, they returned to the investment of the fort. They did not long continue their unavailing efforts, however, for its capture; the numerous additions it had received to its garrison, the fearlessness exhibited in its defense, together with the feat they had witnessed, disheartened them, and they beat a hasty retreat on the morning after the event I have attempted to describe—not, however, until they had reduced to ashes the cabins without the stockade, and slaughtered some three hundred head of cattle belonging to the settlers.

An adventure equally marvellous, and somewhat resembling this, is related of Major Robert Rogers.

Among the most noted characters, whose exploits upon the frontier a century since were the theme and admiration of every tongue, the leader of the celebrated "Rogers' Rangers" stands pre-eminent. He was a man tall, vigorous, and lithe as the panther of the forest, with an eye that never quailed before the gaze of any human being. A perfect master of the art of woodcraft, he was resolute and fearless, 304and yet so cautious at times as to incur a suspicion of cowardice; but, although his name is tarnished by treachery to his own native state and country, the impartial observer of his life and actions cannot fail to award him the most unflinching courage and bravery.

Robert Roberts was born in New Hampshire, and, about the year 1760, was the leader of a body of provincial rangers, known by his own name. Among his associates was Israel Putnam, whose most daring exploits were performed while engaged with him in his forest warfare.

The date which brought Rogers into notice was that in which the great rival nations, France and England, were striving for the possession of the American continent. The rivalry had been going on for years, and, as might be expected, the Indians had been brought into the contest. These, almost invariably, were upon the side of the French; but it availed nothing in the end. The steady, indomitable, persevering spirit of the English settler could be stayed by no obstacle, and France saw that slowly and surely the red cross was supplanting her own fleur de lis in the depths of the American forest.

Rogers' principal theater of action was that wild, mountainous region round Lake George, "the dark and bloody ground" intervening between the hostile forts of Crown Point and Ticonderoga. Here, in these gloomy solitudes, his resolute spirit encountered the jealous French, with their wily Indian allies, and here some of the most sanguinary conflicts and desperate encounters of the war occurred. More than once did the lonely hunter encounter this band threading their way through the woods as silent and as cautious as the savage himself; in summer they glided across and around the lake in their canoes, building their camp-fires in the wildest gorges of that romantic country; and in winter they skirted it on snow-shoes, or shot from one portion to another on skates. Their daring soon made their name famous through every civilized portion of the country. If a French messenger left Ticonderoga, he was almost certain to fall into the hands of Rogers, and any scouting party that ventured forth was sure to get a taste of the mettle of these fellows before they returned. But for the subsequent course of Rogers, he might be not unaptly termed the Marion of the frontier.


The Leap for Life.—Page 46.

307It was sometimes the custom of Rogers to leave his men in camp, and venture into the forest unaccompanied by any one. At such times he often wandered a dozen miles away, easily making his way back through the trackless forest at night again. It was on one of these occasions that he met with the following adventure.

It was in the dead of winter, and his men, as usual, were on snow-shoes. They encamped at night in a deep hollow along the lake, and the next morning Rogers left them, with instructions to remain in their present quarters until his return.

He took a direction toward Ticonderoga, and, about the middle of the day, reached a point near the northern end of the lake. During this journey, it is hardly necessary to say that he was on the alert for his enemies. He knew they lurked in every part of the forest, and that the scalp of no white man would afford half the rejoicing that his would. Up to this point, however, his experienced eye had failed to detect the first signs of their presence.

He was contemplating the scene around, carefully taking in all its parts, when he heard the breaking of the snow-crust behind him. Turning his head, he discovered, in one instant, that he had walked directly into a trap. On one side was the steep, precipitous side of the mountain, descending down to the lake; while on the other, radiating outward, so as to cut off all escape, he saw nearly thirty Indians rapidly shuffling toward him on their snow-shoes, yelling with delight and exultation at the prospect of his certain capture.

They had probably followed him for miles, in the hope of taking him alive, and he had thus given them a better opportunity than even they dared hope for.

Rogers comprehended his imminent danger, but he stood a moment as quiet and self-possessed as if they were his own men approaching. It took scarcely a second for him to understand his situation. He saw it was impossible to elude the Indians by undertaking to dodge through them—that is, by running toward them; they were too many, and the space afforded was too small.

"Howsumever, here's my compliments," said Rogers, raising his rifle and shooting the leader of the party, "and you haven't got my top-knot yet."

With this, he threw his rifle from him, and started off at the top 308his speed, the pack pursuing with yells and shouts. Rogers was very fleet of foot, and for a short distance he gained ground upon his pursuers. It was not exactly running, as a man on snow-shoes can not properly be said to do that. The motion is entirely different, the feet not being lifted, but shoved forward with all rapidity possible. As Rogers expressed it, he did some "tall sliding" on that occasion, the truth of which will soon be apparent.

At the moment of starting he had no well-defined idea of what he should do; but after going a few rods, he formed the determination that, before falling into the hands of the Indians, he would go over the mountain! Those who have seen the mountain, near the northern end of Lake George, known as "Roger's slide" (the name of which is derived from the circumstance here given), will understand the appalling nature of such an exploit as Rogers contemplated. Any sane man would consider it downright suicide. We know not the exact distance of this descent, but are certain that it is more than one thousand feet to the edge of the lake, and the entire distance a sheer precipice.

But Rogers did not hesitate; there was no time for hesitation. His mortal enemies were behind and approaching. He reached the edge of the mountain. He saw the white, field-like surface of Lake George far below him, and the long, glistening snowy descent stretching down, down, down, till the brain grew dizzy with looking. He appeared but a mere speck on the summit, viewed from below, so great was his height. He gave one glance behind him, sprang high in the air, so as to give his body a momentum at starting, and squatting on his snow-shoes, down he went.

Oh, the ecstacy of that ride! Nothing on earth could equal it. Rogers has said that the most thrilling moment of his life was the one occupied in that fearful descent. As his body gathered motion, a feeling similar to that produced by electricity passed through him, and for the space of five minutes he was in reality insane. Downward he shot like a meteor, his passage through the still air making it seem like a hurricane, and the fine, sand-like particles of snow making him appear as if shrouded in mist to the amazed Indians above. Rogers scarcely breathed. He saw nothing, felt nothing but a wild ecstacy, and knew nothing, until he awoke, as it were, and 309found himself gliding far out on the surface of the lake, carried forward by the irresistible impulse he had gained in his descent.

Then he arose and looked about him. His snow-shoes were worn out by the friction, and taking them off, he cast them from him. The Indians still stood at the top of the mountain; but on beholding his exploit, they believed him under the protection of the Great Spirit, and did not attempt to continue the chase. Rogers made his way back to his company, reaching them late at night, and none the worse for his adventure, except in the loss of his snow-shoes and his rifle.

There are many other incidents connected with Rogers' career, but the one given will suffice to show the intrepid spirit that ever characterized him.

As if to prove that, brave as the pioneers were, they had their peers amid the "red-skins," we find the record of a leap, almost as marvelous as that of McCullough, performed by Weatherford, the celebrated half-breed, who gave Jackson trouble in his efforts to rid the southern country of the Indians.

It was on the 29th of December, 1813, that the Mississippi volunteers attacked the Indians, under circumstances of almost unparalleled difficulty, after enduring incredible hardships. Without tents or blankets, without proper clothing, more than half starved, some of them without shoes, in inclement weather, this heroic band had marched over one hundred miles through a pathless forest, to meet and subdue the wary foe. And now, on this 29th of December, says General Samuel Dale, who was one of the party, "the weather was very wet and bitter cold; we had neither meat, coffee, nor spirits." The savages were fortified in a strong defensive position, a town which they called their holy city, and which their prophets declared was invulnerable to the whites—that the ground would open and swallow them up, should they venture to set foot on it. Nevertheless, the gaunt volunteers, worn with their sufferings, gave such fierce battle to the confident Indians, that they drove them out of their holy city of refuge, and Weatherford, one of their most trusted leaders, barely escaped destruction. He was mounted on a powerful charger, and being hotly pursued by a band of whites, who knew him well, and were eager to secure the prize, he urged his horse to its utmost 310speed. Soon a ravine, at least twenty feet wide, and of great depth, yawned before him; the very barrier of nature which he had relied on as a protection in case of assault from enemies, now rose before him, to threaten his own life. But he only drew the rein a little tighter, spoke a low word to his favorite steed, and over the horrible ravine flew the obedient animal, as if love and fear had given it wings—over the gaping ruin, and down the bluff into the Alabama. The gallant courser swam the river scornfully, his chief holding his rifle excitedly over his head, and shouting his war-whoop exultingly, as he ascended the opposite bank.

This renowned leader was born at the Hickory Ground, in the Creek nation; his father, Charles Weatherford, was a Georgian; his mother, the beautiful Schoya, was half-sister of the famous Creek chieftain, General McGilivray. William Weatherford had not the education of his grandfather, but nature had endowed him with a noble person, a brilliant intellect, and commanding eloquence. He was, in every respect, the peer of Tecumseh.

And now that we have mentioned the name of General Dale, we can not forbear giving, in his own words, an account of one of his characteristic adventures. His life was full of such. He calls it his canoe fight:

"After this rencounter, I put thirty of my men on the east bank, where the path ran directly by the river side. With twenty men I kept the western bank, and thus we proceeded to Randon's Landing. A dozen fires were burning, and numerous scaffolds for drying meat denoted a large body of Indians; but none were visible. About half past ten, A. M., we discovered a large canoe coming down stream. It contained eleven warriors. Observing that they were about to land at a cane-brake just above us, I called to my men to follow, and dashed for the brake with all my might. Only seven of my men kept up with me. As the Indians were in the act of landing, we fired. Two leaped into the water. Jim Smith shot one as he rose, and I shot the other. In the meantime, they had backed into deep water, and three Indians were swimming on the off side of the canoe, which was thirty odd feet long, four feet deep, and three feet beam, made of an immense cypress-tree, especially for the transportation of corn. One of the warriors shouted to Weatherford (who was in the 311vicinity, as it afterward appeared, but invisible to us): 'Yos-ta-hah! yos-ta-hah!' ('They are spoiling us.') This fellow was in the water, his hands on the gunwale of the pirogue, and as often as he rose to shout, we fired, but didn't make out to hit him. He suddenly showed himself breast-high, whooping in derision, and said: 'Why don't you shoot?' I drew my sight just between his hands, and as he rose again I lodged a bullet in his brains. Their canoe then floated down with the current. I ordered my men on the east bank to fetch the boats. Six of them jumped into a canoe, and paddled to the Indians, when one of them cried out: 'Live Injins! Back water, boys, back water!' and the frightened fellows paddled back faster than they came. I next ordered Cæsar, a free negro, to bring a boat. Seeing him hesitate, I swore I would shoot him as soon as I got across. He crossed a hundred yards below the Indians, and Jim Smith, Jerry Anstill, and myself, got in. I made Cæsar paddle within forty paces, when all three of us leveled our guns, and all three missed fire! As the two boats approached, one of the red-skins hurled a scalping-knife at me. It pierced the boat through and through, just grazing my thigh as it passed. The next minute the canoes came in contact. I leaped up, placing one of my feet in each boat. At the same instant, the foremost warrior leveled his rifle at my breast. It flashed in the pan. As quick as lightning, he clubbed it, and aimed at me a furious blow, which I partially parried, and, before he could repeat it, I shivered his skull with my gun. In the meantime an Indian had struck down Jerry, and was about to dispatch him, when I broke my rifle over his head. It parted in two pieces. The barrel Jerry seized, and renewed the fight. The stock I hurled at one of the savages. Being then disarmed, Cæsar handed me his musket and bayonet. Finding myself unable to keep the two canoes in juxtaposition, I resolved to bring matters to an issue, and leaped into the Indian boat. My pirogue, with Jerry, Jim and Cæsar, floated off. Jim fired, slightly wounding the savage nearest me. I now stood in the center of their canoe, two dead at my feet, a wounded savage in the stern, who had been snapping his piece at me, during the fight, and four powerful warriors in front. The first one directed a furious blow at me with a rifle; it glanced upon the barrel of my musket, and I staved the bayonet through his body. As he fell, the next one 312repeated the attack. A shot from Jerry Anstill pierced his heart. Striding over them, the next sprang at me with his tomahawk. I killed him with my bayonet, and his corpse lay between me and the last of the party. I knew him well—Tas-cha-chee, a noted wrestler, and the most famous ball-player of his clan. He paused a moment, in expectation of my attack, but, finding me motionless, he stepped backward to the bow of the canoe, shook himself, gave the war-whoop of his tribe, and cried out: 'Samtholocco, Iana dahmaska, ia-lanesthe, lipso, lipso, lanestha!' ('Big Sam, I am a man! I am coming! come on!') As he said this, with a terrific yell, he bounded over the dead body of his comrade, and directed a blow at my head with his rifle which dislocated my shoulder. I dashed the bayonet into him. It glanced around his ribs, and hitching into his backbone, I pressed him down. As I pulled the weapon out, he put his hands upon the sides of the boat, and endeavored to rise, crying out: 'Tas-cha-chee is a man. He is not afraid to die..' I drove my bayonet through his heart. I then turned to the wounded villain in the stern, who snapped his rifle at me, as I advanced, as he had been snapping it during the whole conflict. He gave the war-whoop, and in tones of hatred and defiance, exclaimed: 'I am a warrior—I am not afraid to die!' As he uttered these words, I pinned him down with my weapon, and he followed his eleven comrades to the land of spirits. During this conflict, which was over in ten minutes, my brave companions, Smith and Anstill, had been straggling with the current of the Alabama, endeavoring to reach me. Their guns had become useless, and their only paddle was broken. Two braver fellows never lived. Anstill's first shot saved my life. By this time my men came running down the bank, shouting that Weatherford was coming. With our three canoes we crossed them all over, and reached the fort in safety."

This fight occurred November 13, 1813, at Randon's Landing, Monroe County, ten miles below Weatherford's Bluff.

If any one thinks this a Munchausen account, given by Dale, of his rencounter, he can satisfy himself of its exact truth, by reference to the records, all the circumstances of this memorable fight having been verified before the Alabama Legislature.

One of the leading spirits in those stirring days was Mrs. Catherine 313Sevier, wife of one of the most distinguished pioneers. Her maiden name was Sherrill, and her family, as well as that of her future husband, emigrated from North Carolina and Virginia to what is now East Tennessee, settling first upon Watauga river. Mr. Sherrill's residence was finally upon the Nola Chucka. He was a tiller of the soil, a hard-working man, and "well-to-do in the world;" but he was also skilled in the use of the rifle, so that it was said, "Sherrill can make as much out of the ground and out of the woods as any other man. He has a hand and eye to his work—a hand, an eye, and an ear, for the Indian and the game."

Buffalo, deer, and wild turkeys came around the cabins of those first settlers. A providence was in this which some of them recognized with thankfulness.

Jacob Brown, with his family and friends, arrived from North Carolina about the same time with the Sherrills, and these two families became connected by intermarriage with the Seviers, and ever remained faithful to each other through all the hostile and civil commotions of subsequent years. The Seviers were among the very earliest emigrants from Virginia, aiding in the erection of the first fort on the Watauga.

With few exceptions, these emigrants had in view the acquisition of rich lands for cultivation and inheritance. Some, indeed, were there, or came, who were absconding debtors, or refugees from justice, and from this class were the Tories of North Carolina mostly enlisted.

The spirit of the hunter and pioneer cannot well content itself in a permanent location, especially when the crack of a neighbor's rifle, or the blast of his hunting-horn can be heard by his quick ear; therefore did these advanced guards frequently change their homes when others crowded them, at miles distance. It must be remembered that their advance into the wilderness could only be made by degrees, step by step, through years of tedious waiting and toilsome preparation. And thus, though they had a lease of the land for eight years from the Cherokees, a foothold in the soil, stations of defense, and evidently had taken a bond of fate, assuring them in the prospect of rich inheritances for their children, they could not all abide while the great West and greater Future invited onward. Richer lands, larger herds of buffaloes, more deer, and withal so many Indians were in the 314distance, upon the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers. The emigrants advanced, and they took no steps backward. In a few years they were found organizing "provisional governments" in Kentucky, and at the Bluffs, the site of the beautiful capital of Tennessee. These Watauga and Nola Chucka pioneers were leading spirits throughout.

In the first Cherokee war of 1776, the early settlements were in great danger of being destroyed. The prowling savages plucked off the settlers in detail, and, though somewhat successful in these aims, they resolved to attack the settlements and stations at different points on the same day—in June, 1776. But they were so defeated in the battles of Long Island, and at the Island Flats, on the Holston, and in their attack and siege of the Watauga Fort, that a happy chance was wrought, and hopes of quiet were encouraged.

The attack on the latter station was conducted by an experienced Indian chief, Old Abraham, of the Chilowee Mountain region. This was a fierce attack, but the fort fortunately held within it two of the most resolute men who ever touched the soil of Tennessee—James Robertson and John Sevier—they having then no higher title than Captains. Some thirty men were under their command or direction.

The approach of the Indians was stealthy, and the first alarm was given by the flight and screams of some females, who were closely pursued by the Indians in large force. One of the women was killed, and one or two captured. In this party of females was Miss Catherine Sherrill, daughter of Samuel Sherrill, who had moved into the fort only on the previous day.

Miss Sherrill was already somewhat distinguished for nerve, fleetness of foot, and decision of character. Although at other times she proved herself to "know no fear," and could remain unmoved when danger threatened, yet on this occasion she admits that she did run, and "run her best." She was very tall and erect, her whole appearance such as to attract the especial notice of the savages, who pursued her with eagerness; and, as they intercepted the direct path to the gate of the fort, she made a circuit to reach its inclosures on another side, resolved, as she said, to "scale the palisades." In this effort, some one within the defenses attempted to aid, but his foot slipped, or the object on which he was standing gave way, and both fell to the ground on opposite sides of the wall. The Indians were 315coming with all speed, firing and shooting arrows repeatedly. "Indeed," she said, "the bullets and arrows came like hail. It was now leap the palisades or die, for I would not live a captive." She recovered from the fall, and in a moment was over and within the defenses, and "by the side of one in uniform."

This was none other than Captain John Sevier, and this the first time she ever saw him—the beginning of an acquaintance destined in a few years to ripen into a happy union which endured for nearly forty years. "The manner in which she ran and jumped on that occasion was often the subject of remark, commendation and laughter."

In after life she looked upon this introduction, and the manner of it, as a providential indication of their adaptation to each other—that they were destined to be of mutual help in future dangers, and to overcome obstacles requiring the peculiar strength of both. And she always deemed herself safe when by his side. Many a time she said:

"I could gladly undergo that peril and effort again, to fall into his arms, and feel so out of danger. But then," she would add, "it was all of God's good providence."

Captain Sevier was then a married man, his wife and younger children not having yet arrived from Virginia.

In 1777, Captain Sevier received a commission from the State of North Carolina, and was thus decidedly enlisted in the cause of American Independence; not long after this he was honored with the commission of Colonel, bearing the signature of George Washington. Two years later, his wife died, leaving him ten children. The following year he married Miss Sherrill, who devoted herself earnestly to all the duties of her station, and to meet the exigencies of the times.

It may well be supposed that the women spun, wove and made up the most of the clothing worn by these backwoods people. Girls were as well skilled in these arts, as were the boys to those belonging to their circle of duties. It was always a source of much gratification to Mrs. Sevier, and one of which she fondly boasted, that, "among the first work she did, after her marriage, was to make the clothes which her husband and his three sons wore the day they were in the memorable and important battle of King's Mountain." 316And she would remark: "Had his ten children been sons, and large enough to serve in that expedition, I could have fitted them out."

Mrs. Sevier was often left alone to manage domestic affairs, not only within doors, but without. The life of Colonel Sevier was one of incessant action, adventure and contest. The calls of his fellow-citizens, and the necessities of the times, withdrew him frequently from home. No commander was more frequently engaged in conflicts with the Indians, with equal success and such small loss of men. Yet it is a notable fact that he enjoyed, to a remarkable extent, the respect of the tribes and chiefs with whom he contended. It is an historical fact that he took to his own home, on the Chucka, a number of Indian prisoners, where they were treated with so much kindness by his wife and family, that several of them remained for years, although they performed very little work, and this wholly at their own option. The influence of Mrs. Sevier was intentionally and happily exerted upon these captives, that it might tell, as it did, upon their friends within the nation; and the family, no doubt, enjoyed more immunities than otherwise they could have expected.

The Colonel acquired a sobriquet among the Indians, which was some evidence of their familiarity with, and attachment to him. As long as he lived they called him "Chucka Jack." They had one, also, for Mrs. Sevier, but it has not been preserved. She usually remained at the farm, and never would consent to be shut up in a block-house, always saying:

"The wife of John Sevier
Knows no fear."

"Who would stay out if his family forted?"

This was the spirit of the heroine—this was the spirit of Catherine Sevier. Neither she nor her husband seemed to think there could be danger or loss when they could encourage or aid others to daring, to duty and to usefulness. Colonel Sevier at one time advised her to go into the fort, but yielded to her respectful remonstrance. At one time the Tories, who were worse and more troublesome enemies than the savages, came to her house, and demanded her husband's whereabouts, finally avowing their intention was to hang him on the highest tree in front of his house, but that if she would tell them where 317he was, she and her children should be safe. Of course she refused to give the information. One man drew a pistol, threatening to blow her brains out if she did not tell, or, at least, give up all the money she had.

"Shoot, shoot!" was her answer; "I am not afraid to die! But remember, while there is a Sevier on the face of the earth, my blood will not be unavenged!"

He dared not—did not shoot. The leader of the gang told the man to put up his pistol, for "such a woman was too brave to die."

Would it not be a good thing to make the study of the biography of such heroines as Mrs. Sevier a part of the "course" in the accomplishment of the fastidious young ladies of to-day?

A peculiar incident is connected with the formidable attack upon Bryant's station, Kentucky, made by six hundred savage warriors, headed by the infamous renegade, Simon Girty. Having been forewarned of the contemplated attack, the garrison was already under arms when Girty and his savage band appeared. Supposing, by the preparations made to receive them, that their actual presence in the vicinity was known, a considerable body of Indians were placed in ambush near the spring, which was at some distance from the fort, while another and smaller body was ordered to take position in full view of the garrison, with the hope of tempting them to an engagement outside the walls. Had this stratagem been successful, the remainder of the forces was so posted as to be able, upon the withdrawal of the garrison, to storm one of the gates, and cut off their retreat to the fort. Unconscious of the snare which had been laid for them, and unaware of the full strength of the enemy, the garrison were about to sally out, having already opened one of the gates for this purpose, when they became alarmed by a sudden firing from an opposite direction, and hastily falling back, they closed and secured the gates.

One difficulty they had, however, to encounter—the want of water. It was an oppressive day in the middle of August, and the want was soon aggravated to an intolerable degree by the heat and thirst consequent upon their exertions. To perish by thirst was as cruel as to die by the rifle and tomahawk. Under these circumstances, a plan was proposed, calculated to try the heroism of the women within 318the fort. Acting on the belief that, although there might be an ambush at the spring, yet the Indians, in desiring to effect the capture of the fort by stratagem, would not unmask themselves to the women, these were urged to go in a body to the spring, and each of them bring up a bucket full of water.

They would hardly have been human had they not quailed a little at this daring proposition; but, upon listening to the arguments of the men, a few of the boldest declared their readiness to brave the danger, and the younger and more timid, rallying in the rear of the elderly matrons, they all marched down to the spring, a valiant company, each dipping her bucket, within point blank shot of five hundred Indian warriors. Not a shot was fired. They filled their buckets with the precious water, and regained the shelter of the fort in safety. How their blood must have turned cold, as they reached the dangerous spring, and how it must have thrilled and tingled in their veins, as they turned their backs to the concealed enemy, unarmed and perfectly helpless as they were! How long the distance to the gate! How sweet the relief when their buckets of crystal comfort were set down within the enclosure!

Had this thing occurred in the days of the old Roman glory, it would have won immortality for the maids and mothers who participated in it.

When General Greene was retreating from the Catawaba, an incident occurred which indicates the self-sacrificing spirit of the American women. On the line of his retreat he stopped at a house for repose and refreshment. He had ridden all day in a severe rain storm; he was wet, fatigued, and he was oppressed by gloomy forebodings. His landlady observed his despondency, and, upon asking him about his condition, he replied that he was tired, hungry and penniless. Refreshments were provided for him, and, after he had partaken of them, the woman drew him into a private apartment, where she placed in his hands two bags of specie, saying:

"Take these; I can do without them, and they are necessary to you."

Let us imagine that this noble act cheered the saddened heart of the General in the hour of his trouble.

In one district, during the war, the young women, at harvest-time, 319formed themselves into a company of reapers, going to all the farms of the neighborhood, and, if the reply to the question "Is the owner out with the fighting men?" was in the affirmative, they would set to, and cut and garner all the grain. It was no small undertaking, as five or six weeks of unceasing toil were necessary to complete their rounds. Similar companies were formed in New York and Long Island. A Whig paper of July 25th, 1776, says:

"The most respectable ladies set the example, and say they will take the farming business on themselves, so long as the rights and liberties of their country require the presence of their sons, husbands and lovers, in the field."

Pride in such ancestors is an ennobling sentiment.

During the siege of Augusta, two ladies, Grace and Rachel Martin, residing in the ninety-sixth district, South Carolina, learning, upon one occasion, that a courier, under the protection of two British soldiers, was to pass their residence, bearing important dispatches, resolved, by a well-planned stratagem, to surprise the party, and deprive the courier of the papers. Disguising themselves in male attire, and provided with arms, they concealed themselves in a thicket on the roadside, and patiently awaited the approach of the enemy. It was twilight, and the darkness favored their plan. They had not remained long in their concealment, when the courier and the escort made their appearance. They were riding carelessly along, when suddenly two figures sprang from a bushy covert, loudly demanding the dispatches, and at the same time presenting their pistols. Bewildered and alarmed, the surprised party yielded, without attempting resistance.

The ladies then placed them on parole, and, hastening home through a short route by the woods, had hardly arrived there, and divested themselves of their male attire, when the same trio came riding up to the door, requesting accommodations. The mother of the heroines admitted them, asking why they had returned, after passing her house but a short time before. They replied by exhibiting their paroles, and stating that they had been taken prisoners by "two rebels." The young ladies, unsuspected by their guests, rallied them on their unfortunate adventure, asking "why they did not use their arms?" to which they replied that they were fallen upon so 320sudden, they had not time. During their stay, they were as severely overcome by the malicious wit and raillery of the ladies, as they had before been by their superior bravery and cunning. The dispatches obtained in the heroic manner described, were sent to General Greene, and proved of importance.

These ladies should have had the rank of "Sergeant," at least, conferred upon them, in acknowledgment of their bravery, wit, and the good service rendered!

In the commencement of the American Revolution, when one of the British king's thundering proclamations made its appearance, the subject was mentioned in a company in Philadelphia; a member of Congress, who was present, turning to Miss Livingstone, said:

"Well, Miss, are you greatly terrified at the roaring of the British lion?"

"Not at all, sir, for I have learned from natural history that that beast roars loudest when he is most frightened!" was her quiet reply.


The Chieftain's Appeal.—Page 9.

Traditions and Romance
324Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1864,
by Beadle and Company, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United
States for the Southern District of New York.


Sullivan's campaign into the Indian country, in the fall of 1779, realized none of the anticipations regarding it; for, although the severity of the ensuing winter, and the privations they suffered from the destruction of their homes and their crops, kept the Indians from making any predatory excursions upon the settlements, yet, on the opening of spring, they swept over the country in clouds, burning with revenge, and breathing vengeance against the pale-faces.

Early in April, a party of forty or fifty Indians and Tories, under the command of Captain Brandt, the Mohawk chief, made an incursion against Harpersfield, which they surprised and destroyed. Most of the inhabitants, however, had, owing to their exposed situation, left the place, and nineteen prisoners and a small amount of plunder was all that graced their triumph. On his way from Niagara, Brandt had detached a party of eleven Indians, under a young chief called Cheyendowah, to attack the settlement at Minisink, and bring in some prisoners. This was successfully accomplished, and five of its male inhabitants were led captive into the wilderness, as far as Tioga Point. Here, however, they rose upon their captors while asleep, and in a few moments nine of them lay in the agonies of death, while the other two fled, one being mortally wounded. At the time that Harpersfield was destroyed, a party of fourteen militiamen, under command of Captain Alexander Harper, were in the woods making maple-sugar for the garrison at Old Schoharie. Not dreaming of the proximity of an enemy, they were attacked by the party under Brandt, and two of their number shot down before they could seize their arms; and when they attempted to reach them, they found themselves completely cut off and surrounded. Nothing remained, 326therefore, but to surrender. The Tories composing a part of Brandt's party, were opposed to taking prisoners, and wished to kill them at once, that they might not be an incumbrance at the attack of the Schoharie Fort, which was one object of the expedition. A frightful massacre would have ensued, without doubt, had not Brandt's forethought prevented it. He had raised his tomahawk to strike Captain Harper, which would have been the signal for the death of the others, when, thinking he might get valuable information from him, he lowered his weapon, and, looking the other sternly in the eye, he asked: "How many regular troops are there in the fort?" Harper saw the object of the chief, and, without any hesitation or prevarication, told him that three hundred Continentals had arrived but a few days before to garrison the forts. This was not true, but the manner in which Harper told it imposed upon the chief, who, by the way, had been a schoolmate of his, and, although the circumstance disconcerted his plans, yet he was induced to believe him. One of Harper's men, fearing that the Indians would put them all to death if they should discover the fraud, informed the chief of the true state of the case; but he, thinking it a ruse to lead him into danger, and thus facilitate the escape of the prisoners, put no faith in his story, but, on the contrary, was the more convinced of Harper's truthfulness. A conference was held between Brandt and his subordinate chiefs in regard to the disposal of the prisoners. The former was in favor of taking them to Niagara, but the latter, disappointed at the failure of the main part of their enterprise, and thirsting for blood, were for massacring them at once. During the controversy, the prisoners, bound hand and foot, were thrust into a pen of logs, where they were kept under guard of the Tories and their leader, an infamous wretch by the name of Becraft. The pen was near enough to the council to hear what was going on, and Harper understood enough of the Indian language to catch the import of their "talk." Becraft took pains, too, to inform them of the wishes of the majority of the Indians, and in abusive language told them that they would "all be in hell before morning." The influence of Brandt—at all times powerful—enabled him to prevent bloodshed, and the others were induced to forego their bloodthirsty desires, for the present, at least. In the morning, Harper was again brought before the chief and 327interrogated. With great presence of mind he reasserted his story, and, although the other eyed him with the most searching gaze, he betrayed no evidence of indecision; and at length the chief, convinced, apparently, of the truth, gave the order to commence their march for Niagara. The prisoners were not allowed to reach their destination, without passing through fearful ordeals. One day they stopped at a mill kept by a Tory, who, with both of his daughters, counseled Brandt to destroy "the infernal Whigs." This coinciding with the desires of the Tories and a majority of the Indians, the chief found it difficult to restrain them, and prevent the sacrifice. On another occasion they met a loyalist, who was well acquainted with Brandt and Harper, who told the former that he had been deceived—that there were no troops at Schoharie. This led to another searching inquiry, but Harper persisted in his story with so much apparent candor as again to elude detection. But when the party reached the Chemung River, they had to pass a still more fearful trial. On reaching this point, Brandt and his warriors raised a whoop, as is customary with the Indians when they have prisoners—it was answered by a single death yell! In a few moments a single Indian made his appearance, who proved to be the young chief Cheyendowah. His story was soon told. Of the eleven who started for the Minisink settlement, he alone was left so tell the tale of their massacre at the hands of their prisoners. The others had gathered about him, excited listeners to the melancholy narrative, and the effect of the recital upon these already implacable warriors was fearful in the extreme. "Revenge!" seemed to leap from every tongue, and their faces were wrought into an expression of the fiercest determination to immolate the unhappy prisoners on the spot. Every hand sought a weapon simultaneously, and the glittering tomahawk and keener scalping-knife leaped into the air, while their eyes glared ferociously upon Harper and his companions, who, conscious that their fate was inevitable, awaited it with what composure they could command. With one accord, the savages rushed in a tumultuous throng, with uplifted weapons, upon their victims. Brandt had no power to control the storm, and did not attempt it. As well might he attempt to stay the whirlwind in its fury, or beat back the mountain torrent in its course; the doom of the white men was apparently sealed, 328It was to the magnanimity of one from whom they could least anticipate such forbearance, that they were indebted for their lives. Rushing between the infuriated warriors and their anticipated prey, the young chief Cheyendowah waved back the crowd with an imperious gesture which commanded attention. When silence was restored, he surprised his auditors by an urgent appeal in behalf of the prisoners. "It was not they," he said, "who had killed their brethren, and to take the lives of innocent men would not punish the guilty. The Great Spirit would be angry with them if they should do this wicked thing." Pointing upward, in words of majestic eloquence, he told them that "Manitou was looking upon them, and would send his thunders to destroy their families, their homes, and themselves, if they sacrificed the white men in their vengeance." He told them it was cowardly to kill men who could not defend themselves, and none but squaws would take such an advantage. Appealing thus alternately to their fears, their humanity, and their superstition, he wrought upon their better nature, and was successful in inducing them to forego their anticipated vengeance. One by one their weapons were returned to their accustomed places, and with subdued and less excited feelings, they recommenced their onward march to Niagara, which they reached at length; not, however, without the severest suffering by the way.

The eloquence of the red-man is proverbial. Many a time has the captive trembled when it has been exercised against him; and thrilled with joy, when it was exerted in his behalf. In the swift future, when all traces of his existence, who was once the master of this mighty continent, is swept away, and our children's children read of him, as an ancient and perished myth, the records of his eloquence shall be left alive. One of the best specimens of Indian rhetoric, is the speech of Tecumseh, at the grand council of the Creeks. One, who was present, and heard it as it fell from his lips, General Dale, says:

"I have heard many great orators, but I never saw one with the vocal powers of Tecumseh, or the same command of the muscles of the face. Had I been deaf, the play of his countenance would have told me what he said. Its effect on that wild, untutored, superstitious, and warlike assemblage, may be conceived: not a word was 329said, but stern warriors, the 'stoics of the wood,' shook with emotion, and a thousand tomahawks were brandished in the air. Even the big warrior, who had been true to the whites, and remained faithful during the war, was, for the moment, visibly affected, and more than once I saw his huge hand clutch, spasmodically the handle of his knife."

But, to the speech:

"In defiance of the white warriors of Ohio and Kentucky, I have traveled through their settlements, once our favorite hunting-grounds. No war-whoop was sounded, but there is blood upon our knives The pale-faces felt the blow, but knew not whence it came.

"Accursed be the race that has seized on our country and made women of our warriors. Our fathers, from their tombs, reproach us as slaves and cowards. I hear them now in the wailing winds.

"The Muscogee was once a mighty people. The Georgians trembled at your war-whoop, and the maidens of my tribe, on the distant lakes, sung the prowess of your warriors, and sighed for their embraces.

"Now, your very blood is white; your tomahawks have no edges; your bows and arrows were buried with your fathers. Oh! Muscogees, brethren of my mother, brush from your eyelids the sleep of slavery; once more strike for vengeance—once more for your country. The spirits of the mighty dead complain. Their tears drop from the skies. Let the white man perish.

"They seize your land; they corrupt your women; they trample on the ashes of your dead. Back, whence they came, upon a trail of blood, must they be driven.

"Back! back, ay, into the great waters whose accursed waves brought them to our shores.

"Burn their dwellings! destroy their stock! Slay their wives and children! The red-man owns the country, and the pale-face must never enjoy it.

"War! war! War forever! War upon the living! War upon the dead! Dig their very corpses from the grave. Our country must give no rest to a white man's bones.

"This is the will of the Great Spirit, revealed to my brother, his familiar, the Prophet of the Lakes. He sends me to you.

330"All the tribes of the North are dancing the war-dance. Two mighty warriors across the seas will send us arms.

"Tecumseh will soon return to his country. My prophets shall tarry with you. They will stand between you and the bullets of your enemies. When the white men approach you, the yawning earth shall swallow them up.

"Soon shall you see my arm of fire stretched athwart the sky. I will stamp my foot at Tippecanoe, and the very earth shall shake."

It appears that the wily orator had been informed by the British that a comet was shortly to appear; and the earthquake, of 1811, had commenced as he came through Kentucky; so that, when the arm of fire was actually stretched forth, and the earth did shake under old Tippecanoe, his auditors attributed it to Tecumseh's supernatural powers, and immediately took up arms.

We think the speech of Weatherford, one of the Creek war-chiefs, engaged against General Jackson, an equally fine example of their oratory, while it illustrates the remarkable dignity of mind which enabled him to support his humiliating position with such grandeur. It was after our doughty General had nearly annihilated the tribes in his department, the Indians, seeing all resistance at an end, came forward and made their submission; Weatherford, however, and many who were known to be desperate, still holding out.

General Jackson, determined to test the fidelity of those chiefs who had already submitted, ordered them to deliver, without delay, Weatherford, bound, into his hands, to be dealt with as he deserved. When they made known to the sachem what was required of them, his high spirit would not submit to such degradation; and, to hold them harmless, he resolved to give himself up without compulsion.

Accordingly, he proceeded to the American camp, unknown, until he appeared before the commanding General, to whose presence, under some pretence, he gained admission. Jackson was greatly surprised when the chief said:

"I am Weatherford, the chief who commanded at the capture of Fort Mimms. I desire peace for my people, and have come to ask it."

The General had doubtless resolved upon his execution, when he should be brought, bound; but, his unexpected appearance in this 331manner, saved him; he said to the chief that he was astonished at his venturing to appear in his presence, as he was not ignorant of the warrior having been at Fort Mimms, nor of his inhuman conduct there, for which he richly deserved to die.

"I ordered," continued the General, "that you should be brought to me bound; had you been brought as I ordered, I should have known how to treat you."

In answer to this, Weatherford replied:

"I am in your power; do with me as you please; I am a soldier. I have done the whites all the harm I could. I have fought them, and fought them bravely. Had I an army, I would yet fight—I would contend to the last; but, I have none. My people are all gone. I can only weep over the misfortunes of my nation."

Jackson was of too audacious a nature himself, not to be pleased with this fellow, and told him that he would take no advantage of his present situation; that he might yet join the war-party, and contend against the Americans, if he chose, but to depend upon no quarter, if taken; and that unconditional submission was his, and his people's only safety. Weatherford rejoined, in a tone both dignified and indignant:

"You can safely address me in such terms, now. There was a time when I could have answered—there was a time when I had a choice—I have none now. I have not even a hope. I could once animate my warriors to the battle—but I can not animate the dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice. Their bones are at Talladega, Tallashatches, Emucklaw, and Tohopeka. I have not surrendered myself without thought. While there was a single chance of success, I never left my post nor supplicated peace. But my people are gone; and I now ask it, for my nation, not for myself. I look back with deep sorrow, and wish to avert still greater calamities. If I had been left to contend with the Georgian army, I would have raised my corn on one bank of the river and fought them on the other. But your people have destroyed my nation. You are a brave man. I rely on your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered people, but such as they should accede to. Whatever they may be, it would now be madness and folly to oppose them. If they are opposed, you will find me among 332the sternest enforcers of obedience. Those, who would still hold out, can be influenced only by a mean spirit of revenge. To this, they must not, and shall not, sacrifice the last remnant of their country. You have told our nation where we might go and be safe. This, is good talk, and they ought to listen to it. They shall listen to it."

Weatherford is described as having possessed a noble person and a brilliant intellect. After peace was declared, he settled amid the whites, and General Dale, who had fought against him often, had the pleasure of standing as groomsman at his wedding.


When the infamous Tryon succeeded Arthur Dobbs, as Colonial Governor of North Carolina, in 1766, he found the inhabitants of the upper part of the State in the highest state of excitement—almost in open rebellion—on account of the passage of the Stamp Act, which, to them, was like piling Pelion upon Ossa, for they had suffered for years from the rapacity of public officers, the oppression of the courts, and exorbitant taxes levied to support a venal government. They had petitioned the Governor and Council for a redress of grievances, until they found that each petition was followed by increased extortion—until their situation became so oppressive, that they resolved to take matters into their own hands. A solemn league was thereupon formed, called the "Regulation," and the members of it "Regulators." The leader of this movement was Herman Husband, a quaker, a man of strong mind and great influence. These Regulators resolved to pay no more taxes, unless satisfied of their legality; to pay no more fees than the strict letter of the law allowed; to select the proper men to represent them, and to petition for redress until their object—a retrenchment of the exorbitant expenditure of the Government, and the consequent high rate of taxes—was obtained. The exasperated feelings of the people were somewhat calmed by the repeal of the odious Stamp Act; but soon after that event, which had quieted and put to rest the stormy, riotous 333assemblies of the "Sons of Liberty," as the Regulators were sometimes called, Governor Tryon succeeded in obtaining, first, an appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars to erect a gubernatorial palace, "suitable for the residence of a Colonial Governor," and a further sum of fifty thousand dollars to complete the same. This, together with the expense of running the boundary line between the State and the Cherokee nation, which was incurred by the vanity of the Governor in calling out the militia, and marching at their head into the Cherokee country, with the ostensible object of protecting the surveyors, and that, too, in time of peace, had the effect to excite the indignation of the Regulators, and they determined to resist the imposition of the tax for these objects. Tryon, observing the threatening storm, sent a proclamation by his Secretary, David Edwards, and a lawyer named Edmund Fanning, to be read and enforced among the people. Fanning was a man who was detested by the Regulators, for his extortions; but he managed to cajole them into the belief that justice was about to be done them, and they agreed to meet him, to heal all difficulties and settle the existing differences. While waiting the time of meeting, however, they were astonished and highly exasperated by the arrest of Husband and a number of friends, who were thrown into jail by Fanning's orders. A rising of the people followed, and a large body of Regulators marched to Hillsborough to release the prisoners. They were induced, however, by the solemn assurance of Edwards, that their grievances should be redressed, to retire without committing any overt act. From this time forward, the temporizing policy of the Governor, and the rankling hatred of the Regulators, caused frequent and serious outbreaks, until the former, determined to crush the spirit of disaffection, collected the militia, and marched into the disaffected district. He was met by a large body of the Regulators, and a serious battle was fought, in which nine of the Regulators and twenty-seven of the militia were killed, and a great number on both sides wounded. The Regulators had no acknowledged leader, and all was confusion after the first fire from the militia, every man fighting on his own account, and in his own way. The result was a victory for the Governor, who took a number of prisoners, upon whom he vented the implacable revenge which was as a consuming 334fire within him. His conduct was more like that of a small-minded, vain, and vindictive man, than that of a Royal Governor.

Among others whom fortune had thrown into his hands, was Captain Messer, one of the most influential of the Regulators, and the father of an interesting family. Tryon could not wait the tardy course of trial for this man, but sentenced him to be hung the day after the battle. He must sate his desire for revenge in the blood of some of his victims, or his victory would be incomplete. Messer begged to see his family before he died; but this boon was denied him, and he was told to prepare for death. Information of his captivity, however, was conveyed to his wife by the fugitives from the field, and she repaired at once to the spot, with her eldest boy, a lad ten years old, to comfort him in his confinement. She did not know that he had been condemned to die, until she reached the scene of the late encounter, where she was informed of it by seeing the preparations made for his execution. In an agony of mind which threatened to unseat her reason, she flew to Tryon, and besought him on her knees to spare her husband's life. Every argument and appeal which her affection could command, was used in vain; the stony heart of the victorious Governor was not to be touched, and he spurned her from him in disdain, telling her that her husband should die, though the King should intercede in his behalf. The poor woman fell weeping to the ground, while her little son, with the spirit of his father beaming in his eyes, endeavored to console her by assuring her that Tryon would yet relent. While this was passing, the Captain was led forth to die. Mrs. Messer, on seeing her husband in the hands of the executioner, uttered a shriek of agony, which seemed to sever the cords of her heart, and swooned away. The noble-hearted boy at her side, instead of giving way to grief, determined to make another appeal to Tryon, who stood near viewing the proceedings. Throwing himself at the Governor's feet, he said:

"Sir, hang me, and let my father live."

"Who told you to say that?" asked Tryon.

"Nobody," was the reply.

"And why do you ask it?"

"Because," replied the lad, "if you hang father, my mother will die, and the children will perish."

335The Governor's heart was touched, and he replied:

"Your father shall not be hanged to-day."

The execution was stayed; while the noble boy went to his mother, and restored her to consciousness by the news.

The unfeeling tyrant, however, annexed a condition to his reprieve, which was, that Messer should be set at liberty only on condition that he should arrest and bring before him the person of Husband, who had fled before the battle commenced. Reflecting that success might attend his efforts, and, at worst, he could but suffer if he failed, he consented, while his wife and son were detained as hostages for his fidelity. He pursued Husband to Virginia, where he overtook him, but could not persuade him to return, and was obliged to surrender himself again to the tender mercies of his captor. He was bound in chains with the other prisoners, and in this condition was marched through the various towns and villages on the route toward Newbern. At Hillsborough, a court-martial was held, and twelve of the captive Regulators were sentenced to be hung. Six of these were reprieved, and the others suffered death on the scaffold. Among the latter was Captain Messer, who met his fate with the resignation of one who felt that he died in the cause of liberty. His broken-hearted wife returned to her home, now rendered desolate by her husband's death; while the tyrannical Governor marched in triumph to Newbern, from whence he was soon after called to the head of colonial affairs in New York.

The execution of Colonel Isaac Hayne, which took place later in the history of the Carolinas, presents a still more touching picture of the devotion of a child and the tyranny of a British minion. After Charleston had fallen into the hands of the British, many of the Whigs of South Carolina were induced to take the protections which were offered by Lord Cornwallis. They were led to this step by the belief that in the South the cause was hopeless, and were promised, by virtue of these protections, to be allowed to remain quietly in their homes and take no part in the contest. Their surprise was great, when, soon after, they were called upon to take up arms under the British commanders and against their countrymen. Conceiving that faith had been broken with them, and their promises of neutrality no longer binding, they tore up their protections, and at once ranked 336themselves under the Continental leaders. Among those was Colonel Hayne, a man of unblemished reputation, fine talents and lofty patriotism. Indignant at the course pursued by the British, he hastened to the American army, and began to take active part in the contest. Unfortunately, he fell into the enemy's hands, was conveyed to Charleston, submitted, by order of Rawdon, to a mock trial, and, to the horror of all, was condemned to death. He received his sentence with calmness, but the whole country was horrified. Both English and Americans interceded for his life, and the ladies of Charleston immortalized themselves by the spirited address which they framed and delivered to his captors in his behalf. All was of no avail. The cruel heart of Rawdon could not be moved; not even the captive's motherless children, with bended knees and tearful prayers, could move his obdurate nature.

Hayne's eldest child was a boy of thirteen, who was permitted to remain in prison with him up to the time of his execution. This boy was actuated by an affection for his father of the most romantic earnestness and fervor. Beholding him loaded with irons and condemned to die, he was overwhelmed with consternation and sorrow; nothing could alleviate his distress. In vain did his parent endeavor to console him by reminding him that this unavailing grief only heightened his own misery—that he was only to leave this world to be admitted into a better—that it was glorious to die for liberty. The boy would not be comforted.

"To-morrow," said the unhappy father, "I set out for immortality. You will accompany me to the place of my execution, and when I am dead, take my body and bury it beside your poor mother."

In an agony of grief the child fell weeping on his father's neck, crying:

"Oh, my father, my father, I die with you!"

The chains which bound the prisoner prevented his returning the embrace, but he said, in reply:

"Live, my son—live to honor God by a good life—live to take care of your brothers and sisters."

The next morning the son walked beside his father to the place of execution. The history of the war scarcely affords a more heart-rending incident. There was not a citizen of Charleston whose bosom did not swell with anguish and indignation. There was sorrow in every countenance, and when men spoke with each other, it was in accents of horror.


The Implacable Governor.—Page 14.

339When the two came within sight of the gallows, the parent strengthened himself, and said to the weeping boy:

"Tom, my son, show yourself a man! That tree is the boundary of my life and all my life's sorrow. Beyond that the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Don't lay too much at heart our separation—it will be short. 'Twas but lately your mother died; to-day I die; and you, though young, must shortly follow."

"Yes, my father," replied the broken-hearted boy, "I shall soon follow you; for, indeed, I feel that I can not live long."

And this melancholy anticipation was fulfilled in a manner far more dreadful than is implied in the mere extinction of life. When his father was tom from his side, his tears flowed incessantly, and his bosom was convulsed with sobs; but when he saw that beloved parent in the hands of the executioner, the halter adjusted to his neck, and then his form convulsively struggling in the air, the fountain of his tears was suddenly stanched, and he stood transfixed with horror. He never wept again. When all was over he was led from the scene, but there was a wildness in his look, a pallor in his cheek, which alarmed his friends. The terrible truth was soon made known. His reason had fled forever. It was not long before he followed his parents to the grave, but his death was even sadder than his father's. In his last moments he often called the beloved name in accents of such anguish that the sternest hearted wept to hear him. But the merciful all-Father took him home and restored him forever to the side of that parent, the shock of whose rude death sundered the tender strings of a child's heart.

Lord Rawdon should have been proud of this noble feat. He was one of those who

"Stand, to move the world, on a child's heart."

The outrageous oppression of Governor Tryon and Lord Rawdon were only a few among many instances of the spirit shown by Government officials, until the people of the Colonies were driven to that universal rebellion which resulted in the establishment of our independence. And when that struggle was begun, British 340arrogance and cruelty asserted itself, in her officers and minions, in those equivocal shapes which ought to make British history blush with shame along the ensanguined record. It has been truly said that a wrong begun is only maintained by a wrong continued.

The first contest of England with America sprang from tyranny; she was the aggressor, the offending party: and it seems to have been a moral consequence, that a war, thus unrighteous, should have been characterized by a violation of every humane and honorable purpose. The extent to which British cruelty was carried in the memorable contest of the Revolution, is scarcely appreciated by us. Nothing equals the vindictive, bloodthirsty fury which characterized it in some quarters of the Union. It was almost a war of extermination in the South. There, lads were often shot down, that they might not live to be full-grown rebels, and mothers murdered, that they might bring forth no more enemies to the king. Among the people in villages, and in the open country, existed the greatest suffering, and often was manifested the loftiest patriotism and the grandest fortitude. With such ferocity were they pursued by the British soldiery, that their only retreat became the army. At no moment were they safe. Neither in their beds, nor by their firesides, nor on the highways. Daily and nightly murders frightened the time with their atrocities. Reckless marauders traversed the country in all directions, sparing neither sex, age, nor infancy. Nightly, the red flame glared on the horizon, and houseless children hung over the desecrated, butchered forms of their parents.

But of all atrocities, those committed in the prisons and prison-ships of New York were most execrable; there is nothing in history to excel the barbarities there inflicted. It is stated that nearly twelve thousand American prisoners "suffered death by their inhuman, cruel and barbarous usage on board the filthy and malignant prison-ship, called the Jersey, lying in New York."

The scenes enacted within the prisons almost exceed belief. There were several prisons in the city; but the most terrible of them all was the Provost (now the Hall of Records), which was under the charge of Cunningham, that wretch, the like of whom the world has not many times produced. He had a love for inflicting torture; it was his passion, his besotted appetite; he seemed to live upon the 341agony of human beings; their groans were his music, their sufferings his pastime. He took an eager delight in murder. He stopped the rations of the prisoners and sold them, to add to the luxuries of his own table, while his victims were starving to death. They were crowded into rooms where there was not space to lie down, with no blankets to protect them from the cold, to which the unglazed windows exposed them, while they were suffering from fevers, thirst, and hunger. In the summer, epidemics raged among them, while they were denied medicine or attendance, and compelled to breathe the damp and putrid air. But, hear what Cunningham himself says of his acts, in his dying speech and confession, when brought to the gallows, in London, for a forgery of which he was convicted:

"I shudder to think of the murders I have been accessory to, both with and without orders from the Government, especially in New York, during which time, there was more than two thousand prisoners starved in the different prisons, by stopping their rations, which I sold. There were also two hundred and seventy-five American prisoners and obnoxious persons executed, out of all which number, there was only about a dozen public executions, which consisted chiefly of British and Hessian deserters. The mode for private executions, was this: a guard was despatched from the Provost, about half-past twelve, at night, to the barrack, and the neighborhood of the upper barracks, to order the people to close their window-shutters and put out their lights, forbidding them, at the same time, to look out, on pain of death; after which, the unfortunate victims were conducted, gagged, just behind the upper barracks, and hung without ceremony, and there buried by the Black Pioneer of the Provost."

These murders were common, nightly pastime of this monster.

The saddest of the tragedies in which Cunningham bore his ignominious part, was the execution of that glorious young martyr, whose name shall glow brighter and brighter on the record of his country's heroes, as the ages roll away.

The impartial reader will question the justice of history, which has done so much for the memory of André, and left that of Hale in comparative oblivion. And yet we can discover but little difference in their cases. Both were possessors of genius and taste, both were endowed with excellent qualities and attainments, and both were 342impelled by a desire to serve the cause they respectively espoused, and both suffered a similar death, but under vastly different circumstances. And yet a magnificently sculptured monument in Westminster Abbey, perpetuates the name of the English officer, while none know where sleep the ashes of Hale, and neither stone nor epitaph tells us of the services rendered by him; while the first is honored in every quarter where the English language is spoken, the name of the latter is unknown to many of his countrymen. "There is something more than natural in this, if philosophy could find it out."[3]

3.  About ten years since, the ladies of Windham and Tolland Counties, Conn., caused a handsome monument to be erected to the memory of the young martyr.

Nathan Hale was not twenty years of age, when the first gun of the revolution broke upon the ears of the colonists. The patriotic cause at once aroused his enthusiastic love for liberty and justice, and without pausing for a moment to consider the prudence of such a step, his ardent nature prompted him at once, to throw himself into the ranks of his country's defenders. Distinguished as a scholar, and respected, by all who knew him, for his brilliant talents, he was at once tendered a Captain's commission in the light infantry. He served in the regiment commanded by Colonel Knowlton, and was with the army in its retreat after the disastrous battle of Long Island.

After the army had retreated from New York, and while it was posted on the Hights of Harlem, the Commander-in-Chief earnestly desired to be made acquainted with the force and contemplated movements of the enemy, and for this purpose, applied to Colonel Knowlton to select some individual capable of performing the hazardous and delicate service. Knowlton applied to Hale, who, on becoming acquainted with the wishes of Washington, immediately volunteered his services. He stated that his object in joining the army, was not merely for fame, but to serve the country; that as yet, no opportunity had offered for him to render any signal aid to her cause, and when a duty so imperative and so important as this was demanded of him, he was ready to sacrifice not only life, but all hope of glory, and to suffer the ignomy which its failure would cast upon his name. His friends endeavored to dissuade him from the 343undertaking, but lofty considerations of duty impelled him to the step.

Having disguised himself as a schoolmaster, he crossed the Sound at Fairfield, to Huntingdon, and proceeded thence to Brooklyn. This was in September, 1776. When he arrived at Brooklyn, the enemy had already taken possession of New York. He crossed over to the city, his disguise unsuspected, and pursued the objects of his mission. He examined all their fortifications with care, and obtained every information relative to the number of the enemy, their intentions, etc. Having accomplished all that he could, he left the city, and retraced his steps to Huntingdon. While here, waiting for a boat to convey him across the Sound, his apprehension was effected. There are great discrepancies in the various accounts which are given of his arrest, but all agree that it was through the means of a refugee cousin, who detected his disguise. According to one account, while he was at Huntingdon, a boat came to the shore, which he at first supposed to be one from Connecticut, but which proved to be from an English vessel lying in the Sound. He incautiously approached the boat, and was recognized by his Tory relative, who was in the boat at the time. He was arrested, and sent to New York.

There can not be a more striking proof of the different value set upon the services of André and Hale by their respective nations, than the fact afforded by the different manner of their arrest. There was not a single circumstance connected with the capture of André, but what is known to every reader of history, but in the case of Hale, who stands André's equal in every particular, it is not even known with certainty how he was apprehended. We have a few uncertain legends relative to it, but these are widely different, some making him arrested on the Sound, some on the island, and others on the outskirts of the city. But there was one circumstance connected with Hale's capture, which should enhance our sympathy for him. André fell into the American hands by means of the sagacity, watchfulness, and fidelity of our own soldiers; but Hale was betrayed by the base perfidy and treason of a renegade relative. And what two opposite phases of human nature does the contrast between these two incidents afford! In the first, we find three men, three poor men, so fixed in principle and determined in right, that the most 344tempting offers—offers when an assent would have given them wealth, ease, and luxury—were refused. Strong honesty overcame temptation, and they were content to struggle on in poverty, oblivion, and privation, with unsullied hearts, rather than feast and riot in luxury. But in the latter incident, we find one of the most execrable acts recorded in history. The betrayal of Hale by his relative, contrasted with the stem integrity of André's captors, affords a most striking picture.

We are all aware of what followed the capture of André. He was tried before an honorable court, and while strict justice demanded his life, the necessity was deplored by his judges, and his fate aroused in every heart the keenest sympathy and the deepest sorrow. But how widely different was the unhappy end of the noble Hale! He was surrendered to the incarnate fiend, Cunningham, the Provost-Marshal, and ordered to immediate execution, without even the formality of a trial.

The twenty-first of September, 1776, was a day to be remembered in New York. From Whitehall to Barclay Street, a conflagration raged along both sides of Broadway, in which, four hundred and ninety-three houses, or about one-third of the city, was laid in ashes. The College Green, and a change of wind, only arrested the swift destruction. On that day, the dignified, harsh, cold, and courtly Howe, had his head-quarters at the Beekman House, (now standing at the corner of Fifty-first Street and First Avenue) on the East River, about three and a quarter miles from the Park. The conflagration, checked, but not subdued, still clouded the air, when a generous youth, of high intelligence, kindly manners, and noble character, was brought into the presence of this stern dignitary. That youth was charged with being a spy, and the allegation was substantiated by some military sketches and notes found on his person. In this court of last resort, Hale dropped all disguises, and at once proclaimed himself an American officer and a spy. He attempted no plea of extenuation; he besought no pardoning clemency; he promised no transfer of allegiance. He waited calmly, with no unmanly fears, the too evident sentence which was to snap his brittle thread of life. Howe kept him not long waiting, but at once wrote a brief order, giving to William Cunningham, Provost 345Marshal of the Royal army, the care and custody of the body of Nathan Hale, Captain in the rebel army, this day convicted as a spy, and directing him to be hung by the neck until dead, "to-morrow morning at daybreak."

Dare we allow our sad and sympathizing fancies to follow the young hero to the old Provost, where one night only remained to him of earth? It is difficult to conceive a night of greater distress, or more thronged with memories, endurances, and anticipations. Never was prison presided over by a more insatiate monster than this Cunningham. All the surroundings were of the most forbidding character. The coming morning was to conduct the prisoner, through unspeakable contumely, to the portals of eternity. He calmly asked that his hands might be loosed, and that a light and writing materials might be supplied, to enable him to write to his parents and friends. Cunningham denied the request! Hale asked for the use of a Bible, and even this was savagely refused.

Thank God, there was one there with enough of the heart and feelings of a man, to be roused to energetic remonstrance by such malignant inhumanity. The Lieutenant of Hale's guard earnestly and successfully besought that these requests be granted. In the silent hours, so swiftly bearing him on to the verge of his dear and happy life, the strong soul of the martyr was permitted to write, for loved eyes its parting messages. Doubtless, one of these was to the sweet Alice Adams, the maiden to whom he was betrothed. On came the swift and fatal morning, and with it the diabolical Cunningham, eager to luxuriate in another's woe. Hale handed him the letters he had written; Cunningham at once read them, and, growing furious at their high spirit, tore them to pieces before the writer's eyes. He afterward gave, as his reason, "that the rebels should never know they had a man who could die with such firmness."

Confronted by this representative of His Majesty, cheered by no voice of friendship, or even of sympathy, beset by the emblems and ministers of ignominious death, Hale stood on the fatal spot. His youthful face transfigured with the calm peace of a triumphant martyr; a life, suffused with religious sensibilities, and blooming with holy love, then and there culminated.

The ritual of disgrace had been performed, and a single refinement 346of malice, was all that even Cunningham's ingenuity could devise; he demanded "a dying speech and confession." Humanity had begun to assert itself in the crowd of curious gazers, for pity was swelling up in many hearts, finding expression in stifled sobs. Firm and calm, glowing with purification and self-sacrifice, Hale seemed to gather up his soul out of his body, as, with solemn emphasis, he gave answer to this last demand of malignity:

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Why have not we a sky-piercing monument, wherein is set a tablet of solid silver, whereon those words are printed in letters of pure gold?

Honest Tunis Bogart, a witness of Hale's execution, said:

"I have never been able to efface the scene of horror from my mind—it rises up to my imagination always." Ashar Wright, who was Hale's personal attendant, was so completely overwhelmed by his fate, that his understanding reeled from its throne, never to be fully reinstated.

There was such lamentation among relatives, friends, and brother officers, when his death was learned, as betokened how he had endeared himself to all. His memory has been quietly cherished in many hearts. And ever, as the tide of time rolls on, his fame increases—his star sails steadily up among the immortal crowd of illustrious dead.

A certain share of infamy attaches to Howe, on account of the barbarities of Hale's execution. He could and should have known that Cunningham was a devil, unfit for any earthly trust. He should, too, have observed the due formality of a court-martial, and he certainly should have taken care to have had the sentence executed with decency. Howe is deeply blameworthy for his lack of humanity, and for his unrestrained indulgence of such monsters as the Provost-Marshal. He stands convicted of a tolerance of demoniac cruelty, not only in this case, but in the prison-ships, and his general administration. There is something even more damning in being an ungenerous enemy, than an ungenerous friend. Let the disgrace which it fairly won, rest forever on the name of Howe.

As for that sweet Alice Adams, to whom Nathan Hale was engaged, the events of a long life, the transformation of four score 347and eight years, passed over her head. In life's extremity, when shadows came and went, and earth was receding dimly, the first loved name was the last word on her lips. Truth and love came back to her in old age and death; perhaps she saw him standing on the eternal shores awaiting to help her over—love, life and youth are immortal there—and calling to him, she passed away.


Mary Slocumb was the noble-hearted wife of one of the bravest soldiers of the Southern army, and was a fair specimen of the heroic women whose influence was so sensibly felt in the Carolinas at the period when the Revolutionary storm was deluging that section with all the horrors of civil war. Lieutenant Slocumb, her husband, like many others whose patriotism would not allow them to remain at home in the enjoyment of ease and comfort, while their country called for the exertion of her sons to free her from the thraldom of a foreign tyrant, had attached himself to the regiment of Colonel Caswell, who, at the period of which we write, had collected his friends and the yeomen of the surrounding country, to give battle to Donald McDonald, and his Highlanders and Tories, then on their way to join Sir Henry Clinton on Cape Fear, after having escaped from Colonel Moore at Cross Creeks. In the battle of Moore's Creek, which followed, Lieutenant Slocumb and his detachment, by turning the flank of the enemy, secured the victory to the patriots, and captured a large portion of the loyal Highlanders, among whom was the brave McDonald himself. It was a hard fought and bloody battle, and Slocumb, in after years, delighted to relate the incidents of the obstinately contested field, among which none was so interesting as his meeting with his wife on his return from the pursuit of the defeated Tories. It seems that on the night after the departure of her husband and his detachment, Mrs. Slocumb had dreamed of seeing her husband's body, wrapped in his military cloak, lying upon the battle-field, surrounded with the dead and dying. So strong was 348the impression upon her mind, that she could sleep no more, and she determined to go to him. Telling her woman to look after her child, and merely saying that she could not sleep, and would ride down the road, she went to the stable, saddled her mare—as fleet a nag as ever traveled—and in a few moments was on her way after the little army, sixty miles distant. By the time she had ridden some ten miles, the night air had cooled her feverish excitement, and she was tempted to turn back, but the thought that her husband might be dead, or dying, urged her on, and when the first faint tints of morning illumined the east, she was thirty miles from home. At sunrise, she came upon a group of women and children, who had taken their station in the road to catch any tidings that might pass from the battle-field. Of these she inquired if the battle had been fought, but they could give her no information, and she rode on, following the well-marked trail of the troops.

About eight or nine o'clock she heard a sound like distant thunder. She stopped to listen; again it boomed in the distance, and she knew it must be cannon. The battle was then raging.

"What a fool!" thought she. "My husband could not be dead last night, and the battle only fighting now. Still, as I am so near, I will go on and see how they come out."

Every step now brought her nearer the field, and she soon heard the sound of the musketry and shouting. In a few moments she came out into the road below Moore's Creek bridge. A short distance from the road, under a cluster of trees, were lying perhaps twenty men. They were wounded.

"I knew the spot—the very trees; and the position of the men I knew as if I had seen it a thousand times. I had seen it all night! I saw all at once; but in an instant my whole soul was centered in one spot; for there, wrapped in his bloody guard cloak, lay the body of my husband. How I passed the few yards from my saddle to the spot I never knew. I remember uncovering the head, and seeing a face clothed with gore from a dreadful wound across the temple. I put my hand on the bloody face; 'twas warm, and an unknown voice begged for water."

What a revulsion! It was not her husband, then, after all! She brought water, gave him some to drink, washed his face, and 349discovered that it was Frank Cogdell. He soon revived, and could speak.

"I was washing the wound on his head. Said he: 'It is not that; it is that hole in my leg that is killing me.' A puddle of blood was standing on the ground about his feet; I took his knife, cut away his trowsers and stocking, and found the blood came from a shot-hole, through and through the fleshy part of his leg."

She sought for some healing leaves, bound up his wounds, and then went to others, whose wounds she dressed, and while engaged in this charitable work, Colonel Caswell came up. He was surprised, of course, to see her, and was about to pay her some compliment, when she abruptly asked for her husband.

"He is where he ought to be, madam, in pursuit of the enemy. But, pray, how came you here?"

"Oh, I thought," said she, "you would need nurses as well as soldiers. See! I have already dressed many of these good fellows; and here is one," going to Frank, and lifting up his head so that he could drink some more water, "would have died before any of you men could have helped him."

Just then she looked up, and her husband, covered with blood and dirt, stood before her.

"Why, Mary!" he exclaimed, "what are you doing there? Hugging Frank Cogdell, the greatest reprobate in the army!"

"I don't care," she cried, "Frank is a brave fellow, a good soldier, and a true friend to Congress."

"True, true! every word of it!" said Caswell; "you are right, madam," with the lowest possible bow.

"I would not tell my husband," says she, "what brought me there. I was so happy; and so were all! It was a glorious victory; I came just at the hight of the enjoyment, I knew my husband was surprised, but I could see he was not displeased with me. It was night again before our excitement had all subsided. Many prisoners were brought in, and among them some very obnoxious; but the worst of the Tories were not taken prisoners. They were for the most part left in the woods and swamps, whenever they were overtaken. I begged for some of the poor prisoners, and Caswell readily told me none should be hurt, but such as had been guilty of murder and 350house-burning. In the middle of the night, I again mounted my mare and started for home. Caswell and my husband wanted me to stay till next morning, and they would send a party with me; but no; I wanted to see my child, and I told them they could send no party who could keep up with me. What a happy ride I had back! and with what joy did I embrace my child as he ran to meet me."

Could the inventive genius of the most able writer of fiction suggest a more thrilling narrative? Alas! how many such intensely interesting incidents are buried in the graves of those noble men and women who sacrificed everything but honor, that we, their children, might live free and independent.

How many females of the present age could be found to ride a hundred and twenty-five miles in less than forty hours, even on such an errand?

This was not the only adventure of this spirited lady, living, as she did, in the midst of contending armies, and entering with ardor, into all the plans and hopes of her husband.

Another couple, living at the North, had some spirited adventures, quite worth chronicling. In the town of North Castle, Westchester County, New York, resided, during the War for Independence, a young married couple, who were both, heart and soul, enlisted in the patriotic cause, and whose best services were devoted to their country. Mr. Fisher was an eminent and active member of a partisan band, under Major Paulding, whose confidence and esteem he always enjoyed to an eminent degree, and who by his unflinching patriotism, and the energy and skill with which he thwarted the plans and designs of the Tories, made himself particularly obnoxious to them. His active duties as a scout, sometimes kept him for months from his home, where his young wife had nothing but her heroism of spirit to oppose to the marauding bands that traversed the "Neutral Ground," and whose creed it was, to make war upon women and children indiscriminately. While the high-minded Whig, therefore, was serving his country, in the swamp and on the mountain, the wife had to undergo scenes, requiring an equal courage and fortitude, with those of his.

She was one of those women of the revolution, by whose indomitable 351spirit and active benevolence our armies were often held together, and our soldiers encouraged to persevere in the glorious course they had begun. She was without fear, and was always ready to serve her country, or defend herself, upon any emergency. The American soldier, too, often found relief from suffering, through her benevolence. She was one of those, who attended upon the wounded of White Plains, and administered comfort to the dying, and relief to the wounded. After this battle, when Washington's army was encamped near her residence, the Commander-in-Chief's table was often indebted for many of its delicacies, to the prudent attention and care of Mrs. Fisher. Washington often expressed his obligations to her in person.

Many anecdotes are related of her daring. On one occasion, a favorite colt was stolen, when she mounted a horse and rode down to Morrissania, where the loyalists were encamped, and demanded of the English officer in command, the restoration of her property. The Englishman courteously assented, and the colt being found, it was restored to her. This was considered at the time, a most daring expedition. Her route, which was a long one, was through a section of country beset with marauders, who were never in the habit of hesitating to make war on a woman.

We remarked that the danger from the marauding Tory bands, prevented Mr. Fisher from visiting his home, but at long intervals. There was one band of Tories notorious for its cruelty, headed by one Blindberry, a most bloodthirsty wretch, whose memory to this day, is only preserved to be execrated. This fellow was the terror of the whole community. On one occasion, after having been absent for six months, Mr. Fisher's anxiety to see his family, became so great, that one evening he cautiously approached the house, and was admitted unseen. Late that night, after he had retired, steps were heard without, and presently there was a loud knocking at the door, with a peremptory summons for it to be opened. This not being heeded, it was repeated, with a threat to break open the door, if it was not complied with. The house was a simple old-fashioned cottage, the door opening directly into a room, which was used by Mr. Fisher and his wife as a sleeping room. The party now discharged their pistols three or four times through the window, but the balls lodged harmlessly in the walls. This proceeding effecting nothing, 352they begun at once to demolish the door, and in a few moments they burst roughly into the room. Mr. Fisher sprung from the bed, prepared to defend his wife and himself to the last. But the only object of this band was plunder. In those times, the country people were compelled to convert their effects into money, as every thing moveable, would be sure to be captured, and having no means of investing their wealth, it was generally concealed in secure places. But these concealments rarely availed them any thing, if their persons should fall into the hands of the Tories, as every means of torture that ingenuity could suggest, was availed of to force the hapless victims to betray the hiding place of their wealth. Hanging, roasting over slow fires, or a pistol at the head, were the usual modes adopted.

The Tory leader, who was no other than this same Blindberry, demanded of Mr. Fisher his gold. The stern patriot, who was a man of unconquerable will, calmly refused. The marauders became enraged, and he was threatened with death if he persisted in his denial. But neither the flashing swords that gleamed around him, the musket at his breast, nor the furious aspects of the wretches, could move him a jot from his determined purpose. The word was given to try hanging. In an instant a rope was thrown over the branch of a tree, that stood by the door, and their victim was drawn beneath it, and the rope adjusted to his neck. Once more he was asked to give up his money. Without the tremor of a muscle, he refused. The next moment he was dangling high up in the air. He was allowed to suspend for a few seconds, and lowered to the ground. His reply to the same question was given, in an undaunted refusal. Again did his tormentors run him up into the air; but when they again lowered him, he had fainted. In a few moments, however, he revived, and as the knowledge of the affair gradually broke upon his mind, he thundered out, "No, not a farthing!" Once more did the wretches swing him off, and this time he was kept suspended until they thought he was dead, when they lowered him, and seeing now no chance of obtaining the coveted gold, they departed.


Mrs. Slocumb at Moore's Creek.—Page 27.

355The agony of the wife during this scene, can only be imagined. A Tory was stationed by her side, and with a pistol at her head, enjoined silence on the penalty of her life. In those few minutes were crowded a life of torture and suffering. When they had gone, she tremblingly stole out to the side of her husband, and with what little strength she possessed, dragged his lifeless form into the house. With the vague hope that he might not be dead, she applied restoratives, and soon had the unspeakable joy of detecting signs of life. Ere morning, he was entirely restored, and that very day joined his scout.

Continuing their route, the Tories fell upon several of the neighbors, all of whom suffered some cruelty at their hands. At one house they placed its master in a chair, tied him down, and built a fire under him, by which means he was at last compelled by his unsupportable agony to reveal the hiding place of his gold. But a terrible retribution was preparing for them. Major Paulding had gathered a party of his men, and was in hot pursuit of them. As the Major was following up their track, he stopped at the residence of Mr. Wright, an old Quaker, who felt a strong sympathy for the American cause, but whose principles prevented him from taking an active part in the contest. To the inquiry, if such a party of Tories as has been described, was seen, the Quaker replied in the affirmative, pointing out the course they had taken.

"What do you say, my men," said the Major to his followers, "shall we follow them up?"

A unanimous consent was given.

"Jonathan, if thee wishes to see those men," said Mr. Wright, approaching Major Paulding, with a knowing look, "if thee wishes to see them particular, would it not be better for thee to go to 'Brundage's Corner,' as they are most likely from the North, and will return that way. There thee can'st see them without doubt."

The shrewd insinuation of the Quaker, was caught in an instant. The place referred to, afforded a most admirable place for an ambuscade, and by secreting themselves there, the enemy was certain to fall into their hands.

The Whigs had not been concealed long, ere the party was heard approaching. At the signal, the patriots sprung forward, and discharged their weapons. At the very first fire, the bloodthirsty Tory leader fell, some said from a bullet discharged by the hand of Major Paulding himself.

The intense hatred felt by the people toward Blindberry, and the 356universal joy manifested at his fall, prompted some to make a public rejoicing on the event, and in order to express their uncompromising hostility to their foe, his body was hung before the assembled patriots of the district, amid their jeers and expressions of pleasure. Among the assembly was Mr. Fisher, who, but a few hours before had so nearly fallen a victim to his cruelty.

Some little time after the preceding events, while Mr. Fisher was on another visit to his family, sudden word was brought, that the Tories were approaching. This, as before, was during the night. Mr. Fisher had reason to suppose, that the object of this party, was to secure his person, and it became necessary to obtain a place of concealment. The most advantageous one that offered, was beneath the flooring, which was loose, where was ample room for him, and where it was hoped, the Tories would not think of looking for their enemy. Scarcely had he secreted himself, when the Tories appeared. They burst into the presence of Mrs. Fisher, in a boisterous manner, and with brutal jests and extravagant threats, demanded to be informed, where her husband was. To these inquiries, the undaunted woman deigned no reply.

"Come, give us a light," said the leader, "that we may ferret out your rebel husband's hiding place. I'll swear, that you've got him stowed away somewhere here."

"I have no light," was the calm reply.

The difficulties of procuring stores, sometimes left Whig families for weeks without the common necessities.

"Come, my woman, none of that!" broke in the Tory; "a light we want, and a light we must have, so bring out your candles!"

"I have none," reiterated Mrs. Fisher.

The Tory, with an oath, drew a pistol, cocked it, and coming up to her, placed the muzzle in her face.

"Look here, my lady," said he, "we know that you've got your rebel of a husband somewhere about here, and if you don't at once give us a candle, so that we may hunt out his hiding place, I'll blow your brains out."

"I have told you," replied the lady, "that I have no candle; I can not give you one, so you may blow my brains out the moment you please."

357The heroic spirit that breathed in her words, and the firm look from her undaunted eye, convinced the Tory that she was not to be intimidated. They were compelled to make their search in the dark. After rummaging into every nook and corner in vain, they gave up their object. On several other occasions, Mr. Fisher had similar narrow escapes.

We can not refrain from referring to one enterprise in which Mr. Fisher was engaged, by which means fifteen Whigs put to flight, over three hundred Hessians. The news of their approach was spread abroad, and the utmost consternation prevailed. The Hessians were always held in great terror by the country people. On this occasion, they fled at their approach into the forests and other secure fastnesses. Coney Hill, was the usual place of retreat on these alarms. This was a hill somewhat off from the main roads, and which was surrounded by narrow defiles, and reached only through dense thickets, while its rocky and irregular surface, afforded a means of defense impregnable. No fortress could have been more secure. All the inhabitants, therefore, retreated to this fastness, Mrs. Fisher alone of all neighbors, venturing to remain within her own house.

The usual road traveled by the armies, that led north from White Plains, in one place described a wide circuit, but there was a narrow, irregular road, sometimes used, that shortened the distance considerably. But this road was very dangerous to any large body of men. It led by the Coney Hill, which we have mentioned, and its whole length was through a rocky region, overgrown with tangled thickets of laurel, that would have afforded effectual protection and concealment to a body of assailants, and have made a small force formidable to a large one.

At a point on this road, therefore, Major Paulding and fifteen followers stationed themselves, with a belief, that from the irregular and incautious manner the Hessians were marching, they would be induced to lessen their route, by taking the shorter cut. The belief proved to be well founded. The spot where Major Paulding posted his ambuscade, was one remarkably well adapted to that kind of warfare. It was, where the road passing through a defile, made a sudden turn around a large rock, and where it was so narrow, that six men could not pass abreast, while the whole rising ground 358on either side was irregular, with rough, jagged rocks, and covered with a dense growth of laurel.

Stationed at different points, and protected by rocky battlements, the little band quietly awaited the coming of their enemy. At last they appeared, approaching carelessly, and with an utter want of military prudence. Not a sound, nor breath betrayed to them the presence of a foe. The rocks, and laurel bushes, gave forth no sign of the deadly messengers to be launched from their bosoms. Part of the Hessians had already passed the turn of the road, when suddenly, like a clap of thunder from an azure sky, an explosion burst from the flinty rocks that surrounded them, and several of their number, pitched headlong to the earth. Those in front, panic struck, fell back upon those in the rear, while those in the rear pressed forward, uncertain of the danger, and discharged their muskets into the thickets, but the bullets rebounded harmlessly from the rocky walls, that inclosed their enemy. Another volley completed their panic. Terrified at the presence of an enemy, that seemed to fight from the bowels of the earth, and unable to estimate the full extent of their danger, which their imagination greatly magnified, they gave a wild cry, and fled precipitately.

This event afforded the Whigs for a long time much merriment, particularly as it was accompanied with no loss to the little party, who had given the Hessians their terrible flight. Mrs. Fisher was accustomed to give an amusing relation of the manner they appeared, as they flew by her house, each running at his utmost speed, with the tin cannisters and other numerous accouterments with which the Hessian soldiers were always so plentifully provided—flying out in a straight line behind them.

The following incident, admirably illustrates the presence of mind, and the many resources of this courageous lady. One day, a Whig neighbor burst hastily into her presence, saying, that he was pursued by a body of Tories, and if not concealed immediately, he was lost. It did not take a moment for Mrs. Fisher to decide upon her course. There was a large ash heap just out of the back door, some four or five feet in hight, and as many long. Seizing a shovel, in a moment she made an excavation, into which the fugitive crept, and the lady covered him with ashes, having first taken the precaution to procure 359some quills, which she placed one in another, and thus formed him a breathing-hole, by which he sustained life, while the Tories sought in vain for his hiding place.

A more humble family, but one which did good service in the cause of liberty, was that of William Maybin. Maybin was taken prisoner, it was supposed, at Sumter's surprise, on Fishing Creek, August, 1780. He was carried to Charleston, and died in one of those charnel-houses of freedom, a prison-ship. Here, just as he was dying, he was discovered by his wife's brother, Benjamin Duncan, a soldier in the British army, who obtained permission to bring his corpse on shore for burial. Duncan then visited his bereaved sister, and, after a short stay, returned to his duty, promising, as soon as possible, to come back and provide for her and his other sister, a married woman. As a pledge, he left with her his watch, and some other articles. The news of this valuable deposit was soon spread among the loyalists; it was rumored that the watch was of gold, falsely, for it was a silver one. Spoil was ever first in the thoughts of many of those guilty traitors; and two marauders soon came to the house of the widow and orphans. They demanded the watch, threatening to take the lives of the helpless women and children, if it was not delivered. Mrs. Maybin, anxious only, like a true mother, for the safety of her children, fled to the woods, leaving her sister to contend alone with the ruffians. She succeeded in baffling their cupidity. They did not find the watch, although it was hidden under the head of the bed. It became the property of Maybin's son, who valued it as a memento of the courage of his aunt.

This family had their full share of trial and privation. When Rawdon's army pursued General Greene on his retreat from Ninety-six, they encamped about a week at Colonel Glenn's Mills, on the Enoree. They then marched through the Fork, and crossed at Lisle's Ford. On this march, the soldiers plundered everything on their way. The only piece of meat she had left for her family, and which she had hidden on the wood-beams of the house, was found and taken away. A small gray mare, called "Dice," her only beast, was also stolen, but was afterward recovered. This disgraceful foray, had, it is said, the sanction of Lord Rawdon.

On another occasion, a Tory visited Mrs. Maybin's cabin, and 360finding a piece of homespun in her loom, cut it out and bore it away as a prize. The wretch who could look upon the almost naked children of a poor widow, and take from her the means of a scanty covering, did not, however, escape. Little Ephraim Lyle, afterward met him, and, finding the cloth upon his legs in a pair of leggins, inflicted upon him a severe drubbing, and forced him to relinquish the spoil.

Horrible, truly, were these sufferings and privations, but far more real than the trials of fortitude to which some "leading citizens" were subjected.

John Clark, settled on the Enoree, near the place now called Clarke's Ford. He was a staunch and zealous Whig during the war. In a skirmish at the ford, under the command of Captain Jones, he was shot through the leg, and with difficulty escaped to a bluff a mile distant. To this place the enemy traced him, by his blood, and took him prisoner. His mother furnished him with a bit of salve, and a piece of cloth to draw and bind up his wound. His captors compelled him to mount a very poor horse, and ride him, with nothing to separate him from the animal's sharp backbone but an old bed-quilt, which his mother had given him from her own scanty covering. With his feet bound under the garron, he was compelled to ride, in great and increasing agony, more than forty miles, to Ninety-six. There he was cast into prison, in his wounded condition, in the midst of poor fellows suffering under a virulent type of small-pox. He was the tenth sufferer, and marvelously recovered, was liberated, made his way home, and lived long after the close of the revolutionary struggle. His descendants are still to be found in Newberry district.


Brady's Leap.—Page 43.



Captain Samuel Brady was the Daniel Boone of Ohio, and was as efficient in the settlement of that State as his illustrious cotemporary was in establishing the domain of the white man in the State of Kentucky. He entered the army at the commencement of our Revolutionary struggle, and was engaged at the siege of Boston, as well as in many other important contests, during the war for independence. He was a Lieutenant under Wayne at the massacre of Paoli, when that officer was surprised, and the greater portion of his command cut to pieces and destroyed in cold blood. Toward the close of the war, he was Captain of a corps of rangers at Fort Pitt, under General Brodhead, and rendered effectual service against the Indians, who were in league with the British. He had lost a father and brother at the hands of the red-skins, and swore to take a terrible revenge.

To a mind fertile in expedient, and quick as a flash of light in its deliberations, he added a frame well-knit, though slight, and a constitution of iron mold. He was an Indian-fighter con amore, and the greater portion of his time was spent in the war-path. Many are the deeds of daring and thrilling adventure related of him. A volume might be written embracing the adventures and hair-breadth escapes of the gallant Captain; but, in common with an immense mass of unwritten tradition equally valuable and interesting, they are fast being forgotten and buried in the graves of the past generation.

On one occasion, while out with a small party of his rangers in pursuit of the Indians, he had gone as far as Slippery Rock Creek, a branch of Beaver River, in Western Pennsylvania, without seeing any signs of his foe. Here, however, he struck upon a fresh trail, which led up the creek, and he hastened in pursuit of the savages, who were some distance in advance. He followed the trail until evening, when he was obliged to wait the return of daylight before he could pursue it further. At the earliest dawn he started afresh, and without 364stopping to break his fast, he hurried on, bent on coming up with the enemy before they could reach their towns. His precipitancy had nearly cost him his life, for although the party in front did not dream of his proximity, yet a body of warriors, far outnumbering his own small band, had discovered his trail, and were following it with as much avidity as he was pursuing their comrades.

Brady discovered those in front, just as they were finishing their morning meal and preparing to renew their journey. Placing his men in such a manner as to intercept them, should any attempt to escape, at a given signal they delivered a close and well-directed volley, and started up to rush upon the enemy with their tomahawks, when the band in their rear fired upon them in turn, taking them completely by surprise, killing two of their number, and throwing the remainder into confusion. Finding himself thus between two fires, and vastly outnumbered, there was nothing left but flight; and Brady, directing his men to look out for themselves, started off at his topmost speed in the direction of the creek.

The Indians had a long and heavy account to settle with him, however, and deemed this the opportunity to wipe it out with his blood. For this purpose they desired to secure him alive, and fifty red-skins, regardless of the others, who had scattered in every direction, dropped their rifles and followed him. The Indians knew the ground, Brady did not, and they felt secure of their victim when they saw him run toward the creek, which was at this point a wide, deep, and rapid stream. A yell of triumph broke from them as he arrived at the bank and comprehended his desperate situation. There was apparently no escape, and for a moment the Captain felt that his time had come. It was but for an instant, however. He well knew the fate which awaited him should he fall into the hands of his enemies, and this reflection nerved him to a deed which, perhaps, in his calmer moments, he would have found himself incapable of performing. Gathering all his force into one mighty effort, as he approached the brink of the stream, and clinging with a death-grip to his trusty rifle, he sprung across the chasm through which the stream run, and landed safely upon the other side, with his rifle in his hand. Quick as thought, his piece was primed, and he commenced to reload. His feet had barely made their imprint upon the soft, yielding soil of the 365western bank, before his place was filled by the brawny form of a warrior, who, having been foremost in the pursuit, now stood amazed as he contemplated the gap over which the Captain had passed. With a frankness which seemed not to undervalue the achievement of an enemy, the savage, in tolerable good English, exclaimed: "Blady make good jump! Blady make very good jump!" His conflicting emotions of regret at the escape of his intended victim, and admiration of the deed by which that escape had been accomplished, did not hinder the discovery that Brady was engaged in loading his piece; and he did not feel assured but that his compliment would be returned from the muzzle of the Captain's rifle. He incontinently took to his heels as he discovered the latter ramming home the bullet, which might the next moment be searching out a vital part in his dusky form; and his erratic movements showed that he entertained no mean idea of his enemy's skill at sharp-shooting. The outline of the most intricate field fortification would convey but a slight idea of the serpentine course he pursued, until satisfied that he was out of rifle shot. Sometimes leaping in the air, at others squatting suddenly on his haunches, and availing himself of every shelter, he evinced a lively fear, which doubtless had its origin in a previous knowledge of the fatal accuracy of the Captain's aim. Brady had other views, however, and was not disposed to waste time and powder upon a single enemy, when surrounded by hundreds, and when the next moment an empty barrel might cost him his life; and while the savage was still displaying his agility on the opposite bank, he darted into the woods, and made his way to a rendezvous previously fixed upon, where he met the remainder of his party, and they took their way for home, not more than half defeated. It was not a great while before they were again on the war-path, in search of further adventures.

Brady afterward visited the spot, and, out of curiosity, he measured the stream at the place where he jumped, and found it to measure twenty-three feet from shore to shore, and the water to be twenty feet deep.

A similar incident is related of Brady in the "Historical Collections of Ohio," as having occurred on the banks of the Cuyahoga, in which it is stated that, as he was crawling up the opposite bank, the Indians fired upon him, and wounded him in the hip, but he managed 366to stanch the wound and escape, by hiding himself in the hollow trunk of a tree until the search for him was over, when he crawled out, and, after incredible hardship and fatigue, arrived safe at his quarters. The two stories may have had their origin in the same occurrence, but the details are so dissimilar, except in the distance, which is in both cases about twenty-three feet, that it is possible, nay, more than probable, that the Captain was called upon to exert his great powers on two separate occasions to save himself from the torture or the stake.

At the time of this famous occurrence, Brady was under orders from General Brodhead. The Indians did not return that season to do any injury to the whites; and early that fall, moved off to their friends, the British, who had to keep them all winter, their corn having been destroyed by Brodhead.

When the General found the Indians were gone, at the suggestion of Brady, three companies were ordered out, with a sufficient number of pack-horses, to kill game for the supply of the garrison. These companies were commanded by Captains Harrison, Springer and Brady. Game was very plenty, for neither whites nor Indians ventured to hunt, and great quantities were put up.

In putting up his tent, Captain Brady's tomahawk had slipped and cut his knee, by which he was lamed for some time. This occasioned him to remain at the tents until he got well, which afforded him the opportunity of witnessing some of the peculiar superstitions of his Indian allies, for he had his Indians and their families along with him.

One of these Indians had assumed the name of Wilson. The Captain was lying in his tent one afternoon, and observed his man, Wilson, coming home in a great hurry, and that, as he met his squaw, he gave her a kick, without saying a word, and begun to unbreech his gun. The squaw went away, and returned soon after, with some roots, which she had gathered; and, after washing them clean, she put them into a kettle to boil. While boiling, Wilson corked up the muzzle of his gun, and stuck the breech into the kettle, and continued it there until the plug flew out of the muzzle. He then took it out and put it into the stock. Brady, knowing the Indians were very "superstitious," as we call it, did not speak to him until he saw him 367wiping his gun. He then called to him, and asked what was the matter. Wilson came to the Captain, and said, in reply, that his gun had been very sick—that she could not shoot; he had been just giving her a vomit, and she was now well. Whether the vomit helped the gun, or only strengthened Wilson's nerves, the Captain could not tell, but he averred that Wilson killed ten deer the next day.

Beaver Valley was the scene of many of Captain Brady's stirring adventures. We have heard from many of the older citizens their accounts of his thrilling exploits. They speak in unbounded terms of admiration of his daring and success; his many hair-breadth escapes by "field and flood;" and always concluded by declaring that he was a greater man than Daniel Boone or Lewis Wetzel, either of whom, in the eyes of the old pioneers, were the very embodiment of dare-devilism.

The following, illustrating one of Brady's adventures in the region referred to, we give from a published source. In one of his trapping and hunting excursions, he was surprised and taken prisoner by Indians who had closely watched his movements.

"To have shot or tomahawked him would have been but a small gratification to that of satiating their revenge by burning him at a slow fire, in presence of all the Indians of their village. He was, therefore, taken alive to their encampment, on the west bank of the Beaver River, about a mile and a half from its mouth. After the usual exultations and rejoicings at the capture of a noted enemy, and causing him to run the gauntlet, a fire was prepared, near which Brady was placed, after being stripped, and with his arms unbound. Previous to tying him to the stake, a large circle was formed around of Indian men, women and children, dancing and yelling, and uttering all manner of threats and abuses that their small knowledge of the English language could afford. The prisoner looked on these preparations for death and on his savage foe with a firm countenance and a steady eye, meeting all their threats with truly savage fortitude. In the midst of their dancing and rejoicing, a squaw of one of their chiefs came near him with a child in her arms. Quick as thought, and with intuitive prescience, he snatched it from her, and threw it into the midst of the flames. Horror-stricken at the sudden outrage, the Indians simultaneously rushed to rescue the infant from the fire. 368In the midst of this confusion, Brady darted from the circle, overturning all that came in his way, and rushed into the adjacent thicket, with the Indians yelling at his heels. He ascended the steep side of a hill amid a shower of bullets, and darting down the opposite declivity, secreted himself in the deep ravines and laurel thickets that abound for several miles in the West. His knowledge of the country and wonderful activity enabled him to elude his enemies, and reach the settlements in safety."

Shortly after he entered the service of General Broadhead, he was sent, on a scout, as far west as Sandusky. Captain Brady was not insensible to the danger, or ignorant of the difficulty of the enterprise. But he saw the anxiety of the father of his country to procure information that could only be obtained by this perilous mode, and knew its importance. His own danger was an inferior consideration. The appointment was accepted, and, selecting a few soldiers, and four Chickasaw Indians as guides, he crossed the Allegany river, and was at once in the enemy's country.

It was in May, 1780, that he commenced his march. The season was uncommonly wet. Every considerable stream was swollen; neither road, bridge nor house facilitated their march, or shielded their repose. Part of their provision was picked up by the way, as they crept, rather than marched through the wilderness by night, and lay concealed in its branches by day. The slightest trace of his movement, the print of a white man's foot on the sand of a river, might have occasioned the extermination of the party. Brady was versed in all the wiles of Indian "strategy," and, dressed in the full war dress of an Indian warrior, and well acquainted with their languages, he led his band in safety near to the Sandusky towns, without seeing a hostile Indian.

The night before he reached Sandusky he saw a fire, approached it, and found two squaws reposing beside it. He passed on without molesting them. But his Chickasaws now deserted. This was alarming, for it was probable they had gone over to the enemy. However, he determined to proceed. With a full knowledge of the horrible death that awaited him if taken prisoner, he passed on, until he stood beside the town, and on the bank of the river.

His first care was to provide a place of concealment for his men. 369When this was effected, having selected one man as the companion of his future adventures, he waded the river to an island partially covered with driftwood, opposite the town, where he concealed himself and comrade for the night.

In constancy of purpose, in cool, deliberate courage, the Captain of the Rangers will compare with any hero of this age, or any other. Neither banner nor pennon waved over him. He was hundreds of miles in the heart of an enemy's country—an enemy who, had they possessed it, would have given his weight in gold for the pleasure of burning him to death with a slow fire—adding to his torments, both mental and physical, every ingredient that savage ingenuity could supply.

Who that has poetry of feeling, or feeling of poetry, but must pause over such a scene, and, in imagination, contemplate its features! The murmuring river; the sylvan landscape; as each was gazed upon by that lonely, but dauntless warrior, in the still midnight hour.

The next morning a dense fog spread over hill and dale, town and river. All was hid from Brady's eyes, save the logs and brush around him. About eleven o'clock it cleared off, and afforded him a view of about three thousand Indians, engaged in the amusements of the race ground.

They had just returned from Virginia or Kentucky with some very fine horses. One gray horse in particular attracted his notice. He won every race until near evening, when, as if envious of his speed, two riders were placed on him, and thus he was beaten. The starting post was only a few rods above where Brady lay, and he had a pretty fair chance of enjoying the amusement, without the risk of losing any thing by betting on the race.

He made such observation through the day as was in his power, waded out from the island at night, collected his men, went to the Indian camp he had seen as he came out; the squaws were still there; he took them prisoners, and continued his march homeward.

The map furnished by General Broadhead was found to be defective. The distance was represented to be much less than it really was. The provisions and ammunition of the men were exhausted by the time they got to the Big Beaver, on their return. Brady shot an otter, but could not eat it. The last load was in his rifle. They 370arrived at an old encampment, and found plenty of strawberries, which they stopped to appease their hunger with. Having discovered a deer track, Brady followed it, telling the men he would perhaps get a shot at it. He had gone but a few rods when he saw the deer standing broadside to him. He raised his rifle and attempted to fire, but it flashed in the pan, and he had not a priming of powder. He sat down, picked the touch-hole, and then started on. After going a short distance the path made a bend, and he saw before him a large Indian on horseback, with a white child before, and its captive mother behind him on the horse, and a number of warriors marching in the rear. His first impulse was to shoot the Indian on horseback, but, as he raised his rifle, he observed the child's head to roll with the motion of the horse. It was fast asleep, and tied to the Indian. He stepped behind the root of a tree, and waited until he could shoot the Indian, without danger to the child or its mother.

When he considered the chance certain, he shot the Indian, who fell from his horse, and the child and its mother fell with him. Brady called to his men with a voice that made the forest ring, to surround the Indians and give them a general fire. He sprung to the fallen Indian's powder-horn, but could not pull it off. Being dressed like an Indian, the woman thought he was one, and said:

"Why did you shoot your brother?"

He caught up the child, saying:

"Jenny Stupes, I am Captain Brady; follow me, and I will secure you and your child."

He caught her hand in his, carrying the child under the other arm, and dashed into the brush. Many guns were fired at him by this time, but no ball harmed him, and the Indians, dreading an ambuscade, were glad to make off. The next day he arrived at Fort McIntosh with the woman and her child. His men had got there before him. They had heard his war-whoop, and knew it was Indians he had encountered, but, having no ammunition, they had taken to their heels, and ran off. The squaws he had taken at Sandusky, availing themselves of the panic, had also made their escape.

In those days Indian fashions prevailed, in some measure, with the whites, at least with rangers. Brady was desirous of seeing the 371Indian he had shot, and the officer in command of Fort McIntosh gave him some men in addition to his own, and he returned to search for the body. The place where lie had fallen was discovered, but nothing more. No pains were spared to search, but the body was not found. They were about to leave the place, when the yell of a pet Indian, that came with them from the fort, called them to a little glade, where the grave was discovered. The Indians had interred their dead brother there, carefully replacing the sod in the neatest manner. They had also cut brushes and stuck them into the ground, but the brushes had withered, and instead of concealing the grave, they led to the discovery.

He was buried about two feet deep, with all his implements of war about him.

All his savage jewelry, his arms and ammunition were taken from him, and the scalp from his head, and then they left him, thus stripped, alone in his grave. It is painful to think of such things being done by American soldiers, but we cannot now know all the excusing circumstances that may have existed at the time. Perhaps the husband of this woman, the father of this child, was thus butchered before his wife and children; and the younger members of the family, unable to bear the fatigues of traveling, had their brains dashed out on the threshold. Such things were common, and a spirit of revenge was deeply seated in the breasts of the people of the frontiers. Captain Brady's own family had heavily felt the merciless tomahawk. His brave and honored father, and a beloved brother, had been treacherously slain by the Indians, and he had vowed vengeance.

After refreshing himself and men, they went up to Pittsburg by water, where they were received with military honors. Minute guns were fired from the time Brady came in sight until he landed.

The Chickasaw Indians had returned to Pittsburg, and reported that the Captain and his party had been cut off near Sandusky town by the Indians. When General Broadhead heard this, he said Brady was an aspiring young man, and had solicited the command. But on Brady's arrival in Pittsburg, the General acknowledged that the Captain had accepted the command with much diffidence.

A few days after Brady had left Sandusky with his squaw prisoners, keeping a sharp look-out in expectation of being pursued, and 372taking every precaution to avoid pursuit, such as keeping on the dryest ridges, and walking on logs whenever they suited his course, he found he was followed by Indians. His practised eye would occasionally discover in the distance, an Indian hopping to or from a tree, or other screen, and advancing on his trail. After being satisfied of the fact, he stated it to his men, and told them no Indian could thus pursue him, after the precautions he had taken, without a dog on his track.

"I will stop," said Brady, "and shoot the dog, and then we can get along better."

He selected the root of a tall chestnut tree which had fallen westward, for his place of ambush. He walked from the west end of the tree or log to the east, and sat down in the pit made by the raising of the root. He had not been long there when a small slut mounted the log at the west end, and, with her nose to the trunk, approached him. Close behind her followed a plumed warrior. Brady had his choice. He preferred shooting the slut, which he did; she rolled off the log, stone dead, and the warrior, with a loud whoop, sprung into the woods and disappeared. He was followed no further.

Many of Captain Brady's adventures occurred at periods of which no certainty as to dates can now be had. The following is of that class:

His success as a partisan had acquired for him its usual results—approbation with some, and envy with others. Some of his brother officers censured the Commandant for affording him such frequent opportunities for honorable distinction. At length an open complaint was made, accompanied by a request, in the nature of a demand, that others should be permitted to share with Brady the perils and honors of the service, abroad from the fort. The General apprised Brady of what had passed, who readily acquiesced in the proposed arrangement; and an opportunity was not long wanting for testing its efficiency.

The Indians made an inroad into the Sewickly settlement, committing the most barbarous murders of men, women, and children; stealing such property as was portable, and destroying all else. The alarm was brought to Pittsburg, and a party of soldiers under the 373command of the emulous officers dispatched for the protection of the settlement, and chastisement of the foe. From this expedition Brady was, of course, excluded; but the restraint was irksome to his feelings.

The day after the detachment had marched, he solicited permission from the commander to take a small party for the purpose of "catching the Indians," but was refused. By dint of importunity, however, he at length wrung from him a reluctant consent, and the command of five men; to this he added his pet Indian, and made hasty preparation.

Instead of moving toward Sewickly, as the first detachment had done, he crossed the Alleghany at Pittsburg, and proceeded up the river. Conjecturing that the Indians had descended the stream in canoes, till near the settlement; he was careful to examine the mouths of all creeks coming into it, particularly from the Southeast. At the mouth of Big Mahoning, about six miles above Kittanning, the canoes were seen drawn up to its western bank. He instantly retreated down the river, and waited for night. As soon as it was dark, he made a raft, and crossed to the Kittanning side. He then proceeded up the creek, and found that the Indians had, in the meantime, crossed the creek, as their canoes were drawn to its upper or north-eastern bank.

The country on both sides of Mahoning, at its mouth, is rough and mountainous, and the stream, which was then high, very rapid. Several ineffectual attempts were made to wade it, which they at length succeeded in doing, three or four miles above the canoes. Next, a fire was made, their clothing dried, and arms inspected; and the party moved toward the Indian camp, which was pitched on the second bank of the river. Brady placed his men at some distance on the lower or first bank.

The Indians had brought from Sewickly a stallion, which they had fettered and turned to pasture on the lower bank. An Indian, probably the owner, under the law of arms, came frequently down to him, and occasioned the party no little trouble. The horse, too, seemed willing to keep their company, and it required considerable circumspection to avoid all intercourse with either. Brady became so provoked that he had a strong inclination to tomahawk the Indian, 374but his calmer judgment repudiated the act, so likely to put to hazard a more decisive and important achievement.

At length the Indians seemed quiet, and the Captain determined to pay them a closer visit, which he succeeded in doing, then returned, posted his men, and in the deepest silence all awaited the break of day. When it appeared, the Indians arose and stood around their fires, exulting doubtless in the scalps they had taken, the plunder they had acquired, and the injuries they had inflicted on their enemies. Precarious joy! short-lived triumph! the avenger of blood was beside them. At a signal given, seven rifles cracked, and five Indians were dead ere they fell. Brady's well-known war-cry was heard, his party were among them, and their rifles (mostly empty) were all secured. The remaining Indians instantly fled and disappeared. One was pursued by the trace of his blood, which he seems to have succeeded in staunching. The pet Indian then imitated the cry of a young wolf, which was answered by the wounded man, and the pursuit was again renewed. A second time the wolf cry was given and answered, and the pursuit continued into a windfall. Here he must have espied his pursuers, for he answered no more. Brady found his remains three weeks afterwards, being led to the place by ravens that were preying on the carcass.

The horse was unfettered, the plunder gathered, and the party commenced their return to Pittsburg, most of them descending in the Indian canoes.

Three days after their return, the first detachment came in. They reported that they had followed the Indians closely, but that the latter had got into their canoes and made their escape.

Captain Brady married a daughter of Captain Van Swearengen, of Ohio County, who bore him two children, John and Van S., both of whom are still living. He possessed all the elements of a brave and successful soldier. Like Marion, "he consulted with all his men respectfully, heard them patiently, weighed their suggestions, and silently approached his own conclusions. They knew his determination only by his actions." Brady had but few superiors as a woodsman; he would strike out into the heart of the wilderness, and with no guide, but the sun by day, and the stars by night, or in their absence, then by such natural marks as the barks and tops of 375trees he would move on steadily, in a direct line toward the point of his destination. He always avoided beaten paths and the borders of streams; and never was known to leave his track behind him. In this manner he eluded pursuit, and defied detection. He was often vainly hunted by his own men, and was more likely to find them, than they him.


  1. Many of the entries in the Contents are not actually references to chapters. They are more like index listings.
  2. Correct many page number errors in the list of Illustrations, e.g. corrected "DEBORAH, THE MAIDEN WARRIOR" from p. 99 to p. 89.
  3. The page numbers in the illustration captions refer to the page within the section instead of the book page number.
  4. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors.
  5. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.