by lyle e davis
Most of us know of Daniel Boone (or Boon, as it was sometimes spelled). We know he was a frontiersman, a hunter, an Indian fighter, a man of some
historical note and accomplishment.
What generally isn’t known is that Boone, though not formally educated, was a rather erudite man;
He could not only read but write quite well.
Daniel Boone was a man of the frontier in early America. As the frontier moved,
he moved with it and became one of the most well-known men of his time.
"This account of my adventures will inform the reader of the most remarkable
events of this country.--I now live in peace and safety, enjoying the sweets of
liberty, and the bounties of Providence, with my once fellow-sufferers, in this
delightful country, which I have seen purchased with a vast expence of blood
and treasure, delighting in the prospect of its being, in a short time, one of
the most opulent and powerful states on the continent of North-America; which,
with the love and gratitude of my country-men, I esteem a sufficient reward for
all my toil and dangers.
Fayette County, Kentucky"
Here, in his own words, a collection of some of the most interesting narratives
of Indian Warfare in the West:
“It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic
happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable home on the Yadkin
River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America, in quest
of the country of Kentucky.
We proceeded successfully, and after a long and fatiguing journey through a
mountainous wilderness, in a westward direction, on the seventh day of June we
found ourselves on Red-River, where one of my companions, Finley, had formerly
been trading with the Indians and, from the top of a hill, saw with pleasure
the beautiful level of Kentucky.
For some time we had experienced the most uncomfortable weather. At this place
we encamped, and made a shelter to defend us from the inclement season, and
began to hunt and reconnoitre the country. We found an abundance of wild beasts
of all sorts, through this vast forest. The buffalo were more frequent than I
have seen cattle in the settlements, browzing on the leaves of the cane, or
cropping the herbage on those extensive plains, fearless, because ignorant, of
the violence of man. Sometimes we saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers
about the salt springs were amazing. In this forest, the home of beasts of
every kind natural to America, we practiced hunting with great success, until
the twenty-second day of December.
This day John Stewart and I had passed through a great forest.
Late in the day, near Kentucky river, as we ascended the brow of a small hill, a
number of Indians rushed out of a thick cane-brake upon us, and made us
prisoners. The Indians plundered us of what we had, and kept us in confinement
seven days, treating us with common savage usage. During this time we
discovered no uneasiness or desire to escape, which made them less suspicious
of us; but in the dead of night, as we lay in a thick cane-brake by a large
fire, when sleep had locked up their senses, I touched my companion, and gently
awoke him. We departed, leaving them to take their rest, and speedily directed
our course towards our old camp, but found it plundered, and the company
dispersed and gone home.
About this time my brother, Squire Boon, with another adventurer, who came to
explore the country shortly after us, was wandering through the forest,
determined to find me if possible, and accidentally found our camp.
Soon after this, my companion in captivity, John Stewart, was killed by the
savages, and the man that came with my brother returned home by himself. We
were then in a dangerous, helpless situation, exposed daily to perils and death
amongst savages and wild beasts, not a white man in the country but ourselves.
Thus situated, many hundred miles from our families in the howling wilderness, I
believe few would have equally enjoyed the happiness we experienced.
We hunted every day, and prepared a little cottage to defend us from the winter
storms. We remained there undisturbed during the winter; and on the first day
of May, 1770, my brother returned home to the settlement by himself, for a new
recruit of horses and ammunition, leaving me by myself, without bread, salt or
sugar, without company of my fellow creatures, or even a horse or dog.
A few days I passed uncomfortably. The idea of a beloved wife and family, and
their anxiety upon the account of my absence and exposed situation, made
sensible impressions on my heart.
One day I undertook a tour through the country. Just at the close of day the gentle gales retired, and left the place to the
disposal of a profound calm. Not a breeze shook the most tremulous leaf. I had
gained the summit of a commanding ridge and, looking round with astonishing
delight, beheld the ample plains, the beauteous tracts below. On the other
hand, I surveyed the famous river, Ohio, that rolled in silent dignity, marking
the western boundary of Kentucky with inconceivable grandeur. At a vast
distance I beheld the mountains lift their venerable brows, and penetrate the
clouds. All things were still.
I kindled a fire near a fountain of sweet water, and feasted on the loin of a
buck, which a few hours before I had killed. My roving excursion this day had
fatigued my body, and diverted my imagination. I laid me down to sleep, and I
awoke not until the sun had chased away the night.
I continued this tour, and in a few days explored a considerable part of the
country, each day equally pleased as the first. I returned again to my old
camp, which was not disturbed in my absence. I did not confine my sleeping to
it, but often slept in thick cane-brakes, to avoid the savages, who, I believe,
often visited my camp, but fortunately for me, in my absence.
In this situation I was constantly exposed to danger and death. The prowling
wolves diverted my nocturnal hours with perpetual howlings; and the various
species of animals in this vast forest, the day time, were continually in my
Thus I was surrounded with plenty in the midst of want. No populous city, with
all the varieties of commerce and stately structures, could afford so much
pleasure to my mind, as the beauties of nature I found here.
Thus, I spent the time until the 27th day of July, when my brother, to my great
joy, met me at our old camp. Shortly after, we left this place and proceeded to
Cumberland River, reconnoitring that part of the country until March 1771, and
giving names to the different waters.
Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as
soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at
the risk of my life and fortune.
I returned safe to my old home, and found my family in happy circumstances. I
sold my farm on the Yadkin, and what goods we could not carry with us; and on
the twenty-fifth day of September, 1773, bade a farewell to our friends, and
proceeded on our journey to Kentucky, in company with five families more, and
forty men that joined us in Powel's Valley, which is one hundred and fifty
miles from the now settled parts of Kentucky.
Upon the tenth day of October, the rear of our company was attacked by a number
of Indians, who killed six, and wounded one man. Of these my eldest son was one
that fell in the action. Though we defended ourselves, and repulsed the enemy,
yet this unhappy affair scattered our cattle, brought us into extreme
difficulty, and so discouraged the whole company, that we retreated forty
miles, to the settlement on Clinch River.
We had passed over two mountains, Powel's and Walden's, and were approaching
Cumberland mountain when this adverse fortune overtook us.
I remained with my family on Clinch until the sixth of June, 1774, when I and
one Michael Stoner were solicited by Governor Dunmore of Virginia, to go to the
Falls of the Ohio, to conduct into the settlement a number of surveyors that
had been sent thither by him some months before; this country having about this
time drawn the attention of many adventurers. We immediately conducted in the
surveyors, completing a tour of eight hundred miles, through many difficulties,
in sixty-two days.
I soon began this work, having collected a number of enterprising men, well
armed. We proceeded with all possible expedition until we came within fifteen
miles of where Boonsborough now stands, and where we were fired upon by a party
of Indians that killed two, and wounded two of our number; yet, although
surprised and taken at a disadvantage, we stood our ground.
This was on the twentieth of March, 1775. Three days after, we were fired upon
again, and had two men killed, and three wounded. Afterwards we proceeded on to
Kentucky River without opposition; and on the first day of April began to erect
the fort of Boonsborough at a salt lick, about sixty yards from the river, on
the S. side.
On the fourth day, the Indians killed one of our men. We were busily employed in
building this fort, until the fourteenth day of June following, without any
farther opposition from the Indians; and having finished the works, I returned
to my family, on Clinch.
In a short time, I proceeded to remove my family from Clinch to this garrison;
where we arrived safe without any other difficulties than such as are common to
this passage, my wife and daughter being the first white women that ever stood
on the banks of Kentucky River.
On the twenty-fourth day of December following, we had one man killed, and one
wounded, by the Indians, who seemed determined to persecute us for erecting
On the fourteenth day of July 1776, two of Col. Callaway's daughters, and one of
mine, were taken prisoners near the fort. I immediately pursued the Indians,
with only eight men, and on the sixteenth overtook them, killed two of the
party, and recovered the girls. The same day on which this attempt was made,
the Indians divided themselves into different parties, and attacked several
forts, which were shortly before this time erected, doing a great deal of
This was extremely distressing to the new settlers. The innocent husbandman was
shot down, while busy in cultivating the soil for his family's supply. Most of
the cattle around the stations were destroyed. They continued their hostilities
in this manner until the fifteenth of April 1777, when they attacked
Boonsborough with a party of above one hundred in number, killed one man, and
wounded four. Their loss in this attack was not known to us.
On the fourth day of July following, a party of about two hundred Indians
attacked Boonsborough, killed one man, and wounded two. They besieged us
forty-eight hours; during which time seven of them were killed, and, at last,
finding themselves not likely to prevail, they raised the siege, and departed.
The Indians had disposed their warriors in different parties at this time, and
attacked the different garrisons to prevent their assisting each other, and did
much injury to the distressed inhabitants.
On the nineteenth day of this month, Col. Logan's fort was besieged by a party
of about two hundred Indians. During this dreadful siege they did a great deal
of mischief, distressed the garrison, in which were only fifteen men, killed
two, and wounded one. The enemy's loss was uncertain, from the common practice
which the Indians have of carrying off their dead in time of battle.
Col. Harrod's fort was then defended by only sixty-five men, and Boonsborough by
twenty-two, there being no more forts or white men in the country, except at
the Falls, a considerable distance from these; and all taken collectively, were
but a handful to the numerous warriors that were every where dispersed through
the country, intent upon doing all the mischief that savage barbarity could
invent. Thus we passed through a scene of sufferings that exceeds description.
On the twenty-fifth of this month, a reinforcement of forty-five men arrived
from North Carolina, and about the twentieth of August following, Col. Bowman
arrived with one hundred men from Virginia. Now we began to strengthen, and
from hence, for the space of six weeks, we had skirmishes with Indians, in one
quarter or other, almost every day.
The savages now learned the superiority of the Long Knife, as they call the
Virginians, by experience; being out-generalled in almost every battle. Our
affairs began to wear a new aspect, and the enemy, not daring to venture on
open war, practiced secret mischief at times.
On the first day of January 1778, I went with a party of thirty men to the Blue
Licks, on Licking River, to make salt for the different garrisons in the
On the 7th day of February, as I was hunting to procure meat for the company, I
met with a party of one hundred and two Indians, and two Frenchmen, on their
march against Boonsborough, that place being particularly the object of the
They pursued, and took me; and brought me on the eighth day to the Licks, where
twenty-seven of my party were, three of them having previously returned home
with the salt. I, knowing it was impossible for them to escape, capitulated
with the enemy, and, at a distance in their view, gave notice to my men of
their situation, with orders not to resist, but surrender themselves captives.
The generous usage the Indians had promised before in my capitulation, was
afterwards fully complied with, and we proceeded with them as prisoners to old
Chelicothe, the principal Indian town on Little Miami, where we arrived, after
an uncomfortable journey in very severe weather, on the eighteenth day of
February, and received as good treatment as prisoners could expect from
savages. On the tenth day of March following, I and my men were conducted by
forty Indians to Detroit, where we arrived the thirtieth day, and were treated
by Governor Hamilton, the British commander at that post, with great humanity.
During our travels, the Indians entertained me well; and their affection for me
was so great, that they utterly refused to leave me there with the others,
although the Governor offered them one hundred pounds sterling for me, on
purpose to give me a parole to go home. Several English gentlemen there, being
sensible of my adverse fortune, and touched with human sympathy, generously
offered a friendly supply for my wants, which I refused, with many thanks for
their kindness; adding, that I never expected it would be in my power to
recompense such unmerited generosity.
The Indians left my men in captivity with the British at Detroit, and on the
tenth day of April brought me towards Old Chelicothe, where we arrived on the
twenty-fifth day of the same month. This was a long and fatiguing march,
through an exceeding fertile country, remarkable for fine springs and streams
of water. At Chelicothe I spent my time as comfortably as I could expect; was
adopted, according to their custom, into a family, where I became a son, and
had a great share in the affection of my new parents, brothers, sisters, and
friends. I was exceedingly familiar and friendly with them, always appearing as
cheerful and satisfied as possible, and they put great confidence in me.
I often went hunting with them, and frequently gained their applause for my
activity at our shooting-matches. I was careful not to exceed many of them in
shooting; for no people are more envious than they in this sport. I could
observe, in their countenances and gestures, the greatest expressions of joy
when they exceeded me; and, when the reverse happened, of envy.
The Shawanese (Shawnee) king took great notice of me, and treated me with
profound respect, and entire friendship, often entrusting me to hunt at my
liberty. I frequently returned with the spoils of the woods, and as often
presented some of what I had taken to him, expressive of duty to my sovereign.
My food and lodging were in common with them; not so good indeed as I could
desire, but necessity made every thing acceptable.
I now began to meditate an escape, and carefully avoided their suspicions,
continuing with them at Old Chelicothe until the first day of June following,
and then was taken by them to the salt springs on Sciota, and kept there,
making salt, ten days. During this time I hunted some for them, and found the
land, for a great extent about this river, to exceed the soil of Kentucky, if
possible, and remarkably well watered.
When I returned to Chelicothe, alarmed to see four hundred and fifty Indians, of
their choicest warriors, painted and armed in a fearful manner, ready to march
against Boonborough, I determined to escape the first opportunity.
On the sixteenth, before sun-rise, I departed in the most secret manner, and
arrived at Boonsborough on the twentieth, after a journey of one hundred and
sixty miles; during which, I had but one meal.
I found our fortress in a bad state of defence; but we proceeded immediately to
repair our flanks, strengthen our gates and posterns, and form double bastions,
which we completed in ten days. In this time we daily expected the arrival of
the Indian army; and at length, one of my fellow prisoners, escaping from them,
arrived, informing us that the enemy had, on account of my departure, postponed
their expedition three weeks.
The Indians had spies out viewing our movements, and were greatly alarmed with
our increase in number and fortifications. The Grand Councils of the nations
were held frequently, and with more deliberation than usual. They evidently saw
the approaching hour when the Long Knife would dispossess them of their
desirable homes; and, anxiously concerned for futurity, determined utterly to
extirpate the whites out of Kentucky. We were not intimidated by their
movements, but frequently gave them proofs of our courage.
About the first of August, I made an incursion into the Indian country, with a
party of nineteen men, in order to surprise a small town up Sciota, called
Paint-Creek-Town. We advanced within four miles thereof, where we met a party
of thirty Indians on their march against Boonsborough, intending to join the
others from Chelicothe. A smart fight ensued betwixt us for some time; at
length the savages gave way, and fled. We had no loss on our side: the enemy
had one killed, and two wounded. We took from them three horses, and all their
baggage; and being informed, by two of our number that went to their town, that
the Indians had entirely evacuated it, we proceeded no further, and returned
with all possible expedition to assist our garrison against the other party. We
passed by them on the sixth day, and on the seventh, we arrived safe at
On the eighth, the Indian army arrived, being four hundred and forty-four in
number, commanded by Capt. Duquesne, eleven other Frenchmen, and some of their
own chiefs, and marched up within view of our fort, with British and French
colours flying; and having sent a summons to me, in his Britannick Majesty's
name, to surrender the fort, I requested two days consideration, which was
It was now a critical period with us. We were a small number in the garrison: a
powerful army before our walls, whose appearance proclaimed inevitable death,
fearfully painted, and marking their footsteps with desolation. Death was
preferable to captivity; and if taken by storm, we must inevitably be devoted
to destruction. In this situation we concluded to maintain our garrison, if
We immediately proceeded to collect what we could of our horses, and other
cattle, and bring them through the posterns into the fort: and in the evening
of the ninth, I returned answer, that we were determined to defend our fort
while a man was living.
"Now," said I to their commander, who stood attentively hearing my sentiments, "We laugh at all your formidable preparations: but thank you for giving us
notice and time to provide for our defence. Your efforts will not prevail; for
our gates shall for ever deny you admittance."
Whether this answer affected their courage, or not, I cannot tell; but, contrary
to our expectations, they formed a scheme to deceive us, declaring it was their
orders, from Governor Hamilton, to take us captives, and not to destroy us; but
if nine of us would come out, and treat with them, they would immediately
withdraw their forces from our walls, and return home peaceably. This sounded
grateful in our ears; and we agreed to the proposal.
We held the treaty within sixty yards of the garrison, on purpose to divert them
from a breach of honour, as we could not avoid suspicions of the savages. In
this situation the articles were formally agreed to, and signed; and the
Indians told us it was customary with them, on such occasions, for two Indians
to shake hands with every white man in the treaty, as an evidence of entire
friendship. We agreed to this also, but were soon convinced their policy was to
take us prisoners.
They immediately grappled us; but, although surrounded by hundreds of savages,
we extricated ourselves from them, and escaped all safe into the garrison,
except one that was wounded, through a heavy fire from their army. They
immediately attacked us on every side, and a constant heavy fire ensued between
us, day and night, for the space of nine days.
In this time the enemy began to undermine our fort, which was situated sixty
yards from Kentucky River. They began at the water-mark, and proceeded in the
bank some distance, which we understood by their making the water muddy with
the clay; and we immediately proceeded to disappoint their design, by cutting a
trench across their subterranean passage. The enemy discovering our
counter-mine, by the clay we threw out of the fort, desisted from that
stratagem: and experience now fully convincing them that neither their power
nor policy could effect their purpose, on the twentieth day of August they
raised the siege, and departed.
During this siege, which threatened death in every form, we had two men killed,
and four wounded, besides a number of cattle. We killed of the enemy
thirty-seven, and wounded a great number. After they were gone, we picked up
one hundred and twenty-five pounds weight of bullets, besides what stuck in the
logs of our fort; which certainly is a great proof of their industry.
During my absence from Kentucky Col. Bowman carried on an expedition against the
Shawanese, at old Chelicothe, with one hundred and sixty men, in July 1779.
Here they arrived undiscovered, and a battle ensued, which lasted until ten
o'clock A.M. when Col. Bowman, finding he could not succeed at this time,
retreated about thirty miles. The Indians, in the mean time, collecting all
their forces, pursued and overtook him, when a smart fight continued near two
hours, not to the advantage of Col. Bowman's party.
Col. Harrod proposed to mount a number of horse, and furiously to rush upon the
savages, who at this time fought with remarkable fury. This desperate step had
a happy effect, broke their line of battle, and the savages fled on all sides.
In these two battles we had nine killed, and one wounded. The enemy's loss
uncertain, only two scalps being taken.
On the twenty-second day of June 1780, a large party of Indians and Canadians,
about six hundred in number, commanded by Col. Bird, attacked Riddle's and
Martin's stations, at the forks of Licking River, with six pieces of artillery.
They carried this expedition so secretly, that the unwary inhabitants did not
discover them, until they fired upon the forts; and, not being prepared to
oppose them, were obliged to surrender themselves, miserable captives, to
barbarous savages, who immediately after tomahawked one man and two women, and
loaded all the others with heavy baggage, forcing them along toward their
towns, able or unable to march. Such as were weak and faint by the way, they
tomahawked. The tender women, and helpless children, fell victims to their
cruelty. This, and the savage treatment they received afterwards, is shocking
to humanity, and too barbarous to relate.
The hostile disposition of the savages, and their allies, caused General Clark,
the commandant at the Falls of the Ohio, immediately to begin an expedition
with his own regiment, and the armed force of the country, against Pecaway, the
principal town of the Shawnee, on a branch of Great Miami, which he finished
with great success, took seventeen scalps, and burnt the town to ashes, with
the loss of seventeen men.
About this time I returned to Kentucky with my family; during my captivity with
the Indians, my wife, who despaired of ever seeing me again, expecting the
Indians had put a period to my life, oppressed with the distresses of the
country, and bereaved of me, had, before I returned, transported my family and
goods, on horses, through the wilderness, amidst a multitude of dangers, to her
father's house in North-Carolina.
Shortly after the troubles at Boonsborough, I went to them, and lived peaceably
there until this time. The history of my going home, and returning with my
family, forms a series of difficulties, an account of which would swell a
volume, and being foreign of my purpose, I shall purposely omit them.
I settled my family in Boonsborough once more; and shortly after, on the sixth
day of October 1780, I went in company with my brother to the Blue Licks; and,
on our return home, we were fired upon by a party of Indians. They shot him,
and pursued me, by the scent of their dog, three miles; but I killed the dog,
and escaped. The winter soon came on, and was very severe, which confined the
Indians to their wigwams.
The severity of this winter caused great difficulties in Kentucky. The enemy had
destroyed most of the corn the summer before. This necessary article was
scarce, and dear; and the inhabitants lived chiefly on the flesh of buffalo.
The circumstances of many were very lamentable: however, being a hardy race of
people, and accustomed to difficulties and necessities, they were wonderfully
supported through all their sufferings, until the ensuing autumn, when we
received abundance from the fertile soil.
Towards Spring, we were frequently harassed by Indians; and, in May 1782, a
party assaulted Ashton's station, killed one man, and took a Negro prisoner.
Capt. Ashton. with twenty-five men, pursued, and overtook the savages, and a
smart fight ensued, which lasted two hours; but they being superior in number,
obliged Captain Ashton's party to retreat, with the loss of eight killed, and
four mortally wounded; their brave commander himself being numbered among the
The Indians continued their hostilities; and, about the tenth of August
following, two boys were taken from Major Hoy's station. This party was pursued
by Capt. Holder and seventeen men, who were also defeated, with the loss of
four men killed, and one wounded. Our affairs became more and more alarming.
Several stations which had lately been erected in the country were continually
infested with savages, stealing their horses and killing the men at every
opportunity. In a field, near Lexington, an Indian shot a man, and running to
scalp him, was himself shot from the fort, and fell dead upon his enemy.
Every day we experienced recent mischiefs. The barbarous savage nations of
Shawnee, Cherokees, Wyandots, Tawas, Delawares, and several others near
Detroit, united in a war against us, and assembled their choicest warriors at
old Chelicothe, to go on the expedition, in order to destroy us, and entirely
depopulate the country.
Their savage minds were inflamed to mischief by two abandoned men, Captains
M'Kee and Girty. These led them to execute every diabolical scheme; and, on the
fifteenth day of August, commanded a party of Indians and Canadians, of about
five hundred in number, against Briant's station, five miles from Lexington.
Without demanding a surrender, they furiously assaulted the garrison, which was
happily prepared to oppose them; and, after they had expended much ammunition
in vain, and killed the cattle round the fort, not being likely to make
themselves masters of this place, they raised the siege, and departed in the
morning of the third day after they came, with the loss of about thirty killed,
and the number of wounded uncertain. Of the garrison four were killed, and
On the eighteenth day Col. Todd, Col. Trigg, Major Harland, and myself, speedily
collected one hundred and seventy-six men, well armed, and pursued the savages.
They had marched beyond the Blue Licks to a remarkable bend of the main fork of
Licking River, about forty-three miles from Lexington, where we overtook them
on the nineteenth day. The savages observing us, gave way; and we, being
ignorant of their numbers, passed the river. When the enemy saw our
proceedings, having greatly the advantage of us in situation, they formed the
line of battle, from one bend of Licking to the other, about a mile from the
An exceeding fierce battle immediately began, for about fifteen minutes, when
we, being overpowered by numbers, were obliged to retreat, with the loss of
sixty-seven men, seven of whom were taken prisoners. The brave and
much-lamented Colonels Todd and Trigg, Major Harland, and my second son, were
among the dead. We were informed that the Indians, numbering their dead, found
they had four killed more than we; and therefore, four of the prisoners they
had taken were, by general consent, ordered to be killed, in a most barbarous
manner, by the young warriors, in order to train them up to cruelty; and then
they proceeded to their towns.
On our retreat we were met by Col. Logan, hastening to join us, with a number of
well armed men. This powerful assistance we unfortunately wanted in the battle;
for notwithstanding the enemy's superiority of numbers, they acknowledged that,
if they had received one more fire from us, they should undoubtedly have given
way. So valiantly did our small party fight, that, to the memory of those who
unfortunately fell in the battle, enough honour cannot be paid. Had Col. Logan
and his party been with us, it is highly probable we should have given the
savages a total defeat.
I cannot reflect upon this dreadful scene, but sorrow fills my heart. A zeal for
the defence of their country led these heroes to the scene of action, though
with a few men to attack a powerful army of experienced warriors. When we gave
way, they pursued us with the utmost eagerness, and in every quarter spread
destruction. The river was difficult to cross, and many were killed in the
flight, some just entering the river, some in the water, others after crossing,
in ascending the cliffs. Some escaped on horseback, a few on foot; and, being
dispersed every where in a few hours, brought the melancholy news of this
unfortunate battle to Lexington. Many widows were now made. The reader may
guess what sorrow filled the hearts of the inhabitants, exceeding any thing
that I am able to describe.
Being reinforced, we returned to bury the dead, and found their bodies strewed
every where, cut and mangled in a dreadful manner. This mournful scene
exhibited a horror almost unparalleled: Some torn and eaten by wild beasts;
those in the river eaten by fishes; all in such a putrified condition, that no
one could be distinguished from another.
As soon as General Clark, then at the Falls of the Ohio, understood the
circumstances of this unfortunate action, he ordered an expedition, with all
possible haste, to pursue the savages, which was so expeditiously effected,
that we overtook them within two miles of their towns, and probably might have
obtained a great victory, had not two of their number met us about two hundred
poles before we came up. These returned quick as lightening to their camp with
the alarming news of a mighty army in view.
The savages fled in the utmost disorder, evacuated their towns, and reluctantly
left their territory to our mercy. We immediately took possession of Old
Chelicothe, without opposition, being deserted by its inhabitants. We continued
our pursuit through five towns on the Miami rivers, Old Chelicothe, Pecaway,
New Chelicothe, Will's Towns, and Chelicothe, burnt them all to ashes, entirely
destroyed their corn, and other fruits, and every where spread a scene of
desolation in the country. In this expedition we took seven prisoners and five
scalps, with the loss of only four men, two of whom were accidentally killed by
our own army.
This campaign in some measure damped the spirits of the Indians, and made them
sensible of our superiority. Their connections were dissolved, their armies
scattered, and a future invasion put entirely out of their power; yet they
continued to practice mischief secretly upon the inhabitants, in the exposed
parts of the country.
In October following, a party made an excursion into that district called the
Crab Orchard, and one of them, being advanced some distance before the others,
boldly entered the house of a poor defenceless family, in which was only a
Negro man, a woman and her children, terrified with the apprehensions of
immediate death. The savage, perceiving their defenceless situation, without
offering violence to the family, attempted to capture the Negro, who happily
proved an over-match for him, threw him on the ground, and, in the struggle,
the mother of the children drew an axe from a corner of the cottage, and cut
his head off, while her little daughter shut the door. The savages instantly
appeared, and applied their tomahawks to the door. An old rusty gun-barrel,
without a lock, lay in a corner, which the mother put through a small crevice,
and the savages, perceiving it, fled. In the mean time, the alarm spread
through the neighbourhood; the armed men collected immediately, and pursued the
ravagers into the wilderness. Thus Providence, by the means of this Negro,
saved the whole of the poor family from destruction.
From that time, until the happy return of peace between the United States and
Great Britain, the Indians did us no mischief. Finding the great king beyond
the water disappointed in his expectations, and conscious of the importance of
the Long Knife, and their own wretchedness, some of the nations immediately
desired peace; to which, at present, they seem universally disposed, and are
sending ambassadors to General Clark, at the Falls of the Ohio, with the
minutes of their Councils.
To conclude, I can now say that I have verified the saying of an old Indian who
signed Col. Henderson's deed. Taking me by the hand, at the delivery thereof, "Brother," says he, "we have given you a fine land, but I believe you will have much trouble in
My footsteps have often been marked with blood, and therefore I can truly
subscribe to its original name. Two darling sons, and a brother, have I lost by
savage hands, which have also taken from me forty valuable horses, and an
abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I been a companion for
owls, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun,
and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the
wilderness. But now the scene is changed: peace crowns the sylvan shade.
What thanks, what ardent and ceaseless thanks are due to that all-superintending
Providence which has turned a cruel war into peace, brought order out of
confusion, made the fierce savages placid, and turned away their hostile
weapons from our country! May the same Almighty Goodness banish the accursed
monster, war, from all lands, with her hated associates, rapine and insatiable
ambition! Let peace, descending from her native heaven, bid her olives spring
amidst the joyful nations; and plenty, in league with commerce, scatter
blessings from her copious hand”!