Indian History for Young Folks - Francis Drake

What We Know about the American Indian

Few young people who live east of the Mississippi River have ever seen an Indian. Nearly all are familiar with pictures of him, or have read stories about him. Most of these stories are highly colored, and represent him as more or less than human, and not at all as he really is. Even those who have made a study of the Indian differ widely in their estimate of him.

Perhaps you will ask how it happens that the Indians are now aliens and paupers in a land of which they were once the undisputed possessors? It is easy to see how it all came about, but it is a story by no means creditable to the white man. In the first place, the European sovereigns claimed their lands by right of discovery. Precisely as though you should claim another boy's sled because it was the first time you had seen it, and then should wrest it from him because you were the stronger. This is just what the white man did to the Indian: in plain language, robbed him.

It is true that in some cases lands were bought of the natives, but the Indian had no idea of exclusive ownership in land, and supposed he was giving the white man only an equal privilege in it with himself. The price paid was often insignificant enough. For the territory now covered by the great city of New York the Indians received twenty-four pounds—about one hundred and twenty dollars—a sum which would now buy little more than a square foot of it.

One way to cheat the Indian out of his land was this: a tract of territory granted by the Delawares to William Penn fifty years before was to extend in a given direction as far as a man could walk in a day and a half, and from this point eastwardly to the Delaware River. The Indians justly complained that, instead of walking, the men appointed by the proprietors ran. Not only did they run, but they had previously cut a path through the forest and removed whatever could hinder their swift passage. This was not all. Instead of running the northern line direct to the Delaware, the plain meaning of the deed, the proprietors inclined it so far to the north as to form an acute angle with the river.

By these fraudulent methods they gained possession of many hundred thousand acres of valuable land which the Indians had no intention of surrendering, and from which they were compelled immediately to remove. This and other injuries and aggressions ended in a terrible border war, in which the French joined the Delawares against the English.

When the Indian turned upon his white oppressor, the effort was made to crush and exterminate him. By alternate wars and treaties he was pushed back from his ancient seats, until at length, cooped up in reservations under the eye of the military, he is fed and clothed by the government, having no rights as a citizen.

To this state of things there are some notable exceptions. In the Indian Territory the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, live under a government of their own; in New York the remaining Iroquois, having become civilized, are citizens; in New Mexico the Pueblo Indians are semi-civilized; and in Michigan and North Carolina there are a few Indians not on reservations. All these are self-supporting.

Is it to be wondered at that the Indian has made no greater progress in civilization? If white men had been treated as he has been, and placed beyond the necessity of labor, they would quickly become worthless vagabonds. It will not do to assume the inherent inferiority of the red men. We must remember that, like them, our British ancestors were savages, who painted their bodies, clothed themselves in the skins of wild beasts, and lived in rude huts in a country covered with forests and swamps.

The folly and wickedness of most of our Indian wars is only too apparent when we reflect that the injury the Indian could inflict upon the innocent settlers on our border was many times greater than we could possibly inflict upon him, and that simple justice and honesty in our dealings with him would have prevented them altogether.

It was a blunder—the first of a long series in our dealings with them—to call the natives "Indians." On discovering America, Columbus supposed he had reached India, the object of his voyage. Indeed, the great navigator died in ignorance of the fact that he had discovered a new continent. To this day the lands he first saw are known as the West Indies.

It is supposed that this country was inhabited by an earlier race of men called Mound Builders from the earthworks of various forms and sizes found in the valley of the Mississippi and elsewhere.



In Wisconsin many of these mounds are in the form of gigantic animals. The builders must have been familiar with the mastodon, or elephant, judging from the "Big Elephant" mound found a few miles below the mouth of the Wisconsin River. It is 135 feet long, and well proportioned. One in Adams County, Ohio, represents a serpent 1000 feet long, its body gracefully curved, and its open jaws about to swallow a figure shaped like an egg.

The great mound of Cabokia, opposite St. Louis, is 90 feet in height and 700 feet in length. Unity of design and mathematical precision of construction appear in all these works, most of which are of a defensive character, and in which are represented the square, the circle, the octagon, and the rhomb. They have gate-ways, parallel lines, and outlooks; and it is evident that they are the results of the labors of a vast number of men directed by a single governing mind having a definite object in view. At Newark, Ohio, a fortification exists which covers an area of several miles, and has over two miles of embankment from two to twenty feet high.

Newark Earthworks


The present native race has neither knowledge nor tradition respecting these singular remains. Their builders have left us no other record than the mounds themselves, and the tools and ornaments, some of them of copper, and the tastefully moulded pottery found in them.

A probable conjecture about tins mysterious people is that they were village Indians of New Mexico, and that some of these earthworks were the foundations of their long houses, in which great numbers of them lived, and that they were finally driven off by fierce savage hordes from the West and North. Their houses, being of wood, long since disappeared.

Let me now tell you what the Indian is like. Picture to yourselves a man with straight black hair, a scanty beard, small black eyes, high cheek-bones, large thick lips, a narrow forehead, and a reddish-brown or cinnamon complexion, and you have a tolerably correct idea of how the North American Indian appears. Though divided into seven or eight stocks or families, each speaking a different language, the Indians throughout the United States have a common physical likeness and similar manners and institutions.

North American Indian


The principal of these great divisions or families are:

Algonkins;  found throughout the eastern portion of the country, from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, and west to the Mississippi. They covered sixty degrees of longitude and twenty degrees of latitude, and numbered 90,000—more than one-third of the entire Indian population.

Iroquois, or Five Nations;  in western and central New York, and, farther north, the Hurons, or Wyandots.

Dakotas, or Sioux;  west of the Algonkins, and extending from the Saskatchewan River to southern Arkansas, and from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains.

Muskokis, or Appalachians;  all the south-eastern part of the United States, extending west to the Mississippi. They embraced the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, Uchees, and several other small tribes.

Shoshonis, or Snakes;  this division forms six groups, extending over parts of Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Texas, California, and New Mexico.

Besides these are the Athabascas, Yumas, and New Mexican Pueblos. The first are, perhaps, the most numerous, inhabiting Alaska, Canada, and a part of Oregon. The Yumas inhabit Arizona and California. The Pueblos (village Indians) speak six different languages. The wide diversity of tongues in these twenty-six towns in New Mexico, of similar habits and social life, is a most singular circumstance.

Ali these great families were divided into numerous tribes and clans, and these again into smaller tribes, bands, and villages. They are now distributed among one hundred reservations, and more than half of them wear citizen's dress. Some of these reservations are very extensive; that of the Sioux, in Dakota, is larger than the State of New York. The Indian Territory, with a population of 76,585, of whom more than one-fourth are yet uncivilized, contains some thirty-five tribes or parts of tribes.

Having shown you how the Indian appears, I will now tell you what he is.

The characteristic traits of the Indian are such as are common to all barbarous races. Ambitious, vindictive, cruel, envious, and suspicious, he is also sagacious, warlike, and courageous, and, at the same time, excessively cautious. Revenge is with him a sacred duty. Treacherous and deceitful to his foes, he prefers to slay his enemy by a secret rather than an open blow.

On the other hand, he loves liberty passionately; will brave famine, torture, and even death in the pursuit of glory; is strongly affectionate to his family; hospitable to the extent of sharing his last morsel with a stranger, though famine stares him in the face; faithful in friendship, he will lay down his life for his comrade, and never forgets a kindness. He is grave, dignified, and patient, and possesses a stoicism that enables him to control his emotions under the most trying circumstances. His out-door life and habitual self-control keep him from all effeminate vices. He uses tobacco for smoking only, and, before the white man came, was happily ignorant even of the existence of intoxicating drinks.

The superiority of Indian hospitality to that of the white man was, no doubt, truly stated by Canassatego, a chief of the Six Nations, in a conversation with an English friend:

"If," said he, "a white man enters one of our cabins, we all treat him as I do you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he is cold, and give him meat and drink that he may allay his thirst and hunger, and we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep on. We demand nothing in return. But if I go into a white man's house in Albany and ask for victuals and drink, they say, 'Where is your money?' and, if I have none, they say, 'Get out, you Indian dog?'"

Out of many instances of Indian humanity I select that of Petalashara, a distinguished Pawnee brave. The son of a chief, he had, at the age of twenty-one, earned from his tribe the title accorded to the celebrated French soldier, Marshal Ney, "the bravest of the brave."

A female captive was about to suffer torture at the stake in accordance with Indian custom. A large crowd had, as usual, gathered to witness the horrible scene.

The brave, unobserved, had stationed two fleet horses near at hand, and silently waited the moment for action. The flames were about to envelop the victim, when, to the astonishment of all, Petalashara was seen severing the cords that bound her, and, with the swiftness of thought, bearing her off in his arms; and then, placing her upon one horse, and himself mounting the other, he bore her safely away to her friends and country. Such an act would have endangered the life of any ordinary warrior; but such was his sway over the tribe that no one presumed to censure the daring act.

Though not the equal of the white man in bodily strength, the Indian was his superior in endurance and fleetness of foot. Some of their best runners could make seventy or eighty miles in a day through the unbroken wilderness. A close observer of natural phenomena, in the densest forest the Indian could travel for miles in a straight line, and could note signs and sounds the white man could not perceive. His temperament is poetic and imaginative, and his simple eloquence possesses great dignity and force.

A little anecdote will give an idea of his native wit and shrewdness. A half-naked Indian was looking on at some workmen in the employ of Governor Dudley, of Massachusetts.

"Why don't you work and get yourself some clothes?" asked the governor.

"Why don't you work?" retorted the son of the forest.

"I work head-work," said Dudley, pointing to his head.

The Indian said he was willing to work, and agreed to kill a calf for the governor. Having done so, he came for his pay.

"But," said the governor, "you have not dressed the calf."

"No, no," said the Indian; "I was to have a shilling for killing him. Am he no dead, governor?" Finding himself out-witted, the governor gave him another shilling for dressing it. It was not long before the Indian came back demanding a good shilling in place of a bad one which he claimed that the governor had paid him. The governor gave him another. Returning a second time with still another brass piece to be exchanged, the governor, convinced of his knavery, offered him half a crown if he would deliver a letter for him. The letter was directed to the keeper of the prison, and ordered him to give the bearer a certain number of lashes.

The Indian suspected that all was not right, and, meeting a servant of the governor, induced him to take the letter to its address. The result of the Indian's stratagem was that a severe whipping was administered to the unfortunate servant. The governor was greatly chagrined at being a second time out-witted by the Indian. On falling in with him some time after, he accosted him with some severity, asking him how he had dared to cheat and deceive him so many times.

"Head-work, governor; head-work," was the reply. Pleased at the fellow's wit and audacity, the governor freely forgave him.



Perhaps some of my younger readers may wonder how people could exist in a wilderness where there were no houses to live in, no markets where they could buy food, and no stores in which clothing and other necessary articles could be procured. If they look into the matter, they will find that the Creator had provided whatever was required by their simple mode of life, and that they had no artificial wants. For these they were indebted to the white man.

Formerly the Indians were clad in the skins of animals; a robe and breech cloth for the man, and a short petticoat for the women. On great occasions, as councils or war-dances, they daubed themselves with paint, the color being varied for joy or grief, peace or war. They also decorated themselves with beads, feathers, porcupine quills, and parts of birds and animals. The women wore their hair long, the men shaved theirs off, except the scalp-lock, which was left as a point of honor.

For food the Indian relied upon the chase, the fisheries, and agriculture. Maize, or Indian corn, was his principal food. It grew luxuriantly without cultivation, was gathered by hand and roasted before the fire; a small supply of it parched and pounded sufficed for a long journey. He also raised beans and pumpkins, and a little tobacco. If all other supplies failed, he had nuts, roots, berries, and acorns, which grew wild. His cooking was simple and without seasoning, usually by roasting over a fire. Baking was done in holes in the ground, and water was boiled by throwing heated stones into it.

Most of the natives lived in cabins or wigwams. These were made by fixing long poles in the ground, bending them towards each other at the top, and covering them outside with bark or skins, and inside with mats. A bear-skin served for the door; an opening in the roof was the chimney. There were no windows. It could be quickly set up and easily removed. Its size was proportioned to the number it was to hold. In these dirty, smoky habitations men, women, and children huddled together. Some of the tribes built permanent villages, with streets and rows of houses; these were generally surrounded with palisades of logs and brushwood. Nearly all the tribes changed their abode at different seasons in pursuit of the various kinds of game.

Zuni dwellings


A remarkable exception to the usual form of the Indian dwelling is found among the Pueblo, or village, Indians of New Mexico.

In the face of a line of cliffs extending over sixty miles on the western side of the Rio Grande, between Cochiti and Santa Clara, are seen numerous excavations which had once been human habitations, but which are now in ruins. At a distance they look like a long line of dark spots. They were approached by foot-paths and stairways cut in the rock, which was soft and easily worked, and were in tiers of two, three, four, and occasionally five, rows, one above the other and not far apart. The only entrance was by an arch-shaped door-way, widening until there was room enough within for a single family. Wooden structures in front served as out-door habitations for the women and children.

So numerous are these caves that one hundred thousand persons might have lived at once where only a few hundred of their descendants now dwell. It is wonderful how this region, which is exceedingly desolate, volcanic, and sterile, and in which there are few watercourses, could have sustained such a dense population.

Indian pipe


The fort-like community houses of the Zuni Indians outwardly present one unbroken wall of hard mud. Their inner faces consist of a series of terraces or houses, piled one above the other, from two to five stories in height. Each tier above is less than the one beneath by the width of one story, and is entered over the roof of the tier below. Formerly the only house-doors were hatchways in the roof; and to enter their habitation the family—babies, dogs, and all—went up an outside ladder to the roof, and down an inside ladder to the floor. Narrow door-ways cut in the rock are now made use of.

The Indian's implements of husbandry were of the rudest kind, yet he had learned many useful arts. He knew the art of striking fire; of making the bow with the string of sinew, and the arrow-head both of flint and bone; of making vessels of pottery; of curing and tanning skills: of making moccasins, snow-shoes, and wearing apparel, together with various implements and utensils of stone, wood, and bone; of rope and net-making from fibres of bark; of finger-weaving with warp and woof the same materials into sashes, burden-straps, and other useful fabrics; of weaving rush-mats; of making pipes of clay or stone, often artistically carved; of basket-making with osier, cane, and splints; of canoe-making—the skin, birch-bark, and that hollowed from the trunk of a tree; of constructing timber-framed lodges and skin tents; of shaping stone mauls, hammers, axes, and chisels; of making fish spears, nets, and bone hooks; implements for athletic games; musical instruments, such as the flute and the drum; weapons and ornaments of shell, bone, and stone.

Indian snow shoe


His most ingenious inventions were the snow-shoe, the birch canoe, the method of dressing the skins of animals with the brains, and the Dakota tent, or tepee, the model of the Sibley army tent. With the snow-shoe he could travel forty miles a day over the surface of the snow, and easily overtake the deer and the moose, whose hoofs penetrated the crust and prevented their escape. The bark canoe, sometimes thirty feet long and carrying twelve persons, was very light and easily propelled. The bark of the tree was stripped off whole and stretched over a light, white cedar frame. The edges were sewed with thongs, and then covered with gum. They varied in pattern, drew little water, and were often graceful in shape. The Iroquois used elm-bark, the Algonkins birch. The Pacific tribes made baskets, some of which were so skilfully woven as to hold water.

In hunting, the bow and arrow, and sometimes the dart or spear, were used. The smaller animals were trapped. When game was plenty it was sometimes driven into an enclosure and killed. The southern tribes used the lasso and stone balls attached to hide ropes. Fish were taken in nets, and with bone hooks, or speared.

Though the Indian believed his own way of life superior to all others, and in accordance with the design of the Great Spirit, and detested civilization, he has been unable to resist its progress. The gun has taken the place of the bow and arrow, and his rude arts and implements have gradually been replaced by those of greater utility and simplicity. The printing-press is already employed by the Cherokees, who publish a newspaper in their own language at Tahlequah; another is issued at Caddo, in the Creek nation, in the Creek or Choctaw tongue. The plough is in very general use among the tribes.

Indian canoe and dwellings


Having no alphabet, the aborigines conveyed their ideas to the eye by means of rude pictures of visible objects engraved upon smooth stones or the bark of trees, and sometimes drawn on the skins of animals. Their records of treaties were kept by strings or belts of wampum made of shells and beads, which was also in use as money. These beads were commonly used for ornament. Ten thousand of then have been known to be wrought into a single war-belt four inches wide.

The accompanying sketch was copied from a tree on the banks of the Muskingum River, Ohio. The characters were drawn with charcoal and bear's oil. It describes the part borne in Pontiac's war by the Delawares of the Muskingum, under the noted chief, Wingemund.

Indian picture writing


No. 1 represents the oldest and main branch of the Delaware tribe by its ancient symbol, the tortoise. No. 2 is the totem, or armorial badge, of Wingemund, denoting him to be the actor. No. 3 is the sun; the ten horizontal strokes beneath it denote the number of war-parties in which this chief had participated. No. 4 represents men's scalps. No. 5, women's scalps. No. 6, male prisoners. No. 7, female prisoners. No. 8, a small fort situated on the banks of Lake Erie, which was taken by the Indians in 1762, by surprise. No. 9 represents the fort at Detroit, under the command of Major Gladwyn, which, in 1763, resisted a siege of three months. No. 10 is Fort Pitt, denoted by its striking position on the extreme point of land at the confluence of the Alleghany and the Monongahela rivers. No. 11 signifies the incipient town near it. The eleven crosses or figures arranged below the tortoise denote the number of persons who were either killed or taken prisoners by this chief; the prisoners are distinguished from the slain by the figure of a ball or circle above the cross-figure denoting a head. Those devices without the circle are symbols of the slain; but four out of the eleven appear to have been women, and of these two were retained as prisoners. It appears that but two of the six men were led into captivity. The twenty-three nearly vertical strokes at the foot of the inscription indicate the strength of the chieftain's party. The inclination denotes the course of their march to the scene of conflict. This course, in the actual position of the tribe, and of the side of the tree chosen to depict it, was northward. As an evidence of the order and exactitude of these rude memorials in recording facts, it is to be observed that the number of persons captured or killed in each expedition of the chief is set on the left of the picture, exactly opposite the symbolical mark of the expedition.

Indian grave post


Similar devices upon Indian grave-posts commemorate the family and the deeds of the deceased. The one here represented is that of Wabojeeg, a celebrated Chippewa war-chief. He was of the family of the Addik, or American Reindeer. This fact is represented by the figure of a deer. The reversed position denotes death. The seven transverse marks on the left denote that he had led seven war-parties. The three perpendicular lines below the totem represent three wounds received in battle. The figure of a moose's head denotes a desperate conflict with an enraged animal of that kind. The symbols of the arrow and pipe indicate his influence in war and peace. The Indians mourned their dead sincerely and preserved their remains with affectionate veneration.

The famous Dighton Rock inscription, once ascribed to the Northmen, is now known to be merely the record of a battle between two Indian tribes. The amazement of the vanquished at the sudden assault of the victors is shown by their being deprived of both hands and arms, or the power of resistance. Nothing in the inscription denotes a foreigner, nor is there any figure or sign for any weapon or implement brought by white, men from beyond the sea. This interesting object is situated on the border of the Taunton River.

Dighton Rock Inscriptions


Each tribe had its sachem or civil chief, and regarded itself as a sovereign and independent nation. The form of government was patriarchal. The sachem had no power except through the influence of his wisdom and ability Any one could be a war-chief whose tried bravery and prudence on time war-path enabled him to raise volunteers. The sachem was sometimes a woman. The succession of chiefs was through the female line, a brother or nephew succeeding instead of a son.

As there were no written laws, their government rested on opinion and custom, and these were all-powerful. Each man was his own protector and avenger. Murder was retaliated by the next of kin, and family and tribal strifes thus caused often continued from generation to generation. Each village had its independent government, one long building in each being devoted to festivals, dances, and public councils. The affairs of the nation were transacted only in a general council.

In these assemblies, in which the Indian took great delight, strict order was kept. Seated in a semicircle on the ground, painted and tattooed, the chiefs adorned with feathers, with the beak of the red-bird or the claws of the bear, they smoked in silence, and listened attentively to the speaker. There was no war of words, no discord. They used tobacco in all their important assemblies, and the pipe was the symbol of peace.

Indians in council


A common emblem, called the totem, consisting of the figure of some beast, bird, or reptile, formed the distinguishing mark of the tribes or smaller clans, serving the same purpose with them as the family name does with us. The tortoise, the bear, the beaver, the turtle, and the wolf were the totems of the "first families." The figure representing the totem of his tribe was tattooed upon the Indian's breast. The spirit of the animal was supposed especially to favor the clan thus represented.

Marriage could not be contracted between kindred of near degree, or families having the same totem. Husband and wife in the same family must be of different clans If the presents of the lover to the father of his intended were accepted, she became his wife, though neither may have spoken to the other, and for a while the husband had a home in her father's lodge. The presents have been known to be returned and the match broken off because there was no powder-horn sent.

A peculiar method of match-making prevails among time Moquis of New Mexico—a simple, happy, and most hospitable people. There the fair one selects the youth who pleases her, and her father proposes the match to the sire of time fortunate swain. Such is the gallantry of the sterner sex in this region that the proposition is never refused. The preliminaries being arranged, the young man on his part furnishes two pairs of moccasins, two fine blankets, two mattresses, and two of the sashes used at the feast, while the maiden for her share provides an abundance of eatables, and the marriage is celebrated by feasting and dancing.

Indian baby


The love of the Indian mother for her off-spring is strong and constant, yet her treatment of her child during infancy seems to us cruel and unfeeling. To the cradle made of thin pieces of light wood, and ornamented with porcupine's quills, beads, and rattles, the infant, carefully wrapped in furs, is securely tied. This bandaged, it is carried by the mother, its back to hers, or, while she works in the field, is suspended from the limb of a tree. In this way the future warrior takes his first lesson in endurance. The patience and quiet of the Indian child in this close confinement are quite wonderful. Children are left pretty much to themselves; their assistance in household labor is voluntary, and they are seldom scolded or beaten.

The strength of the paternal tie among the Indians is seen in the act of Bianswah, a Chippewa chief, as related by Schoolcraft. In his absence from home his son was captured by a hostile band. On reaching his wigwam the old man heard the terrible news, and, knowing what the fate of his son would be, he followed on the trail of the enemy alone, and reached their village while they were preparing to roast their captive alive. Stepping boldly into the arena, he offered to take his son's place.

"My son," said he, "has seen but a few winters; his feet have never trod the war-path; but the hairs of my head are white; I have hung many scalps over the graves of my relatives which I have taken from the heads of your warriors; kindle the fire about me, and send my son home to my lodge." The offer was accepted, and the old chief suffered torture to save his son.

Filial devotion is finely illustrated in the story of Nadowaqua, the daughter of a chief who lived in the vicinity of Michilimackinac. This chief, known as Le Grand Sable, was able, politic, and brave. He had been a warns friend of the French, and was one of the prominent actors in the memorable capture of old Fort Michilimackinac in 1763, related farther on.

Many years afterwards, when he had become quite aged, he accompanied his relatives, in the month of March, on their annual journey to the forests which yield the sugar-maple. After this season, which is one of enjoyment with the Indians, was over, and they had packed their effects to return, it was found that the old chief was unable to sustain the journey.

His daughter Nadowaqua determined to carry him on her shoulders to his wigwam. For this purpose she took her long stout deer-skin apekun, or head-strap, and, fastening it around his body, bent herself strongly forward under the load, then rose under the pious burden, and took the path to Lake Michigan. It is usual to put down the burdens at fixed points or resting-places on the way. In this manner she brought her father safely to the shore of the lake, a distance of ten miles!

The feat of Æneas in carrying Anchises on his shoulders through the flames of Troy is rivaled here by that of a simple Algonkin woman.

Indians at Home


Most of the hard work is done by the women, in order that the bodies of the men may be kept supple and active for the purposes of war and the chase. The Indian had no cow or domestic beast of burden, and regarded all labor as degrading and fit only for women. His wife was his slave. With rude implements she cultivated the ground and reaped the harvest, while he amused himself playing, gambling, singing, eating, or sleeping. In their journeys the poles of the wigwam are borne upon her shoulders. Much of her time is occupied in making moccasins and in quill work.

The Indian's amusements were running, leaping, wrestling, paddling, shooting at a mark, games of ball and with small stones, dances and feasts. His chief resource from inactivity was gambling. He would stake his arms, the furs that covered him, his stock of winter provisions, his cabin, his wife, even his own freedom, on the chances of play. Among their field-sports one of the commonest is the casting of stones, in which they attain astonishing skill and precision. Their dances were numerous, and formed part of their religious observances and warlike preparations, as well as merry-makings. The women generally danced apart.

The fleeka, or arrow-dance, practised by the Pueblo Indians in Arizona, is a picturesque performance. One of the braves is led up in front of his friends, who are drawn up in two ranks. Here he is placed upon one knee, his bow and arrow in his hand, when the Malinchi, a handsomely attired young girl, commences the dance. From her right wrist hangs the skin of a silver-gray fox, and bells that jingle with every motion are fixed at the end of her embroidered scarf.

At first she dances along the line in front, and by her movements shows that she is describing the war-path. Slowly and steadily she pursues; suddenly her step quickens; she has come in sight of the enemy. The brave follows her with his eye, and, by the motion of his head, implies that she is right. She dances faster and faster; suddenly she seizes an arrow from hint, and now by her frantic gestures it is plain that the fight has begun in earnest. She points with the arrow, shows how it wings its course, how the scalp was taken and her tribe victorious. As she concludes the dance and returns the arrow to the brave, fire-arms are discharged, and the whole party wend their way to the public square to make room for other parties, who keep up the dance until dark.

Boys were trained from infancy to feats of dexterity and courage, gaining a name and a position only on returning from a warlike expedition. A feast was always given for a boy's first success in the chase. A spirit of emulation and a thirst for glory was awakened in him by stories of the exploits of his ancestors. As soon as he was old enough, he travelled the war-path that he might earn the feather of the war-eagle for his hair, and boast of his exploits in the great war-dance and feast of his band.

Indian dance


War was the Indian's chief delight and glory, and between many of the tribes it was of constant occurrence. When a war was about to break out, some leading chief would paint himself black all over and retire to the forest. There he remained, fasting and praying, until he could dream of a great war-eagle hovering over him. This was the favorable omen; and, returning to his band, he would call them to battle and certain victory, assuring them that the Great Spirit was on their side.

He would then give a feast to his warriors, at which he would appear in war-paint of bright and startling colors, setting before his guests wooden dishes containing dog-flesh, a great luxury. The chief himself sat smoking, his fast not yet ended.

The war-dance followed. If at night, the scene was lighted up by the blaze of fires and burning pine-knots. A painted post would be driven into the ground, and the warriors, their faces painted in a frightful manner, formed a circle around it. The chief would then leap into the open space, brandishing his hatchet, chanting his exploits, and, striking at the post as if it were an enemy, he would go through all the motions of actual fight. Warrior after warrior would follow his example, till at last the whole band would be dancing, striking and stabbing at the air, and yelling like so many fiends.

Next morning they would leave the camp in single file, discharging their guns one after another as they entered the forest. Halting near the village, they would strip off their ornaments, and hand them over to the women who had followed them for this purpose. They would then move silently on. These parties were generally small, as their warfare was one of patient watchfulness, stealthy approaches, stratagems, and surprises. Following an enemy's trail, they killed him as he slept, or lay in ambush near a village, watching for an opportunity to pounce upon an individual and take his scalp. The scalp-lock was an emblem of chivalry, and was left upon the head of the warrior as a sort of defiance—a way of saying, "Take it if you can." This trophy the warrior hung in his cabin on his return. There was no dishonor in killing an unarmed enemy, or in private deceit and treachery. It was no disgrace to run away when there seemed no chance of success. Torture and the stake enabled the victim to display what the Indian considered a heroic virtue—power of endurance, the triumph of mind over matter. He thought the meaning and intent of war was to inflict all possible pain and injury on his foe.

Indian 'scalp'


The war weapons of the Indian were the bow and arrow, the spear, and the club. Until the breech-loading rifle was invented the bow and arrow remained the most effective, as they were the most ancient, means of slaughter of animals in droves. The arrow-point is of chert, hornstone, or flint. Spears were pointed with similar material. The arrow, two and a half feet long, is feathered for about five inches beyond the place where it is held in drawing the bow. The feathers are placed in a form a little winding, thus keeping the tail of the shaft nearly in the rear of the head, and causing a rotary motion which insures accuracy in its course. The war-club, of heavy wood, is usually elaborately ornamented with war-eagle feathers and with painted devices. The prairie tribes use a shield made of raw buffalo hide contracted and hardened by an ingenious application of fire. It is oval or circular in form, is about two feet in diameter, and is worn on the left ann. It is elaborately painted, and decorated with eagle's feathers. It is effectual against arrows, but is not proof against a rifle ball that strikes it squarely.

Their love of freedom and impatience of control made military discipline impossible, and no large body of Indians could be kept together for any length of time. Jealousy, discord, and old feuds were likely at any moment to break out, when the warriors would desert in crowds. They never provided themselves with supplies for a campaign, and could therefore carry out no extended operations. They never attacked unless they could take their enemy at a disadvantage. A campaign against them was no easy matter. They had to be sought in the recesses of the forest with which they were familiar, and which afforded every advantage for their peculiar mode of fighting.

Captives were compelled to run the gauntlet through a double line, composed of the women, children, and young warriors of the village, who, armed with sticks and clubs, struck the prisoners as they passed, and sometimes inflicted severe injuries upon them. Generally they were put to death, sometimes by torture. Occasionally one would be adopted into a family in the place of a deceased brother, son, or husband. The Iroquois and the Creeks often incorporated the tribes they had conquered with their own. In their treatment of female captives, the Indians were more humane than the victorious soldiery of civilized nations.

Indian ambush


The religion of the Indian, like that of other primitive races, had neither temple nor ritual. It had its songs and dances, and its sacrifices, at which animals and human beings were offered, the former as substitutes for the latter. Sun-worship and fire-worship were formerly very prevalent among the aborigines. Their priests and physicians are called medicine-men, or powwows. They profess to heal diseases by jugglery and magic arts, to give good-fortune to the hunter, the warrior, and the lover, or to cause the death of an enemy. In cases of sickness the Indian uses medicinal herbs, but the vapor-bath is his most general and effectual remedy for disease.

Rude and ignorant as he is, and believing in many gods, the Indian yet worships the Great Spirit after a fashion of his own, and believes almost universally in a future life. With the dead warrior is buried his pipe and his manitou, his tomahawk, bow and quiver, his best apparel, and food for his long journey to the abode of his ancestors. By the side of her infant the mother lays its cradle, its beads, and its rattles.

The Indian has no idea of future rewards or punishments. He believes that conflicting powers of good and evil rule over the universe. A spirit dwells in every object—in the beast, the bird, the river, the lake, and the mountain. Every Indian has a manitou, or household god, to consecrate his house; sometimes it is a bird or a bear, sometimes a buffalo, a feather, or a skin. To propitiate the deity he employs some kind of sacrifice or prayer. An Indian lamenting the loss of a child exclaims, "O manitou! thou art angry with me; turn thine anger from me, and spare the rest of my children!" Dreams are regarded by him as divine revelations, and they exert a powerful influence over him.

Great pains have been taken to convert the Indian to Christianity. The Spaniard, the Frenchman, and the Englishman have all tried their hand upon him, but hitherto with small success. His own religion seemed to him best adapted to his condition and manner of life. It was necessary to lift him out of barbarism before he could either understand or appreciate the boon they sought to bestow upon him. "One season of hunting," said the Apostle Eliot, "undid all my missionary work." At present the establishment of schools and the general introduction of the arts and implements of civilization are helping the missionary in his self-sacrificing labors, and a more hopeful prospect seems at last to have dawned upon the race.

Classroom on a reservation


But, while in the matter of education something has been done for the Indian, much yet remains to be done. Carlisle, Hampton, and Forest Grove only demonstrate, on a limited scale, what our government ought to do, and what it has bound itself by treaty to do, in behalf of the 60,000 Indian children now growing up in idleness, ignorance, and superstition.

The schools above named supply their pupils with the training and discipline which on their return will serve as a leverage for the uplifting of their people. In aptness, docility, and progress, the red children are fully equal to the white. In these schools they acquire not only the English language and the elementary branches of knowledge, but they also learn useful trades, and in most cases have found, on returning home, suitable employment at the agencies as interpreters, teachers, or mechanics. Money could in no way be so well applied as in the education of our Indian youth, thus lifting them out of barbarism.

Fabulous legends and stories are common among the Indians, and their relation over their camp-fires and in the long winter evenings forms one of their principal sources of amusement. Among them the story of Hiawatha, of Onondaga origin, is best known, as it forms the basis of Longfellow's beautiful poem. A few specimens of their traditions and stories are here given.

Owayneo (the creator), says Iroquois tradition, after making them from handfuls of red seeds, assembled his children together and said: "Ye are five nations, for ye sprang each from a different handful of the seed I sowed; but ye are all brethren, and I am your father, for I made you all. Mohawks, I have made you bold and valiant; and see, I give you corn for your food. Oneidas, I have made you patient of pain and hunger; the nuts and fruits of the trees are yours. Senecas, I have made you industrious and active; beans do I give you for your nourishment. Cayugas, I have made you strong, friendly, and generous; ground-nuts and every generous fruit shall refresh you. Onondagas, I have made you wise, just, and eloquent; squashes and grapes have I given you to eat, and tobacco to smoke in council. The beasts, birds, and fishes I have given to you all in common. Be just to all men, and kind to strangers that come among you."

"The missing link," connecting man with the lower animals, which Darwin failed to find, is supplied by the tradition of a California tribe of Indians, who refer their origin to the coyote, or wolf. This is the tradition:

The first Indians that lived were coyotes. After they began to burn the bodies of those who died, the Indians began to assume the shape of man, but at first very imperfectly. They walked on all fours, and were incomplete and imperfect in all their organs, in their limbs and joints, but progressed from period to period, until they became perfect men and women.

"In the course of their transition from coyotes to human beings," said the old chief who related this tradition, "they acquired the habit of sitting upright and lost their tails. This is with many of them a source of regret to this day, as they consider the tail quite an ornament; and, in decorating themselves for the dance or other festive occasions, a portion of them always complete their costume with tails."

The tradition of the Mandans is that they dwelt together near an underground lake shut out from the light of heaven. The roots of a grape-vine penetrating this recess first revealed to them the light from the world above. By means of this vine one-half of the tribe climbed up to the surface; the other half were left in their dark prison-house owing to the bulk and weight of an old woman, who by her ponderosity tore down the vine, and prevented any more of the tribe from ascending.

The Osages believe that the first man of their nation came out of a shell, and that this man, when walking on earth, met the Great Spirit, who gave him a bow and arrows and told him to go a-hunting. Having killed a deer, the Great Spirit gave him fire and told him to cook his meat and to eat. He also told him to take the skin and cover himself with it, and also the skins of other animals that he should kill.

One day as the Osage was hunting be saw a beaver sitting on a beaver-hut, who asked him what he was looking for. The Osage answered that, being thirsty, he carne there to drink. The beaver then asked him who he was and whence he came. The Osage replied that he had no place of residence. "Well, then," said the beaver, "as you appear to be a reasonable man, I wish you to come and live with me. I have many daughters, and if any of them should be agreeable to you, you may marry." The Osage accepted his offer and married one of his daughters, by whom he had many children. The tribe give this as a reason for not killing the beaver, their offspring being, as they believe, the Osage nation.

Mondamin, or the Origin of Indian-Corn

An Indian youth who had ever been obedient to his parents, on reaching the age of fifteen prepared to undergo the ceremony of fasting usual at that age. As soon as spring came, he found a retired spot and began his fast. He had often thought on the goodness of the Great Spirit in providing all kinds of fruits and herbs for the use of man, and he now earnestly prayed that he might dream of something to benefit his people, for he had often seen them suffering for want of food.

On the third day he became too weak and faint to walk about, and kept his bed. He fancied, while thus lying in a dreamy state, that he saw a handsome young man dressed in green robes and with green plumes on his head advancing towards him. The visitor said, "I am sent to you, my friend, by the Great Spirit who made all things. He has observed you. He sees that you desire to procure a benefit for your people. Listen to my words and follow my instructions." He then told the young man to rise and wrestle with him. Weak as he was, he tottered to his feet and began; but, after a long trial, the handsome stranger said, "My friend, it is enough for once; I will come again." He then vanished.

On the next day the celestial visitor re-appeared and renewed the trial. The young man knew that his strength was even less than the day before, but as this declined he felt that his mind became stronger and clearer. Perceiving this, the plumed stranger again spoke to him. "To-morrow," he said, "will be your last trial. Be strong and courageous; it is the only way to obtain the boon you seek." He again departed.

On the sixth day, as the young faster lay on his pallet weak and exhausted, the pleasing visitor returned, and as he renewed the contest he looked more beautiful than ever. The young man grasped him and seemed to feel new strength imparted to his body, while that of his antagonist grew weaker.

At length the stranger cried out, "It is enough; I am beaten. You will win your desire from the Great Spirit. To-morrow will be the seventh day of your fast and the last of your trials. Your father will bring you food which will recruit you. I shall then visit you for the last time, and I foresee that you are destined to prevail. As soon as you have thrown me down, strip off my garments and bury me on the spot. Visit the place, and keep the earth clean and soft. Let no weeds grow there. I shall soon come to life, and re-appear with all the wrappings of my garments and my waving plumes. Once a month cover my roots with fresh earth, and by following these directions your triumph will be complete." He then disappeared.

Next morning the youth's father came with food, but he asked him to set it by for a particular reason till the sun went down. When the sky-visitor came for his final trial, although the young man had not partaken of food, he engaged in the combat with him with a feeling of supernatural strength. He threw him down. Stripping off his garments and plumes, he then buried him in the earth, carefully preparing the ground and removing every weed, and then returned to his father's lodge.

Keeping everything to himself, the youth revealed nothing of his vision or trials. Partaking sparingly of food, he soon regained his strength. But he never for a moment forgot the burial-place of his friend. He frequently visited it, and would not let even a wild-flower grow there. Soon he saw the tops of the green plumes coming out of the ground, at first in spiral points, then expanding into broad leaves and rising in green stalks, and finally assuming their silken fringes and yellow tassels.

Spring and summer had passed, when one day towards evening he requested his father to visit the lonely spot where he had fasted. The old man stood amazed. The lodge was gone, and in its place stood a tall, graceful, and majestic plant, waving its taper-leaves and displaying its bright-colored plumes and tassels. But what most excited his admiration was its cluster of golden ears. "It is the friend of my dreams and visions," said the youth. "It is Mondamin; it is the spirit's grain," said the father. And this was the origin of Indian-corn.

Shingebiss: A Chippewa Allegory

"There was once a poor man called Shingebiss, living alone in a solitary lodge on the shores of a deep bay, in a large lake. Now this man, as his name implies, was a duck when he chose to be, and a man the next moment: it was only necessary to will himself the one or the other. It was cold winter weather, and this duck ought to have been off with the rest of his species towards the South, where the streams and lakes are open all winter, and where food is easily got; but the power he had of changing himself into a man when he wished, made him linger till every stream was frozen over, and the snow lay deep over all the land.

"The blasts of winter now howled fiercely around his poor wigwam, and he had only four logs of wood to keep his fire during the whole winter. But he was cheerful, manly, and trustful, relied on himself, and cared very little for anybody, beyond treating kindly all who called on him; and as he always had something to offer them to eat, he was treated with much respect and consideration by his people.

"How he managed to live nobody knew. It was a perfect mystery to every one. The ice was very thick on the streams and the weather was intensely cold; yet, on the coldest day, when every one thought he must starve and freeze, he would go out to places where flags and reeds grew up through the ice, and changing himself to a duck, pluck them up with his bill, and, diving through the orifice, supply himself plentifully with fish.

"The hardihood, independence, and resources of Shingebiss vexed Kabibonocca, the god who sends cold and storms, and he determined to freeze him out and kill him for his obstinacy. 'Why,' said he, 'he must be a wonderful man; he does not mind the coldest days, but seems to be as happy and content as if it were strawberry time. I will give him cold blasts to his heart's content.' So saying, he poured forth tenfold colder winds and deeper snows, and made the air so sharp that it cut like a knife. Still the fire of Shingebiss, poorly supplied as it was, did not go out. He did not even put on more clothing—for he had but a single strip of skins about his body—while walking on the ice in the coldest days, carrying home loads of fish.

"'Shall he withstand me?' said Kabibonocca one day; 'I will go and visit him, and see wherein his great power lies. If my presence does not freeze him, he must be made of rock.' Accordingly, that very night, when the wind blew furiously, he came to his lodge door and listened. Shingebiss had cooked his meal of fish and finished his supper, and was lying on his elbow, singing this song:

"'Windy God, I know your plan,

You are but my fellow-man.

Blow you may your coldest breeze,

Shingebiss you cannot freeze.

Sweep the strongest winds you can,

Shingebiss is still your man.

Heigh for life, and ho for bliss,

Who so free as Shingebiss!'

"The hunter knew that Kabibonocca was at his door, but affected utter indifference, and went on singing. At length Kabibonocca, not to be defeated in his object, entered the wigwam and took his seat, without saying a word, opposite to him. But Shingebiss put on an air of the most profound repose. Not a look or change of muscle indicated that he heard the storm or was sensible of the cold. Neither did he seem aware of the presence of his powerful guest. But taking his poker as if no one were present he stirred the embers to make them burn brighter, and then reclining as before again sang,

"'Windy God, I know your plan.'

"Very soon the tears ran down Kabibonocca's face, and increased so fast that he presently said to himself, 'I cannot stand this; the fellow will melt me if I do not go out.' He went, leaving the imperturbable Shingebiss to the enjoyment of his song, but resolving, at the same time, that he would put a stop to his music. He then poured forth his very fiercest blasts, and made the air so cold that it froze up every flag orifice, and increased the ice to such a thickness that it drove Shingebiss from all his fishing-grounds. Still, by going a greater distance and to deep water, he contrived to get the means of subsistence, and managed to live. His four logs of wood gave him plenty of fire, and the few fish he got satisfied him, for he ate them with cheerfulness and contentment. At last Kabibonocca was compelled to give up the contest, and exclaimed, 'He must be some monedo (spirit). I can neither freeze him nor starve him. I will let him alone.'"

The Great Snake of Canandaigua Lake

"Nundowaga Hill, which looks down upon the waters of Canandaigua Lake, was once completely encircled by an enormous snake. The people of the hill, alarmed for their safety, resolved one day, in solemn council, that the snake must die on the following morning.

"Just as the day was breaking, the monstrous reptile was seen at the base of the hill, closing every avenue of escape, its huge jaws wide open just before the gate-way. Vigorously did the whole tribe assail it, but neither arrows, spears, nor knives could be made to penetrate its scaly sides. Some of the frightened people endeavored to escape by climbing over it, but were thrown violently back, rolled upon, and crushed. Others, in their mad efforts, rushing into its very jaws, were devoured. Terrified, the tribe recoiled, and did not renew the attack till hunger gave them courage for a last desperate assault, in which all perished and were swallowed, except a woman and her two children, who escaped into the forest, while the monster, gorged with its horrible feast, was sleeping.

"In her hiding-place the woman, by a vision, was instructed to make arrows of a peculiar form, and taught how to use them effectually for the killing of the destroyer of her tribe. Believing that the Great Spirit was her teacher, she made the arrows, and carefully following the directions she had received, she confidently approached the yet sleeping monster, and successfully planted the arrows in its heart. The snake, in its agony, lashed the hill-side with its enormous tail, tore deep gullies in the earth, broke down forests, and rolling down the slope, plunged into the lake. Here, in the waters near the shore, it disgorged its many human victims, and then, with one great convulsive throe, sank slowly to the bottom. Rejoiced at the death of her enemy, the happy woman hastened with her children to the banks of the Canesedage Lake, and from them sprung the powerful Seneca nation."

The Indians affirm that the rounded pebbles, of the size and shape of the human head, to this day so numerous on the shores of the Canandaigua Lake, are the petrified skulls of the people of the hill, disgorged by the great snake in its death agony.

Early European Intercourse with the Indians

The discovery of an unknown continent and of a new race of men was the exploit and wonder of the age. Princes dreamed of vast additions to their domains; priests of the conversion of heathen nations and the enlargement of their spiritual possessions; merchants speculated upon the prospect of a profitable trade with the natives; while poets sung of the new El Dorado as of a heaven upon earth, a land of inexhaustible fertility and riches. But neither seer nor statesman, priest nor poet, was able to foresee the future of this continent. No one dreamed that this remote and savage wilderness was soon to become the seat of flourishing and powerful communities, or that it was the chosen arena for the full and unchecked development of human progress and freedom.

Strange stories were told of this new world. Its northern shores were said to be infested by griffins, while two islands north of Newfoundland were known as the Isles of Demons, whose occupants were pictured with wings, horns, and tail. An early geographer wrote that he had heard from many who had voyaged that way that "they heard in the air, in the tops and about the masts, a great clamor of men's voices, confused and inarticulate, such as you may hear from the crowd at a fair or market-place, whereupon they well knew that the Isles of Demons was not far off."

By the first voyagers the natives were found to be simple, hospitable, and friendly. Soon, however, they learned to fear and distrust the strangers, who took every advantage of their ignorance and kindness. The different tribes were found to be widely scattered, many of them in a state of hostility to their neighbors.

Columbus and other early voyagers took some of the natives with them on their return to Europe. Three presented to Henry VII. by Sebastian Cabot, in 1502 were the first Indians seen in England. Those first taken to France were brought thither by Captain Aubert six years later.

Sebastian Cabot


From time to time others were kidnapped and sold into slavery, and conflicts between them and their European visitors became frequent. The frauds and injuries of which they were the victims were not forgotten by the natives, but were eventually returned by them with interest.

One of these acts of barbarity is thus related by Captain John Smith, with whom my readers will soon become better acquainted.

"One Thomas Hunt, the master of this ship, when I was gone, betrayed four-and-twenty of these poor salvages aboard his ship, and most dishonestly and inhumanly, for their kind usage of me and all our men, carried them with him to Malaga, and there, for a little private gain, sold these silly salvages. But this vile act kept him ever after from any more employment in those parts."

When we learn what the clergy of that day thought of the poor Indian, we can better understand the infamous conduct of these cruel man-stealers. "We may guess," says that eminent divine of New England, Rev. Cotton Mather, "that probably the devil decoyed these miserable salvages hither, in hopes that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would never come here to destroy or disturb his absolute empire over them."

Columbus says of the natives of the West Indies, "We found them timid, and full of fear, very simple and honest, and exceedingly liberal, none of them refusing anything he may possess when asked for it. Like idiots—they bartered cotton and gold for fragments of glasses, bottles, and jars, which I forbade as being unjust, and myself gave them many beautiful and acceptable articles which I had brought with me, taking nothing from them in return."

Upon his first arrival, Columbus took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn the language of the Spaniards and communicate what they knew respecting the country; and they were soon able, either by gesture or by signs, to understand each other. They entertained the idea that the white men descended from heaven, and on their arrival at any new place, cried out immediately, with a loud voice, to the other Indians, "Come! come and look upon beings of a celestial race;" upon which both women and men, children and adults, young and old, when they got rid of their first fear, would come out in throngs, crowding the roads to see them, some bringing food, others drink, "with astonishing affection and kindness."

Gaspar Cortereal, a mariner in the service of the King of Portugal, ranged the newly-discovered coast for six hundred or seven hundred miles, as far as the fifteenth parallel, admiring the brilliant verdure and dense forests wherever he landed. He repaid the hospitality with which he was everywhere received by the natives, by taking with him on his return fifty-seven of them, whom he had treacherously enticed on board his ship, and selling them for slaves. From a second voyage he never returned, having been slain in a combat with some Indians whom he was trying to kidnap.

The earliest description of the Atlantic coast of the United States is found in the narrative of John Verrazzano, an Italian mariner, who had been sent on a voyage of discovery by Francis I. of France. He reached the coast in the latitude of Wilmington, N C., and is supposed to have visited the harbors of New York and Newport. He describes the natives as very courteous and gentle, and possessing prompt wit, but as mild and feeble, of mean stature, with delicate limbs and handsome visages.

Seeing many fires ashore, and the natives friendly, he sent his boat to them, but the surf was too violent to permit landing. One of the sailors offered to swim ashore with some presents; but, when he came near, his fears prevailed, and throwing out his presents he attempted to return to the ship, but the waves cast him on the sand half-dead and quite senseless. The Indians immediately ran to his assistance, carried him ashore, dried his clothes before a fire, and did everything to restore him. His alarm, however, was excessive. When they pulled off his clothes to dry them, he thought they meant to sacrifice him to the sun, which then shone brightly in the heavens. He trembled with fear. As soon as he was restored they gently led him to the shore, and then retired to a distance until the ship's boat had been sent for him and they saw him safely on board.

John Verrazzano


In requital for this kindness, the visitors robbed a mother of her child, and attempted to kidnap a young woman "of tall stature and very beautiful." Her outcries and her vigorous resistance saved her.

At one place, where he remained fifteen days, Verrazzano found the natives "the gentlest people" he had yet seen. They were liberal and friendly, yet so ignorant that, though instruments of steel and iron were often exhibited, they neither understood their use nor coveted their possession. The things they esteemed most were bells, crystals of azure color, and other toys to hang at their ears or about the neck. "When they beheld themselves in our mirrors they suddenly laughed and gave them us again." The women wore ornaments of wrought copper. Wood only was used in the construction of their wigwams, which were covered with coarse matting.

The natives of the more northerly regions visited, perhaps, those of the coast of Maine, having already learned to fear the Europeans, were hostile and jealous. They knew the value of iron, and demanded in trade fish-hooks, knives, and weapons of steel. "When we went on shore," says the narrator, "they shot at us with their bows, making great outcries, and afterwards fled into the woods. When we departed from them they showed all signs of discourtesy and disdain as was possible for any creature to invent."

They were clad in skins or furs, lived by hunting and fishing, and had no grain nor any kind of tillage. Their canoes were trunks of trees hollowed out by fire and with stone hatchets, and their arms were bows and arrows.

Pleased with Verrazzano's report, King Francis said, referring to the edict of the Pope of Rome, giving all America to the Spaniards, "he did not think God had created these new countries for the Castilians alone." His great rival, Charles V. of Spain, had laid claim to all the new discoveries on the ground of priority. "I should like," said the French king. "to see that article of Adam's will which gives him America!" The authenticity of Verrazzano's narrative is yet an unsettled question.

Ten years after Verrazzano's voyage, Jacques Cartier, an experienced navigator of Saint Maio, sailed from France to the region of the St. Lawrence. Landing in the Bay of Gaspé, a lofty cross was raised, bearing a shield with the lilies of France and an appropriate inscription. The country was thus taken possession of for the French king.

Jacques Cartier


The natives, who were very friendly, gazed at this ceremony in wonder. They seemed to have guessed its meaning, for, by signs, they made known to Cartier that the country was theirs, and that no cross should be set up without their leave. Cartier did not scruple to deceive the natives, by telling them that it was only intended as a beacon-light for mariners entering their port. He seized two of these Indians and took then with him to France.

Cartier describes the natives as being "of an indifferent good stature and bigness, but wild and unruly. They wore their hair tied on the top, like a wreath of hay, and put a wooden pin within it instead of a nail, and with them they bind certain birds' feathers. They were clothed with beasts' skins, as well the men as the women, but that the women go somewhat straighter and closer in their garments than the men do, with their waists girded. They paint themselves with certain roan colors; their boats are made of the bark of birch-trees; in them they fish, and take great store of seals."

At their first interview the narrator tells us that "so soon as they saw us they began to flee, making signs that they came to traffic with us, showing us such skins as they clothed themselves withal, which are of small value. We likewise made signs unto them that we wished them no evil, and in sign thereof two of our men ventured to go on land to them, and carry them knives, with other iron wares, and a red hat to give unto their captain, which, when they saw, they also came on land and brought some of their skins, and so began to deal with us, seeming to be very glad to have our iron wares, still dancing, with many other ceremonies, as with their hands to east sea-water on their heads. They showed their friendship in this way, as also by rubbing their hands upon the arms of the European visitors, and lifting them up towards the heavens." From the intense heat here, Cartier named the inlet "Baie de Chaleur," a name it still bears.

The Indians about Gaspé Bay differed from the others both in nature and language, and in being abjectly poor. They were only partly clothed in old skins, and had no structures to protect them from the weather. "I think," said the old narrator, "all they had together, besides their boats and nets, was not worth five sous." They shaved their heads, with the exception of a tuft on the crown, sheltered themselves at night under their canvas, on the bare ground, and ate their food partially cooked. They were unacquainted with the use of salt, and ate nothing that had any taste of it.

In a second voyage, made in the following year, Cartier named the gulf, in honor of the day in which he entered it, the St. Lawrence, a name since extended to the noble river beyond. Sailing up to isle since called Orleans, he was hospitably received by the natives at their village of Stadacona, now Quebec; the two natives Cartier had carried off, and who had been kindly treated, acting as interpreters. He next ascended the river to the chief Indian settlement of Hochelaga, the modern Montreal, which takes its name from the neighboring elevation which they christened Mount Royal.

Jacques Cartier


Every artifice had been made use of by the Indians to prevent their journey to this place. They were jealous lest some of the knives, looking-glasses, and other trinkets should fall into the hands of the rival chieftain and his people.

Three of them, dressed as devils, wrapped in huge skins, white and black, their faces besmeared and black as coals, and with horns on their heads more than a yard long, tried to frighten Cartier, and after holding a long powwow, declared to him that their god had spoken, and that there was so much ice and snow at Hochelaga that whoever went thither should die. The Frenchman only laughed at this trick, and told them that their god was a fool.

The Indian capital they found encompassed by a triple row of high palisades of heavy timber, and having only a single gate of entrance. Over this, and elsewhere on the walls, were platforms for its defenders, provided with ladders and with stones for its defence. It contained some fifty houses, each about fifty paces long, and twelve or fifteen broad, built of wood, and covered with bark, and skilfully joined together. These houses had many rooms, and in the midst of each was a large court, with a place in the centre for a fire. In a room at the top of their houses they stored their corn. Fishing and agriculture furnished them with food. Their chief, an old man, was borne to Cartier's presence on the shoulders of his men; around his forehead he wore a band of red-colored hedgehog skins, but in other respects was dressed no better than his people.



Viewing the white men as heavenly visitors, the Indians crowded around them to touch them, paying them every mark of reverence and respect. They brought to Cartier their lame, blind, diseased, and impotent, to be healed; and he gratified their desires, praying to God to open the hearts of these poor people that they might be converted. The interview closed with his giving them knives, beads, and toys. Before returning to France, in the following spring, Cartier took possession of the country for the king in the usual manner. When he was about to sail, he enticed the chief, Donnaconna, with nine others, on board his ship, seized and confined and, regardless of the cries and entreaties of their people, carried them to France. Four years later all these, excepting one little girl, were dead.

Ponce de Leon


Although the country is so named on a Portuguese map of ten years earlier date than that of his voyage, Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish gentleman, claimed to be the discoverer of Florida. He had distinguished himself at home in the expulsion of the Moors from Granada, had accompanied Columbus in his second expedition, and had been governor of Porto Rico, where he had acquired wealth by oppressing the natives. One of the objects he had in view was the discovery of a fountain whose waters would, according to an ancient fable, impart perpetual youth to whosoever bathed in them. Landing near the point now called Fernandina, he claimed the territory for Spain. He found a delightful climate, charming scenery, and a fragrant atmosphere, but no gold or youth-restoring fountain. Everywhere the Indians displayed determined hostility.

Upon his return, De Leon was rewarded by the King of Spain with the government of Florida for his pretended discovery, but on the condition that he should colonize the country. When he attempted some years later to do so, his men were attacked with great fury by the natives. Many Spaniards were killed, the remainder returned to their ships, and De Leon himself was mortally wounded by an Indian arrow.

Other Spanish voyagers explored the North American coast and encountered the hostility of the natives. Lucas Vasquez D'Ayllon, after treacherously kidnapping a large number of natives of South Carolina, in a subsequent voyage attempted a settlement on the Combahee River. In retaliation for his treachery, his men were unexpectedly set upon by the Indians and nearly all killed. Vasquez, mortally wounded, escaped to his vessel; and thus ended the first attempt to plant a colony within the area of the United States.

The expedition of Pamphilio de Narvaez was disastrous in the extreme. It was this officer who had been sent by the governor of Cuba to take Cortez, the conqueror of Mexico, prisoner, and who was himself easily defeated, and captured in the attempt. When brought before Cortez he said to him, with his usual arrogance, "Esteem it great good-fortune that you have taken me captive." Cortez replied, "It is the least of the things I have done in Mexico."

Landing near Tampa Bay, Florida, Narvaez struck into the interior. By his cruelty and want of judgment he provoked the hostility of the natives, who, to rid themselves of these unwelcome intruders, told them of a rich country, only nine days' march to the south. These Indians were of fine stature, great activity, and expert and accurate bowmen, who could hit their mark at the distance of two hundred yards. Instead of rich and populous towns, such as they had hoped to discover, the Spaniards found only clusters of wigwams, and were plundered and cut oil whenever opportunity offered.

After a fatiguing and fruitless six months' tramp, the wretched remnant of the party reached Pensacola Bay in a state of destitution. Narvaez was ill, his men were dispirited, and his horses were reduced to skeletons. Boats must be built, but how was this to be done without tools or materials?

In this exigency a soldier told Narvaez that he could make pipes of wood, and convert them into bellows by the aid of deerskins. The idea was instantly acted upon. A forge was constructed, and immediately stirrups, spurs, cross-bows, etc., were converted into nails, saws, and axes. The pines yielded pitch; a kind of oakum was obtained from the palmetto. Hair from the manes and tails of horses was twisted into ropes, and the shirts of the men supplied sails. The horses were killed and their flesh used for food. Oysters and maize completed their store of provisions. After sixteen days of hard work they had constructed five boats, each of which held fifty-six men.

In these frail vessels the remnant of that once gallant army embarked, and nearly all perished in a storm near the mouth of the Mississippi. Four survivors reached Mexico by land, after eight years of wandering and almost incredible hardships.

Fernando De Soto


The story of these men, that Florida was the richest country in the world, was credited by many. Among them was Fernando de Soto, who had been the favorite companion of Pizarro in the conquest of Peru, where he had acquired both military renown and wealth. He believed that another Peru existed at the north, and aspiring to rival Cortez and Pizarro in fame and wealth, asked and received permission of the king to conquer Florida at his own cost. It must be remembered that the term Florida was at that time a vague expression, covering an immense territory—no less than the whole North American coast.

This was by far the most magnificent and well appointed of the numerous expeditions to this continent. Men of noble birth and good estates sold their lands to join in it. Portuguese soldiers were to be seen in the glittering array of burnished armor, and the Castilians, brilliant with hope, were "very gallant with silk upon silk." Front the numerous aspirants De Soto selected six hundred men—the flower of Spain; many persons of good account who had sold their estates were obliged to remain behind. Everything was provided that experience in former invasions could suggest, including chains for captives, and blood-hounds as auxiliaries against the wretched natives. As the latter were to be converted as well as plundered, twenty-four ecclesiastics accompanied the expedition. The fleet landed at Tampa Bay, on the western coast, the adventurers disembarked, and the memorable march began.

Soon after landing, a party of Spaniards attacked and put to flight a few Indians who were advancing towards them, making friendly signals. One of them had been knocked down, and was about to receive a deadly blow, when he uttered in excellent Spanish these words,

"Sir, I am a Christian! I am a Christian! Slay me not, nor these Indians, for they have saved my life."

The blow was withheld; and this man, whose name was Juan Ortiz, related his most extraordinary story. He was one of the survivors of Narvaez's company, and in a subsequent expedition had fallen into the hands of the natives, and was doomed to suffer death by torture.

Four stakes were set in the ground, to which four ropes were fastened. To these poles the captive, with his legs and arms extended, was bound, at such a distance from the ground that a fire made under him would be a long time in consuming him. Already had the fire been lighted, and the victim resigned himself to his terrible fate, when the daughter of Ucita, the chief, throwing herself at her father's feet, begged his life in these words:

"My kind father, why kill this poor stranger? he can do you nor none of us any injury, seeing he is but one and alone. It is better that you should keep him confined, for even in that condition he may some time be of great service to you."

Fernando De Soto


The chief was silent a short time, but finally ordered his release. His wounds were dressed, and he was made tolerably comfortable. Possibly, this incident suggested to Captain John Smith the story he long afterwards wrote of his rescue from death by Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan.

At one end of Ucita's village stood a temple; over the door was the figure of a bird carved in wood, and with gilded eyes. As soon as the wounds of Ortiz were healed, he was stationed to guard the entrance of this temple, more especially from the inroads of wild beasts. As human victims were sacrificed here, wolves were frequent visitors. Death was the penalty for allowing a body to be removed.

One night he had a terrible scare. A young Indian had been killed, and his body was placed in the temple. Spite of all his efforts, a pack of hungry wolves effected an entrance and seized upon the body. As soon as he recovered from the fright of their first onset, he seized a heavy cudgel, drove them out, and pursued them some distance, dealing one of them a mortal blow.

When morning came, and it was seen that the body was gone, Ortiz was condemned to die; but before executing him Ucita sent a party in pursuit of the wolves, and, if possible, to recover the body. Contrary to all expectations, it was found, and near it the carcass of a huge wolf. The order for Ortiz's execution was revoked, and he was afterwards held in great esteem by the Indians.

Some time afterwards he was again selected for sacrifice, but was a second time saved from a terrible death by the chief's daughter, who aided him to escape to the country of Mocoso, a rival chief, by whom he was well treated, and with whom he remained three years. At the expiration of that time the fleet of De Soto arrived, and Mocoso, out of friendship for Ortiz, sent him to his countrymen, who, as we have seen, supposing him to be what he appeared—an Indian—came near killing him. Ortiz rendered important services to De Soto, as interpreter among the various Indian tribes.

For three years the Spaniards wandered through the country in search of gold, De Soto obstinately refusing to turn back. No gold was discovered; the only wealth of the natives was in their stores of corn; they were poor, but independent, hardy and brave. Everywhere he was met by the most determined hostility on the part of the natives, with whom he had a bloody battle at Mauvilla, or Mobile. For nine hours the Indians fought with desperation, and but for the flames, which consumed their light cabins, they would have repulsed the invaders. Thousands of them were slain. Though protected by their armor, many Spaniards were killed or wounded, and all their baggage was burned.

Mauvilla was a strongly-fortified village on the Coosa. It was surrounded by stout palisades, with loop-holes for arrows. Early in the morning the Indian war-cry was raised. De Soto led his amen to storm the fort. The entrance was narrow and well defended, and some of his best cavaliers were fatally pierced between the joints of their armor, and numbers of horses were killed. The Spaniards were obliged to withdraw. The Indians then sallied from the gates and rushed upon the foe, charging and retiring over the plain; but the advantage was finally with the Spaniards, and the Indians withdrew to their fort.

In a second assault the gate was broken down, when the assailants rushed in, and a furious conflict ensued. The Indians thronged the square; lance, club, and missile were wielded from every quarter. Even their young women snatched up the swords of the slaughtered Spaniards and mingled in the fray, being more reckless than the men. The struggle was so fierce and protracted, particularly from the roofs of the houses, that the soldiers set fire to their combustible dwellings, which were soon in flames. At length the Indians gave way and fled, pursued by the cavalry. They would neither give nor take quarter; not a man surrendered. These Indians were of the Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes; among the slain was their famous chief, Tuscaloosa, the Black Warrior.

During the first winter De Soto encamped at the deserted Indian town of Chicaza, where for two months his men enjoyed comparative repose. At length the Chickasaws resolved to burn the encampment, which was constructed of inflammable materials.

A dark and windy night having been chosen, the camp was fired in several places, the savages at the same time uttering furious yells and making a desperate attack. A high wind fanned the flames into irresistible fury, and for a time the confusion was such as rendered it impossible to resist the impetuosity of the assailants. Discipline and courage, how-ever, regained the ascendancy, and the enemy was repulsed. But the camp was totally destroyed, together with all the arms, accoutrements, and provisions of the army. All that had been saved at the conflagration of Manilla was here annihilated. The droves of hogs, which had formed their main dependence for provisions, were burned in their pens. The temper of their swords had been impaired by the action of the fire, and almost every valuable article of equipage consumed.

De Soto more than once displayed great coolness and presence of mind. He had, at one time, pitched his camp near Costa, a town in Alabama, and, with a few of his followers, was conversing with the chief, when some of his troopers entered the town and plundered several of the houses. The justly-incensed Indians fell upon them with their clubs. Seeing himself surrounded by the natives, and in great personal danger, the general seized a cudgel and, with his usual presence of mind, commenced beating his own men. The savages, observing this, became pacified in a moment. In the mean time, taking the chief by the hand, he led him, with flattering words, towards his camp, where the was presently surrounded by a guard and held as a hostage. The Spaniards remained under arms all night. Fifteen hundred armed Indians surrounded them, frequently threatening them with attack, and uttering cries of insult and menace. Restraining his troops, De Soto, aided by a prominent Indian, who had followed him for some time, at length succeeded in restoring peace and in averting what seemed likely to prove a serious affair.

Upon one occasion De Soto tried to overawe the Natchez Indians, who worshipped the sun, by claiming a supernatural birth and demanding tribute.

Fernando De Soto


"You say you are the child of the sun," replied the incredulous chief. "Dry up the river, and I will believe you. If you wish to see me, come to the town where I dwell. If you come in peace I will receive you with special good-will; if in war, I will not shrink one foot back."

The sole achievement of this costly and memorable expedition was the discovery of the Mississippi River at the lowest Chickasaw Bluff. Boats were required to cross, and it took a month to build them. The Spaniards crossed, and extended their tedious journey as far as Kansas. They found the Indians an agricultural people, with fixed places of abode, and subsisting chiefly on the product of the fields. They were neither turbulent nor quarrelsome. Their dress was in part mats; in cold weather they wore deerskins, and mantles woven of feathers. Their villages were generally small, but close together. The natives were treated with the utmost cruelty by the Spaniards, who held their lives as of no account. They would cut off their hands on the slightest suspicion, and the guide who was unsuccessful, or who purposely misled them, was thrown to the hounds or condemned to the flames.

Disappointed and dispirited, De Soto's health rapidly declined, and he was finally carried off by a malignant fever. His body was buried at night in the great river he had discovered. "He had crossed a large part of the continent in search of gold," says the historian Bancroft, and found nothing so remarkable as his burial-place."

His followers wandered about for months afterwards, but at length abandoned their fruitless expedition and returned to the Mississippi. They then, with extraordinary patience and labor, ingeniously constructed some vessels out of their scanty materials, in which Sept. 1543, the survivors, three hundred and eleven in number, finally reached Mexico.

While De Soto was vainly seeking wealth and fame in the American wilderness, Mendoza, the Viceroy of Mexico, organized an expedition under Francis Vasquez Coronado, to search for the "Seven Cities of Cibola," the fame of whose riches was fully credited by the gullible Spaniards. Three hundred men were enlisted for the expedition, who were accompanied by eight hundred Indians.

The tale of the famous seven cities originated in the report of a Spanish missionary, who pretended that he had discovered, north of Sonora, a populous and rich kingdom called Quivera, or the Seven Cities, abounding in gold, the capital of which was called Cibola. Tezon, an Indian, also told the Spanish viceroy, Nuno de Guzman, that his father, who was now dead, had been a trader in ornamental feathers, such as are used in head-dresses, to a people in the interior lying north of the Gila River, and that he brought back in exchange large quantities of precious metals. He had accompanied his father, he said, on one of these journeys, and saw seven cities as large as Mexico, built on a regular plan, with high houses, and that there were entire streets of gold and silver smiths. No story seems to have been too absurd for these credulous Spaniards, and this one was still further corroborated by the return of Cabeca de Vaca with three companions from the ill-fated expedition of Narvaez, whose glowing accounts of the countries through which they had passed, inflamed still further the avarice of their countrymen.

Crossing the Gila, Coronado led his men over a desert and through the valley of a small stream, until they arrived before the lofty, natural walls of Cibola (old Zuni). On the top of these stood the town. The Indians cultivated corn in the valleys below, as they do at this day, wore coarse stuffs for clothing, and manufactured a species of pottery, but possessed neither gold nor mines.

Without waiting to make any inquiries, the Spaniards immediately assaulted the town. The natives rolled down stones from above, one of which struck Coronado and knocked him down. The place being taken after an hour's struggle, the troops found provisions, but no gold nor silver. Proceeding onward in his invasion of New Mexico, Coronado was everywhere resisted by the natives. The explorations were continued to the Colorado River on the west, and to the Rio Grande on the east. Realizing at last that the country was barren and destitute of resources, the Spaniards, after two years of fruitless exploration, returned to Mexico, wiser, but no richer than when they departed.

Zuni Woman


Nearly seventy years elapsed before France, desolated by civil strife and torn by religions dissensions, could renew her purpose of founding a French empire in America. In the mean time, however, voyages for traffic with the natives were regularly and successfully made, and there had been no less than one hundred and fifty French fishing vessels at Newfoundland in a single year.

The father of the French settlements in Canada was Samuel de Champlain, a skilful seaman, cool, courageous, and persevering, and a man of science. Selecting Quebec as the site for a fort, he returned to France just before the issue to the Sieur De Monts of the patent of Acadia, a region claimed by France to extend from the Delaware River to beyond Montreal. Port Royal, called Annapolis after the conquest of Acadia, in honor of Queen Anne, was settled in the spring of 1605 preceding by two years the first English settlement at Jamestown.

With a view to future settlements, De Monts explored and claimed for France the rivers, coasts, and bays of New England as far south as Cape Cod. Jesuit missions were at once established among the natives. That at St. Mary's, the oldest European settlement in Michigan, was established in 1668. Though many of these heroic men suffered death by torture at the hands of the natives, others sprang forward to take their vacant places. Through their influence the Abenakis of Maine, already hostile to the English, became the allies of France, and made a firm barrier to English encroachments.

Within the present limits of the United States, a French colony was, in 1613, planted at Mount Desert. Quebec was founded by Champlain in 1608. Having formed an alliance with the Algonkin tribes around him, Champlain twice invaded the territory of the Iroquois, their hereditary enemies. Having to take sides, unfortunately for France he took that of the weaker. The story of these Iroquois conflicts will be found in a subsequent chapter.

While residing among the Hurons, Champlain's influence over them was put to a severe test. A quarrel, ending in bloodshed, had occurred between two friendly tribes; the principal Algonkin chief had been murdered, and his band forced to pay a heavy tribute of wampum.

Champlain's home


Champlain was made umpire. The great council-house was filled with Huron and Algonkin chiefs, "smoking," says the historian Parkman, "with that immobility of feature beneath which their race often hides a more than tiger-like ferocity." Addressing the assembly, Champlain enlarged on the folly of fighting among themselves, while the common enemy stood ready to devour both; showed them the advantages of the French trade and alliance, and zealously urged them to shake hands and be friends. His good advice was taken, the peace-pipe was smoked, and a serious peril for New France averted.

In 1624 Champlain built the castle of St. Louis—so long the place of council against the Iroquois and the English—and was governor of Quebec at the time of his death in 1635.

The first attempt to found an English colony in New England was made by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, who crossed the ocean in a small bark called the Concord. He first landed on Cape Cod. Some of the natives came along-side in their birch canoes, others ran May along the beaches, gazing in wonder at the strangers. It was observed that the pipes of those who came on board were "steeled with copper," and that one of the Indians wore a copper breastplate.

Gosnold afterwards sailed into Buzzard's Bay, and began a settlement on Elizabeth Island, now known as Cuttyhunk. This, however, was soon abandoned, for want of provision for its support, when his vessel had completed her lading. Here he traded with the Indians, who were frequent visitors, and who are described as "exceeding courteous, gentle of disposition, and well conditioned, exceeding all others that we have seen in shape and looks. They are of stature much higher than we, of complexion much like a dark olive; their eyebrows and hair black, which they wear long, tied up behind in knots, whereon they prick feathers of fowls in fashion of a coronet. They make beards of the hair of beasts, and one of them offered a beard of their making to one of the sailors for his that grew on his face, which, because it was of a red color, they judged to be none of his own.

"They have great store of copper . . . none of them but what have chains, ear-rings, or collars of this metal. They head some of their arrows with it. Their chains, worn about their necks, contain four hundred hollow pieces, very fine and nicely set together. So little did they esteem these that they offered the finest of them for a knife or some similar trifle."

The settlement of Maine was largely owing to the vast fisheries on her coast. For more than a century before, these had been known and drawn from by English and French mariners. The territory, as we have seen, was claimed by the French, but the Abenaki and Micmac tribes were its aboriginal inhabitants. These Indians had permanent villages, enclosed by palisades. They wore many ornaments in their dress, skilfully made from shells and stones. They were agriculturists, amiable and social, brave, faithful to engagements, and especially strong in their family attachments. They had been gained over by the French missionaries, captivated by the picturesque and striking ceremonies of the Catholic religion, which appealed so strongly to the eye and the imagination.

In May, 1605, Captain George Weymouth landed on their coast, and seized some of the natives, whom he carried to England. There was great difficulty in getting the Indians into their boat. The narrator of the voyage tells us that it was as much as five of them could do, for they were strong and naked, so that "their best hold was by their long hair." In England they were objects of great wonder, and crowds of people followed them in the streets, as they had done, a century before, when those brought over by Cabot were exhibited.

Landing with them at Plymouth, the commandant, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, became greatly interested in them, and ultimately became largely concerned in the settlement of New England through the information derived from them. He kept them with him three years, finding in them "great civility of manners, far from the rudeness of our common people." Two of these natives piloted Popham's colony to the Kennebeck River in 1607.

This was the first colony that spent a winter in New England; and a most severe winter it was. From the natives they found "civil entertainment and kind respect, far from brutish or savage nations," but from adverse circumstances gave up the settlement in the following year and returned to England. Gorges, who was far-sighted and energetic, continued to exert himself earnestly and unselfishly to promote a permanent settlement of his countrymen upon the continent.

An act of singular boldness was performed by an Indian named Pechmo. Captain Harlow, while at Monhegan Island, detained him and two others on board his ship, but the leaped overboard and escaped. Not long afterwards he with others cut Harlow's boat from his ship's stern, got her on shore, and filling her with sand, with their bows and arrows prevented the English from recovering her.

Another instance of successful daring and duplicity on the part of the Abenakis is seen in the escape of Epanow, an Indian who had promised Gorges, in a voyage undertaken in 1611, to point out a gold mine in his country. Of this Indian it was said that, "being a man of so great a stature, he was showed up and down London for money as a wonder. He was of no less courage and authority than of wit, strength, and proportion.

"Every precaution was taken to prevent Epanow's escape. He was even obliged to wear long garments, that might easily be laid hold of it occasion should require. Notwithstanding all this, his friends being all come at the time appointed with twenty canoes, the captain called to them to come aboard; but they did not stir. Then Epanow, who was standing between two gentlemen that had been on guard, started suddenly from them, called his friends in English to come aboard, and leaps overboard. And although he was laid hold of by one of the company, yet, being a strong and heavy man, he could not be stayed, and was no sooner in the water but the natives in the boats sent such a shower of arrows, and came withal desperately so near the ship, that they carried him away in despite of all the musketeers aboard. And thus," continues Gorges, "were my hopes of that particular voyage made void and frustrate."

Henry Hudson


In September, 1609, Henry Hudson, an English navigator of experience, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, sailed in the Half Moon  up the noble river that now bears his name. "This day," says the narrator, "the people of the country came aboard of us in canoes made of single, hollowed trees, seeming very glad of our coming, and brought green tobacco, and gave us of it for knives and beads. They go in deerskins, loose, well dressed. They have yellow copper, desire clothes, and are very civil. . . . Next day many of the people came aboard in mantles of feathers. Some women also came to us with hemp; they had red copper tobacco-pipes, and other things of copper they did wear about their necks." One of Hudson's men, named Colman, was killed with an arrow on the following day in a conflict with some of the natives belonging to the fierce tribe of Manhattans.

Hudson then sailed up the river as far as Albany, the natives found above the Highlands being a "very loving people." They brought tobacco, grapes, oysters, beans, pumpkins, and furs to the vessel, for which he paid them in hatchets, beads, and knives. They invited him to visit them on shore, where they made him welcome, and a chief "made an oration and showed him all the country round about."

British ship at Yonkers


One thievish Indian climbed up by the rudder and stole some articles, but was shot and killed by the master's mate. The others fled, some taking to the water. A boat was sent out and the articles recovered. "Then," says the narrator, "one of them that swam got hold of our boat, thinking to overthrow it, but our cook took a sword and cut off his hands, and he was drowned."

It was a sad day for the natives when they were, for the first time, brought under the influence of strong drink. Some of the chiefs were invited into Hudson's cabin, and were plied with wine and brandy till they were intoxicated. "That was strange to them," says the old chronicler, "for they could not tell how to take it." One of them was so tipsy that his companions thought him bewitched, and brought charms (strips of beads) to save him from the strangers' arts. As Hudson and his men sailed down the river, the natives followed with friendly presents and hearty regrets at their departure. Hudson put to sea October 4th, and arrived at Dartmouth, England, on the 7th of November.

A few years later the Dutch laid the foundation of Manhattan, now the great city of New York. The first European settlements in America were nearly all trading posts, established at points where they could barter with the Indians for the skins and furs of the animals they had trapped or shot. These were fitted out by trading companies in England, France, and Holland. The traders were constantly defrauding the Indians, and at the same time rendering them formidable by selling them arms. The attempt of Kieft, the Dutch governor, to exact tribute from them, followed by an attack on the Raritans, for an alleged theft at Staten Island, brought on, finally, a desolating warfare, lasting for two years.

Dutch and Indian trading


In the winter of 1642-43 the dreaded Mohawks came swooping down upon the Algonkin settlements, driving great numbers of them into Manhattan and other Dutch settlements near it. Though these Indians had committed hostile acts, policy and humanity alike suggested that they should be well treated. Instead of this their defenceless condition only suggested to Kieft the policy of exterminating them.

Across the river, at Pavonia, a large number of them had collected, and here, at midnight, the Dutch soldiers, joined by some privateersmen, fell upon them while asleep in their tents, and butchered nearly one hundred of them, including women and little children. This cruel and impolitic act was terribly avenged. The Indians everywhere rose upon the whites, killing the men, capturing the women and children, and destroying and laying waste the settlements. Trading boats on the Hudson were attacked and plundered and their crews murdered. The war extended into Connecticut, and at Pelham's Neck, near New Rochelle, Anne Hutchinson, a remarkable woman, exiled from Boston on account of her religious opinions, was murdered, together with her family, with the exception of a daughter, who was carried into captivity.



The terror-stricken people crowded into Fort Amsterdam, where, during the following winter, they suffered from hunger and cold. Meantime they organized a force, fifty of whom were English, under Captain John Underhill, who had won renown in the Pequot war. Early in 1644 they undertook an expedition against the principal village of the Connecticut Indians, situated near Stamford.

Trading post


A night-march brought them to the Indian town. They had hoped to surprise the Indians, but it was a bright moonlight night and they found then prepared. The Dutch numbered one hundred and fifty; the Indians, protected by their rude fortifications, were seven hundred strong. Advancing steadily, the Dutch repelled the sorties of the Indians, nearly two hundred of whom fell in the attempt to drive them back. Underhill at last succeeded in setting fire to the village. There was an end of the fighting; it was only slaughter now. But eight of the Indians escaped. This victory put a period to the strife. In the following summer a treaty was concluded with all the hostile tribes on the beautiful spot in front of Fort Amsterdam, now known as the Battery, and the pipe of peace was duly smoked in presence of the entire Dutch population. One week later a day of thanksgiving was kept by the Dutch for the conclusion of this terrible war, in the course of which nearly every one of their settlements had been attacked and destroyed.

New York


Early one morning in September, 1655, during the absence of Governor Stuyvesant, who was besieging the Swedes at Fort Christian, nearly two thousand Algonkin warriors swarmed through the streets of New Amsterdam, and after plundering the houses all day, were finally driven off in the evening after a desperate conflict. They then ravaged the adjacent country, killing the men and making prisoners of the women and children. Stuyvesant hastened back and took prompt measures to meet the emergency; but, instead of attacking the savages, by a prudent and conciliatory course he avoided further trouble, and procured a lasting peace and the return of all the captives.

Peter Stuyvesant


On the Pacific coast, Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman who sailed round the world, discovered "a fair and good bay," which may have been that of San Francisco, and remained there long enough to refit his vessel and to build a fort upon the shore. He took possession of the country for Queen Elizabeth with the usual formalities, erecting a post upon which an engraved plate of brass was placed, bearing, besides the picture and arms of the Queen, and Drake's arms, the statement of the free resignation of the country by the king and people into her hands.

With the Indians Drake maintained the most friendly relations. Soon after he landed he received a visit from the king of the country, a man of comely presence and stature, who with his train appeared in great pomp. In front of him marched a tall man, with the sceptre or mace of black wood a yard and a half long. Upon it hung two crowns, with three long chains of bone; these had innumerable links and were marks of honor. The king was dressed in rabbit-skins. The common people were almost naked, but their hair was tied with many feathers. Their faces were painted, and they all brought with them some present. The sceptre bearer and another made long speeches, and then there was a dance and a song. They were then understood to ask Drake "to become their king and governor," the king singing with all the rest; and more fully to declare their meaning, set the crown upon Drake's head and encircled his neck with their chains. They then saluted him by the title of Hioh, or king, and sang and danced to show their joy not only at this visit of the gods, but that Drake, the great god, was become their king and patron.

New Amsterdam


In the interior the natives were found living in villages. Their houses were round holes in the ground, surmounted by poles which met in the centre, the whole being covered with earth to keep out water. The door, "made sloping like the scuttle of a ship," was also the chimney. The people slept in these homes on rushes, on the ground around a fire in the middle. The country was fruitful. Deer and wild horses were plenty. The natives were loving and tractable, and expressed great sorrow at Drake's departure. In his narrative of this voyage, Drake sets forth fully the abundance of gold in California.

Sir Francis Drake


The natives who met the founder of Pennsylvania were Lenni-Lenape, who formerly had their seat beyond the Alleghanies, whence they emigrated to the Hudson and the Delaware. The Raritan, Navesink, Mingo, and Assanpink creeks and rivers, preserve for us the names of the tribes commonly known as Delawares. They were of a warlike disposition, and frequently fought with their Indian neighbors. At the time of Penn's visit they had been conquered by and were subjects of the fierce Iroquois.

William Penn


Penn had thus described them: "They are tall, straight, tread strong and clever, and walk with a lofty chin. Their custom of rubbing the body with bear's fat gives them a swarthy color. They have little black eyes. Their heads and countenances have nothing of the negro type, and I have seen as comely European-like faces among them as on the other side of the sea. Their language is lofty, yet narrow; like short-hand in writing, one word serveth in the place of three, and the rest are supplied by the understanding of the hearers. I have made it my business to learn it that I might not want an interpreter on any occasion.

"In liberality they excel; nothing is too good for their friend. Give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty hands before it sticks; light of heart, strong affections, but soon spent. The justice they have is pecuniary. In case they kill a woman, they pay double; and the reason they render is that she breedeth children, which the man cannot do. It is rare that they fall out, if sober, and if drunk they forgive it, saying it was the drink and not the man that abased them."

William Penn


At Penn's first interview with the Delawares, Taminent, the chief sachem, sat in the middle of a semicircle composed of old men and councillors. At a little distance back sat the young people. One of the sachems addressed Penn, during whose "talk" no one whispered or smiled. Penn and his friends were without arms; he was easily distinguished by a blue silk network sash. The sachem wore a chaplet, with a small horn projecting from it, as a symbol of sovereignty.

The name of the famous Delaware sachem with whom Penn made his treaty has been handed down to posterity in a very singular manner. Notwithstanding the discredit into which it has latterly fallen, the name of Tammany (Taminent) was an honored one, not only during the lifetime of the warrior and sage who bore it, but long after his decease.

A century ago it was adopted by a society in Philadelphia, who, on the first day of May in each year, walked in procession through the streets of that city, their hats decorated with buck's tails, to a place of meeting which they called the wigwam, where the day was passed in mirth and festivity. Since that period the honored name has been associated with a political faction in New York City, at whose meetings a semblance of Indian customs is still preserved.

William Penn


Penn told the Indians that he desired to live in perfect amity with them, and that he and his friends came unarmed because they never used weapons. In addition to the price of the land he bought of them, he presented them with various articles of merchandise.

He tried in every way to conciliate them and gain their confidence. He walked with them at one of their earliest meetings, sat with them on the ground, and ate with them of their roasted acorns and hominy. They expressed their delight at this by hopping and jumping, in which the staid Quaker himself joined them, and, as the story goes, "beat them all." His open, straightforward, simple manner and kind treatment of them was repaid by friendly offices both to himself and his followers.

His famous treaty with them took place at Shakamaxon, on the northern edge of Philadelphia. Every right of the Indians was to be respected, and every difference adjusted by a tribunal composed of an equal number of men from each race. Neither oaths, signatures, nor seals were made use of in this treaty, and no written record of it exists; but it was sacredly kept for sixty years. Harmony also subsisted with the neighboring Indians, among whom were bands of the war-like Shawnees.

Virginia Colonized

It was time for England to assert her rights, and to plant colonies in the vast and fertile regions Cabot had discovered almost a century before. So thought Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the most brilliant Englishmen of an exceptionally brilliant period, when he despatched two vessels, under Captains Anadas and Barlow, to the New World.

Landing at Cape Hatteras in July, they received a friendly welcome, and trafficked with the natives, who came off to their ship in boats, and whom they described as "a handsome and goodly people, most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile and treason, and such as lived after the manner of the golden age."

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


Among these visitors was Granganameo, the king's brother, who, taking a fancy to a pewter dish, made a hole through it and hung it about his neck for a breastplate. From him they learned that Wingina, the king of that country, was confined at home by a wound received in battle. The Christians drove excellent bargains with these simple heathen, the price of the pewter dish being twenty deerskins, worth five pounds sterling, and fifty deerskins for a copper kettle. The simple natives "marvelled much" at the whiteness of the strangers.

The chief's wife came to see them. She wore a long cloak of leather, with a piece of leather about her loins, around her forehead a band of white coral, and from her ears bracelets of large pearls "of the bigness of good pease" hung down to her middle. The other women wore pendants of copper, as did the children, five or six in an ear. Their boats were hollowed trunks of trees.

They kept their white visitors supplied with game and fruits, and did all they could for their comfort. Captain Barlow, with seven men, visited the chief's residence, and in his absence were most hospitably entertained by his wife. Her house of five rooms she placed at their disposal; she and her women provided bountifully for their wants, washing and drying their clothing, and even bathing their feet in warm water, and placing a guard over their boat while they slept. They were feasted upon hominy, boiled venison, and roasted fish, with a dessert of melons and other vegetables. After exploring the coast and acquiring information, the expedition, about the middle of September, returned to England. Two of the natives, Wanchese and Manteo, accompanied them on the return voyage.

Sir Walter Raleigh


The glowing accounts they gave of the country made it easy to gather a company of emigrants to colonize Virginia, for so the country had been named by Queen Elizabeth. Under the lead of Ralph Lane, a soldier of some reputation, one hundred and eight colonists embarked at Plymouth in seven vessels, commanded by Sir Richard Greenville, a kinsman of Raleigh, and one of the best known of the naval captains of the age.

Two years later, Greenville, in his single ship off the Azores, fought fifteen great Spanish galleons for fifteen hours, and when at last mortally wounded, exclaimed with his latest breath, "Here die I, Richard Greenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, fighting for his country, queen, religion, and honor." One of the ships that bore Lane's colony was commanded by Captain Amadas, another by a young captain named Thomas Cavendish, who a year afterwards made a famous voyage round the world. Thomas Hariot was the scientific man of this well-equipped expedition, and John White the artist.

Landing in August, Lane established his colony at Wocokon, on Roanoke Island. Here they found tobacco, to the use of which they soon accustomed themselves, maize, or Indian corn, which attracted their attention from its extraordinary productiveness, and the potato, which, when boiled, they found very palatable. The country was explored as far south as the Indian village of Secotan, and northwardly to the territory of the Chesapeakes in the bay of that name.

The inhabitants who were on the boundary of the Algonkin and Southern or Appalachian races were a mixture of both. Each clan obeyed its own chief, but all were associated in a general confederacy which was ruled by Powhatan, whose council-fire and residence were on the James River. They were described by one of the colonists as a very strong and lusty race, and swift warriors. He tells us, "Their skin is tawny, not so born, but with dyeing and painting themselves, in which they delight greatly. The maids shave close the forepart and sides of their heads, and leave the hair long behind, where it is tied up and hangs down to the hips. The married women wear their hair all of a length, but tied behind as that of the maid's is. The women scratch on their bodies and limbs with a sharp iron, pictures of birds, fishes, and beasts, and rub into the drawings lively colors, which dry into the flesh and are permanent. The people are witty and ingenious, but steal anything they can lay hands on—yea, are so practised in this art, that looking in our faces they would with their foot convey between their toes a chisel, knife, or any indifferent light thing, which, having once conveyed, they hold it an injury to take the same from them. They are naturally given to treachery, howbeit we could not find it in our travel up the river, but rather a most kind and loving people."

They were exceedingly fond of ornaments, some of which were very singular, not to say repulsive. An early traveller tells us, "Their ears they bore with holes, commonly two or three, and in the same they do hang heavy chains of stained pearl, bracelets of white bone, or shreds of copper beaten thin and bright, and wound up hollow, and with a great pride, certain fowles legs, eagles, hawks, turkeys, etc. The claws thrust through, they let hang upon the cheek to the full view, and some there be who will wear in these holes a small green and yellow live snake, near half a yard in length, which, crawling and lapping himself about his neck, oftentimes familiarly he suffereth to kiss his lips. Others wear a ded rat tyed by the tail, and such like conundrums."

Their towns were small, the largest containing but thirty dwellings. Their greatest chief could not muster more than seven hundred or eight hundred warriors. Mathematical instruments, the burning-glass, guns, clocks, mirrors, and the use of letters, attracted their superstitious regard, and the English were reverenced as superior beings. Fire-arms were terrible to them, and every sickness was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets discharged by unseen beings inhabiting the air.

"To make their children hardy," says an early writer, "they wash them in the river in the coldest mornings, and by paintings and ointments so tan their skins that after a year or two no weather will hurt them. To practise their children in the use of their bows and arrows, the mothers do not give them their breakfast in a morning before they have hit a mark which she appoints them to shoot at, and commonly so cunning (skilful) they will have them as, throwing up in the air a piece of moss or some light thing, the boy must with his arrow meet it in its fall and hit it, or else he shall not have his breakfast."

Gradually the friendly disposition of the Indians towards the colonists changed, owing to the greed and cruelty of the whites. They believed that the English were come to kill them and take their places. This belief led to a feeling of enmity. The English perceived it, and fearing a wide-spread conspiracy to destroy them, determined to anticipate it. Obtaining an interview with Wingina, the principal chief, who was wholly unsuspicious of their design, at a preconcerted signal the English fell upon him and his followers and put them all to death. It is not strange that acts of cruelty like these were remembered by the natives, and that savage retribution followed.

Very soon Lane's colony became dissatisfied; provisions were scarce, the Indians were unfriendly, and the colonists were homesick and anxious to return to England. The fleet of Sir Francis Drake opportunely arriving on the coast, he permitted them to embark, and thus ended the first attempt at English colonization. A few days after their departure a ship arrived, laden with all the stores needed by the colony. Greenville, with further supplies, also appeared a little too late. He left fifteen men on Roanoke Island to hold possession for England; they were all killed by the Indians.

Constant to his purpose of colonization, Raleigh now determined to plant a colony of emigrants, with their wives and families, who would make permanent homes in the New World. John White was appointed its governor. In the month of July, 1587, it arrived on the coast of North Carolina, and laid the foundations of the city of Raleigh on Roanoke Island.

Here the first white child of English parents was born to Eleanor Dare, the daughter of Governor White, and named Virginia from the place of its birth.

Captain Stafford, with twenty men, was sent to Croatan to seek lot the lost colonists. He heard that they had been set upon by the Indians, and after a sharp skirmish had taken boats and gone to a small island near Haterask, and afterwards had gone none knew whither. A party, under the guidance of Manteo, an Indian who had accompanied Amadas and Barlow to England, was sent to avenge their supposed murder. By mistake they attacked and killed some members of a friendly tribe. Such mistakes have been only too common in our intercourse with the Indians.

When the ship which had brought them was about to return, the emigrants prevailed on Governor White to go back and see to the prompt despatch of reinforcements and supplies. No seasonable relief, however, arrived, and the fate of the colony remains to this day a mystery. Owing to the threatened invasion of England by the Spanish armada, and to other untoward events, it was not until three years had elapsed that White could return to seek for his colony. It had disappeared, leaving no trace behind. He found the island of Roanoke a desert. Raleigh's efforts and sacrifices to colonize America were all in vain; but his faith was still unshaken, and to his friend Cecil he wrote the memorable words, "I shall yet live to see it an Inglishe nation." America owes a large debt of gratitude to the illustrious man who did so much to promote her colonization.

A period of twenty years now elapsed before a permanent English settlement was made. St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest town in the United States, had been founded by the Spaniards in 1565, and in 1605 the French had begun the settlement of Nova Scotia. On the 14th of May, 1607, Captain Christopher Newport's colony planted itself at Jamestown, Virginia. The colonists at once set manfully to work, felling trees and erecting a fort.

Three weeks before, a party had explored the James River, visiting on the way several Indian kings, or werowances, as they were called, "the people in all places kindly entertaining us," says Captain John Smith, one of the explorers, "dancing, and feasting us with strawberries, mulberries, bread, fish, and other country provisions, whereof we had plenty, for which Captain Newport kindly requited them with bells, pins, needles, and glass beads, which so contented them that his liberality made them follow us from place to place, and ever kindly to respect us."

A remarkable man has come upon the scene, the first to render illustrious the otherwise prosaic name of John Smith. He was now twenty-eight years of age, and from his earliest youth had led a roving and adventurous life. His military career began in the service of the gallant Henry of Navarre, under whose banner we find at the same time Captain Thomas Dudley, afterwards governor of the Massachusetts colony. Smith's exploits in the wars with the Turks in Hungary, his capture and sale in the slave market at Adrianople, his cruel treatment by his master, and his escape, as told by himself, make a most entertaining and romantic, if not a strictly veracious, narrative.

Arrival at Jamestown


While a slave in the Crimea he was clothed in the skin of a wild beast, an iron collar was fastened about his neck, and he was cuffed and kicked about like a dog. One day he avenged himself by breaking his master's skull with a flail, and then mounting his horse fled in disguise to Poland, and thence made his way to Morocco. Here he joined an English roan-of-war, and after a fierce sea-fight arrived in England just in time to embark in the colonization of Virginia.

These experiences, taken in connection with his subsequent career in Virginia, make Captain John Smith by far the most picturesque character in our annals. Even if we give up the chivalric exploit of the slaying of the three Turks, one after the other, in single combat before the walls of Regall, for the pastime of the ladies, and the romantic story of his rescue from death by Pocahontas, enough remains to immortalize the name of Captain John Smith in all time to come.

As soon as the natives became aware of the purpose of the whites to dispossess them of their territory, they began to be troublesome. They would skulk about at night, and hang around the fort by day, bringing sometimes presents of deer, but given to theft of small articles, and showing jealousy of the invasion of their soil. The day before the return of a second exploring party, two hundred Indians attacked the fort. They fought bravely, but were driven off after an hour's fight by the guns of the ship. In this affair the colonists had eleven men wounded and a boy killed. For several days alarms and attacks continued, and it was unsafe for any to venture beyond the fort.

Newport's colony consisted mainly of "gentlemen." No more useless commodity could have been sent here. Among them were ruined spend-thrifts, broken tradesmen, fortune-hunters, rakes, and libertines. They expected to find gold; they found instead danger, disappointment, toil, and sickness.

"We did not come here to work," they said.

"Then you shall not eat," said the redoubtable Captain Smith. "The labor of a few industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain idle loiterers."

In order to stop profanity Smith kept a daily account of every man's oaths, and at night a can of cold water poured down the offender's sleeve was the penalty for each transgression. To the company in England who had sent out the colony he wrote: "When you send again, I entreat you send thirty carpenters, husbandmen, gardeners, fishermen, blacksmiths, or diggers up of roots, well provided, rather than a thousand of such as we have." After Smith's return to England they had things their own way; they plundered the Indians, who in turn slew them, and were reduced by famine to the greatest straits. When relieved by Sir Thomas Gates, from four hundred and ninety their number had dwindled to sixty.

With so many drones in the hive there was soon a scarcity of food. But for the kindness of the natives, who brought them maize and other provisions, they must have starved. Smith made several excursions up the Chickahominy River to trade with the Indians for corn. When, as it sometimes happened, the savages were insolent, and refused to trade, he brought them to terms by force of arms. But for his energy in procuring supplies, and his success in dealing with the Indians, it is probable that the colony would have famished. With all his vanity and impatience of restraint, Smith possessed extraordinary executive ability.

Not long after the settlement was begun, Smith, while engaged in exploring the sources of the Chickahominy, was set upon by the natives. Seizing the Indian guide who had accompanied him, he used him as a shield against their arrows, at the same time defending himself with his pistol. He was soon surrounded by two hundred Indians, led by Opechanganough, chief of the Pamunkeys, the brother of Powhatan. Sure of making him prisoner they would not shoot, but laid down their bows and demanded his arms. Let the valiant captain tell the rest of the story in his own words:

Ruins of Jamestown


"In retiring," says Smith, "being in the midst of a low quagmire, and minding them more than my steps, I stept fast into the quagmire, and also the Indian in drawing me forth. Thus surprised, I resolved to try their mercies and cast my arms from me, till which none durst approach me.

"Having seized on me they drew me out, diligently chafed my benumbed limbs, and led me to the king. I presented him with a compass-dial, describing by my best means the use thereof; whereat he so amazedly admired, as he suffered me to proceed in a discourse of the roundness of the earth, the course of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. (Much of this learned discourse must have been thrown away upon an unlettered savage.) With kind speeches and bread he requited me. I expected they would execute me, yet they used me with what kindness they could. I was taken to their town, six miles off, only made as arbors and covered with mats, which they remove as occasion requires. For supper I had a quarter of venison and some ten pounds of bread; what I left was reserved for me. Each morning three women presented me three great platters of fine bread, and more venison than ten men could eat. I had my gowne, points, and garters; my compass and tablets they gave me again. Though eight ordinarily guarded me, I wanted not what they could devise to content me, and still our longer acquaintance increased our better affection."

Smith also greatly astonished the Indians by writing a letter to be sent to his friends, for they could not understand how a message could be put on paper. And when the articles for which he had sent were delivered to diem, they regarded him as a wonderful powwow or conjuror.

Some days later he was conducted to the residence of Powhatan, the principal chief of the country, near the historic field of Yorktown, but on the other side of the river.

Powhatan was at this time about seventy years of age, and of majestic appearance. He was tall, well proportioned, and exceedingly vigorous. By his bravery, energy, and policy he had raised himself to kingly power. He swayed many nations upon the great rivers and bays, as far as the Patuxent, most of whom he had conquered. There were thirty of these, with a population of twenty-four thousand. He wore an ornamented robe of raccoon-skins, and his head-dress was composed of many feathers wrought into a kind of crown. He usually kept a guard of forty or fifty of the most resolute and well formed of his warriors about him, especially when he slept; but after the English came into his country he increased it to about two hundred. Smith's interview with this great chief, who received him with much ceremony, is best given in his own words:

"Arriving at Woramocomoco, on the Pamunkey [York] River," says Smith, "their emperor was proudly lying upon a bedstead a foot high, upon ten or twelve mats, richly hung with many chains of great pearls about his neck, and covered with a great covering of raccoon-skins. At his head sat a woman; at his feet another. On each side, sitting on a mat upon the ground, were ranged his chief men, ten in a rank, and behind them as many young women, each having a great chain of white beads over their shoulders, their heads painted red. At my entrance before the king all the people gave a great shout. The Queen of Appomattuck was appointed to bring me water to wash my hands, and another brought a bunch of feathers instead of a towel to dry them.


"With such a grave and majestical countenance as drew me into admiration to see such state in a naked savage, Powhatan kindly welcomed me with good words and great platters of sundry victuals, assuring me his friendship, and my liberty within four days. He much delighted in Opechanganough's relation of what I had described to him, and oft examined me upon the same. He promised to give me corn, venison, or what I wanted to feed us. Hatchets and copper we should make him, and none should disturb us. This I promised to perform; and thus having, with all the kindness he could devise, sought to content me, he sent me home."

When Powhatan inquired of Smith the cause of their coming, he was careful not to let him know that the English had come to settle in the country. He told him that in a fight with the Spaniards they had been overpowered and compelled to retreat, and by stress of weather had to put to that shore. Perhaps Powhatan believed him. Smith had a decided knack for romancing.

This account of his captivity was written by Smith at the time, and was soon afterwards published in London. In it nothing is said about Pocahontas saving his life. That romantic story, first published sixteen years later, and since everywhere repeated, has latterly been questioned. It is wholly inconsistent with what Smith had previously told of the kind treatment he received from Powhatan. It is as follows:

"Having feasted him (Smith) after the best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held; but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan; then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs to beat out his brains, Pocahontas, the king's dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms and laid her own upon his to save him from death, whereat the emperor was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper, for they thought him as well capable of all occupations as themselves." There can be little doubt that Smith owed his escape from death to his own native wit and readiness.

Smith thus describes some of the religious and other ceremonies performed by their medicine-men, or powwows:

"Three or four days after my taking," he says, "seven of them came rushing in, painted half black, half red, in the house where I lay; round about him these fiends danced a pretty while; then each, with a rattle, began, at ten o'clock in the morning, to sing about the fire, which they environed with a circle of meal, and afterwards, a foot or two from that, at the end of each song, laid down two or three grains of wheat, continuing this order till they have included six hundred or seven hundred in a half-circle, and, after that, two or three more circles in like manner, a hand's-breadth from the others; that done, at each song they put between every three, two, or five grains a little stick, so continuing, as an old woman her paternoster.

"One, disguised with a great skin, his head hung round with little skins of weasels and other vermin, with a coronet of feathers on his head, painted as ugly as possible, came skipping in with a fearful yell, and a rattle in his hand. At the end of each song he made many signs and demonstrations, with strange and vehement actions; great cakes of deer suet; deer, and tobacco he cast in the fire. Their howling would continue till six o'clock in the evening ere they would depart. Three days they used this ceremony, the meaning whereof was to show if I intended them well or no.

Pocahontas and Captain Smith


Each morning, in the coldest frosts, the principal, to the number of twenty or thirty, assembled themselves in a circle a good distance from the town, where they told me they consulted where to hunt the next day. So fat they fed me that I much doubted they intended to have sacrificed me to the power they worship. To cure the sick, a man with a rattle, and extreme howling, shouting, singing, and such violent gestures and antic actions, labors over the patient. In passing over the water in foul weather they offer tobacco to their god to conciliate his favor. Death they lament with great sorrow and weeping; their kings they bury betwixt two mats, within their houses, with all his beads, jewels, hatchets, and copper; the others in graves like ours. For the crown their heirs inherit not, but the first heirs of the sister."

The colonists were constantly in fear of the savages, who lurked in the neighboring forest. One of them brought in a glittering stone one day, and said he would show them where there was a great abundance of it. Smith went to see this mine, but was led hither and thither until he lost patience, and seeing that the Indian was fooling him, gave him twenty lashes with a rope. He then handed him his bow and arrows, told him to shoot if he dared, and let him go.

Smith was always prompt and "square" with the Indians, keeping his promises to them, and never hesitating to attack or punish them when necessary. They feared and respected him. Smith was a great boaster, but there was no nonsense about him.

He was a born explorer, and in one of his voyages discovered and sailed up the Potomac River, collecting from the natives a quantity of furs. Fish were so abundant that his men attempted, though without success, to catch them with frying-pans; the fishes very properly declined this premature introduction to the frying-pan, not being dressed for the occasion. In a subsequent journey he made acquaintance with the Susquehannocks, a tribe of large stature and of honest and simple disposition. "Their voices were proportioned to their size," says Smith, "sounding, as it were, a great voice in a vault or cave, as an echo."

Early in the following year Smith, with Newport and about twenty others, went to Powhatan's residence to trade. Three hundred savages conducted Smith to Powhatan, who received him in great state. Before his house were ranged forty or fifty great platters of bread. Entering his house, "with loud tunes they made all signs of great joy."

The emperor sat upon his bed of mats, his pillow of leather embroidered with pearls and white beads, and his attire "a fair robe of skins, as large as an Irish mantle." He welcomed Smith with kindness, caused him to sit beside him, and with pleasant converse renewed their old acquaintance. Smith presented him with a suit of red cloth, a white greyhound, and a hat. Powhatan professed a great desire to see Smith's "father," Captain Newport, upon whose greatness Smith had before freely enlarged. That night the English were feasted liberally, and entertained with singing, dancing, and orations.

Next day Newport came on shore, and presents were exchanged. Newport gave Powhatan a white boy, thirteen years old, named Thomas Savage. This boy remained a long time with the Indians, and was useful to the colonists as an interpreter. In return, Powhatan gave Newport a bag of beans, and an Indian, named Namontack, for his servant. The party stayed three or four days, feasting, dancing, and trading with the natives.

In the matter of trade, Smith says of Powhatan, "he carried himself so proudly, yet discreetly (in his savage manner), as made us all to admire his natural gifts.

"'Captain Newport,' said he, 'it is not agreeable to my greatness in this peddling manner to trade for trifles; therefore lay down all your commodities together, what I like I will take, and in recompense give you what I think fitting their value.'"

Smith saw through his craftiness and warned Newport; but the latter resented his interference and placed all his goods before Powhatan, who in return gave him only a few bushels of corn, whereas he expected to have obtained twenty hogsheads. Smith, who was as wily as the Indian, showed him, as if by accident, a few blue beads which he pretended he did not wish to part with, as they were of great price, being of the color of the skies, and worn only by great kings. He so stimulated Powhatan's eagerness to possess such treasures that for a pound of blue beads he paid him two or three hundred bushels of corn.

It had been decided by the company in England to crown Powhatan, and to present him with a basin and ewer, bed, bedding, and clothes. The ceremony of coronation, which took place at Worawocomoco, is thus humorously described by Smith:

"The presents were brought him, his bed and furniture set up, his scarlet cloke and apparel with much adoe put on him. But a foule trouble there was to make him kneel to receive his crown; he not knowing the majesty nor meaning of a crown, nor bending of the knee, endured so many persuasions, examples, and illustrations as tired them all. At last, by bearing hard on his shoulders, he a little stooped, and three having the crown in their hands put it on his head, when, by the warning of a pistol, the boats were prepared with such a volley of shot that made the king start up in a horrible fear, till he saw all was well. Then, remembering himself to congratulate their kindness, he gave his old shoes and his mantle to Captain Newport."

Of this absurd ceremonial Smith observes, "We had his favor and better for a plain piece of copper, till this stately kind of solicitation made him so much overvalue himself that he respected us as much as nothing at all."

Nothing could be more plausible or apparently more free from treacherous intent than Powhatan's talk with Smith, when upon one occasion the latter, to extort food for the famished settlers which the Indians withheld, threatened to take it by force.

"Why should you," said the chief, "take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions and fly into the woods, and then you must, consequently, perish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with guns and swords as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly, to laugh and be merry with the English, and being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep, unless in this miserable manner to end my miserable life; and, Captain Smith, this might be your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I, therefore, entreat you to peaceable counsels, and, above all, I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away."

Captain John Smith


Smith rightly interpreted this cunning speech exactly contrary to what it expressed, and it confirmed rather than lessened his former suspicions that the wily chief sought an opportunity to destroy them. At length, finding all artifices in vain, Powhatan resolved to fall upon the English in their cabins in the night. From this peril they were saved by Pocahontas, who came alone to Jamestown, in a dismal night, through the woods, and informed Smith of her father's design. To show his gratitude, Smith says he would have given her "such things as she delighted in, but with the tears rolling down her cheeks she said she durst not be seen to have any, for if Powhatan should know it she were but dead; and so she ran away by herself as she came."

Another of Smith's wonderful exploits must now be recorded. With fifteen of his men he visited Opechanganough's residence, where he soon found himself surrounded by seven hundred armed savages seeking his life. Boldly charging the king with intent to murder him, he challenged him to single combat, Smith to be as naked as the king. The latter still professed friendship, but Smith seizing him by his long hair, in the midst of his guard, with his pistol at his breast led him trembling and near dead with fear among all his people. The king gave up his arms, and the savages, astonished at the daring of Smith, threw down their bows and loaded his men with corn and other commodities. A picture of this astonishing feat in Smith's "Generall Historic," represents the savage king as of gigantic stature, Smith appearing like a boy beside him.

Smith once encountered the king of Paspahegh, "a most strong, stout savage," who, seeing that the Englishman had only his sword, attempted to shoot him. Smith grappled with him, and the savage bore him into the river to drown him. Finally Smith got him by the throat and nearly strangled him. Then drawing his sword he was about to cut off his head, when the king begged his life so earnestly that Smith led him a prisoner to the fort and put him in chains. The chief afterwards succeeded in making his escape.

If the Indian was treacherous, so was the white man. Captain Argall, an English trader, with the gift of a copper kettle for himself, and a few toys for his squaw, induced a chief to entice Pocahontas on board his vessel. No wonder she had no suspicion of this base design, for she had proved her friendship for the English on more than one occasion, at a great sacrifice to herself.

This Indian maiden, as we are told by Smith, "far excelled all others for feature, countenance, and proportion," and for wit and spirit was "the only nonpareil of this country." In the early days of the colony, when but about twelve years of age, she had been sent by her father to Jamestown, to procure the release of some Indians detained at the fort. She was accompanied by Rawhunt, her father's trusty messenger, who assured Smith of Powhatan's love and kindness, in that he had sent his child whom he most esteemed to see him, and a deer and bread besides for a present. The prisoners were given to Pocahontas "in regard to her father's kindness, and Pocahontas also we requited with such trifles as contented her."

Pocahontas was taken by Argall to Jamestown, and a ransom was demanded of her father. Angry and indignant, as he well might be, Powhatan prepared for war.



One of the few romances that enliven the pages of our early history prevented such a calamity, and was the beginning of a firm and lasting peace. It happened that this dusky Indian maiden was beloved by John Rolfe, a worthy young Englishman who was the first to cultivate the tobacco plant In Virginia. Gaining her favor, he asked her in marriage. Her baptism was soon followed by her nuptials with Rolfe. In April, 1614, with the approbation of her father and friends, Opachisea, her uncle, gave the bride away, and the marriage ceremony was performed according to the forms of the English Church. Two years later the pair visited England. She was taken to the court, where she was known as the Lady Rebecca, and was received with great favor, everywhere attracting general attention as the daughter of the Virginia emperor, but died just as she was about to return to her native land, at the age of twenty-one. Among the distinguished Virginians who claim descent from this Indian princess was the celebrated John Randolph, of Roanoke.

While Pocahontas was in England, Smith went to see her. She had believed him dead, and was displeased at his neglect of her. Being a king's daughter, he would not permit her to call him father, at which she was greatly offended. "I will call you father," so she told him, and you shall call me child. They did tell me always you were dead, for your countrymen will lie much, and I knew no other till I came to Plymouth."



The Lady Rebecca and her husband had been accompanied to England by an Indian named Tomocomo, who was commissioned by Powhatan to inquire into the state of the country, and to note the number of its inhabitants. Arriving at Plymouth, he procured a long stick and began the performance of his task by cutting a notch for each person he saw. This primitive manner of taking the census was soon abandoned. His report of the state of the country he visited, if he ever made one, would to-day be very interesting reading.

An unlucky accident, which nearly cost Smith his life, put an end to his connection with the colony, and compelled him to go to England for proper surgical aid. While lying in his boat an explosion of gunpowder tore the flesh from his thigh and set fire to his clothing. He threw himself out of the boat into the water, and was nearly drowned before he could be rescued. He left Virginia in the autumn of 1609, and never returned. His efforts to preserve the colony, and to restrain the evil and turbulent spirits with which it abounded, had made him unpopular, and his life had been many times endangered by the machinations of his enemies. His later years were employed in explorations of the New England coast, in the composition of his valuable and interesting memoirs and descriptions of the New World, and in efforts to interest London capitalists in its colonization.

The only monument to the memory of this extraordinary man is a little marble shaft on the southerly summit of Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals. His epitaph, given in Stow's "Survey of London," begins thus:

"Here lies one conquered that hath conquered kings."

A tablet, with three Turks' heads engraved upon it, in St. Sepulchre's Church, London, marks the place of his burial.

Captain John Smith

Powhatan's successor, the famous Opechanganough, the gigantic chief who had captured Smith, for twenty-five years acted an important part in the history of Virginia. During his sway the most terrible of Indian massacres took place. Idle and vicious white men had stolen the Indians' corn, driven the game out of the country, and wronged them in many ways. Their lands had been taken from them, and scattered settlements had sprung up on the bay and the rivers running into it, in many cases remote from each other. The haughty Opechanganough had ever been intent on the destruction of the English, and by a course of craft and policy had lulled them into a fatal security. Having matured his plans, a general rising of the Indians took place, and three hundred and forty-seven persons, including six members of the council, were cut off.

The secrecy and dissimulation of the Indians were perfect. Treachery and falsehood are the natural weapons of the weak and timorous. Only two days before the fatal blow fell they sent one of their youth to live with the English and learn their language. On the very morning of the massacre they came unarmed among them and traded as usual, and even sat down to breakfast with their victims in several instances. No respect was paid to age, sex, or condition. Their best friends were among their first victims.

Those attacked were at a distance from Jamestown; there, fortunately, the people had warning. The night before the massacre a converted Indian was told by his brother of the proposed extermination of the English, and was urged to do his part by murdering his master. This seems to have been the only instance in which any obligation to the white man for benefits received was remembered. The Indian revealed the plot to his master.

Before daylight the planter, who lived opposite to Jamestown, crossed the river and warned the inhabitants. The people assembled with their arms, word was sent to all the settlements within reach, and the larger part of the colonists were by this means saved, the Indians making no attack where they seemed likely to encounter resistance.

Virginia was well-nigh ruined. The settlements were reduced from eighty to less than eight. All the smaller settlements and plantations were abandoned. Industries of all kinds ceased, except in the vicinity of the large towns, and the colonists at once set about to take "a sharp revenge upon the bloody miscreants." They destroyed the towns, the crops, the fishing weirs of the natives, shot them down as they would wild beasts wherever found, tracked them with blood-hounds to their hiding-places in the forest, and trained their mastiffs to tear them in pieces. This state of things lasted for years, and it was long before the planters returned to their old occupations.

A second massacre of the settlers, also planned by the now aged Opechanganough, who, borne upon a litter, accompanied his warriors, lasted two days. Three hundred persons were murdered. Its progress was finally checked by Sir William Berkeley, at the head of an armed force.

The old chief was taken prisoner not long afterwards, and carried to Jamestown. The soldier who guarded him barbarously shot him, inflicting a mortal wound. Just before he died, observing a curious crowd about hum, he roused himself from his lethargy, and in a tone of authority demanded that the governor should be summoned. When he came, Opechanganough indignantly said to him,

"Had it been my fortune to have taken Sir William Berkeley prisoner, I would not meanly have exposed him as a show to my people."

From this period the native population of Virginia gradually disappeared, leaving as memorials only the names of their mountains and streams.

The New England Indians

Only a few years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the coast of New England had been visited by a pestilence which had swept off nearly all the natives. A few Indians were seen hovering about soon after their arrival, but they quickly disappeared when pursued.

Landing of the Pilgrims


Their first encounter with the natives took place at Wellfleet, while they were exploring the coast for a suitable place for a settlement. Edward Winslow, afterwards governor of Plymouth colony, has left this account of it:

"All of a sudden," says Winslow, "we heard a great and strange cry. One of the company came running and said, 'They are men! Indians, Indians!' and withal their arrows came flying amongst us. The cry of our enemies was dreadful, especially when our men ran to recover their arms, which lay on the shore at a little distance, as by the good providence of God they did.

"In the mean time Captain Miles Standish made a shot, and after him another. Other two of us were ready, and there were only four of us which had their arms ready, and stood before the open side of our barricade, which was first assaulted. We called to them in the shallop to know how it was with them, and they answered,

"'Well, well!' every one; and 'Be of good courage.'

"There was a lusty man, and no whit less valiant, who was thought to be their captain, stood behind a tree within half a musket-shot of us, and there let his arrows fly at us. He was seen to shoot three arrows, which were all avoided, for he at whom the first was aimed stooped down and it flew over him. He stood three shots of a musket. At length one took, as he said, full aim at him, after which he gave an extraordinary cry, and away they went, all. We followed them about a quarter of a mile. Then we shouted altogether several times, and shot off a couple of muskets, and so returned. This we did that they might see we were not afraid of them nor discouraged.

"By the special providence of God none of these arrows hit us, though many came close by us and on every side of ns, and some coats that hung in our barricade were shot through and through."

Pilgrims and Indians


Captain Miles Standish, who was so conspicuous in the military annals of Plymouth Colony, and who was the leader of as their warlike expeditions, had seen service, having fought the Spaniards in Holland. He was a fiery, hot-tempered little man, and afraid of nothing. Finding himself upon one occasion in company with Pecksuot, an Indian of great strength and courage, and suspected of plotting against the English, Standish, exasperated by his taunts and boasts of what he would do to the English, snatched the warrior's knife from his belt, and after a long struggle killed him with it. Others of Pecksuot's party were killed at the same time by Standish's companions. It was with reference to this affair that the Rev. John Robinson, father of the Plymouth church, said, "Oh that they had converted some before they had killed any."

Not long after the landing at Plymouth, Samoset, an Indian of the Wampauong tribe, who had picked up a little of their language from the English fishermen at Pemaquid, boldly entered the town, exclaiming, "Welcome, Englishmen!" This was the first Indian with whom the Pilgrims had spoken. In the name of his nation he invited them to possess the soil, the old occupants of which were no longer living.



Samoset is described as "a tall, straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all. He was free of speech and of a seemly carriage." Being naked, they gave him a hat, a pair of stockings and shoes, a shirt, and a piece of cloth to tie about his waist. They learned a great deal from him about the Indians of the country. He came again to them, bringing five others with him. They were dressed in skins, most of them having long hose up to their groins, close made, and above, to their waists, another leather, "altogether like the Irish trousers. They are of complexion like our English gypsies Some trussed up their hair before with a feather broadwise, like a fan, another (had) a fox-tail hanging out." They professed to be friendly, and sang and danced after their fashion. Some had their faces painted black, four or five fingers broad, others in a different manner.

Plymouth wilderness


Soon afterwards another Indian named Squanto came to them. He was one of those who had been carried off by Captain Hunt, but escaped to England, and came back to his native land with Captain Dermer. He acted as interpreter to the colonists, taught them how to plant Indian-corn, where to take fish and procure other commodities, and, says Governor Bradford, "was a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their anticipation." After a while Squanto began to abuse his power and influence over the Indians, and received a sharp reprimand from Governor Winslow, who, however, admits that he was "so necessary and profitable an instrument as at that time we could not spare him." Hobbomuk was another of these natives who rendered invaluable aid to the pilgrims in the time of their early hardship and privation.

About twenty different tribes of Indians were found in New England. They were generally independent of each other, but sometimes united for mutual protection or for the purpose of making war. The chiefs of tribes or clans had such power only as they were entitled to by mental or physical superiority. The Pequots, Narragansets, Pokanokets, Massachusetts, and Pawtuckets were the principal tribes. There were also the Mohegans and Nipmucks, and the Abenakis of Maine. The Pequots, the most powerful, numbered about four thousand. Next came the Narragansets, in Rhode Island, with about one thousand. The Pokanokets, or Wampanoags, located in Plymouth colony, were much inferior to the Narragansets, whose sachem, Canonicus, was a chief of great ability.

To test the mettle of the white intruders, Canonicus, soon after they landed, sent them a bundle of arrows wrapped in a rattlesnake's skin. To this challenge the English replied by returning the skin filled with powder and ball, and with it a message from Governor Bradford, telling them that he desired peace, but if the Narragansets wanted war they might begin as soon as they had a mind to, and that he was prepared. This prompt defiance was enough, and no further hostile demonstrations were made by the Narragansets for many years.

The Massachusetts Indians, once a numerous people and often at war with the Narragansets, lived about the bay of that name. They comprised the Nausets, on Cape Cod; Pokanokets, or Wampanoags, between Plymouth and Narraganset Bay; Massachusetts; Pennacooks, on the northern frontier extending into New Hampshire; and the Nipmucks, in central Massachusetts, extending into Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Pawtuckets, also nearly destroyed by the great pestilence, were north of the Massachusetts tribes, and included the Pennacooks and other smaller clans. The language of all these tribes was substantially the same.

Massasoit, the Wampanoag sachem, paid an early visit to the Pilgrims, and was received with all the ceremony the condition of the colony allowed. He and his men were conducted to a new house, a green rug was spread upon the floor, and several cushions for Massasoit and his men to sit down upon. Then came the English governor, followed by a drummer and a trumpeter and a few soldiers, and after kissing one another all sat down.



The chief was described at this time as "a very lustie man, in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech. His face was painted of a sad red, and both face and head were well oiled, so that he looked greasily. A great chain of white bone beads was around his neck, on which hung a little bag of tobacco; this he used himself and passed to the English. In his bosom he carried a great, long knife. He marvelled much at our trumpet, and some of his men would sound it as well as they could. Some were naked, all were painted, and all were tall, strong men. The governor filled the king's kettle with peas, which pleased them well, and so they went their way." Massasoit's residence was at Mount Hope, which is now included in the town of Bristol, Rhode Island.

A treaty of friendship was soon made, and it was sacredly kept for more than forty years. Massasoit gained an important ally, for the powerful Narragansets were his enemies, and the English obtained security and the opportunity of a profitable trade.



Some time afterwards, Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins visited the sachem at his home. Their account of this visit gives us an amusing glimpse of Indian domestic life. He had no victuals for them, and night coming on they retired supperless to bed. This article of furniture consisted of planks, laid a foot from the ground, and a thin mat upon them. "The chief and his wife occupied one end of the bed," says Winslow, "and we the other. Two of his men, for want of room, pressed by and upon us, so that we were worse weary of our lodging than our journey. What with bad lodging, the savages' barbarous singing (for they used to sing themselves asleep), vermin within doors and mosquitoes without, we could hardly sleep, and feared if we stayed longer we should lack strength to get home. When we departed, Massasoit was both grieved and ashamed that he could no better entertain us."

Massasoit, being at one time dangerously sick, sent word to his friends at Plymouth, who sent Winslow to him with medicines and cordials. These he administered successfully, and Massasoit, believing that Winslow had saved his life, was very grateful. Just as Winslow was about to depart he informed him of a plot by some of his sub-sachems to cut off the English, which he had refused to join and had used his efforts to prevent. Massasoit remained a fast friend to the colonists to the day of his death.

Edward Winslow


The tribute of Hobbomuk to the dead chief shows how strong was his attachment to his master. "My loving sachem, my loving sachem!" he exclaimed with tender accent, "many have I known, but never any like thee." Then turning to Winslow, he said, "While you live on will never see his like. He was no liar, nor bloody and cruel like other Indians; he was easily reconciled towards such as had offended him, and he governed his people better with few blows than others did with many."

Captain John Oldham, while on a trading expedition at Block Island, was murdered by some Narraganset Indians. Oldham had been the first deputy from Watertown to the General Court, and was a prominent and highly-respected citizen. What led to the catastrophe, whether it was occasioned by a thirst for plunder or out of revenge for some injury from him, is not known.

Immediately after the murder, Captain John Gallup, of Boston, who with two sons and a servant, "a stout, strong fellow," was in a larger vessel, also trading with the Indians near Block Island, discovered a vessel making off from the shore. He saw that she was awkwardly handled and appeared full of Indians. Believing her a piratical craft, Gallup determined upon her capture.

Having the advantage of a good breeze he made all sail towards her, and struck her on her quarter with such force as almost overset her. This frightened the Indians so much that six of them jumped into the sea and were drowned. Gallup repeated this mauœuvre successfully, and then with his fire-arms drove every remaining Indian below. Meanwhile four or five more of them leaped overboard, and Gallup then boarded and captured her. Oldham's body was found still warm, the head split open and the feet and hands chopped off. Two boys taken with Oldham were rescued uninjured. This is the first American sea-fight on record.

In order to ascertain and punish the instigators of this murder, the English sent a deputation to Canonicus, the Narraganset sachem, who was well known to be "a just man and a friend to the English." They observed in him "much state, great command over his men, and much wisdom in Ins answers, clearing himself and his neighbors of the murder, and offering assistance for revenge of it, yet upon very safe and wary conditions."

An expedition under Governor Endicott was sent against the Block Island Indians and the Pequots, the perpetrators of Oldham's murder, which ravaged their villages and destroyed their crops, and on its return doing the same along the Narraganset shore. Forty of the natives were killed and wounded in a skirmish. At Saybrook, near the mouth of the Connecticut, a fort had been built, and Captain Lion Gardner placed in command. He condemned this unwise action of Endicott in a letter to Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, in which he says, "You came hither to raise these wasps about my ears, and then you will take wing and flee away." He and his little garrison of less than one hundred had all they could do, he said, "to fight Captain hunger." He was right; so far from being overawed, the Pequots sought the alliance of their neighbors the Narragansets and the Mohegans; a state of constant hostility was produced, and the fort was for a long time beleaguered. The persevering energy and intrepidity of one man caused the dissolution of this formidable conspiracy.

Governor Endicott


When Roger Williams, the famous apostle of civil and religious liberty in America, was in midwinter exiled from Massachusetts, he fled to Rhode Island, where he was kindly received by the Indians. He was well acquainted with their language, and while a resident of Plymouth had often been the guest of the neighboring sachems. He was welcomed to the cabin of Massasoit, and "the barbarous heart of Cauonicus loved him as his son to the last gasp." "The ravens," said Williams, "fed me in the wilderness." He requited the hospitality of the red men by being ever after their friend and counsellor; their "pacificator when their rude passions were inflamed, and their advocate and protector" whenever wrong was offered them.

At the earnest request of the authorities of Massachusetts, who had just before driven him into exile, Williams endeavored to prevent the Pequots from obtaining the alliance of the Narragansets. At the hazard of his life he hastened to the home of the Narraganset sachem. "Three days and three nights," he says, "my business forced me to lodge and mix with the bloody Pequot ambassadors, whose hands and arms methought reeked with the blood of my countrymen, and from whom I could not but nightly look for their bloody knives at my own throat also. God wonderfully preserved me and helped me to break in pieces the Pequots' negotiations and designs."

The Pequots kept on plundering and murdering the settlers until in May, 1637, a force of seventy-seven men, under Captains Mason and Underhill, accompanied by four hundred Narragansets and Mohegans, was sent against them. Mason was a veteran soldier who, with Miles Standish and Underhill, had learned the art of war in Belgium, under that renowned leader the Prince of Orange.

Of the Indian tribes of New England the Pequots were the most formidable. All the other tribes were afraid of them. They were settled near the Thames River in Connecticut, and could muster seven hundred warriors. In his prosperous days, Sassacus, their sachem, had no less than twenty-six sachems under him, and reigned supreme from Narraganset Bay to the Hudson River, and over Long Island. Seeing the English settlements multiplying around him, and fearing that sooner or later the English would be in possession of the hunting grounds of his tribe, he resolved to make war upon them.

As the English vessels sailed by the mouth of the Thames, the Pequots, who had assembled in large numbers, supposed they had nothing further to fear. They had no suspicion that the English captain was executing a flank movement, so as to attack them from an unexpected quarter. But so it was. When Mason's Indians got near the hostile fort, though they had boasted of what they would do, their fears of the terrible Sassacus got the better of them, and they kept at a safe distance until the affair was over. When Uncas was asked how many of his men would run away when the battle begun, the answered, "Every one but myself." The result justified his prediction.

Mason landed his men near the village of Cononicus, whose permission he obtained to march across his territory and attack the Pequots. The old thief told Mason that his force was much too small for the big job he had undertaken. After a tedious march, Mason's men reached Pawcatuck Ford (now Stouington), weary, hungry, and footsore. Resting awhile, they continued their march, with Incas and Wegna, a recreant Pequot, for guides, and one hour after midnight encamped on the head-waters of the Mystic River.

Although Mason had resolved to attack both Pequot forts, which were four or five miles apart, at the same time, yet the fatigue and privations of his men, who had been two days on the march without provisions, and suffering from the extreme heat of the weather, determined him to confine his attack to the nearest fort. Reposing a few hours, his men took up the line of march and arrived before the fort, which was two miles distant, about two hours before daybreak. The moon was shining brightly when they reached the foot of the eminence on which the fort was situated.

Fort Mystic, the principal Pequot stronghold, was a palisade work that stood at the top of a hill in the present town of Groton. It covered an area of twenty acres, and was so crowded with wigwams that the English "wanted foot-room to grapple with their adversaries." Its two entrances were at opposite points, and were blocked up with boughs or baskets. The wigwams were ranged in two rows, and were covered with matting or thatch.

The Indians had spent the night in dancing, singing, and rejoicing at their supposed escape from invasion. Asleep in their wigwams, the barking of a dog just at daybreak was their first intimation of danger. The cry, "Owanux Owanux!" (Englishmen) was raised.

Removing the obstacles, Mason, with sixteen followers, entered the fort at one end, while Underhill did the same at the other, and before the startled sleepers had time to oppose them, the work of destruction had begun.

Although surprised, the Indians defended themselves as well as they could with their bows and arrows, but they were quickly overpowered. Many of them sought shelter in the wigwams, covering themselves with the thick mats, from which it was almost impossible to dislodge them. The sword and bullet doing the work too slowly, Mason seized a firebrand, exclaiming, "We must burn them!" A warrior drew his bow to send an arrow through his heart, but a soldier cut the bowstring with his sword. The combustible cabins were soon in a blaze, and five or six hundred of the miserable natives perished in the flames. Those who tried to escape by climbing over the palisades were shot down. Of the English, two only had fallen and twenty were wounded. Lieutenant Bull had a narrow escape, an Indian arrow being stopped by a piece of hard cheese in his pocket.

This victory was regarded by the Puritans as a signal evidence of the goodness of God. "The Lord was pleased," says Captain Mason in his narrative, quoting the Psalmist, "to smite our enemies in the hinder parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance."

The rigor displayed by the settlers in this first great blow inflicted on the Indians struck terror into them and secured a long season of peace. It was indeed a terrible massacre, involving helpless women and children, as well as men. The early colonial laws had forbidden the sale of fire-arms to the Indians, and till they possessed them they were never formidable in battle.

The remainder of the tribe were soon hunted down. A portion of them fled for protection to the Mohawks, who treacherously beheaded Sassacus and five other sachems. "A nation had disappeared from the family of men." Their fate drew these lines from the poet Dwight:

"Indulge, my native land, indulge the tear

That steals impassioned o'er a nation's doom;

To me each twig from Adam's stock is near,

And sorrows fall upon an Indian's tomb."

Rumors of a general conspiracy of the Indians caused the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Hampshire to unite in a confederacy for mutual protection against them. Its affairs were managed by two commissioners from each colony.

One of the ablest of the New England Indians was Miantonomo, a nephew of Canonchet and chief of the Narragansets. Had he not been made the victim of the cruel policy of the English, his name would have been justly held by them in high estimation. Miantonomo was tall and well made, "subtle and cunning in his contrivements, as well as haughty in his designs." He was requested to come to Boston to clear himself of the charge of conspiracy against the colonists, and he did so. The court assembled, and before his admission," says Governor Winthrop, "we consulted how to treat with him, for we knew him to be a very subtle man, and agreed that none should propound anything but the governor"—a striking tribute from one of the wisest and ablest of the colonists to the sagacity and wisdom of an unlettered Indian.

Miantonomo would not proceed with any business but in the presence of some of his own counsellors, that they on their return might bear witness to his people of all his words. He was very deliberate in his answers, and showed great ingenuity as well as a clear understanding of the principles of justice and equity. He very properly called upon the English to produce his accusers. As they had proceeded wholly on vague rumors, this demand placed them in an awkward predicament. He told them that if the charges were proved against him, he came prepared to suffer the consequences, and now, if he had been accused falsely, he expected the authors of the accusation to be subjected to the same penalty. Certainly this was but just. He also told the court that he believed Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, to be at the root of all the mischief, and that he was doing his best to embroil the Narragansets and the English. And so, in fact, it was. On taking leave of the governor, a coat was given to him and to each of his counsellors.

It was the policy of the English to pit one tribe against another for their own protection, and so Uncas, the Mohegan chief, who was disposed to conform to their wishes, was used by them to balance the power of Miantonomo. This chief had suffered numerous indignities from the English, which rankled in his breast, and hated Uncas as the cause of them, and also as a traitor to his race.

Suddenly, and in disregard of a treaty, he collected one thousand warriors and fell upon the Mohegans. His rashness and impetuosity caused his defeat, and he himself was made a prisoner. It seems that in this fight Miantonomo wore a suit of armor or coat of mail loaned him by an English friend, Samuel Gorton, and that, when it became necessary to retreat, it so impeded his motions as to cause his capture. His life was forfeited by Indian law, but Uncas took him to Hartford and asked the advice of the Commissioners of the United Colonies as to what was to be done with him.

The commissioners replied that they saw no reason for mercy. Five of "the most judicious" elders of the church were also consulted, and they agreed that he ought to suffer death, and he was accordingly put to death by Uncas. Thus was this remarkable man sacrificed to the envy of a rival chief and to the supposed political interest of the colonies. His execution took place at the spot, in the eastern part of the town of Norwich, Connecticut, now called Sachem's Plain, where a monument has been erected to his memory, upon which is the simple inscription:


John Eliot's missionary labors among the Indians of New England began at Nonantum, and were continued at various places for more than thirty years. He acquired the Indian language and with infinite labor translated into it the Bible, the catechism, and other devotional works, distributing them among them. The natives were taught to read and write, and soon there were fourteen places of Praying Indians, as they were called. In 1673 six Indian churches had been gathered. A death-blow was given to these pious labors by Philip's war. Some of these Indians joined in it with their countrymen, and this so exasperated the English, that the remainder of those who were faithful to them were with difficulty rescued from destruction. The treatment they then received created a breach between them and the English that was never healed. Their number rapidly diminished, and they finally disappeared.

John Eliot


Eliot introduced among his converts industry, cleanliness, and good order. He drew up for them a simple code, punishing idleness, filthiness, licentiousness, and cruelty to women. A court was established at Nonantum, over which presided Waban, an Indian justice of the peace. There was no circumlocution in his office. Justice was speedily and impartially administered. Here is a specimen warrant: "You, you big constable, quick you catch um Jeremiah Offscow, strong you hold um, safe you bring um afore me, Waban, Justice Peace." His sagacious and sententious judgment in a case between some drunken Indians would do no discredit to a much higher civilization than that at Nonantum: "Tie um all up," said he, "and whip um plaintiff, and whip um 'fendant, and whip um witness."

Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, was originally a Pequot, and one of the twenty-six war captains of that famous but ill-fated nation. Setting up for himself at the head of the Thames River, near the present city of Norwich, he was politic enough to court the favor of the English, and in 1637 joined with them in their war upon the Pequots. In the pursuit that followed the Fort Mystic fight his men captured a Pequot chief of distinction. Cutting off the captive's head, Uncas placed it in a conspicuous spot near the harbor, where it remained many years. This circumstance gave to Guilford harbor the well-known name of "Sachem's Head."

John Eliot


Summoned to Boston, upon the charge of shielding some of the conquered Pequots, he appeared before Governor Winthrop, and laying his hand upon his heart said:

"This heart is not mine, but yours. I have no men; they are all yours. Command me any difficult thing, I will do it. I will not believe any Indian's word against the English. If one of my men should kill an Englishman I will put him to death, were he ever so dear to me."

"So the governor gave him a fine red coat," says the chronicle, "and defrayed his and his men's diet, and gave them corn to relieve them homeward, also a letter of protection, and," continues the record, "he departed very joyful." Uncas was still living, at a great age, in 1680.

Governor Winthrop


The Iroquois

The Iroquois, or Six Nations, stand first among the native races of this continent for valor, policy, and eloquence. Their home was in western and central New York, and their geographical situation, on a broad summit of fertile table-land, favorable for raising maize and abounding in game, gave them great advantages. The leading rivers of this region, running in all directions, and enabling then to descend rapidly into an enemy's country, contributed largely to the success of their warlike expeditions. Their attachment to the English alone saved Western New York from becoming a French colony.

They had attained their highest point about the year 1700. At that period, besides carrying terror by their war parties to the walls of Quebec, they had, by virtue of their combination, subdued and held in subjection, one after another, all the principal Indian nations occupying the territory now embraced in the States of New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and parts of Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Northern Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New England, and Upper Canada.

If any of these nations became involved in domestic differences, a delegation of chiefs went among them and restored tranquillity, prescribing at the same time their future conduct. From the Delawares they took all civil power, declared them women, and bade them henceforth to confine themselves to the pursuits of the females.

"How came you," said Cauassatego, an Iroquois chief, addressing the Delawares upon occasion of a dispute about a sale of land to the English—"how cause you to take upon you to sell land at all? We conquered you, we made women of you; you know you are women, and can no more sell land than women. For the laud you claim you have been paid with clothes, meat, drink, and goods, and now you want it again, like children as you are. But what makes you sell land in the dark? Did you ever tell us that you had sold this land! . . . We charge you to remove instantly. We don't give you liberty to think about it. You are women!" The Delawares dared not disobey this command, and very soon left the country.

In New England and Canada the Iroquois were the dread of the native Algonkin tribes. When, in the early days of the Massachusetts colony, they made war on the New England Indians, it was said that as soon as a single one of them was seen in their country, these Indians raised the cry from hill to hill, "A Mohawk a Mohawk!" upon which they all fled, like sheep before wolves, without attempting to make the least resistance.

Indian Long House


Independence and love of liberty was one of the most marked characteristics of the Iroquois. Their pride was so great that they called themselves Ongwe Hongwe, "the men surpassing all others," and yet in their most prosperous days they could hardly muster four thousand warriors. Their losses in battle were made up by their custom of adopting a part of their captives as members of their tribe.

Their strongholds were surrounded by palisades pierced with loop-holes, having platforms within, supplied with stones to hurl upon the heads of the enemy, and with water to extinguish any fire that might be kindled from the outside. These defences sometimes included a large area, and dwellings more than one hundred feet in length. They were circular or oval in form.

Their general assembly was at the Great Council held at the Long House in the Onondaga Valley. This was built of bark; on each side were six seats, each holding six persons. None but members of the council were admitted, except a few who were particularly honored. If one rose to speak, all the rest sat silent, smoking their pipes. The speaker uttered his words in a singsong tone, always rising a few notes at the close of each sentence. Whatever was the pleasure of the council was confirmed by all with the word "Nee," or yes, and at the close of each speech the whole assembly applauded the speaker by shouting "Hoho!"

Originally the confederacy consisted of five tribes or nations: Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, Oneidas, and Senecas. The Tuscaroras of North Carolina, after their defeat by the colonists in 1714, joined them, and thenceforth they were known as the Six Nations. These again were divided into three tribes, or families, who distinguished themselves by three different arms or ensigns called totems. These were the tortoise, the bear, and the wolf, and the sachems, or old men of their families, put this family mark to every public paper when they signed it. Each of these six nations was an absolute republic by itself. Each had a castle of its own, and was governed in all public affairs by its own sachems, or old men.

Their league was a defensive measure adopted long before the European discovery. Their general council, composed of sachems equal in rank, was the supreme authority over all matters considered by it. Its sessions lasted five days. Discussion was open to all, but the council alone decided. It made peace and war, and concluded treaties and agreements. When the question of peace or war was decided, the councillors united in chanting hymns of praise or warlike choruses, which at the same time gave expression to public feeling and imparted a kind of sanctity to the act. The Onondagas, being the central tribe, were made "the keepers of the council brand," and their valley was the seat of government.

A remarkable instance of Iroquois treachery is related by Parkman. At their urgent solicitation a French colony and mission had been planted on the margin of Lake Onondaga. A plot for its destruction was revealed to one of the Jesuit fathers by a dying Indian convert.

What was to be done? Immediate action was necessary, but the warriors camped around them watched them so closely that the case seemed hopeless. A plan of escape was at length suggested which seemed to promise success. Two light, large flat-boats were built in a loft over the mission-house. The grand difficulty was to get them to the lake unobserved. This is the way it was done:

One of the peculiar customs of the Indians is to hold a feast at which all must devour everything set before them, as long as the provider of the feast wishes to have them, or so long as they have the power to eat. One of the younger colonists who had been adopted by an Iroquois chief, pretending to have dreamed that he would soon die unless the spirits were appeased, gave one of these feasts. Obedience to the wishes of the spirits is a sacred obligation with the Indian. The day for the feast was fixed, and all was prepared for the occasion.

Late in the evening of the appointed day, when the festivity was at its height, and the French musicians with drum and trumpet were making all the noise they possibly could, the boats were carried from the house to the lake. The French silently embarked and made good their escape.

Next morning the amazed savages, on recovering from their stupor—for they had completely gorged themselves on the previous evening—found, on peering curiously into the deserted mission, that its sole occupants were a hen and her brood of chickens. The Indians were superstitious enough to believe that the blackbirds—the black-robed priests—and their flock had actually flown away.

Iroquois war


The Iroquois first came in contact with the Europeans when, in the summer of 1609, Samuel de Champlain, with two other Frenchmen, joined a party of Hurons and Algonkins in all expedition against the Iroquois, their hereditary enemies. Ascending the river Sorel they crossed the lake that now bears his name. At night they felled large trees, as a barricade to their camp, and sent out a party to reconnoitre, but posted no sentinels. When near their foes they would advance stealthily by night and retire by day into the picket fort, where they kept perfectly quiet, so as to avoid discovery. Champlain's account of the first conflict with the Iroquois in which fire-arms were used, is as follows:

"At nightfall we embarked in our canoes to continue our journey, and as we advanced very softly and noiselessly, we encountered a war party of Iroquois about tell o'clock at night, at the point of a cape which juts into the lake on the west side (near Crown Point). They and we began to shout, each seizing his arms. We withdrew towards the water, and the Iroquois repaired on shore and arranged all their canoes, the one beside the other, and began to hew down trees with villanous axes and fortified themselves very securely. Our party likewise kept their canoes arranged, the one along side the other, tied to poles so as not to run adrift, in order to fight altogether should need be. We were on the water, about an arrow-shot from their barricades.

Battle with Iroquois


"The whole night was spent in dancing and singing, as well on one side as on the other, mingled with an infinitude of insults and taunts. After the one and the other had sung, danced, and parleyed enough, day broke. My companions and I were always concealed, for fear the enemy should see us preparing our arms. After being equipped with light armor we took each an arquebuse (a short musket) and went ashore. I saw the enemy leave their barricade. They were about two hundred men, of strong and robust appearance, who were coming slowly towards us, with a gravity and assurance which greatly pleased me, led on by three chiefs. Ours were marching in similar order, and told me that those who bore three lofty plumes were the chiefs, and that I must do all I could to kill them.

"The moment we landed they began to runabout two hundred paces towards their enemies, who stood firm and had not yet perceived my companions, who went into the bush with some savages. Ours commenced calling me in a loud voice, and making way for me opened in two and placed me at their head, marching about twenty paces in advance, until I was within thirty paces of the enemy. The moment they saw me they halted, gazing at me, and I at them. When I saw them preparing to shoot at us I raised my arquebuse, and aiming directly at one of the three chiefs, two of them fell to the ground by this shot and one of their companions received a wound of which he died afterwards. I had put four balls in my arquebuse. Ours, on witnessing a shot so favorable for them, set up such tremendous shouts that thunder could not have been heard, and yet there was no lack of arrows on one side and the other.

Samuel de Champlain


"The Iroquois were greatly astonished, seeing two men killed so instantaneously, notwithstanding they were provided with arrow-proof armor woven of cotton thread and wool; this frightened them very much. Whilst I was reloading, one of my companions in the bush fired a shot which so astonished them anew, seeing their chiefs slain, that they lost courage, took to flight, and abandoned the field and their fort, hiding themselves in the depths of the forest, whither pursuing them I killed some others. Having feasted, danced, and sung, we returned three hours afterwards with ten or twelve prisoners. I named the place where this battle was fought, Lake Champlain."

This was the first time the Iroquois had heard the sound of fire-arms, by the mysterious power of which they were then easily vanquished. The French having allied themselves with the Adirondacks and Hurons, and given them arms and assistance, a spirit of hatred for them was aroused among the Iroquois that never ceased to burn until Canada was wrested from them by the English.

Lake Champlain


A year later another conflict took place near the mouth of the Richelieu, in which Champlain again participated. One hundred Iroquois were at bay behind a palisade surrounded by a horde of Algoukin warriors, whose attack they had bloodily repulsed. When Champlain, with four of his men, approached, wild yells arose from the Algonkins in which were mingled the howl of the wolf, the whoop of the owl, and the screams of the cougar, to which a fierce response was made by the desperate Iroquois.

A storm of arrows burst upon the French as they rushed on, wounding Champlain and one of his companions. When, however, the terrible weapons of their mysterious assailants were thrust through the crevices of their barricade, dealing death among its defenders, they could not control their fear, and threw themselves flat on the ground. The allied Indians now rushed in and leveled the barricade, while at the same time a boat-load of French fur-traders who had heard the firing joined in the fray, and helped to secure a complete victory. "By the grace of God," writes Champlain, "behold the victory won!"

Iroquois war


While journeying to the country of the Hurons at a later period, Champlain suddenly encountered three hundred Indians, whom, from their odd method of dressing their hair, he named the Cheveux Relevez. "Not one of our courtiers," he says, "takes so much pains in dressing his hair as these savages do." They were wholly naked, their bodies were tattooed, and they were armed with bows and arrows, and shields of bison-hide.

They informed him that the great Lake of the Hurons was close at hand. He explored its shores for more than one hundred miles, and visited many Huron villages, all of which were palisaded like that seen by Cartier at Montreal. Cahiagué, the Huron capital, the modern township of Orillia, near the River Severn, contained two hundred lodges, and here gathered the warriors whom, after days and nights of feasts and war-dances, Champlain led in his last expedition against the Iroquois.

Entering the hostile territory they encountered a fortified town of the Onondagas. Some of the Hurons rushed to attack it, and were driven back with loss. Four rows of palisades, thirty feet high, set aslant in the earth and meeting at the top, supported a shot-proof gallery provided with wooden gutters and amply supplied with water from an adjoining pond. They were also well provided with stones to hurl upon the assailants.

Champlain reproved his allies for their rash conduct, and the next morning had a wooden tower made higher than the palisades, and large enough to contain four or five marksmen. Great wooden shields or parapets were also constructed. Two hundred warriors dragged the tower close to the palisades. From it three arquebusiers opened a raking fire along the galleries upon the throng of its defenders.

The ungovernable Hurons threw aside the shields designed for their protection and scattered over the open field, shouting and shooting off their arrows, to which the Iroquois replied in like manner. Champlain and his men, unable to control these wild and infuriated allies, at last abandoned the attempt, and occupied themselves with picking off the Iroquois on the ramparts. The French leader was at length disabled, being struck by an arrow in the knee and the leg, and after a three-hours' contest the assailants drew off discomfited. He was eager to renew the attack, but the Hurons, crestfallen and disheartened, would not move without a reinforcement, for which they had sent. After waiting in vain five days they retreated, followed by the victorious Iroquois. The wounded leader was packed in a basket and borne upon the shoulders of a warrior.

"Bundled in a heap," says Champlain, "doubled and strapped together in such a fashion that one could move no more than an infant in swaddling-clothes . . . I lost all patience, and as soon as I could bear my weight I got out of this prison, or, to speak plainly, 'out of hell.'" He was obliged to remain with the Hurons all that winter.

In 1660 a daring enterprise was undertaken by a few young Canadians, led by Daulac, commandant of the garrison at Montreal. It was known that a large body of Iroquois had planned a descent upon Canada, and these brave fellows thought that by attacking the Indians in their own haunts this danger might be averted. Having bound themselves by oath to accept no quarter, made their wills, confessed, and received the sacrament—for they were all good Catholics—they set out upon their heroic but desperate adventure.

Onondgas Village


The Thermopylæ of this Spartan band was at the foot of the formidable rapid called the Long Sault, where the Iroquois were sure to pass. Here, in an old enclosure formed of trunks of small trees planted in a circle, seventeen Frenchmen awaited the savage host. They were soon joined by some Hurons and Algonkins.

In a few days they were attacked by a large war party of Iroquois. Again and again the Indians were driven back with loss. The fifth day found the defenders of the fort still at bay, although they had been deserted by their Indian allies. Five hundred fresh warriors now joined their assailants, and the attacks were fiercely renewed. In vain they rushed upon the feeble barrier between them and their foe, yelling and firing; the French stood firm, and many a warrior fell before the leaden greeting of the little garrison.

Three days more passed in constant attack and repulse, the French, meanwhile, suffering from exhaustion, famine, and thirst. At length, stung to madness at the thought of the disgrace that would attend such a failure, the Iroquois determined to make one more effort to take the fort.

A chosen band of warriors, covering themselves with large heavy shields, led the advance and succeeded in reaching the fort. With their hatchets they endeavored to hew their way through the palisades. At this critical moment the premature explosion of a large musketoon, intended to be thrown over the barrier, and to explode among the throng of warriors without, killed and wounded several of the Frenchmen. In the confusion some of the Iroquois thrust their guns through the loop-holes, firing on those within, and others entered the enclosure through the breach made in the logs by their hatchets. The French fought desperately. Daulac, the Leonidas of this Spartan band, was slain, and one after another of his companions was struck down, until all had fallen. One only seemed likely to survive, and he was reserved for torture. By thus sacrificing themselves these heroes had saved the colony.

Amazed and dispirited, the Iroquois gave up their intended enterprise, and returned to their villages to bewail their discomfiture and to howl with wrath over their losses.

For many years the warfare between the French and Iroquois was almost constant. Expedition after expedition was launched against the Indian towns by the French governors with but little result. One of these, under M. de Courcelle, undertaken in the dead of winter, was a complete failure. They lost their way, and suffered from cold and hunger to such a degree that sixty of the French perished during their homeward march.

A new expedition was undertaken soon after by De Tracy and Courcelle. With one thousand three hundred men they left Quebec, crossed Lakes Champlain and St. Sacrament, now Lake George, in three hundred boats and canoes, and landing on the spot where Fort William Henry was afterwards built, traversed the hundred miles of wilderness that lay between them and the Mohawk towns. Arriving at the first Mohawk stronghold in the early morning, twenty drums beat the charge, and the Indians, panic-stricken by the noise, which seemed to them to be made by evil spirits in the service of the French, fled in terror to their next town.

This was taken as easily as the first, and so were the third and fourth, The French pushed on, and at sundown reached Andaraqué, the largest and strongest of their forts. Again the drums struck terror into the savages and there was no opposition. Andaraqué was a quadrangle, with a triple palisade twenty feet high, a bastion at each corner. Some of the houses in the enclosure were one hundred and twenty feet long, with fires for eight or nine families. Here the Iroquois had resolved to fight to the last, but at the sight and sound of the enemy lost courage and fled. Their dwellings, forts, and possessions were all destroyed.

The blow told, and in the following spring they sent an embassy to Quebec begging for peace. It was at last granted; hostages were given by them, and there was a respite from war for nearly twenty years.

Causes for hostility, however, were frequently arising, and an expedition against the Senecas was at length undertaken by Governor La Barre. It failed ignominiously. Fever and famine prostrated his men, and he was glad to make a truce with his enemies and to be permitted to withdraw without molestation.

The Marquis de Denonville, his successor, "a pious Colonel of Dragoons," resolved to inflict a severe chastisement upon the hostile nation. As he advanced he invited some peaceful Iroquois, living at a Jesuit Mission on the north shore of Lake Ontario, to a feast at Fort Frontenac. They came, but no sooner were they inside the fort than all—men, women, and children—were captured. There were nearly two hundred of them. They were baptized, and the men, excepting those who were restored to their relatives, were sent as slaves to France to work in the galleys. Many of these captive women and children died from excitement and distress, and some from a pestilential and fatal disease.

Denonville then summoned the Western Indians from lakes Huron and Michigan, and from Illinois, to come and be revenged on their enemies. A few weeks later a great fleet of canoes came down from the lakes, filled with warriors. They landed one July morning at Irondequoit Bay, Lake Ontario, the boundary of the Seneca country, north-east of Rochester, New York.

Here was to be seen upon this unusual occasion a motley and picturesque assemblage: French soldiers in uniform, Jesuit priests, and Indians in war-paint and feathers, wearing skins of the buffalo, the horns ornamenting their heads, the tails trailing upon the ground, brandishing their tomahawks and scalping knives among the camp-fires at night, boasting of their exploits, and telling how they would destroy their enemies. Including Indians, the army numbered fully three thousand men.

The distance to the chief Seneca town was only fifteen miles. The day was hot and dusty, and as the army marched forward, scouts reported that only squaws were to be seen at the village. Several dangerous defiles had been passed, no enemy had appeared, and it looked as though the Indians had fled. Suddenly, as the troops entered a narrow pass, a yell was heard, the air was filled with flying arrows, guns flashed upon all sides at once, and the Iroquois were upon them.

Denonville quickly rallied his troops, and the Canadians from behind the trees returned the fire. Soon the Senecas, who were a mere handful, retired, bearing off their dead and wounded. A heap of ashes was all that remained of the town as the French entered it next morning. The Senecas had burned it and vanished. After destroying their corn, Denonville built a fort at Niagara and returned to Montreal. The enraged Senecas were soon back again, rebuilding their wigwams. Though in want of food and with their fields laid waste, their Iroquois brethren would not let them starve. Denonville was told when he went out that if he destroyed a wasp's nest he must crush the wasps or they would sting him. He left the wasps alive.

Adario, also called Kondiaronk, or the Rat, was the leading chief and councillor of the Huron Wyandot tribe. He was brave, politic, and sagacious, and possessed great energy and decision of character. His nation had been driven from its ancient seat by the Iroquois, and it was his policy to keep the latter embroiled with his friends the French.

Learning that Denonville was about to conclude a peace with the Five Nations, and perceiving that such a step would leave the Iroquois free to push the war against his people, he waylaid the Iroquois delegates as they were proceeding to Montreal, and killed or captured the whole party.

Iroquois Council


Adario then adroitly shifted the blame of the act upon Governor Denonville, telling his prisoners that it was by him that he had been informed of their intention to pass that way. Surprised at this act of apparent perfidy, they told Adario that they were truly on an errand of peace. Affecting great anger, the chief declared he would be revenged on Denonville for making him a tool in such a piece of treachery. Then looking steadfastly on the prisoners, "Go," said he, "my brothers, I untie your hands and send you home again, although our nations are at war. The French governor has made me commit so black an action that I shall never be easy after it until the Five Nations have taken full revenge."

So completely were the ambassadors deceived that they replied in the most friendly terms, and said the way was open to their concluding peace between their respective tribes at any time. Adario then dismissed his prisoners with presents. He thus rekindled the embers of discord between the French and their old enemies, at the moment they were about to expire, and laid the foundation of a peace with his own nation. Though Denonville sent a message to the Iroquois to disclaim the act of Adario, they put no faith in it, but burned for revenge.

It was not long before the Iroquois found an opportunity to return the blow inflicted upon them by Denonville in 1687 with interest.

Fifteen hundred of their warriors followed the well-known trail to Canada, paddling their canoes along Lake Champlain by night, and secreting themselves in the forest by day. Early one morning, during a violent hail-storm, they crawled on their hands and knees into the village of La Chine, six miles from Montreal, and sounding their terrible warwhoop, began the most frightful massacre in Canadian history.

In one hour two hundred—men, women, and children—were murdered. After a severe skirmish they captured the fort and the island. For miles around, all the houses were burned and the country pillaged. Next day they attacked and defeated a party of eighty French soldiers. After extending their ravages over the open country for more than twenty miles, occupying it for weeks, they at last withdrew, taking with them one hundred and twenty prisoners destined to be tortured for their diversion.

Denonville's successor was one of the most striking and picturesque characters of a remarkable age—that of Louis XIV., of France, the "Grande Monarque."

Louis de Buade, Count de Frontenac, was a courtier of noble family, "a man of excellent parts," says St. Simon, a contemporary, "living much in society and completely ruined." Vanity was one of his especial weaknesses; and one who knew him well tells us that whenever he had new clothes "he paraded them like a child. He praised everything that belonged to himself," says the same authority, "and acted as if everybody owed duty to him." Entering upon a military career, he became a colonel at twenty-three and a brigadier-general at twenty-six, and had seen service in Italy and in Holland under the Prince of Orange.

At the age of fifty-two, to retrieve his fortunes, he accepted the post of Governor of New France, and at once set himself to work to promote the prosperity of the country. He was a man of strong vitality, "keen, fiery, and headstrong," and from the very first he exercised an extraordinary influence over the Indians with whom he had to deal.

Frontenac knew just how to manage them, flattering them adroitly, conforming to their usages, and borrowing their modes of expression, while at the same time assuming towards them an air of haughtiness which compelled their respect. He would not call them "brothers"—the usual mode of addressing them—but "children," and this indication of superiority even the proud Iroquois accepted from him. They admired the great "Onontio," as the French governors were called, who condescended to play with their children and gave small presents to their wives; who smiled upon them when they did well, and who saw through their artifices, and who did not fear, when they transgressed, to punish them.

Having quarrelled with the priests, who were all-powerful in Canada, he had been recalled in 1682; but when, a few years later, the condition of the colony had become desperate, he was re-appointed as the only man who could revive and strengthen it.

"I send you back to Canada," said King Louis, "where I am sure you will serve me as well as you did before; and I ask nothing more of you." Although seventy years of age, Frontenac accepted the arduous task.

On his arrival at Quebec, Frontenac found Canadian affairs in a truly deplorable condition. The energetic governor at once sent out numerous war parties to strike the English settlements, inflicting a series of terrible blows upon them as will be seen in a subsequent chapter. Against the Iroquois he sent the skilful partisans De Mantet, Courtemanche, and La None, with a force of six hundred and twenty-five men. Sixteen days' journey brought them to the Iroquois country. They captured and destroyed three Mohawk villages, and returned with three hundred prisoners—women and children. Under Frontenac's vigorous rule Canada speedily became prosperous, and a source of dread to the English.

In 1694 an Iroquois deputy came to Quebec with overtures of peace. War and famine had greatly reduced the Confederacy, and they were almost entirely destitute of arms and ammunition, and even the necessaries of life.

"Let each of your Five Nations send me two deputies," says Frontenac, "and I will listen to what they have to say."

They would not go to him, but sent another deputation inviting him to come and treat with them at Onondaga. The haughty governor kicked away their wampum belts and told them they were rebels, bribed by the English; that if they would send a deputation to Quebec, honestly desiring to make peace, he would still listen; but if they came to him with any more such propositions as they had just made they should be roasted alive.

Governor Colden


A final delegation, headed by the renowned orator, Decanisora, then came. He spoke eloquently and offered peace, but demanded that it should include the English. Frontenac declined this proposition, and the envoys departed, pledging themselves to return and deliver up all their prisoners, leaving two hostages as security for the performance of their promise. Dissensions among the Iroquois and the efforts of the Governor of New York prevented the consummation of this treaty, and the war was renewed.

Frontenac determined to thoroughly subdue this fierce and powerful enemy. Leaving Montreal, at the head of twenty-two hundred men, he reached Fort Frontenac on the 19th, and on the 1st of August had arrived at the border of Lake Onondaga. On the 5th they reached the Onondaga village, the governor, enfeebled by age, being carried in an arm-chair. Two bundles of reeds suspended from a tree, which they encountered on their way, denoted that fourteen hundred and thirty-four warriors (the number of reeds) defied them. They found the stronghold in ashes, the Indians having, upon the approach of so large an army, burned their town and retreated into the forest.

For two days the army was employed in destroying the corn and other stores of the Onondagas. A messenger for peace from the Oneidas was told that they could have it on condition that they should all migrate and settle in Canada. Within three days Vaudreuil, with seven hundred men, had destroyed their town and seized a number of chiefs as hostages for the fulfilment of Frontenac's demands. The expedition then returned, achieving only a partial success. The Indians had saved themselves by flight. The government of New York supplied them with corn to prevent a famine, and the Iroquois had not yet been subdued. Their power, however, was so far broken that they were never again very formidable to the French.

The peace of Utrecht (February, 1698) ended the struggle, and the death of the heroic old governor took place a few months later (November 28).

In 1750 the Iroquois had diminished one-half, from the introduction of ardent spirits among them and from emigration to the St. Lawrence under Jesuit influence. With the exception of the Oneidas, they espoused the British cause during the Revolution, and were severely punished by an expedition into their country under General Sullivan in 1779.

King Philip's War

A little more than two centuries ago, New England was the scene of one of the bloodiest of Indian wars. It contained at that time some thirty thousand red men; of these less than eight thousand were in Massachusetts. The domain of the Pokanoket tribe, which began the war, extended over nearly all of south-eastern Massachusetts, from Cape Cod to Narraganset Bay. Under Philip, the son and successor of Massasoit, this tribe had been gradually crowded into the two small necks of land now known as Tiverton and Bristol.

Philip's residence was at Mount Hope; from it he could look on the south over the beautiful expanse of Narraganset Bay. The charming view from this eminence now includes also the city of Providence and the towns of Bristol and Warren. On the west was the country of the powerful Narraganset tribe.

One by one the fields and hunting-grounds of the Pokanokets had been sold to the white man. Though the lands were of little value to them, and though they were fully satisfied with the small price paid for them, yet, when the beads and trinkets for which they had been bartered were gone, the thriving farms of the settlers around them remained, and were in their eyes only so many evidences that they had been overreached and defrauded.

Efforts to Christianize them had wholly failed, but the white man's laws had been extended over them, and they were frequently obliged to appear before the magistrates of Boston or Plymouth, to answer groundless accusations, and to explain their acts and purposes. To an independent nation—for as such they regarded themselves—this was very humiliating.

Besides this, the white settlers despised the Indians, looking upon them as inferiors, and were haughty and overbearing in their demeanor towards them. Collisions and mutual injuries were the inevitable result.

They said that "if twenty of their honest Indians proved that an Englishman had wronged them, 'it was nothing,' while if one of their worst Indians testified against any of them, it was sufficient;" that the English made the Indians drunk and then cheated them; that the English cattle and horses had so increased that they could not keep their corn from injury, never being used to make fences. Such were some of the grievances of the Indians, and they were but too well founded.

Mount Hope


On the other hand, the Plymouth settlers said that not a foot of land had been taken from the Indians except by fair purchase. More than this. In order to protect the natives from covetous white men, a law was made "that none should purchase or receive gifts of any lands of the Indians without the knowledge and allowance of the court," under heavy penalty. Besides prohibiting the sale of intoxicating drinks to them, a law was made in 1673 that no person should take anything in pawn of an Indian for liquor.

At one of the first courts held in Boston, on complaint of the Sachem Chickataubut and his men that Mr. Josias Plaistowe had stolen four baskets of corn from them, he was ordered to return them eight baskets, pay a fine of £5, and hereafter to be called Josias, and not Mr. Josias, as formerly, and thus to be degraded from the title of a gentleman. Two of his servants who were accessary were ordered to be whipped.

After all, it is not strange that trouble arose. No two races, the one barbarous and the other civilized, can live harmoniously side by side for any length of time. That they did so for so many years, here and in Pennsylvania, is a fact highly creditable to both.

The Pokanoket chief, from his ambitious and haughty spirit, was called King Philip. His Indian name was Pometacom. His pride was shown in his dress, which was rich and gaudy. One who saw him in Boston says that "his coat and buskins were thickset with beads in pleasant wild works, and a broad belt of the same. His accoutrements were valued at twenty pounds." His belts and other ornaments are correctly shown in the picture here given.

King Philip


The following letter, preserved among the Dorchester records, shows that at that date Philip dressed after the English fashion:

"Philip, Sachem of Mount Hope,
     "To Captain Hopestill Foster, of Dorchester,
"Sendeth greeting:

SIR,—You may please to remember that when I last saw you, at Wading River, you promised me six pounds in goods. Now my request is that you would send by this Indian five yards of white or light-colored serge to make me a coat, and a good Holland shirt, ready made, and a pair of good Indian Breeches, all which I have present need of. Therefore I pray, Sir, fail not to send them, and the several prices of them, and silk and buttons, and seven yards of galloon for trimming. Not else at present to trouble you with, only the subscription of


"Mount Hope, the 15th of May, 1672."

Only a little while before the war of 1675 began, the Massachusetts authorities sent to Philip to know why he would make war upon the English, and at the same time requested him to enter into a treaty. This was his haughty reply:

"You governor is but a subject of King Charles of England. I shall not treat with a subject. I shall treat of peace only with the King, my brother. When he comes, I am ready."

General Daniel Gookin, who knew Philip well, spoke of him as "a person of good understanding and knowledge in the best things." He was humane, and was known to exercise his authority on several occasions to prevent harm being done to English families who had been friendly to him or to his father.

He was nevertheless looked upon with suspicion by the English, and some warlike demonstrations made by him in 1671 caused him to be summoned by them to a conference to be held on Taunton Green. Owing to the threats of the Plymouth people, Philip and his men came armed. Perceiving that the English party was large, and also armed, they paused on the ridge of a hill outside the town. A parley was held, and it was agreed that the conference should take place in the meeting-house, the English to occupy one side of the house and the Indians the other.

What a singular and impressive spectacle the interior of that plain old meeting-house must have presented that morning! Upon its rude benches sat representatives of two races, each distrusting the other; the weaker smarting under its injuries, sullen and angry; the stronger looking down on his dusky neighbor as a heathen, and at the same time feeling the necessity for pursuing a politic course towards him, and determined to prevent an outbreak. Under such circumstances this was a scene in our early history not to be forgotten.

Both parties were in fighting trim. The Indians had their faces and bodies painted as for battle, with their long-bows and quivers of arrows at their backs. Here and there a gun was seen among them, in the hands of those best skilled in its use. The English were in the dress of that day, protected by cuirasses, wearing slouched hats with broad brims, and equipped with bandoleers, long swords, and unwieldy guns.

Philip soon saw that he was in the power of the English, and had to yield to their terms. He was compelled to give up his guns, and to agree to pay £100 and five wolves' heads yearly, or as many as he could procure. This humiliation greatly increased his hatred of the whites.

Tradition says that Philip was averse to the war, and that, on hearing that blood had been shed, he wept at the news. However this may be, there can be no doubt of his desire to rid his country of the white intruders, and at the close of the year 1674 he began his preparations in good earnest. Notwithstanding the severity of the laws against the sale of fire-arms to the Indians, they had generally supplied themselves with them, and had become skilful in their use.

This is the way the war began. In January, 1675, John Wussaussamon, a Christian Indian, who had informed the English that Philip was plotting against them, was murdered. This man could read and write. He had been a missionary among his countrymen, and at one time was Philip's scribe or secretary.

The Indians who committed this act were seized, tried by a jury, half of whom were their own countrymen, found guilty, and hanged. In their justification they said they had a right to execute justice in accordance with their own customs on a traitor, and that the English had nothing to do with it.

No sooner were they executed than hostilities began, the Indians having killed or wounded several Englishmen at Swansey. The Indian priests or medicine-men having prophesied defeat to the party that should shed the first blood, they had for some days previously confined their hostile acts to burning the houses and killing the cattle of the white men, one of whom in retaliation shot and wounded an Indian.

At once Philip and his warriors spread themselves over the country, devastating, burning, and plundering. For a whole year they kept New England in a state of constant alarm and excitement. They roved from place to place with secrecy and celerity, retiring, when pursued, into swamps and thickets, never meeting the English in the open field. They were skilful marksmen, were familiar with the forest, and any small parties of the English were sure to be tracked and waylaid by these crafty and vigilant foemen. The burning of Swansey was soon followed by that of portions of Taunton, Middleboro', Dartmouth, and other neighboring towns and villages.

Troops from Boston and Plymouth were hurried to the scene of action, which was at first in Plymouth Colony only, and in less than a month Philip and his warriors had fled and taken refuge among the Indians in the interior. But though the scene was shifted, the terrible conflict had only just begun.

Of the white population of New England about eight thousand were capable of bearing arms. Massachusetts had ready for service twelve troops of horse, each composed of sixty men, besides officers. They were well mounted, and armed with swords, carbines, and pistols, each troop being distinguished by its coat. The men wore buff coats, and were protected by back, breast, and head pieces.

The trainbands, numbering from sixty-four to two hundred men, included all the males capable of bearing arms between the ages of sixteen and sixty, and who were required to provide themselves with arms and ammunition. Their arms were muskets, pikes, and swords. There were two musketeers to each pikeman, the latter being selected for their superior stature. The muskets had matchlocks or firelocks, and to each one there was a pair of bandoleers or pouches for powder and ball, and a stick called a rest, for use in taking aim. The pikes were ten feet in length, besides the spear at the end. Corslets and coats quilted with cotton were a sufficient protection against arrows. The captain, lieutenant, and ensign carried swords, partisans, or leading-staves, and sometimes pistols. The sergeants bore halberds. Their only field-music was the drum. The trainings were always begun and ended with prayer.

Benjamin Church


Captain Benjamin Church was the most skilful and successful Indian fighter of that day. He was as sagacious and resolute as he was physically powerful and active, and he was greatly feared and respected by the Indians. His residence was in the vicinity of the Pokanokets. Captain Samuel Moseley was another energetic and successful officer.

On one occasion Church was at Pocasset, now Tiverton, Rhode Island, with thirty-six men, when he was unexpectedly attacked by three hundred Indians. He retreated to the water-side, piled a quantity of flat stones one upon another as a barricade, and fought until Captain Goulding came to his relief in a sloop. The water was shallow, and the canoe that plied between the vessel and the shore could take but two persons at a time. Church was the last to go. A bullet grazed his hair, and another struck a stake in front of him, but he got off without losing a man.

Tiverton, King Philips War


The courageous act of a young woman is deserving of notice. One Sunday morning "in sermon time," an Indian straggler from one of Philip's bands came to John Minot's horse, in Dorchester, in which, at the time, there were only a servant-maid and two young children. Secreting the children under two brass kettles, and perceiving that the Indian was trying to get in at the window, the door being fast, the brave girl ran upstairs and charged a musket with which she shot the Indian in the shoulder. Before this he had fired at and missed her.

Dropping his gun, the Indian was just in the act of coining in at the window which he had forced open, when the girl seized a shovel, and filling it with live coals from the fireplace, thrust it in his face and sent him yelling to the woods, where he was found dead soon afterwards. The Minot house, where this affair happened, is still standing on Chickataubut Street.

After Philip's flight the first blood was shed at Mendon. Brookfield was next attacked, and a party under Captains Hutchinson and Wheeler waylaid, and thirteen men killed or mortally wounded. All the houses were burned but one—that in which the inhabitants had taken refuge. This was saved by the timely arrival of a force under Major Simon Willard, after withstanding for two days and nights incessant and furious attacks. The roof and walls of their place of refuge were pierced with arrows, around which were wound burning rags filled with sulphur. Finally, a cart filled with combustibles was fired and pushed towards it, but the exertions of the garrison, aided by a sudden shower of rain, speedily extinguished the flames. So successful had been the defence that eighty of the Indians had been killed or wounded.

Philip now made a distribution of wampum, as a present to the principal chiefs, and congratulated them upon their success. His emissaries worked upon the Indians of Connecticut, and he even succeeded in bringing the baptized Indians to his aid. On the other hand, Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, sent to the aid of the English his three sons and about sixty warriors, who were distributed among the different commands and who rendered efficient service. During the whole war the Mohegans were the faithful allies of the English.

Lancaster, Northampton, Deerfield, and Northfield suffered during the summer, and near the latter place Captain Beers was surprised and slain with most of his company. A fortnight later Captain Lathrop, with about ninety men, "the flower of Essex County," was waylaid while marching to Deerfield, and he and nearly all his men were killed. The place where this sad affair occurred is now known as the village of Bloody Brook.

Captain Moseley, who with seventy men was scouting in the neighborhood, hearing the guns, hastened to the scene of action. On his approach the Indians dared him to begin the fight, saying: "Come, Moseley, come! you want Indians, here are Indians enough for you."

Moseley charged them repeatedly with great resolution, but their superiority of numbers was such that he was obliged to withdraw. Soon, however, a party under Major Treat arrived, and the Indians were in turn driven back. When the English reached the battle-ground they were amazed at seeing an Englishman coming towards them. This man proved to be Robert Dutch, of Ipswich, who had been shot and scalped and left for dead. Strange to say, he recovered, and lived many years after.

At Springfield thirty houses were burned and several people killed. An attack on Hatfield by a large body of Indians was bravely repulsed. This success, occurring on the same day that a vote for reformation of evils and abuses was passed at Boston, was attributed by many devout persons to that cause. To the Puritan every victory was a providential interference on his behalf, while every defeat was an equally direct manifestation of God's displeasure at his sins and shortcomings. Of one of the actions of this war Rev. Increase Mather wrote thus: "This Providence is observable, that the nine men which were killed at that time belonged to nine several towns; as if the Lord should say that he hath a controversy with every plantation, and therefore that all had need to repent and reform their way."

When Philip's warriors dispersed, some of them fled to their friends the Narragansets. The English demanded that they should be given up. The Narragansets refused, and the English, fearing that they would join with Philip against them, determined to prevent it.

The Narraganset fort was situated on an island in an extensive swamp in the present town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. It was strongly defended with palisades (sharp-pointed upright stakes), and around it was a ditch. Felled trees, their branches pointing outward, made a chevaux-de-frise a rod in thickness—another formidable obstacle to an attacking force.

Here Philip and his warriors intended to pass the winter, and here all their women and children were gathered. Five hundred wigwams contained a population of about three thousand persons, besides their grain and provision for the winter. Baskets and tubs of corn, piled one upon another, rendered the wigwams bullet-proof.

The blow must be struck while the warriors were gathered here, and before the return of spring should enable them to renew their depredations. The colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Connecticut sent fifteen hundred men, under General Josiah Winslow, for the reduction of this stronghold. During the march the troops suffered severely from the cold. They were without tents, and camped at night in the open air with no covering but their blankets.

Snow was falling, and a piercing wind assailed them, when, on a cold December day, they reached their destination. They had the good-fortune to capture an Indian, who treacherously pointed out to them the concealed entrance to the fort, which was defended by a block-house. It could be approached by only one person at a time, over the felled tree which bridged the ditch.

Along this narrow causeway the English rushed to the attack. They were swept of by the fire of the Indians, but as fast as they fell their places were supplied by others equally intrepid, until six captains and many soldiers had fallen. But in the mean time a handful of men, under Captains Moseley and Church, forcing their way over the breastwork of fallen timber, had gained an entrance at another point. Fighting hand to hand against fearful odds, these men raised the cry, "They run! they run!" This inspiring shout brought a number of their fellow-soldiers to their assistance.

Swamp Fight, King Philips's War


The attention of the defenders of the block-house was distracted by this diversion, which enabled the English to cross the fatal ditch where so many brave men had fallen, and to enter time fort. Philip and Canonchet, the Narraganset leader, were everywhere seen encouraging their warriors by their presence and example, but the superior weapons and fighting qualities of the English were too much for them. Then began a terrible slaughter, which included women and children as well as men. No mercy was shown, no quarter asked. The warriors fought with the energy of despair. Here again, as at the destruction of the Pequot fort, fire was applied to the combustible cabins, and all who could not escape perished in the flames.

This barbarous and ill-advised act was contrary to the urgent entreaties of Captain Church. "We can live on their corn and make our wounded comfortable," said he; but the fury of the soldiers could not be controlled.

Terrible were the sufferings of the troops during that night-march homeward, and many of their wounded died in consequence of it.

Philip, with many of his followers, escaped from the fort and rejoined the Nipmucks, as the Indians of the interior were called. The Narragansets were almost exterminated. In this terrible struggle seven hundred of then had fallen. Of the English, over eighty were killed and a large number wounded.

Early in the following year (February 10, 1616) Lancaster was laid in ashes, and fifty persons killed or carried into captivity.

Lancaster, King Philip


The wife of the village minister, Rev. Joseph Rowlandson, one of these unfortunate captives, has left a thrilling narrative of this calamity. She tells us that "about sunrising, hearing the noise of guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. . . . The murderous wretches (the Indians) were burning and destroying all before them. . . . At length they came and beset our house, and quickly it was the dolefullest day that ever mine eyes beheld. The bullets seemed to fly like hail, and quickly they wounded three men among us. The Indians then set fire to the house. Now the dreadful hour came that I have often heard of in time of war as the ease of others, but now mine eyes see it. Some in our house were fighting for their lives, others wallowing in blood, the house on fire over our heads, and the bloody heathen ready to knock us on the head if we stirred out. Now might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves and one another, 'Lord! what shall we do?'

"Then I took my children, and one of my sisters hers, to go forth and leave the house; but as soon as we appeared at the door the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house as if a handful of stones had been thrown against it, so that we were forced to give back.

"We had six stout dogs belonging to our garrison, but none of them would stir, though at another time, if an Indian had come to the door, they were ready to fly upon him and tear him. . . . But out we must go—the fire increasing and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. . . .The bullets flying thick, one went through my side and through the poor child in my arms. The Indians laid hold of us, pulling us one way and the children another, and said, 'Come, go along with us.' I told them they would kill me. They answered, if I were willing to go along with them they would not hurt me.

"Oh, the doleful sight that was now to behold at this house! Of thirty-seven persons who were in it, none escaped either present death or a bitter captivity, save only one. There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, and some knocked down with their hatchets; yet the Lord, by his almighty power, preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive."

After a detention of nearly three months, during which her wounded child died, and she herself experienced all the miseries and privations incident to a life among a band of savages who were being hunted and pursued from place to place, Mrs. Rowlandson was ransomed, and joined her husband, who had been absent at the time of the attack. A son and daughter survived, who were also restored to her. Of her immediate family, seventeen suffered death or captivity in this war.

Immediately following the destruction of Lancaster, fifty houses were burned at Medfield, and twenty of its inhabitants slain. Groton, Northampton, Springfield, Marlborough, Sudbury, Warwick, Rehoboth, and Providence were, in succession, partially destroyed, and many persons killed.

At Pawtucket, Captain Michael Peirce, of Scituate, was ambushed, and with almost all his party of seventy was slain. These repeated disasters were in part owing to the carelessness of the whites, and their contempt for the Indians. After this they were more cautious.

A single ludicrous incident relieves this dark and tragic story. Captain Moseley, an active and successful officer, having on one occasion encountered a large body of Indians, "all being ready on both sides to fight," says the old Indian chronicle, "Captain Moseley plucked off his periwig and put it into his breeches, because it should not hinder him in fighting. As soon as the Indians saw that they fell a howling and yelling most hideous; and wholly ignorant of its meaning, but suspecting sorcery, the astonished natives, unwilling to contend with a magician who, when one head was taken off, could so easily replace it with another, all fled in terror; and could not be overtaken nor seen ally more afterwards."

Numerous parties of English were now in the field, but Philip eluded them, and concentrating some four hundred warriors near Sudbury, waylaid Captains Wadsworth and Brocklebauk, who, with seventy men, were marching to the relief of Marlborough. A desperate fight ensued. Both captains fell, and above half their men. The Indians gained this victory by superior strategy. Setting the dry grass and woods on fire to the windward of the English, they drove them from an advantageous position, and then overpowered them by their overwhelming numbers.

Flushed with success, the Indians now boastingly said, "We will fight you twenty years if you will. There are many Indians yet. You must consider the Indians lose nothing but their lives; you must lose your fine houses and your cattle."

But the end was near. The last important conflict of the war was the "Fall Fight," so called from its having taken place near the great falls of the Connecticut at Deerfield, now known as Turner's Falls. Here the Indians had collected in large numbers, making the most of the fishing season. From this place they also sent out their war parties.

Captain Turner, with one hundred and eighty men, by a night ride across the country, surprised and routed them at this place with great loss, but was in turn taken at a disadvantage, and he, with thirty of his men, was slain. This haunt of the enemy was, however, completely broken up, and all their ammunition and provisions destroyed. This serious reverse caused Philip's allies to fall off from him and to scatter in every direction, and Philip himself, having lost many of his best warriors, with his remaining followers returned to Pokanoket.

Here, hunted from place to place like a wild beast, hiding in swamps, his numbers steadily diminishing, Philip still prolonged the hopeless contest. Twice within a few weeks he had barely escaped capture or death. At length his able and energetic antagonist, Church, surprised his camp, and made prisoners of his wife and child, Philip, having cut off his hair to disguise himself, narrowly escaping capture. "Now I am ready to die!" exclaimed the heart-broken chief. His son, a boy of nine—the last of the race of Massasoit—was sold into slavery.

Death of King Philip


A few days later his last place of refuge at Mount hope was surrounded by Church's men, and King Philip, the great and dreaded foe of the white man, was shot by an Indian of Church's party, whose brother Philip had killed for counselling submission to the English. In accordance with the barbarous usage of that day, the dead sachem was beheaded and quartered. His head was set upon a gibbet at Plymouth, where it was to be seen for twenty years. Such was the joy caused by the news of his death that it was the occasion of a public thanksgiving.

Meanwhile Nanuntenoo, known to the English as Canonchet, son and successor of Miantonomo, the great sachem of the Narragansets, after leading his men in the bloody raids on Lancaster and Medfield, and at the defeat of Captain Peirce, had been captured by the Connecticut troops under Colonel George Denison. While seeking safety in flight he was recognized and hotly pursued. To expedite his movements he threw off his laced coat and wampum belt, and would have escaped had he not made a misstep and fallen into the water, wetting his gun. A swift-footed Pequot, who was in the English army, seized and held him until some soldiers came up.

"The said Nanuntenoo's carriage," says the old chronicle, "was strangely proud and lofty. He refused the offer of his life if he would procure a treaty of peace. Being examined why he would foment that war, he would make no other reply to any question but this—'that he was born a prince, and if princes came to speak with him he would answer, but none present being such he thought himself obliged in honor to hold his tongue, and not hold discourse with persons below his birth and quality.' "A young man asked the chief some questions.

"Child," replied he, "you no understand matters of war. Let your brother or chief come, him I will answer." He was executed by Colonel Denison's Indian allies near Stonington, Connecticut. When told that he must die, and that his last hour had arrived, the proud warrior, with the spirit of an ancient Roman, replied,

"I like it well. I shall die before my heart is soft, or I have said anything unworthy of myself."

After the death of Nanuntenoo the remnant of his tribe united with the Nianties under Ninigret, a famous warrior who, at the head of his tribe, had preserved neutrality with the English during the war. It was this sachem who, on being asked to allow the preaching of Christianity among his people, replied that "it would be better to preach it among the English till they became good" Roger Williams calls him "a proud and fierce sachem." His portrait, painted at Boston in 1617, is owned by the Winthrop family.

The cost of this Indian war was as great in proportion as was that of the Revolutionary War a century later. Twelve or thirteen towns were destroyed, one in twenty of the able-bodied men had fallen, and one family in twenty had been burned out. In addition to this the colonies had incurred a debt of half a million dollars—an enormous sum for those days. But the power of the Indians in southern New England was broken forever. Many of the Indians fled westward, and those captured were sold into slavery.



As soon as the news of the rising of the Pokanokets reached the Indians at the eastward, they too began hostilities, the French on the Penobscot supplying them with arms. One of the causes of this outbreak was said to be the cruel conduct of some English seamen, who overset a canoe containing the wife and child of Squando, a chief of the Saco tribe, in order to see if young Indians could swim naturally, like animals of the brute creation, for so they had heard. The child was saved from drowning by the mother, who dived down and brought it up from the bottom; but it died soon afterwards, and Squando became the fierce foe of the English. Many of the eastern Indians had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. These wrongs and injuries called for vengeance.

No general rising took place, but a relentless border warfare, extending over a space of three hundred miles, was carried on. In the two years of its duration nearly half the English settlements were destroyed, and their inhabitants either driven off, killed, or carried into captivity. Peace was finally established in 1678.

Saco was burned by the Indians, led by Squando, who besieged the garrison-house of Major Philips. Early in the following morning a cart, filled with combustibles and protected by a sort of plank breastwork in front, was pushed towards the house. Some of the garrison were dismayed on the sight of this seemingly formidable engine of destruction, but were encouraged by their officers. Orders were given not to fire until it came within pistol-shot. When it had about reached that point one of the wheels stuck fast, which those who were pushing did not observe. The other wheels moving forward brought them into a position to be effectually raked by the garrison. This accident was quickly improved by them—a sudden volley killed six and wounded fifteen more. The Indians immediately retreated, and abandoned the attack.

Defense of Garrison


The escape of Anne Brackett, whose family had been taken captives at the sack of Falmouth (now Portland, Maine), was remarkable. Loitering behind her captors, she spied the wreck of a birch canoe. She patched and repaired it with a needle and thread found in a deserted house. Embarking with her husband, a negro servant, and her infant in this frail vessel, she crossed Casco Bay with infinite peril. Arriving at Black Point, where she feared to find Indians, and could only expect to find a solitude, to her great joy she found a vessel from Piscataqua that had just entered the harbor.

The pioneer women of America were in no respect inferior in heroism and devotion to their husbands, their fathers, or their brothers. In what is now the town of Berwick, Maine, the house of a settler was attacked by Hopehood, a Kennebec chief, notorious for his savage prowess. This same chief was afterwards engaged in the massacre at Salmon Falls, New Hampshire. He, with a companion, attempted to surprise the family of the settler, but was discovered by one of the inmates of the house—a young woman—in season to prevent his effecting his purpose. Quickly fastening the door, she held it while all the other persons in the house escaped by a rear window. The Indians finally effected an entrance, and having wreaked their fury on the brave girl who had frustrated their plan, left her for dead. Though severely wounded, she recovered, and lived many years afterwards.

The Southern Indians

A century and a half had elapsed since the invasion of De Soto, when the French began to explore the fertile regions watered by the Mississippi. Joliet, Marquette, and La Salle led the way in this adventurous exploit, the latter taking possession of its mouth for France. He named the country Louisiana, in compliment to the French monarch, Louis XIV.

The Spaniards had already planted themselves at St. Augustine and Pensacola, when Iberville, a French naval officer, one of seven distinguished brothers, landed the first French colony at Biloxi. A fort was erected, Sanvolle, his elder brother, was appointed Governor, and Bienville, a younger brother, Lieutenant-governor, of Louisiana. The site of New Orleans was selected for the principal settlement. After twenty years' service in the colony, Bienville became governor, in 1718.

The Southern Indians inhabited the region now embraced in the States of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, most of Georgia, and portions of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. These Indians, sometimes called Appalachians or Mobilians, were divided into three distinct confederacies: the Creeks or Muskokis, including also the Seminoles and the Yamassees; the Choctaws, whose country, bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico, was west of the Creeks and extended to the Mississippi; and the Cherokees, the mountaineers of the South, whose land extended from the Cherokee Broad River, on the east, to the Alabama, on the west, one of the most delightful regions in the United States. The Chickasaws, who were united with the Choctaws, were seated upon the western branches of the Mobile, in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

On the banks of the Mississippi, chiefly on the bluffs where stands the beautiful city that bears their name, the Natchez Indians once dwelt. It was a region of great fertility, and lay between the territories of the Choctaws and Chickasaws. They had originally inhabited the south-western portion of Mexico, and had brought thence many of their religious rites and customs. Their form of government was more despotic than that of the other Southern tribes.

The great chief of the Natchez bore the name of the Sun, and pretended to claim his origin from that luminary. Every morning as it rose above the horizon he stood at the door of his cabin, turned his face towards the east, and howled thrice, at the same time prostrating himself on the ground. A pipe, used only upon these occasions, was then handed him, from which he puffed smoke, first towards the east, then towards the other cardinal points.

"The Sun has eaten," proclaimed an officer of his household, before the ruling chief of the Sun, after each morning's repast, "and the rest of the earth may now eat." The death of the Great Sun was sometimes followed by that of one hundred persons, who considered it a great honor to be sacrificed at the same time.

The Temple of the Natchez was oblong in form. In it were kept the bones of deceased chiefs, and in the middle of the floor a fire was kept constantly burning. One of their traditions is, that the keeper of this sacred flame having on one occasion fallen asleep, the fire went out, and in consequence a horrible malady raged for years, during which many of the Suns and an infinite number of people died. When Iberville first visited them, in the spring of 1700, their population did not exceed one thousand two hundred.

Bienville, in April, 1716, led a small party into the territory of the Natchez, to revenge the murder of some Frenchmen. He intended, after making an example of some of their chiefs and intimidating the tribe, to proceed to their towns, and build a fort in obedience to the orders of his king. He halted on an island in the river, at some distance from Natchez. Here three of the tribe came to see him with the pipe of peace, but Bienville sent them back, telling them he would smoke with the Great Sun chiefs only, for he was the great chief of the French, and that their chiefs had shown a want of friendship and respect in not coming themselves to greet him. The Frenchmen thoroughly understood the Indian character.

One morning not long afterwards, Bienville saw four magnificent canoes descending the river and approaching his island camp. Eight warriors stood erect and sung the pipe-song, while two chiefs in each canoe sat under an immense umbrella. They were the Natchez chiefs, drawn thither by the snare of the wily Frenchman. Concealing one-half of his soldiers, and advancing in a friendly way, he led them into his camp. They entered, singing the song of peace and holding the pipe over his head.

Bienville refused the pipe offered him by the chiefs with contempt, and inquired the cause of their visit. Then the high-priest, after addressing the sun, and invoking its aid to soften the stern Bienville, also offered him the peace-pipe, which was again scornfully rejected. At the same moment the chiefs were seized, ironed, and put in prison.

At night Bienville informed the Grand Sun that nothing would satisfy him but the heads of those who had advised or executed the murder of his countrymen. They were sent for, and the heads of two of them were brought him. Bienville then made a treaty with them, sparing their lives on certain conditions, and no longer refusing to smoke with them the pipe of peace.

A fort was then built on an eminence advantageously situated near the Mississippi; when it was finished, six hundred Natchez warriors appeared unarmed before the gate, and joined three hundred women in a dance in honor of Bienville. Afterwards the chiefs crossed the threshold, and again smoked the peace-pipe with him.

Some years later Fort Rosalie, as it was called, and the post of Natchez was under the command of M. de Chopart, a man wholly unfit for the position. This officer, for purposes of his own, selected the village of one of the Suns, or great chiefs, and ordered him to go elsewhere. Justly indignant at this outrage, preparations were quietly made by the tribe to cut off the French by a sudden attack here and at other settlements lower down the river. The neighboring tribes were also enlisted in the plot. Chopart was warned of the danger, but instead of taking precautions against it, had those who gave him the information put in irons.

The massacre began about nine o'clock in the morning. The arrival of a number of richly-laden boats for the garrison and the colonists determined the Indians to strike their blow sooner than they had intended. Dividing themselves into parties, they gave out that they were going on a grand hunt, and began to traffic with the French, giving them poultry and corn, and in return obtaining arms and ammunition.

Being now intermingled with the French, and provided with arms, they attacked at the same time each his man, and in less than two hours they had massacred more than two hundred of them, among them Chopart, the commander of the fort—the cause of this terrible slaughter. To show their contempt for this man, the Indians would not permit a warrior to kill him, but for that purpose sent a "mean "person, who pursued the wretch from his house into his garden, and there despatched him with a wooden tomahawk. Two men only were spared—a tailor and a carpenter, whose services the Indians required. Some of the women were killed, others were made slaves, and treated with great indignity. The post at Yazoo was soon afterwards surprised and its garrison massacred.

When this terrible massacre became known the consternation was great throughout the colony. Governor Perier, at New Orleans, immediately sent the Chevalier De Loubois against the Natchez. At the same time seven hundred Choctaws, under M. Le Sueur, marched to their village, surprised them at break of day, and set free a large number of prisoners, besides taking sixty scalps and a number of the Natchez. The victory would have been more complete if they had been less intent on freeing the slaves, or if they had waited for the arrival of De Loubois with his troops. The great body of the Natchez escaped by flight. Shutting themselves up in two of their forts, the Natchez proposed to surrender more than two hundred prisoners if the French commander would remove his artillery and withdraw his forces, or else all the prisoners should be burned. De Loubois consented; but the Indians, suspecting treachery, withdrew in the night and gained the opposite shore of the Mississippi, with all their women and children. The prisoners, however, were found in the fort and released.

A large part of the tribe, conducted by the Great Sun, then established themselves upon the Washita River, others sought an asylum among the Chickasaws, and some settled in Alabama. But the French had not done with them yet. In November, 1731, Governor Perier organized an expedition, which in January following he led to the mouth of Black River, the site of the last stronghold of the devoted tribe.

Investing the fort, the French encountered a spirited resistance. Mortars were used by them in this siege, and a bomb, falling in the centre of the court, caused great havoc, and still greater consternation among the Indians. At length they agreed to surrender the Great Sun and one war-chief, which Perier refused. They then consented to surrender sixty-five men and two hundred women and children, upon condition that their lives should be spared.

That night, in the midst of a tempest of wind and rain, the miserable, hunted-down remnant of this unfortunate tribe abandoned their fort and endeavored to escape up the river. Perier's Indian allies pursued, and brought in one hundred of them. Next day the governor demolished the fort, and returned to New Orleans with four hundred and twenty-seven prisoners. At their head was the Great Sun and several principal chiefs. They were all sent to St. Domingo and sold for slaves.

Such of the Indians as escaped the terrors of that tempestuous night attacked the French post and settlements on Red River. They were repulsed by St. Denys, the commandant, with the loss of ninety-two warriors, including all their chiefs. A remnant escaped by flight, but, as a nation, the Natchez no longer existed.

The Chickasaws were the fiercest, most insolent, haughty, and cruel of the Southern Indians. They were constantly at war, and though, in comparison with the nations around them, a mere handful, they had seldom been defeated. It was natural, therefore, that they should despise the cultivation of the soil, as they could live on the proceeds of the chase and the plunder of their neighbors.

The Chickasaws were the most expert of the American Indians in following the trail, and were also exceedingly skilful in the chase. Although their country abounded in beaver, they did not disturb them, saying, "anybody can kill a beaver." Their ambition was to capture the swift-footed deer or elk. They were all excellent swimmers, an art early taught to their children. They were very overbearing towards their females, and extremely jealous of their wives. They were athletic, well formed, and graceful.

Chickasaw tradition says they came from the west, and on starting eastward were provided with a large dog, as a guard, and a pole, as a guide. The dog would give them notice of the approach of an enemy, and the pole, which they planted in the ground every night, would lean next morning in the direction they were to go. In this way they kept on until they crossed the great Mississippi River.

Arriving at the Alabama River, near what is now Huntsville, the pole was for some days undecided which way to lean, but finally made up its mind and pointed to the south-west. They then resumed their journey, fighting their way through enemies on all sides, until, at a place now known as Chickasaw Old Fields, the pole stood perfectly erect. All then came to the conclusion that this was the Promised Land, and here they accordingly remained until, in 1837, the tribe emigrated to the Indian Territory.

A small portion of the Natchez Indians had united with the Chickasaws, who were friends of the English, and of course enemies of the French. In order to establish French supremacy in that region, and to keep the communication open between New Orleans in the south and Kaskaskia in the north, Bienville prepared to invade the Chickasaw territory and subdue them. By a free distribution of presents he gained over the Choctaws, who consented to assist him in his enterprise.

He embarked at Mobile, in a fleet comprising more than sixty large pirogues and batteaux. Never before had so large and imposing a fleet disturbed the deep, smooth waters of Mobile. He disembarked his forces at what is now Cotton Gin Port, twenty-seven miles east of the Chickasaw towns. Taking with him provisions for twelve days, he began his march, and encamped near the enemy. On the afternoon of May 26th the Chevalier Noyau advanced to the attack at the head of three hundred French troops.

With the help of some Englishmen the Chickasaws had fortified themselves with much skill, and the French were not a little astonished on beholding the English flag waving over their adversaries. Their houses had been fortified by large stakes driven into the ground around them, and were loop-holed for musketry. Within the palisades were breast-works, from which, through the loop-holes, the Indians fired. Their houses stood in such positions as to admit of cross-firing.

The attacking column was protected by movable breastworks, called mantelets, carried by negroes, and which served as shields. No sooner had these come within gunshot than one of the negroes was killed and another wounded; the rest fled precipitately. The French then rapidly advanced under a severe fire, and carried three fortified cabins, setting fire to and destroying others. Many of them had by this time fallen; but the officers, placing themselves at the head of a few brave men, attempted to storm the principal fort, but were nearly all shot down before they could reach it.

At a safe distance from this scene of slaughter Bienville's six hundred Choctaw allies, painted and plumed and dressed in the most fantastic and horrible manner, yelled and shouted, but, beyond occasionally firing in the air, rendered no assistance. After the conflict had lasted three hours, De Noyau and the brave remnant of his men were compelled to retreat.

Bienville's plan of operations had included a junction with D'Artagnette, a brave and experienced officer, who was to have assembled the tribes of the Illinois and, together with one hundred and thirty Frenchmen, united his force with that of Bienville at the Chickasaw towns. The unavoidable delays experienced by the latter caused the failure of the plan and disaster to both.

D'Artagnette was the first to arrive. He sought in vain for intelligence of Bienville. The impatience of his red allies, who, after eleven days of inaction, could no longer be controlled, led him to attack the Chickasaws without further delay. His force consisted of one hundred and thirty French and three hundred and sixty Indians. At the first onset five hundred of the enemy, who had been concealed, rose from their ambush and fell upon the invaders, with such impetuosity that nearly all D'Artagnette's Indians took to their heels, leaving the unfortunate Frenchmen surrounded by their foes.

After maintaining for some time a heroic but unavailing struggle, in which a large number of brave men had fallen, D'Artagnette, Vincennes, and a few others surrendered; a small number escaped. The fruits of this important victory were all the provisions and baggage of the French, eleven horses, four hundred and fifty pounds of powder, and one thousand two hundred bullets. The powder and ball were used to shoot down the troops of Bienville, as we have already seen. The prisoners were at first kindly treated, but after the defeat of Bienville all were burned at the stake excepting one, who was sent to Bienville with the intelligence of the defeat and fate of D'Artagnette. The Chickasaws remained masters of the situation.



Little was known of the Cherokees who inhabited northern Georgia and north-western Carolina, one of the most beautiful and healthful regions on this continent, until the period of English settlement. In their appearance, their habits, and their customs, they bore a great resemblance to the Creeks. Owing to their delightful climate, with its mountain air and delicious springs of pure water, they attained a greater age than the other tribes.

These Indians were of middle stature and of an olive color, but were generally painted. Their skins were stained with indelible ink, representing a variety of subjects. The women were tall, and symmetrically formed; their feet and hands were small and exquisitely shaped, and they moved with grace and dignity. The ears of the males were slit, and stretched to an enormous size—an exceedingly painful operation. They were very fond of dancing, spending almost every night in this amusement, and were skilled in getting up and preparing pantomimes, being excellent mimics.

In January, 1733, General James Oglethorpe led a colony to Georgia, pitching his tent where the city of Savannah now stands. Though he had a royal title to the land, he took care to pay the Indians for it, and they were always friendly to him. The purchase was made of Tomo Chichi, one of their principal chiefs, who afterwards accompanied Oglethorpe to England. The Cherokees gave Oglethorpe a buffalo-skin, with the head and feathers of an eagle painted on the inner side. They said: "The feathers of the eagle are soft, signifying love; the skin is warm, and is the emblem of protection, therefore love and protect our little families." He was ever their true friend and they reciprocated his kindness. When, in 1740, he attacked the Spaniards at St. Augustine, he was accompanied on his expedition by one thousand Cherokee warriors.



Mutual injuries had, at the beginning of the year 1760, brought about a state of hostility between the settlers on the frontier of South Carolina and their Cherokee neighbors. Governor Littleton, in violation of good faith and sound policy, had seized thirty-two of their chiefs, who had visited him for the purpose of preventing a war, and imprisoned them in Fort Prince George. His intention was to hold them until twenty-four Indians implicated in the murder of white men should be delivered up to him. This it was impossible for them to do, as the Cherokee chiefs had no power to coerce their countrymen, and the governor was so informed by Atakullakulla, their venerable head chief, the staunch friend of the white man. One of the imprisoned chiefs was Otacite, a renowned warrior.

Their rescue was soon attempted. Oconostata, one of their leading chiefs and warriors, approached Fort Prince George with a band of his countrymen, and requested Lieutenant Coytmore, the commander, to come out and have a talk with him. That officer assented, and while they were conversing the chief swung a bridle which he held three times around his head. This was the preconcerted signal, and a volley from the concealed Indians mortally wounded Coytmore, and severely wounded two others who were with him.

The garrison seeing the fate of their officer, at once proceeded to put irons upon the Indians in their custody, but meeting with a furious resistance, the exasperated soldiers put them all to death. Those without attacked the fort, shouting to their countrymen within, ignorant of their fate, "Fight strong, and you shall be aided." But the fort was too strong for them, and they finally withdrew. The vengeance of the tribe fell heavily on the defenceless frontier, which became a scene of blood and rapine, and the war-belt was sent to the Catawbas and other tribes, asking their aid in exterminating the English.

Meantime General Amherst, the English Commander-in-chief in America, had despatched one thousand two hundred men, under Colonel Montgomery, from New York to the scene of action. This officer arrived in Charleston late in April, and moved rapidly towards the Cherokee villages. Coming after a night-march upon the town of Little Keowa, he surrounded it, and ordered his troops to bayonet every man. This was done, and the women and children were captured. In Estatoe, a town of two hundred houses, he found but ten or twelve men, all of whom were killed. Determining to make the Indians feel the power of the English, he visited, and in succession destroyed, all the villages in the lower nation.



Montgomery then returned to Fort Prince George, where he awaited proposals for peace. None came, and he again advanced, this time on the middle settlements. In three days he reached the town of Etchowee. Here the Cherokees had determined to make a stand. A smart fire was opened upon the advancing troops from a thicket. Montgomery immediately pushed forward through an ambuscade of five hundred Indians, rousing them from their coverts. As soon as they reached clearer and more elevated ground, the troops drove the enemy be- fore them at the point of the bayonet, and a severe chastisement was inflicted upon the Indians. Etchowee was found to be abandoned, but the warriors had generally escaped to the mountains, and the only result of the expedition was to increase the wrath of the tribe. Unable to effect anything further, Montgomery returned to New York.

Francis Marion


A band of Creek Indians, under Chlucco, better known as the Long Warrior, Micco, or King of the Seminoles, accompanied Montgomery in his expedition and rendered essential service. By their aid the army escaped ambush after ambush, discovered the Cherokee villages, and finally covered his retreat out of one of the most dangerous countries through which an army could pass.

Fort Loudoun was garrisoned by two hundred men. Oconostata invested it with a large number of warriors, cutting it off from all communication. When the garrison was nearly famished, seeing no hope of escape the fort was surrendered, on condition that the men should retain their arms and march home unmolested. Their first night-encampment was fifteen miles from the fort. Next morning they were attacked, and nearly all slain or captured. This was done in retaliation for the massacre of the Cherokee hostages.

In the following year Carolina raised twelve hundred men, under Colonel Henry Middleton. Among his officers were Henry Laurens, afterwards President of Congress, Francis Marion, William Moultrie, Andrew Pickens, and Isaac Huger, all of whom became distinguished as soldiers and patriots in the Revolutionary War. Lieutenant-colonel James Grant joined them with two British regiments, and some Chickasaw and Catawba Indians as allies, making a total force of two thousand six hundred men.

They reached Fort Prince George May 29, 1761. On the 10th of June, at Etchowee, the scene of Montgomery's battle the year before, the Cherokees were gathered, well equipped and prepared for action. They had an advantageous position, and for three hours the contest was severe and bloody. They were finally driven at the point of the bayonet, falling back inch by inch until at length, completely overpowered, they fled, hotly pursued by the victors; many were slain.

John Ross


Following up his victory, Grant laid Etchowee and fourteen other towns, together with their corn-fields and granaries, in ashes, and the people, in a state of complete destitution, were driven to the barren mountains. The spirit of the nation was broken, and through the venerable Atakullakulla, the chiefs humbly sued for peace. A treaty kept the nation peaceful until the breaking out of the American Revolution.

During that struggle the Cherokees fought against the colonists, and were severely punished and greatly reduced in numbers. Their first treaty with the United States dates from 1785. Its guaranties were disregarded by the Federal Government, and contrary to their wishes, and in spite of their resistance, they were forced from their country at the point of the bayonet in 1838.

John Ross, their principal chief, strenuously opposed the removal of his people. He was a half-breed, and at an early age had acquired a good English education, becoming head chief in 1828. A portion of the Cherokees, under the lead of Major Ridge, Boudinot, and other influential chiefs, in December, 1835, concluded a treaty with the United States Government for the removal of the tribe to the Indian Territory, which was repudiated by Ross and the larger part of the nation. Under this treaty the Ridge party—one-third of the tribe—emigrated in 1837. Ross and the remainder of his people held out against removal as long as possible, but, notwithstanding a decision of the United States Supreme Court in their favor, were finally compelled to go. The removal of the tribe was disastrous to them in many ways, but they are at present in a prosperous condition in their new home in the Indian Territory.

The Cherokees had a singular method of relieving the poor. Their head men issued orders for a war-dance, at which all the fighting men of the town assembled. Contrary to the usual custom, only one man danced at a time, who, with a tomahawk in his hand, hopped and capered for a moment, and then gave a whoop. The music then stopped while he related the manner of his taking his first scalp. He then cast a string of wampum, wire, paint, lead, or anything he could spare, upon a large bear skin spread for the purpose. Then the music again begun, and he continued in the same manner through all his warlike actions. Another succeeded him, and the ceremony lasted until all the warriors had related their exploits and thrown presents upon the skin. The stock thus raised, after paying the musicians, was divided among the poor. The same ceremony was used to recompense any extraordinary merit.

The Choctaws and the Chickasaws had a common origin, and are to-day substantially one people. Their traditions, like those of the Natchez, point to a Mexican origin. The Creeks were their great enemies. In 1765 a war began between them which raged fiercely for six years. Skillful in deceiving their enemies, they attached the paws of various animals to their own feet and hands, and roamed the woods, imitating their movements. Sometimes a large bush was carried by the warrior in front, concealing himself and those behind him, while the one in the extreme rear obliterated all the tracks with grass. Excellent themselves in following the trail, they could also deceive an enemy by their astonishing skill in imitating every fowl and quadruped.

They were inveterate gamblers. Besides ball play, they had an exciting game called Chunke, the players and lookers-on staking their ornaments, wearing apparel, pipes, and arms upon the result. Sometimes after losing all, the ruined gambler borrowed a gun and shot himself. Indians are very like white men, after all. The women have a game with sticks and balls, something like our game of battledoor.

Some of their funeral customs were peculiar. The assembled relatives wept and howled, and asked strange questions of the deceased, such as, "Why did you leave us? Did your wife not serve you well? Were you not contented with your children? Did you not have corn enough? Were you afraid of your enemies?" To increase the solemnity and importance of the occasion mourners were hired to cry.

Among other odd customs of the Southern Indians was this—being sun-worshippers, whenever the head chief sneezed, his subjects bowed their heads, opened and closed their arms, and saluted him with these words: "May the Sun guard you," "May the Sun be with you," "May the Sun shine upon you," or "May the Sun prosper and defend you."

If their knowledge of geography had been equal to their enterprise, a serious catastrophe that befell one of the Carolina tribes would have been prevented. The Sewees, a tribe living on the bay of that name, under the mistaken idea that England was not far from their coast, fitted out a large fleet of canoes, laden with skins and furs, for the purpose of traffic. All their able-bodied men embarked, leaving only the women and children and the aged and infirm at home. A storm destroyed a part of their fleet, and the remainder falling into the hands of the English, the Indians were sold as slaves in the West India Islands. Small-pox and intemperance still further reduced this once populous tribe.

The Creeks and the Seminoles are the subjects of future chapters.

Note.—For the best account of the Southern tribes, see Pickett's History of Alabama.

French and Indian Wars

With the reign of King William III. began a series of wars between the English and French on this continent which, with only one long interval, lasted seventy years. They grew out of the rivalry of the two nations for territorial power and the advantages of the Indian trade.

The genius and heroism of Champlain, Cartier, Marquette, Joliet, and La Salle, and the zeal and devotion of her missionaries, had given to the French not only Canada, then known as New France, Acadia, Hudson's Bay, and Newfoundland, but had also furnished her with a claim to the whole valley of the Mississippi, and to Texas as far as the Rio Bravo del Norte. A line drawn from Falmouth, now Portland, or Casco Pay, by the towns of Scarborough, Saco, Wells, York, Amesbury, Haverhill, Andover, Dunstable, Chelmsford, Groton, Lancaster, and Worcester constituted the frontier of Massachusetts, which then included Maine. Upon these settlements the stress of those cruel wars fell. The English colonists largely outnumbered the French, but the latter had succeeded in arraying the numerous tribes of the Algonkins against the English, and these savage allies made the warfare terrible to the settlers who were exposed to their incursions all along the extensive frontier. The only allies of the English were the Iroquois.

La Salle


By the French the war was carried on in a most barbarous manner. They fitted out parties of savages to attack the English settlers, shooting them down while tilling their fields, seizing their wives and children, loading them with heavy packs of plunder from their own houses, and driving them before them into the wilderness. These, when faint with hunger and unable to stagger under their burdens, were murdered, and their scalps torn off and exhibited by the savages to their civilized masters on their arrival at the French head-quarters. Only those who have read the story of these barbarities can realize the perils and sacrifices, the heroism and sufferings of the early English settlers.

The greater part of the early settlers were engaged in agriculture. Those on the sea-coast pursued the fisheries with success. Their every-day dress was plain, strong, and comfortable, and was the product of their own looms and knitting-needles. A cocked-up hat, a short frock of strongest warp, a pair of old leather breeches, and leggings confined above the knee and tied over the shoe with a string round the middle of the foot, was the costume of the man.

The farm work obliged them to be up before daylight. The early breakfast consisted of pea or bean porridge, boiled with salted beef or pork, served in wooden bowls, together with bread and beer. The bread was generally some preparation of Indian-corn mixed with rye. Dinner at noon began with Indian pudding and ended with boiled salt pork, fried eggs, brown bread, cabbage, and cider. Sometimes they had succotash, a native dish of corn and beans boiled together in the milk. Hasty pudding, consisting of the boiled meal of maize or rye, and eaten with molasses or milk, was a common dish. The spoons were pewter, the plates "wooden trenchers." Their sofa was the settle, their carpets clean white sand, their ceilings rough boards and rafters, and their parlor was at once kitchen, bedroom, and hall. Besides other household labor, the women did all the sewing, knitting, mending, spinning, cooking, and washing. Their toil was unremitting. Religious exercises, morning and evening, were never omitted. By eight o'clock the entire family were in bed.

Indian attack


What a contrast does this simple, healthful, and laborious life of our ancestors present to that of most of their descendants!

To the Indians every part of the New England border was familiar ground. Many of them, before withdrawing to Canada, had lived in its vicinity, and had frequently visited the settlements to trade, and were thus well qualified to guide the French in their expeditions. Their motive was plunder, but it is doubtless true that some were governed by the remembrance of injuries, and it is proverbial that "an Indian never forgets an injury."

The first blow was struck by the Indians at Cocheco, now Dover, New Hampshire, which, from its exposed situation at the lowest ford of the Piscataqua, had been in constant dread of attack. The inhabitants had become alarmed at the attitude of the Indians, but were quieted by Major Waldron, the officer in command, who laughed at their fears. There were here five garrison-houses strongly built, to which the people retired at night, but the watch had become careless. These were strongly fortified dwellings calculated to repel Indian attacks.

At midnight the doors of four of these houses, including that of Major Waldron, were opened by some squaws, who had been permitted to lodge within them, and a large number of Indians rushed in, slaughtering all who resisted. Thirteen years before, Waldron had, by a stratagem, made prisoners of some four hundred Indians, more than half of whom were sold into slavery or executed at Boston. It was proposed to these Indians to join the English in a training and have a sham fight. The evolutions were so arranged by the English that the Indians were surrounded and secured. This piece of treachery was not forgotten by the Indians.

Indians attack Waldron


Waldron, now eighty years old, shouting, "What now? what now?" seized his sword and defended himself with great resolution, but was at length struck down by a blow from a hatchet. He was then dragged into his hall and placed in an arm-chair upon a table. He was a magistrate, and they mockingly cried out to him, "Judge Indians now! judge Indians now!"

He had the reputation of having taken advantage of the natives in trade, and in buying beaver of them, his fist, placed in the opposite scale, was accounted as weighing only a pound. After eating supper they began to torture him. Some who were in debt to him gashed him with their knives, saying, "I cross out my account," while others cut off the joints of his fingers, and said to him, "Now will your fist weigh a pound?" Finally, to end his misery, as he was sinking from loss of blood, they placed his sword so that he fell upon it. After burning the house, with the others near it, and having killed twenty-three persons, the Indians withdrew, taking with them to Canada twenty-nine captives. Some of these prisoners were sold to the French—the first instance, it is believed, of English captives being thus disposed of. Two months later another part of Dover, called Oyster Bay, now Durham, was attacked, and eighteen men killed while at work in the fields.

Count Frontenac, then in his seventieth year, had been recalled to the government of Canada. One of his first acts was to fit out and send three expeditions against the English settlements. One, from Montreal, was to strike Albany; another, from Three Rivers, was to assail the New Hampshire border; and the third, from Quebec, was directed to the frontier of Maine.

The expedition designed for Albany consisted of two hundred French and Indians, under De Mantet and De St. Hélène. They began their march in midwinter upon snow-shoes, carrying their packs upon their shoulders, and dragging their blankets and provisions over the snow on Indian sledges. Fearing that Albany was too strong for them, the Indians could not be persuaded to attack it, and Schenectady, a fortified town twenty miles from Albany, was selected instead. The weather was severe and the snow was deep, and the invaders suffered severely during the march, which took twenty-two days. So exhausted were they with cold, fatigue, and hunger before reaching the place, that some of them afterwards declared that they would have surrendered had they encountered serious opposition.



A scout having ascertained that the town was in a profound slumber and without a guard, the spirits of the party were greatly raised. The town was left thus unguarded because the severity of the weather was supposed to be a sufficient security. As if in derision of possible danger, two snow images, it is said, stood as mock sentinels at the gate.

At midnight the assailants entered the open and undefended gate, divided into parties of six or seven, waylaid the doors of each house, and then raised the terrible warwhoop. Massacre and pillage now held high carnival. Barbarities too shocking to relate were perpetrated. In two hours upward of eighty well-built and well-furnished houses were burned, two only escaping the flames, and sixty persons were put to death. Forty of the inhabitants were carried into captivity. About sixty women, children, and old men were spared, out of regard for Glen, the chief magistrate, whose former kindness to French prisoners was now reciprocated. On their return to Montreal the party was pursued, and a number killed or captured.

Intelligence of this shocking event was borne to Albany by some of the poor fugitives who, with no other covering than their night-clothes, and during a fall of snow, made their way to that place, some of them badly frost-bitten.

The second party, under Hertel de Rouville, an experienced officer, attacked at daylight the village of Salmon Falls, on the Piscataqua. Here was a fortified house, with two stockade forts, for the protection of the inhabitants. The three parties into which Hertel had divided his command made a sudden and simultaneous attack. No watch had been kept, and the surprise was complete and the resistance brief. Soon the scattered dwellings and barns were in ashes. Thirty persons, of all ages and sexes, were tomahawked or shot, and fifty-four, mostly women and children, were carried into captivity. Hertel was pursued and overtaken by a large party of English at Wooster River, but succeeded in holding the narrow bridge that crossed it until dark, when he continued his retreat.

On the way, Hertel met the third party under Portneuf, who had also been joined by the Baron de St. Castin and some Kennebec Indians, swelling his forces to the number of four or five hundred. Together they attacked the fort and settlement at Casco Bay. Fort Loyal, a palisade work having eight cannon, stood at what is now the foot of India Street, Portland. The fort having been undermined, it was surrendered on the fourth day upon the promise of protection. No sooner, however, had the garrison laid down their arms, than the women and children and wounded were all murdered in cold blood. The commander and four others only were spared. Scarcely had they surrendered when four vessels, sent to their relief from Boston, appeared in the offing just too late. This successful raid greatly elated the French, who had not yet recovered from the effects of the blow struck at Montreal by the Iroquois in the previous year.

When Davis, the commander at Fort Loyal, reached Quebec, he told Frontenac of the pledge given by his captor, and of the violation of it. "We were promised good quarter," said he, "and a guard to conduct us to our English. I thought I had to do with Christians who would have been careful of their engagements, and not to violate and break their oaths. Whereupon," continues Davis, "the Governor shaked his head, and, as I was told, was very angry with Burniffe" (Portneuf).

After these exploits a grand council was held at Quebec by the Western Indians who came to trade. Frontenac himself took part in this, and brandishing a hatchet, sung the war-song and led the dance, whooping and yelling with the rest. The other Frenchmen present followed his example. This excited the enthusiasm of the Indians, who snatched the proffered hatchet and promised to make war on the English and Iroquois to the death.

French and Indian Wars


Major Peter Schuyler, with a force of two hundred and sixty-seven men, of whom the larger part were Iroquois, marching from Albany, had surprised a French camp at La Prairie, opposite Montreal, driving them into their fort with considerable loss. Informed of Schuyler's approach, Valrenne, a Canadian officer, was sent to intercept him on his retreat. Placing himself upon the path by which Schuyler was retreating, the advanced parties of each met, and their warwhoops sounded the alarm.

Valrenne had posted his men to great advantage behind some fallen trees and thickets, on a ridge, barring the way of the English. The English made repeated charges, and the combatants on either side became intermingled. The fight was long and stubborn, but the English at length broke through their foes, and forming again, attacked and finally drove them back. After the French had retreated, Schuyler and his men continued their march, carrying away their wounded, but losing their knapsacks.

Peter Schuler


York, one of the most important towns in the eastern country, was laid in ashes by a party of Abenakis from the Penobscot and the Kennebec. The village was a collection of scattered houses, along the banks of the river Agamenticus and the adjacent sea-shore. Some of them were built for defence. Snow fell as the party moved forward. Coming upon a boy chopping wood, they took him, and after getting what information they could from him tomahawked him. At the edge of the village they divided into two parties. The warwhoop was sounded at a given signal, and the savages burst into the houses and slaughtered or captured all their inmates. Rev. Samuel Dimmer, the minister, was shot as he was mounting his horse at his own door. His wife died in captivity. The few who escaped made for the fortified houses, which were not attacked by the Indians. The women and children were allowed to go free, in return, it is said, for the release some time before of some captive Indian children. One of the Indians arrayed himself in the gown of the slain minister, and preached a mock sermon to his captured parishioners. Two fortified houses of this period are yet standing at York. The Indian leader on this occasion was Madokawando, chief of the Penobscots.

This same chief soon afterwards attacked the garrison at Wells, Maine. With him were some Frenchmen, under Portneuf, St. Castin, and La Brognerie. So confident were the leaders of success, that before the attack they arranged the details of the division of the provisions and property of the garrison. Convers, the English commander, occupying the larger of the five fortified houses in the place, had but fifteen men with whom to defend it. Fortunately, two sloops, with supplies and a few men, arrived on the day before the attack. Forewarned of the enemy's approach, the inhabitants had fled to the forts.

The attack began fiercely, before daylight. The enemy, five hundred strong, fired from behind breastworks of timber filled with hay. Convers, however, had two or three twelve-pound cannon, which were well served, the men loading and pointing them, and the women, who brought ammunition, lighting the fuse. Many stratagems were tried, and the sloops were several times set on fire by burning arrows; but by the coolness and bravery of the crews the flames were easily subdued. A fire-raft was then floated down upon them, and destruction seemed inevitable. Providentially, when close upon them, the wind drove it on shore.

Next the besiegers made a huge shield of planks, which they fastened to the back of a cart. La Brognerie, with twenty-six men, got behind it, and shoved the cart towards the stranded sloops. It was within fifty feet of them when a wheel sunk in the mud and it stuck fast. La Brognerie tried to extricate it and was shot dead. The rest ran, and some of them dropped under the fire of the sailors.

Becoming discouraged, the assailants then tried persuasion upon the English commander. Instead of boldly attacking and overwhelming the small force opposed to them, the Indians leaped, yelled, and fired, and called on the English to yield. Failing to convince Convers of the necessity for surrender, a flag was sent as a last resource, with a summons for him to capitulate. To this Convers replied, "I want nothing but men to come and fight me."

"As you are so stout," said the bearer of the flag, "why don't you come and fight in the open field like a man, and not in a garrison like a squaw?" The taunt was followed by a threat: "We will cut you as small as tobacco before to-morrow morning." "Come on," said Convers, not at all frightened, "I want work."

After a two days' siege, and the expenditure of their ammunition, the enemy withdrew. A handful of determined men had rendered abortive one of the most formidable expeditions that had yet been undertaken.

A war party of Abenakis, headed by Yillieu, a French officer, and the priest Thury, struck the settlement at Oyster River, now Durham, about twelve miles from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The people had been assured that the war was over, and no watch was kept. Approaching by moonlight in numerous small bands, the slaughter was frightful. One hundred and four persons, principally women and children, were victims. Some escaped to the fortified houses or to the woods. The devastation extended six or seven miles. The church, strangely enough, was spared, while the other houses were destroyed. One of the evil results of this shocking affair was that it helped the French by putting an end to the negotiations for peace with their Indian allies, which the English had nearly concluded.



Seven of the twelve fortified houses at Oyster River were successfully defended. One of these was saved by an ingenious stratagem of its owner, Thomas Bickford. Sending his wife and children down the river in a boat, he went back alone to defend his dwelling. When the Indians approached, he fired on them, sometimes from one loop-hole and sometimes from another, shouting the word of command to an imaginary garrison, and showing himself at different places, each time with a different hat, cap, or coat. Thus he saved both his family and home.

The new fort at Pemaquid was attacked by a strong force of French and Indians, under Iberville and the Baron de St. Castin. The fort, though well manned and supplied, had no casemates to protect its defenders from the explosion of bombs. Chubb, its commander, when summoned to surrender, replied that he would not give up the fort if the sea were covered with French ships and the land with Indians" A few bomb-shells, and a notification that if the fort had to be carried by assault the garrison would get no quarter from the Indians, caused Chubb to sound a parley, and he surrendered on condition that he and his men should be protected from the Indians, and sent to Boston to be exchanged. Meanwhile, Iberville sent them to an island in the bay, out of reach of the Indians. Chubb was arrested for cowardice, and kept awhile in Boston jail.

This officer had been guilty of a foul piece of treachery towards the Indians. While holding a conference with some of the Penobscots respecting an exchange of prisoners, he plied them with strong drink, and while they were intoxicated ordered his soldiers to fall upon them. Several were slain, including two chiefs. After his release from prison he returned to his home in Andover, but Indian vengeance followed him, and the next year he was killed by a party of savages.



A personage of considerable importance among the Abenakis at this time was the Baron Jean Vincent de St. Castin, a French nobleman who had resided twenty years among them, and who had married a daughter of the chief Madokawando. He had been an officer of the regiment of Carignan, in Canada, and when disbanded remained in the country. He established a trading-house and residence on the Penobscot, at a place now bearing his name. Living among the Indians, acquiring their language, and adopting their customs, he was highly regarded by them, and was made their great chief. His influence over them made him an object of dread to the people of New England.

Castin led two hundred Indians at the capture of Pemaquid, and was wounded at Port Royal in 1707. Having acquired a fortune by trade with the natives, he finally returned to France, and there ended his days.

An incident of this war, exhibiting the wonderful heroism of a woman, is too remarkable to be passed over in silence.

Early in the morning of March 15, 1697, when the war which had lasted ten years was nearly over, a party of Indians swooped suddenly down upon Haverhill, a little village on the Merrimac, about thirty-two miles from Boston. As the number of the band was small, its attack was swift, and its disappearance was equally rapid.

Upon the outskirts of the town stood the house of Thomas Duston, one of eight that were singled out for attack. Mr. Duston was at work at the time at some distance from his house, but on discovering the approach of the Indians at once regained it, having only time to direct the flight of his children, seven in number, the youngest being two years old, when the Indians were upon them.

"Run for your lives!" shouted the father; and the little flock hastily left their home and ran towards the nearest fortified house.

Mrs. Duston was ill in bed, and the husband was compelled to leave her to her fate. Mounting his horse, he soon overtook the children about forty rods from the house, and urged them forward.

His first thought had been to take up one of them and escape with it. Feeling it impossible to choose one from among them, he put himself between them and the pursuing Indians, faced about, and aiming his gun at the savages, succeeded in keeping them at bay until the fugitives reached a place of safety, when the Indians gave up the chase.

Meantime, some of the band had entered the house and driven the sick woman from her bed. They then pillaged the dwelling and set it on fire. Ill as she was, Mrs. Duston was compelled to march. Mrs. Neff, her nurse, attempted to escape with the infant child of Mrs. Duston, but was taken, and the infant's brains dashed out against an apple-tree. In this raid twenty-seven persons were killed and thirteen carried into captivity.

After travelling one hundred and fifty miles the band separated, dividing the captives. Mrs. Duston, Mrs. Neff, and Samuel Leonardson, a boy, fell to the lot of an Indian family consisting of twelve persons. The prisoners were kindly treated, but were told that on arriving at their village they would, according to Indian custom, be stripped and compelled to run the gauntlet. This news inspired Mrs. Duston with a desperate resolution. She determined, if possible, to escape, and consulted with her companions as to how it could be done.

They were now on an island at the mouth of the Contoocook River, about six miles above Concord, New Hampshire.

"Show me how you scalp an enemy," said the boy, who in a former captivity had gained some knowledge of their language, to one of his captors. Without mistrusting the motive of the inquiry, the Indian explained to him the manner in which it was done.

That night, when the Indians were sound asleep, the three captives noiselessly arose, grasped the tomahawks of the warriors, assigned to one another the work each was to do, and so effectively did they deal their blows that but one of those they designed to kill escaped, and that one was a woman. A boy whom they did not wish to harm was also allowed his liberty. Mrs. Duston killed her captor, and the boy slew the Indian who had taught him how to scalp and where to deal the deadly blow.

Filling a boat with provisions and arms, they proceeded down the Merrimac to their home, where the ten scalps and the arms they had secured afforded ample evidence of the truth of their wonderful story. The country was filled with amazement at the exploit of these women. The General Court gave them a reward of £50, and other gratuities were showered upon them. A monument at the mouth of the Contoocook River perpetuates the fame of this achievement, one of the most remarkable in Indian history.

Exeter, New Hampshire, owed its preservation from destruction to an accident. A party of concealed Indians were intending to fall upon it at daybreak on the following morning. Some women and children, in the afternoon, went into the adjacent fields to gather strawberries. They had been warned of the danger from Indians, but could not be prevented. Some one in the town fired alarm-guns to scare them back. This caused a muster of the men, and the Indians, supposing themselves discovered, hastily decamped.

Although a treaty of peace had been made at Ryswick between France and England, there was no cessation of murder and devastation in New England. At Lancaster twenty or thirty of the inhabitants, with their minister, were massacred. Several houses were burned, and a number of persons were put to death in Andover. A treaty was at length concluded with the Indians at Pejepscot, on the Kennebec, and the war of ten years was closed for a brief period. During its continuance the north-eastern tribes had taken and destroyed all the settlements in Maine, with three exceptions, killed more than seven hundred persons, and carried off two hundred and fifty captives, many of whom never returned.

Very soon another war broke out between England and France—Queen Anne's War, as it was commonly called. In America it involved South Carolina., bordering on Spanish Florida, and New England, which had Canada on its northern frontier. It was closed by the peace of Utrecht in 1713. At the south it resulted in the extension of the English boundary; at the north its history is a chapter of horrors, with no other result than to add largely to the sum of human misery.

Governor Dudley, of Massachusetts, held a conference at Casco with the Abenakis, who made strong professions of friendliness. One of the chiefs said: "The clouds fly and darken, but we still sing with love the songs of peace. Believe my words: so far as the sun is above the earth are our thoughts from war or the least rupture between us."

Notwithstanding all their assurances, within six weeks the whole country from Casco to Wells was in a flame, and another terrible ten years' war begun. Parties of French and Indians spread havoc through the feeble settlements, sparing neither old nor young. Wells, Winter Harbor, and Spurwink were among the towns destroyed. The whole of the exposed northern border of Massachusetts, from Casco Bay to the Connecticut River, was watched from hiding-places offering every facility for sudden invasion and safe retreat. For this reason little impression could be made upon the Indians, as they could rarely be found. De Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, succeeded in keeping the Iroquois neutral. Between the Abenakis and the French a close friendship already existed.

Deerfield, a palisaded village on the Connecticut, enclosing twenty acres, had a garrison of twenty soldiers quartered in different houses. The town was still suffering from the ravages of the previous war. A party of two hundred French and one hundred and forty-two Indians, on snow-shoes, under the lead of Hertel de Ronville, made their way from Canada, reaching its vicinity on the last night of February, 1704. The drifted snow enabled them to enter the town over the pickets early next morning, and the sentinels having deserted their posts, the terrible warwhoop was the first notice the doomed villagers received of their approach. The torch was applied, and only the church and one dwelling-house escaped. Death or captivity was the lot of the inhabitants, one hundred and twelve of whom, including Rev. John Williams, the minister, and his family, were carried to Canada.

Mr. Williams, who, after his return home, published a narrative of this tragedy, tells us that he was roused from sleep by the sound of axes and hatchets plied against his doors and windows. Leaping from his bed, he seized his arms, and put a pistol to the breast of the first Indian who came up; but it missed fire, and he was seized and bound. He and his family were allowed to put on some clothing, and, "the sun about an hour high," they began their march, the snow being knee-deep. His wife, having recently become a mother, was feeble, and on the second day she fell from weariness, and was tomahawked.

During the march his life was often threatened. Nineteen of his fellow-prisoners were murdered and two starved to death by the way. "And yet," says the narrator, "God made the Indians so to pity our children that, though they had several of their own wounded to carry upon their shoulders for thirty miles before they came to the river, yet they carried our children, incapable of travelling, in their arms and upon their shoulders."

Williams's feet were "so full of pain" he could scarce stand upon them, but was forced to travel in snow-shoes twenty-five miles a day and sometimes more. The party were eight weeks reaching Montreal, where the governor took him from the Indians and treated him kindly. After a captivity of two years and a half he was exchanged, and with fifty-seven other prisoners, two of whom were his children, he returned home.

Eunice, his youngest daughter, was adopted by the Indians, who refused to ransom her, and she became the wife of a Caughnawaga chief. Long afterwards she visited her friends in Deerfield in her Indian dress, and, notwithstanding a day of fasting and prayer by the whole village for her deliverance, she returned to her Indian home and her Mohawk children.

St. Regis


On Lake St. Louis, near Montreal, the Indian village of Caughnawaga (St. Regis), with its wretched log-houses, clusters round a fine stone church with a glittering tin roof. The early Jesuits induced the Indians to collect furs, which they sent to France in exchange for a church-bell. The return ship was captured by the English, and the bell was sent to Deerfield, Massachusetts.

When the Caughnawagas heard where their bell had gone, they determined to obtain possession of it. They took part in Hertel's expedition on condition that Deerfield should be the first place attacked. When in the midst of the massacre the tones of the bell sounded, they knelt in superstitious awe. Then, with shouts of victory, they bore it on poles through the forests, while it tolled with doleful sound. Exhausted with the terrible march in midwinter, they buried it at Burlington, Vermont. Next summer they dug it up, and it was borne into their village in triumph between two white oxen.

One house in Deerfield escaped destruction and stood until within a few years, the marks of the Indian bullets being still visible. It was courageously defended by seven men, who fired from the windows upon the enemy, the women with them running bullets and loading their guns. Several times the enemy tried to set fire to the house, but failed. Captain Stoddard, watching his opportunity, sprang from a window and made his way to Hatfield, giving the alarm. Soon the settlers were in pursuit, and gave De Rouville battle, but were forced to retreat.

Oyster River defense


Massachusetts and New Hampshire now offered a reward of £20 for every Indian captured, and £40 for each scalp. Evidently they thought one dead Indian worth two living ones. The old Indian fighter Church, prominent thirty years before in Philip's war, at the head of five hundred and fifty men, carried destruction through all the French settlements east of the Penobscot, but effected nothing of consequence.

An attack on a garrison-house at Oyster River was repelled in a singular manner. It happened at the moment to be occupied only by women. "They put on hats, letting their hair hang down, and fired so briskly that they struck a terror into the enemy, and they withdrew."

A formidable inroad upon the English settlements was planned by the French at Montreal in 1708, who fixed upon Lake Winnipiseogee as the place of rendezvous for their Indian allies. A few only came at the appointed time. The expedition was led by Des Chaillons, who attacked Haverhill, Massachusetts, in the night, burned the fort and many dwellings, and killed or captured about one hundred persons, including Rev. Benjamin Rolfe, the minister, his wife and child. A few brave men, led by Samuel Ayer, rallied a short distance from the town, formed an ambush, and by a vigorous attack succeeded in reselling a number of the prisoners and inflicted some loss on the enemy. Ayer lost his life in this daring attempt.

Haverhill was at this time a cluster of thirty cottages and log cabins near the Merrimac. In its centre stood the new meeting-house. On the north the unbroken wilderness stretched far away to the White Mountains.

The Indian leader on this occasion was Assacambuit. He had visited France in 1706, and having been knighted by Louis XIV., on his return wore the insignia of his rank upon his breast. He was also presented with a sword for his services. A famous club which he always carried had on it at this time ninety-eight notches, denoting the number of English he had slain.

It was estimated that one-third of the English population of Maine had fallen in this disastrous war. Some families had become extinct, others mourned the loss or captivity of parents, children, or husbands. The country was reduced to poverty, trade was ruined, houses burned, and fields devastated. A hundred miles of sea-coast, lately the scene of prosperity, was now a complete desert. There was one year of this war when one-fifth part of all capable of bearing arms were in active service. No wonder if the cruelties of the savage enemy inspired our fathers with a deep hatred of the French missionaries who instigated them, and even made them desire the extermination of the natives.

The treaty of Utrecht surrendered to England Acadia (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). New England fishermen and traders at once pushed their enterprises over the ceded territory, revived the villages that had been desolated by the war, and laid on the east bank of the Kennebec the foundations of new settlements, and protected them by forts.

But the tribe of Abenakis inhabiting this region had prior claims of ownership, which they resolved not to abandon. "I have my land," said their chief, "where the Great Spirit placed me, and while one of my tribe remains I shall fight to preserve it." Several chiefs had been treacherously seized by the New England government and kept as hostages. Though their ransom had been paid, they had not been set free. The Abenakis demanded that their territory should be evacuated and their chiefs liberated, or war would follow. This tribe formed the barrier of Canada against New England, as did the Iroquois that of New York against Canada.

The answer to this demand was the seizure of the young Baron St. Castin, who, besides holding a French commission, was an Indian chief, and an expedition against Norridgewock, a village of the Abenakis, on the banks of the Kennebec, and the headquarters of hostile Indians. Here dwelt Sebastian Rasle, a French priest, who was thought by the English to be the instigator of the depredations of these Indians whose war parties prowled ceaselessly along the frontier, murdering and capturing the defenceless settlers and destroying their homes.

Rasle had erected a church in Norridgewock, and had adorned its walls with paintings from his own hand. Forty young savages had been trained by him, who, in cassock and surplice, assisted in the service and chanted the hymns of the church, and their public processions attracted great numbers of the red men. He was kind to them, and they revered him.

A reward was offered for the head of Rasle by the Massachusetts government, and two unsuccessful expeditions were sent to capture him. No peace could be had until "this incendiary of mischief," for so he was regarded by the New England people, was "wiped out."

This was at length accomplished by a party led by Colonel Moulton, who succeeded in reaching Norridgewock without being discovered. Dividing his force, one party proceeded directly to the village, while the other intercepted such as attempted flight. His men were already among the wigwams, when an Indian carne out of one of them and gave the alarm. The old men, women, and children fled. The warriors, sixty in number, tried to make a stand. The English held their fire until the Indians had discharged their guns in a hurried and ineffective volley, and then fired with fatal effect. After their second discharge the Indians fled to the river, which was about sixty feet wide. Some were shot while endeavoring to swim across.

Rasle tried to shield his flock, and succeeded in drawing the fury of the assailants upon himself. Pierced with bullets, he fell dead near the cross in the centre of the village where he had labored thirty-seven years. His church was plundered and burned to the ground, and a violent end was thus put to Jesuit missions and French influence in New England. Among the dead were Mogg and Bomazeen, two prominent chiefs of the Abenakis.

"Of worthy Captain Lovewell I now propose to sing,

How valiantly he served his country and his king."

Old Song.

At this time the bounty for Indian scalps was £100. One of the most successful scalp-hunters of the day was John Lovewell, of Dunstable. His father, who was one of Cromwell's soldiers, emigrated to that place, and died there, it is said, at the great age of one hundred and twenty years. In March, 1725, Lovewell brought in ten scalps to the treasurer in Boston, received his money, and was highly applauded for his success.

The business was profitable, and Lovewell easily enlisted a party for an expedition against the tribe of Pequawkets. Their village lay at the southern base of the White Mountains, on the Saco River, near what is now Fryeburg, Maine. Their chief, Paugus, was well known in the white settlements, but the tribe had joined with the hostile Abenakis, and was supplied with powder and ball by the French at Montreal.

It was a lovely morning in spring when Lovewell found himself in close proximity to the Indian village. Leaving their packs, his men moved cautiously forward. Suddenly they came upon an Indian, who fired, mortally wounding Lovewell, and was himself shot by Ensign Wyman. Had the English been prudent, they would now have made a hasty retreat, since their attempted surprise had failed, and they themselves had been discovered by a much more numerous enemy, but they were brave men, and no doubt hoped to win the large reward promised them, so they kept on.

On seeking for their packs, they found that the Indians had secured them. This was an important advantage to the red men, as it told them just how many, or rather how few, white men there were, and inspired them with confidence. Lovewell had passed their village, and they had followed, intercepting his retreat; and had placed themselves in ambush. When discovered, they had nearly surrounded his small party. All at once eighty Indians, yelling and whooping like demons, confronted them.

The Indians advanced without firing, as if unwilling to begin the fight, and hoping, by their great superiority of numbers, that the English would yield without a battle. They thus threw away their chance for the first fire. They then held up ropes, which they had provided for securing captives.

"You shall have quarter," said the Indians.

"At the muzzles of our guns," was the reply of the English, as they rushed upon the enemy, firing as they advanced, and, killing several, drove them some rods. But the warriors soon rallied, and obliged the English in their turn to give ground, leaving nine dead and three wounded when the fight began—twelve men out of the thirty-four with which they started.

"Retreat to the pond!" shouted Wyman, who had succeeded Lovewell in command, to his men. They did so, and thus were protected on that side. Sheltering themselves as well as they could behind trees, the little band resolved to fight to the last. The contest was long and obstinate. The Indians kept up all kinds of hideous noises, sometimes howling like wolves, at others barking like dogs—the English frequently shouting and huzzaing.

The medicine-man of the tribe held a powwow, calling on the spirits for aid, but Wyman put an end to his mummery somewhat abruptly by sending a ballet through him. Finally, Paugus, their chief, fell; they lost heart, and when night came they stole away. The English had lost their captain, Lieutenant Robbins, and Chaplain Frye, and four were so badly wounded that they could not be removed. The survivors, sixteen in number, only nine of whom were unwounded, faint and weary, marched twenty miles that night to Ossipee, only to find the place abandoned by the men left there in charge of the supplies they so greatly needed. They were three days reaching home, which they at length succeeded in doing after severe toil and privation.

Tradition says that one of the rangers, while at the pond, cleaning his gun, which had become foul, discovered Paugus at a little distance similarly engaged. Both loaded their pieces, and dropped their ramrods upon the ground at the same moment, Paugus exclaiming,

"Me kill you quick!"

"Maybe not," was the ranger's cool reply. Those were the days of flintlocks, and while the Indian was priming his gun from his powder-horn, a precious moment was gained by the ranger, who primed his by a smart blow of the butt on the ground. Just as the chief raised his gun to take aim, he received his adversary's bullet, and fell dead.

One of the old ballads on "Lovewell's Fight," familiar to the past generation, refers to Wyman as the slayer of Paugus. Another, from which I quote, awards the honor to a different man. Here is a stanza—

"'Twas Paugus led the Pequawket tribe;

As runs the fox, would Paugus run;

As howls the wild wolf would he howl

A huge bear-skin had Paugus on,

But Chamberlain of Dunstable,

One whom a savage ne'er shall slay,

Met Paugus by the water-side

And shot him dead upon that day."

Of the slain chaplain, Jonathan Frye of Andover, the old song says—

"A man was he of comely form,

Polished and brave, well learned and kind;

Old Harvard's classic halls he left,

Far in the wild a grave to find."

The escape of one of the men wounded in this fight was almost miraculous. Solomon Keyes, having been three times wounded, hid himself so that he might die where the Indians could not find him. As he crawled along the shore of the pond, some distance from the scene of action, he found a canoe into which he rolled himself, and was drifted away by the wind. To his great astonishment he was cast ashore at no great distance from the fort at Ossipee, which he succeeded in reaching. There he found several of his companions, and, gaining strength, returned home with them. The little lake which was the scene of the action is now called Lovewell's Pond.

We turn once more to the old ballad—

"With footsteps slow shall travellers go

Where Lovewell's Pond shines clear and bright,

And mark the place where those were laid

Who fell in Lovewell's bloody fight."

In November following this occurrence four Abenaki chiefs made a treaty at Boston, promising to maintain peace and to deliver up their prisoners. The treaty was faithfully kept, and the eastern colonies had a season of rest from the horrors of Indian warfare. The remainder of the Pequawkets, together with the Androscoggins, soon afterwards withdrew to the sources of the Connecticut River, and finally settled in Canada.

The war of the Austrian Succession not only set all Europe aflame, but it also again put in motion the Indian tomahawk and scalping-knife to do their terrible work upon the outlying settlements of New England. The news reached Canada much sooner than New England, where the arrival at Boston of prisoners captured by the French at Casco was the first intimation that war had begun. Hostilities in the East, the commencement of a long catalogue of horrors, began in the summer near Fort George, now Thomaston, Maine. In America the principal event of the war was the capture by New England troops of the strong fortress of Louisburg.

Number Four, now Charlestown, New Hampshire, was the most prominent and the most exposed of the posts in northern New England, as it stood directly in the way of Indian inroads to the settlements below. It had been several times attacked, but always without success. On one occasion Captain Stevens, its commander, with fifty men armed as usual, was in the field at work. He sent his dogs into the woods as scouts. They soon came back growling, and with their hair on end. The woods were full of Indians. One of his men catching sight of one fired on him, and the battle begun. Stevens's men took to the trees. They drove the Indians into a swamp, after killing twelve of them, and put the others to flight. Hatchets and blankets were left behind in their haste. Stevens had seven men wounded.

Governor Shirley


Another and more determined effort was made for its capture in the following year by a force of more than four hundred French and Indians.

Every effort that Indian subtlety and French skill could devise proved fruitless against its brave defenders, and after a three days' siege they withdrew discomfited. In the following letter to Governor Shirley, Stevens in his own way describes the affair. He says:

"Our dogs being very much disturbed, which gave us reason to think the enemy was about, we did not open the gate at the usual time; but one of our men ventured out privately to set on the dogs about nine o'clock in the morning, and when about twenty rods from the fort fired off his gull, whereupon the enemy, being within a few rods, rose from their cover and fired; but through the goodness of God the man got into the fort with only a slight wound.

"They then attacked us on all sides. The wind being high, and everything exceedingly dry, they set fire to the fences, and also to a log-house about forty rods distant, so that within a few minutes we were entirely surrounded with fire—all which was performed with the most hideous shouting and firing from all quarters, which they continued in a very terrible manner until the next day, at ten o'clock at night, without intermission, during which time we had no opportunity either to eat or sleep. I had trenches dug from under the fort, about a yard outward in several places, at so near a distance to each other as by throwing water we might put out the fire.

"But notwithstanding all their shoutings and threatenings our men seemed not in the least daunted, but fought with great resolution, which doubtless gave the enemy reason to think we had determined to stand it out to the last. The enemy had provided themselves with a sort of fortification which they had determined to push before them, and bring fuel to the side of the fort in order to burn it; but instead of performing what they had threatened, they called to us, and asked a cessation of arms until sunrise next morning, at which time they would come to a parley. Accordingly, the French general, Debeline, came, with about sixty of his men, with a flag of truce, and stuck it down within about twenty rods of the fort.

"Upon our men going to meet the monsieur, he proposed that in case we would immediately resign up the fort we should have all our lives, and liberty to put on all the clothes we had; and also a sufficient quantity of provisions to carry us to Montreal; and we might bind up our provisions and blankets, lay down our arms, and march out of the fort. He desired that the captain of the fort would meet him half-way, and give an answer to the above proposal, which I did; but without waiting to hear it, he went on to say that what had been promised he was ready to perform, but upon refusal he would immediately set the fort on fire, and run over the top, for he had seven hundred men with hint; and if we made any further resistance, or should happen to kill one Indian, we might all expect to be put to the sword.

"'The fort,' said Debeline, 'I am resolved to have or die; now do what you please, for I am as ready to have you fight as give it up.'

"I told the general that in case of extremity his proposal would do, but, inasmuch as I was sent here by the captain-general to defend this fort, it would not be consistent with my orders to give it up unless I was better satisfied that he was able to perform what he had threatened; and, furthermore, I told him that it was poor encouragement to resign into the hands of an enemy, that upon one of their number being killed they would put all to the sword, when it was probable that we had killed some of them already.

"'Well,' said he, 'go into the fort and see whether your men dare fight any more or not, and give me an answer quick, for my men want to be fighting.'

"Whereupon I came into the fort and called the men together, and informed them what the French officer said, and then put it to vote which they chose, either to fight or resign, and they voted to a man to stand it out as long as they had life. I returned this answer, upon which the enemy gave a shout, and then fired, and so continued firing and shouting until daylight next morning.

"About noon they called to us and said, 'Good-morning,' and desired another parley. Two Indians came within about two rods of the fort and stuck down their flag, proposing that if I would send them provisions they would leave and not fight any more. I answered that if they would send in a captive for every five bushels of corn I would supply them. After this they withdrew, and we heard no more of them. In all this time we had scarce opportunity to eat or sleep. There were but thirty men in the fort, but two of whom were wounded, and those slightly."

This letter exhibits the modesty of Stevens, which is in striking contrast with the braggadocio of the French commander.

Phineas Stevens, the hero of Number Four, was a native of Sudbury, Massachusetts. At the age of sixteen he, with three younger brothers, was taken by the Indians, who slew two of them, and were about to kill the youngest, then but four years of age. Phineas succeeded, however, in making the savages understand that if they would spare the life of his little brother he would carry him on his back. He conveyed him in this manner all the way to Canada, whence they were eventually returned. In 1746, when Number Four was abandoned by its inhabitants, he was ordered to occupy the fort, a small structure of timber with a garrison of thirty men. For his gallant defence of the fort he was presented with an elegant silver-hilted sword by Admiral Sir Charles Knowles, for whom Number Four was afterwards named Charlestown.

In January, 1747, Colonel Arthur Noble, with seven hundred men, undertook to drive the French and Indians out of Nova Scotia. While on the way he was surprised in his camp by a superior force, and himself, four of his principal officers, and seventy men were killed, and the remainder made prisoners.

A severe conflict occurred in the following year, near Number Four, between a party of forty men, under Captain Hobbs, and a much larger body of Indians who had waylaid them. Notwithstanding the smallness of his force, Hobbs stood his ground, giving the enemy a warm reception. For four hours the conflict continued, when, fortunately, the English captain got a shot at their leader, whom he either killed or badly wounded, as the Indians immediately afterwards drew off. In this well-fought contest the Indian loss exceeded that of the whites.

Although the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed in October 1748, it was not formally proclaimed in Boston until six months after, so slow was the means of communication between distant points at that time. War parties from Canada continued to hover on the border as before, committing depredations, but early in 1749 the Indians met in council and agreed to make peaceful overtures, and a treaty was finally concluded at Falmouth.

The "Old French War" (1755-1760)

The treaties of Utrecht and of Aix-la-Chapelle had left the boundaries of the English and French possessions in North America wholly undefined. Vast regions were claimed by both countries, but France, both by exploration and occupation, had been beforehand with her rival. The French claimed the immense territory west of the Alleghanies by the right of discovery; the English also claimed it by virtue of a treaty with the Iroquois. As the latter never owned it, and as all the consideration paid was a little bad whiskey, their claim was of even less consequence than that of the French.

Between these rival claimants for his lands, the Indian, their real owner, was entirely overlooked. "You and the French," said one of them to an Englishman, "are like the two edges of a pair of shears, and we are the cloth which is cut to pieces between them." Another of the puzzled natives, seeing that the French claimed all on one side of the Ohio, and the English all on the other side, in his amazement inquired, "Where then are the lands of the Indian?" Between their "fathers," the French, and their "brothers," the English, the poor savages were unceremoniously "shared" out of the whole country.

As yet there was not a single English settlement in all this region. Delawares, Shawnees, Mingoes, and a few Iroquois were found about the Ohio and its branches. With these a lucrative traffic was carried on by Pennsylvania traders, who exchanged blankets, gaudy-colored cloth, trinkets, powder, shot, and rum for valuable furs and peltry. To participate in this trade, and to gain a foothold in this desirable region, the Ohio Company was formed in 1749, and surveys and settlements begun.

A skilfully distributed series of posts upon the lakes and streams between her settlements in the valley of the St. Lawrence and the mouth of the Mississippi, secured the ascendency of France in the interior of the country, and barred the way to English settlement. Missions and trading-houses were scattered at points favorable to trade and navigation, and Fort Frontenac, at the head of the St. Lawrence, Fort Frederick, at Crown Point, and a fort at Niagara covered the Canadian and menaced the English frontier.

At Detroit the passage from Lake Erie to the north was guarded, and at St. Mary's hostile access to Lake Superior was barred. Michilimackinac secured the mouth of Lake Michigan, forts at Green Bay and St. Joseph protected the two routes to the Mississippi by the rivers Wisconsin and Illinois, while those on the Wabash and the Maumee gave France the control of trade from Lake Erie to Ohio. French settlements were found at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, in Illinois, and a few small stockades were seen on the Mississippi.

France had labored long and diligently to conciliate the Indians. Her agents had lived among them, studying their language, adopting their customs, flattering their prejudices, and warning them against the English. When a party of chiefs visited a French fort, they were received with the firing of cannon and rolling of drums, were entertained at the tables of the officers, and presented with decorations, medals, and uniforms. Many of the French took to themselves Indian wives. From these unions sprung a race of half-breeds, who were of great service to the French.

Perceiving that their Indian trade was about to be wrested from them, and their communication between Canada and Louisiana broken, the French, in the spring of 1753, crossed Lake Erie and fortified Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania). Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, at once sent a message to the intruders, requiring them to remove from British territory.

Dinwiddie's messenger was George Washington, then only twenty-one years of age, but already adjutant-general of the Virginia militia. As a surveyor he had learned something of frontier life and of the ways of the Indians.

Among the many difficulties that the young envoy had to contend with while in the performance of his mission, there was one, he tells us, that caused him more anxiety than all the rest. Tanacharison, or the half-king, chief sachem of the Mingo-Iroquois, was friendly to the English, and with two other chiefs voluntarily accompanied Washington to the French commandant's quarters at Fort he Bœuf, on French Creek (now Waterford, Pennsylvania).

Here every blandishment and every artifice was practised upon these chiefs by the French officers to gain them over. Rum was not the least of these, and, the business of the mission accomplished, delay after delay took place in spite of Washington's frequent remonstrances. Gifts were also made to the chiefs, and at the last moment a present of guns was offered as an inducement for them to remain. Another precious day was lost, but next morning, when they had received their guns and were being plied with liquor, Washington reminded the half-king that his royal word was pledged to depart, and pressed him so closely that, exerting unwonted resolution and self-control, the chief turned his back upon the seductive fluid and embarked.

George Washington


While returning from this delicate and difficult mission, Washington had several narrow escapes. Once his treacherous Indian guide suddenly turned round, when about fifteen paces ahead, levelled his gun, and fired at, but missed him. Pursuing and overtaking the savage, Gist, his companion, would have put him to death, but Washington humanely prevented him. They then let him go, taking the precaution, however, to travel all that night to remove from so dangerous a locality.

When they reached the Alleghany River, they constructed a raft, and endeavored to cross the stream by propelling it with setting-poles. Soon the raft became jammed between cakes of floating ice, and they were in imminent peril. Washington, bearing his whole force against the pole, endeavored to stay the raft, but the rapid current jerked him into deep water, and he only saved himself from being swept away and drowned by catching hold of the raft. This they were obliged to abandon, and passed the night on an island, exposed to extreme cold. The hands and feet of Mr. Gist were frozen, but next morning they succeeded in passing over the ice, and before night were in comfortable quarters.

Before reaching Williamsburg, where he delivered to Governor Dinwiddie the reply of the French commandant declining to evacuate his post, Washington found an opportunity for the exercise of his talent for diplomacy.

At the mouth of the Youghiogheny River dwelt a female sachem, Queen Aliquippa, whose sovereign dignity had been aggrieved because the party, while on their way to the Ohio, had neglected to pay their respects to her. Aware of the importance of conciliating the Indians at this critical period, Washington resolved to pay a ceremonious visit to this native princess. Her anger was readily appeased by the present of his old watch-coat, and her good graces were completely secured by a bottle of rum, which, he intimates, "appeared to be peculiarly acceptable to her majesty."

Early in the following year Fort Duquesne was erected by the French, at the confluence of the Monongahela and the Alleghany, where Pittsburg now stands. After a brief campaign for its recovery, the Virginia troops under Washington were obliged to withdraw from the disputed territory, and leave the French in full possession. At the close of the year, in the whole Mississippi valley no other standard floated but that of France.

At the Congress held at Albany during this year, memorable for the plan of Benjamin Franklin for the union of the colonies, deputies from the Six Nations were present. There was much dissatisfaction among them, and the Indians boldly reproached the English with their inaction and the slowness of their preparations. "Look at the French," said a Mohawk chief. "They are men, they are fortifying everywhere; it is but one step from Canada hither, and they may easily come and turn you out-of-doors."

Ben Franklin


War having been determined upon, the French were to be attacked on all sides at once. Three armies raised in the provinces were to advance upon Acadia, Crown Point, and Niagara, while General Braddock, commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, with two British regiments and a provincial force, was to dislodge the French from Fort Duquesne. The expedition intended for Niagara never reached its destination; that for the expulsion of the French Neutrals from Acadia was successful. This event is the subject of Longfellow's beautiful poem, "Evangeline."

Braddock, who was to lead the expedition against Fort Duquesne, was not a fortunate selection. Though brave, he was arrogant, obstinate, and a bigot to military rules, and knew nothing of Indian warfare. He despised the colonial troops, because they had to some extent adopted the Indian mode of fighting. Worse than all, he could learn nothing.

At Fredericktown, where he halted for carriages, Benjamin Franklin, who was a daily guest at the general's table, mentioned that the Indians were dexterous in planning and executing ambuscades, and that during his march his long, slender line would be exposed to flank attacks and be cut like a thread, the pieces of which would be too far apart to support each other. "He smiled at my ignorance," says Franklin, "and replied, 'The savages may be formidable to your raw American militia; upon the king's regular and disciplined troops it is impossible they should make any impression. After taking Fort Duquesne I am to proceed to Niagara, and, having taken that, to Frontenac. Duquesne can hardly detain me above three or four days, and then I see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.'" With such blind confidence and fatal prejudice did Braddock delude himself throughout this eventful expedition.

Horatio Gates


Braddock's forces numbered about two thousand, one-half of whom were provincials. Two companies of these from New York were under Captain Horatio Gates, afterwards the conqueror of Burgoyne at Saratoga. Here also was the gallant Hugh Mercer, who afterwards fell gloriously at Princeton, and one of the wagons was owned and driven by Daniel Morgan, the famous leader of the rifle regiment during the Revolutionary War, and the victor at the Cowpens.

Hewing their way through the wilderness with great difficulty, the advanced division of one thousand two hundred men were within seven miles of Fort Duquesne at noon on the 9th of July. Washington, who was serving as an aide-de-camp to Braddock, often afterwards said, that "the finest spectacle he had ever beheld was the display of the British troops on this eventful morning." They were in full uniform and marched with bayonets fixed, colors flying, and drums and fifes beating and playing, in the most perfect order, not dreaming of any obstacle to an easy conquest.

A detachment of three hundred and fifty men, under Lieutenant-colonel Thomas Gage, afterwards conspicuous as the British commander-in-chief at Boston, at the beginning of the Revolution, attended by a working party of two hundred and fifty, advanced cautiously towards the fort. There were no scouts or rangers in the advance, or on the flanks, to beat up the woods and ravines, but the army marched "as if in review in St. James's Park."

Daniel Morgan


Contrecœur, the French commandant, informed of the approach of Braddock with an overwhelming force, was about to abandon the fort, when Captain de Beaujeu proposed to head a party of French and Indians, and waylay the English while on the march. The plan was adopted, and Beanjeu's party posted themselves in the woods and ravines in Braddock's line of march towards the fort.

It was one o'clock when Gage, with his advance guard, reached this locality. Suddenly a heavy volley was poured into his ranks from the dense woods in his front No enemy was to be seen, but the soldiers were more dismayed by the yells than by the rifles of the concealed savages. They fired in return, but at random, while the enemy, from behind trees and rocks and thickets, kept up their rapid and destructive volleys. Beaujeu, the French leader, was killed at the first return fire.

Braddock hastened to the relief of Gage, but his panic-stricken soldiers fell back in confusion upon the artillery, huddling together in the road, like a flock of sheep, and communicated their fright to the whole army. They fled in terror across the river, throwing away their arms, and did not stop till they reached Philadelphia. The general tried in vain to rally his troops. Himself and officers were in the thickest of the fight, and exhibited indomitable courage. Washington ventured to suggest the Indian mode of warfare, each man firing for himself without orders, but Braddock would not listen to him. For three hours he tried to form his men in regular columns and platoons, while his concealed enemy, with sure aim, was slaying his brave soldiers by scores. At length he received a wound which disabled him, and terminated his life three days afterwards.

Braddock's defeat


"Who would have thought it?" was the dying general's ejaculation that night. Just before he expired he again broke the silence he had kept, with the remark, "We shall better know how to deal with them another time."

The slaughter of officers was terrible. Out of eighty-six, sixty-three were killed and wounded. Secretary Shirley and Sir Peter Halket were killed—Colonels Burton, St. Clair, and Orne, Lieutenant-colonel Gage, Major Sparks, and Brigade-major Halket wounded. Of the privates, seven hundred and fourteen were killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy was trifling.

Every mounted officer except Washington was slain before Braddock fell, and the whole duty of distributing orders devolved upon the youthful colonel. Contrary to orders, his Virginians fought in their own way, and thus saved the remnant of the army.

This is a memorable event in our history. It has been characterized "as the most extraordinary victory ever gained, and the farthest flight ever made." "It gave the Americans," says Franklin, "the first suspicion that their exalted ideas of the prowess of British regular troops had not been well founded." That opinion, once received as gospel throughout the provinces, had received a fatal blow.

This defeat was the signal for the Western Indians to assail the exposed settlements; and the frontier of Pennsylvania and Virginia was soon a scene of bloody devastation. Most of the Indians engaged in these ravages were Delawares and Shawnees, whom the French had at last gained over. The old half-king refused to listen to them; "the defeat," said he, "was due to the pride and ignorance of that great general that came from England. He is now dead, but he was a bad man when he was alive. He looked upon us as dogs, and would never hear anything that we said to him. We often tried to advise him, and tell him of the danger he was in with his soldiers, but he never appeared pleased with us, and that was the reason a great many of our warriors left him."

Braddock's defeat alarmed the whole country and paralyzed the expedition against Niagara. General Johnson, however, was sent against Crown Point with three thousand four hundred men, mostly New Englanders.

William Johnson was a young Irishman, who carne to America in 1731, to take charge of a large tract of land in the Mohawk Valley, belonging to his uncle, Sir Peter Warren. Embarking in the fur trade, he learned the Indian language, and acquired so much influence over them by his native talent that, in 1754, the British Government made him its superintendent of Indian Affairs in the colonies. Appreciating the Indian character, he paid the utmost deference to them, received their delegations with great ceremony, listened to them patiently, answered them carefully, and made them liberal and judicious presents. His influence over the Iroquois enabled him to hold them to the English interest in spite of the efforts of the French and the other Indian nations. The Mohawks even adopted him into their tribe and made him a sachem. Johnson Hall, his residence, a well-constructed building of wood and stone, is still standing at Johnstown, New York.

Sir William Johnson


Soon after Johnson entered upon his duties as superintendent, he received from England some richly-embroidered suits of clothes. The Mohawk chief, Hendrick, was present when they were received, and took such a fancy to them that he told Johnson, not long afterwards, that he had dreamed that Johnson had given him one of his new suits. Johnson could not refuse, and Hendrick took the embroidered scarlet uniform to show to his countrymen.

Johnson's turn came next. He was too shrewd to neglect a good opportunity, and meeting the sachem one day he told him that he, too, had dreamed a dream. Hendrick desired to know what it was. The Englishman then told him that he had dreamed that Hendrick presented him with a certain tract of land, which the described—a tract containing five hundred acres of the most valuable land in the Mohawk valley. "It is yours," said the chief, shaking his head, "but I will never dream with you again."

Colonial home


After building Fort Edward, and opening a road from the Hudson to Lake George, Johnson remained a long time inactive on its southern shore, fancying himself in perfect security, and neglecting to fortify his camp. From this state of torpor he was suddenly and rudely aroused by the tidings that a French army had landed at South Bay, and, rapidly advancing in his rear, threatened Fort Edward. The French were commanded by Baron Dieskan, an old veteran, a pupil of the celebrated soldier, Marshal Saxe. He had with him two hundred French regulars, six hundred Canadians, and six hundred Indians.

"Boldness wins" was Dieskan's motto. His plan was to capture Fort Edward and then to fall upon Albany. There was only one obstacle to the success of this excellent plan, but that was sufficient for its defeat. The Indians were afraid of cannon, and did not like to attack forts, so they urged the French leader to march against Johnson instead, and he was reluctantly persuaded to change his plan.

Johnson saw that something must be done without delay. One thousand men were immediately sent, under Colonel Ephraim Williams, to relieve Fort Edward. Two hundred warriors of the Six Nations went also, led by the gray-haired sachem Hendrick. Before leaving Albany, Williams made a will, by which he left the bequest to found the free-school that is now Williams College.



It was at first proposed to send a smaller force, but Hendrick's opinion being asked, he shrewdly replied, "If they are to fight, they are too few, if they are to be killed, they are too many." To the plan of separating them into three parties his reply was equally convincing. Taking three sticks, he said, "Put them together and you cannot break them; take them one by one and you can break them easily."

Hendrick was then sixty-five years old; his hair was white, and he was regarded by his warriors with the deepest veneration. Before marching, he mounted a gun-carriage and harangued his warriors in a strain of powerful and effective eloquence. One who heard it said, that although he did not understand a word of the language, such was the animation of the speaker, the fire of his eye, the force of his gestures, the strength of his expressions, the apparent propriety of the inflections of his voice, and the naturalness of his whole manner, that he himself was more deeply affected by this speech than with any other he had ever heard.

Advised by his scouts of the march of this detachment, Dieskau placed his men in ambush at Rocky Brook, four miles from Johnson's camp. There was a swamp on one side of the road, and a low ridge on the other; in addition to these advantages, tall trees and thick underbrush made it an excellent place for an ambush.

Straight into the trap between the lines of the concealed enemy marched the Mohawks, their chief, Hendrick, on horseback at their head. An Indian suddenly sprang in front of him. "Whence come you?" he asked. "From the Mohawks," answered Hendrick; "whence come you?" "From Montreal," was the reply, and instantly a shot was fired, contrary to the orders of Dieskau, who told his men to keep quiet until the English were completely within the French lines. A heavy fire in front and on both flanks was then poured upon the advancing troops with fatal effect. Hendrick and Colonel Williams fell, and the Mohawks fled. Under the skilful leadership of Lieutenant-colonel Whiting, the New England militia fought bravely and retreated in good order.

Meantime the noise of the battle was heard at Johnson's camp, and the skilful woodsmen of New England rapidly felled trees winch, with the wagons and heavy baggage, formed a hasty breastwork. A few cannon were hauled from the shore of the lake and quickly put in position. A reinforcement of three hundred men was sent to help the retreating troops, and a stand was made at a little sheet of water since called Bloody Brook. Among the French who fell here was the Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre, who commanded the Indians. He was the officer to whom Washington delivered his letters from Governor Dinwiddie, at Fort Le Bœuf.

Dieskau pursued the retreating English vigorously, hoping to enter their camp at the same time with them. When within one hundred rods of it he halted, and placed the Indians and Canadians upon his flanks, advancing to the attack of the English centre with his regular troops. He kept up a fire by platoons, but at too great a distance to do much mischief, the Canadians and Indians who had scattered to cover at the sight of Johnson's cannon firing from their shelter. Johnson's artillery played on them in return, and the musketry from the camp cut up the French, who stood their ground manfully.

After maintaining the attack bravely for four hours, the baron, who had been three times wounded, attempted to retreat. The French fled in all directions, and were hotly pursued. The fugitives were met by Captain McGinnis, with two hundred New Hampshire men from Fort Edward, who had heard the firing and hastened to the scene of action. The French were severely handled, but the brave McGinnis was killed.

Dieskau, wounded and helpless, was found leaning against the stump of a tree. As the soldier who discovered him approached, he put his hand in his pocket to draw out his watch, as a bribe to the soldier to allow him to escape. Supposing that he was drawing a pistol, the latter gave him a severe wound in the hip with a musket-ball. The baron was afterwards exchanged and returned to France.

Johnson was slightly wounded in the early part of the fight, which was successfully conducted by General Lyman, his second in command. Johnson, however, reaped all the rewards. He was made a baronet, received the thanks of Parliament, and a gratuity of £5000. His military incapacity was evident from his not following up his victory.

Walpole, New Hampshire, on the banks of the Connecticut, was settled in 1719. Colonel Benjamin Bellows and John Kilburn were among its earliest inhabitants. Though far beyond any other white settlement in that region, it escaped Indian attack until the beginning of the Old French War, in 1755.

Captain Philip, a Pequawket sachem, pretending to trade, had lately visited as a spy all the principal settlements on the river. The inhabitants hearing rumors of coming war prepared to meet it. They carried their arms with them into the fields where they toiled, and took with them also their faithful dogs, whose growling gave them early notice of the presence of Indians.

About noon one day in August, Colonel Bellows, with thirty men, while returning from the mill, each man with a bag of meal upon his back, was made aware by his dogs that there were Indians about. He ordered his men to throw down their sacks, and stove cautiously forward to a slight eminence in front over which their path lay, and there to conceal themselves by crouching among the tall ferns, of which there was at that place a thick growth.

Crawling to the top of thus eminence, Bellows discovered a large number of Indians lying on the ground or hiding behind trees, waiting for him to enter the trap. Returning to his men he gave them his orders in a whisper, and then, still concealed by the ferns, they all moved noiselessly forward. When close to the enemy, at a given signal each man sprang to his feet, and giving a tremendous yell, dropped again as suddenly into his place. In an instant every Indian started up, yelling and firing, but hitting nobody. The stratagem had succeeded. Bellows and his men had a fair shot, and such was its effect that Philip and his warriors fled with precipitation. The victors regained their garrison, not a man having been hit.

Indian Raid


Hoping this time for better success, Philip next appeared with two hundred warriors before John Kilburn's house. Kilburn and his son, a Mr. Peck and his son, who were in the field reaping, had just time to reach and enter the house as they approached. In the house were the four men and Kilburn's wife and daughter. Philip was an old acquaintance here, and, coming as near the house as he could find a tree for shelter, called out to the Kilburns,

"Old John! young John! come out here! we give you good quarter!"

Philip is said to have been large in stature, and was a redoubtable warrior, but Kilburn, who well understood Indian warfare, was not in the least frightened. In a voice of thunder he shouted back the defiance,

"Begone, you black rascals! begone, or we'll quarter you!"

Philip then returned to his warriors, who, with fierce yells and whoops, began a furious onset, and in a few minutes the roof of the house was perforated with bullet-holes. There were loop-holes, as in all garrison-houses, through which the inmates could fire, and they had a number of extra guns in the house. These Kilburn's wife and daughter helped to load, and also busied themselves in casting bullets. When one gun became too much heated it was replaced by another, so that there was no cessation in the firing. When their lead grew scarce blankets were suspended from the roof to catch the balls of the enemy, and these were soon returned to their owners. Thus some of the Indians fell by their own bullets.

So incessant was the fire kept up by these few stout defenders of the garrison, that the Indians supposed they had been deceived as to their number. After keeping up the attack until night, and losing many of their warriors, they finally drew off, greatly crestfallen at their discomfiture. One of the garrison—Mr. Peck—was wounded by a bullet that came into one of the loop-holes and struck him in the hip. The Indian loss was never known. Before retiring they wreaked their vengeance on the settlement by killing all the cattle and destroying all the grain and hay belonging to it.

A signal act of retaliation on the perfidious tribes of the Ohio took place in the following year. Shingis and Captain Jacobs were the leaders of the hostile bands of Delawares that had desolated the Pennsylvania border. With their booty and their prisoners they had returned to their village at Kittanning, an Indian town forty miles from Fort Duquesne. Jacobs was a daring fellow, and scoffed at palisaded forts. "I can take any fort," said he, "that will catch fire."

A party of two hundred and eighty Pennsylvanians, under Colonel John Armstrong, undertook to destroy this savage nest. The brave Dr. Hugh Mercer, who at twenty-three had shared in the defeat of the Pretender at Culloden, and who had been a witness of savage atrocity at the defeat of Braddock, and who afterwards fell gloriously at Princeton, commanded one of the companies.

After a long march, conducted with great rapidity and secrecy, over mountains and through forests, they reached the Allegheny, arriving at Kittanning one moonlight night. Whoops and yells and the noise of a drum guided them to the Indian village. The warriors were celebrating their exploits with the triumphant scalp-dance. Armstrong and his men lay quiet until the din ceased and the moon went down. When all was still he roused his men. One party attacked some Indians who slept in a cornfield, while another advanced upon the houses.

Though taken by surprise, the Indians fought bravely, inspired by the warwhoop of their leader, Jacobs. The women and children fled to the woods. Several of the assailants were killed and wounded. Mercer received a wound in the arm, and was taken to the rear. From his house, which had loop-holes, Jacobs and his warriors made havoc among the whites. At length the wigwams were set on fire. Jacobs, who could speak English, was called upon to surrender.

"I and my warriors are men," he answered, "and we will all fight while life remains."

When told that he should be well used if he would surrender, but if not he would be burned, he replied,

"I can eat fire. I will kill four or five before I die."

As the smoke and flames approached, some of the warriors sung their death-song. Finally they were driven out by the flames. Some escaped and some were shot. Among the latter was Captain Jacobs, the fire-eater, and his gigantic son, who is said to have been seven feet in height. Thirty or forty warriors were slain, and their stronghold was a smoking ruin. Eleven white prisoners were recaptured. Mercer, severely wounded and separated from his companions, tracked his long, painful, and solitary way through the wilderness to Fort Cumberland by the stars, arriving there sick, weary, and half-famished. He lived for fourteen days on two dried clams and a rattlesnake, with a few berries. For this important service Armstrong was rewarded by the corporation of Philadelphia with a vote of thanks, a medal, and a piece of plate.



One of the ablest of the soldiers of France—Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm—now took the direction of Canadian affairs. He was quick to perceive the situation and prompt to act. The works at Ticonderoga and Niagara were immediately strengthened. Fort Oswego was captured, with its garrison of one thousand six hundred men, and an immense quantity of stores and war material was taken or destroyed. France had now entire control of Lake Ontario.

Montcalm made every effort to induce the Indians to join him in an attack on the English at Lake George. A grand council was held at Niagara, at which the Iroquois gave belts to the Hurons, Ottawas, and other allies of the French, as a token of their intention to join the enemies of the English, and a belt was given in return, which was covered with vermilion—an invitation to war.

At another congress held at Montreal, thirty-three nations were represented, including chiefs from Acadia to Lake Superior. "We will try our father's hatchet on the English, to see if it cuts well," said a Seneca chief. Montcalm sang the war-song with them every day of the council, and as a successful leader was highly popular with them. The tribes assembled at Fort St. John, on the River Sorel. Their missionaries came with them, and the masses and hymns of the church alternated with the fantastic dances and the unearthly yells of the savage horde.

Oswego, 1755


During the following summer Montcalm advanced upon Fort William Henry, a work erected by Sir William Johnson after the battle of Lake George, upon its southern shore. It commanded the lake, and was an important protection to the British frontier. In it was Colonel Monro, a brave old soldier, with a garrison of five hundred men. Two thousand provincial militia were encamped outside. At. the head of eight thousand French, Canadians, and Indians, Montcalm crossed Lake George in a fleet of bateaux, preceded by swarms of Indian canoes. The lake covered with boats, the banners and the music, the brilliant uniforms of the French and the picturesque costume of the Indians, moving over its placid surface under a brilliant July sun, altogether made a striking and brilliant, as well as unusual, spectacle in this solitary haunt of nature.

It was not altogether a pleasant sight to the defenders of the fort, who were taken completely by surprise. Those encamped outside hastily burned their tents and hurried within the walls. A summons to surrender was answered by a brave defiance. Montcalm then invested the fort, and battered it with his artillery. The Indians were highly delighted with the cannon firing, and were nearly beside themselves at the noise made by the big guns.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


For five days the veteran Monro maintained a stout defence, expecting reinforcements front General Webb, who was at Fort Edward, only fifteen miles distant, with five thousand men. Instead of marching to his assistance, the cowardly Webb sent him a letter advising him to yield. Unluckily, this letter was intercepted by Montcalm, who at once forwarded it to Monro. That obstinate old soldier, however, persisted in the defence until most of his cannon had burst and his ammunition was spent. He then surrendered upon honorable terms. Montcalm demolished the fort, carried off the artillery and munitions of war, and returned to Canada in triumph.

In spite of the exertions of the French officers, some of the prisoners were killed, and many of them were stripped and plundered by the savages. The latter could never understand the humanity shown to prisoners by civilized nations, and as they were drawn to the fight by the hope of plunder, their rage and cupidity were excited on seeing the prisoners taking away their arms and baggage under the escort of French soldiers.

While the expedition under General Forbes was on its way to capture Fort Duquesne, Major Grant, with eight hundred picked men, some of them Highlanders, others Virginians in Indian garb, under Major Lewis, were sent forward without the knowledge of Forbes by Colonel Bouquet, who was in the advance. This officer attempted a most brilliant achievement—no less than the capture of the fort with his own men before the arrival of the main force.

St. John, 1776

ST. JOHN (1776).

This ambitious but poorly-managed affair came to grief. Grant's object seems to have been to provoke an action by bravado. He was closely watched by the enemy, who permitted him to advance unmolested. On the morning after his arrival he marshalled his regulars in battle-array, and sent an engineer with a covering party to take a plan of the works, in full view of the garrison.

Not a gun was fired from the fort; and the British commander mistaking this for fear neglected all precaution. Suddenly the garrison sallied forth, and at the same moment Grant's flanks were attacked by Indians hidden in ambush. After delivering a destructive fire, they rushed upon the confused highlanders with tomahawk and scalping-knife, increasing their panic by frightful yells. The contest was kept up for a while, but the panic was irretrievable. It was almost a Braddock affair over again.

At the first sound of the conflict, Major Lewis, who with his Virginians was in the rear guarding the baggage, hastened with most of his men to the scene of action. He fought hand to hand with an Indian brave, whom he laid dead at his feet, but was surrounded by others, and saved his life only by surrendering to a French officer. Giant also was captured, and the entire detachment was routed with dreadful carnage.

Captain Bullitt, with fifty Virginians, had been left to guard the baggage. Rallying a few of the fugitives, he made a stand behind a barricade of baggage-wagons. It was the work of a moment, for the pursuing savages having plundered the fallen were close upon them. Bullitt opened a destructive fire upon there, which checked them for a time. They were again pressing forward in still greater force, when Bullitt deceived the Indians by a clever stratagem. Advancing towards them with his men, he held out a signal of surrender. When within eight yards of the foe, they suddenly levelled their guns, poured in a most effective volley, and then charged with the bayonet. The Indians fled in dismay, and Bullitt took advantage of their flight to retreat with all speed, collecting the wounded and the fugitives as he proceeded. Three hundred of Grant's party were killed or taken in this bloody battle. For his skill and bravery in saving the remnant of the detachment, Bullitt was rewarded with a major's commission.

Capture of Duquesne


An ingenious stratagem was hit upon by Allan Macpherson, one of the Highlanders captured in this battle. He had witnessed the horrible tortures inflicted upon some of his comrades by the savages, and thought of a plan by which to escape so terrible a fate. He told the Indians through an interpreter that he could make a medicine that would render the skin proof against all kinds of weapons, and offered to prove its efficacy upon himself.

The Indians eagerly consented, and gathering a quantity of herbs he made a mixture which he applied to his neck; then laying his head on a block he challenged them to strike. One of the strongest warriors came forward and dealt him a tremendous blow. Not until they saw the Highlander's head roll from the block did the savages suspect the trick he had played them; and it is said that they were so pleased at his cunning that they gave up their design of torturing the rest of his companions.

The recent successes of the English forces in Canada, particularly the capture and destruction of Fort Frontenac by Colonel Bradstreet, left the garrison of Fort Duquesne without hope of succor, and on the near approach of Forbes's army the place was set on fire and abandoned. It was rebuilt by the English, who changed its name to Fort Pitt. The name of Pittsburg, which it now bears, designates one of the busiest and most populous cities of the interior.

The reduction of this fortress ended the troubles and dangers of the western frontier, and terminated the French control of the Ohio. The Indians, as usual, yielded to the strongest, and treaties of peace were concluded with all the tribes between the Ohio and the lakes.

The Hurons, the Abenakis, and other Canada Indians who had fought for the French, were, at the close of the war, regarded as a conquered people. The hostility of the remote western tribes who had also been allies of the French ceased, but for a short time only.

For four years (1755-58) the English had met with almost constant defeat. Their generals had displayed neither vigor nor ability. The campaign of 1759 was glorious and decisive. Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, succeeded in infusing some of his own heroic spirit and efficiency into the military and naval service of Great Britain. Prideaux was sent against Niagara; Amherst at the same time advanced upon Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and Wolfe attacked Quebec, the vital point. All these important objects were successfully accomplished, and with the fall of Montreal, Canada, with all its dependencies, was surrendered to the British Crown.

Story of a Captive

Indian domestic life and manners are well described in the interesting narrative of Colonel James Smith, a native of Pennsylvania, who in his youth was for nearly five years a captive among the Caughnawagas. Late in life he settled near Paris, Kentucky, and was a member of the convention that framed the Constitution of the State, and afterwards had a seat in its legislature.

At the age of eighteen, young Smith, while engaged with a party in opening a wagon road for the army of General Braddock, then on its march to Fort Duquesne, was captured by the Indians and taken to that place. The circumstances attending his capture and his experiences among them he thus relates:

"About four or five miles above Bedford, three Indians had made a blind of bushes stuck in the ground, as though they grew naturally. Here they concealed themselves, about fifteen yards from the road. I had been sent back, in company with one Arnold Vigores, to hurry up some provision wagons. When we came opposite the ambush they fired, and killed my companion. My horse started instantly and threw me, and the Indians immediately ran up and took me prisoner.

Indian ambush


"On approaching the fort, through large numbers of naked, painted savages who were formed into two long ranks, I was obliged to run the gauntlet. I was told that if I ran quick it would be so much the better, as they would quit when I got to the end of the ranks. I started in the race with all the vigor and resolution I was capable of exerting. When I had got near the end of the lines I was struck to the ground with a stick or the handle of a tomahawk.

"On recovering my senses I endeavored to renew the race, but as I rose some one threw sand in my eyes, which blinded me so that I could not see where to run. They continued beating me until I was insensible; but before I lost consciousness I remember wishing they would strike the final blow, for I thought they intended killing me, and that they were too long about it. I was sent to the hospital, and carefully tended by a French doctor, and recovered quicker than I expected.

"I asked a Delaware Indian who could speak some English, if I had done anything to offend them which caused them to beat me so unmercifully? 'No,' he replied, 'it was only an old custom the Indians had, and was like "how do you do?" After this,' said he, 'you will be well used.'" Smith must have thought this "a pretty how do you do" to greet strangers with. The humor of it was certainly very striking. "This Indian also told me," continues Smith, "that as soon as I recovered, I must go with the party and be made an Indian myself. This is their mode of adoption:

"The day after my arrival at Tullihas, an Indian town on the Muskingum, a number of Indians collected about me, and one of them began to pull the hair out of my head. He went on as if he had been plucking a turkey, until he had all the hair out except a small tuft three or four inches square on my crown; this they cut off with a pair of scissors, excepting three locks which they dressed in their own mode.

"After this they bored my nose and ears, and fixed me off with earrings and nose jewels. Then they ordered me to strip off my clothes and put on a breech-clout. which I did They then painted me in various colors. They put a large belt of wampum on my neck, silver bands on my hands and right arm, and so an old chief led me into the street and gave the alarm halloo, which was several times quickly repeated. On this, all came running out and stood around us.

"Holding me by the hand, the old chief then made a long speech, and when he had done he handed me over to three young squaws, who led me by the hand down the bank into the river, until the water was up to my middle. The squaws then made signs to me to plunge myself into the water, but I did not understand them; I thought I was to be drowned, and that these young women were to be my executioners.

"All three then laid violent hands on me, but I for some time opposed them with all my might, which occasioned loud laughter by the multitude on the bank of the river. At length one of the squaws made out to speak a little English, and said, 'No hurt you;' on this I gave myself up to their ladyships, who were as good as their word, for though they plunged me under the water, and washed and rubbed me severely, yet I could not say that they hurt me much.

"These young women then led me up to the council-house, where I was new clothed. They gave me a new ruffled shirt, which I put on, also a pair of leggings ornamented with ribbons and beads, a pair of moccasins and garters dressed with beads, porcupine quills, and hair. They again painted my head and face with various colors, and tied a bunch of red feathers to one of the locks they had left on the crown of my head, which stood up five or six inches.

"Seating me on a buckskin they gave me a pipe, a tomahawk, and a pouch containing tobacco, also spunk, flint, and steel. The Indians then came in dressed and painted, seated themselves, and for a long time smoked in profound silence. At length one of the chiefs spoke as follows:

"'My son, you are now flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. By the ceremony just performed every drop of white blood was washed out of your veins; you are taken into the Caughnawaga nation and initiated into a warlike tribe. You are adopted into a great family, and now received with great seriousness and solemnity in the room and place of a great man. My son, you have now nothing to fear; we are now under the same obligation to love, support, and defend you, that we are to love and defend one another, therefore you are to consider yourself as one of our people.' From that day I never knew them to make any distinction between me and themselves, in any respect whatever, until I left them.

"That evening, after being introduced to my new kin, I was bid to a feast As their custom was, they gave me a bowl and a wooden spoon. Each one advanced to the place where stood a number of large brass kettles, full of boiled venison and green corn, and had his share given him. One of the chiefs made a short speech, and then we began to eat.

"Next day a war party started for Virginia, and they had their usual war-dance and songs. At the former they had both vocal and instrumental music. They had a short, hollow gum, closed at one end, with water in it, and parchment stretched over the open end, which they beat with a stick, making a sound nearly like a muffled drum, to collect those who were going on the expedition.

"An old Indian then began to sing, and timed the music by beating on this drum. On this the warriors began to advance, or move forward in concert, as well-disciplined troops would march to the fife and drum. Each warrior had a tomahawk, spear, or war-club in his hand, and they all moved regularly towards the east, the way they intended going to war. At length they all stretched their tomahawks towards the Potomac, and giving a hideous shout or yell, wheeled quick about, and in the same manner danced back.

"In performing the war-song only one sung at a time, in a moving posture, with a tomahawk in his hand, while all the other warriors were calling aloud, 'He-uh! he-uh!'  which they constantly repeated. When his song was ended the warrior struck a war-post with his tomahawk, and with a loud voice told what warlike exploits he had performed and intended to perform, and was answered by the others with loud shouts of applause.

"Some who had not intended to join were so excited by this performance that they, too, took up the tomahawk and sung the war-song, calling forth shouts of joy as they were received into the war party. Next morning they all assembled, with their heads and faces painted with various colors, and packs on their backs, marching off silently, excepting the leader, who in front sung the travelling song. Just as the rear passed the end of the town they began to fire slowly from front to rear, shouting and yelling at the same time.

"At another dance which I attended, the young men stood in one rank and the young women in another, about a rod apart, facing each other. The one that started the tune held a small gourd or dry shell of a squash, which contained beads or small stones which rattled. He timed his song to this rattle; the men and women danced and sung together, advancing towards each other, stooping until their heads would touch each other, and then stopping, with loud shouts retreated and formed again, repeating this over and over four or five times without intermission.

"In this song, which I at first thought insipid, I found they could intermix sentences with their notes, and say what they pleased to each other, carrying on their tune in concert. It was a kind of wooing or courting dance, and as they approached, stooping their heads towards each other until they met, they could talk together without disturbing the rude music, and yet so that those near could not hear what they said.

"Some time afterwards a gun was given me, and I went to hunt with a Mohawk named Solomon. As we were following some fresh buffalo tracks, Solomon, who had told me that there had been war between the Delawares and the southern nations, went forward very cautiously, frequently pausing to listen. 'Surely,' said I, 'these are buffalo tracks.'

"'Hush,' said he, 'you know nothing. Maybe buffalo, maybe Catawba.' He then related some striking instances of the subtlety of this tribe. He told me that formerly the Catawbas placed an ambush near one of our camps, and, in order to decoy us out, two or three of them in the night passed by with buffalo hoofs fixed on their feet, so as to make artificial tracks. In the morning our people followed these tracks, thinking they were buffalo, until they were fired on by the Catawbas and several of them killed. The others fled, collected a party, and pursued the Catawbas.

"The latter, however, had with them some rattlesnake poison, also sharp canes or reeds about the size of a rye-straw, which they sharpened at the end, dipped them in the poison, and stuck them in the ground in the grass along their track. By this means a number of the pursuers were so lamed that they turned back, and being pursued in turn by the Catawbas were all killed. Solomon ended by saying, 'You don't know Catawba; velly bad Indian; Catawba all one devil.'

"The next winter I went bear-hunting with Tontileango, my adopted brother. Starting early one morning, we found a tree which seemed to be the winter-quarters of one of these animals. A small sapling was usually felled against or near the bear's hole, so as to climb up and drive the bear out. This was my business. In this instance there was no tree suitable to lodge against the hole, which was forty feet from the ground.

"Tontileango got a long pole and some dry, rotten wood, climbed a neighboring tree, and with the pole thrust some of the dry wood, which he had lighted, into the hole. Soon he heard the bear snuff. He then descended, and waited for the bear to come out. He had to wait some time. When bruin did appear, as it was too dark to take a sight with his rifle, he shot an arrow into him just behind the shoulder, bringing him to the ground.

"In February we began to make maple-sugar. The squaws cut down a dry tree, and with a crooked stick, broad and sharp at the end, took off the bark, and made of it, in a skilful manner, more than a hundred vessels that would hold about two gallons each.

In the sugar-tree they cut a notch sloping down, and at the end of the notch, into which they made an aperture, they drove a long chip to carry the sap from the tree, and under this they set their vessel to receive it. They made vessels of bark for carrying the water that held about four gallons each. They had two brass kettles that held about fifteen gallons each, and other smaller ones in which the sap was boiled.

"The way we commonly used our sugar while in camp was by putting it in bear's fat until the fat was nearly as sweet as the sugar itself, and in this we dipped our roasted venison. About this time some of the Indian lads and myself were employed in making and tending traps for raccoons, foxes, wild-cats, etc.

"As the raccoon is a kind of water animal, we made our traps on the runs or small watercourses; by laying one small sapling on another, and driving in posts to keep them from rolling. The under-sapling we raised about eighteen inches, and set so that on a raccoon's touching a string, or a small piece of bark, the sapling would fall and kill it, and lest he should pass by we laid brush on both sides of the run, leaving only the channel open.

"The fox-traps we made in nearly the same manner. At the end of a hollow log, or opposite a hole at the root of a hollow tree, we put venison on a stick for bait, so set that when the fox took hold of the meat the trap fell. While the squaws were occupied in making sugar, the boys and men were engaged in hunting and trapping.

"While we were encamped at the mouth of a small creek, in the absence of Tontileango, a Wyandot carne to the camp. I gave him a shoulder of venison which I had by the fire well roasted, which he received gladly, telling me he was hungry, and thanked me for my kindness. When Tontileango came home I told him of the visit, and what I had done. He said that was very well.

"'I suppose,' said he, 'you also gave him sugar and bear's fat to eat with his venison?'

";No,' said I, 'I did not; as the sugar and fat were down in the canoe, I did not go for it.'

"'You have behaved just like a Dutchman,' was his reply. 'Do you not know that when strangers come to our camp we ought always to give them the best that we have?'

"I acknowledged that I was wrong. He said the could excuse this, as I was young, but I must learn to behave like a warrior, and do great things, and never be found in any such little actions.

"Our furs and skins we disposed of to some French traders at Sunyoudeaud, a Wyandot town, and here we supplied ourselves with new clothes, paint, tobacco, etc.

"After I had got my new clothes on, and my head done off like a red-headed woodpecker, I, in company with a number of young Indians, went down to the corn-fields to see the squaws at work. The squaws asked me to take a hoe, which I did, and hoed for some time. They applauded me, but when I returned to the town, the old men, hearing what I had done, chid me, telling me that I was adopted in the place of a great man, and must not hoe corn like a squaw. They never again had occasion to reprove me on this score, as I was not over-fond of work.

"All the hunters and warriors remained in the town some weeks, spending their time in eating and drinking, visiting, painting, smoking, and playing a game resembling dice. This game is played with plumstones, painted white on one side and black on the other. Placing these in a small bowl they shake it, calling the color they desire to have turn up. The bowl is then turned, and the count of the color determines the result.

"Some were beating their kind of drum and singing, others played on a kind of flute wade of a hollow cane, and others on the jews-harp. Part of the time was spent in attending at the council-house, where the chiefs, and as many others as chose, were present, and at night there was singing and dancing. At the end of this sojourn (June, 1756) they were all preparing to go to war against the frontiers of Virginia. When they finally marched, none were left in the town but squaws and children, except myself and the very old men, one of whom was lame.

"The Indians had great hopes that they would drive all the Virginians over the lake, as they called the ocean. The two old Indians asked me if I did not think that the Indians and French would subdue all America except New England, which they had tried in old times. I told them I thought not, for, said I, though unsuccessful at present, they will soon learn your mode of war, and overcome you by the superiority of their arms and numbers. I found that they themselves did not believe they could conquer America, yet they were willing to propagate the idea in order to encourage the young men to go to war.

At the close of that winter's hunt the party visited the Wyandot town, opposite Detroit. Here they found a trader with some French brandy, and kept up a drunken carouse until the trader, having got all their beaver, moved off to another town.

"A council was held, which determined who were to get drunk and who were to remain sober. As I refused to drink, I had to assist in taking care of the others. Our duty was to conceal the arms and other weapons, and prevent their killing each other—a very difficult matter. Several times our own lives were in danger, and we received some severe injuries in the performance of our task. When the liquor was gone, and the drunkards sobered, they were greatly dejected; some were crippled, others badly wounded, and their clothes were torn or burned. In the Ottawa village, close by, the carouse ended much worse—five were killed and many injured.

"As cold weather was approaching, we began to feel the baleful effects of our folly and extravagance in dissipating the proceeds of the large quantity of beaver we had taken. Nearly all were in the same destitute condition. Scarcely one had a shirt to his back, but each had an old blanket, which we belted around us during the day and slept in at night, with a deerskin or bearskin under us for a bed.

"Though slovenly in their habits, the Indians have the essentials of good manners, and are polite in their way. They have few compliments, and use few titles of honor, their usual mode of address being, 'my friend,' 'brother,' 'cousin,' 'mother,' 'sister,' etc. They pay great respect to age. All who come to their house or camp are invited to eat while there is any food left, and it is bad manners to refuse such an invitation.

"Instead of 'How do you do?' the common Indian salutation is, 'You are my friend.' The reply is, 'Truly, my friend, I am your friend;' or, 'Cousin, you yet exist?' 'Certainly I do,' is the reply. As their children are disciplined by ducking them in cold water, it necessarily follows that they are much more obedient in winter than in summer.

"In the spring of 1759 I went with my adopted brother to an Indian town near Montreal. Hearing in that town of a ship in which were some English prisoners who were to be exchanged, I left the Indians and went on board, but on the approach of General Wolfe we were all put in prison. I was exchanged in the following November, and early in the year 1760 returned home, much to the surprise of my people, who did not know whether I was living or dead. They were also astonished to see me looking so much like an Indian, and resembling them both in my gait and gestures.

"Joyful as was this reunion," says Smith, in closing his interesting narrative, "its happiness was marred by one disagreeable circumstance—I found that my sweetheart had been married only a few days before I arrived."

Rogers's Rangers

"Frosts were falling

When the ranger's horn was calling,

Through the woods to Canada.

"Straggling rangers, worn with dangers,

Homeward faring, weary strangers,

Pass the farm-gate on their way.

Tidings of the dead and living,

Forest march and ambush giving,

Till the maidens leave their weaving,

And the lads forget their play."


The Indian's style of fighting was suited to the forests in which he roamed. The thicket provided him with an ambush, the tree or rock served him as a shield. Each warrior fought "on his own hook," singling out some individual opponent, and using every stratagem to outwit and overpower him.

Upon one occasion an Oneida Indian, who had placed a rock between himself and two of his Indian pursuers, putting his hat on the end of his gun-barrel, raised it slowly, as if to obtain a sight of his enemies. The ruse succeeded; both Indians fired, the hat dropped, and rushing forward with exulting yells, expecting to secure a scalp, one was instantly shot down, and the other took to his heels for safety.

This kind of warfare made it necessary for the white man to adopt similar methods, and in this way a hardy, active, and self-reliant body of frontiersmen were trained up, who were of the greatest service in the wars waged by the two races. An organized body of these men was employed in the "Old French War." They were known as "Rogers's Rangers," from their commander, Major Robert Rogers. This celebrated partisan, a native of Dunbarton, New Hampshire, was at this time under thirty years of age. Rough in feature, he was tall and well-proportioned, and was one of the most athletic men of his time, being prominent in all the trials of strength or activity in his neighborhood for miles around.

Robert Rogers


Rogers possessed great presence of mind, intrepidity, and perseverance, and a plausible address, and had in early life acquired great decision and boldness of character. He was versed in all the arts of woodcraft, was sagacious, prompt, and resolute, yet so cautious as to incur at times the unjust charge of cowardice.

These qualities he displayed on many occasions. Once, when in England, a mail-coach in which he was a passenger was stopped by a highwayman on Hounslow Heath. The robber, thrusting a pistol through the coach window, demanded the purses and watches of the occupants. While the others were delivering up theirs, the bold ranger suddenly seized the robber by the collar, drew him by main strength through the carriage window, and bade the coachman drive on. The highwayman proved to be an old offender, for whose apprehension a reward bad been offered by the government.

At a social party of British officers at which he was present, it was agreed by the company that whoever of them should tell the most improbable story should have his bill paid by the others. When his turn carne, Rogers stated that his father was shot in the woods by a hunter, who mistook him for a bear; that his mother was followed by a hunter, who mistook her tracks in the snow on a stormy day for those of a wolf; and that he, when a boy, had carried birch-brooms on his back to Rumford, ten miles distant from his father's house, to be sold, following a path through the woods only marked by spotted trees. The company paid for his dinner, admitting that he had told the "toughest" story. Rogers had only stated the exact truth.

The Rangers were a body of hardy and resolute young men, principally from the vicinity of Amoskeag Falls, New Hampshire, where Rogers had been accustomed to meet them at the annual fishing season, and on whose skill, courage, and fidelity he could implicitly rely. Especially renowned as marksmen, every one of these rugged foresters could hit an object of the size of a silver dollar at a hundred yards. He could follow the trail of man or beast, and endure the extremes of fatigue, hunger, and cold.

They were constantly employed in watching the motions of the enemy, in pursuing their marauding parties, or in cutting off their convoys of supplies, frequently making prisoners of their sentinels at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Limited in their expeditions to no season, they made, in winter, long and fatiguing journeys on snow-shoes into the enemy's country, often encamping in the forest without a fire, to avoid discovery, when the ground was covered with snow, and with no other food than the game they could kill during their march. They were the most formidable body of men ever employed in Indian warfare, and in regular engagements proved themselves not inferior to British troops. From frequent contact with the natives, they were familiar with their language and customs, and their French and Indian foes dreaded them with good reason.

Theirs was a hard life, but the excitement and danger attendant upon it gave it a zest that reconciled these hardy foresters to its toils and privations. There was something singularly attractive to the young frontiersman in the free forest life of the Ranger. To him it was a source of no ordinary enjoyment to scour the forest in search of the Indian foe, but to be able to steal upon him unawares, and to return victorious from an expedition against him, was in the highest degree exhilarating and inspiring.

No hero of romance ever displayed more daring. Danger and death were his constant companions. He defied wounds, capture, torture, mutilation, and never counted the number of his foes until after he had routed them. Where to strike first and most effectively was his only study. Securing his retreat was no part of his strategy; he never measured the distance from his base of operations, for he was his own commissary and quartermaster, carrying his rations on his back, having for his bed the bosom of mother earth, and for his tent the canopy of heaven. His tactics were the maxims of Indian warfare, and he knew his duty so well, and was so self-reliant, that obedience and subordination seemed to him wholly unnecessary. The corps of Rangers always marched silently and with great rapidity, and by the shortest line. Neither forest nor stream presented any obstacle to their progress.

It was in this school that Putnam, Rogers, Stark, Brewer, and others were trained for future usefulness in the struggle for American independence. Several British officers, attracted by this exciting and hazardous, as well as novel, method of campaigning, joined as volunteers in some of their expeditions. Among them was the young Lord Howe, who, during this tour of duty, formed a strong friendship for Putnam and Stark, both of whom were with him when he fell at Ticonderoga shortly afterwards.

So useful was the corps of Rangers found to be in its very first campaign, that from a single company of sixty men it was at once increased to four, and afterwards to nine companies of one hundred men each, Rogers being promoted to the rank of major. The then were subject to army discipline and the articles of war. Their dress was that of the frontiersman of that day, and uniform in each company. One of these was composed wholly of Indians in their native costume. The weapons of the Ranger were a firelock or fusee, a hatchet, and a long knife. A powder-horn was slung under the right arm. The pack, to which was strapped a blanket, held his provisions, and flint and steel with which to strike fire. Each officer carried a pocket-compass.

Fort Ticonderoga


The arena of their exploits was the vicinity of Fort Ticonderoga, at the northern extremity of Lake George, forty miles from Fort William Henry, a British work at the south end of the lake. The waters of Lake George and Lake Champlain formed the main avenue of communication between Canada and the English colonies. Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, and Ticonderoga, both in the hands of the French, were the keys to this important thoroughfare, over which, at all seasons of the year, the hostile parties of French and Indians passed. Snow-shoes rendered their progress easy in winter; at all other times they glided over its placid waters with ease and celerity in their light birch canoes. Fort Edward, on the Hudson, and Fort William Henry, fifteen miles farther inland, were the two most northerly of the British frontier posts.

This picturesque region, with its mountains, lakes, and forests, yet retains much of its original character, and it is not easy for the tourist who to-day rambles amid its peaceful solitudes to realize that this lovely and romantic region could ever have been the scene of such fierce strife as was waged here little more than a century ago.

Lakes George and Champlain


Rogers's lieutenant was John Stark, afterwards the hero of Bennington. When in his twenty-fourth year, while out with a hunting party, he, with a companion named Amos Eastman, was captured by some St. Francis Indians and taken to their village. The others of the party, David Stinson and William Stark, his brother, were in a boat at the time of the capture, and John was ordered by the Indians to decoy them to the shore. Instead of doing so, he shouted to them to save themselves by pulling to the opposite shore. They did so, and the Indians fired upon them, but John knocked up the muzzles of their guns, and by this piece of audacity saved the life of his brother, who escaped. John was severely beaten by his captors for this performance, but was afterwards kindly treated by them.

At the Indian village the prisoners had to run the gauntlet. For this cruel sport the young warriors of the tribe were ranged in two lines, each armed with a rod or club to strike the captive as he passed them, singing some provoking words taught him for the occasion, and intended to stimulate their wrath against the unfortunate victim. The latter carried a pole six or eight feet long, with the skin of some bird or animal attached to it.

John Stark


Eastman, who was the first to undergo the ordeal, was terribly mauled. Stark, whose pole was ornamented with a loon's skin, making a sudden rush, knocked down the nearest Indian, and wresting his club from him, struck out right and left, dealing such vigorous blows at each turn that he made it lively for the Indians without much injury to himself. This feat greatly pleased the old Indians, who enjoyed the discomfiture of their young men. When the Indians directed him to hoe corn, Stark cut up the young corn, and flung his hoe into the river, declaring that it was the business of squaws, and not of warriors, to hoe corn. Pleased with his boldness, the Indians released him from his task. He was adopted into the tribe by the sachem, and treated with genuine kindness as long as he remained with them. He was subsequently ransomed on payment of £100, and returned home.

During the Revolutionary War, Stark's services were rendered at the most critical moments, and were of the highest value to his country. At Bunker Hill he commanded at the rail fence on the left of the redoubt, holding the post long enough to insure the safety of his overpowered and retreating countrymen. At Trenton, where the capture of the Hessian garrison revived the sinking spirits of the Americans, he led the van of Sullivan's division; and at Bennington he struck the decisive blow that paralyzed Burgoyne and made his surrender inevitable.

"When on that field his band the Hessians fought,

Briefly he spoke before the fight began;

'Soldiers! these German gentlemen were bought

For four pounds eight and seven pence per man,

By England's king; a bargain it is thought.

Are we worth more? Let's prove it while we can,

For we must beat them, boys, ere set of sun,

Or my wife sleeps a widow'—it was done."


While stationed at Fort William Henry, in March, 1757, Stark's vigilance saved the fort from surprise and capture. It was then garrisoned by an Irish regiment and one hundred and fifty Rangers, many of whom were of the Scotch-Irish race. Overhearing his men planning a celebration in honor of St. Patrick, he ordered that no grog should be served to them on the evening of the 17th without his written order. Feigning a lame wrist, he refused all entreaties for such an order. Meantime the Irish soldiers, having received an extra supply of rum, held a carouse lasting through that night and the following day. Being totally unfit for duty, the Rangers, who were sober; supplied their places as sentinels. At two o'clock on the morning of the 18th a French army of two thousand five hundred men, under De Vaudreuil, with a large Indian following, knowing the Irish custom, and expecting to find the garrison intoxicated, approached within thirty rods of the fort. Five hundred picked men then advanced with scaling ladders to the attack. The Rangers were on the alert, and poured a destructive volley into their ranks, while the guns of the fort opened with grape and canister upon the column in the rear. Confused and mortified, the French fell back greatly demoralized. On the following day a general attack was made, which was gallantly repulsed, and after a five days' siege the enemy withdrew. The fort was soon afterwards captured by Montcalm, by whom it was entirely destroyed. The Rangers were engaged for the first time in the action at Lake George, between General Johnson, and the French and Indians, under Baron Dieskan. Rogers and a part of his command were absent at the time on a scouting expedition up the Hudson.

John Stark


In January, 1757, a detachment of Rangers marched from Fort William Henry to intercept supplies passing between Crown Point and Ticonderoga. Half-way between these posts they captured several sleds and destroyed their loading. One sled escaped, and was driven swiftly back to Ticonderoga. Knowing that the garrison would be immediately notified of their presence, the Rangers at once began their retreat. As it was raining, they paused at their last night's camping-ground, where their fires were still burning, long enough to dry their guns and put in fresh pruning. They marched in single file, Rogers in front, Stark in the rear, and Captain Spekeman in the centre. At two in the afternoon, when only three miles from Ticonderoga, they were suddenly attacked by a force of French and Indians of three times their own number, concealed in their front. A desperate and sanguinary encounter now took place. The enemy, who were drawn up in the form of a crescent upon the summit of a hill, saluted the Rangers with a volley that proved fatal to several, and wounded Rogers in the head. He ordered his men to retire to an opposite eminence, where Stark and Brewer had made a stand with forty men to cover the retreat. Stark repulsed the enemy by a brisk fire from his position, thus affording the retreating Rangers an opportunity to post themselves to advantage. He himself took post in the centre, and placed reserves to protect the flanks and watch the movements of the enemy.

Attempts to outflank them were repeatedly made, and were gallantly repulsed. The Rangers were also hard pressed in front, but having the advantage of the ground, and being sheltered by large trees, they maintained a constant and effective fire until darkness put an end to the conflict, when the enemy retired. Rogers having been wounded, and Spekeman killed, the command devolved upon Stark.

Robert Rogers


While the fight was fiercest, a ball pierced Rogers's wrist. A stream of blood gushed out. It had to be stopped or he would bleed to death. Rogers's hair was braided in a queue behind. One of the Rangers cut it off with his hunting-knife, and Rogers thrusting it into the wound stopped the flow of blood.

After receiving this second wound, Rogers advised a retreat, but Stark declared that he had a good position and would fight until dark, and then retreat; that in such a course lay their only safety, and that he would shoot the first man who fled. While he was speaking, a bullet struck the lock of his gun, rendering it useless. Seeing a Frenchman fall at the same moment he sprang forward, seized his gun, and returning to his tree continued the action.

While the Rangers were defending their position on the crest of the hill, Stark observed that several balls struck near him from a particular direction. A moment afterwards he discovered an Indian stretched at full length upon a rock, behind a large tree. Getting his gun in readiness, as the Indian rose for another shot at him, it was instantly levelled and discharged, and the savage rolled from the rock into the snow, pierced through the head by the bullet.

At nightfall Stark drew off his men in good order, and by marching all night reached Lake George early next morning. As the wounded were unable to proceed farther, Stark volunteered to procure assistance from Fort William Henry. He reached it that evening, performing the journey of forty miles upon snow-shoes, the snow being four feet deep upon a level. Sleds were immediately despatched, and the wounded safely transported to the fort.

Stark's decision, prudence, and courage saved the Rangers from defeat in this instance, and contributed greatly to the subsequent success and celebrity of the corps. He was promoted to the captaincy made vacant by the loss of Captain Spekeman.

This was a costly victory for the Rangers, who lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, more than one-third of their number. The number of the enemy was two hundred and fifty, of whom one hundred and sixteen were killed and wounded.

Skilful and brave as were the Rangers, they were not always successful. The French partisans, under good leaders, with their wily and formidable Indian allies well versed in forest warfare, on one occasion inflicted dire disaster upon them.

Near Fort Ticonderoga, Rogers, with one hundred and eighty men, attacked and put to flight a party of Indians, inflicting upon them a severe blow. This, however, proved to be only a small part of a force which, under Durantaye and De Langry, French officers of reputation, was fully prepared to meet the Rangers, of whose movements they had been thoroughly informed beforehand.

The Rangers had thrown down their packs, and were scattered in pursuit of the flying savages, when they were suddenly confronted by the main body of the enemy, of whose presence they were wholly unsuspicious. Nearly fifty of the Rangers fell at the first onslaught, the remainder retreating to a position in which they could make a stand. Here they fought with their accustomed valor, and more than once drove back their more numerous foes. Repeated attacks were made upon them both in front and on either flank, the enemy rallying after each repulse, and manifesting a tenacity and determination equal to that of the Rangers.

The fight had lasted some time, when a body of two hundred Indians was discovered ascending a hill on the right, in order to gain the rear of the Rangers. Lieutenant Phillips, with eighteen men, reached it before them and drove them back. Lieutenant Crufton, with fifteen men, was ordered to anticipate a similar movement in another quarter. The enemy now pressed so closely on their front that the opposing parties were often intermingled, and in general not more than twenty yards asunder.

This unequal contest had continued an hour and a half, and the Rangers had lost more than half their number. After doing all that brave men could do, the remainder retreated in the best manner possible—each for himself. A singular circumstance connected with this battle was, that it was fought by both sides upon snow-shoes.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


In the pursuit that followed, Rogers made his escape by outwitting the Indians who pressed closely upon him—such, at least, is the tradition. The precipitous cliff near the northerly end of Lake George, since called Rogers's Rock, has on one side a sharp and steep descent hundreds of feet to the lake. Gaining this point, Rogers threw his rifle and other incumbrances down the rocks. Then unbuckling the straps of his snow-shoes, and, turning round, he refastened them, the toes still pointing towards the lake. This was the work of a moment. He then walked back from the edge of the cliff into the woods, and disappeared just as the Indians, sure of their prey, reached the spot. To their amazement, they saw two tracks towards the cliff, none from it, and supposed that two Englishmen had thrown themselves down the precipice, preferring to be dashed to pieces rather than be captured. Soon a rapidly receding form on the ice below attracted their notice, and the baffled savages, seeing that the redoubtable Ranger had safely effected the perilous descent, gave up the chase, fully persuaded that Rogers was under the protection of the Great Spirit.

The retreating Rangers reached Lake George that evening, and an express was despatched to the fort for assistance. The men, having lost their knapsacks, passed an extremely cold night, without fire or blankets. Proceeding up the lake in the morning, they were met by Stark, who was not in the engagement, bringing to their relief provisions, blankets, and sleds. This timely assistance enabled them to reach Fort Edward in safety.

One fine morning in the following August, Rogers and Israel Putnam, a provincial officer from Connecticut, with five hundred men, were in the vicinity of Fort Anne—a post about midway between Ticonderoga and Fort Edward—watching the motions of the enemy. The French, under the celebrated partisan Marin, were also on the lookout for them, and only a mile and a half distant.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


In a spirit of false emulation, and in disregard of that prime virtue of the Ranger—caution in the presence of an enemy—Rogers, before marching, practised firing at a mark with a British officer. The sound reached the ears of the vigilant Marin, who hastily formed an ambuscade at the point where the Rangers soon afterwards emerged from a dense thicket into the open woods. Putnam was in front, Captain Dalzell, with some British regulars, was in the centre, while Rogers brought up the rear.

Just as Putnam entered the forest the enemy rose, and with discordant yells and whoops began the attack. He halted and returned the fire, his men scattering, sometimes fighting aggressively in open view, and sometimes individually under cover, taking aim from behind each tree. Dalzell carne promptly to his support, Rogers contenting himself with protecting the flanks and rear. After a hard struggle the enemy were driven from the field, leaving about ninety dead.

Early in the fight a rush was made upon the Rangers, and Putnam's fusee unfortunately missed fire, just as he was confronted by a large and powerful savage. With uplifted hatchet and exultant yell the warrior sprang forward, compelled him to surrender, and then disarming him and binding him to a tree returned to the conflict.

A turn in the tide of battle soon brought this tree directly between the two parties, and it was pierced by many of the balls which flew incessantly from either side. Putnam's clothes were riddled with shot-holes, but not a bullet touched his person. In this uncomfortable situation, unable to stir hand or foot, or even to incline his head, he remained more than an hour, when, on the retreat of the enemy, he was unbound and carried off by his captor.

Fort Anne


At one time, when the Indians had gained ground, a young brave amused himself by throwing his tomahawk as near Putnam's head as possible without hitting it. While engaged in this pleasant occupation, the weapon several times struck the tree within a hair's-breadth of the mark. He tired at length of this cruel sport, and a more savage Frenchman approached and levelled his musket within a foot of Putnam's breast. Fortunately it missed fire. In vain Putnam claimed the consideration due to a prisoner of war; the dastardly wretch gave him a cruel blow on the jaw with the butt end of his piece, and then left hint to his fate.

At some distance from the scene of action he was stripped of his coat, vest, stockings, and shoes, loaded with as many of the packs of the wounded as could be piled upon him, strongly pinioned, and his wrists tied as tightly together as they could be pulled with a cord. When, after a long and toilsome march, the party halted, his naked feet were torn and bleeding, and his hands were immoderately swollen from the tightness of the ligature.

Exhausted with bearing a burden beyond his strength, and frantic with pain, he entreated the savages either to kill him at once or loose his hands. A French officer interposed; his hands were unbound, and his load lightened. Just then his captor, who had been absent, returned, gave him a pair of moccasins, and expressed great indignation at the cruel treatment of the prisoner. He also gave him some hard biscuit, which, as he could not chew, on account of the blow inflicted by the Frenchman, the more humane savage soaked in water. This and some bear's meat lie managed to suck through his teeth, and allay his extreme hunger.

Israel Putnam


On encamping for the night, the savages, besides other outrages, had the barbarity to inflict upon him a deep wound with a tomahawk in his left cheek. They had determined to roast him alive, in accordance with their savage custom with captives taken in battle.

Leading him into the forest, he was stripped, bound fast with green withes to a sapling, and dry brush, with other fuel, was piled at a short distance in a circle around him. Fierce yells and savage screams accompanied this labor and added to the horror of the scene. The flames were kindled, but were almost extinguished by a sudden shower. Soon the blaze increased, and Putnam began to feel the scorching heat. He could just move his body, and often shifted sides as the fire approached—a sight which afforded the greatest diversion to his inhuman tormentors, as he could perceive by their yelling, gesticulating, and dancing.

Only a short time before he had been nearly roasted in a successful and heroic effort to save the powder-magazine at Fort Edward, after its outer planking had been burned through; and it had taken him a month to recover from the effects of that fierce battle with the flames. This time he had given up all hope of escape from the fiery fate that enveloped him, when a French officer, rushing through the savage throng, scattered the burning brands and unbound the victim. It was Marin himself, to whom a humane Indian had hastened with the tidings, just in time to save him, and who remained with him and protected him until the return of his captor, who it seems had not been present at his attempted torture.

This savage, while treating his captive with humanity, took every precaution to prevent his escape. His mode of securing him at night was most ingenious. Lying on his back upon the ground, Putnam's arms and legs were stretched apart, and each fastened to a sapling. Then a number of tall but slender poles were cut, which with some long bushes were laid across his body from head to foot. On these, at each side, lay as many Indians as could conveniently bestow themselves. In this disagreeable and painful posture Putnam passed the long and dreary night but, as he afterwards related, he could not, in spite of his discomfort and suffering, help smiling at the thought of what a ludicrous group for a painter this scene presented. At Ticonderoga he was placed under a French guard and properly treated. Transferred to Montreal, he was finally exchanged through the exertions of Colonel Peter Schuyler, a fellow-prisoner.

Israel Putnam


Israel Putnam, who rose to be the senior major-general in the Revolutionary army, and next in rank to Washington, was born at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1718. He had the slight education of a farmer's son at that day, but possessed a vigorous frame, great bodily strength, hardiness, and activity, together with no ordinary share of courage, enterprise, and perseverance. He was a hero, not only by constitution and temperament, but by the nobler impulses of love of country, and an invincible devotion to duty. As a captain in Lyman's provincial regiment, in 1755, he became connected with Captain Rogers, of the Rangers, and having himself a similar command, they were frequently associated together in scouting and other service.

On the first occasion of the kind it was Putnam's good-fortune to save the life of Rogers, who, with himself—their men being concealed at a little distance—was engaged in the hazardous operation of reconnoitring the works at Crown Point, in the midst of a forest filled with hostile Indians. While thus engaged, in the early morning, Rogers accidentally encountered a stout Frenchman, who instantly seized his fusee with one hand and with the other attempted to stab him, while he called to the guard for assistance. Putnam, perceiving the imminent danger of his friend, hastened to the spot, and with the butt end of his piece laid the Frenchman dead at his feet. Speedily rejoining their party, they made good their retreat.

Israel Putnam


Putnam was present at the siege of Montreal, in 1760, at the capture of Havana, in 1762, and in 1764 was a colonel in Bradstreet's expedition against the western Indians. His military reputation was of great service to the patriot cause at the outset of the Revolution, inspiring his country-men with the confidence they so much needed to enable them to confront the great military power they were then defying.

He was a conspicuous figure at the siege of Boston, and at Bunker Hill seems to have exercised, at the redoubt, the breastwork, the rail-fence, and iii the retreat, all the functions of a commanding officer. While commanding at the Highlands of New York he made the judicious selection of West Point as the site of a fortress. While posted at Reading, Connecticut, in 1778, with only a picket-guard, he was suddenly attacked by the British troops, and escaped by plunging down a precipice where the dragoons in pursuit of him dared not follow. One of their bullets having pierced his hat, Tryon, their commander, by way of compensation, sent him soon afterwards a complete suit of clothes. He had an attack of paralysis in the fall of 1779, and died at Brooklyn, Connecticut, May 29, 1790. Putnam was a good executive officer, but was more brave than prudent. Though wanting in dignity, he possessed a large share of those nobler attributes, humanity and generosity.

Crown Point


Few men ever encountered such a variety of dangers, or faced death in so many different forms. From the fierce she-wolf in her den—a story with which all boys are familiar; the burning powder-magazine at Fort Edward; the fiery torture at the stake; the tomahawk and the bullet of the concealed savage whose forest haunts he invaded; close and bloody contests with Indians and Frenchmen in the Old French War; at the Havana, fighting at the same time the Spaniard and the pestilence, which proved fatal to so many of his companions; and lastly at Bunker Hill and on other Revolutionary fields—a conspicuous target for British bullets. With the exception of the singeing he got at Fort Edward, and the cruelties inflicted upon him while a prisoner, he escaped, as by a miracle, from all these manifold perils without a wound.

We come now to the last exploit of this famous corps of Rangers. The village of the St. Francis Indians was situated in the heart of Canada, midway between Montreal and Quebec. This tribe was wholly in the interest of the French, and had for a century past harassed the New England frontier even in times of peace. During the past six years they had killed and carried away more than six hundred persons, and it was determined by Amherst, the British commander-in-chief, that a signal chastisement should be inflicted upon them. To this arduous service the Rangers were assigned.

The march through two hundred miles of unbroken wilderness was one of great difficulty and no slight peril. The boats of the Rangers, in which were the provisions for their home journey, had been left at Missisqui Bay, and they soon learned that these had fallen into the hands of the enemy, who were following in their track. This was a serious blow, and threatened the ruin of their enterprise, but they determined to push on, and accomplish their object by outmarching their pursuers.

For nine days their route lay through a spruce-bog, a portion of which was covered with water a foot deep. When they encamped at night, boughs were cut from the trees, and a kind of rude hammock constructed to keep them from the water. Their daily march began a little before daybreak, and continued until after dark at night. The tenth day after leaving the bay found them at a river fifteen miles north of St. Francis, which they were compelled to ford against a swift current. To accomplish this the tallest men were put up stream, and holding by each other the party crossed in safety.

Twenty-two days after leaving Crown Point, Rogers's party, numbering one hundred and fifty-two, men and officers, came in sight of the Indian town. Upon climbing a tree it was revealed to them at a distance of three miles. On reconnoitring the village, the Indians were seen to be engaged in a "high frolic"—a wedding celebration, as it proved—and were dancing and enjoying themselves as was customary upon such occasions.

Half an hour before sunrise the Rangers rushed upon the sleeping village. The surprise was complete. The Indians had no time to arm themselves, and in a few minutes the work was done. Two hundred of them were killed, some women and children were captured, five English prisoners released, and the village was wholly consumed. Six hundred human scalps were found hanging upon poles over the doors of the wigwams.

For their subsistence on the march home, the Rangers loaded themselves with corn, the only provision to be found. From the prisoners they learned that three hundred French and Indians were close at hand, addition to the party already known to be in pursuit. It was at once determined to return by a different route from that by which they came, and that by the Connecticut River to Number Four (Charlestown, N. H.) was selected. The annals of the wilderness contain no more thrilling chapter than that which records their sufferings during this terrible journey. Hunger and privation of every kind—these they were familiar with; a vengeful foe following upon their track—even this inspired no especial dread; but starvation! that was an enemy before whom the stoutest and bravest quailed. Some of the details of their sufferings are too shocking for repetition.

After repulsing repeated attacks, Rogers at length turned upon his pursuers, and dealt them a punishment so severe as to stop further assaults, though the Indians continued to follow him with the tenacity of bloodhounds.

For eight days the Rangers kept together, but at Lake Memphrenragog the scarcity of food compelled them to separate into companies, with guides to each. The place where they were to meet was at the mouth of the Ammonoosuck River, to which point supplies had been directed to be sent. On arriving at the Coos Intervales, worn down with hunger and fatigue, they found, to their dismay, that the officer who had been despatched with provisions to their rescue had returned, after waiting but two days, carrying the supplies with him, and that he had been gone hardly two hours!

This was a terrible disappointment. Says Rogers: "We found a fresh fire burning in his camp, and fired guns to bring him back, which he heard, but would not return, supposing we were an enemy. In this emergency I resolved to make the best of my way to Number Four, leaving the remainder of the party—now unable to proceed farther—to obtain such wretched subsistence as the wilderness afforded until I could relieve them, which I promised to do in ten days."

With great difficulty Rogers reached his destination, and on the tenth day after his departure relief reached his men at Coos, as he had promised. Upon the arrival of the survivors at Crown Point, it was ascertained that the Rangers had lost in this retreat three officers and forty-six men. Two of the parties had been overtaken, and most of the men composing them killed or captured by the enemy.

Great as were the sufferings of the other parties, they were as nothing compared with those of Lieutenant George Campbell and his companions. For four days they were without subsistence of any kind whatever. Their misery was so aggravated, by their not knowing whither the route they were following would lead them, that some lost their reason. What leather they had in their cartridge-boxes they had reduced to a cinder and greedily devoured, when relief finally reached them.

The Rangers took part in the final campaign of 1760, which ended in the conquest of Canada, and, in a skirmish with the rear-guard of the retreating French, fired the last hostile guns of the war. By order of General Amherst they were sent to take possession of Detroit, and the other western posts ceded by the French.

Rogers's subsequent career was not particularly creditable to him. While Governor of Michilimackinac, in 1766, he was arrested for plotting to give it up to the Spaniards, and sent in irons to Montreal for trial. He managed to be acquitted of the charge, and on visiting England, in 1769, was presented to the King. Returning to America on the breaking out of the Revolution, in 1775, he was suspected by Washington of being a spy, and prohibited from entering the American camp. Arrested in June, 1776, he was soon released by order of Congress, and at once openly joined the British in violation of his parole of honor. Obtaining a commission as colonel in the British service, he raised a corps known as the Queen's Rangers, afterwards commanded by Colonel Simcoe, and famous for its exploits. Rogers, however, gained no laurels while at its head, and came near being captured in an attack upon an American outpost near Mamaroneck, in New York. He soon afterwards returned to England, where he died near the close of the century.

Pontiac's War

The seven years' war was over. The long contest for supremacy in America between England and France had ended in the surrender by the latter of Canada and all her western posts. The undefined territory of Louisiana, in the South, alone remained to her of all her former extensive possessions in North America. The first act of the great drama of American Independence had been played—a fact of which the chief actors themselves were profoundly ignorant.

But while the conquest of Canada paved the way for the independence of the British colonies, it boded no good to the Indian. He saw his danger, and sought to avert it. The firm hold the French had taken on the affections of the western Indians had not been shaken by defeat. They still clung to them, and refused to believe that the hated English had conquered and that their old friends had taken final leave.

This feeling was strengthened by the contrast between the courteous and attentive behavior of the French, and the insolent and brutal treatment received from the English soldiers who replaced them at the frontier posts. The former had supplied then regularly with guns, ammunition, and clothing; the withholding of these by the latter had brought upon them, as a consequence, want, suffering, and death. These evils had been largely increased by their introduction of the hitherto prohibited traffic in rum—"fire-water," as the Indians expressively called it.

Glancing at the condition of the country beyond the settlements at this time, we find it—with the exception of an occasional Indian village—one vast forest. In it a human being, white or red, was rarely to be seen.

Contact with the whites had changed, without improving the condition of the red man. The warlike Iroquois had declined in importance. Some of the Delawares and other smaller tribes dwelt upon the head-waters of the Susquehanna and the Alleghany, but the larger part of them lived upon the Beaver creeks and the Muskingum. The Shawnees were found along the Scioto; the Miainis, on the Wabash and the Maumee. The Illinois, once numerous and powerful, had, through intemperance, become scattered and degraded. Along the Detroit and near Sandusky were the Wyandots, whose industry and good husbandry had placed them foremost among the western tribes in civilization and progress.

Albany, New York, was the largest town on the frontier. Traders and others, journeying to the region of the lakes, made this their starting-point. Ascending the Mohawk to Fort Stanwix, they would pass overland to Wood Creek, follow the windings of this stream to Oneida Lake, and crossing its western extremity, descend the river Oswego to the town of that name on the banks of Lake Ontario.

From Philadelphia the route to the Indian country was over the Alleghanies, then descending their western slope to the valley of the Ohio. At the close of the war adventurous traders, transporting their goods on the backs of horses, regardless of the perils that beset them, pushed on over the mountains. They were a bold, rough set, and went well armed. Their wares consisted of blankets and red cloth, guns and hatchets, liquor, tobacco, paint, beads, hawksbills, etc.

In Southern Illinois were to be seen the old French outposts, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. Farther up the Wabash was Fort Ouantenon, whence a trail through the forest led to Fort Miami on the Maumee. Descending the Maumee to Lake Erie, one would have Sandusky on the right, or, farther north, through the Strait of Detroit, would pass Fort Detroit to the northern lakes. Farther east, beyond the Alleghanies, were Forts Presque Isle, Le Bœuf, and Venango.

The conquered French inhabitants did all they could to influence the resentment of the Indians, and as they were being constantly pushed from their lands by an increased tide of English immigration, little was wanting to bring on another bloody Indian war. That little was soon supplied.

Early in 1763 the red men were told that the King of France had given all their country to the King of England. Furious at this outrage, a plot of vast proportions was at once matured. The destruction of all the English forts and garrisons was to take place on a given day; the defenceless frontier settlements were to be swept away, and finally, as they hoped and believed, the English would all be driven into the sea. This has been, by a misuse of words, called a conspiracy; in reality it was a patriotic, though hopeless, effort on the part of the natives to free their country from a hated invader, and to avert the impending doom of the race.

The leader in this great uprising was Pontiac, head chief of the Ottawas, then in his fiftieth year. With the Ottawas were confederated the kindred tribes of Ojibwas and Potawatomies. Pontiac possessed great courage, eloquence, and energy, more than ordinary mental powers, and was unmatched for craft and subtlety. He was of middle height, with a figure of remarkable symmetry. His complexion was unusually dark, and his features, though void of regularity, were expressive of boldness and vigor, which, united with an habitually imperious and peremptory manner, were sufficiently indicative of unusual strength of will. To these qualities, combined with the passions, the fierceness, and treachery of his race, was added a powerful ambition, and he had acquired great influence over the western tribes. He had fought on the French side during the war, and was said to have led the Ottawas at Braddock's defeat.

Siege of Detroit


In 1760 Major Rogers, with his Rangers, was sent to Detroit to replace the French with an English garrison. On nearing that post he was met by an embassy from Pontiac—"lord and ruler of all that country"—and directed to proceed no farther until the arrival of the chief himself. Pontiac soon appeared.

"What is your business in my country, and how dare you enter it without my permission?" was the haughty demand with which he greeted the Ranger.

Rogers told him his errand. Pontiac listened with attention, and with savage dignity exclaimed, "I stand in the path!"

On the following day, however, the chief reappeared, and made a conciliatory speech; the pipe of peace was smoked, and harmony was apparently established. "I had several conferences with him," says Rogers, "in which he discovered great strength of judgment and a thirst after knowledge. He puts on an air of majesty and princely grandeur, and is greatly honored and revered by his subjects."

Pontiac was too sagacious to believe that the English could be driven into the sea. His plan was to bring back the French, as a check to British encroachments. This idea had been held up to him by the Canadians, who told him that the armies of the French king, destined for the recovery of Canada, were already on the way. Acting upon this idea, he sent ambassadors, bearing the war-belt of wampum and the reddened tomahawk, 267 in token of war, to the different tribes. Those of the west accepted his message and pledged themselves to take part in the war. With the exception of the Senecas, the Iroquois confederacy was kept neutral by the strenuous exertions of Sir William Johnson. Up to the very moment of the outbreak the Indians succeeded in concealing their design. They continued, meanwhile, to hang around the posts, "begging, as usual, for tobacco, gunpowder, and whiskey."

Maiden disclosing Pontiac's plan


Detroit, near which were the villages of the Wyandots, Potawatomies, and Ottawas, was founded by the French as an Indian trading-post in 1701, and had at this time two thousand five hundred French inhabitants, dwelling on productive farms on both sides of the river. The fort was in the centre of the settlement, on the western margin of the river, and contained about one hundred houses, surrounded by a palisade twenty-five feet high and about one thousand two hundred yards in circumference; a wooden bastion stood at each corner, and each gate-way was protected by a block-house. It was garrisoned by about one hundred and twenty soldiers, and about forty fur-traders and employés. Some small pieces of cannon were mounted on the bastions, and two small armed schooners lay anchored opposite the town.

On the night of May 6, 1763, Major Gladwyn, the commander of the fort, received secret intelligence that an attempt would be made the next day to capture the fort by treachery. The guard was weak, the defences feeble and extensive. Fearing an immediate attack, Gladwyn doubled his sentinels, and kept an anxious watch all that night.

Next morning Pontiac, with sixty chosen warriors, each of whom was armed with a gun cut short so that it was hidden under his blanket, entered the fort. His plan was to demand a council, and, after delivering his speech, to offer a peace-belt of wampum. This belt was worked on one side with white and on the other with green beads. The reversal of the belt from the white to the green side was to be the signal of attack. Every Englishman was to be killed, but not a Frenchman was to be touched. The plan was well laid, and might have succeeded had it not been revealed to Gladwyn.

The savage throng, plumed and feathered, and besmeared with paint, had no sooner entered the fort than they saw that their plot had failed. Soldiers and employés were armed and ready for action. Pontiac and his warriors, however, moved on, betraying no sign of surprise, and entered the council-room, where Gladwyn and his officers, all well armed, awaited them.

Map of Detroit

"Why," asked Pontiac, "do I see so many of my father's young men standing in the street with their guns?"

"To keep the young men from idleness," was the reply of the sagacious English commander.

The business of the council then began. Pontiac's speech was bold and menacing, and his gesticulation vehement. As the critical moment approached, and just as he was on the point of presenting the belt, and all was breathless expectation, Gladwyn gave a signal. The drums at the door of the council suddenly rolled the charge, the clash of arms was heard, and the officers drew their swords. Pontiac was brave, but this decisive proof that his plot was discovered completely disconcerted him. He delivered the belt in the usual manner, and the council then broke up. The gates were again opened, and the baffled savages withdrew.

Failing to capture the fort by stratagem, Pontiac next tried an open attack. A large war party of Ojibwas had joined him from Saginaw. Ottawas, Ojibwas, Potawatomies, and Wyandots, all had united, and came like an avalanche, yelling the warwhoop, naked, and painted for the fight. Sheltering themselves behind adjacent buildings, the Indians kept up an incessant fire for several hours. Some buildings within the fort were set on fire by their blazing arrows, but the flames were soon extinguished. Day after day they continued their attacks. No man of the beleaguered garrison lay down to sleep except in his clothes and with his weapons by his side. The two vessels in the river helped the defence, protecting by their fire the northern and southern faces of the works. The smaller one was despatched to Niagara for aid. Pontiac was determined to capture the fort, and omitted no means in his power to accomplish his purpose.



Under the pretence of pacific negotiations he decoyed Captain Campbell into his camp. This officer, who had formerly commanded the fort, was favorably known to the Indians. Unfortunately for him, in a sortie from the fort, an Ottawa of distinction had been killed. The nephew of this Indian avenged his death by killing Campbell—an act disavowed and regretted by Pontiac.

In order to compensate the French inhabitants of Detroit for the provisions he was forced to exact from them, Pontiac had recourse to a strange and novel, but successful expedient—one which reveals the native ability of the man. He issued promissory notes drawn on birch-bark, on which was a figure representing the article wanted, and signed with the figure of an otter, the totem or otter-graph of his family. These he is said to have faithfully redeemed. He kept two secretaries—one to write for him, the other to read the letters he received, and he managed to keep each in ignorance of what was done by the other.

A supply of provisions and ammunition despatched from Fort Niagara for the relief of the garrison of Detroit was waylaid and captured near the mouth of the Detroit River. As the long line of bateaux came in sight, it was welcomed by a gun from the fort. It was soon painfully evident, however, that the convoy was in the hands of the enemy. The boats were rowed by English prisoners. The foremost had arrived opposite the larger of the two vessels anchored in the stream, when the soldier who steered her conceived a daring plan of escape. He knew that death, perhaps by torture, was to be his fate, and he saw one chance for life.

Seizing the principal Indian, he endeavored to throw him overboard. A desperate struggle ensued; both were precipitated into the water, and went down together; the remaining Indians leaped out of the boat. The prisoners pulled for the vessel, shouting for aid, and were at once fired upon and hotly pursued. The light birch canoes of the savages gained rapidly upon them. One of the soldiers was hit by a bullet. Escape seemed hopeless, when a cannon-shot from the schooner skimmed along the surface of the water, narrowly missing the leading canoe. A second followed. This stopped the chase, and the fugitives reached the vessel in safety. The tortured and mangled corpses that floated past Detroit on the following day revealed the horrible fate which had befallen their fellow-soldiers. This surprise and capture was effected by the Wyandots.

A month later the vessel which had been despatched to Niagara reached Detroit after a perilous passage, bringing a reinforcement of sixty men, and the supplies, of which they were greatly in need. While lying becalmed in the narrowest part of the river, a few miles above the fort, the Indians had attempted her capture. The captain, expecting an attack, had kept all but twelve of his men concealed below, keeping a strict watch from the time the sun went down.



Hours passed, and the sentinels at length perceived dark objects moving upon the water. The men were quietly summoned from below, and noiselessly took their posts. The stroke of a hammer upon the mast was to be their signal to fire. When the Indians had approached sufficiently near, they were greeted with a sudden discharge of cannon and musketry, scattering death and destruction among them. Some of the canoes were sunk, and a number of the Indians were killed and wounded; the remainder fled in consternation to the shore. Some days later, with a favoring breeze, the vessel left her exposed position, sending a volley of grape into the Wyandot village as she passed, and finally anchored along-side of her companion at the fort.

Pontiac made a determined effort to destroy these vessels by means of burning rafts filled with combustibles. Three times it was tried, without success, and the attempt was then abandoned. Some of the Indians, weary of the siege, now came to the fort and begged for peace. Treaties were made with the Wyandots and the Potawatomies, the latter restoring all their captives. The Ottawas and Ojibwas obstinately continued the siege.

At the end of July, Captain Dalzell arrived, with a reinforcement of two hundred and eighty men, and having obtained the reluctant assent of Gladwyn, marched that night with a strong party to surprise Pontiac's camp. The plan was revealed by some Canadians, and the Indians prepared to receive him. A mile and a half from the fort, a creek, ever since called Bloody Run, descended through a wild and rough hollow, and was crossed at the road by a narrow wooden bridge. Beyond the bridge, intrenched and protected by strong picket-fences and wood-piles, the Indians lay in wait.

While crossing the bridge, the advanced guard of the English were met with a sudden and murderous discharge, which shot down one-half their number. Cheered on by Dalzell, the troops charged over the bridge and up the heights beyond, finding no foe but seeing the flashes of their guns, and losing men at every discharge. Some lost their way in the darkness. Captain Grant, with his company, recrossed the bridge, and made a stand in the road. They soon discovered that the Indians had gained their rear, and that instant retreat was necessary. This, after much hard fighting, was at length effected, mainly by the skill and valor of Dalzell and Grant, the second in command, who was severely wounded.

They had retreated half a mile when, reaching a point opposite an orchard and picket-fence, the Indians, who had gained their rear, rose from their hiding-places and poured a hot fire into their ranks. The troops were again thrown into confusion, but by the heroic efforts of Dalzell order was restored. Charging upon the Indians he dislodged them, putting them to flight, and then resumed his retreat.

At the same time Major Rogers, with a party of Rangers, drove the Indians from a Canadian house, and, occupying it with his men, covered the retreat. Some of the regulars followed him in. Furniture was placed against the windows, and through the openings they kept up an effectual fire upon their enemies, which was sharply returned. Rogers's party was now completely surrounded, the other troops having reached the fort. Two armed bateaux were despatched up the river from the fort, and, opening fire upon the savages, Rogers and his companions were enabled to effect their retreat.

In this action the English lost fifty-nine in killed and wounded. Captain Dalzell, who had been Putnam's companion in his campaign with the Rangers, and more recently aide-de-camp to General Amherst, was among the slain. He had displayed great bravery, but was shot down while heroically attempting to rescue a wounded soldier. The Indians were greatly elated at their success; Pontiac's force was soon largely augmented, and the siege was pressed with renewed vigor.

Nothing of importance occurred, however, until the night of September 4th, when a gallant feat was performed by the master and crew of the schooner Gladwyn.

She had been to Niagara with despatches, and was returning, having on board, besides the master and mate, a crew of ten men. That night, the wind failing, she anchored about nine miles below the fort. A vigilant watch was kept, but it was so dark that at a distance of a few rods nothing could be seen.

Three hundred and fifty Indians, in their birch canoes, gliding silently and swiftly down with the current, were close upon them when discovered. The bow gun was fired, but the Indians were soon clambering up the vessel's side, holding their knives between their teeth. The crew used their small-arms with effect, and then seizing the spears and hatchets with which they were provided, met the savages with such determined courage that in a minute or two they had killed and wounded more than twice their own number.

In this brief period, however, the master had been killed and several of the men wounded. The Indians were swarming over the bulwarks when Jacobs, the mate, called out,

"Blow up the schooner!"

Some of the Indians understood the words, gave the alarm to their companions, and instantly leaped overboard in a panic, all the others following their example, diving and swimming for the shore to escape the threatened explosion. They did not dare to renew the attack, and on the following morning the schooner reached the fort without molestation bringing a much needed supply of provisions. The survivors of the crew were each presented with a medal for their bravery.

This was the last important event of a siege whose long duration was a novelty in Indian warfare. On the approach of the hunting season the Indians dispersed, and although small parties hovered around, preventing the free egress of the garrison, yet the siege was virtually ended. Pontiac withdrew to the Maumee, intending to renew the war in the following spring.

A few insignificant log-forts, widely scattered and feebly garrisoned, upheld the claims of England to the vast domain beyond the Alleghanies. The smaller garrisons consisted of an ensign and perhaps a dozen men. The weakness of this military cordon shows how slight was the fear of an Indian uprising. Yet no sooner was it known that Detroit was besieged, than these posts were, one after another, assaulted by the Indians, and nine out of the twelve were captured.

Hostile Indians were discovered in the vicinity of Presque Isle in the middle of June. This fort stood near the site of the present city of Erie, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, and was commanded by Ensign Christie, a brave and gallant officer. At one of its angles was a large block-house, substantially built of massive timber, its upper story projecting several feet beyond the lower one.

Into this block-house the garrison retired early on the morning of June 15th, abandoning the main body of the fort. To protect the roof from fire, a partial opening at its summit permitted water to be poured down upon it. Unfortunately there was a high steep ridge within forty yards of it, affording a cover for assailants.

From this favorable point the Indians repeatedly succeeded in setting fire to the roof of the block-house, but the flames were as often extinguished by the heroic little garrison. Soon, however, their supply of water gave out, and with desperate energy they set to work digging a well within the block-house. Before a sign of water appeared the block-house was again on fire, when a soldier, at the risk of his life, ascended the roof and tore away the burning shingles, thus extinguishing it.

During the night the well was finished. It was just in time. An adjacent building was discovered to be in flames, and they were communicated to the block-house, a corner of which at length burst into a sheet of flame. Water was passed up from the well, and the fire was once more extinguished.

By midnight of the second day the men were completely exhausted by the long and desperate struggle. One of the enemy called out in French that further resistance was useless, as the fort had been undermined. Ensign Christie was assured that, if he would surrender, the garrison should be spared; if not, they would all be burned alive.

Hostilities were suspended till morning, when Christie delivered up the post he had so gallantly defended, on condition that he and his garrison should be allowed to depart unmolested. Notwithstanding this stipulation they were seized, and sent to an Ottawa village near Detroit. Christie soon afterwards made his escape to the fort.

The unfortunate officer who commanded at Sandusky was taken prisoner when that place was captured, and carried to the Ottawa village. He was beaten, and compelled to sing and dance all the way from the landing-place to the camp. The worst was to come. To cap the climax of his misery, he was compelled to take to wife an old squaw who had lost her husband.

One of these outlying posts was taken in so ingenious a way, and one which so well displays the Indian's talent for strategy and deception, that it merits particular notice.

On the margin of Lake Huron, at the northern extremity of Michigan, stood Fort Michilimackinac, a large square area with wooden bastions, surrounded by high palisades. As it was susceptible of successful defence, stratagem was necessarily resorted to for its capture.

A Jesuit mission had been established here in 1671. It soon became an important centre of the fur-trade with the distant regions of the Mississippi and the north-west. Beyond the fort was a group of white Canadian houses, with strong picket-fences around them. The fort was garrisoned by thirty-five men. Within the palisades some thirty families resided, and without there were as many more.

The Indians in the vicinity were the Ojibwas and Ottawas. Many of the latter lived in log-houses, and cultivated corn and vegetables. The Ojibwas were still in their original barbarous state. All these Indians were extremely hostile to the English, and had fought against them in the recent war. Their feelings towards them are clearly shown in the speech of time Ojibwa chief, Minnevana, to an English trader, Alexander Henry. Said he:

"Englishman, we are informed that our father, the King of France, is old and infirm, and that being fatigued with making war upon your nation he is fallen asleep. During his sleep you have taken advantage of him and possessed yourselves of Canada. But his nap is about at an end. I think I hear him already stirring, and inquiring for his children, the Indians; and when he does awake, what must become of you? He will destroy you utterly.

"Englishman, although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us. We are not your slaves. These lakes, these woods and mountains were left to us by our ancestors; they are our inheritance, and we will part with them to none.

"Englishman, our father, the King of France, employed our young men to make war upon your nation. In this warfare many of them have been killed, and it is our custom to retaliate until such time as the spirits of the slain are satisfied. This is done either by spilling the blood of the nation by which they fell, or by making presents.

"Englishman, your king has never sent us any presents, nor entered into any treaty with us, wherefore he and we are still at war; but for you, who came in peace to trade with us and supply our wants, we shall regard you as a brother, and you may sleep tranquilly, without fear of the Ojibwas."

This tribe, on hearing the news that Pontiac had begun the war, were wrought up to a high pitch of excitement, and determined to attack the fort without letting their neighbors, the Ottawas, know their design. Captain Etherington, the commander of the fort, received repeated warnings of his danger, but disregarded them all.

On the morning of June 4th, the king's birthday, the discipline of the garrison was somewhat relaxed, and many of the soldiers, without their arms, were outside the fort, watching a game of ball between the Ojibwas and the Sacs. The gates of the fort were open, and the officers themselves were witnessing the sport. A number of Canadian residents, traders, and fishermen, and many Indian squaws wrapped in blankets, were among the lookers-on. Indian chiefs and warriors were also apparently watching the game—in reality their thoughts were very differently occupied. Several bands of Ojibwas and Sacs who had recently arrived were encamped in the woods near by.

Fort Michilimackinac


In front, the field was filled with the players. The game, called baggattaway by the Ojibwas, and lacrosse by the Canadians, is an exciting one, and is a favorite with the tribes. A tall post at either extremity of the ground was the goal, or station, of the rival parties. The object of each was to drive the ball to the post of the opposing players. Each player had a bat about five feet long, with a hoop-net at the end large enough to hold the ball. All were nearly naked.

The game was opened, as usual, by the ball being thrown into the air by some disinterested person in the centre of the field, when the contest for its possession began. Sometimes, while struggling for the ball, the players would close together in a dense mass, then they would scatter over the field in pursuit of it, all the while yelling and shouting at the top of their voices. Pushing and tripping their antagonists, or throwing them down, they kept up the contest, the spectators applauding and enjoying it almost as much as the players.

Suddenly the ball was thrown towards the fort and fell near it. This was no accident, but a part of a prearranged plan for the surprise and capture of the fort. Rushing on as if for the ball, the noisy throng crowded through the gate-way, and were masters of the fort before the astonished garrison could realize the fact, or interfere to prevent them.

The terrible warwhoop was sounded. The warriors grasped the hatchets their squaws had hidden beneath their blankets. Some assailed the spectators without, others attacked those within, and massacred them without mercy. Etherington and Leslie, his lieutenant, were seized and borne off; a few escaped the carnage, but in a few minutes all was over.

Alexander Henry, who was an eye-witness, has left us an interesting account of this tragedy, and of his personal experiences during and after its occurrence.

An Indian named Wawaton had formed a strong friendship for him, and regarded him as a brother. A day or two before the capture of the fort, Wawaton paid him a visit, and urged him to accompany him on a journey. He came a second time, using every argument to persuade him, but without avail, and finally left him with a dejected countenance, even shedding tears. His urgency and the hints he dropped world have been more effectual if Henry had understood the Indian language better. Here is Henry's narrative of what followed:

"The morning of the 4th of June was sultry. A Chippewa came to tell me that his nation was going to play at baggattaway with the Sacs, another Indian nation, for a high wager. He invited me to witness the sport, adding that the commandant was to be there, and would bet on the side of the Chippewas. I did not go myself to see the match, because, there being a canoe prepared to depart on the following day for Montreal, I employed myself in writing letters to my friends. Suddenly I heard an Indian war-cry and a noise of general confusion.

"Going instantly to my window, I saw a crowd of Indians within the fort furiously cutting down and scalping every Englishman they found. In particular I noticed the fate of Lieutenant Jouette.

"I had in the room a fowling-piece loaded with swan shot. This I immediately seized, and waited to hear the drum beat to arms. In this dreadful interval I saw several of my countrymen fall, and more than one struggling between the knees of an Indian, who, holding him in this manner, scalped him while yet living.

At length, disappointed in the hope of seeing resistance made to the enemy, and sensible that no effort of mine could avail against four hundred Indians, I thought only of seeking shelter. Amid the slaughter that was raging I observed many of the Canadian inhabitants of the fort calmly looking on, neither opposing the Indians nor suffering injury, and from this circumstance I conceived a hope of finding security in their houses.

"Between the yard of my own house and that of Mr. Langlade, my neighbor, there was only a low fence, over which I easily climbed. I found the whole family at the windows, gazing at the scene of blood before them. I begged Mr. Langlade to put me in some place of safety until the heat of the affair should be over; but he, after looking a moment at me, turned again to the window, shrugging his shoulders, and intimating that he could do nothing for me. 'What,' said he, 'would you have me do?'

"This was a moment for despair; but the next, a Pani woman, a slave of Langlade's, beckoned to me to follow her. She took me to a door, which she opened, desiring me to enter, and told me that it led to the garret, where I could conceal myself. I joyfully followed her directions; she locked the garret door after me, and with great presence of mind took away the key.

"No long time elapsed before I heard some of the Indians enter the house in which I was. Through the flooring of single boards I could hear all that passed, and the Indians at once inquired if there were any Englishmen in the house. Langlade replied that 'he could not say, he did not know of any.' The Pani woman had kept my secret. Langlade, however, told them they might examine for themselves. Saying this, he brought them to the garret door.

"The state of my mind at this moment may readily be imagined. Some delay was occasioned by the absence of the key, and a few precious moments were thus allowed me in which to secrete myself. In one corner lay a heap of birch-bark vessels used in maple-sugar making.

"The door was unlocked and opened, and the Indians ascended the stairs before I had completely crept into a small opening which presented itself at one end of the heap. An instant after four Indians entered the room, all armed with tomahawks, and all besmeared with blood.

"I could scarcely breathe, and I thought the throbbing of my heart occasioned a noise loud enough to betray me. The Indians walked in every direction about the garret, and one of them approached me so nearly that, had he at a particular moment put forth his hand, he must have touched me. Still I remained undiscovered, a circumstance to which the dark color of my clothes and the want of light—there was no window—must have contributed. After taking several turns in the room, and informing Langlade how many they had killed and how many scalps they had taken, they returned downstairs, and I, with sensations not to be described, heard the door, which was the barrier between me and my fate, locked for the second time.

"This respite, however, was not of long duration. Next day Langlade, having ascertained my presence, and fearing for the safety of his family, delivered me into their hands. One of them, named Wenniway, whom I had previously known, and who was upward of six feet in height, had his entire face and body covered with grease and charcoal, with the exception of a white spot encircling either eye.

"This man, walking up to me, seized me with one hand by the collar of the coat, while with the other he held a large carving-knife, as if about to plunge it into my heart, his eyes meanwhile fixed steadfastly on mine. After some seconds of most anxious suspense he dropped his arm, saying, 'I won't kill you.' To this he added that he had been frequently engaged in wars against the English, and had brought away many scalps; that on one occasion he had lost a brother whose name was Musinigon, and that I should be called after him. At my request, as the Indians were all mad with liquor, Wenniway consented that I should for the present remain where I was.

"I had not been in my garret more than an hour when an Indian, whom I had seen before and who was in my debt, came to the house and ordered me to follow him to the Ojibwa camp, saying that Wenniway had sent him for me. I went, but instead of proceeding to the camp, the Indian turned in the direction of the woods. Suspecting treachery I refused to follow, and told him that I believed he meant to murder me, and that if so he might as well strike where he was as at any greater distance. He replied that he did intend to kill me, and to pay me in that manner for my goods.

"Then drawing his knife, he held me in a position to receive the intended blow. By a sudden effort I arrested his arm, and gave him a push by which I turned him from me, and released myself from his grasp. I then ran for the fort with all speed, the Indian following me, I expecting every moment to feel his knife. On entering the fort I saw Wenniway, and hastened to him for protection. He interfered, but the other still pursued. At last I succeeded in reaching Langlade's house, and he abandoned the chase."

Yet another freak of fortune was in store for our hero. He and other prisoners were being taken in canoes to Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, when, a thick fog coming on, they were compelled to keep close to the shore. At Fore Point, when within a few yards of the land and in shallow water, one hundred Ottawas suddenly rushed upon them from among the bushes and dragged them to the shore with terrific shouts.

"No sooner, however, were we fairly on our legs," says Henry, "than the chiefs of the party advanced, and, giving us their hands, told us they were Ottawas, and friends whom the Ojibwas had insulted by destroying the English without consulting them. The truth was they felt aggrieved at losing such a glorious opportunity for plunder. Soon we were embarked again in the canoes of the Ottawas, who relanded us at Michilimackinac and took possession of the fort.

"Though we had changed masters, we were still prisoners and were strictly guarded. A council was held, the Ottawas were conciliated by presents, and we were once more in the hands of the Ojibwas, who declared that they intended 'to make broth of us.'"

Henry's suspense, however, was soon to end. His friend and brother Wawaton now appeared, claimed him as a brother, and enforced his claim by a quantity of goods with which to satisfy his captors. It appeared that Wawaton, before leaving the fort, had received the promise of Minnevana, the great war-chief, to protect Henry, and that the chief, at the moment of the assault, had sent his son to find him and bring him to his lodge. The son went, but did not succeed in finding him. After numerous other adventures Henry reached Montreal in safety, and resided there until his death, in 1824.

The fury of the Indians was not limited to the attack of stockades; they devastated the borders of Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia, killing and carrying into captivity two thousand persons. A thrifty and independent population was suddenly reduced to beggary and despair.

In July, Colonel Henry Bouquet, with five hundred men, marched to the relief of Fort Pitt, which had been beleaguered since May. It had been attacked with great spirit by the savages, who endeavored to set it on fire with lighted combustibles attached to arrows, and who, with their rifles, kept up a constant discharge at the troops from under cover of the bank of the Alleghany River.

Captain Ecuyer, the commander of the fort, when summoned by the savages to surrender, was assured that if he would retreat to Carlisle they would protect him from some bad Indians in the neighborhood who thirsted for his blood; but if he stayed they would not be responsible for the consequences. Ecuyer, who fully comprehended Indian duplicity, thanked them for their "truly disinterested advice," but told them that "he did not care a straw for bad Indians, and meant to stay where he was; but," he added, "an army of six thousand pale-faces is now on the way hither, and another of three thousand has just gone up the lakes to annihilate Pontiac, so you had better be off. I have told you this in acknowledgment of your friendly counsels to me, but don't whisper it to those bad Indians, for fear that they should run away from our deadly vengeance." Though there was no truth in this story, it had its effect upon the Indians.

A Swiss by birth, Henry Bouquet began his military career when a boy. He was active, courageous, and faithful, and had acquired a practical knowledge of Indian warfare. His present undertaking—a march of two hundred miles, through a wilderness filled with hostile savages—was one of great difficulty and danger, and his force seemed hardly sufficient for the purpose. Only a few years before, Braddock, in a similar attempt, with four times as many men, had met with an overwhelming disaster.

Bouquet's order of march was as follows: In the advance were the Provincial rangers, closely followed by pioneers, who, with their axes, cleared the way. The wagons and cattle were in the centre, guarded in front, flank, and rear by the regulars. Another body of rangers guarded the rear. The riflemen, acting as scouts, ranged through the woods far in front and on either flank. In this order, through the heats of July, they toiled up the Alleghanies, and relieved the besieged posts at Bedford and Ligonier.

When Bouquet arrived within twenty-five miles of Fort Pitt, he was attacked at a place called Bushy Penn by a large body of Indians, and a severe battle was fought, lasting two days. On the second day, when the troops, exhausted, dispirited, and distressed to the last degree by the total want of water, were about to give way, and the Indians, confident of success, were pressing them more closely, redoubling their yells and war-cries—at this moment, when all seemed lost, their commander, a cool and experienced veteran, by a successful stratagem, changed the fortune of the day.

Withdrawing a part of his force from the front, he gave the Indians the impression that he was about to retreat. Leaping from their hiding-places, they rushed with fierce yells upon the thin line of English, and were on the point of breaking into the camp, when suddenly the troops that had been removed appeared upon their flank, and, after pouring in a well-directed fire, fell upon them with the bayonet. A similar movement, performed at the same moment by two companies upon the other flank, put the savages to flight. They were closely pursued by the troops, who gave them no time to rally or reload their rifles, and many of them slain. The loss of the English in this severe conflict was eight officers and one hundred and fifteen men.

On this occasion the Indians displayed great firmness and intrepidity, but these qualities were more than counterbalanced by the steadiness and courage of the English. A few days later Fort Pitt was relieved.

In the following campaign two armies were marched from different points into the heart of the Indian country. Bouquet advanced from Fort Pitt into the Delaware and Shawnee settlements of the Ohio valley, while Colonel Bradstreet passed up the lakes and penetrated the region beyond Detroit. The latter failed to accomplish anything of consequence, the former succeeded in overawing the hostile tribes, and compelled them to sue for peace and restore all their captives.

In conducting this expedition to a successful termination, Bouquet showed himself well acquainted with the Indian character, and fully equal to the task of impressing them strongly with his ability to chastise them in case they attempted to cajole or deceive him, as they several times attempted to do. Seeing the kind of man with whom they had to deal, they had no alternative but to submit. He told them plainly that their excuses were frivolous, and their conduct indefensible, that they were all in his power, and that he could exterminate them, but that the English were a merciful and generous people, and that if they sincerely repented of their past perfidy and behaved well in future they might hope for mercy and peace. As a reward for his important services, Bouquet received the thanks of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, and the rank of brigadier-general from the King.

Captives restored


The return of the English captives and the meeting of husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, who had long been separated, and many of whom were supposed to be dead, presented a scene of thrilling interest. Even the Indians, taught from infancy to repress all outward signs of emotion, could not wholly conceal their sorrow at parting with their adopted relatives and friends. They shed tears over them, and earnestly besought for them the care and protection of the commanding officer. They offered them furs and choice articles of food, and even asked leave to follow the army home, that they might hunt for the captives and supply them with better food than that provided for the soldiers. The Indian women filled the camp with their lamentations and wailing both night and day.

A tinge of romance is thrown around this remarkable scene. One young warrior had become so much attached to a Virginia maiden among the captives that he called her his wife, and persisted in following her to the frontier at the risk of his life.

There was a darker side to this impressive picture. Among the Virginians and Pennsylvanians in Bouquet's army were many who had joined in the hope of recovering their lost loved ones. While some were filled with joy and rapture, others with anxious and troubled looks were flying from place to place, with eager inquiries after relatives and friends, trembling to receive the answer to their questions, distracted with doubts, hopes, and fears, on obtaining no news of those they sought for, or stiffened into living monuments of horror and woe on learning their unhappy fate.

At the delivery of the captives a Shawnee chief addressed Bouquet as follows:

"Father," said the chief, "we have brought your flesh and blood to you. They have all been united to us by adoption, and although we now deliver them, we will always look upon them as our relatives whenever the Great Spirit is pleased that we may visit them. We have taken as much care of them as if they were our own flesh and blood. They are now become unacquainted with your customs and manners, and we therefore request you to use them tenderly and kindly, which will induce them to live contentedly with you."

What a pang must have invaded that mother's breast who recognized her child, only to find it clinging more closely to its Indian mother, her own claims wholly forgotten? Some of the children had lost all remembrance of their former home, and resisted when handed over to their relatives. Some of the young women had married Indian husbands, and with their children were unwilling to return to the settlements. Indeed several of them had become so strongly attached to their Indian lords and to their mode of life that they made their escape and returned to the wigwams of their husbands.

One old woman sought her daughter, who had been carried off nine years before. She discovered her, but the girl, who had almost forgotten her native tongue, did not recognize her, and she bitterly complained that the child she had so often sung to sleep on her knee had forgotten her in her old age. Bouquet, whose humane heart had been deeply touched by this scene, suggested an expedient:

"Sing the song you used to sing to her when a child."

The mother sung, the child's attention was instantly fixed, a flood of tears proclaimed the awakened memories, and the long lost child was restored to the mother's arms.

Pontiac endeavored, but in vain, to secure the assistance of the French in his efforts to continue the war. In the spring of 1766 he made a treaty with Sir William Johnson at Oswego, and submitted to the English, renouncing forever the great scheme he had so long meditated. His death occurred at Cahokia, where he was murdered by an Illinois Indian, who, it is said, was bribed with a keg of whiskey by an English trader to commit the deed. This murder, which aroused the vengeance of all the tribes friendly to Pontiac, brought about the successive wars and almost total annihilation of the Illinois nation. The dead chieftain was buried with the honors of war by his friend, St. Ange, the French commandant of St. Louis.

The Indians Take Part with the Mother Country against Her American Colonies

In the fifteen years that had elapsed since the fall of Canada, England had succeeded in transferring to herself the attachment that the tribes formerly had for France. They were therefore quite ready to lift the hatchet at her bidding against her rebellious colonies, understanding nothing of the nature of the controversy between them, and looking upon the contest as only a family quarrel between father and son, in which the father was undoubtedly in the right, and that, being the stronger, he would surely prevail.

It mattered little to the Indian whether king or congress governed the colonies, but his aid was required by the mother country, and in spite of the indignant protest of the great Earl Chatham in the House of Lords, the cruel and barbarous policy of employing him was adopted. Once more the tomahawk and scalping-knife were let loose upon the defenceless frontier settlements.

Congress made every effort to conciliate the tribes and secure their neutrality. They were visited by active and influential agents, who made use of every possible means for this object. They could effect but little. The Oneidas, the Tuscaroras, and the Mohicans, were the only tribes whose friendship they succeeded in retaining.

Fort Niagara, where Sir John Johnson, the son and successor of Sir William, had established the head-quarters of the Indian department, was, from its central location, the most eligible point from which the western tribes, the Chippewas, Ottawas, and others, could be effectively employed against the Americans. This fortress, erected by Denonville where La Salle had originally built a palisade, stood on the narrow promontory round which the Niagara pours its waters into the lower lake. It commanded the portage between Ontario and Erie, and controlled the fur-trade of the West. It at once became the seat of the royal influence, where marauding, plundering, and scalping parties were organized, supplied, and equipped. Hither also were brought the prisoners to pass the terrible ordeal of the gauntlet, and here also was paid the reward for the scalps of the victims.

Fort Niagra


Though in to way connected with the American Revolution, the battle of Point Pleasant, occurring just before its commencement, demands attention as one of the most severe and closely contested engagements ever fought between the red and white races.

The beautiful Ohio valley had just been explored, the axe of the pioneer was beginning to be heard, and emigration was rapidly pouring into the inviting region west of the Alleghanies. But the fierce Shawnees maintained a deadly hostility to this advanced guard of civilization. Between this tribe and the Delawares and Mingoes there was an ancient and a close affinity. These tribes, unwilling to give up their best lands with out a struggle, were still further alienated from the white settlers by murders and other outrages perpetrated upon them by lawless white men. Twelve Indians had been killed and a number wounded, about forty miles above Wheeling, by a party of these led by Daniel Greathouse.

In the summer of 1774, Logan, whom these murders had turned from a fast friend to a deadly foe of the whites, came suddenly upon the Monongahela settlements, and retaliated upon them the slaughter of his family and friends.

This celebrated chief, though allied by marriage to the Shawnees, was by birth an Iroquois. Shikellimo, his father, was a Cayuga chief, residing at Shamokin, on the banks of the Susquehanna. Here Logan, whose Indian name was Tah-ga-yu-ta, was born about the year 1725. Physically and mentally he was a noble specimen of his race. He was brave, manly, generous, and high-minded. The white men began war upon him without provocation. Maddened by the barbarity of which he was the victim, he added scalp to scalp from the treacherous pale faces, until the number was thirteen, equaling that of the Indian victims. "Now," said the chief, "I am satisfied for the loss of my relations, and will sit still."

From June to September the most sanguinary scenes were enacted along the border. To put a stop to them, General Andrew Lewis, with one thousand one hundred Virginians, marched to the mouth of the Kenawha, where he was to join another division of the army under Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia. Here he found himself opposed by a large body of Delawares, Iroquois, Shawnees, and Wyandots, under their most noted chiefs (among whom was Logan), and led by the able and brave Shawnee chief, Cornstalk.

The presence of the Indians was discovered soon after sunrise, and Colonel Charles Lewis and Colonel Fleming were ordered to reconnoitre the ground where they were seen. This at once brought on an engagement. The Virginia riflemen occupied a triangular point of land between the right bank of the Kenawha and the left bank of the Ohio, accessible only from the rear. Like their opponents, the reconnoitring force sheltered itself behind trees, but the Indians were more than a match for them. The struggle was severe. Soon Colonel Lewis was mortally wounded, and his troops were broken and gave way. Colonel Fleming, who advanced along the shore of the Ohio, was severely wounded, but his men held their position until the reserve under Colonel Field reached the ground.

The Indians then slowly fell back, disputing the ground with the obstinacy of veterans till one o'clock, when they reached a strong position. They had taken the precaution to erect a rough breastwork of logs and brush, extending from river to river, behind which they took refuge, the Virginians being enclosed in the apex of the triangle in their front. Here both parties rested, keeping up a desultory fire along a front of a mile and a quarter. The Indian plan of attack was well conceived, for if they had been victorious not a Virginian could have escaped. Warriors had been stationed on both sides of the river to prevent any from escape by swimming.

Finally a flank attack by three companies under Isaac Shelby, afterwards the hero of King's Mountain, George Mathews, and John Stewart, who had succeeded in reaching unobserved a point in their rear, compelled the enemy to withdraw, and ended a contest which had lasted till sunset.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


Neither party could justly claim the victory in this sanguinary battle. During its continuance the gigantic Cornstalk encouraged his warriors with the cry, "Be strong! be strong!" The Virginians had half their commissioned officers and fifty-two men killed. The Indian loss was said to have been two hundred and thirty-three, killed and wounded.

After the battle all the prominent Indian actors in the war except Logan presented themselves at Lord Dunmore's camp at the Chillicothe towns, on the Scioto, to treat for peace. Logan, from his retirement, sent to Dunmore by an interpreter the following well-known address, unsurpassed for its eloquence and pathos:

"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, 'Logan is the friend of white men.' 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 my women and children.

"There runs 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!"

Logan was wrong in attributing the massacre to Cresap; it was the wretched work of men of a very different stamp.

Among the many anecdotes of Logan's kindness of heart and honorable dealing we select the following:

On one occasion he laid a wager for a trial of skill in marksmanship with a frontiersman, at a dollar a shot. Logan lost four or five shots with entire composure and suavity of manners. When the contest was over he brought from his lodge as many deerskins—then valued at a dollar each—as he had lost shots. The victor declined taking them, saying he was Logan's guest, and that the match had been merely a trial of skill and nerve, and not designed for gain. "No," said Logan, with dignity, "I wagered to make you do your best in shooting. My word is true. Had you lost, I should have taken your dollars; but as I have lost, you shall take my skins."

On another occasion he overheard a mother regretting the want of a pair of shoes for her little daughter, who was just beginning to walk. When he was ready to return to his wigwam, which was not far distant, Logan came and asked the mother to let him take the child with him. Confiding in his known character she consented, though with mingled feelings of trust and anxiety. This was in the morning, and the day wore away with many yearnings in the mother's heart at the long absence of her child. Just before sunset Logan reappeared, leading the little girl, who exhibited on her tiny feet a pair of beautifully wrought moccasins—the work of Logan's Lands.

For two years the Revolutionary War had been going on without much active participation on the part of the Indians. The campaign of 1777, which had for its object the cutting off New England from the other colonies, brought them to the front. At the beginning of August General Burgoyne had penetrated from Canada to the Hudson. His junction with Sir Henry Clinton, who held New York and the Hudson as far up as Peekskill, would have given to Great Britain the key to the military situation.

Burgoyne was proud of his management of the Indians, of whom he had detachments from seventeen tribes. On the 3rd of August they brought in twenty scalps and as many captives, and Burgoyne praised their activity. The Ottawas wished to return home, but on the 5th of August he took a pledge front all the warriors to stay through the campaign. After the lost battle of September 19th they melted away from him like snow beneath the summer sun. The murder of the beautiful Miss McCrea, the affianced bride of a British officer, by a party of Burgoyne's Indians, about this time, sent a thrill of horror throughout the civilized world.

Fort Stanwix, a frontier post at the head of the Mohawk River, the site of the flourishing village of Rome, New York, was the sole remaining barrier to the invader. It had been built to oppose the French in 1753, and was being repaired when a picked body of British, Canadians, and Indians, commanded by Colonel Barry St. Leger, a skilful and intelligent British officer, appeared before it. Its garrison consisted of seven hundred and fifty men, commanded by Colonel Gansevoort, a brave soldier who had accompanied Montgomery to Quebec. His lieutenant-colonel was Marinus Willett, who had earned a reputation in the French war twenty years before. St. Leger, too, had served in Canada, and had learned the habits of the Indians and their mode of warfare. He entertained no doubt that the garrison would surrender at discretion.

General Burgoyne


With St. Leger was Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), chief of the Mohawks. He had been active in arraying the Six Nations on the side of King George, and only the Oneidas and Tuscaroras had refused to follow his lead.

Brant was now thirty-five years of age, tall, spare, and active—an ideal Indian—with the added advantages of a good English education and a training in the family of Sir William Johnson. He had recently been in London, where he was lionized, and while there had offered the services of the Six Nations to the King to help subdue his rebellions colonies. Brant's abilities were of a high order. He had been constantly rising in the esteem of his people, until he had attained the position of their ruler, and his influence over them was almost unlimited.

The Canadians and Loyalists were commanded by Sir John, the son of the distinguished Sir William Johnson, who had inherited his father's vast landed estates, but not his abilities. He held a commission as colonel in the British army, and one of his objects was to reclaim his confiscated estate and to resume his almost baronial sway.

General Burgoyne


"It was a calm and beautiful morning," says Schoolcraft, "when the enemy took up their line of march from Wood Creek. The intervening ground was an open plain of wide extent, most elevated towards its central and southern edge. Gansevoort's men were paraded on the ramparts, watching for the approach of the foe. Music was soon heard; the scarlet color of the British uniforms next showed itself. Their standards, taken from their cases that morning, were waving in the breeze. To many of Gansevoort's men who were newly enlisted the scene was novel. A few were veterans of the Old French War, some were mere lads. The Indians, spreading out on the flanks, gave the scene an air of picturesqueness not unmixed with terror, for their loud yells were heard above the British drum and bugle."

Fort Schuyler


St. Leger's force, one thousand seven hundred strong, completely invested the fort, but his artillery could make no impression upon the sod-work of its walls. The garrison had little ammunition, but were determined to hold out to the last. The striped flag which had been hastily made, partly out of a camlet cloak, was duly displayed, and not a man quailed before the enemy.

Meantime the settlers in the Mohawk Valley, perceiving their danger, gathered at Fort Dayton, and under the lead of General Nicholas Herkimer, a brave old German, marched against the enemy. At Oriskany, ten miles from Fort Stanwix, this brave but undisciplined body of militia, neglecting to take proper precautions in the presence of a wily enemy, fell into a trap which Brant had skilfully laid for them. One thousand two hundred picked men, including all the Indians and most of Johnson's Tortes, lay in and around the ravines at Oriskany in the early morning.

Colonel St. Leger


Herkimer, who counselled a little delay in order that reinforcements might reach him, as he was to attack a force much larger than his own, was called a coward and a Tory. These taunts determined him to go forward. At ten o'clock his men were passing a deep ravine, through thick woods, when suddenly the forest became alive. Rifles flashed from behind every tree. Hatchet in hand, and bedecked with war paint, the Indians rushed upon the brave band, and, separating the rear-guard from the main body, cut it in pieces, and seized the supply train destined for the fort.

In the next ravine Herkimer rallied his men. Back to back, shoulder to shoulder, they faced the foe. Where two could stand together, one loaded while the other fired. Often the fight grew closer; patriot and Tory grappled with each other in deadly conflict, and the knife ended the desperate personal encounter. Herkimer, early wounded and his horse shot under him, sat on his saddle beneath a beech-tree, calmly smoking a pipe while ordering the battle. When urged to retire from a place of such danger, he replied,

Joseph Brant


"I will face the enemy." His calm heroism in this crisis of danger and disaster was of the utmost importance in keeping his men steady.

Against these German farmers, in their homespun garments, were pitted Johnson's "Greens," well equipped and uniformed in their gay color, the Hessian chasseurs, ranking among the best soldiers in Europe, with picked men of British and Canadian regiments, and the fierce warriors of the Iroquois. The brave farmers fought so well that an Indian chief afterwards said, in speaking of the battle:

"Me no want to fight Dutch Yankees any more."

After a five hours' conflict the Indians raised their cry of retreat, "Oonah! Oonah!" Johnson heard the firing of a sortie from the fort, and the British fell back. Herkimer and his brave men held the ground. In this sanguinary action the Americans lost two hundred killed—one-fourth of their whole force. A much larger number were either wounded or made prisoners.

The Indians lost one hundred of their bravest warriors, and the Tory loss was considerable.

Peter Ganseyvoort


The wounded Americans were all brought off by their comrades. On a litter of boughs they bore the shattered form of the sturdy old general to his home, where he died (August 6th), after suffering the amputation of his leg.

During the engagement a successful sortie was made from the fort by Colonel Willett, who captured two of the besiegers' camps, in which he found five British flags. Twenty-one wagon-loads of clothing, provisions, and ammunition were also captured. Sixteen days later the rumored advance of General Arnold caused St. Leger to precipitately abandon the siege.

Arnold had spread in advance the rumor of his approach. He also sent to St. Leger's camp a half-witted royalist, Hon Yost Schuyler, to exaggerate his numbers and his speed. Hon Yost told St. Leger that he had been hotly pursued and had narrowly escaped, exhibiting, in proof of his assertion, his coat, which he had perforated with bullet-holes. Some Oneidas friendly to the Americans also came to St. Leger's camp in hot haste, telling him that Burgoyne was cut to pieces, and that Arnold, with three thousand men, was close by. Speaking the Mohawk language fluently, Hon Yost advised the Indians to fly instantly. A panic and a perfect stampede among them was the result.

Herkimer directs battle


St. Leger quarrelled with Johnson, and the Indians had to make peace between them. Finding that the Indians were plundering his camp and leaving for home, St. Leger quitted it, leaving his tents, with most of his artillery and stores, spoils to the garrison. His men threw away their packs in their fright, and the flight became a disgraceful rout.

Serious as was the blow inflicted upon the patriotic farmers of the valley, their heroism was fruitful of good to the patriot cause. St. Leger's failure was a grievous disappointment to Burgoyne. Stark's success at Bennington occurred at the same time, and the combined effect of these two misfortunes rendered Burgoyne's grand scheme abortive, and paved the way for his ultimate defeat and capture.

Battle-field at Oriskany


Early in the summer of 1775, the inhabitants of the beautiful Wyoming Valley became alarmed at the movements of the Indians and Tories upon the upper waters of the Susquehanna. Atrocities had been perpetrated in the neighborhood of Tioga, and the Tories who had left the valley were in constant communication with those who remained.

Six stockades or forts were being erected by the people. Aged men, exempt by law from duty, were formed into companies to garrison them, while the whole of the militia were in constant requisition as scouts and guards. The attention of Congress had been frequently called to the danger menacing this exposed frontier. Nearly all its able-bodied men were away serving in the Continental army. Such was the condition of Wyoming when the Tory and Indian expedition was being prepared for its destruction.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


Towards the last of June, Colonel John Butler, the commanding officer at Fort Niagara, organized an expedition to the Susquehanna, composed of three hundred Tories and about five hundred Indians, of various tribes. Entering the valley from the west, through a notch not far from the famous Dial Rock, they killed three men near Fort Jenkins. The inhabitants had made such preparation as they could to withstand the foe. A company of forty or fifty soldiers and a few militia composed the military force with which to oppose the enemy. Old men, boys, and even women seized such weapons as were at hand. Colonel Zebulon Butler, an officer of the Continental army, who happened to be at home, was made commander-in-chief. Forty Fort, so called from the first forty Yankee pioneers of Wyoming, was made the place of rendezvous, and thither the women and children fled for safety.

A council of war was held in the fort, the surrender of which was demanded. The alternative presented was either to fight or to submit to the tender mercies of the Indians and the more savage Tories. Colonel Zebulon Butler and the other leaders counselled delay, hoping for the arrival of reinforcements. To the majority prompt action seemed necessary, and they, bravely, but rashly, decided to march out and give battle to the invaders.

Benedict Arnold


The plucky little American force, three or four hundred strong, approached and attacked the enemy's lines about four o'clock, the afternoon being extremely hot, advancing a step at each fire. Soon the enemy's left began to give way, but it was supported by the Indians, who kept up a galling fire. For half an hour this contest with greatly superior numbers was gallantly maintained, when the Indians succeeded in flanking Colonel Denison. His order to fall back was mistaken for an order to retreat, and the whole body fled in confusion.

Riding along the line, exposed to the fire of the contending parties, regardless of danger, the American leader besought his troops to remain firm.

"Don't leave me, my children," he exclaimed, "and the victory is ours!" All that brave and devoted officers could do was done by Butler and Denison, but it was too late; some fled to the fort, and some to Monocacy Island, nearly a mile distant.

A scene of horror ensued. The poet Campbell has faintly outlined its savage terrors in his "Gertrude of Wyoming," but no pen however gifted, no imagination however vivid, could adequately portray such a scene. Only sixty escaped the rifle, the tomahawk, and the scalping-knife. The prisoners were either tortured, or butchered in cold blood. Colonel Butler escaped to Wilkesbarre. Forty Fort was surrendered next day by Colonel Denison, there being no hope of a successful defence; but the terms of the capitulation were soon violated, the Indians having before night plundered the few remaining inhabitants and burned the abandoned dwellings. The village of Wilkesbarre was also burned, and the terrified villagers fled to the mountains. Except the few who gathered about the fort at Wilkesbarre, the ruined settlement was wholly abandoned by its former inhabitants and long remained deserted. Terribly as the valley had suffered, it continued to be harassed and devastated by the savage foe until peace was finally proclaimed.

Tryon County, New York, was also made a scene of desolation and misery. In June, Brant and his warriors burned the settlement of Springfield. In July, Wyoming, as we have seen, was desolated, and the valley of the Cobleskill laid waste. A little later the Schoharie Valley was ravaged by the Indians and Tories, and early in September the extensive and populous settlement of the German Flats was burned by Brant.

To the Indian, each foot of the surrounding country was familiar ground. Behind him stretched the illimitable forest into which he could retreat when he had struck his blow. He fought for his home and his hunting-ground, while the Tory, the bloodier of the two, had no motive but revenge. What the patriotic people of this devoted county suffered can never be known. Of her population, one-third were Tories, who went over to the enemy. Of those remaining, one-half were either driven from the country or died by violence. At the close of the war it contained three hundred widows and two thousand orphans.

Cherry Valley, near the head-waters of the Susquehanna, its most important settlement, was an object of hatred to both Indian and Tory. The people of the surrounding country had early flocked hither for safety. A small fortification had been thrown up around the walls of Colonel Campbell's residence, on a side hill commanding a full view of the valley. A fort was constructed in the town a little later.

Once already it had narrowly escaped. Early in May, Brant had planned a descent upon the settlement, having been informed that it was then unguarded. Stealthily approaching through the forest with his hostile band, he gained undiscovered the summit of a neighboring hill. Looking down, he beheld, to his utter consternation, a company of soldiers parading on the Green in front of Colonel Campbell's house. Satisfied that he had been deceived, he abandoned the attack. He learned the truth at a later day. The doughty warriors, whose appearance had so surprised him, proved to be a company of boys—the children of the settlement—decked out in paper hats and armed with wooden swords and guns. Though trivial in itself, this little incident yet serves to light up the dark background of the tragedy to come.

Walter Butler, son of the Tory colonel, John Butler, had been sentenced to be shot as a spy, but, unfortunately, through the intercession of friends, his life was spared and he was imprisoned at Albany. Escaping thence in the summer of 1775, he joined his father at Niagara. Thirsting for revenge, he planned an expedition against the settlement at Cherry Valley, and obtained the command of two hundred of his father's Tory rangers and the aid of five hundred Indians under Brant.

The fort was garrisoned by two hundred and fifty Massachusetts troops under Colonel Ichabod Alden. This officer received a despatch from Fort Schuyler informing him of the intended attack, but he treated the information with unconcern, and even refused to permit the alarmed inhabitants to remove within the fort. He did send out scouting parties on the 9th of November.

Alden's quarters were outside the fort. Early on the following morning the Indians were upon him. The advance consisted mainly of Senecas, the most untamed and blood-thirsty of the Six Nations. Realizing the danger at last, Alden fled towards the fort. Behind him followed a fleet-footed savage with uplifted tomahawk. Several times Alden turned and snapped a pistol at his pursuer, but the treacherous weapon failed him. At length the fort was nearly gained, and its doors stood open for his reception, when the Indian's tomahawk, hurled with unerring aim, cleft his skull.

As the assailants had no cannon the fort was not taken, the several attacks made upon it being repulsed. Outside the fort, however, the country was laid waste. The victims of the massacre numbered forty-eight; sixteen of them were Continental soldiers, the rest were mostly women and children. The Indians relieved themselves of their prisoners by humanely sending them back on the following morning.

The bravery of one man at Cherry Valley excited the admiration even of the savages. Captain Cannon, an old sea-captain from the north of Ireland, and a member of the Committee of Safety, was visiting his daughter whose husband was absent. As he was the only man present, except some negro slaves, he knew that a defence of the house would be useless, and would only endanger the lives of those intrusted to his care. But resolving to sell his life as dearly as possible, he sallied forth with a stock of muskets and a negro boy to load, and took post behind a tree which stood below the house.

As the Indians approached, he poured into them a rapid fire, until a bullet in the leg brought him to the ground. When the Indians rushed up they found the force which had opposed their progress consisted of one old man. Happily he was recognized, and his rank, together with admiration for his gallantry, saved his life. The house was then surrounded and the women and children taken prisoners.

A righteous retribution overtook the Tory leader, "the infamous Walter Butler." He lost his life in the rout which followed the battle of Johnstown. Swimming his horse across a creek, he turned to bid defiance to his pursuers. An Oneida Indian who, like a sluthhound, had followed his track, with a rifle-ball brought him wounded to the ground. Casting aside gun and blanket, the Indian plunged into the stream and swarm across. Butler begged piteously for mercy. The Oneida, brandishing his tomahawk, replied in broken English, Sherry Valley! Remember Sherry Valley!" and then cleft the wretch's skull.

Meantime a brilliant blow had been struck in the north-west. Colonel George Rogers Clarke, with a small force of Virginians, had surprised and captured the British posts at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. He had long seen that the possession of Detroit and other Western posts gave the British easy access to the Indian tribes of the north-west, and that their capture would neutralize the power of those savages and render our frontier vastly more secure.

Clarke found great difficulty in raising men for the expedition, the Kentuckians having their own settlements to protect from Indian attack. The march was a long and difficult one, much of it through a wilderness. Fortunately for the success of his enterprise, the news of the alliance of France with the colonies had just been received, insuring for him the co-operation of the French and Indians of Illinois and the lakes. The victory was complete. Not a drop of blood was spilled.

The pacification of the Indians next occupied Clarke's attention. In this difficult task he displayed great tact and ability. He never loaded them with presents, nor manifested the slightest fear of them. He always waited for them to make the first advances, and after they had concluded their speeches and thrown away the bloody wampum sent them by the English, would coldly tell them that he would give them an answer on the following day, at the same time cautioning them against shaking hands with the Americans, as peace was not yet concluded. Next day the Indians would come to hear the answer of the "Big Knife," as they called Clarke, which they always found firm and decided.

An instance of his sagacity in dealing with the red men is seen in his treatment of a party of Meadow Indians who, while attending a council, tried to surprise and murder Clarke and his officers in their quarters. Their plot was discovered, and some of their chiefs were put in irons and daily brought to the council-house, where he whom they proposed to kill was constantly engaged in forming friendly relations with their red brethren.

At length when they had been sufficiently impressed by this scene, their irons were taken off, and the American commander, with quiet scorn, said to them,

"Your lives are justly forfeited, but you are not warriors, only old women, and too mean to be killed by the 'Big Knife.' Provisions shall be given you for your journey home, as women don't know how to hunt, and during the remainder of your stay you shall be treated in every respect as squaws."

The astonished red men, who were prepared for anger but not for contempt, felt keenly the degradation thus inflicted upon them. They consulted together, and presently a chief came forward with a belt and pipe of peace, which, with suitable words, he laid upon the table. Lifting a sword which lay before him, the American shattered the offered pipe, with the cutting expression that he "did not treat with women."

Clark, George Rogers


Two of their young men then came forward and, covering their heads with their blankets, offered their lives as an atonement for the misdeeds of their relatives. For a time deep silence prevailed, broken only by the deep breathing of those whose lives thus hung by a thread. Presently Clarke arose and bade the young men to be uncovered and stand up. "I am glad to find," said he, "that there are men among all nations. With you, who alone are fit to be chiefs, I am willing to treat; through you I am ready to grant peace to your brothers. I take you by the hands as chiefs, worthy of being such." The éclat  of this occurrence made the name of the white chief famous far and wide through the north-west.

Vincennes having been retaken by a British force under Lieutenant-colonel Hamilton, Clarke at once organized an expedition which resulted in its recapture. Hamilton was intending to retake Kaskaskia also early the next spring. In a letter to Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, Clarke wrote: "I knew that if I did not take him he would take me."

This was a memorable exploit—one that tested the ability of the commander and the endurance of the men to the very utmost. The winter was exceedingly wet, and all the streams and lowlands of that region were overflowed.

After inexpressible hardships the small army of one hundred and seventy men reached the Wabash, the low bottoms of which were covered with water three or four feet deep. Rain had fallen nearly every day. Here they were to have found a boat with supplies, but there were no signs of it, and the troops were in an exhausted, destitute, and starving condition. Up to this point they had borne their hardships with great fortitude, but now the spirits of many began to flag.

There was a little relief to this sombre picture. One of the party was an Irishman who could sing many comic songs, and as the men waded with the water up to their waists, the Irishman sitting upon his big drum, which easily floated him, entertained the half-perishing troops with his comical musical performances.

At the beginning of the last day's march, the colonel reconnoitring in advance found the water up to his neck. His men read disappointment in his looks and were themselves greatly disturbed. "Seeing their confusion," he says, "I whispered to those near me to do as I did. Immediately I put some water on my head, poured on powder, blackened my face, gave the warwhoop, and marched into the water without saying a word. The party gazed, and fell in one after another, like a flock of sheep. I ordered those near me to sing a favorite song of theirs; it soon passed through the line, and the whole party went on cheerfully.

"I now intended to have them transported across the deepest part of the water, but when about waist deep one of the men informed me that he thought he felt a path. We examined and found it so, and that it kept on the highest ground, and by following it we got to where there was half an acre of dry ground where we took up our lodgings.

"That night was the coldest we had, and in the morning the ice was more than half an inch thick. I told my men that passing the plain that was then in full view and gaining the opposite woods would put an end to their fatigues, and immediately stepped into the water without waiting for any reply. A huzza was given and on we went.

"This was the most trying of all the difficulties we experienced. I generally kept fifteen or twenty of the strongest men next myself, and judged from my own feelings what those of the others must be. Getting about to the middle of the plain, the water mid-deep, I found myself sensibly failing, and as there were no trees or bushes for the men to support themselves by, I feared that the weaker ones would be drowned.

"To encourage the party I sent some of the strongest forward, with orders, when they got to a certain distance, to pass the word back that the water was getting shallower, and when getting near the woods to cry out, 'Land!' This stratagem had the desired effect. Encouraged by it the men exerted themselves almost beyond their strength, the weak holding on to the strong. The water, instead of growing shallower, deepened.

"Reaching the woods at last, where the men expected to land, the water was up to my shoulders; but gaining the woods was of great consequence. All the short and weakly men clung to the trees or floated on the old logs until taken off by the canoes. The strong and tall men got on shore and built fires. Many would reach the shore and fall, with their bodies half submerged in the water, not being able to lift themselves out of it.

"Fortunately an Indian canoe came along filled with squaws and children, and in which there were some provisions. This was a grand prize. Broth was immediately made, and served out with great care to the most weakly. Most of them got a little, many giving up their portion to them, and at the same time saying something to cheer them up. Crossing a narrow, deep lake in the canoes and marching some distance, we came in full view of the fort and town about two miles off. Every man now feasted his eyes and forgot his sufferings."

Notwithstanding Clarke had surmounted so many grave difficulties, his situation was still critical. The town contained six hundred men, including Indians and inhabitants, and no retreat was possible for him in case of defeat. The French inhabitants, however, wished him well, and on the day following his arrival the fort was surrendered. The whole country along the Mississippi and the Wabash has ever since remained in the possession of the Americans.

On July 19, 1779, a night attack was made on Minisink, a town situated on an island in the Delaware River, by Brant, with a strong party of warriors and twenty-seven Tories disguised as Indians. Houses were burned, some of the inhabitants were killed, others were captured, the neighboring farms were ravaged, and cattle and horses driven off. The Orange County militia hastily assembled and started in pursuit.

At Half-way Brook they came upon the Indian camp of the previous night, its numerous watch-fires still smoking, indicating a large force. The leaders were for discontinuing the pursuit, but a large majority opposed this course and all pressed eagerly forward. At nine o'clock on the morning of the 22nd the enemy were in sight, moving towards a fording place. Hathorne, the American commander, so disposed his men as to intercept them; but Brant, perceiving his design, wheeled his forces, and gaining a deep ravine which the whites had crossed, took up an advantageous position in their rear and formed an ambuscade.

Not finding the enemy as they expected, the Americans were marching back when they were fired upon, and a desperate and bloody conflict ensued, lasting until sunset, when the ammunition of the Americans failed. They fought in a disadvantageous position and the Indians were greatly superior in numbers. One-third of Hathorne's troops became separated from the rest at the commencement of the action. A final attack broke the hollow square of the Americans at one corner, and they retreated, only about thirty of them succeeding in reaching their homes. One hundred and two had fallen, and seventeen who were wounded were placed in Dr. Tusten's care behind a rocky point. The Indians tomahawked them all, notwithstanding their appeals for mercy. Brant himself sunk his tomahawk in the head of Colonel Wisner, one of the wounded, and his savage cruelty on this occasion remains one of the darkest stains upon his memory.

John Sullivan


For the protection of the western frontier, it was proposed, early in 1779, to take the British fort at Niagara, and also to carry the war into Central New York and Western Pennsylvania, so as to break the power of the savages. The task was committed to General John Sullivan, who wisely, perhaps—considering the means at his disposal—confined his efforts to the punishment of the Six Nations.

Much time was consumed in the necessary preparations, but on the 26th of August the army moved on Tioga Point, now the village of Athens, Pennsylvania. Sullivan's force numbered five thousand men, led by able and experienced officers. One of its two divisions, under General James Clinton, had marched across the country from Canajoharie to Otsego Lake. From this point he followed the outlet of the lake to the Susquehanna, when he joined Sullivan and the other division, composed of Pennsylvania troops, at Tioga Point.

At the Indian village of Newtown, now Elmira, on the Chemung River, Sullivan found the enemy in force, numbering about one thousand two hundred men, made up of British regulars, Tories, and Indians, led by Captain Macdonald of the British army, Colonel John Butler, and the Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant. This force occupied a steep ridge between a creek and the river, a bend in which protected two of its sides, while a breastwork partly hidden by trees strengthened its front.

This naturally strong position was skilfully taken advantage of for an ambush. It was supposed that the advancing Americans would march along the base of the ridge, by an open path parallel with the breastwork, and the intention was that when their flank was completely exposed, a deadly fire should be opened upon them from the heights above. A rifleman belonging to the American advanced guard discovered their entire line from the top of a tall tree, and thus rendered their skilfully laid plans abortive.

Newtown battle-field


The battle was opened by General Hand's brigade, which occupied the enemy in front, repulsing the repeated and desperate sallies of Brant, while Generals Poor and Clinton made their may through woods and swamps to strike the enemy's rear and flank. Proctor's artillery opened upon the breastwork at the same moment that Poor and Clinton with their men marched up the hill, shouting, "Remember Wyoming!"

Urged on by Brant, the Indians, though outgeneralled and outnumbered, fought with great obstinacy, yielding the ground inch by inch, and being frequently driven from their hiding-places at the point of the bayonet.

Finding themselves at length in danger of being surrounded, the yell of retreat was sounded by their leader, and they fled precipitately across the Chemung River, having lost heavily in the engagement. They scattered to their respective villages and did not afterwards rally to oppose Sullivan's progress. But a small portion of Sullivan's force could be brought into this action. Contrary to their usual custom, some of the slain warriors were left on the battle-field.

James Clinton


Sullivan's troops now pushed on, burning and destroying villages, corn-fields, and orchards, through the Genesee country. Kanadaseagea, now Geneva, the beautiful Seneca capital, containing sixty houses and many beautiful gardens, was ruthlessly destroyed. Canandaigua was obliterated, In this devastating raid not less than forty Indian towns were burned, and our countrymen showed themselves no less savage than were the people they attacked.

This blow, from which the Iroquois confederacy never recovered, strengthened their hatred of the white man, and extended it through the tribes upon the lakes and in the valley of the Ohio. Thenceforth Washington was named by them An-na-ta-kaw-les, "taker of towns," or "Town Destroyer."

In the following spring the Indians wreaked their vengeance on the inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley. Sir John Johnson, with a large Indian and Tory force, entered the doomed district at midnight, murdering, plundering, and destroying. Among the slain were four old men over eighty years of age, one of whom was the patriot Fonda. Johnson recovered the plate that he had buried at Johnstown at the beginning of the war, and then retraced his steps to Canada, after leaving a lasting mark of his vengeance on the home and familiar scenes of his childhood. The Schoharie Valley was the next to suffer, Brant and Johnson devastating it with fire and sword. One hundred persons were killed and many were carried into captivity.

General Wayne


We now come to the last Indian fight of the war. A short time before the British forces evacuated Savannah, General Anthony Wayne, who commanded the American force in its vicinity, was surprised in his camp by the Creek chieftain, Guristersigo. This warrior, intending to join the British with his followers, had marched through Georgia unobserved, and fell upon the rear of Wayne's camp at three o'clock in the morning. Wayne was not expecting an attack, especially from Indians, but his men, as usual, slept on their arms that night and were ready for action.

Guristersigo intended to strike Wayne's picket-guard, stationed at a little distance from the main body; as the two had that day exchanged places, he ignorantly attacked the stronger instead of the weaker party. The onset was furious; but, aroused by the Indian warwhoop, the infantry quickly seized their arms, and the artillerymen hastened to their guns. Two of the pieces were captured; but while the Indians were endeavoring to turn them upon the Americans, the latter had time to rally. Colonel Posey led his infantry to the charge, while Wayne headed the cavalry, who cut down the naked warriors with their broadswords, and, turning their flank, quickly put them to flight.

Andew Pickens


Wayne's horse was shot under him at the same moment that the cannon were captured. A severe struggle for their recapture ensued, in which the rifle and the tomahawk were no match for the bayonet and the broadsword. Guristersigo fought valiantly to retain his trophies, and only relinquished them with his life. He fell, encouraging his warriors to the last. Seventeen of them, besides his white guides, fell at his side. This renowned warrior was six feet three inches in height and well proportioned; his countenance was manly and expressive.

The Indians fled when they saw their leader fall, and were pursued far into the forest; many of them were killed by the bayonet. Wayne's loss was slight. One hundred and seventeen pack-horses, laden with peltry, fell to the victors.

In September, Colonels Pickens and Clarke completed the subjugation of the Creeks. Weary of the conflict, the Indians ceded all their lands south of the Savannah and east of the Chattahoochee rivers to the State of Georgia, as the price of peace. Treaties were made with the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix; with the western Indians at Fort McIntosh; and with the southern Indians at Hopewell. The Shawnees were the last, peace being made with them at the mouth of the Great Miami, on the 31st of January, 1786.

Red Jacket


One of the most celebrated of the Indian orators was the Seneca chief, Red Jacket. Meeting General Lafayette at Buffalo, in the year 1825, he asked the latter if he remembered being present at the Great Council of the Indian nations, held at Fort Stanwix in 1784. The general replied that he had not forgotten that event, and asked Red Jacket if he knew what had become of the young chief who in that council opposed with such eloquence the "burying of the hatchet."

"He is before you," was the reply of Red Jacket. His speech on that occasion was a masterpiece of fiery eloquence. Red Jacket possessed talents of the highest order, and was a thorough Indian in his costume as well as in his contempt for the language, manners, and everything else belonging to the English. He fought for the United States in the war of 1812, and died near Buffalo, New York, on January 20, 1830.

The Backwoodsmen of Kentucky

Kentucky began to be settled about the beginning of tile Revolutionary War. It was called "the dark and bloody ground," because, being the common hunting-ground lying between the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws of the south, and the Shawnees, Delawares, and Wyandots of the north, it was the scene of frequent bloody encounters between these hostile and warlike tribes. It had been explored by Boone, who had passed entire seasons alone in its solitudes, and also by other enterprising pioneers. Reports of the inexhaustible fertility of its soil spread like wildfire, and soon parties of emigrants were flocking in from the older settlements.

James Harrod, "tall, erect, and resolute," a skilful hunter and woodsman, built, in 1774, the first log-cabin in Kentucky on the site of Harrodsburg, and early in the following spring the stockade fort of Boonesborough was built. The habitations of the early settlers had to serve for forts as well. Nowhere on the American continent did the Indians display fiercer hostility to the white settlers than in Kentucky. They made frequent and bloody raids upon them, and more than once seemed about to accomplish their destruction.

Foremost among their active assailants were the Shawnees, who, after having been driven south by the Iroquois, had returned north, and spread themselves over the fertile Miami Valley. Kentucky was their especial hunting-ground, and they made desperate efforts to keep intruding white men out. They had large villages at Logstown, Chillicothe, and Piqua, from whence they could easily swoop down upon the settlements or attack the emigrants descending the Ohio. They were regarded as a courageous, powerful, and faithless race, and have been involved in numerous bloody wars with other tribes. In all our wars with France and England, the Shawnees were found fighting against us. In one respect this tribe is peculiar. Its tradition is that their ancestors came from a foreign land, whereas the general belief of the Indians is that their ancestors came out of the ground.

No name is better known in the pioneer annals of America than that of Daniel Boone. He was of medium height, with a bright eye and a robust and athletic frame, fitted by habit and temperament for endurance. He was now forty years of age—just in the prime of life—and his reputation as a hunter and explorer, his sagacity, judgment, and intrepidity, as well as his calm determination of manner, were widely known, and inspired confidence in those who embarked with him in his perilous enterprises. Gentleness of manner and a humane disposition were also noticeable features of his character.

Boone was the type and precursor of the American backwoodsmen—a remarkable class of men, singular and unique in character, and who found their greatest happiness only when they were in a boundless forest filled with game, with a pack of dogs behind them and a rifle on their shoulders. Though frequently reckless, they were generally as remarkable for high notions of honor and generosity as for hardihood, endurance, and bravery.

The outer garment of these forest rangers was a hunting-shirt—a loose, open frock made of dressed deerskin. Leggings or drawers of the same material covered the lower extremities, to which were appended a pair of moccasins for the feet. The cape or collar of the hunting shirt and the seams of the leggings were adorned with fringes and tassels. The colors employed resembled the hues of the wood, with a view to concealment. The undergarments were of coarse cotton. A leather belt encircled the body; on the right side was suspended the hatchet; on the left side were the hunting-knife, powder-horn, bullet-pouch, and other appendages indispensable to a hunter. Each bore his trusty rifle.

"It was on the 1st of May," says Boone, "in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceful habitation on the Yadkin, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America in quest of the country of Kentucky, in company with John Finley, John Stewart, Joseph Holden, James Money, and William Cool. After a, long and fatiguing journey through a mountain wilderness, in a westward direction, on the 7th day of June following we found ourselves on Red River, where Finley had formerly traded with the Indians, and from the top of an eminence saw with pleasure the beautiful land of Kentucky.

"At this place we camped, and begun to hunt and reconnoitre the country. We found abundance of game of all sorts. The buffalo were more plenty than the cattle in the settlements; the numbers about the salt springs were amazing.

"We hunted with great success until the 22nd day of December. This day John Stewart and I had a pleasing ramble, but fortune changed the scene in the close of it. Near the Kentucky River, as we ascended the brow of a small hill, a number of Indians rushed out of a thick canebrake upon us and made us prisoners. They plundered us of what we had, and kept us in confinement seven days, treating us with common savage usage.

Daniel Boone


"During this time we discovered no uneasiness or desire to escape, which made them less suspicious of us, but in the dead of night, when they were asleep, I awoke my companion and we departed. At this time my brother, Squire Boone, who had come to find me, accidentally came upon our camp. This fortunate meeting gave us the utmost satisfaction. Finding a needle in a hay-mow would seem an easier task. Stewart was soon afterwards killed by the savages.

"On the 1st day of May, 1770, my brother returned home 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."

In this lonely situation Boone was constantly exposed to danger and death. To dispel its gloom and melancholy he made frequent explorations of the country. He did not confine his lodging to his camp, but often reposed in thick canebrakes to avoid the savages who, as he believed, often visited his camp, but, fortunately for him, always in his absence. At the end of three months his brother returned, and in the following spring both set out for North Carolina to bring their families to Kentucky.

In the fall of 1773 the emigrants left their homes for the wilderness, and at Powell's Valley were joined by five other families. The encampment of these parties of emigrants at night was near some spring or watercourse, where temporary shelters were made by placing poles in a sloping position, with one end resting on the ground, the other elevated in forks. On these tent-cloth, prepared for the purpose, or articles of bed-covering, was stretched. The fire was kindled in front against a fallen tree or log, towards which the feet were placed while sleeping. The clothing worn during the day was seldom removed at night.

Indian attack


Near the Cumberland Gap an Indian attack cut off six young men of Boone's party, among them his eldest son. This calamity caused the return of the remainder and the abandonment of the enterprise.

It seems surprising to us, looking back from our peaceful homes upon these pioneer settlers, men, women, and children, to think that they could thus take their lives in their hands, and journey so faraway from their native country and home, to encounter the horrors of Indian warfare. In their cabins, and while cultivating their fields, they were constantly exposed to this peril. Yet the population continued to increase by immigration, and many small settlements were begun. The more solitary of these, however, could not withstand the attacks of the Indians, and were all deserted during the first year of Indian hostilities.

How near and how real these perils were, an incident of this early period will serve to show.

One warm July afternoon, three young girls, one a daughter of Boone, the others daughters of Colonel Calloway, carelessly crossed the river opposite to Boonesborough in a canoe, and were playing and splashing the water with their paddles, the canoe meanwhile drifting near the shore. Five Indians were lying here concealed, one of whom, reaching the rope that hung from the bow of the boat, turned its course up the stream and in a direction to be hidden from the view of those in the fort. The loud shrieks of the captured girls were heard, but too late for their rescue. Both Boone and Calloway were absent, and night set in before they returned and arrangements could be made for pursuit.

Daniel Boone's daughter


Next morning at daylight, Boone, with eight others, were on the track, but found it obscure, the Indians having walked some distance apart through the thickest canes they could find. Observing their general course by signs known only to experienced woodsmen, they travelled in the direction thus indicated upward of thirty miles; then crossing their trace they soon found their tracks in a buffalo path, and ten miles farther on overtook them, just as they were kindling a fire to cook their evening meal.

Each party discovered the other at the same moment. Four of Boone's party fired, killing two of the Indians, and all immediately rushed in, in order to give them no time to murder the captives. The Indians fled, leaving guns, knives, prisoners, and everything in their hasty flight. Boone and his friends were too much elated at recovering their broken hearted little girls to think of further pursuit. The joy of the parents on thus recovering their lost darlings may be imagined, it cannot be described.

The repulse of the savages from Boonesborough and Harrod's Station was followed by an attack on Logan's fort, which contained fifteen persons The forts of Boone and Harrod were about equidistant from Logan's, but as they were also menaced, no aid could be expected from them. The little garrison suffered greatly, but was sustained by the dauntless bravery of Logan. The savages, disappointed in their attacks upon the other two forts, seemed all the more determined to wreak their vengeance upon this.

At the moment of attack, the women were without the fort, milking the cows, the men guarding them. From the cover of a thick canebreak the approaching Indians fired upon them, killing two and wounding a third; the remainder reached the fort unhurt.

A thrilling incident now occurred. Harrison, one of the men who had fallen, was still alive, and was seen to be making ineffectual struggles to drag himself to the fort, from which his distressed family witnessed the harrowing struggle. The sight moved the intrepid Logan to make an effort for his rescue. So perilous seemed the attempt, that one man only could be induced to accompany him, and he, a tried soldier, recoiled at the gate. Left alone, Logan saw the poor fellow, after crawling a short distance, sink to the earth exhausted. Taking his life in his hand he darted forth, raised the wounded man in his arms, and bore him amidst a shower of balls safely to the fort.

Logan's courage, sagacity, and endurance were now to be put to a severer test. The ammunition of the little garrison was well-nigh exhausted. None could be had nearer than Rolston. Through the forest and over the Cumberland Mountains, by an untrodden route, he led a little party of volunteers to this remote settlement, and in ten days returned with the necessary means of repelling the besiegers, who were finally driven off by a relieving force under Colonel Bowman.

Benjamin Logan, who built this fort near the present site of Stanford, about the time Boone's fort was erected, was by birth a Virginian. By the death of his father he was left, at the age of fourteen, with the care of a large family. The nobleness of his nature was shown at this early period. Though entitled by law to the whole landed estate of his father, he shared it equally with his brothers and sisters. In 1775, as we have seen, he settled in Kentucky. Boone's, Harrod's, and Logan's stations were for a long time the grand rallying points for the solitary settlers dispersed over the country; thenceforward Logan was identified with the military and civil history of Kentucky. In 1785 he conducted a successful expedition against the north-western tribes, and four years later was a member of the convention that framed the constitution of the State.

Early in 1778, Boone, while making salt at the Lower Blue Licks, was captured by the Indians and taken to Detroit. Colonel Hamilton, the British commandant, offered his captors a ransom of £100, which was refused. They knew the value of their prisoner, and compelled him to return with them to Chillicothe. He was soon afterwards adopted into the family of Black Fish, one of the principal chiefs of the Shawnee tribe, and wisely appeared to be reconciled to his situation, and to accommodate himself to his new mode of life; he thus succeeded in winning their confidence and affection.

In his narrative he says:

"I often went hunting with them, and frequently gained their applause for my shooting. I was careful not to excel many of them at this sport, for no people are more envious than they. I could observe in their countenances and gestures the greatest expression of joy when they excelled me, and, when the reverse happened, of envy. The Shawnee king took great notice of me, and treated me with profound respect and entire friendship, often trusting me to hunt at my liberty. I made him frequent presents from the game I had secured."

Although Boone was allowed to hunt, the Indians did not wholly trust him. They counted his bullets, and he was obliged to show what game he had shot, and thus prove that he had not concealed any ammunition to be used in effecting an escape. But Boone had an artfulness beyond that of the Indian, for he divided the balls into halves and used light charges of powder.

Learning one day that an expedition against Boonesborough was preparing, and that its defences were in a dilapidated state, he determined to escape. No opposition was made to his taking his usual hurt on the 16th of June. He rose very early, took his gun, and secreted some venison, so as not to be entirely destitute of food.

He had one hundred and sixty miles to travel, through forests and swamps, and across numerous rivers. All his skill and tact as a woodsman were required to throw the Indians off the trail. He was not an expert swimmer, and he anticipated serious difficulty in crossing the Ohio, swollen at this time by continuous rains, and running with a strong current. Fortunately he found an old canoe, which he repaired, and which bore him safely to the Kentucky shore. He was less than five days on the journey, eating but one regular meal on the way, which was a turkey he shot after crossing the Ohio. His reappearance at Boonesborough was hailed with delight, and he was looked upon as one risen from the dead. The fort was at once repaired and strengthened, and in ten days was ready for a siege.

This work was a parallelogram, enclosing nearly an acre. In a trench four or five feet deep, large pickets were planted so as to form a compact wall from ten to twelve feet above the level of the ground. These pickets were of hard timber and about a foot in diameter. At the angles of the fort there were small, projecting squares of still stronger material and planting, technically called flankers, with oblique port-holes, so that the sentinel could rake the external front of the work without being himself exposed. Two immense folding gates were the means of communication from without.

Boone's fort


As Boonesborough was the first fort built in that region, it at once excited the jealous fears of the Indians, and became the special object of their hatred. The settlement around it was incessantly harassed by marauding parties. Few dared venture beyond the immediate vicinity of the fort. A first attack had been easily repelled; another, and much fiercer one, a few weeks later, had a similar result.

Boone himself had, on one occasion, a narrow escape. Two men at work in the fields were fired upon, and one of them was tomahawked and scalped within sight of the fort. Simon Kenton, who was on the lookout, shot this savage dead and gave chase to the others. Boone, hearing the alarm, rushed out with ten men and engaged the enemy, but soon found himself intercepted by a large body of them. He and his men charged the Indians at once, but were received with a volley that wounded him and six of his companions. Boone's leg was broken, and an Indian was in the act of tomahawking him when Kenton's rifle brought him down. The party, including all the wounded, succeeded in gaining the fort.

Boonesborough had now to encounter the most formidable force ever sent against it. Four hundred and fifty Indians under Black Fish, the chief who had adopted Boone, together with a few Canadians, the whole commanded by a French officer, Captain Du Quesne, appeared before the fort and demanded its surrender. The garrison consisted of sixty-five men. Boone demanded two days in which to consider the proposition. During the time thus gained the garrison collected their horses and cattle and brought them into the fort, the women also being actively employed in bringing water from the spring.

At the end of the two days, Boone, standing upon one of the bastions, returned to Du Quesne the final answer of the garrison. The latter portion of it must have sounded a little ironical to the French officer, who listened attentively to this uncommonly long speech from the taciturn backwoodsman.

"We are determined," said Boone, "to defend our fort while a man is living. We laugh at all your formidable preparations, but thank you for giving us notice and time to provide for our defence."

Grave of Daniel Boone


Du Quesne, who seems not to have been very sanguine as to his success, then proposed that the garrison should send out nine of its chosen men to make a treaty, which, if concluded, would terminate the siege and end in the peaceable return of the besiegers to their homes. Boone says, "This sounded grateful in our ears, and we agreed to the proposal." We can only wonder that men so familiar with Indian treachery should have seriously entertained such a proposition. They seem to have believed in the sincerity of Du Quesne, but fortunately did not omit to take certain wise precautions.

The conference took place within sixty yards of the fort, under the cover of the trusty rifles of the garrison. Liberal terms were offered and accepted, the articles were drawn up and signed in due form, and the commissioners prepared to withdraw. But the farce had been played out and it was time for business. Under pretence of a friendly hand-shake at parting, two stout Indians grasped each of Boone's party. They had mistaken their men, however. The stalwart pioneers easily shook them of, and succeeded in regaining the fort in safety amid a general discharge from the savages, but protected by the rifles of their friends in the fort.

For nine days and nights the savages persisted in the attack, employing all means known to them to effect their purpose—setting the fort on fire, and even attempting, though unsuccessfully, to undermine it. They decamped on the tenth day, having lost thirty killed and a much larger number wounded. After their departure one hundred and twenty-five pounds of bullets were picked up, besides what stuck in the logs of the fort; "certainly a great proof of their industry," as Boone humorously remarks.

Daniel Boone


Of the defenders of the fort, one was killed and one wounded by a negro deserter, a good marksman, who fired from the top of a neighboring tree. Boone perceiving this watched him, and, when he saw his head, fired. The man was found after the battle with a ball in his head, the shot being made at the distance of one hundred and seventy-five yards. This was a feat worthy of the renowned Leatherstocking.

A desperate encounter at Ricket's Fort, in Western Virginia, between an elderly man, named Morgan, and two Indians is worth recording.

Pursued by them, and losing ground in the race, he stepped behind a tree to get a shot. The Indians did the same. One of them, not being sufficiently covered, was shot by Morgan, who then resumed his flight, his gun being now unloaded. The remaining Indian followed, and, gaining rapidly upon him, fired, but missed him. Then canoe a hand-to-hand struggle for life. Morgan struck with his gun. The Indian threw his tomahawk, which cut off one finger and otherwise wounded Morgan's hand, at the same time striking his gun from his grasp. They closed, and Morgan, who was an expert wrestler, threw the Indian, but was soon overturned and beneath his more powerful foe, who uttered the fearful Indian yell of assured victory. A woman's apron, which, with savage fondness for adornment, the Indian had tied around his waist, hindered him while feeling for his knife. His adversary in the mean time had not been idle, and had succeeded in seizing the fingers of one of the Indian's hands between his teeth. The latter at length got hold of his knife, but so near the blade that Morgan was able to grasp the handle. Closing his teeth still more firmly upon the imprisoned hand, causing the other to relax a little of its force, Morgan by a desperate effort succeeded in drawing the knife through the hand of the savage. Its possession enabled him speedily and victoriously to end the desperate contest.

"Truth is often stranger than fiction;" the following is a well-authenticated instance in proof of this saying:

In the autumn of 1779, a party, under Major Rodgers, while ascending the Ohio River in flat-boats, were decoyed on shore near the mouth of the Licking River, and totally defeated, a few only escaping. Among the wounded was Captain Robert Benham, who had been shot through both hips. Fortunately, a large fallen tree lay near the spot where he fell. Painfully dragging himself into its concealing foliage, he escaped the notice of the Indians. On the evening of the second day he shot a raccoon, hoping to devise some way of reaching it, so that he could kindle a fire and make a meal.

Scarcely had his gun cracked, however, when he heard a human cry. Supposing it to be an Indian, he hastily reloaded his gun and remained silent, expecting the approach of an enemy. Again he heard the voice, but this time it was much nearer. A third halloo was quickly heard, followed by the exclamation,

"Whoever you are, for God's sake answer me?"

Benham, who, as we have seen, had been shot through both legs, replied, and the man who now appeared had escaped from the same conflict with both arms broken. Each was thus enabled to supply what the other wanted. Benham, having the free use of his arms, could load his gun and kill game with great readiness, while his companion, having the use of his legs, could kick the game to the spot where Benham sat, who was able to cook it. He also fed his comrade and dressed his wounds, as well as his own, tearing up both of their shirts for this purpose. To obtain water, Benham placed the rim of his hat between the teeth of his companion, who would then wade into the river lip to his neck, and by lowering his head would fill it with water.

In a few days they had killed and eaten all the birds and squirrels within reach, and the man with the broken arms was sent out to drive game within gunshot of Benham. Fortunately, wild turkeys were abundant, and Benham seldom failed to kill two or three of each flock. In this manner they supported themselves until they were able to travel, when they camped at the month of the Licking, where they anxiously awaited the approach of some boat which might take them to the Falls of the Ohio.

One day, late in November, they espied a flat-boat moving leisurely down the river. Benham hoisted his hat upon a stick and hallooed loudly for help. The crew, supposing that they were Indians endeavoring to decoy them ashore, passed on as rapidly as possible. Benham beheld them receding, with a sensation of utter despair, for the place was one that was much frequented by the Indians, and the approach of winter threatened them with death unless they could speedily be relieved.

The boat had passed him nearly half a mile, when he saw a canoe put off from it and cautiously approach the Kentucky shore. He called loudly to them for assistance, mentioned his name, and made known his condition. After a long parley, and with great reluctance on the part of the crew, the canoe at length touched the shore, and Benham and his friend were taken on board.

Their appearance was certainly suspicions. They were almost naked, and their faces were garnished with six weeks' growth of beard. The one was barely able to hobble on crutches, and the other had a partial use of but one hand. They were taken to the Falls of the Ohio, now Louisville, Kentucky, where their wounds were properly attended to, and after a few weeks were entirely healed. Benham afterwards served through the campaigns of Harmar, Wilkinson, St. Clair, and Wayne.

Elizabeth Zane's heroism during the attack on Wheeling, near the Kentucky border, deserves especial praise. The house of her brother, Colonel Ebenezer Zane, at a little distance from the fort, contained a supply of ammunition, and was garrisoned by seven or eight persons, male and female, besides his own family. Before firing upon the fort, the Indians demanded the surrender of the house. A well-directed fire was the reply. The women moulded bullets, charged the guns, and handed them to the men, enabling them to keep up so constant a discharge as to cause the assailants to recoil in dismay.

At night they attempted to fire the house. A savage crawled to the kitchen, and while endeavoring to set it on fire with a burning brand, received a shot from a black man which sent him away yelling.

Fortunately, as it turned out, for the garrison in the fort, the Indians had captured a boat laden with cannon-balls. All they wanted now was a cannon with which to batter down the palisades of the fort. Indian ingenuity soon supplied the, want. A hollow log was found; to render this new kind of ordnance safe, they procured chains from a neighboring blacksmith's shop, and twisted them strongly around the improvised cannon. It was then heavily charged, pointed towards the palisade, and fired. It burst into a thousand fragments, killed some, wounded others, and convinced the survivors of their folly in meddling with the white man's inventions.

Exasperated by this failure, they returned to the assault of the house. A deadly fire again compelled them to retire. Meanwhile, the long continuance of the siege had used up the ammunition in the fort. Powder must be brought from Zane's house, in which there was a good supply. It was a forlorn hope, but plenty of volunteers offered. Zane's young sister, just from a boarding-school in Philadelphia, was of the number.

When reminded of the advantage which a man would have over her in fleetness and force, the heroine replied:

"Should he fall, his loss will be more severely felt. You have not a man to spare; a woman will not be missed in the defence of the fort." Her services were accepted. Arranging her dress for the purpose, she bounded from the fort. The Indians gazed in amazement at her daring, only exclaiming, "a squaw! a squaw!" and making no attempt to stop her. With a tablecloth filled with powder bound round her waist, she returned safely to the fort, escaping untouched amid a volley of balls several of which passed through her clothes. The fort was soon after wards relieved and the siege raised.

About six hundred Indians, led by Simon Girty, appeared at daybreak one summer morning before Bryant's Station. The previous night had been spent by the little garrison in preparations to march to the assistance of their neighbors, who had applied to them for aid. They were on the point of opening their gates to march, when the crack of rifles and discordant yells told them how narrowly they had escaped.

Rushing to the loop-holes, they saw about one hundred red men firing and gesticulating in full view of the fort. The younger men of the garrison wished to sally out and attack them; the older heads suspected a trick, and believed that the main body of the enemy was concealed on the opposite side of the fort. Girty intended, by an attack on one side with a small force, to draw out the garrison, and then with the main body to fall upon the other side and gain the fort. The overacting of Girty's savage allies, and the sagacity of his opponents, defeated his well-conceived plan.

A serious difficulty with the garrison was the want of water. The spring was at some distance, near a thicket in which the enemy lay concealed. A bold and sagacious expedient was hit upon. Supposing that the Indians would not show themselves until they had reason to believe their trick had succeeded, and the garrison had left the fort on the other side, all the females went in a body to the spring, directly under five hundred rifles, filled their buckets, and returned in such a manner as not to suggest to the quick-sighted Indians that their presence in the thicket was suspected.

This done, a small number of the garrison was sent out against the party in front, while the main body placed themselves so as to repel the anticipated rush of those in concealment. The plan succeeded perfectly. The Indians rushed from their ambush on hearing the firing from the opposite side of the fort, and were received with a well-directed discharge from all the rifles left within the station. Chagrined and panic-stricken the assailants fled, leaving a number of their slain behind them. Disconcerted by their failure, and discouraged by the arrival of reinforcements for the garrison, the Indians abandoned the siege and withdrew.

The disastrous battle of the Blue Licks which now occurred spread mourning throughout Kentucky. Girty and his Indians, after having been repulsed from Bryant's Station, were pursued across the Licking River by a body of one hundred and eighty Kentuckians, who had gathered in haste to relieve the fort, under Colonels Todd, Trigg and Boone.

Daniel Boone


A council of the leaders was held. Boone advised waiting for Colonel Logan, who was on the way to join them. Had his advice been taken, the result would have been very different. The enemy whom they had overtaken was before them, and a rapid retreat, or a battle against fearful odds, was inevitable.

Rash councils unhappily prevailed. The hot-headed Major McGary spurred his horse forward into the stream, and waving his hat, shouted,

"Let all who are not cowards follow me! I will show you where the Indians are!"

Dashing into the deep ford, the gallant but ill-fated band crossed the stream, and pressed forward through ravines in which lay hundreds of concealed Indians. Suddenly a murderous fire was poured into their ranks by an unseen foe, by which their right wing was broken, the enemy rushing up with great intrepidity and gaining their rear.

Fierce as was the onset it was met with heroic courage. Colonel Todd remained on his horse, with the blood flowing from mortal wounds. Boone defended his position—the left—with desperate energy, while Major Harlan could find but three of his men spared by the rifle. The horsemen generally escaped, but the foot, particularly those who had advanced farthest into the trap, were almost wholly destroyed.

When at length the Kentuckians gave way, the Indians pursued them with relentless energy, spreading destruction and death among the fugitives. The river was difficult to cross, and many were killed on entering it or while crossing and ascending the opposite bank. A stand made here by a few brave men arrested the slaughter and enabled others to cross in safety.

Boone, after witnessing the fall of a son and of many of his dearest friends, finding himself almost surrounded, plunged into the ravine between him and the ford, and escaped by swimming. He made an effort to bear away the body of his son, but was compelled to leave him by the stronger instinct of self-preservation. While attempting to carry off the body a large savage sprang towards him with uplifted tomahawk. Relinquishing his burden he shot the Indian dead. Boone's last days were passed in Missouri, where he died, in 1820, at the advanced age of eighty-six.

Daniel Boone


This was the last terrible blow struck by the Indian for the recovery of his Kentucky hunting-grounds. It brought upon his head speedy retribution. The expedition of Colonel George Rogers Clarke was exterminating in its character. The Chillicothe towns on the Scioto were reduced to ashes, their plantations were laid waste, and peace was secured for Kentucky, no formidable war party ever after crossing her border.

With all these fearful perils there was a blending of romance. The night after the battle, twelve prisoners were stripped by the Indians and painted black—the signal for torture. With one exception they were slaughtered, the twelfth having been, after a long powwow, spared—why, he never knew. His faithful wife was the only person who did not believe him dead. So strong was this belief that, when wooed by another, she postponed the nuptials from time to time until, moved by the expostulations of friends, she at length fixed the day. Just before it dawned, the crack of a rifle was beard near her solitary home. At the familiar sound she leaped out like a liberated fawn, exclaiming, as she sprang, "That's John's gun!" Sure enough, it was John's gun, and in another moment she was once more in her husband's arms.

There is still another phase to this romance. Nine years later that husband fell at St. Clair's defeat, and the same disappointed but persevering lover renewed his suit, and at last the widow became his wife.

With the name of Daniel Boone, that of Simon Kenton, one of his companions, will ever be associated in the pioneer annals of Kentucky. At the age of sixteen, Kenton had a rough-and-tumble fight with a rival suitor for the affections of a girl. Thinking the had killed his rival, Kenton fled from civilization, changed his name, and, plunging into the forest, led thenceforth a life of bold and adventurous daring, constantly surrounded by danger. He was unequalled as a spy and ranger, and the early history of the State is filled with his exploits. Reckless in bravery, and perfectly familiar with Indian strategy, he was present in most of the encounters with the western Indians, everywhere inspiring confidence, and always in the fore-front of the battle.

He had experienced a full measure of Indian cruelty. Eight times he was compelled to run the gauntlet—one of their most dreaded forms of vengeance—three times he was tied to the stake, and once nearly killed by a blow from an axe.

On one occasion he had taken an Indian's horse, and soon afterwards had the ill-luck to fall into their hands. After beating him till their arms were too tired to indulge in that gratifying recreation any longer, they secured him for the night. Placing him on his back upon the ground, they drew his legs apart and lashed each foot firmly to stakes or saplings driven into the earth. A pole was then laid across his breast, and his hands tied to each end, his arms lashed around it with thongs, which were passed under his body, so as to keep the pole stationary. After all this, another thong was passed around his neck, and the end of it secured to a stake in the ground, his head being stretched back, so as not entirely to choke him.

Next morning they amused themselves by fastening Kenton to the wildest horse in the camp, tying him hand and foot, all the while yelping and screeching around him, and asking him if he wanted to steal more Indian horses.

Turning the horse loose, he reared and plunged, and then dashed through the woods with his burden, to the infinite amusement of his Indian tormentors. After the horse had run, plunged, reared, and kicked until he was tired, to rid himself of his burden, he quieted down and peaceably followed the party to Chillicothe.

Here Kenton had to run the gauntlet. He had not gone far before he discovered an Indian with his knife drawn ready to plunge it into him. Breaking through the line, he made with all speed for the council-house, where, in accordance with Indian usage, he would be safe. Just as he entered the town he was met by an Indian coming from it, who seized him, and in his exhausted condition easily threw him down.

In another moment his pursuers were upon him. They kicked and beat him, and tore off his clothes, leaving him naked and exhausted. As soon as he recovered they took him to the council to determine his fate. Death was the decree, and the execution was to take place in a distant village. While he was on the way to this place he made a bold push for freedom, and was soon out of sight of his pursuers. His usual ill-luck again attended him. When about two miles from the town, he encountered some Indians on horseback, who recaptured him. He now, for the first time in his life, gave up, believing his case hopeless.

There was a general rejoicing when he was returned to the village. He was pinioned, and given over to the young Indians, who dragged him into the creek, tumbled him into the water, and rolled him in the sand until he was nearly suffocated. In this way they amused themselves with him until he was nearly drowned. He now thought God had forsaken him. No wonder he thought so, for it did not seem possible for him to avoid the doom which, according to Indian ideas, he most richly deserved.

In the crowd that gathered about him at the stake was the notorious Tory renegade, Simon Girty. Girty and Kenton had been bosom companions in youth. On hearing his name, Girty, who, though a hardened wretch, had a spark of human feeling remaining, threw himself into Kenton's arms, embraced, and wept aloud over him, calling him his dear and esteemed friend. With much difficulty he succeeded in prevailing upon the Indians to leave him in his charge, thus affording him a timely reprieve. Kenton was finally rescued from their hands through the instrumentality of the great and good chief, Logan, and was taken as a prisoner to Detroit.

At this point in his career a tinge of romance touched and sweetened this wild and reckless life. Kenton was now twenty-four years of age. He was six feet in height, well formed, handsome, and graceful, with a fair complexion and laughing gray eyes. He owed his freedom on this occasion—as many a handsome young fellow has done before and since, and will do in future—to a woman, the wife of an Indian trader, whose sympathies had been enlisted in behalf of this bold, manly, and good-looking backwoodsman.

Burning prisoners


Seizing a favorable opportunity, when the Indians, whose guns were stacked near her house, were having a drunken spree, she stole out after dark, selected three of their best rifles, and then notified Kenton and his two companions. She had previously prepared food, ammunition, and clothing for them, which she had secreted in a hollow tree well known to Kenton. At the appointed hour they climbed into the garden, received the guns from their benefactress, and, heaping thanks and blessings upon her, hastened away. Kenton never saw her afterwards, but to his latest hour he never forgot her, and delighted in recalling and expatiating upon the courage and goodness of the trader's wife.

In 1824 the old pioneer appeared at Frankfort in tattered garments, to petition the legislature of Kentucky to release the claim of the State upon some land owned by him. His appearance at first excited ridicule, but, on being recognized, he was treated with distinction and the lands released. The cut on the following page is from a painting of the old veteran made at this time. Congress subsequently gave him a pension, which he enjoyed until his death in 1836. Kenton was a pleasant companion and honest in his dealings, but so credulous that the same man might cheat him twenty times, and if he professed friendship he might cheat him still.

Simon Kenton


Out of many interesting narratives of single combat between the Indian and the white man we select the following:

Two brothers named Poe, both remarkable for size, strength, and courage, joined, in the summer of 1782, a party in pursuit of some Indian marauders, between Wheeling and Fort Pitt. Andrew Poe, fearing an ambuscade, left the others, crossed the Ohio, and cautiously crept along the bank. He soon espied, within a few steps of him, a Wyandot chief, a large and powerful man, and a smaller Indian, both so intent upon the movements of his party as not to have noticed him.

Poe took aim at the large chief, but his gun missed fire, and the click of the lock betrayed him. Too near to retreat, he sprang upon them, grasped the chief with one arm, and the smaller Indian round the neck with the other, and threw them down upon the shelving bank. The latter freed himself from Poe's grasp, and aimed his tomahawk at his head. A kick, opportunely applied, staggered him, and shook the tomahawk from his hand. This failure upon his part brought out an exclamation of contempt from the larger Indian. Recovering his weapon, the exulting Indian approached more cautiously, flourishing it over Poe's head as a prelude to the impending blow. By throwing up his arm, Poe saved his head, but received a blow on the wrist. Freeing himself at the same moment by a powerful effort from the grasp of the chief, who was meanwhile attempting to throw him, he snatched up one of the Indian's guns, and shot the small Indian dead, as he for the third time ran up to tomahawk him.

Simon Kenton


By this time the chief was erect, and seizing Poe by the leg and shoulder at the same moment prostrated him. Poe bounded to his feet in an instant, and closed in a struggle, which, owing to the slippery state of the bank, plunged both into the Ohio. The object now of these powerful and well-matched combatants was to drown each other. First one, and then the other, was thrust under the water by alternate successful efforts.

At length Poe seized the chief by the long black scalp-lock on the crown of his head, and held him so long submerged that he believed him to be, beyond a doubt, food for fishes. This was only an Indian trick. His foe was once more erect., and grappling again, they were carried by the current beyond their depth and obliged to swim. Both aimed for the shore, each straining every nerve to reach it first and obtain one of the guns lying there.

Soon perceiving that the Indian was the better swimmer, Poe made for the middle of the stream, hoping to avoid the shot of his foe by diving. Fortunately the gun that the Indian took up was empty, and Poe gained a little precious time. At this moment two of his party came up, and mistaking Poe for an Indian, fired, and wounded him in the shoulder. He turned, and swam bleeding towards the shore, and recognizing his brother Adam, called out to him:

"Shoot the big Indian on the shore."

But his brother's gun was also empty. The contest now was as to who could load first. Very fortunately for Adam, the Indian in loading drew the ramrod from the gun with such violence that it slipped from his hand and fell a little way off. Quickly recovering it, however, he rammed down his bullet. This slight delay gave Adam the advantage. He shot the Indian as he was raising his gun to take aim at him, and then assisted his brother to the shore. Meantime the wounded Indian, to save his scalp, plunged into the deep water, and sunk to rise no more.

One other incident, illustrating the perils of the border, also shows that even the children imbibed fearlessness with their mother's milk.

Two boys named Johnson, one aged eleven, the other thirteen, living on the west bank of the Ohio, while at play were captured by two Indians. Their captors lay down for the night, each holding one of the boys in his arms. When all was still the elder boy, who felt no desire to sleep, arose, and by stirring the fire and other movements, satisfied himself that the Indians were in a profound sleep. Gently awaking his brother, he whispered in his ear,

"We had better go home now."

"They will follow and catch us," said the younger.

"Never fear," replied the other; "we will take care of that." With some difficulty he persuaded the younger to aid him in killing their captors. The Indians had but one gun between them, and near it lay their tomahawks. The elder placed the gun, levelled on a log, with the muzzle close to the ear of one of the Indians, cocked it, and stationed his brother, with his finger on the trigger, telling him to pull it at his signal. He then stood over the other Indian, tomahawk in hand.

Brandishing the weapon, as the signal for pulling the trigger, the gun was discharged, and the tomahawk fell at the same moment. The first blow was not fatal, and the savage attempted to rise, but fresh blows, vigorously plied by the young hero, soon brought him down again.

Leaving their captors dead, the boys joyfully set off for home, where they arrived at early dawn. As they entered they heard the plaintive voice of their mother bewailing their fate, and exclaiming:

"Poor little fellows, they are killed or taken prisoners!"

"No!" they shouted, as they rushed into her arms; "here we are, mother, safe and sound!"

Wars with the Western Indians (1789-95)

The war of the Revolution was no sooner ended than the attention of great numbers of enterprising men was again turned to the settlement of the fertile regions west of the Alleghanies.

The vast domain out of which the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin have since been formed was organized as the North-western Territory, by virtue of an ordinance of Congress in 1787. In the following year, Marietta, Ohio, was settled by emigrants from New England, and a stockade fort was erected as a protection against the Indians. Settlements were soon afterwards begun at Columbia and at Cincinnati, where Fort Washington was built in 1790, and within two years twenty thousand people had established themselves in Ohio.

Northwest Territories


This territory, it must be borne in mind, had, by the ordinance of 1787, been confirmed to the Indians "forever," and its establishment and settlement naturally aroused the jealousy and hostility of the lake tribes. Under the lead of the celebrated Brant, these tribes formed a confederacy, and repudiated the treaties ceding their lands made by some of them, on the ground that they were made without proper authority "by a few of their young men," and insisted on the Ohio River being made the boundary between the Indians and the United States. The British authorities in Canada easily persuaded them to take this attitude, as they were determined to prevent the United States from gaining control of the upper lakes, and the valuable fur-trade of the country around them, then wholly in Canadian hands.

Fort Washington


The tribes on the Wabash, numbering two thousand warriors, had taken part in none of the treaties, and were decidedly hostile. They were constantly engaged in waylaying the boats in which emigrants were descending the Ohio, and in raids upon the Kentucky settlers, and were in their turn invaded and scourged by them.

General Arthur St. Clair, a brave revolutionary veteran, had been appointed governor of the North-western Territory. Early in 1789 he held a council at Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum River, with the Six Nations, and also with representatives of the Wyandots, Potawatomies, Delawares, Ottawas, Ojibwas, and Sacs.

Treaties were then made fixing boundaries, and payments for ceded lands. But the great bulk of the tribes above-named refused to acknowledge their validity, and within a few weeks after they had been made were out on the war-path. Within four years one thousand five hundred persons had been killed or captured, and a large amount of property destroyed.

Fort Harmar


The simple log-cabin of the pioneer settlers, who bore the brunt of Indian hostilities upon our western frontier, contained such furniture only as was wholly indispensable and of domestic manufacture. Its roof was composed of strips of bark. Articles of clothing, hung on wooden pegs around its walls, served in some degree the purpose of paper-hangings or tapestry, and were also an indication of the wealth or poverty of the family. The usual dress of the pioneer was the hunting-shirt of linsey or deer-skin, fastened by a belt, leggings and moccasins, also of deerskin, and a fur hat. Wooden bowls, trenchers, and noggins, or, in the absence of these, gourds and hard-shelled squashes, together with a few pewter plates and spoons, constituted the table furniture. The iron pots, knives, and forks were brought from the East, along with the salt or iron, on pack-horses.

These articles of furniture correspond very well with the kind of diet on which they were employed. Hog and hominy were common dishes. Johnny-cake and pone were at first the only forms of bread for breakfast and dinner; for supper, mush-and-milk was the standard dish. When milk was wanting, the substantial dish of hominy had to supply its place. Every family had, besides a small vegetable garden, an enclosure called a "truck patch," in which were raised pumpkins, corn, squashes, beans. and potatoes. These were cooked with pork, venison, or bear-meat for dinner.

A remarkable instance of female heroism occurred at this time in Nelson County, Kentucky. The barking of his dogs led John Morrell to open his door to ascertain the cause of their uneasiness. He was fired upon, and fell back into the house wounded. The savages attempted to rush in after him, but Mrs. Morrell, and a daughter about fifteen years of age, barred the door. The assailants soon made a breach in the door with their tomahawks, and one of them attempted to squeeze himself through into the room. The courageous wife seized an axe, gave him a fatal blow, and then dragged him through the opening into the house. This was repeated until four were slain.

By this time the Indians had discovered the fate of their companions, and, after a consultation, two of them mounted to the roof and began to descend the broad, wooden chimney. Aware of the impending danger, the wounded man ordered his little son to cut open a feather bed and throw the contents upon the fire. This was done.

Down came the two intruders, scorched, suffocated, and nearly insensible. Mr. Morrell had strength enough remaining to aid his heroic wife in despatching them, while she also continued to guard the door with uplifted axe. Another savage who attempted to enter was saluted with such a blow as drove him away howling. One of the surviving Indians, on returning to his town, was asked what was the news.

"Bad news! bad news!" he exclaimed; "the squaws fight worse than the Long Knives." The swords worn by the Virginians caused them to be nicknamed "Long Knives" by the Indians.

The story of Captain William Hubbel's descent of the Ohio River in a flat-boat, affords a striking illustration of the dangers attending emigration in the West at this time. The party were on their way to Limestone, Kentucky, and before reaching the mouth of the Great Kenawha numbered twenty persons—nine men, three women, and eight children. As Indian attacks were expected, the men were divided into three watches, each to be on the lookout two hours at a time. The arms were put in the best possible condition for service, and it was arranged that in case of an attack, the women and children should lie down on the cabin floor, and be protected as much as possible by the trunks and other baggage.

Just at daylight one morning a plaintive voice from the shore informed them that some white persons wished to obtain a passage in their boat. This was a common Indian artifice, and its only effect was to place the party more completely on their guard.

Soon the Indian canoes were seen, through the mist of the morning, rapidly advancing. Preparations to receive them were promptly made. The chairs, tables, and other encumbrances were thrown into the river, in order to clear the deck for action. Each man took his station, and was ordered not to fire till the savages had approached so near that, in Captain Hubbel's words, "the flash from his gun might singe their eyebrows." Especial caution was given that the men should fire successively, so that there might be no interval.

Each of the canoes contained twenty-five or thirty Indians. As soon as they were within musket-shot, they began a general discharge, by which two of the whites were dangerously wounded. Taking their positions at the bow, the stern, and on the right side of the boat, they raked her in every direction. A regular and constant fire was kept up on both sides. Just as the captain was raising his gun for the third shot, a ball passed through his right arm and for a moment disabled him.

Scarcely had he recovered from this shock when the Indians at the bow attempted to board the boat, some of then having already taken hold of its side. Severely wounded as he was, Hubbel caught up a pair of pistols and rushed forward to repel them—the boat had no accommodations for that class of boarders. On his approach the Indians fell back, the foremost one receiving the contents of Hubbel's pistol. After discharging the second pistol, he wielded a stick from a pile of firewood so energetically and effectively as to drive the Indians from the boat, wounding one of them severely, and with a yell they suddenly gave way and temporarily discontinued the contest.

There were now but four men left unwounded in the boat, the captain himself having two severe wounds. A second attack was nevertheless resisted with vigor and success. Whenever the Indians would rise to fire, their opponents would generally give them the first shot, which was in almost every instance effective. Notwithstanding the disparity of numbers and the exhausted condition of the defenders of the boat, the Indians at length appeared to despair of success, and the canoes successively returned to the shore.

Just as the last canoe was departing, Captain Hubbel called to the Indian in its stern, and as he turned around fired on him. When the smoke had dissipated, the Indian was seen lying on his back, and appeared to be severely, perhaps mortally, wounded.

Unfortunately, the boat now drifted to within twenty yards of the shore, and the Indians came running down the bank. Two men, the only ones unhurt, took the oars; they were hidden from view, and protected by the side of the boat and by blankets in her stern. The others lay down, to avoid the enemy's bullets. For twenty minutes they were exposed to a heavy fire. Suddenly, and providentially, the boat was carried by the current to the middle of the stream, out of the reach of the enemy's fire. The little band of men, women, and children, now out of danger, forgot their fatigue and wounds, and gave three hearty cheers for their deliverance.

Out of nine men, three were killed and four severely wounded. The women and children were all uninjured, except one little boy who, after the battle, came to the captain, and with great coolness requested him to take a ball out of his head. A bullet had gone through the side of the boat and lodged under the skin of his forehead. When this was removed the brave little fellow said, "That is not all, captain;" and raising his arm, exhibited a piece of bone at the point of his elbow, which had been shot off and hung only by the skin. His mother, who had known nothing of all this, now exclaimed, "Why did you not tell us of this" "Because," replied the little hero, "the captain ordered us to be silent during the fight, and I thought you would make a noise if I told you of it."

The boat reached Limestone that night. Crowds of people came to see her, and her little band of resolute and heroic defenders. On examination, it was found that the sides of the boat were literally filled with bullets and bullet-holes. In the blankets, which served as curtains in the stern, there were one hundred and twenty-two holes, in a space five feet square. Out of five horses that were in the boat, four were killed. This formidable resistance had a good effect, as it is believed that no boat was ever afterwards assailed by Indians on the Ohio.

As the Indian would not submit to having his best hunting-grounds taken from him without his consent, it was necessary to resort to force and to chastise him into submission.

One thousand four hundred men, under General Josiah Harmar, were despatched to the heart of the hostile Indian country, around the head-waters of the Maumee. They gained the Indian encampment at the Maumee Ford unobserved, on the morning of October 21st, but were discovered by the Indians in time to frustrate Harmar's plan of surprise, and were themselves defeated in two separate engagements, and driven back with loss, mainly through the superior abilities of the Miami chief, Little Turtle. The flourishing city of Fort Wayne, at the confluence of the St. Mary's and St.. Joseph's, is near the scene of Harmar's defeat. Blue Jacket, an influential Seneca chief, was associated with Little Turtle in the command of the Indians engaged.

Fort Wayne


In these conflicts many of the Indians fought on horseback. A bunch of bells, hanging down the left side, and two narrow strips of red and white cloth as pendants, decorated their horses' heads. The Indians themselves were painted red and black, in the most hideous manner. Their repulsive appearance, the noise of the bells, and the flapping of the pendent strips of cloth so frightened the horses of the militia that it was with the greatest difficulty that they could be brought to the charge. The regulars, who stood firm, were nearly all killed.

The Indians remained on the field during the night, and held a dance of victory, exulting, with frantic shouts and gestures, over their dead and dying enemies. Captain Armstrong of the regulars was a wretched and unwilling witness of this orgie, being sunk to his neck in mud and water within one hundred yards of the scene.

To punish the Indians and repress their hostile incursions, General Charles Scott, of Kentucky, with eight hundred men, crossed the Ohio in May, 1791; and penetrated the Wabash country to the large village of Outanon, eight miles below the present town of Lafayette, Indiana. A strong party of Indians was routed with loss, the town, together with several villages in the vicinity, was destroyed, and the country desolated.

Another expedition led by General James Wilkinson, in the following August, to the vicinity of what is now Logansport, Indiana, had similar results. These raids had little other effect than to irritate the Indians, who, under such able leaders as Little Turtle, Blue Jacket, and Buck-on-gahelas, redoubled their efforts to drive the whites south of the Ohio.

James Wilkinson


The attempt was now made to establish a strong military post in the heart of the Miami country, on the site of the present city of Fort Wayne. Governor St. Clair, with General Richard Butler as second in command, moved forward at the head of two thousand men to effect this object and bring the Indians to terms.

On the morning of November 4th the army was encamped on the borders of one of the tributaries of the Wabash, on a piece of rising ground with a fordable stream forty feet wide in its front. The encampment was surrounded by woods, dense thickets, and the trunks of fallen trees, with here and there a ravine—the best kind of ground for Indian warfare.

St. Clair's army, somewhat reduced by desertion, lay in two lines, seventy yards apart, with artillery in the centre of each line. The men slept on their arms, Indians being known to be near. There were two thousand of them, under the famous chief, Little Turtle, close at hand, lying in wait. For days they had been watching for a favorable opportunity to attack the troops. That opportunity had now come.

Half an hour before sunrise, while the troops were preparing breakfast, the Indians, with terrific yells, dashed upon the militia who were posted in front across the stream. Stricken with panic, the militia rushed wildly across the creek into the lines of the regulars, producing alarm and confusion among them. The Indians pressed them closely, and then attacked the regulars. Not an Indian was to be seen, except as he darted from cover to cover. More than once the foe were driven back with the bayonet, but they at length succeeded in shooting down all the artillerists and silencing the cannon. General Butler had received a wound, which was being dressed, when a daring savage darting into the camp tomahawked and scalped him. He failed, however, to carry off his trophy, being instantly slain.

For nearly three hours, and until one-half of them had fallen, the Americans continued the contest. Then, under cover of a desperate charge, they began a retreat which soon became a flight—the Indians in close pursuit, and greatly elated by their victory. In this battle a larger number of Americans fell than in any of the battles of the Revolutionary War. It was lost by the want of discipline among the men, who had been but a short time in the service. Many gallant officers were slain.

St. Clair, who behaved gallantly, had three horses shot under him. Eight balls passed through his coat and hat. Winthrop Sargent, his adjutant-general, was severely wounded, and carried two bullets in his body received in this battle to his grave. The news of St. Clair's defeat produced consternation along the border, checked for a time the tide of emigration to the Ohio, and cast a gloom over the whole country. An investigation into the conduct of that officer resulted in his honorable acquittal.

Washington, whose parting injunction to St. Clair had been, "Beware of a surprise," was extremely agitated on hearing of his defeat, and gave way to an outburst—most unusual to him—of passionate invective. Soon recovering himself, however, he said, "General St. Clair shall have justice. I will receive him without displeasure; I will hear him without prejudice; he shall have full justice." It is certain that St. Clair continued to retain his undiminished esteem and confidence.

Washington earnestly desired to civilize the Indians, but did not believe it could be done by sending their young men to our colleges; he thought the true method was to introduce the arts and habits of husbandry among them. No better method has been proposed for their improvement in the century that has since elapsed. In a speech to the Seneca chiefs, Half Town, Cornplanter, and Great Tree, he observed,

"When you return to your country, tell your people that it is my desire to promote their prosperity by teaching them the use of domestic animals, and the manner in which the white people plough and raise so much corn; and if, upon consideration, it would be agreeable to the nation at large to learn those arts, I will find some means of teaching them at such places within their country as shall be agreed upon."

Anxious for peace, commissioners on the part of the United States met the tribes in a general council, in the spring of 1793, and proposed that in consideration of the ceded lands, some of which had already been sold, the United States should pay the Indians a large sum of money, or goods, besides a full yearly supply of such articles as they needed.

In reply the Indians said that money was of no value to them, and they pointed out the following simple mode by which the settlers might be removed and peace be restored. From the Indian point of view, the wisdom and justice of their proposal cannot be questioned.

"We know that these settlers are poor," said they, "or they would never have ventured to live in a country which has been in continual trouble ever since they crossed the Ohio. Divide, therefore, this large sum of money you offer us among these people. Give to each, also, a proportion of what you say you will give to us annually, over and above this very large sum of money, and we are persuaded they will most readily accept it in lieu of the land you sold them. If you add, also, the great sums you must expend in raising and paying armies, with a view to force us to yield you our country, you will certainly have more than sufficient for the purpose of repaying these settlers for all their labor and improvements.

"You talk to us about concessions. It appears strange that you should expect any from us, who have only been defending our just rights against your invasions. We want peace. Restore to us our country and we shall be enemies no longer."

A final expedition against the North-western Indians was intrusted to General Anthony Wayne, whose impetuosity and daring at Stony Point and on other Revolutionary fields had procured for him the title of "Mad Anthony." Profiting by its dear-bought experience, the Government gave him a force adequate to the performance of the grave task before him. William Henry Harrison, afterwards a successful soldier of the war of 1812, and ninth President of the United States, joined him as aide-de-camp.

Wayne took ample time for preparation. Late in October, with a force of three thousand six hundred and thirty men, he reached the site of Greenville, and went into winter-quarters. In the following summer he was joined by General Charles Scott, with one thousand six hundred mounted volunteers from Kentucky. He then moved forward, skirmishing with bands of lurking savages as he advanced, but so slowly and stealthily that the Indians nicknamed him "The Black Snake." He marched with open files, to insure rapidity in forming a line or in prolonging the flanks. and drilled his men to load while marching. He kept his forces well together, always halting in the middle of the afternoon, and encamping in a hollow square. A rampart of logs sun rounded his camp.

General Wayne


On arriving at the site of the present village of Defiance, at the confluence of the Anglaize and Maumee rivers, where were several important Indian villages, Wayne erected a strong work which he named Fort Defiance, and renewed peaceful proposals to the Indians. These they rejected, contrary to the advice of Little Turtle. Blue Jacket, the principal Indian leader in the coming battle, threw all his influence in favor of war.

"We have beaten the enemy twice," said Little Turtle, "under separate commanders. We cannot expect the same good-fortune always to attend us. The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps. The night and the day are alike to him, and during all the time that he has been marching upon our villages, notwithstanding the watchfulness of our young men, we have never been able to surprise him. Think well of it. There is something whispers me it would be prudent to listen to his offers of peace." Taunted with cowardice for this sagacious counsel, he answered the false charge by being foremost in the battle that ensued.

Fort Defiance


On the morning of August 20th, Wayne marched forward, and had proceeded about five miles when heavy volleys from a concealed foe compelled his advanced guard to fall back. He formed his men in two lines, in a dense wood, where a tornado had prostrated a large number of trees, making the operations of cavalry very difficult. This circumstance gave to the action that followed the name of the "Battle of the Fallen Timbers." These obstacles afforded admirable shelter for the enemy, who, to the number of two thousand Indians and Canadians, were posted among them in two lines

Wayne ordered his men to charge with the bayonet and rouse the Indians from their lair, and when up, to deliver a close and well-directed fire on their backs, followed by a brisk charge, so as not to give them time to reload. General Scott, with his mounted volunteers, was directed to turn the right flank of the enemy by a circuitous movement, while Colonel Campbell, with the legionary cavalry, effected the same object on their left flank. Such was the impetuosity of the troops, as they leaped and scrambled over the Indian breastworks, that the enemy fled precipitately and was driven with severe loss more than two miles through the forest. Wayne's second line was unable to come up in season to take part in the action. In this battle all the Wyandot chiefs, nine in number, were killed.

Charge of Dragoons


The influence of this decisive victory was felt throughout the West, and especially by the hostile tribes. They were now thoroughly convinced of the superiority of the white man and the necessity for peace. For fifteen years they remained quiet, and the North-western Territory was rapidly filled with an enterprising and hardy population. Another important result of Wayne's success was the surrender to the United States of Niagara, Detroit, Mackinac, Miami, and other posts within its territory hitherto held by the British.

Moving his army to the Maumee, Wayne built, just below the confluence of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's rivers, a strong work, afterwards called Fort Wayne.

Maumee Ford


Foremost among the tribes who now turned their steps towards his camp, was the proud and influential Wyandots. The Delawares followed—bitter enemies of the whites since they had been driven from Pennsylvania. Then came the Shawnees, the most subtle and revengeful of all the tribes. Each day witnessed the arrival of these forest delegates, decked with all their peculiar ornaments of feathers, paint, silver gorgets, trinkets, and medals. The Miami, Ojibwas, Ottawas, Potawatomies, Weeas, Kickapoos, Piankeshays, and Kaskaskias were also present. Each delegation bore the pipe of peace, and expressed pacific desires. The camp presented a picturesque appearance, and an unusual number and variety of Indian costumes.

The important treaty of Greenville was now concluded by Wayne with the North-western Indians, by which they ceded twenty-five thousand square miles of territory to the United States, besides sixteen separate tracts, including lands and forts. While here the American commander earned yet another nickname from the Indians. His promises of goods and provisions were so tardily executed by the Government, that they called him "General Wabaug," by which they meant "General To-morrow."

Fort Miami


Mishikinakwa, or Little Turtle, the leader of the Indians in these campaigns, was of mixed blood, being the son of a Miami chief by a Mohican mother. He was sagacious, humane, and brave. One who saw him soon after the war described him as about six feet in height, of a sour and morose expression of countenance, with an appearance also of craft and subtlety. He wore a blue petticoat that came half-way down his thighs, a European waistcoat, surtout, and moccasins. On his head was a cap that hung half-way down his back, bespangled with about two hundred silver brooches. In each ear were two rings, the upper part of each bearing three silver medals about the size of a dollar, and the lower parts quarters of a dollar. They fell more than twelve inches below his ears. One from each ear fell over his breast, the other over his back. He had also three large nose jewels cunningly painted.

Kosciusko, the Polish hero, when in Philadelphia in 1797, on taking leave of Little Turtle, gave him an elegant pair of pistols and a valuable robe made of the fur of the sea-otter.

Little Turtle kept the Miamis faithful to the Americans from the time of the treaty. After his death at Fort Wayne, in the summer of 1812, the great body of them again became hostile. Colonel Johnston, who knew Little Turtle well, called him "the gentleman of his race."

Litte Turtle's Grave


A bolder or better planned escape from captivity and the stake than that of Samuel Davis, an Indian spy, has nowhere been recorded.

Knowing that he was to be burned or tortured to death, Davis determined to seize the first opportunity of escape that offered, or to die in the attempt. At night he was tied tightly around the waist with a strong strip of raw-hide. Each end was fastened around an Indian's waist, so that he could not turn over without drawing an Indian with him. He had to lie on his back until morning, and if he made the least stir he was quieted with blows.

One morning, just as it was growing light, he jogged one of the Indians to whom he was fastened, and requested to be untied. Seeing that it was growing light, and that a number of the party were about the fires, the Indian untied him. Davis rose to his feet. Looking about him, to determine the best direction to take for escape, he saw that to plunge through the group before him would give him an advantage, as their guns were in the other direction, and they would therefore have to run back for them, and in the dim twilight would be unable to draw a "bead" on him.

Screwing his courage up, he felt that all depended on the swiftness of his heels. A large active Indian was standing between Davis and the fire. Striking him with all his force he knocked him into the fire, and, with the agility of a deer, the sprang over his body, and took to the woods at full speed. The Indians followed, yelling and screeching like demons, but, as Davis anticipated, not a gun was fired. Several Indians pursued him some distance, and for a time it was a doubtful race. The foremost Indian was so near him that at times he fancied he felt his clutch.

At length, however, he began to gain ground upon his pursuers. On reaching the top of a long, sloping ridge, he for the first time looked back, and to his infinite delight saw no one in pursuit. He now slackened his pace and went a mile or two farther, when he found his feet were so gashed and bruised that he was obliged to tear his waistcoat in two pieces and wrap them around his feet instead of moccasins.

Pushing his way to the Ohio, he reached it about the 1st of January, having been for three days and two nights without food, fire, or covering, exposed to the winter storms. Here, to his great joy, he saw a boat coming down the stream. The boatmen heard his story, but refused to land, fearing deception. Keeping pace with the boat, as it slowly glided along, the more pitiably he described his forlorn condition the more determined were the boat's crew not to land for him. He at length requested them to come a little nearer the shore, and he would swim to them. To this they consented, and, plunging into the freezing water, Davis swam for the boat. The boatmen pulled vigorously towards him, and at length lifted him into the boat almost exhausted. He soon recovered his usual health and activity.

One of the early pioneers of the North-west, speaking of the perils that surrounded them, and how they were met, says:

"The manner in which I used to work was as follows: On all occasions I carried my rifle, tomahawk, and knife, with a loaded pistol in my belt. When I went to plough, I laid my gun on the ploughed land, and stuck up a stick by it for a mark, so that I could get it quick in case it was wanted. I had two good dogs. I took one into the house, leaving the other out. The one outside was expected to give the alarm, which would cause the one inside to bark, by which I would be awakened, having my arms always loaded and at hand.

"I kept my horses in a stable close to the house, having a port-hole, so that I could shoot to the stable door. During two years I never went from home with a certainty of returning, not knowing the moment I might receive a ball from an unknown hand; but in the midst of all these dangers, that God who never sleeps nor slumbers has kept me."

"During one of the Indian raids on a frontier settlement," says an eye-witness, "the inhabitants fled in the darkness to the central block-house. One of them, a Mr. Moulton, came with his leather apron full of smith's tools and tobacco; his daughter, Anna, brought the china; Lydia, another daughter, brought the great Bible. But when all were in the mother was missing. 'Where was mother!' was the anxious inquiry; 'she must be killed by the Indians.' 'No,' says Lydia, 'mother said she would not leave the house looking so, she would put things a little to rights.' After a while the old lady came, bringing the knives, forks, looking-glass, etc., and having the immense satisfaction of knowing that the deserted dwelling had been made presentable in case the savages looked in."

Tecumseh, and the War of 1812

In the year 1800 the Indiana Territory was established, and General William Henry Harrison appointed governor. Out of this territory the States of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin have since been formed. Harrison was popular, particularly with the Indians, but the latter were ill-treated by the settlers, and by speculators who defrauded them, encroached upon their reserved domain, and demoralized them with whiskey.

"You call us your children," said an old chief, bitterly, to Harrison, one day; "why do you not make us happy as our fathers the French did? They never took from us our lands; indeed they were common between us. They planted where they pleased, and they cut wood where they pleased, and so did we. But now if a poor Indian attempts to take a little bark from a. tree to cover him from rain, up comes a white man and threatens to shoot him, claiming the tree as his own."

The flames of discontent were fanned by British emissaries. The price of furs was so low, owing to commercial restrictions abroad, that Indian hunters found it difficult to procure their necessary supplies from the traders. At the beginning of 1811, the excellent provisions of Wayne's treaty in their behalf having been substantially obliterated, and vast bodies of their land assured by it having been transferred to the white man and the original proprietors dispossessed, the Indians were ripe for mischief.

Just at this time a great Indian orator and warrior came forward, who had for years earnestly and successfully advocated among the tribes the policy of leagueing themselves together, with the common object of driving back the white man from the fair land of their fathers. He told them that the treaties giving up the lands north of the Ohio were fraudulent,, and therefore void, and assured his auditors that he and his brother the Prophet would resist any further attempts at settlement in that direction by the white people. He also told their that the Indian's land belonged to all in common, and that no part of it could be sold without the consent of all.



Tecumseh, though a Shawnee, was born of a Creek mother, near the banks of Mad River, a few miles from Springfield, Ohio. His name in the Shawnee dialect signifies "a flying tiger," or "a wild-cat springing upon its prey." He was well formed and symmetrical, five feet ten inches in height, and of noble aspect. His carriage was erect and lofty, his motions quick, his eyes penetrating, his visage stern, and he wore an air of hauteur  which arose from an elevated pride of soul. He had earned a high reputation by his exploits as a hunter and a warrior.

His brother, Elkswatawa ("the loud voice"), who, up to the year 1806, had been remarkable only for his dissipated habits, assumed at that time to be a prophet. He was a cunning, unprincipled man, and was disfigured by the loss of an eye.



Assuming to have had a vision, the "Prophet" everywhere harangued against drunkenness and witchcraft, and warned his people to have nothing to do with the pale-faces, their religion, their customs, their arms, or their arts, for every imitation of the intruders was offensive to the great Master of Life. The credulous whose number was legion, and who came long distances to see hint, believed that he worked wonders.

In declaiming against drunkenness he met with great success. He told the Indians that since he became a prophet he had gone up into the clouds; that the first place he came to was the abode of the devil, and that all who had died drunkards were there, with flames issuing out of their mouths. Many of his followers were alarmed, and ceased to drink the "fire-water" of the white man.

The great eclipse of the sun in the summer of 1806 enabled him to convince many that he possessed miraculous powers. Having learned when it was to occur, he boldly announced that on a certain day he would prove his miraculous powers by bringing darkness over the sun. At the appointed time the eclipse occurred as predicted. Pointing to the heavens, as he stood in the midst of his followers, he exclaimed, "Behold! darkness has shrouded the sun. Did I not prophesy truly?" Of course this striking phenomenon, thus adroitly used, produced a powerful effect on the Indians.

If not himself the author of this imposture, Tecumseh made great use of it to promote his grand scheme of uniting the North-western tribes, and he went from one to another of them, proclaiming the wonders of his brother's divine mission.

The white settlers were alarmed. As early as in 1807, Governor Harrison, in a speech to the chiefs and headmen of the Shawnees, denounced the Prophet as an impostor. He said to them:

"My children, this business must be stopped. Your conduct has much alarmed the white settlers near you. I will no longer suffer it. You have called a number of men from the most distant tribes to listen to a fool who speaks not the words of the Great Spirit, but those of the evil spirit and of the British agents. Let him go to the lakes; he can then hear the British more distinctly."

The tribe listened to the governor, and, in the spring of 1808, the Prophet and his followers took up their abode on the banks of the Wabash, near the mouth of the Tippecanoe River. Here the brothers continued their hostile intrigues, and succeeded in securing the warlike Wyandots as allies. Tecumseh fiercely denounced those who had taken part in the treaty made with Harrison at Fort Wayne, ceding nearly eight million acres on the Wabash, declared the treaty void, and threatened to kill every chief concerned in it. "Return those lands," he said to Harrison, "and Tecumseh will be the friend of the Americans."

As the influence of the Prophet increased, he used it for the gratification of his personal resentments, and caused the execution of several hostile Delaware chiefs, on a charge of witchcraft. One of these was Tarhe, the wise and venerable sachem of the Wyandots. Perceiving the approach of danger, Governor Harrison, who well knew the great ability and influence of Tecumseh, tried hard to conciliate him.

He told the chief that his principles and claims could not be allowed by the President, and advised him to relinquish them. "Well," said Tecumseh, "as the Great Chief is to determine the matter, I hope the Great Spirit will put sense enough into his head to induce him to direct you to give up this land. It is true he is so far off he will not be injured by the war. He may sit still in his town, and drink his wine, while you and I will have to fight it out." This prophecy, as will be seen, was literally fulfilled.

After a speech from Tecumseh, of great boldness, dignity, and eloquence, at Vincennes, Governor Harrison, through an interpreter, invited the orator to take a seat by the side of his white father. The chief drew his robe more closely about him, and standing erect said, with scornful tone:

"My father? The sun is my father, and the earth is my mother, on her bosom I will repose;" and then seated himself upon the ground in the Indian fashion.

Fort Harrison


The teachings and the active efforts of this great leader, the authority of the Prophet, and the open encouragement of the British in Canada, all had their effect. Early in 1811, the Indians in the Wabash region began stealing and plundering, and the signs of impending hostilities became more and more evident.

Harrison sent word to the brothers that if they slid not put a stop to these outrages, and cease their warlike preparations, he would attack them. He at once began a fort on the site of the present city of Terre Rapt, called Fort Harrison, and moved promptly forward with a force of nine hundred and ten men, mostly Indiana volunteers.

On arriving near the Prophet's town, the alarmed savages asked for a parley. It was granted. They assured Harrison that a friendly message had been sent him by the Prophet, which had missed him on the way, pointed out a suitable spot for his encampment, and exchanged promises that no hostilities should take place until an interview could be held on the following day.

Harrison's position afforded to the savages great facilities for approach, and for their peculiar mode of warfare. Knowing well the foe with whom he had to deal, the governor made such a disposition of his forces that, in the event of an attempt to surprise his camp, every man would be in his proper place to repel it with the least possible delay. The troops slept in their clothes, with their accoutrements on and their arms by their sides. The night was intensely dark, with a slight rain. Soon the whole camp, except the sentinels and guards, were sleeping soundly.

In the Indian camp, on the contrary, all was stir and activity. The Prophet, with his incantations and mystical movements, had wrought his followers up to a high pitch of excitement. "The time to attack the white man," said he, "has come. They are in your power. They sleep now and will never awake. The omens are all favorable. The Great Spirit will give light to us and darkness to the white man. Their bullets shall not harm us; your weapons shall be always fatal." By their war-songs and dances they worked themselves into a frenzy, and then rushed forth to the attack. Stealthily they crept through the tall grass, intending to surround the camp, kill the sentinels, and then rush in to massacre every soul.

At four o'clock on the following morning, just as Harrison was pulling on his boots, a single gun, fired by a watchful sentinel, followed immediately by the horrid yells of the savages, announced that the attack had begun. A heavy fire was opened upon the troops while they were forming in front, and some of the Indians, in their first fierce onslaught, even penetrated Harrison's lines. The horses of the officers, which had been fastened to stakes in the square, broke loose, and for a few moments all was confusion.

Most of the troops were in position before they were fired upon, but some were compelled to defend themselves at the doors of their tents. The camp-fires were immediately extinguished, as their light was an advantage to the Indian marksmen. Nineteen-twentieths of the troops had never before been in battle, but, notwithstanding the alarming situation in which they were placed, their conduct was cool and gallant, and after the first momentary surprise there was little noise or confusion.

Tippecanoe Battleground


Harrison, with his aid, Colonel Owen, hastened to the point first attacked, where the troops had bravely held their ground, though suffering severely, and at once ordered up a reinforcement. Called immediately to another quarter, he observed heavy firing from some trees in front, mud ordered Major Daviess, with some dragoons, to dislodge the enemy. This was gallantly attempted, but with too small a force. The gallant Daviess fell, and his men were driven back. Captain Snelling, with his company of regulars, then drove the savages from their advantageous position, Snelling himself making prisoner of a chief.

The battle then became general, the camp being assailed on all sides. The Indians advanced and retreated by the aid of a rattling noise made with deer hoofs, and fought with the utmost fury and determination. It was important to maintain the lines of the encampment unbroken till day-light, when the assailed mould be able to make a general charge upon a visible foe. To do this Harrison was compelled to be constantly in motion, riding from point to point, and keeping the assailed positions reinforced.

When day dawned, a charge was gallantly and effectively executed. The Indians were driven at the point of the bayonet, and were pursued by the horsemen until the wet prairie stopped their further progress, and enabled the fugitives, who scattered in all directions, to escape. The Prophet's town was reduced to ashes.

While the fight was going on, the Prophet, who kept out of harm's way, sung a war-song and performed some religions exercises. When told that his followers were falling under the fire of the white men, he said, "Fight on; it will soon be as I told you." When at last the beaten warriors assailed him bitterly for the failure, he cunningly told them that it was because, during his incantations, his wife had touched the sacred vessels and broke the charm. This was too much even for Indian credulity. "You are a liar!" said one of the warriors to him after the action, "for you told us that the white people were dead or crazy, when they were all in their senses and fought like devils." His followers deserted him, and he sought a refuge with a small band of Wyandots on Wildcat Creek.

In this severe and well-fought battle the victor acquired the title of "Old Tippecanoe." We shall again hear from Harrison in the war of 1812.

Tecumseh was absent among the Southern Indians when the battle of Tippecanoe was fought. He returned soon afterwards, only to learn that his great scheme had been totally ruined by his brother's precipitate folly. In his anger he seized the Prophet by the hair, shook him violently, and threatened to take his life. His zealous and patriotic labors, to which so much of his life had been devoted, had been thrown away, and his hopes for the future of his race had in a moment been destroyed. Failing to receive permission to visit the President with a deputation of chiefs, mortified and exasperated, he became thenceforward a firm ally of the British.

In July, 1812, a deputation from those Indians who were inclined to neutrality was sent to Malden to invite Tecumseh to attend their council at Brownstown.

"No!" said he, indignantly, "I have taken sides with the king, my father, and I will suffer my bones to bleach upon this shore before I will recross that stream to join in any council of neutrality."

Immediately after the battle of Tippecanoe, the inhabitants of Detroit, alarmed at the threatening aspect of our relations with England, petitioned Congress to strengthen their defences. The impressment of American seamen, and the depredations of British cruisers upon American commerce, caused war to be soon afterwards declared by the United States against England.

Michigan Territory was at this time sparsely populated, and greatly exposed to savage inroads. Preparations for war were going on, the invasion of Canada was talked of, and General William Hull, governor of the territory, while opposing this project, urged the President to increase the military force in the territory, and to place a small fleet on Lake Erie.

Hull knew that the British authorities in Canada had sent messengers to all the principal Indian tribes in the North-west with arms and presents, exhorting then to become the allies of Great Britain in the event of war. He knew that the savages could desolate the territory, and that the British had control of the lake, and that, with the small force at his disposal, the idea of a successful invasion of Canada was preposterous. It was ordered, nevertheless.

William Hull


Detroit at that time stretched along the bank of the river. The present Jefferson Avenue was its principal street. It contained one hundred and sixty houses and about eight hundred inhabitants, principally of French origin. On a hill in the rear, about two hundred and fifty yards from the river, stood Fort Detroit, built by the English after the conquest of Canada. It was quadrangular in form, with bastions and barracks, and covered about two acres of ground. The embankments were nearly twenty feet in height, with a deep, dry ditch, and were surrounded by a double row of pickets. The town was surrounded by strong pickets, fourteen feet high, with loop-holes to shoot through. These pickets, which had been erected as defences against Indian incursions, were still in good condition. The fortifications which the British were erecting on the opposite side of the river would, if completed, not only command the town, but seriously menace the fort, and Hull prepared to cross, and drive the enemy towards Malden.

With about two thousand two hundred effective men he crossed the river at Detroit (July 12, 1812), and landed unopposed, just above the present town of Windsor.

By the unpardonable remissness of Eustis, Secretary of War, our officers on this exposed frontier were not notified of the declaration of war until after the intelligence had reached the enemy. One of the immediate consequences of this strange blunder was the capture by the British and Indians of the post and garrison of Mackinac, by which they gained the key to the fur-trade of a vast region, and the command of the upper lakes, and, above all, removed the bar that kept back the savages of that region, and secured their neutrality. To this cause may in part be attributed the disasters of the Canada campaign of 1812.

Opposed to the cautious and unenterprising Hull was a brave, sagacious, and energetic officer, General Isaac Brock, the same who soon afterwards fell gloriously at Queenstown Heights. Orders to move upon the British post at Malden had at last been issued by Hull, through the urgency of McArthur. Cass, and other officers, and the troops were preparing to execute them with alacrity when the intelligence came that Brock, with a large force of regulars, Canadians, and Indians, was approaching. The order to recross the river to Detroit and abandon Canada was given by the general, and most reluctantly obeyed.

A small party, under Major Van Horne, had been defeated and driven back by Tecumseh in an attempt to bring supplies to the many from Brownstown, twenty-five miles below. Lieutenant-colonel Miller was sent on the same errand, and at Maguaga defeated a large body of the enemy, with whom was Tecumseh. The Indians bore the brunt of this engagement, and fought with great obstinacy until finally routed, when they fled, leaving forty of their dead on the field. Brock, on reaching Sandwich, opposite Detroit, summoned Hull to surrender, intimating that in the event of a refusal, the blood-thirsty savages who accompanied him would be let loose upon the town and garrison.

Duncan Macarthur


Hull refused to surrender, but at the same time neglected to erect batteries or take other necessary steps to prevent the landing of the enemy, who at once opened a cannonade, which the Americans returned with spirit.

Next morning the enemy landed without molestation, the Indians, under Tecumseh, taking a position in the woods. The British column, seven hundred and seventy strong, moved towards the fort, their left flank covered by the Indians; their right rested on the river, and was covered by the guns of the Queen Charlotte. The American force was numerically larger than the British, and its position gave it decided superiority. It had plenty of ammunition, and was provisioned for eighteen days.

Lewis Cass


Just as the American artillerists were preparing to pour a deadly fire into the ranks of the advancing foe, a white flag was displayed from the walls of the fort, and Detroit, with its garrison of two thousand men, was surrendered without a shot being fired in its defence. This unfortunate event gave the British a large supply of arms, which Canada greatly needed, and also gave them time to secure the alliance of savage tribes ever ready to join the victorious party.

Hull was tried by a court-martial and condemned to be shot, but was pardoned by the President in consideration of his age and Revolutionary services. He was no coward, but, swayed too much by considerations of humanity, committed a grave error of judgment. He was wholly incompetent to meet and overcome obstacles which a younger and more energetic man would have successfully encountered.

James Miller


After the surrender, Brock, who had a high opinion of the sagacity and gallantry of Tecumseh, took off his own rich crimson silk sash, and publicly placed it round the waist of the chief, who was much pleased at such a mark of respect, but who received it with dignity. With rare modesty he at once placed it upon Round head, a celebrated Wyandot warrior, saying, "I do not wish to wear such a mark of distinction when an older and alder warrior than myself is present." For his services at the battle of Maguaga he had been rewarded by the British Government with the commission of brigadier-general.

Maguaga Battle ground


Tecumseh's appearance at this time was very prepossessing. His age was about forty, his complexion light copper, and his countenance oval, with bright hazel eyes, indicating cheerfulness, energy, and decision. Three small silver crosses or coronets were suspended from the lower cartilage of his aquiline nose, and a large silver medallion of George III., which an ancestor had received, was attached to a mixed-colored wampum string and hung round his neck. His dress consisted of a plain, neat uniform—tainted deerskin jacket, with long trousers of the same material, the seams of both being covered with neatly cut fringe. His moccasins were much ornamented with work made from the dyed quills of the porcupine. The cap was red, the band ornamented with colored porcupine quills. When in full dress, on gala occasions, he wore a cocked hat and plume.

The success of the British in this campaign was largely owing to the efficient co-operation of Tecumseh and his Indians, and to the fears with which they inspired the American commander.

Fort Mackinac


In 1804 the United States had erected upon the site of a French trading post, at the mouth of the Chicago River, where the city of Chicago now stands, a small work called Fort Dearborn. It was garrisoned at this time by seventy-five men, under Captain Heald. While manifesting friendship for the garrison, the Potawatoinies in its vicinity were in alliance with Great Britain, and were annually receiving a large supply of presents at Fort Malden, on the Canada side.

In obedience to orders, but contrary to the advice of his officers and of Winnemeg, a friendly chief, the provisions and goods in the fort were distributed among the Indians in the vicinity, and on the morning of August 15th the garrison evacuated the fort, and took up the line of march for Fort Wayne. They were accompanied by about five hundred Potawatomies, who had pledged their word to escort them in safety to that post.

Fort Dearborn, 1812


They had proceeded but a mile and a half when these treacherous savages attacked and surrounded them. After a short conflict, in which half his men were killed or wounded, Heald surrendered. A portion of the prisoners were taken to Detroit, the remainder were distributed among the Potawatomie villages. The wounded prisoners were not included in the stipulation, and many of them were put to death with savage barbarity.

The wife of Lieutenant Helm, one of Heald's officers, in describing this scene, says: "I felt that my hour was come, and endeavored to forget those that I loved, and prepare myself for my approaching fate. At this moment a young Indian raised his tomahawk at me. By springing aside I avoided the blow which was aimed at my head, but which alighted on my shoulder. I seized him around the neck, and while exerting my utmost efforts to get possession of his scalping-knife, which hung in a scabbard over his breast, I was dragged from his grasp by another and older Indian.

"The latter bore me, struggling and resisting, towards the lake. I was immediately plunged into the water, and held there with a forcible hand, notwithstanding my resistance. I soon perceived, however, that the object of my captor was not to drown me, as he held me in a position to place my head above the water. Looking at him attentively, I soon recognized, in spite of the paint with which he was disguised, 'The Black Partridge.'

"This was a chief of some distinction, who entertained a strong personal regard for many of the white families in the fort. The evening before the massacre he had entered Heald's room, and said, 'Father, I come to deliver up to you the medal I wear. It was given me by the Americans, and I have long worn it in token of mutual friendship. But our young men are resolved to imbrue their hands in the blood of the whites. I cannot restrain them, and I will not wear a token of peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy.'

"When the firing had somewhat subsided, my preserver bore me from the water and conducted me up the sand-banks. It was a burning August morning, and walking through the sand in my drenched condition was inexpressibly painful and fatiguing. I stopped, and took off my shoes to free them from the sand with which they were nearly filled, when a squaw seized and carried them off. . . . Supported partly by my kind conductor, and partly by another Indian, I dragged my fainting steps to one of the wigwams.

"Seeing my exhausted condition, the wife of a chief standing near dipped up some water from a stream close at hand, threw into it some maple-sugar, and, stirring it, gave it to inc to drink. This act of kindness, in the midst of so many atrocities of which I was witness, touched me most sensibly."

After passing through the scenes above described, Mrs. Helm was taken to Detroit; her husband, who had also been taken prisoner, was afterwards liberated. Fifteen years later the town, now the fourth city in population in the United States, was laid out near the scene of this massacre.

Zachary Taylor, a young captain in the army, afterwards President of the United States, commanded at Fort Harrison on the Wabash, a short distance above the site of the present city of Terre Haute. Friendly Miamis had warned him of the hostile disposition of the neighboring tribes, and he was on his guard. The garrison consisted of about fifty men, not more than a dozen of whom were, owing to a prevailing fever, fit for duty. Taylor himself was just recovering from an attack of bilious fever.

At midnight on September 4th he was aroused by the guns of his sentinels. Every man was ordered to his post, and some of the sick volunteered for the emergency. The lower block-house, containing all the supplies for the garrison, had been set on fire by the savages. It was soon consumed, thus making an opening for the foe, and for a time the destruction of the whole fortification seemed imminent. A smart fire was all the time kept up by the savages. The garrison, weakened by sickness and exhaustion, were dismayed, and for a moment regarded all as lost and gave way to despair. Two of the stoutest and most trusted of the soldiers leaped the palisades and attempted to escape. Everything depended upon the presence of mind, courage, and energy of the commander. The flames had reached the barracks when he shouted,

Zachary Taylor


"Pull off the roofs nearest the block-house, pour on water, and all will be well!"

His voice reanimated the men; they put forth a degree of strength surprising to themselves, and that could only be supplied by the excitement and danger of the situation. Water was brought, in buckets, while some, climbing the roof, tore off the boards, and in the face of bullets and arrows extinguished the flames and saved the endangered buildings. Before daybreak the open space made by the fire was protected by a breast-work as high as a mans head, only a single man in the fort having been killed, in spite of the incessant firing of the foe.

Daylight enabled the garrison to return the fire of the enemy, with such effect that after a conflict of eight hours they withdrew. One of the two men who fled from the fort was killed, the other, though badly wounded, regained its walls.

Fortunately for the garrison, whose provisions had all been consumed in the block-house, the Indians had left the standing corn around the fort untouched, and upon this they subsisted several days.

Monroe, sight of defeat


The year 1813 opened with a sad disaster to the American arms, known as the massacre at the river Raisin. Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan, was then a flourishing settlement on this river. Since the surrender of Detroit it had been occupied by the British. On January 18th they had been driven out by the Americans, but immediately organized a large force for its recapture at Malden, eighteen miles distant. It was commanded by Colonel Proctor, who, with some large pieces of cannon and a numerous body of Indians, advanced to the attack early in the morning of the 22nd. The weather was intensely cold.

The Americans under General Winchester, who had neglected to send out pickets upon the roads leading to the town, were surprised, and after a brave defence were compelled to surrender. This they did upon the solemn promise of the British commander that private property should be respected, and that the sick and wounded, protected by a proper guard, should be removed to Amherstburg.

These conditions were shamefully violated, and, after the British and their prisoners had gone, the helpless sick and wounded prisoners were stripped of everything by the savages, who had just held a drunken revel, and then tomahawked and scalped. The loss of the Americans in this shocking affair, which threw Kentucky into mourning, was nine hundred and thirty-four. Of these, one hundred and ninety-seven were killed and missing; the remainder were made prisoners. The Indians were led by Round Head and Walk-in-the-Water.

Almost all the disasters to the American arms in this war were inflicted by the Indians, or through their active co-operation. The government or the United States, from motives of humanity, refused to employ them, and endeavored to secure their neutrality. By bribes and promises of plunder the British succeeded in inducing large numbers of them to take up the hatchet against the Americans. The capture of Detroit and of Chicago, the defeats of Van Horne and of Winchester, and that of Colonel Dudley, now to be related, were mostly or wholly their work.

In May, General Harrison was besieged by Proctor and his savage allies, fifteen hundred strong, under Tecumseh, in Fort Meigs, a post just established at the foot of the Maumee Rapids. After cannonading the fort for several days without result, Proctor sent Major Chambers with a demand for its surrender.

"Tell General Proctor," replied Harrison, "that if the fort should fall into his hands, it will be in a manner calculated to do him more honor than a thousand surrenders."

On the most active day of the investment as many as five hundred shots and bombs were aimed at the fort. For safety against the latter, each man had a hole dug underground, in the rear of the grand traverse, which, being covered over with plank and earth, fully protected them. The grand traverse was a wall of earth twelve feet in height, running lengthwise of the fort, and designed as a protection against the batteries on the opposite side of the river.

Siege of Fort Meigs


When the cry of "bomb" was heard, the soldiers either threw themselves upon the ground or ran to the holes for safety. A bomb is most destructive when it bursts in the air, but it rarely explodes in that way; it usually falls with such force as to penetrate the earth, and when it explodes, the pieces fly upward and in an angular direction, consequently, a person lying on the ground is comparatively safe. Forts are usually built with bomb-proofs.

General Green Clay had marched promptly to Harrison's relief with twelve hundred Kentuckians. Eight hundred of them, under Colonel Dudley, landed near the fort and captured the British batteries at that point, but disobeying Harrison's orders to spike the cannon and withdraw at once, they pursued the enemy into the forest. There they were drawn into an ambuscade, and attacked on all sides by Indians, and most of them killed or captured, one hundred and seventy only escaping to the fort. The remainder of Clay's command fought their way through the Indians, then joined the garrison in a sally upon them, drove them half a mile at the point of the bayonet, and utterly routed them. The siege was raised very soon afterwards. The prisoners from Colonel Dudley's command were murdered in cold blood. The butchery was finally ended by Tecumseh, who proved himself to be more humane than Proctor. Hastening to the scene of murder, and seeing that officer near, Tecumseh sternly inquired,

General Green Clay


"Why did you not put a stop to this inhuman massacre?"

"Your Indians could not be controlled," replied Proctor, who trembled with fear.

"Begone!" retorted Tecumseh, in a manner that indicated his supreme contempt. "You are unfit to command; go and put on petticoats." This was the grossest insult an Indian could offer.

Another incident shows the low estimate of the chief for the British general, and his complete ascendency over him.

Captain Lecroix, an American for whom Tecumseh had a peculiar regard, had fallen into Proctor's hands, and was secreted on board a vessel until he could be sent to Montreal. Tecumseh peremptorily demanded of Proctor whether he knew anything of his friend, and threatened to abandon him with his Indians if he uttered a falsehood. Proctor was obliged to admit that Lecroix was in confinement. Tecumseh demanded his immediate release, and Proctor submissively wrote an order stating that "The King of the Woods" desired the release of Captain Lecroix, and that he must be set at liberty without delay.

The record of Proctor, whose "services" at the river Raisin were rewarded with the rank of brigadier-general, is unsurpassed for meanness, cowardice, and cruelty. We shall meet with him once more.

Another attack was soon afterwards made on Fort Meigs. On this occasion the enemy practised a hell-devised stratagem, for the purpose of drawing the troops from their post.

On the Sandusky road, in the afternoon of July 26th, a heavy discharge of rifles and muskets was heard. The Indian yell at the same time broke upon the ear, and the savages were seen attacking with great impetuosity a column of men, who were soon thrown into confusion. They, however; rallied, and the Indians in turn gave way. Supposing that this was a reinforcement for them, the garrison flew to arms, and were urgent in demanding to be led to the support of their friends. General Clay, the commander of the fort, who had just received intelligence from General Harrison, reasonably doubted the probability of so speedy a reinforcement, and prudently and firmly resisted the earnest importunities of the officers and men. A heavy shower of rain soon terminated the sham battle, and two days later the siege was abandoned.

It was subsequently ascertained that this stratagem was planned by Tecumseh, for the purpose of decoying out a part of the garrison, which was to have been attacked and cut off by the Indians, while the British were to carry the fort by storm. But for the cool judgment of the commander this cunningly devised manœuvre would probably have succeeded.

Commodore Perry's victory on Lake Erie had important consequences. Proctor's army, five thousand strong, including two thousand five hundred Indians under Tecumseh, was compelled to abandon its design of laying waste the entire northern frontier, through which the glad tidings sent a thrill of joy.

It also put a finishing blow to Tecumseh's Indian confederacy, and opened the way for Harrison's army to repossess the territory lost by the surrender of Detroit. The stigma of that disaster was wiped out, and the exposed frontier was henceforth to be absolutely secure from British invasion and Indian depredations.

William Henry Harrison


At Harrison's request, Governor Shelby, the hero of King's Mountain, issued a call for mounted volunteers.

"I will lead you to the field of battle, and share with you the dangers and honors of the campaign," said the brave old veteran. There was a hearty response to his appeal.

"Come," said the gallant Kentuckians, "let us rally round the eagle of our country, for 'Old King's Mountain' will certainly lead us to victory and conquest." In a short time, at the head of three thousand five hundred mounted men, he was on the march to Lake Erie, but before reaching it received the news of Perry's victory.

At Seneca, Harrison was joined by some friendly Wyandots, Shawnees, and Senecas, under chiefs Lewis, Blackhoof, and Blacksnake. Blackhoof, a famous Shawnee chief, had fought against Braddock, and in all the wars with the Americans. Since the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, he had been their friend, resisting the influence of Tecumseh, and preventing many of the Shawnees from joining the British. Sagacious, energetic, and brave, he was also the orator of his tribe; graceful, natural, and with a happy faculty of expression. He died in 1831, at the great age of one hundred and ten years.

The defeat and capture of the British squadron had been concealed from Tecumseh. When he heard of it he addressed Proctor with great vehemence of manner, in these words:

"Father, listen to your children!

"The war before this our British father gave the hatchet to his red children, when our old chiefs were alive. They are now dead. In that war our father was thrown on his back by the Americans, and our father took them by the hand without our knowledge, and we are afraid that our father will do so again at this time.

Thames Battle-ground


"Father, listen! Our fleet has gone out. We know they have fought, we have heard the great guns; but we know nothing of what has happened to our father with one arm (Captain Barclay, commander of the British fleet in the battle of Lake Erie). Our ships have gone one way, and we are much astonished to see our father tying up everything and preparing to run the other way, without letting his red children know what his intentions are. You always told us you would never draw your foot off British ground, but now, father, we see you are drawing back, and we are sorry to see our father doing so without seeing the enemy. We must compare our father's conduct to a fat dog that carries its tail upon its back, but when affrighted, drops it between its legs and runs off.

"Father, listen If you have an idea of going away, give us the arms and ammunition which our great father the king sent for his red children. and you may go and welcome for us. Our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit. We are determined to defend our lands, and if it be his will, we wish to leave our bones upon them."

The effect of this speech was powerful. It brought all the Indians assembled in council with Proctor to their feet, and they brandished their tomahawks in a menacing manner. Proctor had resolved to flee to the Niagara frontier, but finally quieted Tecumseh and Iris followers by promising to make a stand at the Moravian towns on the Thames.

Before taking his flight northward he destroyed Malden, with its public buildings and stores. Harrison immediately pursued and overtook Proctor at the Moravian Town, a village on the right bank of the Thames River.



Here the American general gained the brilliant victory of the Thames. Proctor's ground was well chosen. The river was on his left, a marsh on his right, a small swamp was in the centre, to the right of which were Tecumseh and the Indians, while Proctor and his regulars were on the left. The British artillery was placed in the road along the margin of the river, near the left of their line.

The Indians were posted between the two swamps where the undergrowth was thickest. Their right was commanded by the brave Oshawalmah, a Chippewa chief. It extended some distance along, and just within the borders of the larger marsh, and was so disposed as to easily flank Harrison's left. Their left, commanded by Tecumseh, occupied the isthmus, or narrowest point between the two swamps. The chief, on taking his place in the line, laid aside his British uniform, and fought in his ordinary deerskin hunting-suit.

Harrison, whose army numbered two thousand five hundred men, formed his troops for the attack in three lines, concentrating them upon the British front. His mounted troops were to endeavor, by taking ground to the left, to turn the right flank of the Indians.

Battle of the Thames


Just as the order was about to be given for the front line to advance, Harrison was informed by Colonel Wood, his chief engineer, that the British lines, instead of their usual close order, were drawn up in open order. This information at once determined him to adopt the novel expedient of charging their line of infantry with Johnson's mounted regiment. Its colonel was directed to form it in close column, with its right fifty yards from the road, its left upon the swamp, and to charge at full speed upon the enemy.

At the sound of the bugle, Colonel James Johnson, with the mounted riflemen, dashed upon the first British line among huge trees and over fallen timber. It broke, and scattered in all directions. The second line, thirty paces in its rear, was also broken and dispersed in the same manner. The horsemen now wheeled right and left upon the rear of the broken troops. In less than five minutes after the first shot was fired, the whole British force, eight hundred strong, was vanquished, and most of it made prisoners; only about fifty, Proctor among them, escaped. On the right the battle was over.

On the left a simultaneous attack was made by Johnson's second battalion of mounted men upon the Indians, who, under the immediate command of Tecumseh, reserved their fire until the Americans were within a few paces of them, when they poured in a destructive volley that emptied the saddles of the leading files and wounded Colonel Richard M. Johnson severely. The trees and bushes preventing the mounted men from acting with efficiency, they dismounted, and fought on foot at close quarters. It was now a hand-to-hand encounter.

Colonel Richard M. Johnson


"Remember the river Raisin!" was the cry of the Kentuckians.

For a while the result was doubtful. The veteran Shelby ordered up Colonel John Donaldson's regiment to the support of Johnson. Tecumseh, the great Indian leader, had fallen early in the fight, while animating his warriors by word and deed, and the Indians at length recoiled and fled. They scattered through the forest and were hotly pursued.

In this battle Colonel Richard M. Johnson, afterwards Vice-President of the United States, behaved with great gallantry. He was mounted on a white pony, which made him a conspicuous mark for the enemy. At the sound of the bugle he dashed forward at the head of the forlorn hope and attacked the Indian left, where Tecumseh was stationed. Their first volley wounded him in the hip and thigh. Another bullet penetrated his hand and traversed his arm, completely disabling him. Faint from loss of blood, he was taken from his horse and conveyed to a vessel a few miles below.

Among the spoils taken in this battle were six brass cannon, three of which, taken from the British in the war of the Revolution, had been retaken from Hull at Detroit. Six hundred prisoners and more than five thousand small-arms were taken in the battle and pursuit.

The loss in this short but severe battle was not great on either side. The Indians left thirty-three of their dead on the field. The disheartened warriors forsook their British allies, and sued humbly for peace and pardon at the feet of the Americans. Their prayers were heard, and they and their families were fed and clothed by the kind-hearted Harrison.

An armistice was concluded with the chiefs of several of the hostile tribes, among whom was Maipock, the fierce Potawatomie, and hostages were received for their keeping faith.

Harrison's victory, and the death of their great foe Tecumseh, produced great rejoicing throughout the country. It annihilated the allied forces west of the Ontario, recovered all that Hull had lost, and gave peace to the North-west.

War with the Creek Nation

Let us turn our attention once more to the Southern Indians.

The Creek nation, which was originally settled on the Ohio River, derives its name from the many beautiful streams which flowed through their extensive domain in Georgia. The Muskoki was their mother-tongue, though in some of their towns the Uchee, Alabama, Natchez, and Shawnee tongues prevailed.

The general council of the nation was always held in the great public square of the principal town. In each angle of this square were three cabins of different sizes, twelve in all. Four avenues led into the square. One of the cabins—that of the Grand Chief—fronted the rising sun, to remind him that he should guard the interests of his people. Near it was the Grand Cabin where the councils were held. All the cabins were painted red, except those of the old men, facing to the west, which were white, symbolizing virtue and old age.

Annually, in the month of May, the chiefs and principal men assembled here to deliberate upon all subjects of general interest. During the session none but the principal chiefs could approach nearer to the Grand Cabin than within twenty feet. In the centre of the square a fire was kept constantly burning. At sunset the council adjourned for the day, and then the young people of both sexes danced awhile round the fire. At sunrise the chiefs were called by beat of drum to the duties of the day.

The presiding chief of each town was called the "Micco," and bore the name of his town, as Cassetta Micco, Tookabatcha Micco, etc. He was always of the best family, held his station for life, and at death was succeeded by a nephew. The Micco had the appointment of the Great Warrior, as the leading military chieftain was called.

Creek War

One of their most interesting ceremonies is the Boos-ke-tan, or Green Corn Dance. It is celebrated in the months of July and August, and lasts from four to eight days. The ceremonies consist principally of dancing, ablutions, and medicinal applications, and is their manner of celebrating the harvest-time. It is also the occasion of a general pardon for all crimes except murder.

The policy of the Creeks, like that of the Iroquois, was to encourage the smaller tribes to join them. In this way they greatly increased their strength and importance. At the time of their greatest prosperity they prohibited the importation of all kinds of ardent spirits into their country. Another peculiarity of this Indian nation was, that before setting out on warlike or other expeditions, the men assisted the women in their planting.

While the American Revolution was in progress, the Creek Indians were employed by the British authorities to harass the Whig inhabitants of Georgia and the Carolinas. Their leader, Alexander McGillivray, was a remarkable man. He was the son of a Scotch Indian trader by the half-breed daughter of a French officer. Receiving a good education, he was placed in a counting-house in Savannah, but preferred to live with his mother's tribe, in which he soon took a high position, and with his father warmly espoused the royal cause. He led several expeditions against the Whigs, but his genius was for diplomacy rather than war. Leclerc Milfort, an able French officer, his brother-in-law, and an English adventurer, named William Augustus Bowles, were the principal military leaders of the Creeks during this period.

After the war had ended, McGillivray, in behalf of the Creek confederacy, became the ally of Spain, and had the rank and pay of a colonel. In 1790 he transferred his influence to the United States Government, ceded territory to it by treaty, and promised to divert to it from the Spanish at Pensacola the trade of his nation. He was, at the same time, appointed agent of the United States and a brigadier-general in its army. This transaction affected his popularity with the Creeks, but it did not prevent his obtaining an increase of salary and authority from the Spanish Government. McGillivray died in 1793, greatly mourned by the Creeks. His ability and sagacity had given them a degree of importance to which they had never before attained.

For many years these Indians had been managed by their agent, Colonel Hawkins, with prudence and sagacity. The location of a public road through the heart of their country, in 1811, created much dissatisfaction. Through this "Federal Road," as it was called, a continuous stream of emigration flowed in, and the Indians foresaw that they should soon be hemmed in on all sides. To increase their dissatisfaction, British emissaries were busy among them, endeavoring to stir them up to war with the Americans, who were at this time engaged in the invasion of Canada.

But the most formidable enemy of the Americans was Tecumseh, who, during the latter part of the year 1811, labored among the Southern Indians—as he had for years been laboring among the tribes of the west and north-west—upon his great and patriotic plan of confederating all the tribes against the United States. On his return north he found that his brother, the Prophet, had rashly brought on the battle of Tippecanoe, and that his grand enterprise was totally ruined. Thirty mounted warriors accompanied him to the Gulf regions. Passing through the Chickasaw and Choctaw country, he was unsuccessful in his efforts to array these tribes against the Americans. With the Seminoles he was completely successful.

At Tookabatcha, Colonel Hawkins, the agent, had assembled five thousand Creeks at a great council. This ancient capital never before looked so gay and populous. Tecumseh, with his followers, was present. All flocked to see the famous orator and warrior of whom they had so often heard.

After the agent had concluded his first day's address, Tecumseh and his followers marched into the square, all of them naked except their flaps and ornaments. Their faces were painted black, and their heads were adorned with eagles' plumes, while buffalo-tails dragged behind, suspended by bands around their waists. Like appendages were also attached to their arms, and their whole appearance was as hideous as possible. Their bearing was exceedingly pompous and ceremonious. They marched round and round in the square, and then approaching the Creek chiefs, they cordially gave them the Indian salutation of a handshake at arm's-length, and exchanged tobacco in token of friendship. One chief, Captain Isaac, refused to greet Tecumseh. He wore on his head a pair of buffalo horns, and these he shook at the Shawnee visitor with contempt.

"Tecumseh," said he, "is a bad man, and no greater than I am."

After Hawkins had finished his business and departed, Tecumseh, who had hitherto kept silent, made a speech in the grand council-house, full of fire and eloquence. He exhorted his hearers to abandon the customs of the pale-faces and return to those of their fathers. He warned them that servitude or extinction awaited them at the hands of the white race, and desired them to dress only in the skins of beasts, which the Great Spirit had given to his red children for food and raiment, and to resume the use of their old weapons. He concluded by telling them that the powerful King of England was ready to reward them handsomely if they would fight under his banner against the Americans.

The next speaker, who, though not the brother of Tecumseh, seems, like Elkswatawa, to have assumed the role of prophet, had learned in Canada that a comet would soon appear, and told the excited warriors that they should see the arm of Tecumseh, like pale fire, stretched out on the vault of heaven at a certain time, and that by this sign they would know when to strike. He declared that those who joined the war party should be shielded from all harm, none of their would be killed in battle, and that they would finally expel the Georgians from the soil as far as the Savannah. It was almost morning when the council adjourned, and more than half the braves present had resolved on war against the Americans.



The most distinguished of the chiefs whom Tecumseh gained over was Weatherford, a half-blood, powerful, sagacious, brave, eloquent, and handsome. Of those who withstood his persuasions, the most noted was Tustenuggee-Thlucco, the Big Warrior. Tecumseh tried hard to win him over, but without avail. Angry at last, he said, as he pointed his finger in the Big Warrior's face,

"Tustenuggee-Thlucco, your blood is white. You have taken my red sticks and my talk, but you do not mean to fight. I know the reason You do not believe the Great Spirit has sent me. You shall believe it. I will leave directly, and go straight to Detroit. When I get there I will stamp my foot upon the ground and shake down every house in Tookabatcha."

The event gave tremendous effect to Tecumseh's words. The comet—the blazing "arm of Tecumseh"—appeared, and at about the time when Tecumseh was supposed to have arrived at Detroit there was heard a deep rumbling in the ground, and there was a heaving of the earth that made the houses of Tookabatcha reel and totter as if about to fall. The startled savages ran out of their hats, exclaiming, "Tecumseh is at Detroit! Tecumseh is at Detroit! We feel the stamp of his foot!" It was the shock of the earthquake that destroyed New Madrid, and that was felt over the Gulf region in December, 1811.

The effect was electrical. The message Tecumseh had delivered to the Big Warrior was believed, and many of the Indians took their rifles and prepared for war.

The Creek nation at this time numbered about thirty thousand souls, seven thousand of whom were warriors. They were divided in opinion on the question of war with the Americans, but the war party, consisting mainly of the young warriors, prevailed, and early in the year 1813 acts of hostility began.

The Young Creek party, of which Weatherford was the soul, both feared and resented the rapid encroachments of the settlers upon the tribe's ancient seat. As Tecumseh said, "'The white men are turning our beautiful forests into large fields, and staining our clear rivers with the washings of the soil." When they heard of the disasters to the American arms in the campaign of 1812, and saw British cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico, then Weatherford became chief of the war party in southern Alabama.

Soon the whole nation was in agitation, and civil war was upon them. Those who were friendly to the United States were murdered or driven off, their houses and towns were burned, and their stock destroyed. In July, a body of militia, while endeavoring to intercept a war party of Creeks, who were returning from Pensacola with British arms and supplies, were defeated and dispersed at a place called Burnt Corn.

Thoroughly alarmed at last, the white population of southern Alabama took refuge in stockade forts hastily erected. These were commonly spacious wooden buildings, one story in height, around which strong pickets were driven into the ground; port-holes were made in the pickets for musketry. Such was Fort Mims, on the shore of Lake Tensaw, in southern Alabama, whose stockades enclosed an acre of ground, entered by two ponderous gates, one on the east, the other on the west. Within the enclosure there were a number of cabins and small buildings, also an unfinished block-house.

Into this work—a sufficient defence if properly guarded, but only a slaughter-pen if not—five hundred men, women, and children had collected for safety, when Weatherford, with one thousand warriors, who had lain in ambush in a ravine within four hundred yards of the stockade, surprised and captured it at noonday.

Fort Mims


So many rumors of approaching savages had been heard from day to day that the inmates had become indifferent, believing all were false. Two slaves, who, on the preceding day, had reported having seen twenty-four painted savages lurking near, were disbelieved and severely flogged.

Precisely as the clock struck twelve, the drum in the fort beat to dinner. Officers and men laid aside their arms, and gathered to the meal in various parts of the stockade. This was the moment Weatherford had chosen for the attack. At the first tap his naked, painted warriors, thirsting for blood, sprang from the ravine and rushed in a tumultuous mass for the gate of the fort. The foremost of them had reached a field only one hundred and fifty yards distant, and were streaming across it with hideous whoops, before a sentinel saw or heard them. The terrible cry, "Indians! Indians!" arose; the women and children fled to the houses, and the men rushed to the port-holes.

Sword in hand, Major Beasley, the commander, rushed to the gate and endeavored to shut it, but was prevented by the drifted sand, and was struck down before he could accomplish it. The savage horde, resembling demons rather than men, poured in. Five of their prophets, who were in the advance, were immediately shot down. They had boasted that the bullets of the Americans would not harm them. Their fall dispelled this illusion, and many of the Indians for a time retreated. The eastern part of the picketing was, however, soon filled by them, and they began a general and effective fire on the garrison.

Captain Middleton, who was in charge of the eastern section, was soon slain, with all his command. Captain Jack, in the south wing, with a rifle company, long maintained the desperate conflict. Lieutenant Randon held the guard-house on the west, and Captain Dixon Bailey, a gallant half-blood, on whom, after the fall of Beasley, the command devolved, was seen in every part of the fort, directing and encouraging its defenders. For three long hours the battle raged. It was finally terminated by the setting on fire of the wooden buildings in the enclosure by means of burning arrows shot into their roofs. They were soon consumed.

For the helpless women and children the terrible moment had arrived. The hatchet, the scalping-knife, and the bullet did their bloody work. None were spared save a few half-bloods and the negroes, who were made their slaves, The garrison had sold their lives dearly, not less than four hundred Creek warriors having been slain or wounded. Of the garrison, twelve only escaped.

A little before noon on this fatal day, Zachariah McGirth left the fort to go to his plantation. Soon he heard the firing, and believing it to be an attack on the fort, hastened to the spot as soon as the Indians had left, to ascertain the fate of his wife and children who had remained. What a horrible spectacle met his eye! In vain he sought among the charred and mutilated remains for any trace of his loved ones, and he quitted the appalling scene, believing himself alone in the world.

Rendered desperate by this misfortune, his only thought was vengeance, and no enterprise in the enemy's country was too daring for him to undertake. After a long service amid such dangers, a friend accosted him one day in Mobile, and told him that some people desired to see him at the wharf. There he saw—a common sight in those days—some wretched Indians who had been captured. He was asked if he knew them. While he hesitated, his wife and seven children advanced and embraced him. Overwhelmed with joy and astonishment he trembled like a leaf, and remained some moments speechless.

Their escape from the massacre was owing to an act of kindness, many years before, to a little hungry Indian boy whom they fed and clothed and brought up. Grown to manhood, Sanota, as the was named, joined the expedition against Fort Mims, and accidentally coming upon Mrs. McGirth and his foster-sisters, he protected them from the ferocious savages around them, and, under the pretence of making them his slaves, took care of them. Sanota was afterwards killed at the battle of the Horseshoe, and Mrs. McGirth and her children made their way on foot to Mobile, where, as we have seen, they were restored to the husband and father.

William Weatherford, the Creek leader, was the son of a white trader by the beautiful Sehoya, a half-sister of General McGillivray. He was one of nature's noblemen—honorable and humane. He vehemently reproved his followers for their cruelty at Fort Mims, and begged them to spare the women and children at least. His interference nearly cost him his life. Clubs were lifted against him, and he was compelled to retire. "My warriors," he afterwards said, "were like famished wolves, and the first taste of blood made their appetites insatiable."

At about the time of the massacre at Fort Mims, a burial party just outside of Fort Sinquefield was suddenly set upon by one hundred Creek warriors, who rushed down a hill towards them. All reached the fort in safety. Failing to cut off the burial party, the Indians next endeavored to capture some women who were engaged in washing at a spring not far from the fort, thinking to make them an easy prey.

Just at that moment Isaac Heaton, who had been cow-hunting, rode up with a large pack of dogs. Giving a tremendous crack with his long whip, and encouraging his canine army, Heaton charged upon the Indians. Such was the fury of the dogs that the Creeks were forced to halt and fight then. This flank movement covered the retreat of the women, who arrived in safety at the fort. Heaton's horse fell wounded under him, but rose again, and followed his heroic master, whose clothing was riddled with rifle-balls, into the fort. One poor woman, too feeble to move rapidly, was overtaken and scalped. Heaton received just praise for his bravery and presence of mind.

Intense excitement and alarm throughout the south-west followed upon the news of the massacre. General Andrew Jackson, with a large force of Tennesseeans, proceeded to the scene of action, and at Tallasahatchee, Talladega, Hillabee, Autosse, Econachaca, and the Horseshoe, such severe chastisement was inflicted upon the Creeks as to completely humble them, after a campaign of five months, and compel them to sue for peace and pardon.

Andrew Jackson


The Indian's side of the story is rarely told. Several chiefs and leading warriors, who were in the battles of Emuckfau and Enotochopco, afterwards asserted that they "whipped Captain Jackson, and ran him to the Coosa Diver." Certain it is that, though he outnumbered them in these well-contested actions, Jackson had to retreat. At the battle of Calabee, fought by Georgia troops, under General Floyd, though the latter gallantly maintained their ground during the action, the Indians impeded their further progress into their country, and in a few days caused then to withdraw.

Some of the incidents of the Creek War are too remarkable to be passed over in silence. Just at sunset, one November day, a swift-footed Indian chief, who by stratagem had made his way from the beleaguered fort, informed Jackson that one hundred and sixty friendly Creek warriors, with their families, were hemmed in at Lashley's Fort in Talladega, thirty miles distant, with a scanty supply of food and no hope of escape. The besiegers were one thousand strong, and they so completely surrounded the little stockade that no one could leave it unobserved. The foe, feeling sure of their prey by famine, if in no other way, were dancing around the doomed people with demoniac joy, and conducting themselves as would a cat sure of a mouse.

The messenger had made his escape by enveloping himself in the skin of a hog, with the head and legs attached, and in the darkness of night, while imitating its gait and grunt, and apparently rooting, was allowed to make his way unmolested through the hostile camp. When out of their reach he cast off his disguise, and with desperate speed made for Jackson's camp on the Coosa, which he reached on the following morning. By a rapid march Jackson succeeded in enveloping the besieging force, and at the battle of Talladega inflicted upon them a severe defeat, and rescued the friendly Indians, who were in a famished condition.

Battle of Talledega


Humbled by defeat, the Creeks at the Hillabee Towns sent a message to Jackson asking for peace. While awaiting the return of their messenger, they were attacked by a detachment under General White, who was acting independently of Jackson, and who was unacquainted with this overture, and a large number of unresisting Indians were massacred in cold blood. Naturally supposing this to be Jackson's answer to their prayer for peace, they thenceforth fought with desperation, neither asking nor accepting quarter.

The true story of Captain Sam Dale's canoe fight with the Indians is as thrilling as any incident of fiction. It would be thought fabulous had it not been witnessed by his men on the shore, who, having no canoe, could render him no assistance. In the fall of 1813, Dale was engaged with a few followers in driving the small bands of marauding savages from the frontiers. At Randon's Landing they espied a large canoe, made from the trunk of an immense cypress-tree, bearing eleven naked and hideously painted savages, about to land at an adjacent canebrake. Dale, telling his men to follow, dashed forward to contest their landing. Seeing this, the Indians backed their canoe into deep water, three of them swimming and pushing it on the side not exposed to the bullets, and the others lying flat in its bottom.

The Indians in the water were soon picked off. The canoe, deprived of their guidance, floated sluggishly down with the current. Dale then ordered Cæsar, a free negro of his party, to bring a canoe which he had secreted close by, and jumped into it, followed by Jeremiah Anstill and James Smith. Cæsar paddled it to within twenty yards of the savages, when Dale and his companions aimed a volley into their canoe; but their priming being wet, their guns missed fire. Cæsar was then ordered to place his boat side by side with that of the warriors. Approaching within ten feet., the chief, whose head was encircled with a panther's skin which extended down his back, rose to his feet, and, recognizing Dale, exclaimed,

"Now for it, Big Sam!"

At the same instant he presented his gun at Anstill's breast. The brave youth struck at him with an oar, which he dodged, and in return brought down his rifle upon Anstill's head just as the canoes came together. At that moment the long rifles of Smith and Dale came down with deadly force, and felled the chief to the bottom of the canoe. Such was the force of the blow inflicted by Dale, that his gun was broken near the lock. Seizing the heavy barrel still left, he did execution with it to the end of the combat.

Anstill in a moment became engaged with the second warrior, and then with the third, both of whom he despatched with his clubbed rifle. Smith, too, was equally active, having also knocked down two of the Indians. Cæsar had by this time got the canoes together, and held them firmly, thus enabling Dale, who was in the advance, and the others to maintain a firm footing by keeping one foot in each canoe.

Canoe fight


In the midst of this unparalleled strife a lusty Indian struck Anstill with his war-club, felling him across the sides of the two boats, and, while prostrate, another had raised his club to dash out his brains, when Dale, by a timely blow, buried his rifle-barrel deep in the warrior's skull. In the mean time Anstill had recovered his feet, and, in a desperate struggle with another savage, knocked him into the river with the Indian's club which he had wrested from him.

The last warrior was Tar-cha-chee, a noted wrestler of powerful frame. He and Dale were old acquaintances. As the Indian's fierce look met that of Dale, he shook himself, gave the horrid war-whoop, and cried out,

"Big Sam, I am a man—I am coming!"

A moment before, Cæsar had asked Dale to use his musket and bayonet, which he handed him. Bounding forward over his dead companions with a terrific yell, the savage aimed a tremendous blow at Dale's head with his clubbed rifle. Dale dodged, but the blow fell upon and dislocated his shoulder. At the same instant Dale darted his bayonet into the body of the Indian, who exclaimed, as he tried to escape,

"Tar-cha-thee is a man! he is not afraid to die!"

Dale then turned to a wounded warrior, who had been snapping his piece at him during the whole conflict, and who was now defiantly exclaiming, "I am a warrior! I am not afraid to die!" and pinned him to the canoe with his bayonet.

"He followed his ten comrades to the land of spirits," said the redoubtable Indian fighter.

Dale at this time was in the prime of life. He weighed over one hundred and ninety pounds and was six feet in height, with a large, muscular frame. He had a high reputation as a borderer and scout, and had passed much of his life as a trader among the Creeks and Cherokees. He was in after-life a brigadier-general by brevet, and served several terms in the Alabama legislature. His life was full of stirring incidents and "hair-breadth 'scapes."

On one occasion, as he was kneeling down to drink at a spring, two Indians rushed upon him with their tomahawks, uttering the savage yell of assured victory. He knifed them both, and, though bleeding from five wounds, retraced their track nine miles, crept stealthily to their camps brained three sleeping warriors, and cut the thongs of a female prisoner who lay by their side. While in this act, however, a fourth sprang upon him from behind. Taken at a disadvantage, and exhausted with loss of blood, he was soon overpowered, and the knife of the savage was at his breast, when the blow of a tomahawk in the hands of the woman he had saved preserved the life of her deliverer.

Like Boone, Kenton, Carson, and many other bordermen of high attributes, Dale entertained a strong attachment for the Indians, extolled their courage, their love of country, and many of their domestic qualities. In peace he treated them with great kindness, relieved their wants, and was held by them in high regard. In war, "Big Sam," as they called him, was an object of their dread and terror.

The final and decisive conflict which ended the Creek War was fought by Jackson. The Indians concentrated all their warriors from the different towns at the bend of the Tallapoosa—called Tohopeka, or the Horseshoe, from its shape—and had strongly fortified it with logs and brush, and by erecting breastworks. They numbered one thousand two hundred, one-fourth of them being women and children. Jackson's army numbered two thousand effective men.

General John Coffee


The fire from his small cannon proved harmless, and the Indians whooped in derision as the balls buried themselves in the logs. He then stormed the breastwork under a deadly fire from the Indians, and with the bayonet soon put them to flight. General Coffee held the opposite bank of the river and prevented all escape on that side, so that the Indians were penned up in the peninsula, Jackson being in their front and Coffee in their rear. Not an Indian would suffer himself to be taken, or asked for quarter.

That evening, when the contest ended, five hundred and fifty-seven Creek warriors lay dead on the field; many more had been shot attempting to escape by swimming the river. One noted chief escaped by taking to the water in the evening, lying beneath the surface, and drawing his breath through a hollow cane, until it was dark enough for him to swim across. General Sam Houston, then an ensign, displayed great bravery and was severely wounded in this battle. Afterwards, when a senator of the united States, he was the champion and defender of the Indians, boldly and repeatedly asserting that in our Indian difficulties, from the beginning, the Indian had never been the aggressor, but always the party injured.

Battle of the Horse Shoe

This blow was fatal to the power and dignity of the Creek nation. They had contended like heroes, but against the superior numbers and weapons of the white men they fought in vain. When the chiefs appeared before Jackson to sue for pardon, he sternly told them that one condition of their pardon was, that they must first bring in Weatherford, the cruel leader of the attack on Fort Mims, who could on no account be forgiven.

To hold them harmless, and seeing clearly the hopelessness of prolonging the contest, Weatherford resolved voluntarily to surrender himself to the conqueror. This was, perhaps, the most striking incident of the war.

Samuel Houston


Mounting his splendid gray, with whom, when hotly pressed, he had made the daring leap from the bluff at the Holy Ground into the waters of the Alabama, he rode to Jackson's camp. He arrived just at sunset. The general advanced towards him from his marquee, when the chief, sitting erect on his noble steed and with folded arms, said,

"I am Weatherford, the chief who commanded at Fort Mims. I desire peace for my people, and have come to ask it."

Jackson, greatly surprised at his boldness, said to him, "How dare you ride up to my tent after having murdered the women and children at Fort Mims?"

Weatherford's memorable reply was as follows:

"General Jackson, I am not afraid of you. I fear no man, for I am a Creek warrior. I have nothing to ask in behalf of myself. You can kill me if you desire. But I come to beg you to send for the women and children of the war party, who are now starving in the woods. Their fields and cribs have been destroyed by your people, who have driven them to the woods without an ear of corn. I hope that you will send out parties who will conduct them safely here, in order that they may be fed. I exerted myself in vain to prevent the massacre of the women and children at Fort Mims. I am now done fighting. The Red Sticks are nearly all killed. If I could fight you any longer I would most heartily do so. Send for the women and children. They never did you any harm; but kill me if the white people want it done."

A crowd of soldiers had gathered around the general's tent. Some of them, on learning who the chief was, cried out,

"Kill him! kill him!"

"Silence!" exclaimed Jackson, adding, with great energy, "Any man who would kill as brave a man as this would rob the dead!"

He then invited the chief to alight and enter his tent, where they held a frank and friendly talk. "The terms upon which your nation can be saved," said Jackson, "have already been disclosed. If you wish to continue the war, you are at liberty to depart unharmed; but if you desire peace you may remain, and you shall be protected."

"There was a time," said Weatherford, "when I had a choice and could have answered you. I have none now, even hope is ended. Once I could animate my warriors to battle, but I cannot animate the dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice; their bones are at Talladega, Emuckfau, and Tohopeka. I have not surrendered myself thoughtlessly. Your people have destroyed my nation. You are a brave man. I rely upon your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered people but such as they should accede to. You have told our nation where they 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 being "tall, straight, and well proportioned; his eyes black, lively, and penetrating, his nose prominent, thin, and finely chiselled, while all the features of his face spoke an active and disciplined mind." Silent, and reserved, except upon some great occasion, he seldom spoke in council, and when he did so he was listened to with delight and approbation. He owned a fine farm in Monroe County, Alabama, which he improved and embellished, and to which he frequently withdrew from public cares and anxieties, for the enjoyment of peaceful rural pleasures. Here Weatherford died in 1826.

The Red Sticks—as the Creek warriors were called, from the fact of their war-clubs being always painted red—exhibited in this severe contest qualities of the highest order. Their bravery, endurance, self-sacrifice, and patriotism have never been excelled. In their first engagement, at Burnt Corn, they defeated the Americans and compelled them to make a precipitate retreat. They captured Fort Mims and exterminated its numerous garrison. At Tallasahatchee, disdaining to beg for quarter, they fought till not a warrior was left alive. At Talladega, Autosse, and the Holy Ground they fought obstinately, frequently rallied, and finally made good their retreat. At Emuckfau and at Enotochopco they claimed the victory. At Calabee they threw the Georgians into confusion, and were only driven from the field by overwhelming superiority of numbers. At the Horse-shoe, where they were nearly exterminated, not an Indian asked for quarter.

At last, wounded, starved, and beaten, hundreds of them fled to the swamps of Florida. They had contended not only against the armies of Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, together with the regular troops of the United States, but also against numerous bands of Chickasaws and Choctaws, then friendly to the latter. In every engagement these brave warriors were inferior in number to their adversaries, excepting at Burnt Corn and Fort Mims. The capture of Pensacola by Jackson's army convinced the Creeks that they could no longer rely upon the British, and that henceforth they must live in friendship with the United States. In the year 1815 peace was made with all the principal Indian tribes.

The Black Hawk War

We now come upon a series of wars growing out of the policy of removing the Indian from his old home to the region west of the Mississippi. The preservation of peace on the frontier, and the transfer of the tribes from State to national jurisdiction were the principal reasons for this policy, which was adopted in 1830. There were at this time one hundred and twenty-nine thousand Indians within the limits of the old States, and the step seemed both wise and humane. Its authors did not imagine the rapidity with which settlements and population were to spread westward.

It was not until the war of 1812–15 with England had ended that the Mississippi Valley was thoroughly explored and emigration to it began. By the cession of their lands to the United States, the Indians were enabled to procure the means necessary to their advancement in the social scale. They bought cattle, and implements of husbandry, and founded schools, and a life of industry commenced. A new era had dawned upon the race.

The Choctaws were the first to exchange their lands for a tract west of the Mississippi. A new and striking feature in the treaty they made was the appropriation of the proceeds of fifty-four sections of the ceded lands, each one mile square, for a school fund. Provision was also made for the support of the deaf, dumb, and blind of the tribe. The Indian Bureau—the department of the government in which Indian affairs are transacted—was established in 1824, and in the following year the plan of removal was presented to Congress by President Monroe. The first effectual steps towards removal were taken by the treaty of January 24, 1826, by which extensive cessions of territory were made by the various tribes. To some of these, especially the Creeks and Cherokees, who had made a considerable advance towards civilization, removal was extremely distasteful and was long resisted. Between the years 1820 and 1840 most of the tribes had removed.

For seventy years the Sac and Fox tribes had dwelt in the Rock River Valley, Wisconsin. This and the adjacent territory these tribes had ceded to the United States in 1804, upon the condition that they might continue to reside and hunt on the lands until they were needed for settlement. These tribes at this time numbered about three thousand, one-fifth of whom were warriors.

James Monroe


In 1829 the period of settlement had arrived, and the Indians were notified to remove to the west side of the Mississippi River. Many of them, among others the Sac chief Keokuk, did so, establishing themselves on the Iowa River. A party, under the old chief Black Hawk, refused to remove. They were strengthened in their determination by the advice of the Prophet Wabokeshiek, or White Cloud, who had great influence over them, and who told them that their British father at Malden stood ready to help them.

Black Hawk, the Sac chieftain, was born at the Sac village on Rock River, in the year 1767. Distinguishing himself as a warrior, he rose by merit alone to the station of chief. He had gained many victories over the Osage tribe, and had fought by the side of Tecumseh, when that great leader fell. The ancient allies of Great Britain, his band annually visited their British father at Malden, and received many presents. To the chief himself a medal had been awarded for his fidelity to the British. The features of Black Hawk denoted great firmness of purpose, and his wisdom had gained him the respect of his own and the surrounding tribes.

Frequent ill-treatment from the Americans, who in violation of the treaty had settled upon the Indian lands before they were sold, and the introduction of the whiskey traffic and its attendant evils, had made Black Hawk and his band still more unfriendly and unwilling to give up their old homes. They were, however, compelled by force to abandon them in June, 1831.

An insufficient supply of corn had been provided for the Indians, and before the autumn had passed, Black Hawk and his band were suffering for want of food. They had been obliged to abandon their own growing crops, and had reached their new location too late in the season for planting. In the following April they recrossed the Mississippi, and ascended the Rock River to the territory of their friends, the Winnebagoes, having been invited thither to raise corn.

Regarding this as a hostile act, General Atkinson, then at Fort Ann strong, at once ordered Black Hawk and his followers to return. The chief, jealous of the superiority of his rival, Keokuk, and feeling that his nation had been wronged, had made up his mind to defy the power of the government, and with his small band to make war upon the United States.

Black Hawk


A sense of personal injury also impelled him to this unwise determination. Under the pretence that he had done them a wrong, some white men had fallen upon and severely beaten him a little time before.

Black Hawk now sought the help of the Chippewas, Ottawas, Winnebagoes, and Potawatomies, and, expecting their aid, refused to obey General Atkinson's order. Soon finding, however, that the assistance of those tribes could not be depended upon, he resolved, if overtaken, to return peaceably. Receiving intelligence of the approach of a body of mounted volunteers, he sent three of his young men with a flag to meet them and conduct them to his camp near Sycamore Creek.

The difficulty might have ended here but for the senseless conduct of the militia, who seized and detained Black Hawk's messengers, and who pursued and killed two of a small party of five Indians, whom he had also sent out on a peaceful errand. These troops, two hundred and seventy in number, were Illinois volunteers, commanded by Major Stillman. The disaster that overtook this detachment is best told in Black Hawk's own words:

"When the news came of what had happened," said Black Hawk, referring to the capture of his messengers and the killing of the two Indians, "nearly all my young men were absent about ten miles off. I started with what I had left—about forty—and had proceeded but a short distance before we saw a body of the enemy approaching. I raised a yell, and said to my braves, 'Some of our people have been killed—wantonly and cruelly murdered. We must avenge their death!' In a little while we discovered the whole army coming towards us at full gallop. We were now confident that our first party had been killed. I immediately placed my men in front of some bushes, that we might have the first fire when they were near enough. They halted at some distance from us. I gave another yell, and ordered my brave warriors to charge upon them, expecting that we would all be killed. They did charge. Every man rushed and fired, and the enemy retreated in the utmost confusion and consternation before my small but brave band of warriors. After pursuing them some distance, I found it useless to follow them, they rode so fast, and returned to my camp."

In this disgraceful and unfortunate affair, all the baggage, camp equipage, and provisions of the troops, fell into the hands of the Indians. Black Hawk finding that his peace flag had been fired upon, and intoxicated with his success, was now more than ever determined on war, and, in consequence of this success, was joined by a band of Winnebagoes. Consternation spread throughout the State of Illinois. The Governor called for more mounted volunteers, and the Secretary of War at Washington sent one thousand troops from the East, who were to be under the command of General Winfield Scott. While on their journey, these troops were attacked by an enemy far more terrible than Indians—the Asiatic cholera. Many of them died, and the remainder never reached the scene of action. A characteristic feature of this disease was the rapidity with which it terminated in a fatal result—a few hours only intervening between the appearance of the first symptoms and death.

Besides the Sacs and Foxes, a few of the Winnebagoes, Menomonees, and Potawatomies, took part in the conflicts that ensued. The Winnebagoes inhabited ten villages upon the Wisconsin River, and could muster some five hundred warriors. They had fought against the Americans at the Miami, at Tippecanoe, and in the War of 1812. The Menomonees, a small tribe on the river of that name, could muster but one hundred warriors. A few of these joined the Americans against their old foes, the Sacs and Foxes. The Potawatomies occupied the territory adjoining the south end of Lake Michigan, and numbered between three and four thousand.

After the affair with Stillman, the Indians separated into small bands, and for a brief season the usual horrors of border warfare were enacted. A fierce attack was made on the fort at Buffalo Grove, near Dixon's Ferry, but the Indians were driven off with some loss. In an engagement on the banks of the Wisconsin, with a large body of troops, under General Dodge, the Indians were routed, and while attempting to descend the Wisconsin upon rafts and in canoes, many, including women and children, were killed or taken. Black Hawk and his followers fled across the country, hoping to put the Mississippi between them and their pursuers.

After a harassing march, his starving and worn-down band was overtaken by General Atkinson's forces at the junction of the Bad Axe River with the Mississippi, where the steamer Warrior opened fire upon them. Next morning, while the Indians were endeavoring to cross the river, they were attacked by the troops, and one hundred and fifty of them were killed. Black Hawk himself, with a few others and most of the women and children, escaped; thirty-nine women and children were taken prisoners. The war was over. It had been of brief duration, and the excitement it had caused was out of all proportion to its slight importance.

Black Hawk, speaking of this catastrophe, said, that when the whites came upon his people they tried to give themselves up, and made no show of resistance until the soldiers began to slaughter them, and then his braves determined to fight until they were all killed. What renders this probable is the fact that when Atkinson's troops charged upon the Indians, men, women, and children were seen mixed together in such a manner as to render it difficult to kill one and spare the other.

Black Hawk and some other chiefs soon afterwards gave themselves up, and were confined for a time at Fortress Monroe. When released they were taken to the principal eastern cities. At New York they witnessed a balloon ascension from Castle Garden.

"Is the air-ship going to see the Great Spirit?" asked one of them.

"He is a great brave," said another, referring to the aeronaut; "he must be a Sac."

They visited many public places of interest, and were greatly pleased with what they saw.

On presenting himself to the United States agent at Prairie du Chien, the old chief said:

"Black Hawk has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his country against white men, who came year after year to cheat the Indians and take away their lands. The cause of our making war is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. The white men despise the Indians, and drive them from their homes. They speak bad of the Indian, and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies; Indians do not steal.

Winfield Scott


"An Indian who is as bad as the white man could not live in our nation; he would be put to death and eaten up by the wolves. The white men carry false looks, and deal in false actions; they shake the poor Indian by the hand to gain his confidence, to make him drunk, to deceive and ruin him. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We were becoming, like them, hypocrites and liars.

"Things grew worse. We looked up to the Great Spirit. Our squaws and papooses were without food to keep them from starving. We called a Great Council and built a large fire. The spirit of our fathers came and spoke to us, to avenge our wrongs or die. We set up the warwhoop, and the heart of Black Hawk swelled high in his bosom when he led his warriors to battle. I fought hard, but your guns were well aimed.

"Farewell, my nation! Black Hawk tried to save you and avenge your wrongs. He has been taken prisoner and his plans are stopped. He is satisfied. He has done his duty; he can do no more. He is near his end. His sun is setting and will rise no more. He will go to the world of spirits contented. Farewell to Black Hawk!"

A few years later he died at his camp on the River Des Moines. He was buried on an elevated spot, in his war dress, in a sitting posture, and with distinguished honors from his tribe. In the grave were placed many of the old warrior's trophies, together with his favorite weapons, and the cane given him by Henry Clay.

Washington Irving describes Black Hawk as having "a fine head, a Roman style of face, and a prepossessing countenance." Wabokeshiek, the prophet, who had been more influential perhaps than any other person in rousing the war spirit of the tribe, was coarser in figure, with less of intellect, but with the marks of decision and firmness.

War with the Seminoles of Florida

By far the most costly, protracted, and troublesome of all our Indian wars, was that with the Seminoles of Florida. That it was so was owing to their warlike character, as well as to the fact that they were contending for their homes and all that was dear to them. It was also largely owing to the unhealthiness of the climate, and especially to the inaccessible nature of the country, with its dense and almost impenetrable swamps, hommocks, and everglades, which provided the Indians with hiding-places and fastnesses innumerable. Probably no region better adapted than this to the peculiar warfare of the Indian can be found on the face of the globe.

It was an unjust and unwise war: unjust, because the rights and the wishes of the Indians were disregarded; and unwise, because the territory they occupied, some of which they still continue to occupy, was not required for settlement. It afforded, however, a shelter for runaway negroes, and this must, at all events, be put a stop to. The Government of the United States was at that time controlled by the slave-holding minority at the South. The people of Georgia thought that the first duty of the Federal Government was to catch their runaway negroes. The Florida War was in reality nothing more than a slave-hunt on a large scale, at the national expense.

Seminole War


The Seminoles and Micasaukies at this time occupied all the extensive range of country lying between the Cape of Florida on the south, the St. Mary's River on the north, and the Perdido on the west—a territory some eight hundred miles in extent. The estimated number of these Indians, five or six hundred of whom were fighting men, was four thousand, including women, children, and negroes—an underestimate, as events proved. It was subsequently ascertained that the number of warriors brought into the field was one thousand six hundred and sixty, besides two hundred and fifty negroes capable of bearing arms.

The Micasaukies were the original occupants of the country, and the Seminoles were, as their name indicates, runaways from the Creek tribe. They had little land under cultivation, their main dependence being upon hunting and fishing.

From the time of its cession by Spain, in 1821, the white settlers in Florida had constantly urged upon the Government the removal of these Indians. A large number of negroes, mostly fugitives from slavery whom their masters wished to reclaim, were living with the Seminoles. Some of them had been for a long time among them, and by intermarriage with there had acquired a powerful influence over them. Their number was, in 1836, estimated at one thousand four hundred. The demands of the settlers were consequently resisted by the Indians, and were an additional source of trouble. The removal of the Southern and Eastern Indians to the west of the Mississippi was now the settled policy of the Government.

Soon after the cession of Florida to the United States, a treaty was made by which the Seminoles agreed to relinquish the better part of their lands and retire to the centre of the peninsula. But Nea-Mathla, the head chief, thinking that this treaty savored too much of the cunning and the whiskey of the white man, commanded his warriors to resist it. Duval, the governor of the territory, broke in upon his council, dispersed the war leaders, and put the advocates of peace in their places. Nea-Mathla then withdrew and joined the Creeks, who made him a chief of their nation.

A treaty was at length effected by which some of the chiefs were brought to acquiesce in the removal, but so strenuous still was the opposition of the tribe that the idea was abandoned. The fugitives from slavery saw clearly that they were to be returned to their old masters, and they preferred death to such a fate. The Seminoles having decreed in council that the first Indian who made preparations to remove should be put to death, Charley-E-Mathla, an influential chief who was about to emigrate, was waylaid and murdered by Osceola. It was now evident that the removal must be effected by force, if at all, the allotted time for the Indians to prepare for it having expired, and troops were sent to General Clinch, who commanded in Florida, to enable him to carry out the policy of the Government.

Hostilities soon began. On the afternoon of December 28, General Thompson, the Indian agent, while walking with Lieutenant Smith near Fort King, was, with his companion, shot and instantly killed by a band of Indians led by Osceola. The sutler's store was then attacked, and the inmates killed and scalped.

On the afternoon of the same day a detachment of one hundred United States troops, on the march to Fort King, were way laid near the Big Wahoo Swamp by one hundred and eighty Indians under Micanopy, Jumper, and Alligator, and the entire force was annihilated, three men only escaping.

General D.L. Clinch


The troops were marching in open order along a path skirted by the low palmetto, which afforded a cover for the Indians, who were stationed on the west side of the road. A moment before the soldiers were attacked, Major Dade, the commanding officer, said to his men, "We are now out of danger; keep up a good heart, men, and when we get to Fort King I'll give you three days for Christmas." When they had approached within thirty yards, the Indians, at a given signal from Micanopy, their head chief, poured a destructive volley into their ranks. The troops received at least fifteen rounds before an Indian was seen.

Major Dade and nearly half the command had now fallen; those who survived took shelter behind trees. Lieutenant Basinger with a six-pounder checked the Indians for a time, and they retired behind a small ridge. Captain Gardiner then began the erection of a breastwork of pine-trees, but it proved wholly ineffectual to protect the men.

Very soon the Indians returned, and opened a cross-fire on the defenders of the breastwork with deadly execution. Lieutenant Basinger continued to discharge the six-pounder until every man who served the piece was shot. About two o'clock, the conflict having lasted five hours, the last man fell, and the Indians rushed into the undefended barricade. Every man who exhibited signs of life was butchered by the negroes after the Indians, who had secured the arms and accoutrements of the soldiers, had left. Many watches and other valuables belonging to the officers remained untouched.

That such an overwhelming defeat could befall a body of trained soldiers, well officered, in broad day, and with a field-piece at their command, by a not very numerous body of half-naked savages, caused throughout the country a painful shock of surprise. And yet similar occurrences had been frequent in former Indian wars, and were certain to happen when, as in the present instance, the rules of forest warfare were disregarded.

Three days later, General Clinch, while crossing the Withlacoochee River, was attacked by a superior force of Indians and negroes, led by Osceola and Alligator. The Indians, who were protected by a heavy hommock and scrub, poured a galling fire upon the troops, who, after being twice repulsed, in a final charge succeeded in routing them. In this engagement the Indians, urged on by the shrill voice and frantic gestures of Osceola, fought with great pertinacity and impetuosity.

By this time the settlements in the interior had been broken up, and the inhabitants had gathered in stockades or fled to the coasts. In the following January, sixteen sugar plantations near New Smyrna, with all their buildings and improvements, were destroyed, the country was devastated in every direction, and many of the inhabitants massacred.

Undeniably, the master-spirit of this war was As-se-se-ha-ho-lar, commonly called Osceola. He was a half-breed, the son of a trader named Powell, and, when a child, was taken by his mother, who was a Creek, to Florida, and lived near Fort King. He was now thirty-two years of age, with a slender figure, of medium size, manly and resolute in his bearing, and had a clear, frank, and engaging countenance. From boyhood he was noted for his independence and self-possession, and for his hatred of the whites, whom he treated with a dignity amounting almost to insolence. He was distinguished for his skill in dances, ball-plays, and other games. By his boldness and audacity he forced the nation into the war which a large majority of them were averse to engaging in, and either broke up every attempt at negotiation or prevented its fulfilment. He was to have been one of the leaders at Dade's massacre, but was delayed by his desire to avenge himself upon General Thompson at Fort King. At a council previously held to determine the question of removal, Osceola drew his knife and drove it into the table, saying,

"The only treaty I will execute is this!"

Osceola's hatred for Thompson is said to have been caused by that officer's seizure of his wife, whose mother was a slave, while he was on a trading visit to Fort King. Osceola, made frantic by this terrible outrage, was seized for using violent language to Agent Thompson, and was kept in irons for six days. If this story be true, Osceola's vindictiveness towards that officer is sufficiently accounted for.



He was in the battle of the Withlacoochee, and led the attack upon Micanopy, where, in an open field within sight of the fort, he attacked upward of one hundred regular troops, supported by a field-piece. His subsequent capture gave rise to the imputation of bad faith upon the part of General Jesup, Osceola having come in under a white flag to negotiate; but that officer contended that Osceola had broken faith in reference to the Fort Dade capitulation, and was to be treated as an escaped prisoner. In fact, Osceola, in accordance with Indian rules of warfare, had improved every opportunity to mislead the commander of the army, and had disregarded the most solemn promises to abstain from hostile acts and prepare for emigration. His professions of friendship and assurances of peace were only made to give his warriors time to plant and gather crops, and to harass and break down the troops by exposure to the climate and fatiguing marches.

Dignified and courteous in his manners, Osceola showed himself a brave and cautious leader in the field, and possessed nobler traits of character than are commonly found in his race. He instructed his warriors, in their predatory incursions, to spare the women and children. "It is not upon them," said he, "that we make war and draw the scalping-knife, it is upon men; let us act like men." Upon his removal to the prison at Charleston, South Carolina, he became dejected, refused sustenance, pined away, and in a few weeks died of a broken heart. He was buried just outside the principal gate-way of Fort Moultrie, where a monument has been erected to his memory.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


Of the other Indian leaders, Micanopy, head chief of the Seminoles, was fifty years of age, very fat, given to drink, excessively lazy, and consequently an advocate of peace. It was necessary to force him into hostile acts, and in two instances he had to be carried to the scene of action.

Otee-Emathla, or Jumper, his lawyer and "sense-bearer," was cunning, intelligent, and deceitful, but active and brave. His fluent speech and attractive voice made him the most important man in council.

Halpatter-Tustenuggee, or Alligator, was the most shrewd, crafty, polite, and intelligent of the Seminole chiefs. He spoke English, and was an active and successful hunter, but was artful and treacherous. He was a skilful warrior and a dangerous foe.

Holartoochee was in all respects superior to his associates. Good judgment, prudence, and integrity marked all the acts of this brave warrior and great hunter. After three years of resistance he surrendered for emigration, and became useful in influencing others to follow his example.

Coacoochee, or Wild-cat, the son of King Philip, was by far the most dangerous of the Seminole warriors in the field. War to him was pastime. When pursued through deep swamps he would stand at a distance and laugh at and ridicule the soldiers, as they floundered about through mud and water with their arms and accoutrements. With a few followers he ranged throughout the country with a fleetness defying pursuit. He disregarded councils, and acted upon his own judgment wholly. His age was twenty-eight; he was slight and active as a deer, and had a bright, playful, and attractive countenance.

Arpeika, or Sam Jones, chief of the Micasaukies, was upward of seventy years of age. He declared himself a prophet and a great medicine-man, his age giving him an ascendency far above his merits. With him, and of the same tribe, was Halleck-Tustenuggee, who afterwards became the master-spirit of the war.

Thlocklo-Tustenuggee, or Tiger-tail, was the chief of the Tallahassees. For many years he was a common lounger about the streets of Tallahassee, begging for whiskey and food. Plausible and attractive in his manners, and professing great wisdom and sagacity, he deluded his own people as well as the whites, and was always ready to accept the proffer of peace. After enjoying for weeks the hospitality of a military camp or post, with the promise of emigrating, he would return to the woods well supplied with ammunition, provisions, and clothing.

The Creeks in Florida numbered about seventy warriors, under Octiarche, a young sub-chief, who contended with skill and resolution, and was among the last of the leaders captured. Large numbers of the Creeks from Georgia joined the Seminoles from time to time in small parties, and were active in committing depredations on the frontier.

Edmund Gaines


Abraham, the principal slave of Micanopy, was the most noted and influential of the negroes. He dictated to those of his own color, who, to a great degree, controlled their masters. They were a most cruel and malignant enemy.

Successive commanders—Generals Clinch, Gaines, Scott, and Call— having failed to subdue the Indians, the task was, early in January, 1837, assigned to General Thomas S. Jesup, who, with eight thousand men, began a most vigorous campaign. He moved with rapidity, with mounted troops, both officers and men carrying their rations in their haversacks. The Indians were soon driven from their fastnesses in the Withlacoochee region, and moved south-west in the direction of the Everglades. As soon as this fact was ascertained, several detachments were organized to make a vigorous pursuit.

A succession of defeats soon convinced the Indians that they could not withstand the power of the Government, and a conference between the general and some of their chiefs at Fort Dade, resulted in the agreement to cease hostilities and at once prepare to emigrate to the West. On the strength of this agreement the troops were withdrawn, and the settlers prepared to reoccupy their abandoned homes.

When the troops were leaving Fort Mellon, Colonel Harney said to Coacoochee that unless the Indians complied with the treaty, the United States Government would exterminate them.

"The Great Spirit may exterminate us," replied the young chief, "but the pale-faces cannot, else why have they not done it before?"

By the 23rd of June, upward of seven hundred Indians, including Micanopy, their head chief, had come in prepared to emigrate, and had encamped near Tampa, where twenty-five transports had been stationed to take them to New Orleans. Everything was in readiness for their embarkation, when suddenly Osceola and Coacoochee, at the head of two hundred Micasaukies, appeared upon the scene, and either forced or persuaded the entire number to leave the camp and take refuge in the Everglades. Various causes contributed to bring about this result. The fugitive negroes had good reason to fear that they would be returned to their owners. Osceola and the younger chiefs were anxious to defeat the emigration project, and the influence and address of that chief caused the Indians to credit such absurd stories as, that once they were embarked their throats would all be cut.

Volunteers from the neighboring States were now called out, and active hostilities were resumed. Osceola and Coa Hajo, who had come to Fort Peyton for an interview with General Hernandez, were seized by order of General Jesup, upon the ground of their having capitulated at Fort Dade in March, and were imprisoned at St. Augustine.

Many prisoners were now daily brought in, owing to the great activity of the army in breaking up the haunts of the Indians. Again negotiations were set on foot, a council was held, the chief's once more promised to collect their people and bring them to the camp, when the escape of Wild-cat, with seventeen of his followers, front their prison at St. Augustine, put an immediate stop to what appeared to be a gratifying prospect of ending the war.

This chief, with a considerable number of other Indians, had been confined in the old Spanish fort for security. A narrow embrasure gave light and air to the room they occupied. This embrasure was some fifty feet above the ditch, or moat, which was dry at all times. Coacoochee conceived the idea of squeezing himself through this narrow aperture and dropping into the moat.

In order to reach the opening, which was eighteen feet above the floor, he and his companion cut up the forage bags allowed them to sleep on, and made them into ropes. Standing upon the shoulders of his companion, Coacoochee worked a knife into a crevice of the stonework, as high up as he could reach, and raising himself upon this, found that by a reduction of his flesh he could get through the embrasure. To effect this object they took medicine for five days.

One dark night, at the end of that time, Coacoochee took the rope, which they had secreted under the bed, and climbing up as before to the embrasure, made it fast that his friend aught follow, passing enough of it through the opening to extend to the ditch below.

Putting his head through first, the sharp stones taking the skin off his breast and back, he was obliged to go down head-foremost until his feet were through, each moment fearing that the rope would break. Two men passed near him after he reached the ground, but owing to the darkness did not see him. His companion found great difficulty in getting through the hole, but finally came tumbling the whole distance into the ditch. As he was lamed by the fall, Coacoochee took him upon his shoulder, and after carrying him some distance, caught a mule, upon which he mounted him. They then started for the St. John's River, making good their escape. Exasperated at the treatment he had received, the chief used all his influence against submission, and put a stop to the movements of Arpeika and others, who were on the way to the American camp.

The next important military event of the war was the severe battle of the Okechobee. The troops—about one thousand in number—were led by Colonel Zachary Taylor, against about four hundred Indians under Alligator, Arpeika, Halleck-Tustenuggee, and Coacoochee. The latter were protected by a dense hommock, with a miry saw-grass pond in front. Through these obstacles the troops charged the enemy with great gallantry, and after a hard-fought battle routed them, but at a heavy cost. One hundred and thirty-nine were killed or wounded, among whom were many valuable officers. The loss of the Indians was slight.

In this fight Arpeika fled at the first fire, when Halleck-Tustenuggee rallied those who were inclined to follow his example. The prophet Otolke-Thlocko was engaged in preparing his medicines, and singing and dancing to inspire the combatants. The trees were notched, behind which the most expert marksmen were posted, and in which they rested their rifles, and thus obtained a steady aim.

Coacoochee says the Indians stood firm until the soldiers rushed upon them, whooping and yelling, when they retreated in small parties. He, together with Alligator, finding the troops pursuing them so closely as to prevent their loading, and that large numbers had retired, thought it prudent to do the same, and they scattered in small bodies throughout the country.

Jesup was succeeded in the command by Taylor, who, after two years of harassing service, was relieved by Colonel Armistead. This officer was in turn relieved by Colonel William J. Worth, making the eighth commander sent out to close the war. General Jesup is entitled to great credit for his energy and perseverance. Within a year and a half two thousand four hundred Indians and negroes, seven hundred of whom were warriors, had surrendered or been killed, and most of their villages and stock had been destroyed or captured. But the end of this troublesome war seemed as distant as ever.

Before tendering his resignation, General Jesup recommended to the War Department the assignment of the southern part of Florida to the Indians, instead of removing them to the West. His salutary advice was not heeded, and five years more of harassing and destructive warfare ensued. During General Taylor's term of service, blood-hounds were imported for the purpose of hunting down the Indians. These savage brutes—more humane than their masters—refused to follow an Indian's trail, so that this proved a useless barbarity.

The Everglades, situated in the southern part of Florida, constituted the principal stronghold of the Indians. They were expanses of shoal water, varying in depth from one to five feet, dotted with innumerable low and flat islands, generally covered with trees and shrubs. Much of this area is covered with almost impenetrable saw-grass as high as a man's head, but the little channels in every direction are free from it. Colonel Harney, with one hundred men in canoes, penetrated this region in December, 1840, killed Chai-ki-ka, a Spanish Indian chief, and executed six of his followers on the spot.

Okechobee was the last general fight in which the Indians were engaged. Thenceforth their policy was to avoid a battle, but, moving rapidly by night, to seize every opportunity to wreak their vengeance on the unarmed inhabitants of the country. Murders were committed by them within a few miles of Tallahassee and St. Augustine. This state of things continued with brief intervals until the spring of 1841, when General Worth took command. No officer ever entered upon a more unpromising field in which to acquire distinction. All the best officers of the army, many of them experienced in Indian warfare, had signally failed to conquer the Indians, who were effectually concealed in the Everglades and swamps, where their families and crops were secure, and whence they could sally forth upon long expeditions for murder and rapine.

At this time the Indians were enjoying the cool shades of their dense hommocks, luxuriating in an abundant supply of green corn, melons, pumpkins, pease, beans, sweet-potatoes, and other vegetables. They were too cautious to subject themselves to a hot sun or to the liability of pursuit. Desirous of remaining undisturbed, they molested no one, postponing their hostile excursions until after harvest.

Fully comprehending the task before him, the new commander, instead of going into summer quarters as was, usual at this period of the year, at once organized his force in the most effective manner, and prepared for a continuous campaign, irrespective of the season, establishing his head-quarters at Fort King. Simultaneous movements against the Indians took place during the months of June and July in every district, breaking up their camps and destroying their crops and stores. Every swamp and hommock between the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts was visited, and the band of Halleck-Tustenuggee routed out of the Wahoo Swamp. The detachments continued scouting the country for twenty-five days. Six hundred men were engaged, about twenty-five per cent of whom were sent to the hospitals. The mercury averaged 86°.

An officer describes one of these scouting parties of thirty or forty men as "resembling banditti rather than a body of regular troops. Its commander, without shoes or stockings, his pantaloons sustained by a belt, in which were thrust a brace of pistols, without vest or coat, his cap with a leathern flap behind to divert the rain from coursing down his back, in this costume led his detachment through bog and water day after day, dependent for food upon the contents of his haversack strapped to his back. The pride and satisfaction of the soldier in doing his duty could alone sustain him through this arduous and health-destroying service."

On the war path


Coacoochee was again a prisoner, and Worth resolved to make use of him to induce his followers to submit. An interview took place at Tampa, on board the transport in which the chief was confined. The impressiveness of the scene was enhanced by the fine martial figure of the general—he was six feet high and finely proportioned—and by the presence of his brilliant staff in full uniform. Coacoochee received them with a dignity and calmness in marked contrast with his usual hold and dashing demeanor. Taking the young chief, who was heavily ironed, by the hand, the general said:

"Coacoochee, I take you by the hand as a warrior, a brave man. You have fought long, and with a true and strong heart, for your country. You are a great warrior; the Indians look upon you as a leader. This war has lasted five years, it must now end. . . . You are the man to do it. I wish you to state how many days it will require to effect an interview with the Indians in the woods. You can select three or five of these men to carry your talk. Name the time, it shall be granted; but I tell you, as I wish your relatives and friends told, that unless they fulfil your demands, yourself and these warriors now seated before us shall be hung to the yards of this vessel when the sun sets on the day appointed, with the irons on your hands and feet. I tell you this that we may well understand each other; I do not wish to frighten you—you are too brave a man for that—but I say what I mean, and I will do it. This war must end, and you must end it."

After a brief silence, the chief, with repressed feeling and in a subdued voice, replied:

"I was once a boy. I hunted in these woods. I saw the white man, and was told he was my enemy. I could not shoot him as I would a wolf or bear, yet like these he came upon me. Horses, cattle, and fields he took from me. He said he was my friend; he abused our women and children, and told us to go from the land; still he gave his hand in friendship. We took it; while taking it he had a snake in the other, his tongue was forked, he lied and stung us. I asked but for a small piece of these lands—enough to plant and live upon, far South—a spot where I could place the ashes of my kindred—a spot only sufficient upon which I could lay my wife and child. This was not granted me. I was put in prison; I escaped. I have been taken again; I feel the irons in my heart.

"I have listened to your talk. You and your officers have taken us by the hand in friendship. The heart of the poor Indian thanks you. We know but little, we have no books which tell all things, but we have the Great Spirit., moon, and stars. These told me last night you would be our friend. I give you my word—the word of Coacoochee. It is true I have fought like a man, so have my warriors, but the whites are too strong for us. I wish now to have my band around me and go to Arkansas.

"You say 'I must end the war!' Look at these irons! Can I go to my warriors? Coacoochee chained! No, do not ask me to see them. I never wish to tread upon my land unless I am free. If I can go to them unchained they will follow me in, but I fear they will not obey me when I talk to them in irons. They will say my heart is weak, I am afraid. Could I go free they will surrender and emigrate."

General Worth, in reply, told him that he could not go, and the chief selected five of his companions to bear his message.

"Take these sticks," said he. "Here are thirty-nine—one for each day; 'this, much larger than the rest, with blood upon it, is the fortieth. When the others are thrown away, and this only remains, say to my people that with the setting sun Coacoochee hangs like a dog, with none but white men to hear his last words. Collie, then; come by the stars, as I have led you to battle; come, for the voice of Coacoochee speaks to you."

The chosen messengers were relieved of their irons and departed, and by the last of the month all had come in—one hundred and eighty-nine, men, women, and children. General Worth had succeeded in this plan by working upon the weak point of Coacoochee—his vanity. He was vain, bold, and cunning, but was by no means the great warrior he supposed himself. Worth made still further use of him, employing his services in bringing in other bands, succeeding better by negotiation than by hostile pursuit.

In November and December a combined land and naval expedition was made through the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp, the Indian stronghold, where Arpeika and the Prophet held supreme command. The troops marched through swamps deep in mud and water, their boats penetrated every creek and landed upon every island. The country in every direction was explored, but not an Indian was seen. Their huts were burned, their fields devastated, and they fled in every direction.

It was a peculiar service upon which these various corps were employed. There was to be seen, at the same time, in the Everglades, the dragoon in water from three to four feet deep, the sailor and marine wading in the mud in the midst of cypress stumps, and the soldiers, infantry and artillery, alternately on the land, in the water, and in boats.

Comforts and conveniences were wholly absent, even subsistence was reduced to the lowest point. Night after night officers and men were compelled to sleep in their canoes, others in damp bogs, and in the morning to cook their breakfasts over a fire built on a pile of sand in the prow of their boat, or kindled around a cypress stump. Officers carried their own provision and packs upon their backs. Before the expedition was ended, many of the men were compelled to resort to the cabbage-tree for subsistence.

Billy Bowlegs


An officer who took part in this expedition, at the close of his journal says: "Thus ended the Big Cypress campaign like all others; drove the Indians out, broke them up, taught them we could go where they could; men and officers worn down; two months in water, packs on our backs; hard times; trust they are soon to end. The only reward we ask is the ending of the Florida War."

Worth's sagacity enabled him to see that fighting these Indians under every disadvantage was not the best way, nor the only way to effect their removal. He therefore used every means in his power to influence them by conciliatory "talks," sent to them by leading chiefs who were prisoners or who had voluntarily surrendered. This course was effectual. He declared to a brother officer "that there was more true patriotism, sense, and decency in ridding our country of this incubus in a quiet way, than in cutting down a solitary Indian who may have been guilty of the crime of defending his own country in his own way." While not inferior to Jackson as a soldier, Worth was far superior to him in comprehension and statesmanship. Of him it can be truly said, "He deserved well of his country."

Finding that no hiding-place was secure, and that with a vigilant and energetic commander like Worth to deal with they had no further hope, parties of the Indians sued for peace, came in, and were from time to time forwarded to Arkansas.

Early in 1842 General Worth made a final effort to capture Halleck-Tustenuggee and his band. This cunning and vindictive chief had hitherto baffled every detachment sent after him. By birth a Micasaukie, and at this time about thirty-five years of age, this savage, apart from his intense love of country, seems not to have possessed a single redeeming trait. Adroit in his movements, bold and intrepid in action, he had made the pioneer as well as the army feel that he was no ordinary foe. He was six feet two inches in height, with a slight, sinewy frame, well formed, and erect. He was at length brought to bay and surrounded in the Pilaklikaha Swamp, and the last considerable action of the war was here fought.

At daybreak the column was in motion. The negro interpreters, among whom the tall figure of Gopher John was conspicuous, and the friendly Indians quietly rode in advance of the troops. They reloaded their rifles, carefully examined their priming, and gazed intently around, inspecting every twig and blade of grass and soft spot in the soil to discover traces of a footstep. From time to time they dismounted to run over the high grass, in the hope of finding a track to guide them to the camp of the enemy.

"An Indian has just passed here," said the old chief Holartoochee, much excited.

"How do you know?" was the eager inquiry.

"This blade of grass," he replied, holding it up, "was trod upon this morning. You see it is crushed. The sun nor the light of day has not shone upon it; had either, it would have wilted. You see it is green, but crushed. Here are more; there is the print of a foot!"

The column halted, when tracks were found at a considerable distance from each other.

"He is running," said the chief, "to make known the approach of the troops."

This footprint was followed three miles, when the hommock in which it was thought the enemy had made a stand was seen in the distance. A trail led to it direct, through mud and water from one to three feet deep. The hommock in full view, surrounded by laud and water, looked like a mass of dark green foliage almost impenetrable.

The troops, in extended order, charged the hommock with great gallantry and received the fire of the Indians, who, with shrill whoops and yell after yell, discharged their rifles rapidly. For a while they stood firmly, relying upon a partial breastwork of fallen timber and the thick undergrowth; but the troops steadily advancing, they broke into small parties and escaped. The band was soon after captured by Colonel Garland, while attending a feast to which that officer had invited them, and the chief was subsequently secured by General Worth.

St. Augustine


This was one of the most important steps yet taken towards bringing the war to a close. The surrender of Tiger-tail, Octiarche, and Tustenuggee, with their bands, had removed nearly all the Indians from the central and northern parts of East Florida, when the capture of Pascoffer, with his entire band, on the Ocklockonnee, by Colonel Hitchcock, entirely relieved middle and western Florida.

No Indians now remained in the territory except those under Arpeika, an aged sub-chief, and O-lac-to-ni-co (Billy Bowlegs), who were within the limits assigned them south of Pease Creek, and the credit of finally closing the Florida War was fairly earned by the gallant Worth. In a little more than a year, and with a great saving of life and treasure, he had solved a problem which had baffled the ablest of his predecessors.

The war which had lasted seven years closed by official proclamation August 14, 1842. It had cost the United States upward of forty million dollars and an unknown number of lives. Of the regular troops, one thousand four hundred and sixty-six, of whom the very large number of two hundred and fifteen were officers, had died during the contest. A monument has been erected in their memory at St. Francis's barracks, St. Augustine. As a compensation for this terrible expenditure of life and property, over five hundred persons of color had been reduced from freedom to bondage, and Florida was no longer an asylum for fugitive slaves.

A small number of Indians yet remain in the southerly portion of the State, supporting themselves by hunting and fishing. Those who emigrated form one of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory, and are in a prosperous and progressive condition.

NOTE.—The History of Florida,  by Fairbanks, and Sprague's History of the Florida War,  are the best sources of information relative to the subject of this chapter.

Indian Wars (1862-1877)

The immediate cause of the Sioux outbreak in Minnesota in 1862 was the failure on the part of our Government to keep its promises to the Indians, who were depending upon it for the payment of money due them for their land. They were urged on, moreover, by actual want, and after waiting as long as they could, and seeing no prospect of relief, they broke out into open hostility. They knew that the great Civil War was raging, draining the country of its fighting men, and they seized the opportunity to right their wrongs in their own savage way. They had other and older grievances, but this was sufficient.

The Lower or Redwood Agency was fourteen miles above Fort Ridgeley, on the Minnesota River. The excitement here was intense for a month before the outbreak. A "Soldiers' Lodge," a secret organization, designed to stir up the tribe to hostile action, was formed, and succeeded at length in exciting the passions of the Indians to the required pitch. Early on the morning of August 18th a party of one hundred and fifty Sioux under Little Crow began an indiscriminate massacre of the whites on both sides of the river. All the buildings at the Agency were burned.

Little Crow


News of the massacre reached Fort Ridgeley before noon, and Captain Marsh, of the Fifth Minnesota Volunteers, started at once for the Agency with forty-eight men. This small force was surrounded by the Sioux at the ferry opposite the Agency, and one-half of them killed, the rest escaping by flight. Messengers were now sent by Little Crow to other Indian bands, many of whom at once joined him.

That night a converted Indian notified the people at Hazlewood, the mission station six miles above the Upper Agency, of their danger, and forty-two persons, including the missionaries Riggs and Williamson, with their families, made their escape. Their safe passage through the numerous scattered bands of hostiles on their route seems almost miraculous. On the very day of the outbreak—just a day too late—seventy-two thousand dollars for the payment of the Indians reached Fort Ridgeley.

General Sibley


For nearly three weeks the Indians had it all their own way, meeting with no effectual resistance, so many of the men being absent in the Union army. Their depredations extended throughout the whole western portion of Minnesota, and into Iowa and Dakota. They were repulsed from Forts Ridgeley and Abercrombie, and from the settlements at New Ulm and Hutchinson. In two weeks fifteen or twenty of the frontier counties were almost depopulated. When a stop was finally put to their devastations, more than six hundred victims had fallen, and two hundred persons, mostly women and children, had been made captive.

By the last of August a small force had been collected at Fort Ridgeley, and one hundred and fifty men, under Colonel Joseph P. Brown, were, as soon as possible, sent to the Lower Agency as a burial party. After performing this sad service, no signs of Indians being visible, they encamped for the night at a place called "Birch Coolie." At dawn next day the camp was suddenly attacked, and, as it was in a most exposed situation, the men fought at a great disadvantage. In three hours nearly one-half the force had been killed or disabled. When relieved by Colonel Sibley they had been thirty-one hours without food or water.

Colonel Marshall


Late in September, Sibley's troops moved up the valley, and fought the battle of Wood Lake, which terminated the contest. Sibley's camp was attacked by eight hundred Indians early in the morning. After a sharp action of an hour and a half a charge was made, led by Lieutenant-colonel Marshall, of the Seventh Minnesota Volunteers, and the Indians fled in all directions; the chiefs Little Crow, Little Six, and their followers escaped to the British Possessions. The Indian camp, left in charge, of the converted Indians, with all the plunder, fell into the hands of the victors, and the white prisoners, two hundred in number, regained their liberty.

That the lives of these prisoners had been spared was owing in great measure to the heroic exertions of Paul, a friendly Indian, head deacon of Mr. Riggs's Indian church. The Upper band, to which he belonged, had withheld their support from Little Crow's followers, and condemned their action as hasty and ill-advised. But for the feud between the Upper and Lower Agency Indians, the contest would have been much more serious, and would have lasted much longer. A number of the captured Sioux were hung during the following winter.

Capture of Indian Camp


Next year a combined force of Sioux and Blackfeet, numbering some twelve or fifteen hundred warriors, were committing depredations and outrages on the Minnesota settlers. An expedition was sent against them under General Alfred Sully. The Indian camp was discovered, and on Sully's approach the Indians scattered, taking with them whatever they could carry. The troops charged at full speed, endeavoring to surround and drive them back to their camp, in the hope of capturing the entire band. Soon the whole force was actively engaged, each lean fighting "on his own hook." The battle raged in every direction, and lasted far into the night.

General Sully at length recalled his scattered command, and building large fires remained under arms all night. At daylight next morning it was discovered that the Indians had gone, leaving their dead and wounded, their plunder, and all their property of every description.

Little Paul


This battle of White Stone Hill was the severest blow the Sioux had ever received. They lost about 100 killed and wounded, 156 prisoners, 300 lodges, 1000 ponies, and all their supply of meat for the winter, besides other property of value to them. General Sully's loss was 20 killed and 38 wounded.

The policy of removing the eastern tribes to the far West brought on, as we have seen, the Black Hawk and Seminole wars. Our recent troubles with the wild tribes of the plains have been occasioned by the policy of restricting them to fixed places of residence, or reservations, and by the non-fulfillment of our treaty obligations. The rush to the mining regions, and the building of the Pacific Railroad through the Indian country, let in a constant stream of emigration, drove away the buffalo, and was felt to be a serious injury by the Indians. It is not to be wondered at that they stubbornly resisted. Their right to the country as their permanent home had been solemnly guaranteed to them by the treaty at Fort Laramie in 1851.

Sioux Village


These wild tribes have a mode of government apparently patriarchal, but in reality almost republican. Each member of a band does as he pleases, and obeys his chief when he likes. The authority of the chief is based solely upon his prowess in war.

The family is the basis of their organization. The members of a family generally travel, hunt, and fight together, in time constituting with its marriage connections a band varying from two to twenty or thirty lodges. These bands, connected more remotely by blood with other bands, constitute a tribe which may number from two to thirty or forty bands. These tribes again have a still more remote blood connection with other tribes, constituting a nation such as that of the Sioux, which comprises the Yankton, Brulé, Teton, Ogalalla, and other tribes.

Like the rest of his race, the wild Indian of the plains believes in two gods, equal in wisdom and power. The good god who favors and protects him, and the bad god who does all he can to harm him. If an Indian means to steal a horse, or the wife of his friend, it is to the good god that he looks for success. Death, sickness, and every disaster are in the hands of the bad god, and to him the Indian constantly prays for mercy and indulgence. No prayer is necessary to the good deity; he will do his best without being asked. In only two ways can the soul be prevented from entering paradise, by scalping or by strangulation. The first is annihilation, the second closes the only avenue by which the soul can leave the body.

The Indian has no code of morals, no conception of right and wrong; bad and good are the words nearest in meaning to those. He will tell you it is bad to steal from a man of his own band, because he will be beaten and kicked out of the band if detected; but it is good and praiseworthy to steal from all others. The expert thief is held in high honor, and is almost the equal of the brave and skilful warrior. The Indian is a great boaster, and is very fond of "blowing his own trumpet."

For a wife, a certain number of ponies, saddles, buffalo-robes, etc., are paid. These the lover places near the door of his mistress's lodge over-night. If, when morning comes, they have not been removed, his suit has been rejected. But if the ponies have been sent to the herd and the other articles taken, the lover's offer is accepted. There is no marriage-ceremony, or formality of any kind.

Medicine Chief


"Medicine" is a great word with the Indian. He applies it to everything mysterious and unaccountable. It has a specially religious meaning, whatever he can refer to the good god being "good medicine," while everything the opposite of that is "bad medicine." When things go wrong with him, his medicine is bad; that is, he is for the time in the power of the bad god. Every Indian carries about with him a medicine-pouch, in which is kept some charm that will insure him success in whatever he is about to undertake. In each tribe there is a "medicine chief," who is the authority in spiritual affairs. In battle he must prove the efficacy of his medicine by risking his life where the danger is greatest, to show the perfect safety it insures.

The variety of dialects among the Plains Indians led long ago to the adoption of a sign language, an almost perfect means of communication in constant use to this day.

Of the Comanches a recent writer says: "These fierce, untamed savages roam over an immense region, eating the raw flesh of the buffalo, drinking its warm blood, and plundering Mexicans, Indians, and whites with judicial impartiality. Arabs and Tartars of the desert, they remove their villages (pitching their lodges in regular streets and squares) hundreds of miles at the shortest notice. The men are short and stout, with bright, copper faces and long hair, which they ornament with glass beads and silver gewgaws."

Red Cloud


Catlin says of them: "In their movements they are heavy and ungraceful, and on their feet one of the most unattractive and slovenly races I have ever seen; but the moment they mount their horses they seem at once metamorphosed, and surprise the spectator with the ease and grace of their movements. A Comanche on his feet is out of his element, and comparatively almost as awkward as a monkey on the ground, without a limb or a branch to cling to; but the moment he lays his hand upon his horse his face even becomes handsome, and he gracefully flies away an altogether different being."

Apache Warrior


In 1866 the military department of the Missouri, comprising the vast region between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, was the home of the warlike Sioux, Arapahoes, Kiowas, Cheyennes, Comanches, Apaches, Navajos, and Utahs. Emigration to the gold regions of Montana, then recently discovered, followed the Powder River route. For its protection, the military posts of Phil Kearney and C. F. Smith were established in the Sioux territory. Government was at once warned that this measure would be resisted. A treaty was tried. It was signed by some of the Indians, but Red Cloud, their great chief, refused his assent, withdrew from the council, and, placing his hand upon his rifle, said, "In this and the Great Spirit I trust for the right."

This celebrated chief, born at the Forks of the Platte in 1830, is six feet and six inches in height, and possesses wonderful sagacity and eloquence. His numerous warriors, in their red blankets and paint, are said to have covered the hills like a red cloud, hence his name. He was made a chief for his bravery, and claims to have fought in eighty-seven battles, having been several times wounded. He had risen to be head chief at the age of thirty, and when he declared war to the knife against the white men who should invade his country, the delighted warriors all flocked eagerly to his standard. After a long and harassing war he gained his point. The United States garrisons were withdrawn, the road through the region was abandoned, and the reputation of Red Cloud was established among the Indians as the greatest warrior in the world.

Before this was brought about, the forts had been closely besieged, emigrant travel had ceased, and the country was overrun with hostile Indians. A wood party from Fort Phil Kearney was attacked; Colonel Fetterman with half the garrison went to its relief, and, in the fight that followed, every man of the force was killed. By the end of July following, Red Cloud had gathered three thousand warriors, and had resolved on the destruction of the fort.

Near it a working party was early one morning engaged in cutting fuel, protected by Brevet-major Powell's company of fifty-one men. Expecting all attack, fourteen wagon-bodies made of boiler iron were lifted from the wheels and arranged in a compact circle. This the frontiersman calls a corral; this was the stronghold. Here a watchful guard was kept, and to this shelter all were to fly in case of attack.

Fetterman's Massacre


Suddenly, a rush upon the herders in charge of the cattle, the guard, and the workmen, separated them from the escort, and forced them to fly to the fort. The Indians at once turned their attention to the corral. Here were two officers, twenty-six private soldiers, and four citizens distributed around in the wagons, which, in order to confuse the enemy, were so covered with blankets as to entirely conceal the defenders. The odds were terrific. Eight hundred splendidly mounted warriors dashed head-long upon their apparently insignificant foe, but Major Powell and his handful of brave men had made up their minds to sell their lives dearly.

On they came. A steady and effective fire thinned their ranks. Others took the places of the fallen, and rode close up to the corral, but could see no enemy. Nothing was visible but the covered wagon-beds; but before the constant and accurate fire from these the assailants steadily diminished, until, routed and disheartened, they turned and rapidly retreated. Thousands of Indian spectators swarmed over the elevated plateaux which rose on all sides from the corral.

After consulting the principal chiefs, Red Cloud decided to make another attack, this time on foot, and with his entire force. Warriors armed with Spencer or Winchester carbines, taken in the Fetterman massacre, were sent forward as sharp-shooters. Crouching on the ground, covering themselves with shields or bunches of grass, they approached and opened fire upon the wagon-beds. The soldiers returned their fire so rapidly that their gun-barrels became overheated. Spare guns had been placed in each wagon, to be used by selected marksmen.

Red Cloud's nephew, anxious to win renown and to become his uncle's successor, now gathered two thousand warriors in the plains. When within five hundred yards they rushed forward, and had nearly reached the corral when they were obliged to turn and fly, so deadly was the fire. Again and again they charged, only to repeat their failure, and it was not until after three hours of energetic but futile effort that the attack was finally abandoned.

Philip Henry Sheridan


The Indians could not understand their ill success, but concluded that the white men had made some "medicine guns" which "would fire all the time." They were not far wrong. Among the supplies recently received by the garrison were some breech-loading rifle-muskets, combining extremely long range and accuracy with the utmost rapidity in firing. The Indian loss was not far from three hundred. Powell had one officer and two privates killed, and two privates wounded.

After waiting a year for the Government to fulfill the treaty made by the Peace Commissioners in 1867, for the settlement of all Indian difficulties, starvation staring them in the face, some dissatisfied Cheyennes, in the fall of 1868, went upon the war-path, committing outrages against the whites on the Saline River. This was the opportunity that General Sheridan, who then commanded in that quarter, desired, and he at once prepared for a vigorous winter campaign. "Experience," said he, "has taught us the lesson, that the Indian, mounted on his hardy pony and familiar with the country, is almost as hard to find while the grass lasts as the Alabama  on the ocean." The Indians were supposed to be on the head-waters of the Red River, immediately south of the Antelope hills.

On the morning of November 23rd, Lieutenant-colonel George A. Custer, with the Seventh Cavalry, moved in this direction, through the falling snow, from his camp on the North Canadian River, and on the evening of the 26th struck the trail of a war-party, which proved to be Black Kettle's band of Cheyennes. Corralling his wagons, and leaving a small escort with them, Custer followed the trail, and before daylight carne upon Black kettle's village.

Capture of Black Kettle


It was this chief who, at a council held at Fort Ellsworth, Kansas, in the winter of 1866-67, had with great eloquence entreated the Great Father—for such is the title by which they know the President—to stop the building of the iron road, which would soon drive away the buffalo and leave his red children without food.

Mo-ka-ta-va-ta., or Black Kettle, was described at this time as a fine-looking man, of middle age, with heavy features and frame. He possessed great influence with his tribe, and by his wise counsels had more than once averted war. His dress was simple, with the exception of a massive necklace of crescent-shaped silver plates, from the front of which depended a heavy silver medal bearing the profile in relief of Washington. It had been presented long ago to one of Black Kettle's ancestors, and was worn with evident pride. This friendly chief—for such he was known to be—narrowly escaped with his life at the Chivington massacre in 1834, and was a victim in that we are about to describe.

Custer divided his command into four parties, one of which remained with him; the others were stationed on three sides of the village, completely surrounding the Indians. At dawn the bugle sounded the charge, and the entire command dashed rapidly into the village. The Indians were completely surprised, but realizing their danger they quickly seized their rifles, bows, and arrows, and springing behind the nearest trees, or leaping into the stream and using the bank as a rifle-pit, began a vigorous and determined resistance. Mingled with the exultant cheers of the whites could be heard the defiant warwhoop of the warriors, who, from the first, fought with a desperation and courage which no race of men could surpass.

At the first onset a number of the Indians rushed through the lines. Many had sought shelter behind logs and trees, and under the banks of the stream which flowed through the centre of the village, and to dislodge them it was necessary for the cavalry to fight on foot in the Indian style. Slowly but surely the Indians were driven out of these defences, and were either shot down or pushed beyond the scene of action. The women and children remained within the lodges and became prisoners. The village was burned and eight hundred horses slaughtered. One hundred and three warriors, including the chief, Black Kettle, were killed, and fifty three women and children captured.

For fifteen miles along the Washita, the lodges of the Arapahoes, under Little Raven, the Kiowas, under Satanta and Lone Wolf, and numerous bands of Cheyennes, Comanches, and Apaches extended. At the news of Custer's onslaught they collected and attacked him in turn, but were repulsed, and at nightfall Custer withdrew. His loss was twenty-one killed, including Major Elliot and Captain Hamilton, and eleven wounded.

This was a hard blow, and, according to General Sheridan, it fell upon the guiltiest of all the bands, that of Black Kettle. "It was this band," says he, "that without provocation had massacred the settlers on the Saline and Solomon, and perpetrated cruelties too fiendish for recital." On the other hand, Indian Agent Wynkoop says: "I know that Black Kettle had proceeded to the point at which he was killed, with the understanding that it was the locality where those Indians that were friendly disposed should assemble. In regard to the charge that Black Kettle was engaged in the depredations committed on the Saline and Solomon during the summer of 1865, I know the same to be utterly false, as he was at that time camped near my agency on the Pawnee Fork." In the language of Superintendent Murphy, of the Osage Agency, "Black Kettle was one of the best and truest friends the whites ever had among the Indians of the plains."

One of the actions of this war furnishes a remarkable instance of heroism and endurance. Brevet-colonel George A. Forsyth, with fifty men, while on a scouting expedition, had camped, on the night of September 16th, on the Arickaree Ford of the Republican River. There were a few inches of running water only in this stream. A small island directly behind the bivouac was fringed with willows, and bore a few stunted trees.

At daybreak a party of Indians rushed upon the camp, but were driven back. Forsyth, seeing their overwhelming numbers, and realizing at once the advantage of the cover, slight as it was, afforded by the island, and the disadvantage to the Indians of having to charge over the sandy bed of the stream, decided to take position on the sand island, which was separated from the mainland by a mere thread of water. The movement was effected, and the men, distributed in a circle, were ordered to lie down, and as soon as possible to dig rifle-pits for themselves in the sand. While this was being done, an annoying fire was kept up by the Indians, by which Forsyth was twice wounded, three men killed, and a number of others hit. Under their leader's direction the best shots were keeping the Indians at bay, while the others were digging for life, using the bodies of their slain horses as a parapet.

Little Raven


About nine o'clock a charge was made, with unearthly yells, by three hundred mounted warriors. A heavy skirmish line pressed closer and closer, with so galling a fire that not a man could expose a hand or an arm to return it. Everything was, however, put in readiness, the guns of the dead and wounded were loaded and placed near the best shots on the threatened side. When the Indians were within thirty yards of the rifle-pits, and their skirmish fire had ceased, for fear of hitting their friends, the intrenchment so silent hitherto suddenly became alive.

"Now !" shouted Forsyth, and a rapid and effective fire tumbled the leaders from their ponies. Still they pressed on, yelling and whooping, and down they went under the deadly fire of the brave defenders of the island. Roman Nose, their gigantic war chief, and Medicine Chief, another of their leaders, both fell close to the intrenchment. The assailants wavered; a ringing cheer and another well-directed volley from the soldiers and they turned and fled, vanquished and demoralized. Two other charges were made and repelled during the day, and at nightfall a heavy rain set in. Every horse and mule had been killed by the enemy's fire. Lieutenant Beecher and five others had been killed or mortally wounded, and seventeen were wounded severely.

General George Cook


Fort Wallace, the nearest point from which succor could arrive, was one hundred miles away. Forsyth's men were without provisions, and surrounded by nine hundred well-armed warriors. A well was dug, the dead animals' flesh was cut into strips for food, the line was strengthened with saddles and dead animals, and two men were despatched at nightfall through the enemy's lines to Fort Wallace. Day after day the heroic band sustained the steady fire of the Indians, but by the fifth day the suffering from hunger, as the meat could no longer be eaten, was intense. By this time the Indians began to disappear, and by the seventh day all had left, but the beleaguered force was too weak to move. At last, on the morning of the ninth day, succor arrived.

The Indians encountered were Northern Cheyennes, Brulé and Ogalalla Sioux, and "Dog Soldiers," the banditti of the plains. Their loss is said to have been thirty-five killed and one hundred wounded.

Sitting Bull


Notwithstanding the provisions of the treaty made with the Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes by the Peace Commissioners in 1868, securing to them the right of limiting on their old territory, these Indians were ordered by General Sheridan to give up their hunting-grounds and to go upon a reservation. They stood upon their rights and resisted, and another Sioux war was the result.

Three columns of troops, under Generals Crook, Terry, and Custer, were sent against them in May, 1Si6. Crook, after an indecisive action with the Sioux, fell back to the Tongue River. Sitting Bull, their leader, was at this time between the head-waters of the Rosebud and the Big Horn, the main tributary of the latter being known as the Little Big Horn. It was at this place that the gallant Custer fought his last battle.

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were chiefs of bands who were implacably hostile, and to their villages drifted all the discontented Indians from various quarters. They occupied a singularly advantageous position near the head of the Yellow stone, surrounded by the "bad lands," which prevented the whites from near approach, and centrally situated with regard to the Indian agencies, from which they were annually supplied with the best of arms and ammunition by the United States Government, in accordance with treaty stipulations.

Sitting Bull is described as a heavily built Indian, with a massive head and brown hair—a most unusual color for an Indian. His totem is a buffalo bull sitting on his haunches. He possesses much force of mind, with a genius for war, and a stubborn heroism, admirable in the champion of a race. He was born in 1537, near old Fort George, on Willow Creek, below the mouth of the Cheyenne River, and was the son of Chief Jumping Bull. The order requiring him to go on a reservation was in violation of his treaty rights, and the attempt to enforce it was a national disgrace.



"I want peace," said the chief to General Miles, in an interview with that officer soon after the battle with General Crook, "but if the troops come out to me I will fight them. I want to hunt buffalo and to trade. I don't want rations nor annuities. I want to live as an Indian."

A village of the Northern Cheyennes was surprised by General Mackenzie, and their entire stock of provisions for winter, their buffalo robes, and all their property burned. It was winter, and those who escaped were utterly destitute. In the following spring their chief, Hump, with some of his followers, surrendered to General Miles. Handing his belt and gun to the general, he said, "Take these; I am no longer chief or warrior."

Spotted Tail


When asked why he had put himself in opposition to the Government, he replied, "I never went to war with the whites. The soldiers began chasing me about, for what cause I do not know to this day. I dodged as long as I could, and hid my village away, but at last they found it, and I had no alternative but to fight or perish."

The battle of the Rosebud is a good illustration of Indian warfare on the plains. When a charge is made upon them, those in front of the charging force break and give way, while those on the sides close in to attack and harass the flanks and rear of the attacking force. If the latter should unfortunately be carried too far by the excitement of the chase, its destruction is almost certain. The Indian is a superb horseman, his pony quick and wiry, and, avoiding a direct attack, the retreating warriors wheel, collect again, fall upon the flank and rear of their assailants, overwhelm them, and then withdraw with lightning rapidity to repeat the manœuvre with others.

Satanta, Kiowas Chief


General Crook advanced upon the enemy's position, with his cavalry on the left, his infantry and his Indian allies on the right. The cavalry charged, only to find the enemy already withdrawn, and taking another strong position beyond. A second and a third charge, with a similar result, left the cavalry far in advance and in danger of being overwhelmed. General Crook sent an aid to recall it. In the attempt to fall back it found itself completely surrounded. The Indians had poured in upon them from all quarters— front, flank, and rear. With perfect steadiness the troops moved on, and after a brief but fierce hand-to-hand encounter the environing mass was rent asunder, and the troops regained their position. Their courage and discipline had saved them from destruction.

Captain Jack


On the 23d of June, General Custer, with the Seventh Cavalry, was ordered up the Rosebud to follow the Indian trail. After a night-march the command found itself, on the morning of the 25th, in the valley of one of the branches of the Little Big Born, and in the vicinity of the Indians. The command was divided into three detachments—one led by Custer, one by Major Reno, and a third by Captain Benteen. Reno was to take the village at the upper end, Custer at the lower extremity. Reno attacked, but so feebly that he was easily driven back. Both detachments failed to support Custer, and he, with only five companies, was compelled, single-handed, to sustain the encounter with the entire Indian force. His orders were, "not to let the Indians escape," and in obedience to these he flung himself upon them in full confidence that, with the co-operation of the other detachments of his force, he should inflict a severe punishment upon them.

On the war path


Moving rapidly down the river to the ford, Custer was met by the Sioux about six hundred yards east of the river. They were surprised and in confusion, but seeing the small force in front of them, surrounded and attacked it, with confidence in their overwhelming numbers. Hundreds of Indians on foot and on ponies poured over the river, and filled the ravine on each side of Custer's men. They drove the troops back up the hill, Custer all the while making successive stands on the higher ground. They then made a circuit to the right around the hill, and drove off and captured most of the horses, the cavalry being dismounted and fighting on foot. The troops made a final stand at the lower end of the hill, and there they were all killed, the fight lasting from two o'clock till sunset.

Lava Beds


Not a man of the five companies was left alive. The Indian force was estimated at from two thousand five hundred to three thousand warriors.

A subsequent examination of the ground revealed the fact that, about three-quarters of a mile from the river, Captain Calhoun's company were all slain. A mile beyond, on the ridge parallel to the stream, fell Keogh's company, his right resting on the bill where Custer fell, held also by Yates's company. On the most prominent point of this ridge Custer made. his last desperate stand, and here he went down, fighting heroically to the last. On the line of a ravine nearer the river were found the bodies of Captains Smith's and Custer's companies, their situation indicating that they had made a desperate effort to make a stand or to gain the woods. Sitting Bull and his warriors are now (1883) prisoners at Fort Randall, Dakota, having voluntarily surrendered to the United States authorities.

Captain Jack


Some time before this battle, a council had been held with a number of chiefs at Fort Dodge, Kansas. Extravagant promises of future good conduct were made by all, but especially by the "peculiarly savage and insolent Satanta." So effective and convincing was the oratorical effort of Satanta, that at the close of his address he was presented with the uniform coat and hat of a major-general Within a few weeks, Satanta returned the compliment by attacking the post where this council was held, arrayed in his new uniform.

The great rival of Red Cloud was Spotted Tail, who had long been head chief of the Ernie band of Sioux. He was the earnest friend and coadjutor of the white man in the work of pacification. He was large and commanding in figure, and possessed great oratorical and executive abilities. A feud existed between him and a chief named Crow Dog. They met near the Rosebud Agency, August 6, 1881, and the latter shot Spotted Tail dead.

General Canbey


Northern California was the home of the Modoc tribe of Indians. The remains of their ancient villages, found along the shores of the lakes, the streams, and the forest springs, attest the fact of the former greatness of this now almost extinct tribe.

They had ever been an obstinate, treacherous, and unconquerable race, and their decline is explained by their frequent wars with the fierce tribes around them, as well as with the early white settlers of Northern California and Oregon. Emigrant trains were obliged to pass through dark canons and under precipitous cliffs, whence these warriors would suddenly rush upon them, slaughter the emigrants, and capture their supplies.

On October 14, 1864, when the old chief Schonchin buried the hatchet, and agreed to war with the pale-faces no more, he said, mournfully,

"Once my people were like the sands along you shore. Now I call to them, and only the wind answers. Four hundred strong young men went with me to the war with the whites; only eighty are left. We will be good, if the white man will let us and be his friends forever." The old chief kept his word.

Modoc Stronghold


By the treaty made at this time, the Modocs, Snakes, and Klamaths agreed to repair to a reservation set apart for them in Southern Oregon. They all went, except a strong band of Modocs, under Captain Jack, who remained at their old home near Clear Lake, about sixty miles from Klamath, without being seriously disturbed until 7869.

In that year this band was induced to go to the reservation, but the Klamaths, their hereditary enemies, picked a quarrel with them, and they soon returned to their old home. As they positively refused to go back to the reservation, the military were called upon. Pursued by the soldiers, they took refuge in the remarkable natural formation known as the Lava Beds, from whence they bade defiance to the troops.

Massacre of the commissioners


This lava valley is bounded by walls of more than one thousand feet in height. At numerous points are seen miniature volcanic rents, formed by the bursting out of steam or gases from below, and in some places there are subterranean galleries or caverns, having a diameter of fifteen or twenty feet, extending indefinitely in either direction. These rents or chimneys probably communicate with subterranean passages. They were wholly inaccessible to the troops. The Indians knew perfectly the paths leading through these fearful chasms.

Chief Joseph


After the troops had done all they could to drive out the Indians, without attaining their object, the job was turned over to the Peace Commissioners, who were instructed to effect their removal to the Coast Reservation in Oregon. Several "talks" were held with Captain Jack and his leading men, but without result, the Indians assuming a defiant attitude.

On the morning of April 11, 1873, the commissioners, General E. R. S. Canby, A. B. Meacham, Rev. Dr. E. Thomas, Mr. Dyer. and Riddle, the interpreter, and his squaw, went by agreement to a. spot about three-fourths of a mile from their camp, where they met Captain Jack, Schonchin (son of the old chief), Boston Charley, and five other leading Modocs. They had no guns, but each was provided with pistols.

Nez Perce children


The party sat down in a circle. Mr. Meacham opened the "talk," and was followed by General Canby and Doctor Thomas. What they said was intended to pacify the Indians. When the last speaker had ended, John Schonchin began a reply, but had said but a few words when, as if they were the signal for an attack, the work of massacre begun.

In less than a minute a dozen shots had been fired, and the affair was over. The first shot was fired by Captain Jack himself, who shot and killed General Canby. Mr. Meacham was shot by Schonchin, and Doctor Thomas by Boston Charley. Mr. Dyer barely escaped, being fired at twice. Riddle, the interpreter, and his squaw also escaped.

Battle of Canon Creek


The troops immediately rushed to the spot, when they found the dead bodies of General Canby and Doctor Thomas. Meacham, who was badly wounded over the left eye by a pistol-shot, was taken to the camp, and afterwards recovered. The murderers escaped in safety to the Lava Beds.

In the following May, Boston Charley gave himself up, and volunteered to guide the troops to Captain Jack's stronghold. This led to the capture of the entire band, a number of whom, while being transported in wagons to head-quarters, were murdered by Oregon volunteers. In July the trial of the prisoners took place, and Captain Jack, Schonchin, Boston Charley, and Hooker Jim were executed at Fort Klamath. They richly deserved their fate for their treacherous deed.

The small remainder of the Modoc tribe are now on a reservation in the Indian Territory.

Troubles between the Indians and their white neighbors caused the Government, early in 1877, to order the removal of Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Percés from their home in the Wallowa Valley, Oregon, to the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho, where, since 1863, the larger part of the tribe had resided. Joseph, with about five hundred Indians, rightfully claimed the Wallowa Valley under the treaty of 1855, and it had also been conceded to them by President Grant in 18T3. Two years later this concession was revoked, and, "in the interests of peace," General Howard was directed to "induce" Joseph to remove.

General O.O. Howard


When the commissioners, appointed in 1876 to effect this object, asked Joseph to abandon the valley, the chief replied,

"I was made of its earth and grew up upon its bosom. As my mother and nurse, it is too sacred in my affections to be valued by or sold for silver and gold. . . . I ask nothing of the President. I am able to take care of myself and disposed to live peaceably. I and my band have suffered wrong, rather than do wrong. One of our number was wickedly slain by a white man last summer, but I would not avenge his death. But, unavenged by me, the voice of that brother's blood would call the dust of their fathers back, to purple the land, in protest of this great wrong."



Both physically and mentally the Nez Percés are a fine race. Their agent says of them, "Of all the Indians I have ever seen, they are by far the most intelligent, truthful, and truly religious. Their chief, Joseph, is a man of courage, intelligence, quick perception, and other qualities sufficient to rank him much above the average man, white or red."

The attempt to remove these Indians was resisted, and some of the whites who had settled on their lands were killed. General Howard at once sent two companies of United States cavalry, under Captain Perry, to the scene of disturbance. This officer was ambushed and defeated at White Bird Canon, losing a lieutenant and thirty-three men—one-third of his force. Finding the Indians posted in a deep ravine on the Clearwater River, near the month of Cottonwood Creek, General Howard attacked and defeated them, capturing their camp and much of their provisions. Twenty-three warriors were killed, a larger number wounded, and some prisoners were taken. His loss was thirteen killed, and two officers and twenty men wounded.

Joseph now began his famous retreat eastward, towards the buffalo country, with Howard in close pursuit, taking what is called the Lolo trail, through a pass of the Bitter Root Mountains, into Idaho. The long pursuit continued across plains, over mountains, and through forests, much of the way being a desolate and exceedingly difficult country for one thousand three hundred miles, and it lasted seventy-five days. The Indians were accompanied by their women and children. They took with them a large herd of ponies, which supplied then with remounts whenever they were hard pressed.

Colonel Gibbons, who, with one hundred and fifty men, attacked the Indians on Wisdom River, Montana, was greatly outmatched, and was placed upon the defensive, losing twenty-nine officers and men killed and wounded. His entire force would have been killed or captured but for Howard's approach. At Camas Prairie, the Indians turned upon Howard, and succeeded in stampeding and running off his pack -train. Colonel Sturgis had a fight with them on the Yellowstone, below the mouth of Clark's Fork.

The Indians had reached the Missouri River, near Cow Island, on September 22. They would, perhaps, have accomplished their purpose of joining Sitting Bull in the British Dominions had not Colonel Miles, with his comparatively fresh troops, been so situated that by moving promptly he could easily pursue and intercept them. That officer, marching across the country from Tongue River, crossed the Missouri, and on September 30th overtook the Nez Percés at Bear Paw Mountain, near the mouth of Eagle Creek, when a severe engagement took place, in which the Indians lost six of their leading chiefs and twenty-five warriors, besides forty-six wounded. Miles lost two officers and twenty men killed; four officers and thirty-eight men wounded. General Howard came up during the contest, but took no part in it. The band soon afterwards surrendered, and is now in the Indian Territory. Thus ended one of the most remarkable Indian wars on record.

"Throughout this extraordinary campaign," says General Sherman, "the Indians displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise. They abstained from scalping, let captive women go free, did not murder indiscriminately as usual, and fought with scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications."

General Nelson Miles


In closing this chapter we must not omit some mention of the man who, after Daniel Boone, takes the highest rank in our border annals as a pioneer, guide, and Indian fighter. Like Boone, Kit Carson had, in addition to the skill, sagacity, courage, and self-reliance common to his class, the still rarer qualities of modesty, sobriety, disinterestedness, and perfect self-control.

Christopher—commonly called "Kit"—Carson was a native of Kentucky. His early life was occupied in hunting and trapping, and he became famous for his skill in these pursuits, and as a reliable guide and leader. Later he accompanied Fremont in this capacity in his explorations of the Rocky Mountains, and in his narrative the latter speaks in the highest terms of Carson. Though small in stature, Carson was broad-chested, compact in form, and remarkably quick and active, and what he lacked in strength he made up in agility. During the Civil War, in which he attained the rank of brevet brigadier-general, he rendered great service to the Union in New Mexico, Colorado, and the Indian Territory.

Kit Carson


We must content ourselves with a single example of Carson's heroism and disinterestedness—a feat worthy the best days of chivalry—performed while accompanying Fremont's second expedition.

One day a man and a boy, Mexicans—all who had escaped from an Indian onslaught on a party of six—arrived in camp. The wife of the man and the parents of the boy were of this party, and they were full of anxiety to learn the fate of their relatives. Thirty horses belonging to the party had fallen into the hands of the Indians.

Touched by the grief of the survivors, Carson and a companion named Godey resolved to pursue these robbers of the desert, and deliver the captives if alive, or avenge them if dead. They followed the trail all day, and at night by the light of the moon, until it entered a defile and became difficult to trace. Afraid of losing it, at midnight they tied their horses and lay down to sleep in silence and darkness. At daylight they resumed the pursuit, and about sunrise discovered the Indians. Dismounting, and tying their horses, they crept cautiously to a rising ground, from the crest of which they perceived an encampment of four lodges close by.

Proceeding quietly, they had got within thirty or forty yards when a movement among the horses discovered them to the Indians. Raising a war-shout, the two avengers instantly charged into their camp, regardless of the number of enemies that four lodges would imply. The Indians received them with a volley of arrows, shot from their long-bows, one of which pierced through Godey's shirt-collar, barely missing his neck; the two men discharged their rifles with steady aim, and rushed in. Two Indians were stretched on the ground; the rest fled, except a lad who was captured.

Masters of the camp, they found that preparations had been made to feast a large party. Several of the best of the captured horses had been killed, skinned, and cut up, for these Indians made no other use of their surplus horses than to eat them. Releasing the boy, they gathered up the surviving horses, fifteen in number, and returned to camp, which they reached in the afternoon of the same day. They had travelled a hundred miles in the pursuit and retreat, and all in thirty hours. The remainder of the unfortunate Mexican party had all been massacred.

This was a most remarkable instance of successful daring and disinterested achievement. Two men, in a savage desert, pursue day and night an unknown body of Indians into the defiles of an unknown mountain, attack them at sight, without counting their numbers, putting them to flight—and for what? To punish a band of savage marauders, and to avenge the wrongs of Mexicans whom they did not know.

NOTE.—For valuable and interesting details of recent Indian wars, refer to "Our Wild Indians," by General R. I. Dodge.

Joseph's Nez Percés and the Story of the Poncas

As we have seen in the preceding chapter, Chief Joseph surrendered to General Miles on October 5, 1877. Upon this memorable occasion he gave up his gun and said, "From where the sun now stands I will fight no more against the white man."

His people needed rest—they wanted peace. With Chief Joseph there surrendered four hundred of his people. It was General Miles's desire and Chief Joseph's fondest hope that, in accordance with the terms of the surrender, the Nez Percés would be sent back to Idaho—to the Wallowa Valley in North-eastern Oregon, their ancestral home. Instead, however, the terms of this surrender were shamefully violated. Joseph and his band—men, women, and children—were first taken to Fort Leavenworth and finally to the far-off Indian Territory, where, under the warmer climate, they speedily succumbed to disease. Here they regarded themselves as exiles, and in the first two years of their residence nearly one-third of the tribe died. There was a tinge of melancholy in their bearing and conversation that was pathetic. When they had surrendered, over one thousand of their horses had been taken from them and never returned, and of which Joseph said, only, "Somebody has got our horses." Joseph would never have surrendered if General Miles had not promised to send him back to Idaho. What a pity that these fine men and women were not allowed to return to their native Wallowa Valley, for which their hearts yearned and where they would have lived happy and contented! Joseph and his band, like all brave people, had great love of country and home, and they longed "for the mountains, the valleys, the streams, and the clear springs of water of their old home." Indeed, no people that ever lived had love of country more deeply rooted in their hearts than these Nez Percés.

Finally, in 1883, the work of undoing this great wrong was begun and the remnant of the tribe was removed to the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho; there they joined those Nez Percés who had not resisted the removal ordered in 1875. The exiles were received with great rejoicing. Indians from every part of the Lapwai Reservation gathered to welcome the wanderers; the leaders of the tribe made addresses of welcome and offered up thanks to the Great Spirit for answering their prayer to have their brothers back once more in the home of their fathers. Chief Joseph himself, however, was not to share in this general rejoicing. The authorities feared that his presence might be a danger, and so, with about one hundred and fifty of his followers, he was sent to the Colville Reservation, in Washington Territory. Here Chief Joseph continued to live until his death, September 21, 1904. Shortly before his death this noble Indian, in 1903, visited Washington, where he was the guest of President Roosevelt and General Miles. In his later years he had become reconciled to the changed conditions, and realized that his people must also change in order to have any chance of holding their own with the white man. He became a strong advocate for the education of the Indian, aiding personally in the education of his own children, and urging day in and day out that parents should send their sons and daughters to the reservation schools. Only thus, he saw, could the Indians hope to succeed in solving their problem. As an appreciation of his worth and to preserve his memory to future generations the State of Washington erected a monument on the site of his grave at Nespelin and dedicated it to this prince among Indians, June 30, 1905.

Before we discuss the Indian wars which raged in the North-west and South-west for varying intervals from 1877 down to 1891, when occurred the uprising of the ghost-dancing Sioux, and which, happily, was destined to be the last of the Indian wars, let us relate the story of the wrongs done the peaceful Poncas, whose removal from their homes in the spring of 1877 every one now admits was an outrage.

"In 1875 it was desired to push the Sioux Reservation eastward in order to wrest from them the gold-yielding Black Hills of Dakota; but the way was blocked by the small reservation of ninety-six thousand acres occupied by the peaceful Poncas, which lay directly east of the Sioux in the south-east corner of Dakota. Here they dwelt under a treaty of 1855, raised their crops, built their houses, opened schools, constructed a church, and prospered as much as the frequent raids of their neighbors, the Sioux, would allow. They represented probably the best results of the application of the peace policy to the savages, and it was once officially said of them that no Ponca had ever killed a white man. Yet on the chessboard of inland diplomacy they must be shifted hundreds of miles to the Indian Territory in order to allow the Sioux to occupy their position, and to make way for the miners and capitalists in the Black Hills. At the same time the Sioux, coming into possession of the tilled land, one hundred houses, and other property of the Poncas, would receive an impulse towards civilization. Congress at first made the consent of the Poncas a condition of their removal; but when this could not be secured from the intelligent Indians by the usual promises, Congress ordered their unconditional removal and permanent location in the Indian Territory.

"Yielding to the inevitable, these Indian farmers, with their families, about six hundred persons in all, journeyed for fifty-two days through the spring rains and over muddy trails to the Territory, where they found a precarious lodging in tents on lands belonging to the Quapaws. During the first year eighty-five deaths were recorded officially, the Indian count being one hundred and fifty-seven. The survivors were now shifted to a new location on the Kaw River, where they must begin new improvements. Without tools or implements, devastated by death, and sick in spirit, small bands of the Poncas began stealthily to return northward to their old home in Dakota. They carried the bones of their dead to be interred in the land of their fathers. As the story of their wrongs spread through the public prints, a great storm of popular indignation broke upon the head of Secretary Schurz, the vicarious sacrifice of Congress in the removal of the Poncas. Newspapers teemed with editorials and articles demanding the return of the expatriated Indians to their Dakota homes and the restoration of their lands.

"Among the Ponca chiefs was Standing Bear, who, with twenty-five followers, disobediently left the Indian Territory and migrated to their friends, the Omahas, in Nebraska. They declared their intention of abandoning their tribal relations and becoming self-supporting. Nevertheless, they were arrested by Brigadier-general Crook on orders from Washington for having left their reservation without permission. Here was a new point in law. The prisoners were released on a writ of habeas corpus  by Judge Dundy, of the United States district court of Nebraska, May 12, 1878, on the ground that an Indian was a 'person' within the meaning of the laws of the United States, possessed of the inherent right of removing from place to place, and entitled to the privilege of habeas corpus. Evidently the Indian was rapidly passing, as the negro had done, from being a ward of the Republic to a citizen thereof. Whether the new status in which the Indian was placed by the decision would have been upheld by the Supreme Court was unfortunately never determined, because Standing Bear gave no bond for his appearance in a higher court after the case had been appealed by a representative of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the whole controversy was dropped.

"Standing Bear immediately toured the country with an educated Ponca girl named Bright Eyes, both addressing large audiences, organizing Ponca relief associations and arousing public indignation with the story of their wrongs. President Hayes freely acknowledged that enough responsibility for the wrong consummated on the Poncas attached to him to make it his particular duty and earnest desire to do all that he could to give them the redress which was required alike by justice and humanity. He created a Ponca Commission, composed of two army officers and two civilians, who visited the scattered Poncas and reported, February, 1881, that five hundred and twenty-one were living contentedly in the Indian Territory and had no wish to return; and that about one hundred and fifty were dwelling in Dakota and Nebraska, and desired to remain there. This disposition was eventually made, and the excitement subsided."

Standing Bear made his home among the hills of his ancestors, and lived on the old reservation in peace and prosperity until September, 1908, when he died at the ripe age of seventy-nine.

The Ute Outbreak of 1879

Turning from the peaceful Poncas, our history leads us to the more warlike tribes, whom we shall find did not tamely submit, like the Poncas, to removal from their lands. Broken treaties, dishonest Indian agents, failure of rations due the different tribes, malcontents among the Indians, lawbreaking white men—all these have been the causes of many of our Indian troubles, but by far the most disturbing force, and the cause of most of the Indian wars which disturbed the West, has been directly due to the concentration or consolidation policy adopted in 1873 as a part of the so-called "peace policy" inaugurated during President Grant's administration. The execution of this policy required that the different tribes should be gathered together as rapidly as possible on certain reservations. Resistance meant that they were to be removed by force—to be driven from their native homes and placed on undesirable lands, often far removed from the place of their birth and the graves of their fathers. This injustice was to be enacted in order to satisfy the white man's greed for their lands, although sacred treaties had been made which had provided that the Indians were to retain certain lands set apart for them on the various reservations. The Indians saw these sacred promises broken; and only too often were they on the verge of starvation by failure of the Government to grant them sufficient rations. Under such circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that they frequently evinced their dissatisfaction by leaving the hateful reservations and going on the war-path, in the course of which they committed all sorts of atrocities on the isolated settlements before they could be quelled and forced to return to the different agencies.

"These wars might have been regarded as inevitable, and therefore a sufficient number of soldiers should have been provided to meet them; but it was not done, and hence the fatal results which followed. No other nation in the world would have attempted the reduction of these wild tribes and occupation of their country with less than sixty thousand or seventy thousand men, while the whole force employed and scattered over the enormous region described never numbered fourteen thousand men, and nearly one-third of this force had been confined to the line of the Rio Grande to protect the Mexican frontier. The consequence was that every engagement was a forlorn hope and was attended with a loss of life unparalleled in warfare. No quarter was given by the savages, and the officers and men had to enter upon their duties with the most barbarous cruelties staring them in the face in case of defeat. . . . It would have been less expensive if an army of sixty thousand or seventy thousand men had been maintained; and, moreover, the blood of gallant officers, soldiers, and citizens would not have rested on our hands."

Ute Ambuscade


In 1879 there was a serious outbreak among the Utes of the White River Agency in Colorado, caused by the attempt of their agent to force the Indians under his charge to become agriculturists and calling in the military to back him up in his policy. The Utes were a warlike people, strong in numbers and inclined to set authority at defiance. They had no desire to adopt the civilization of the white man, whose constant pressure at the barriers of their lands they strongly resented.

The Utes were made up of four principal tribes, as follows: the Unitahs, who occupied a reservation in north-eastern Utah, and at this time numbering four hundred and thirty souls; the Los Yinos, whose abode was in the Uncompahgre Valley, Colorado, and whose people numbered two thousand; the Southern Utes living in the south-western part of Colorado, whose tribe represented about nine hundred and thirty individuals; and the White River Utes, dwelling on the reservation in north-western Colorado, in number above eight hundred souls.

These Indian tribes in 1879 were well able to defend themselves, being strong in numbers, well supplied with arms and ammunition, possessing large numbers of horses, and warriors who were brave and skilful fighters. They were fully conscious of their strength, and when the white settlers and miners began to encroach on their lands, which were rich in minerals and included the best farming and grazing lands in the State, the Indians assumed a hostile attitude and had no disposition to yield up their native land. Their ways were not the white man's ways; they were still in the hunter stage of development, and much preferred to gain their subsistence from the products of the chase, which they could exchange at the various trading-posts off the reservations for the things they needed—guns, ammunition, and, we regret to say, whiskey.

During the year 1879 and 1880 there was a great "rush" of white settlers to the State of Colorado, where rich mineral deposits had been discovered on the reservation lands of the Indians. To these fortune-hunters from the East the sacred promises of an Indian treaty did not matter, and the Indians soon saw the new-comers establishing themselves on their lands, contrary to the treaty provisions which had reserved these lands to them forever. The Indians, however, would not cultivate the soil nor develop the mines, and, therefore, they must be removed from the path of progress.

In 1863 a treaty had been made with the Utes by the provisions of which a part of their native lands in western Colorado was secured to them as a reservation. Five years later, in 1868, another treaty was drawn up, which set aside a larger reservation on which all the Eastern Utes were to live—this territory to be theirs forever, with a further stipulation according them the privilege of hunting outside the reservation limits. But despite these treaties—considered mere "scraps of paper" by the white invaders—the reservation lands were occupied by the whites in 1879, and the trouble that was inevitable followed. The Indians made protests to the authorities, and in response to their appeal troops were ordered to drive the intruders out. The miners, however, would not give up their camps, neither would the settlers leave their farms, on which crops had already been planted. A conflict appeared unavoidable, but this time the Indians, fortunately, wished for peace, and consented to cede a strip of their land in the San Juan country in which the mines were located. By the terms of the agreement, which was ratified by Act of Congress, April 29, 1874, it was expressly stipulated that the cession was not to include any part of the farming lands of the Uncompahgre Park. The terms of the agreement were, however, shamefully disregarded. The land was surveyed, and the Indians were deprived of their best farming lands, for which no equivalent lands were given them. President Grant, realizing that injustice had been done the red men, issued orders, August 17, 1876, that a certain portion of the land in dispute, to include the strip of the Uncompahgre Park, should be restored to the Ute Reservation. Troops were also ordered to remove the intruders, but the whites threatened to attack the Indians if the troops disturbed them in their possessions, and the authorities, fearing an Indian war, did not enforce the order. The white man needed this land and the Indians must be removed to some other location. The trouble was finally settled when the Indians, under the influence of Chief Ouray, who maintained an unvarying friendship for the whites, consented to sell the territory in dispute to the United States Government for the sum of ten thousand dollars. The Indians did not receive this money until several years later.

Major Thornburgh


A few months after these disturbing causes, which threatened to lead to war, had been removed, a fresh cause of trouble arose among the Indians of the White River Reservation when the agent, N. C. Meeker in the summer of 1879 attempted to force the Indians under his charge to become agriculturists or starve; and when the agent asked for troops to back him up in this policy, the Indians became hostile and warned Meeker that the presence of troops on the reservation would be regarded by them as an act of war. At this time, as was their regular custom, a band of a hundred Indians had left the reservation to go on a hunting expedition, which took them into Wyoming. There happened, in the summer of 1879, to be great and destructive forest fires, most of which were caused by the carelessness of railway tiemen, but for which the Indians were blamed. Mr. Meeker joined in these complaints, and even accused some of the Utes of supplying ammunition to certain Sioux who were said to be preparing to go on the war-path, and urged that troops be employed to send the Indians back to the reservation.

In the mean time the bad feeling of the Indians on the reservation grew, and in September of that year a petty chief named Johnson assaulted Meeker in his own house, as a result of Meeker's attempt to force the Indians to plough a strip of Johnson's land. The Indians resolved that they would not plough their land; they had no taste for farming, and the feeling rapidly grew among them that Meeker was their enemy. When they learned that soldiers were coming to have the land ploughed and to arrest Johnson, they delivered an ultimatum to Meeker that the soldiers must not come unless Meeker wanted war. Meeker however, was determined that the business and industries of the Agency were not to be dictated by the Indians, and in order to force them to carry out his orders, as well as to protect himself and family and the employees of the Agency, he called upon the military stationed at Fort Russell, Wyoming Territory.

Chief Colorado


In response to Meeker's appeal for protection, Major T. T. Thornburgh, with a force of one hundred and ninety men, consisting of cavalry and infantry troops, proceeded to march to the White River Agency, over one hundred and seventy miles distant. When Thornburgh reached Bear River on his march to the Agency he was met by several prominent Utes, among whom was the notorious Colorado, who wanted to know why he was coming. When he told them that the agent had sent for troops because the Indians had been acting badly, they denied everything and begged him not to lead the soldiers to the reservation. Major Thornburgh proposed that he himself with only a few of his men would proceed to the Agency, leaving the main body of troops in camp outside of the reservation. Upon this the Indians departed, apparently in a most friendly mood.

This conference took place at a distance of more than one hundred miles from the Agency. Major Thornburgh intended to discontinue his march, and so sent word to Meeker, saying that he would come on to the Agency with five men. It was on September 26 that Colorado and the other Ute chiefs had held the parley with Major Thornburgh, following which the troops proceeded on their march in the direction of the Agency. On the morning of September 29 the advance guard discovered a strong force of Utes ambushed along a mountain pass, which was about twenty-five miles from the Agency and within the reservation limits. Major Thornburgh still hoped to avoid hostilities, but his attempt to hold a parley with the Indians was met by a volley from the guns of the ambushed savages. The Indians were well armed and greatly outnumbered the force under Thornburgh, whose command was soon entirely surrounded by the hostiles. The well-disciplined troops immediately replied to the fire of the Indians, at the same time retreating in good order to the line of the wagon-train. While this movement was taking place Major Thornburgh was shot and instantly killed. Desperate fighting followed and the troops suffered a loss of thirteen men killed and forty-three wounded, including two officers and the surgeon of the command.

Captain Payne, who had been only slightly wounded, now assumed command, and at once prepared to fortify his position by throwing up hasty intrenchments, using the horses killed in the action as a temporary shelter while the soldiers plied the picks and shovels to make the protection more secure. The Indians, balked of their prey, now fired the dry grass and brush, the flames from which the rising wind soon carried close to the wagon-train behind which the desperate troops had taken their stand. No water was within reach, but the troops succeeded in smothering the flames with blankets and canvas obtained from the supply-wagons. The soldiers had soon dug themselves in, and thus protected, the bullets which the Indians poured in upon them did no material damage.

Couriers were despatched to Fort Russell with news of the disaster, and reinforcements under Colonel Merrit were soon on the way to relieve the beleaguered troops, who had succeeded in holding off the Indians during five long days and nights, Colonel Merrit, with a force of two hundred cavalry and one hundred and fifty infantry, reaching the besieged men on the morning of October 5. They found the little force in good condition, no further loss having been suffered by the troops since the first day's fighting. The Indians, who were in strong force and occupied a commanding position, began preparations to attack Colonel Merrit. No doubt a serious Indian war would have developed had not Chief Ouray, who was noted for his unwavering friendship for the whites, taken a firm stand and imposed restraint upon his people. Hearing of the outbreak while on a hunting expedition with his band, he immediately returned to Los Pinos, reporting there to the agent. The agent prepared a letter addressed to the White River chiefs and signed by Ouray, ordering them to stop fighting. Upon the receipt of this letter the Indians agreed to obey Chief Ouray's directions and Colonel Merrit was informed that the White River Utes would fight no more and that the Southern Utes, who had been preparing to join in the hostilities, would keep the peace.

Chief Ouray


Leaving a sufficient force to watch the hostile camp, Colonel Merrit, on October 11, advanced to the White River Agency. All along the road to the Agency he found bloody evidences of the atrocities that the Indians had been guilty of. At the Agency, the bodies of seven of the employees, badly mutilated, were found, while the Agency itself was a scene of desolation, all but one of its buildings having been rifled and burned. No sign of life was to be seen. The body of Agent Meeker was found, entirely naked, a short distance from the ruins of his house. He had been shot through the brain and his skull had been crushed with a club. All these indignities visited on the murdered agent's body clearly indicated the hatred the Indians had felt towards him. Having murdered all the male inhabitants of the Agency, the Indians carried off as captives the women inmates, including Mrs. Meeker and her daughter.

After the outbreak had been checked by Chief Ouray a special agent of the Indian Department, under an escort of friendly Utes, proceeded from Los Pinos to the camp of the hostiles to demand the release of the women. For a time some of the malcontents of the tribe were against giving up the captives and ready to go on with the war, but again the influence of Chief Ouray prevailed and the captives were given up and brought to Colonel Merrit's camp, whence they were conveyed to Los Pinos. Chief Ouray's good offices in maintaining peace were rewarded by the grant of an annuity of one thousand dollars, which he was to receive as long as he remained chief of the Utes. He did not, however, long enjoy his annuity, as he died on August 24, 1880, at which time he was living in comfort on a farm which he owned.

Two Indian Commissions were now appointed by President Hayes to adjust the difficulties between the Indians and the white inhabitants of Colorado. Although certain Indians were surrendered to the authorities, no direct evidence could be obtained to implicate them as the leaders in the attack on Major Thornburgh and the Agency. The ringleaders, including the several Ute chiefs, all took oath that they did not instigate the uprising. Some swore that they were not present, and those who admitted their presence with the hostiles declared that they did everything to preserve peace. The upshot of the matter was that none of the Indians received the punishment they so richly deserved. The whites coveted the reservation lands and the Indians realized that they would have to bow to the authority of the white man. The work of the Commission, now that Chief Ouray was dead, encountered many difficulties in their negotiation with the Indians, but a final adjustment was made, satisfactory to both parties, in March, 1880, when the Utes voluntarily surrendered their large reservation in Colorado and agreed to hold the land in individual titles. This was the first time in the history of the United States that an Indian nation had given up its tribal existence and agreed to live as individuals under the laws of the United States. The White River Utes were sent to the Unitah Reservation; the Southern Utes received land allotments in severalty in southern Colorado, while the Los Pinos Indians took up their abode on a new reservation east of the position occupied by the White River Indians on the Unitah Reservation.

Captain Payne


It is the opinion of many authorities that a serious mistake was made in allowing these Indians to escape punishment for the crimes they committed in 1879. A proper respect for law and order was not instilled into their minds, and they have continued to be a cause of frequent trouble to the Government, and even to this day they remain shiftless and unruly.

In the summer of 1906 a band of some four hundred of the White River Utes, becoming tired of living as civilized men, suddenly left their homes on the Unitah Reservation in Utah. Their objective was the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where they intended to once again return to their former communal life. Their journey took them through Wyoming. Although they did not commit any depredations, still, their presence struck terror into the settlers, who, fearing attacks and outrages, called upon the Government to have them returned to the reservation. Only a few, however, could be persuaded to return to Utah, and the rest of the band continued on their roaming expedition. Soon, complaints poured in from the settlers that the Indians were driving off cattle from the Wyoming ranches. The local authorities were in doubt as to their legal right to interfere with these Indians, who had been enfranchised when the lands had been allotted to them in severalty in 1879. The Indians themselves, however, had no feeling of the responsibility of citizenship; indeed, they had no disposition to live the life of the white man.

Something had to be done, however, to avoid an outbreak and a renewal of Indian atrocities, and despite the doubt of the Federal Government as to its legal right to interfere with these Indian citizens, it was finally decided to send troops to Wyoming, whose duty it should be to return the Indians to their homes in Utah.

Southern Utes


Accordingly, troops were ordered to find the Indians and, if necessary, to force them to return to civilized life. The Indians were located encamped on the Powder River in Montana just across the Wyoming border. Persuasion was successful and the Indians went peacefully to Fort Meade, South Dakota, where they remained for the winter. Before consenting to give up their nomadic habits they insisted that a delegation of these chiefs should visit Washington, where their grievances should be considered. Such a delegation did visit Washington in January, 1907, but the Indians remained obdurate and refused to consider their return to the Unitah Reservation. Finally, the Government assigned them in the spring of 1907 to certain locations on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, and thus solved the difficulty. The land for this purpose was acquired by lease and the funds were obtained from the Ute annuities, the payments to be made for a period of five years. The Indians began their occupancy of the leased lands in June, 1907. But they soon became restless and discontented, and before a year had passed they wanted a change. They felt that they would be better off on their own lands which had been allotted to them in severalty, and the Government was only too glad to arrange for their return to the land of their fathers in Utah. Here they arrived in October, 1908; they are still there, but remain restless and discontented and as much averse as ever to live the life of the white man.

Conquering the Warlike Apaches

We now come to a series of wars with the Apaches of the South-west. These Indians, belonging to the Athapascan family, are made up of several groups, among which are, the Yumas, Mojaves, White Mountains, Mescaleros, and Chiricahuas, the last named being the dominant and the most warlike. The region over which they roamed included portions of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, as well as several of the northern provinces of Mexico. For many years war had been their chief pursuit, and within their theatre of operations conflicts between the many Apache tribes and the troops had been innumerable. The settlers entertained a perfect dread of these marauding bands, who were accustomed to swoop down upon them without the least warning, attack their camps and villages, and run off the herds of cattle, shooting down in cold blood all those who came within their reach. So sudden were their onslaughts that they were never seen; when they struck, all that would be seen was the flash of the rifle, resting with secure aim over a pile of stones or a boulder, behind which was the red-handed murderer. They had an almost miraculous power of endurance; they could ride for days at a time without food or rest; whether through the inhospitable desert or climbing the steepest mountain, their strength appeared inexhaustible. It is said that their warriors could run a hundred miles a day and not feel fatigue, climb, without stopping, the summit of the highest mountain and not be out of breath. They could subsist on roots and herbs, and satisfy their thirst by chewing on a piece of bark or moss, by which was started the flow of saliva. Graceful, well formed, with legs of wonderful suppleness, light and nimble as a wild-cat, these Indians on the rocky, precipitous mountain-sides were unapproachable. When driven into the mountains, the horses which they had stolen served them as rations. To attack them successfully the greatest skill and caution had to be employed.

The Apache tribes were known to the early Spanish colonizers of Arizona and New Mexico, and they resisted all attempts by the Spaniards to civilize and Christianize them. They have always been known as wild. Indians. They constantly attacked the Spaniards and devastated the Spanish settlements. As early as 1762 it was estimated that the Apaches had desolated and depopulated one hundred and seventy-four mining-towns, stations, and missions in the province of Sonora alone. For fifty years a bold chief (Mangas-Coloradas) led powerful bands to war; and since the annexation of their territory to the United States, in 1850, they have given the Government more trouble than any of the Western Indians. Mangas-Coloradas was killed in 1863. He was succeeded by Cochise, who led them in their warfare against the whites till 1874. Upon his death his son Natchez became the hereditary chief of the tribe, and with Geronimo continued to keep the whole South-west in a state of terror until these hostile chiefs and their bands were finally subdued and captured by General Nelson A. Miles in 1886.

Telling stories


During the period of the Civil War the military garrisons on the southern and western frontier had to be abandoned, the troops being needed to take part in the war between the States, but with the conclusion of that conflict the garrisons again resumed their posts on the frontier and immediately proceeded to wage a war of extermination against the Apaches, who, under Cochise, had grown confident in their strength and had committed innumerable depredations on the isolated towns and ranches of Arizona and New Mexico, determined to drive the whites out of their country.

Were we to analyze the causes of the numerous wars with the Apache tribes we would find that the whites were often in the wrong. After the completion, in 1879, of the transcontinental railroad, settlers, miners, and prospectors constantly encroached on the lands which had belonged to the Indians for ages. Then came the attempt to confine them on reservations, taking away their hunting-grounds, because the land was coveted by the white man; with the reservations came dishonest Indian agents and broken Government promises. Poor rations and near-by herds of cattle tempted the Indians to leave the reservations and to drive off the cattle, in the course of which depredations were committed, frequently resulting in the murder of the whites. Blocking the path of progress, the Indians were removed by force to distant and undesirable lands; and so there were constant outbreaks of the different Apache tribes for which the causes just enumerated were responsible.

Beginning in 1870, almost constant warfare was waged against the different Apache tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, these bands refusing to be confined on the reservations. In the innumerable outbreaks hundreds of settlers were murdered and thousands of heads of cattle run off by the marauding Indians, who held the whole country in a state of terror. The mines could not be operated; the ranchmen and settlers did not dare to travel, except by night or with a military escort, fearing attacks by the fierce, murderous Apache bands.

It would bore the reader were we to recount all of the harrowing outrages occurring in this period. Most of the wars were of short duration and always ended in the return of the Indians to the reservation, where they remained until, again dissatisfied with their treatment, they would break loose and commit depredations. There were minor outbreaks in 1870, 1871, 1872, and 1873. The outbreak of 1872 was put down by General George Crook, who, with a large body of cavalry, assisted by friendly Apache scouts, pursued the hostiles into their mountain retreats and nearly exterminated one of the bands in a pitched battle in the Tonto Basin, one of the principal strongholds of the Apaches in Arizona. After this defeat the different bands gradually came in to the Agency, and for a period, under the direction of General Crook, took up the pursuit of agriculture.

In 1879 the Apaches under Chief Victoria left the reservations, and this outbreak was the beginning of a most disastrous Apache war which was not finally quelled until September, 1886. This war was caused by not keeping faith with the Indians. In 1878 Victoria and his band, who had been in Mexico, surrendered at Ojo Caliente, with the understanding that he and his people would be allowed to occupy their old reservation, but the authorities decided, owing to the proximity of the reservation to the Mexican boundary, that it would be safer to confine the Indians on the San Carlos Reservation. The Indians, however, hated San Carlos. As a result an outbreak occurred, and when the band was corralled and again back at the reservation indictments for murder and robbery were brought against Victoria and many of his followers, to escape which Victoria and his band fled from the reservation and immediately began raiding the settlements of south-western New Mexico and south-eastern Arizona. During these raids more than seventy settlers were murdered, and the depredations continued for several weeks, until the Indians were driven into Mexico by the soldiers. By April, 1880, Victoria was joined by three hundred and fifty Mescaleros and other refugees from Mexico, and raid upon raid occurred, striking terror into the inhabitants of New Mexico, Arizona, and the northern provinces of Mexico. Victoria and his band, who were well armed and had an abundance of ammunition, held out against the troops, on whom for a time they inflicted severe punishment. Several hundred citizens were killed in the course of these raids. Colonel Hatch, fresh from his experience with the Colorado Utes, now took up the chase and finally caused the savages to separate into small bands, but only to unite again in Mexico. Victoria continued his depredations in Mexico, where he fought the Mexican troops for several months, until finally a force of Mexicans encountered the marauders at Tres Castillos, and, in a battle lasting through the afternoon and night, the Indians were defeated and Victoria himself was killed. His death, however, did not subdue the Indians, who again, uniting their forces under Nana, made bloody raids across the border into southern New Mexico, attacking the unsuspecting herders and prospectors, whom they murdered without mercy, until they were driven back into Mexico in April, 1882.

Meanwhile the Apaches of the San Carlos Reservation were also on the war-path, busily engaged, under Chiefs Juh and Geronimo, in raiding the settlements of Arizona. They were captured, however, in 1880, and one hundred and eight of the hostiles were returned to San Carlos. In 1881 there was also an outbreak of the White Mountain Apaches in south-eastern Arizona. This trouble was caused by the arrest of a medicine-man named Nokaidoklini, who claimed that he could bring dead warriors to life, thus re-people the country with Indians and drive out the whites. The resurrection failed to materialize because—the prophet said—his incantations would not work in the presence of the whites. The authorities ordered the arrest of the prophet. To the Indians this was an admission that the whites feared the power of the medicine-man. The prophet, however, surrendered peaceably enough, but while he was being taken to the fort some Indian scouts, who were with the soldiers, attempted to rescue him. In the fight that ensued the prophet and several soldiers were killed. The White Mountain band then attacked Camp Apache, killing ten soldiers and eight citizens. Reinforcements arriving, the Indians fled, but were soon cornered and returned to the reservation. The Indian scouts who took part in the rescue of the prophet were tried by court martial, and three of them were hung. Some of the White Mountains who had been paroled became alarmed when an attempt was made to bring them back to the Agency, and under their chiefs, George and Bonito, left the reservation, fleeing into Mexico, where they joined the Indians under Nana, who had assumed the leadership of the late Victoria's band. In April, 1882, a number of Chiricahuas, under Geronimo and Natchez, broke away from the San Carlos Reservation, and with Loco's band of Ojo Caliente Indians also joined the hostiles who had taken refuge in Mexico. A campaign was waged against these fugitives by detachments of both American and Mexican troops, who pursued them in New Mexico and old Mexico, inflicting severe punishment upon them.

It now became absolutely necessary to put an end to the murdering and plundering of these savage Apache bands. With this end in view a treaty was made with Mexico on July 29, 1882, by the provisions of which troops of either country were permitted to cross the international boundary-line in pursuit of fleeing hostile bands; previous to this time our troops were not allowed to campaign beyond the Mexican line. Also in this same year General Crook was re-assigned to the command of the Department of Arizona, where he had so successfully put down the Apache outbreak of 1872.

In that year General Crook had waged an unceasing war against the hostiles who would not live on the reservation. He conquered these tribes by employing friendly Apaches as scouts. These friendly Indians, knowing thoroughly every bit of the country, and being able to follow the trail of the hunted bands into their almost impregnable strongholds in the mountains, served the troops as guides and trailers, and it was not long until most of the hostiles were tamed and back on the reservation. Then, too, the Indians trusted General Crook, who did not believe in the old policy of extermination. He meted out justice to the Apache tribes, placing them on reservations that satisfied them. The result of this policy was that the Indians, many of whom had been among the worst in Arizona, were engaged in peaceful pursuits on the reservation, farming extensively and becoming self-supporting. They were contented because they were under the control of a man whom they could trust. And to emphasize this point let us quote General Crook himself, who said, in 1879:

"During the twenty-seven years of my experience with the Indian question I have never known a band of Indians to make peace with our Government and then break it, or leave their reservation, without some ground of complaint; but until their complaints are examined and adjusted they will give annoyance and trouble."

In 1874, however, when the reservations of Arizona came under the control of the Indian Bureau, there was inaugurated the policy of concentration, resulting in the undoing of all of General Crook's good work. The removal of the Indians was ordered, and many tribes were forced to leave the lands on which they were living in peace and which General Crook had promised them were to be theirs forever—so long as they kept the peace and remained self-supporting. Upon the adoption of this new policy General Crook, March 22, 1875, was relieved of the command of the department. The resulting forced removal of the various tribes from reservations that suited them to reservations that did not suit them soon reaped its harvest of several years of savage retaliation, causing the loss of the lives of many innocent whites and Indians, the destruction of much property, and the expenditure of vast sums by the Treasury.

Soon after General Crook's re-assumption of the command of the Department of Arizona, in 1882, conditions among the Indians on the reservation improved. The Indians co-operating, General Crook adopted the policy he had pursued in 1872, and soon peace prevailed on and about the reservation.

In the mean time, however, there were the hostiles who still remained in Mexico and by whom many atrocities were being committed, under the leadership of Geronimo, Natchez, Chato, and Bonito. The civil authorities at the Agency had refused to aid the Indians in irrigating their lands, and, becoming dissatisfied, a number of Chiricahuas, under Geronimo and Natchez, left the reservation and fled into Mexico, where they took refuge with the other hostiles in the Sierra Madre Mountains. From this stronghold frequent raids were made in Mexico and Arizona, which continued till June, 1883, when they once more surrendered to General Crook. Over fifteen hundred of the hostiles, persuaded by General Crook, returned to the reservation and resumed their peaceful pursuits. There were, however, a number of malcontents among them who could not be persuaded to remain on the reservation; this portion of the tribe made peace only for the purpose of returning to the agency for supplies and to gather recruits. They soon broke their promises, left the reservation, and again began depredations on the settlements. In accordance with the arrangements that had been made with the Mexican Government, allowing our troops to pursue the raiding bands when necessary into Mexican territory, General Crook now took up an active campaign to subdue the hostiles still at large. In May, 1883, a detachment of our troops, accompanied by a body of Apache scouts, crossed the boundary-line as far as the head-waters of the Rio Yaqui, and soon discovered Chato's and Bonito's bands. Their camp was attacked, resulting in the capture of several hundred Indians, who were immediately returned to the reservation.

In September, 1883, it seemed again wise to entrust the management of the Indians to the War Department, and General Crook was given full control of the tribes on the San Carlos Reservation. The Indians knew that Crook had often in the past defended them in their just demands against the encroachment of the white settlers, and so it was not difficult for him to direct the Indians in peaceful pursuits. Within a year—in 1884—these Indians under his guidance had harvested over four thousand tons of grain, vegetables, and fruits of various varieties; but affairs were not to move smoothly for very long. There were always some white men to whom the sacred promises made to red men were as mere "scraps of paper," and soon—in February, 1885—the civil authorities interfered with General Crook, preventing him from carrying out his policy. The Indians, released from his guiding hand, immediately broke loose, and before the civil and military authorities could adjust their differences, over half of the Indians left the reservation in May, 1885, taking refuge in their old strongholds in the mountains.

Again the troops under General Crook, reinforced by a body of Apache scouts, took up the pursuit, but the Indians under Geronimo and Natchez held out and made many raids across the American border, destroying much property and murdering a number of whites and friendly Apaches. This bloody warfare continued nearly a year, at the expense of hundreds of lives and the death of Captain Crawford, of the Tenth Cavalry, who was killed by Mexican irregular troops in January, 1886, the Apache scouts with the Americans having been mistaken by the Mexicans for the hostile Indians whom they had been pursuing. The campaign against the Indians continued until March, 1886, when Geronimo sent word that he was ready to discuss terms of peace with General Crook.

A parley, accordingly, was arranged for, and Geronimo and General Crook met on March 25, 1886, at El Canon, Mexico. At this time the Indians were encamped in a strong and almost inaccessible position in the mountains. They were well armed and well supplied with ammunition and stores; they were fierce and independent, and sought to surrender on their own terms—to return to the reservation under the old conditions, taking with them such of their families as they desired; otherwise to continue to fight until exterminated.

Geronimo and Natchez, with their people—men, women, and children —with an escort of Apache scouts and a detachment of troops under Lieutenant Maus, now proceeded towards Fort Bowie, but before the actual surrender of the entire force could take place Geronimo and Natchez changed their minds and escaped during the night of March 29 from Lieutenant Maus's camp, fleeing again to the Sierra Madre Mountains, their route marked by the usual atrocities. Once more they were beyond reach. General Crook was censured for allowing them to escape, and at his own request he was relieved of the command, and General Nelson A. Miles was appointed in his place April 1, 1886, by President Cleveland.

General Miles at once undertook a vigorous campaign, determined to capture Geronimo and his band. He immediately divided the country up into districts of observation; placed signal detachments on the high mountain peaks by means of which all movements of the Indians would be discovered and reported to the different camps. A body of reliable friendly Apache scouts, to serve as trailers, were employed for the purpose of tracking down the Indians. The best riders among the troops were chosen for this campaign, and a relay of horses was to be provided so that the Indians would lose the advantage they had enjoyed in previous campaigns, of shaking off the pursuing troops. They were now to be pursued relentlessly until exhausted. Captain H. W. Lawton, of the Fourth Cavalry, who later won fame in Cuba and the Philippines, where he was killed in battle, was placed in command of the expedition that was to exterminate this band of hostile Apaches. His force consisted of one hundred picked soldiers and a number of scouts, guides, and friendly Indian trailers. Assistant-surgeon Leonard Wood, now a lieutenant-general and considered one of the greatest soldiers of the world's armies, was to care for the injured.

Captain Lawton soon located the Indians south of the Mexican border, the bands making their presence quite evident by raiding from Mexico into the south-western part of Arizona. A relentless pursuit was taken up by this fearless trooper, in whom at last the doggedness and amazing vitality of the Apache had met its match. The wily Geronimo again crossed the Rio Grande, with Captain Lawton close upon his heels. Pursuing the Indians for over four months through a most mountainous country, Captain Lawton followed the chase for over two hundred miles, never allowing the Indians to throw the troops off the trail, which, when lost, was always picked up by the sharp-eyed Indian scouts. There were many skirmishes, but each time the Indians were defeated and escaped with fewer warriors.

The trail of the fleeing Indians led far into Mexico. The indomitable troops led by Captain Lawton had followed the Indians over eight hundred miles through canons and mountain ravines, along trails that repeatedly crossed one another. The camps of the Indians were broken up; their horses, equipments, and supplies taken, the relentless pursuit by the troops allowing the Indians but little rest. On July 20 Geronimo's camp was surprised, and, realizing that in Captain Lawton he had met his match, he sent word that he was willing to surrender to the highest authority—to General Miles. As an earnest of good faith Geronimo sent his brother to Fort Bowie to hold a parley with General Miles. In the mean time Geronimo himself moved his camp north, somewhat nearer that of Captain Lawton's. Shortly after the parley General Miles came to Skeleton Canon and met Geronimo, who agreed to surrender, provided he and his people would not be killed. Natchez also soon came in from the mountains. The Indians, worn down and greatly depleted in numbers as a result of the five months of constant pursuit, realized the folly of further resistance, and made an unconditional surrender. Geronimo and Natchez were taken to Fort Bowie by General Miles with a cavalry escort, and three days later Captain Lawton followed with the balance of the hostiles.

The final surrender took place September 4, 1886. Geronimo and his band, with many friendly Apaches, were sent to Florida as prisoners; later they were transferred to Mount Vernon, Alabama, thence to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Some of the hostile Apaches were never captured, remaining in the mountains. As recently as 1900 these Indians showed their hostile disposition by making an attack on Mormon settlers in northern Mexico. Apache raids, however, in Arizona and New Mexico have entirely ceased as a result of General Miles's campaign of 1886.

Geronimo, the medicine-man of the Chiricahua Apaches, died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, February 17, 1909, hating the whites to the very last. General Miles described him as the most ruthless of Indian marauders, with the most determined face and sharp, piercing eyes of any Indian that he had ever seen. As medicine-man he was the adviser of Natchez, who was the hereditary chief of the Apaches. Natchez was the second son of former Chief Cochise, who had been a terror to the whites for over fifty years. The mother of Natchez was a daughter of the notorious Mangas-Coloradas. Natchez was, to quote General Miles again, "a tall, slender young warrior, whose dignity and grace of movement would become any prince." He was the actual leader in the numerous raids that desolated the settlements of Arizona, New Mexico, and the northern part of old Mexico during the years 1881 to 1886. For many of these raids credit was given to Geronimo. Natchez now resides at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he has remained a peaceful prisoner, still holding his leadership over the Chiricahua Apaches.

The Sioux War of 1890-1891

The next—and happily the last—Indian war for us to discuss is the outbreak of the Sioux of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Agencies, which occurred in the winter of 1890-91, involving upwards of one hundred thousand Indians and representing the sixteen great tribes of the North-west, chief among which were the Brulés, Ogallalas, and Uncapapas. Led by Big Foot and Sitting Bull, this uprising threatened to be the most stupendous in the history of Indian warfare; but, fortunately, the killing of Sitting Bull and the speedy and masterful concentration of troops under the direction of General Nelson A. Miles demoralized the conspirators, who were awed by the terrible slaughter inflicted on the Indians by the Seventh Cavalry at Wounded Knee, December 29, 1890.

For many years the younger element among the Indians on the Standing Rock Reservation had been making great advancement in learning the ways of the white man; and a large number of them, having become Christians, exerted a great progressive influence among the other Indians. This group was in great disfavor with the pagan and unreconstructed element under Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Kicking Bear, who eagerly waited for some pretext to bring the question of civilization or non-civilization to a decisive issue. In 1890 the Government had failed to meet promptly many of its treaty obligations, and had been especially lax in the payment of annuities long overdue. Besides, in this year the crops had failed. Congress had cut down the supplies to the Indians, consequently there was a feeling of dissatisfaction among the different tribes and everything was favorable for the irreconcilables under Sitting Bull and his followers to form a conspiracy for a general uprising.

Sitting Bull had retreated to Canada, following the Custer massacre, and after passing five years in the Canadian North-west, where he suffered many hardships, surrendered to the authorities at Fort Buford in 1881. He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory, and, when released in 1883, he returned to the Indian reservation of the Standing Rock Agency.

In the fall of 1890 the Messiah doctrine began to be preached among the Sioux in Dakota. As soon as he heard of it Sitting Bull, although himself too intelligent to give it credence, resolved to make use of it to assert himself, and immediately set to work to spread the new religion among the Indians of the entire North-west, becoming the self-appointed high priest of the cult, in the hope that he would by this means re-establish his former power over the Indians, and, again becoming their leader, incite them to an uprising against the whites, whom he so fiercely hated.

This prediction of the second coming of Christ was founded on the philosophy of the Christian religion and originated about 1888 among the Paviotso in Nevada. Its prophet was a young Paiute Indian, by name Jack Wilson, who announced that he had received a direct revelation from the God of the Indians. He proclaimed that a new dispensation was to occur; that the Indians were to be restored to their inheritance and to be reunited with their departed friends, whom, at the appointed time, the prophet was to restore to life. The plains were again to teem with vast herds of wild horses; the buffalo was again to return and roam the country as in the days of old—indeed, the earth was to become an Indian paradise in which the red man was to reign supreme. These deluded people were told that they must prepare for the coming of the Messiah by practising songs and dance ceremonies, which consisted of a ceremonial religious dance, commonly known as the spirit, or ghost, dance, in which "the dancers, men and women together, held hands and moved slowly around in a circle, facing towards the centre, keeping time to songs that were sung without any instrumental accompaniment. Hypnotic trances were a common feature of the dance."

This fanatical doctrine predicting the inauguration of the Indian millennium rapidly spread to the Indian tribes east of the Rockies, the prophet in far-off Nevada having sent trusted medicine-men among the different tribes, who informed the Indians in each tribe of the coming of the Messiah. The prophecy had been circulated among the Indians in Dakota with the utmost secrecy; no knowledge of it had been discovered by any of the Government agents during the period from 1888 to 1890, while the teaching had been spreading among the tribes. Learning of the doctrine from Kicking Bear, a fierce fighting member of the Minneconjoux tribe who had returned to the reservation after having made the journey to the tribes in Utah and Nevada, where he and other Dakota Indians had been received by the prophet, Sitting Bull immediately had Kicking Bear initiate him into the mysteries of the new religion, and soon established himself as high priest among the Indians on the reservation. All those desiring to take part in the ghost-dancing must first purify themselves by taking a steam bath every morning. These baths were taken in specially prepared tents in which there was room for not more than three or four persons; stones were heated and inserted into the tents, and when sprinkled with water a hot steam arose, which, confined within so small a space, soon started a vigorous sweat. After the bath the Indians to be initiated were annointed by the medicine-man, and then began the dance, which continued for hours at a time, accompanied with the chanting of weird melodies, till the devotees dropped from sheer exhaustion.

Under the spell of this religious craze the Indians soon began to show dangerous symptoms of disorder, and the authorities immediately decided that the best way to stop the ghost-dancing was to arrest Sitting Bull, who was teaching the Indians this madness at his camp on Grand River. He sent Indian runners to every tribe in the great North-west, even as far as Canada, begging them to leave their reservations and in a body go forth to meet the Messiah. He saw that the ghost-dance religion with the expected Indian millennium was taking strong hold of the minds of the Indians and that it gave him the means of exciting the deluded savages into a mad frenzy, and that while they were in that state of mind his chance of bringing about the outbreak of rebellion which he had been planning ever since his return to the reservation in 1883 would more than likely meet with success. His arrest, therefore, must be accomplished. It was known that he was sending Indian runners to the Sioux of the Cheyenne River Reservation and that he was making preparations to depart from his own camp on Grand River. He was defiant of all authority. Up to this time he had gone regularly to the Agency for his rations, but now, fearing arrest, and resolved to keep the officers from laying hands on him, he sent in his stead Bull Ghost, his chief lieutenant.

During this excitement a large body of troops under General Brook had arrived at Pine Ridge; this caused terror to spread among the Indians on the reservation, and, becoming frightened and desperate, about eighteen hundred of them left their homes and fled to the Bad Lands. It was Sitting Bull's intention to join this body of disaffected Indians. Big Foot's band of Minneconjoux Sioux had already fled from their Agency on the Missouri River and were making for the camp of hostiles in the Bad Lands. It was, therefore, of the greatest importance to prevent Sitting Bull from escaping and putting himself at the head of these desperate and frightened red men, for his presence in the camp of the hostiles would inevitably result in a most disastrous war—the most stupendous of all Indian wars in history.

Accordingly, General Miles, on December 15, 1890, ordered Colonel Dunn, the post commander at Fort Yates, North Dakota, to detail a troop of cavalry and a few trusted Indian police to arrest Sitting Bull at his camp on Grand River. It was considered advisable, in order to avoid bloodshed, to have the arrest made by the Indian police; consequently the troop of cavalry under the command of Major E. G. Fechet, and the Indian police under Lieutenant Bull Head, left Fort Yates at midnight in order to reach Sitting Bull's camp at daybreak, when conditions would be most favorable for making the arrest. The arrival of the Indian police was timely, for Sitting Bull had made all his arrangements to decamp that very morning to join the great hostile camp that had already congregated in the Bad Lands of South Dakota, whence they were to move west to join the other tribes at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

The Indian police found Sitting Bull at his camp, surrounded by his family. Sitting Bull, protesting, but offering no resistance to the unexpected arrest, prepared to accompany the Indian police outside his lodge, first requesting to be allowed to saddle his best horse and to wear his Sunday clothes. Outside, however, were congregated a large body of ghost-dancers, most of whom were armed, and among them Crow Foot, his son, who reviled his father as a coward for yielding so peacefully to arrest. Sitting Bull was stung by this taunt from his son, and, seeing the throng of ghost-dancers in a wild frenzy of rage at the interruption of their ceremonies and wrought to the highest pitch of excitement at the capture of their leader, regarded by them as more than human, he immediately raised the war-cry and his followers rushed to rescue him.

There then ensued a desperate combat, which resulted in the killing of Sitting Bull with a number of his immediate followers, and several of the friendly Indian police, among whom was Lieutenant Bull Head and Shave Head. Catch-the-Bear and Strikes-the-Kettle at once aimed their rifles and fired point-blank at the Indian police. "Catch-the-Bear's shot struck Bull Head in the side, and he, wheeling, turned on Sitting Bull and shot him in the left side; and as Strikes-the-Kettle's shot had passed through Shave Head's abdomen, all three fell together. Catch-the-Bear, who fired the first shot, was immediately shot down by Private Lone Man, and the fight became general." The remaining police, however, holding their ground, gained possession of Sitting Bull's lodge and its contents, and were soon joined by the troops under Major Fechet, who had been kept in reserve at a short distance in case of trouble. The troops soon drove the ghost-dancers off the scene. Thus ended the career of Sitting Bull, the mighty medicine-man of the Sioux, shot to death by members of his own race, who was, in the opinion of General Miles, "the strongest type of the hostile Indian that this country has produced."

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


The death of Sitting Bull did not, however, put an immediate end to the Indian trouble. There still was a large camp of the hostiles in the Bad Lands; these were now joined by the remnant of Sitting Bull's band which the troops had dispersed after the attempt to rescue the great medicine-man had failed. Congregated in the Bad Lands, in anticipation of the general uprising that was to take place, the fierce, warlike spirit of these savages was whipped into a veritable fury to avenge the death of their great leader. Encamped in this inaccessible country of barren hills, deep canons, and ravines, plentifully supplied with horses, which they had obtained by raiding neighboring ranches, well equipped with arms and with ample stores of ammunition, the Indians felt confident of being able to defy the Government. Here they kept up their mad ghost-dancing, proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and made every effort to arouse the Indians that still remained peaceful at the different agencies. Their threatening attitude spread a feeling of terror among the whites living at the agencies and in isolated settlements, who were aware of the comparatively weak force of troops immediately available for their protection. It became necessary, therefore, at once to send for reinforcements.

A large force was soon brought up and the troops began their march on the camp of the hostiles. It was the plan not to bring on a general engagement, but to drive them back towards their Agency at Pine Ridge. To capture and disarm Big Foot's band, which had left the Cheyenne River Reservation after the killing of Sitting Bull, was the chief objective of the troops. Before leaving home this band, numbering about three hundred men, women, and children, had destroyed their wagons and other immovable supplies, which clearly showed their intention of going to war. They were now on their way to join the other hostiles in the Bad Lands. For the purpose of intercepting this dangerous band, the first battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, in command of Major S. M. Whitside and consisting of two hundred and thirty-two men and ten officers, left their camp at Pine Ridge December 26. The command reached Wounded Knee Creek that same night, and the following day scouting parties were sent out to scour the surrounding country, for some sign of the Indians.

Finally, on the 28th, one of the Indian scouts discovered Big Foot's band marching in the direction of the Pine Ridge Agency and entirely unconscious of the near presence of troops. The camp at Wounded Knee being informed of the approach of the Indians, mounted troops at once set out, and soon encountered the Indians, the warriors on horseback and the women and children in wagons or travois in the rear. A demand was made for their surrender, and Big Foot, encumbered as he was with the women and children, could offer no resistance. The band, consisting of one hundred and twenty warriors well armed and supplied with ammunition, and upwards of two hundred and fifty women and children, surrendered, and the command started for the camp at Wounded Knee Creek. There ground was assigned for their village and rations served them.

At nightfall the camp was closely guarded; the sentinels were ordered to permit neither exit nor entrance, for it was recalled that only a few days previous this band had surrendered to the Eighth Cavalry under Major E. V. Sumner, but had escaped the first night because the commander, relying upon their promise to return to the Agency, did not disarm them and guard their camp. In the present case the troops only very slightly exceeded the male Indians in number, and it was, therefore, considered unwise to attempt to disarm them until reinforcements could be brought up. Accordingly, General Brooke was advised of the situation, and he at once despatched the remaining battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, in command of General Forsyth, which arrived at Wounded Knee at 8:30 p.m. The presence of this large body of troops, it was felt, would be a guarantee against any disturbance when the attempt to disarm the Indians should be made the next day.

The next morning, December 29, a council with the Indian leaders was held, General Forsyth informing them that they must give up all their arms and ammunition. The Indians insisted that they had no arms. Upon this refusal troops were massed around the camp of the hostiles; the warriors were lined up and commanded to give up their guns. The braves at once assumed a sullen, defiant attitude. They were clad in the hideous ghost-shirt which they superstitiously believed would protect them from bullets, and they assuredly intended trouble, although at the time the soldiers had no expectation of the bloody battle about to take place. Each Indian wore a blanket folded over his shoulder, underneath which was concealed a rifle; this, of course, was not known to the soldiers. As the military force numbered four hundred men, no expectation of an attack was considered probable. Twenty of the Indians taken out of the line were ordered to go to the village and bring in their guns, but the result of their search only yielded a few old, valueless weapons. It was known that the Indians were well armed with Winchesters only the day before, and General Forsyth realized that a search of their persons must be made in spite of the danger involved in doing so. Accordingly, a detachment of troops consisting of one hundred men, fully armed, were disposed at right angles on two sides of the semicircle of warriors. Before the order for personal search could be executed the Indians, believing that they were about to be killed, commenced the ghost-dance upon a signal from the medicine-man, who took a handful of earth from the ground and tossed it over his shoulders. At this signal the whole body of painted, bedizened fanatics sprang as one man, flung off their blankets, and with nothing but breech-clouts and light ghost- shirts to impede them, began firing into the ranks of the soldiers; so rapidly was this done that the whole line of Indians had fired before the soldiers realized the situation.

This treacherous attack resulted in the loss of twenty-five troopers killed and fifty-five wounded, many of the wounded dying soon after. The soldiers, however, kept perfect discipline and returned the fire with great effect. After a desperate struggle, in which there were many single-handed combats, the surviving warriors made a headlong rush for their tepees and thence into the adjoining village. Here death was dealt out to them by the men of A and I troops, dismounted and disposed on that side. The retreating Indians were pursued by the troops of the second battalion who with their Hotchkiss guns poured destruction among them. Many of the shots directed at the warriors found victims among the women and children; everything was done to prevent injury to these people, but in the excitement it was unavoidable. Also the troops themselves were so placed that the soldiers at the beginning of the attack having formed a parallelogram about the Indians, and in the confusion that followed the first volley many of the troopers fell from the fire of their comrades.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


The result of this battle was disastrous to both sides. Of the Indians, including Big Foot himself, eighty-nine are known to have been killed and ten to have been badly wounded; and of the remaining twenty-one, fourteen were killed, six wounded, only one escaping unhurt. As for the women, sixty or seventy were killed and an equal number wounded, among them a sister of Sitting Bull. Considering the numbers engaged, the loss was appalling, making this engagement one of the most disastrous of any Indian battle since the Custer fight on the Little Big Horn. This tragedy, occurring but a short distance from the hostile camp in the Bad Lands, greatly excited the Indians there encamped, and it was feared that nothing could prevent a serious and devastating war.

The Seventh Cavalry arrived at Pine Ridge late in the night of that dreadful and bloody day, carrying their wounded. They found the people at the Agency in a state of terror, for only a few troopers had been left there, and the Indians threatened to attack the Agency from the surrounding hills, which they occupied with a strong force.

At this juncture of affairs General Miles arrived at the Pine Ridge Agency and at once undertook energetic measures to stamp out the rebellion, assembling a force of nearly three thousand troops, which slowly drew a ring of iron about the hostile camp. The Indians were prevented from scattering into small bands, and eventually the troops occupied positions between the Indians and their stronghold in the Bad Lands. The steady advance in force of the troops overawed the Indians, and, although the fierce Brulés were still in a hostile mood, the main body of the Indians drew nearer and nearer to the Agency, until finally some of the chiefs of the Ogallalas came in for a conference with General Miles. Young-Man-Afraid-of-His-Horses, one of the most powerful of the Sioux chiefs, and friendly to the whites, influenced the Ogallalas to desert the hostile camp, with the result that this band was shortly encamped with their friends of the same tribe who were on the south side of the Agency. The Brulés still maintained their defiance, moving, however, still closer to the Agency. The troops meanwhile continued their show of force without making any actual attack, intending merely to overawe this fierce band. General Miles had sent word among them, assuring them of a strict compliance with the terms of their treaty and that their grievances would be redressed if they would quietly surrender.

The efforts of General Miles finally met with success, and the large camp of hostiles returned to the Agency and promised to keep the peace for the future, realizing that they could no longer contend against the organized military power of the United States. At Wounded Knee they had learned that treachery was swiftly punished and that the representatives of the governmental authority must be obeyed. At this time there were about ten thousand Indians camped about and around Pine Ridge. A demand was made for the Brulés to surrender their arms, but only a few of them volunteered to give up their weapons, and considering the large number of Indians and the possible outcome if they resisted, it was considered best not to enforce this order.

The Indians were soon sent back to their different agencies. The Brulés returned to their own reservation at Rosebud. As a guarantee of their future good behavior and to prevent the possibility of any further conspiracies, thirty of the leaders responsible for the uprising were gathered together and sent to Fort Sheridan, near Chicago, and included in this body were Kicking Bear and Short Bull, the two men who had the year before crossed the mountains to meet the Messiah in Nevada. Some time later it was thought desirable to remove others of the malcontents among the Brulés, so a number of the most dangerous members of the tribe were turned over to Colonel Cody, who employed them in exhibitions in his Wild West show.

Before their return to their several military posts, General Miles held a grand review of all the troops that had been engaged in this campaign. Occurring in midwinter and in view of the thousands of Indians who were present, it was a most impressive sight and a great object-lesson to the Indians. A period of twenty-eight years has passed since that time, during which no hostilities have occurred between the Government forces and the Indians. In concluding this account of the last Indian war let us give from a contemporary source a description of this "final review":

"There were many stirring and grandly picturesque scenes at Pine Ridge during the closing days of the late campaign against the ghost-dancing Sioux, but the one of most absorbing interest was the final review by General Miles of the thirty-five hundred soldiers, who had marched through sand-storms and blizzards in order to complete the cordon of bayonets that was to slowly drive the savages to unconditional surrender. The night before the review, haranguers, with little medicine-bags tied about their strange garments, went through the villages of the hostile and sullen Brulés and the peaceable Ogallalas, telling their people of the military demonstration which was to take place in the morning.

"When the sun came up the ridges skirting the Agency to the east and west were fringed with Indians, who looked like Arab sheiks in their white sheets and hooded heads. Not a squaw was to be seen among all those ghostly figures, so distinctly outlined against the horizon. Statuesque and haughty, the warriors stood watching the flying columns of cavalrymen and the explosive efforts of the cannoneers as they urged their animals into line. Down in the same valley, where the troops were hurriedly preparing for their manœuvres, but nearly a mile away to the north, were the great Indian villages, with the squaws corralling their thousands of ponies, as a precautionary measure against any possible hostile demonstration on the part of the army.

"General Miles was not in uniform as he sat astride a big coal-black horse, which stood on the crest of a knoll on the right flank of the advancing column of soldiers. Even his three-starred epaulets, the only evidences of his rank, were beneath a great overcoat which was buttoned almost to his ears. Just as the column, with screaming trumpets, began to pass General Miles, a furious sand-storm swept through the valley. It cloaked the silent Indian villages in a yellow, swirling shroud, and then tearing along as though blown from a funnel, pierced the most compact lines of infantrymen, who were marching with a swinging stride behind Colonel Shafter. From their perches on the summits of the snow-flecked buttes, the hooded warriors must have thought that the long line of men and horses below had stampeded, for that terrible torrent of sand completely cloaked the army to the vision of those who were above the phenomenal current of air.

"There was no cheering during all the time the great column passed in review. Now and then General Miles's black hat went off to the flash of a saluting sabre held by a muffled figure that was crouching before the choking blast, but it was not until the Sixth Cavalry, with grim old General Carr at its head, passed in review that the idol of the Indian-fighters showed the keen interest he was taking in the demonstration. Again and again his black sombrero fell as Carr's sword gleamed from his fur cap to his spurs. And when the black, scowling faces of the Ninth Cavalry pressed in close lines behind glittering carbines held at a salute, General Miles waved his gloved hand to Colonel Henry, whose gaunt figure was almost lost in the folds of his buffalo overcoat. Three weeks before, these black troopers rode one hundred miles without food or sleep to save the Seventh Cavalrymen, who were slowly being crushed by the Sioux in the valley at the Catholic Mission. Then they dashed through the flanks of the savages, and, after sweeping the ridges with carbine and pistol, lifted the white troopers out of the pocket with such grace that, after the battle was over, the men of both regiments hugged one another on the field.

"When the trumpeters of the Seventh Cavalry got in front of General Miles they blew a shrill blast and passed on into the blinding storm. Then the musicians from Angel Island played 'Garryowen.' This was Custer's charging music, and as the famous regiment came over the yellow knolls in company front and carbines at a salute, the horses began to dance to the irresistible melody. Major Whitside was in command. He had no sword, but he waved his hand. General Miles's emotion was now so intense that he hung his hat on the pommel of his saddle and let the storm toss his gray hair as far as it pleased. The capes of the troopers were flung back, exposing the lemon-colored linings, and the fur caps were tied in such a way under the chin that they gave the wind-tanned faces a peculiarly grim expression. The scars of three days' fighting were plainly visible in this grand regiment.

"There were men missing in every troop, and poor Captain Wallace and brave Lieutenants Mann and Garlington were also gone. A second lieutenant, with a bandaged head, was the only officer of little K Troop; and bringing up the rear was B Troop, with one-third of its men either in graves or on hospital-cots.

"The column was almost pathetically grand, with its bullet-pierced gun-carriages, its tattered guidons, and its long lines of troopers and foot-soldiers facing a storm that was almost unbearable. It was the grandest demonstration by the army ever seen in the West; and when the soldiers had gone to their tents the sullen and suspicious Brulés were still standing like statues on the crests of the hills."

The Indians at the Present Day

The surrender of the frenzied ghost-dancing Sioux on that winter day in January, 1891, brought to a close for all time the Indian wars in our country. Since the disbanding of that formidable, magnificent force which received their unconditional submission it has not again been necessary to carry on hostilities against the Indian tribes. Nearly three decades have passed since that time without the firing of a hostile shot between the Government forces and the Indians, so that we are justified in calling the Sioux outbreak of 1890–91 the last Indian war. Most of the fierce warriors of that day have now passed on to the land of the Great Spirit, their latter days having been passed in peaceful pursuits on their reservations. Their sons and daughters, like their white brothers and sisters, are brought up in the environment of peace, passing their early, formative years in the reservation schools instead of the hostile camp, and taught to appreciate the benefits of a life of civilization.

Our country, however, is still burdened with the unsolved Indian problem, although to-day it is in a better way of being solved than ever before. The expensive and complicated machinery for the management of Indian affairs has in the past been much in the way of the elevation of the Indians in the scale of civilization. Due to the lack of permanency in the policy of the administration of Indian affairs, the solution of the Indian problem has been greatly retarded. The Indians were filled with a feeling of distrust in the white race, and it was difficult in the past to get the tribes to accept the protection and fostering care of the Government. After the completion of the great railway systems to the Pacific a great pressure of population set in westward, until, about 1885, it became the problem of the Government to adopt some method which would prevent the Indians living in the Indian Territory from being pushed back into the wilderness. The Indian Territory had once been remote from civilization, but now the country to the west was being rapidly filled up with whites, and the Indians had to make a final stand for existence. To continue the Government system of rations meant for the Indians a life of dependence and little or no progress in solving their problem.

[Illustration] from Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake


In 1887, therefore, by the enactment of the Dawes bill, a new solution was proposed, to be effected by breaking up the tribal relation and substituting in its stead individual ownership of land. Lands were to be allotted to the Indians in severalty; each head of a family was to receive a quarter-section and smaller allotments were to be provided for others. The allotted Indians were also to be protected against land-sharks by a provision which prohibited the Indians from conveying their land for a period of twenty-five years. To the Indians receiving allotments was also to be given the rights of citizenship. It was hoped that this policy would soon solve the Indian problem by gradually merging the race into the body politic of the nation.

Allotment of land in severalty, with patents conferring fee-simple title and inalienable for a certain period, had been proposed as a policy as far back as 1815. In later years homestead rights also were opened to Indians in several of the Western States—in Michigan in 1875 and in other States later, but very few Indians availed themselves of these opportunities to secure farms. The tribal ties and the easy reservation life still kept too strong a hold upon them. But the Government continued to persist in its policy to induce the Indians to accept land in severalty, expecting that by becoming an owner of his own farm the Indian would gradually overcome his natural antipathy to systematic labor and become a self-supporting and independent citizen. The Indian's natural reluctance against breaking away from his tribal relation has, however, been gradually overcome in recent years, due to the more liberal policy adopted by the Government, and the various tribes are now accepting these conditions in larger numbers each year, engaging in settled pursuits and becoming citizens. For example, in 1907, the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, who now number 101,506 enrolled members, accepted their lands in severalty and were merged into the body politic of their State.

Great progress