American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

History of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 online

. (page 70 of 81)
Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 70 of 81)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Governor's House and the Barracks much hurt by the enemy's fire In the night they
shot several arrows at the fort, some with fire, mostly fell short

30th, The enemy continued to fire random shots. Two shells were thrown at some
reaping in Huling's field. In the evening they called to the fort and told us they had
letters from Colonel Bouquet and George Croghan and desired me to go for the letters
and they would give them to me. Continued firing at the fort all night, threw some
hand grenades into the ditch, where we imagined some of the enemy were.

August 1st, The enemy continued firing random shots from under the bank of the
Ohio, till 3 o'clock when they withdrew, and soon we saw a large number crossing from

Digitized by



this to the opposite side of the Ohio with their baggage; about 6 o'clock they put up a
paper fixed on a stick from under the bank.

August 2, All quiet until about ii o'clock when two Indians and a white man came
down the opposite shore of the Ohio and called over that they were expresses from
Colonel Bouquet and G. Croghan at Bedford; they were desired to come over, the
white man made answer that he was a prisoner and would not come^ the Indian came
over in a small bark canoe and produced his letters ; he was a Cuyuga Indian named
John Hudson, he said that the Indians took him and detained him three days, broke
open the letters and made a white prisoner read them; one letter they kept and suf-
fered him to bring the other two to the fort. The white on the other side was an
express, taken between this and Fort Cumberland they had all his letters but would not
let the Indian bring diem over after they had read the letters and heard the message
he delivered them from Mr. Croghan, some set off home, and some few to War against
the settlements, and some Wyandotts to reconnoitre our army. The Wyandotts, in a
coimcil had declared that they would carry on the war against us while there was a man
of them living, and told the Delawares and Shawanese that they might do as they
pleased. In the evening they set off with letters down the country.

On the next day Ecuyer examined the bank of the river where the
enemy fired from on the ist, and saw blood in many places. He records
that for the last six nights the whole force had been under arms, the garri-
son having two reliefs. Everything was quiet on the 4th. On the 5th,
three expresses came from Bouquet, whom they had left at Ligonier with
his troops. At Turtle creek these expresses heard a great deal of cheer-
ing, shouting and ringing of bells. They correctly inferred that the
Indians were preparing to attack Bouquet, which they did the next day
at Bushy Run. Ecuyer sent two expresses to meet Bouquet. Nothing
extraordinary was recorded on the next three days. Ecuyer wrote on
the 8th: "The troops not having arrived, according to expectations,
makes us believe they were attacked on their march." The 9th was
quiet. Still no word of the troops.

10 — At break of day» in the morning, Miller, who was sent by express, the 5th, with
two others, came in from Colonel Bouquet, whom he left at the Nine Mile Run. He
brings an account that the Indians engaged our troops for two days, that our people
beat them off. About 10 o'clock a detachment from the garrison under the command
of Captain Philips, marched to meet the troops and returned about 2 o'clock, having
joined the Colonel at Bullet's Hill.

Captain Ecuyer was not only a good journalist, but also an excellent
correspondent. His letters to General Bouquet are preserved among the
Bouquet Papers in the British Museum. Much of the matter in these
letters is also in his journal. His letters prior to the ist of May tell of
the affairs at the fort. There is a deep pathos here and there in Ecuyer's
letters. When the news of the destruction of Calhoun's party and other
massacres was learned, Ecuyer wrote to Bouquet, May 30th. He evi-
dently wrote in French, for he said in his postscript : "You will have the
goodness to translate this letter for the general as you like," meaning
Amherst, the commander-in-chief of the British Forces in America.
Three paragraphs read:

I fear the affair is general, I tremble for our posts. I fear according to the reports
that I am surrounded by Indians. I neglect nothing to receive them well, and I expect
to be attacked to-morrow morning. God wills it, I am passably ready. Everyone works
and I do not sleep ; but I fear that my express will be stopped

Digitized by



I have formed two companies of militia, which amount to 80 or 90 men. I have
had the oxen and cows brought near for service. In one word I have neglected nothing
and have spared neither care nor tnmble.

I hope to be capable to do more for the service of the king, whom I have the
honor to serve. Whatever happens I will do all that is in my power. Excuse haste as
they say.

I have the honor to be very sincerely, Sir,

Your very humble and obedient servant,


June 2 he wrote again. This letter is endorsed, "Received the loth.
Duplicates sent to the General." In the letter he said :

Here is an abridgement of our work; I have demolished the lower town and
brought the wood into the fort I have burnt the high town; every person is in the
fort ; where I have constructed two ovens and a forge. I have surrounded our bastions
with barrels full of eardi, made good even places and embrasures for our cannon. I
have a good entrenchment on the mined bastion and on the two curtains at the right
and left. All around the rampart my people are covered by strong planks joined with
stakes and an opening between two for firing guns, without being exposed in any
manner. If there were any places open I would place across them bales of skins of
deer which belong to the merchants. I have in the same way made galleries at the
gorge (breast) of the bastion which corresponds with that of the barracks.

I have placed the powder of the merchants in the king's magazine. I have also
prepared everything in case of fire. My bastions are furnished with casks full of
water, as well as the interior of the fort. The women are appointed for this service.
One must take service from all in this life.

The rascals burned the houses in the neighborhood. They have shot balls at the
saw-mill. If I had forseen it I could have saved all. Burnet, my right arm, does not
let me forget anything. A king would be happy to have 100,000 such subjects.

I have made Trent Major-Commandant of the militia, but as that does not agree
with my fancy, I have incorporated the militia in our companies, having given the best
to the grenadiers. Being mixed with our men we can draw from the better parties.
Three companies serve twenty- four hours. At two hours after midnight all the garrison
is at its post, or place of alarm, so that I believe that we are guarded from all sur-
prises. I have been obliged to make some outlay, but I hope his excellency will find
them just, reasonable and necessary. My pocket is empty, nothing remains there but
ten shillings. I would like very much to have a little more rum to give from time to
time a drop to my brave men, they know my will and say nothing. I will be well
recompensed if you approve of the measures I have taken. I have done all for the
best. If I have erred it is from ignorance. I would wish to be a good engineer to be
able to do better, in short I have neglected no care, no trouble, be persuaded of that.

On the i6th, he wrote Bouquet a long letter, reciting all the events
at Venango, Presqu'isle and Detroit.

My fort is formidable at present, 16 pieces mounted on good platforms. I have a
sufficiently good retrenchment joined to a f raise which is not set over all, so it is not
altogether as regular as it should be. But without engineers and being much hurried
this should pass, and I think is good enough against this rabble, so that I begin to
breathe. We have worked eleven days in an incredible manner, our men are much
fatigued, but I do not complain. In the future they will have rest. I have divided my
little garrison into two divisions, each with three officers, five sergeants, one drum, and
from 68 to 70 men. We are all doubly armed, so that I have 500 shots to give them as
they are in the moat. These are the measures which I have taken, during our work. I
had 100 men on the rampart all night, and at 2 o'clodc in the morning the rest of the
garrison were under arms until 5 o'clock, when they went to work. I have collected all
the beaver traps which could be found with our merchants and they were placed in the
evening outside of the palisades. I would be pleased to send you one with the leg of

Digitized by



a savage, but they have not given me this satisfaction. I have made a quantity of crow-
feet traps for the fosse, they are pointed enough for their moccasins.

No one has offered to help me but Mr. Trent, to whom I am mudi obliged as weU
as Mr. Hutchins, who has taken no rest. He oversaw the works and did his duty, at
the same time, that is praiseworthy and he merits recompense.

June 26th, in his letter to Bouquet which was received at Carlisle on
July 3, Ecuyer made his return for the month. He said : "Three deaths,
are three of my men killed. I have besides that a regular wounded, two
militia killed and two wounded. The garrison consists of 330 men, 104
women, 106 children. Total, 540 mouths of which nearly 420 receive
food from the king." The presumption here is that over 100 people were

The siege of Fort Pitt was much like that of Detroit. While the
investment of Pitt was not so tragic in loss of life, it will be seen that
Bouquet, in relieving the fort, did not suffer lightly in his famous battle.

Ecuyer had trouble with his subordinates also, for he had to confine
two lieutenants "for faults and other crimes for which in all other serv-
ices the one of them would have had his head broken. I am not sur-
prised if the soldiers mutiny when the officers conduct themselves in that
way. One of these men named Guy left his guard the day of the mutiny,
took lodgings in town, without permission, while, I though sick, camped
with the soldiers." Ecuyer reasoned with this man to no avail. He
describes the erring lieutenant as an idiot who lets himself be led, and
who follows a bad guide.

In great distinction he said a good word for Thomas Hutchins : "I
must not neglect to recommend to you Mr. Hutchins as a worthy officer.
He has given himself all imaginable trouble and has been of great use to
Captain Stewart and the detachment. His diligence and good will merit
more than I can tell you."

A long letter written from Fort Pitt from Bouquet to Major Gladwyn
at Detroit is also among the Bouquet Papers. In this letter Bouquet
details the events of his march and the happenings at the several forts.
It is a stirring story of faithful soldiers with great fatigues, of long
marches and of being always under arms, which occasioned much sick-
ness, which, with the loss in the action in Bushy Run, put it out of his
power to send to Gladwyn the remains of a chief.

Among other Bouquet Papers are those that Ecuyer wrote between
August and November, 1763, in which he gives the history of events
during the remainder of the year. From this letter it appears that he was
in Bedford, November 8th, and wrote Bouquet at Fort Pitt, which letter
was received on the 13th. Ecuyer on his way east was greatly troubled
with deserters. He had eight in custody at one time, whom he described
as rascals and mutineers of the first order. These deserters left him on
November 8th. He said : **The soldiers at Bedford and Ligonier com-
plained that they were not well provided for and not well paid. We
prepare for snow, snow and cold, without counting fatigue, before we
have the pleasure of seeing you." He said further, "I am distressed to
be obliged to remain here, my health does not permit me to undertake

Digitized by




the journey to Fort Pitt. Doctor Boyd will tell you the same that I am
not capable of bearing the fatigue. I have a great cold in my head and
fever every night, sick stomack and headache, accompanied by an abscess
in the place where I was wounded at Quebec which causes me inexpressi-
ble su£Fering? However, I hope this complication of ills will have no
evil result and as you cannot give me a furlough, I will join the battalion
as soon as possible ; in the meanwhile I will remain here ready to receive
your orders of the two regiments ordered to join Gladwyn at Presqu'isle."

The orderly book kept at Fort Pitt from the 28th of May to the 17th
of October has been inserted by Mrs. Darlington in her book, "Fort
Pitt and Letters from the Frontier." It gives to those familiar with mili-
tary service large insight into the character of the service of Ecuyer's
little army while besieged. The heavy details for the guard are espe-
cially interesting; for instance, on the night of June 20th, a captain-
lieutenant, three lieutenants, five sergeants, one drummer and sixty-nine
privates, completed the detail, nearly one-fourth of the entire garrison.
There was an additional detail on picket duty after the fort was relieved.
When the siege was at its height towards the end of July, as many as
120 men were on the guard detail.

'I'he more one reads of Ecuyer and the siege of Fort Pitt the more
admiration grows for Captain Ecuyer. He was a soldier that any army
should be proud to have.

The detailed story of Bouquet's march and battle, and a sketch of his
life follow. He, too, was an excellent correspondent.

Digitized by


Digitized by


Henry Bouquet, Soldier of Fortune.

It was a miserable war that Pontiac's hordes had thrown upon the
British commander. The armies that had conquered Canada had been
disbanded or sent home and nothing remained but a few fragments and
skeletons of regiments lately arrived from the West Indies, enfeebled by-
disease and hard service. Amherst had reason to congratulate himself
on the character of the officers who commanded in Pennsylvania, Vir-
ginia and Maryland, however.

General Sir Jeffrey Amherst was the British commander-in-chief in
North America. He was another Braddock, except that he played safe.
His chief vengeance against the crafty enemy was to inoculate them with
smallpox by means of infected blankets. He urged Bouquet to this
method and it will have been noted that Ecuyer experimented in a
manner with infected blankets.

He thought the Indian uprising was but temporary. He was soon
disabused of the idea. Ecuyer's letters from Fort Pitt opened the com-
mander's eyes.

Amherst assigned to Bouquet what was serviceable of the Forty-
second and the Seventy-seventh Highlanders, or "Black Watch** regi-
ment, bpth having just returned to Staten Island, New York, from Ae
siege of Havana, Cuba. Bouquet had to be content with these ill-con-
ditioned troops for arduous service that required men of vigor — ^men of
iron. Provisions were to be met by Bouquet for his army in Carlisle,
but so great was the alarm that nothing had been done. Cabins had been
burned, mills likewise, crops in the field stood dead ripe waiting for har-
vesters who had been slain or who had fled to the towns, especially Car-
lisle, where all soon were threatened with famine. There were few sup-
plies for the refugees and none for Bouquet's troops. Most of the settled
part of the county of Cumberland, which then comprised most of West-
em Pennsylvania, had been deserted. The roads were covered with dis-
tressed families, fleeing and destitute of all the necessaries of life. Mean-
while Captain Ourry, who commanded at Bedford ; Lieutenant Blaine, at
ligonier, and Captain Ecuyer, at Fort Pitt, continued to hold out.

Bouquet lay encamped at Carlisle, beset by obstacles of all kinds.
Neither wagons, horses nor provisions were forthcoming. The common-
wealth authorities did nothing; the frontier people were apathetic, con-
fused, helpless. There was an antipathy to British regulars from the days
of Braddock, eight years previously. July 3 came and a rider got in with
news of the disaster at Presque Isle and added "the Indians will be here
soon." They were. By July 13th nineteen people had been killed in the
vicinity of Carlisle. There was then an awakening and consternation.
Investigation found the country widely ravaged, slaughter and destruc-
tion on all sides. Refugees flocked to Lancaster and even to' Philadelphia.
Everything depended on Bouquet. He had about 500 men. He had

Digitized by



wasted eighteen days during' which time little by little there had been
collected his necessary equipment and stores, but the delay had enabled
the feeble Highlanders to regain strength. Well might the curious
throngs in the towns gaze upon the bare-legged soldiery in their kilts
and plaids guarding the lumbering wagons of the convoy that dragged
slowly to the West. It was a desperate expedition.

July 25 found Bouquet at Bedford. Nothing had been heard from
Fort Pitt for weeks. Bouquet engaged thirty backwoodsmen and hast-
ened on, following the road made by General Forbes in 1758. The
frontiersmen scouted and protected the flanks. The weather was hot,
the beasts of burden mainly oxen. Slight wonder the progress was slow.

The Highlanders saw only a boundless panorama of forest covered
moun^ins, far wilder than their native hills. They toiled on. August
2 they reached Fort Ligonier. They had marched 150 miles from Carlisle.

At Ligonier, fifty miles from Bedford, Bouquet left his draught oxen
and wagons and hastened on with 150 pack horses, highly necessary but
clumsy impedimenta. He was following the Forbes Road that he had
helped to make five years previously. He knew the way ; he never hesi-
tated; he was everywhere and everything; he knew the success of the
expedition depended on him ; he was the proverbial host in himself, cool,
alert, resolute, sanguine ; he knew the enemy, their tactics ; he knew they
were watching him, falling back before him ; he knew they were aware
of his weakness, his lack of provisions, his fewness of scouts.

The silent, subtle foes that spied upon him knew that Braddock's
slain in the forest a few miles to the West outnumbered Bouquet's whole
force, and the Indians exulted that they had slain these men of England
and they would slay again and in the same way. The blow would come
soon and swiftly. Bouquet knew it, too. But there was to be no Brad-
dock afiPair, no folly as on Grant's Hill in Pittsburgh, September 14,
1758. On marched the toiling column. The inevitable battle-ground came
hourly nearer. Behind them lay the AUeghenies; before them the fort
beleagured by a foe who knew and gave no quarter. It was fight — ^vic-
tory or death for all, some death with victory — annihilation without.
Around the battalion the dense forest hid the ambushed foe. Solitude
was on all sides.

Bouquet expected that a da/s march from Ligonier, amid the defiles
of the tributaries of Turtle creek, or at the creek, the cunning warriors,
following their usual custom, would attack from ambush. He decided
therefore to bivouac when he reached Bushy Run, rest until night and
then resume the march and pass the dangerous ground under cover of

August s seventeen miles had been made. It was i o'clock and the
advance was halted a mile from Bushy Run, where the camp was to be
pitched. Suddenly a rifle shot rang out in front ; in a moment a rattling
volley that told unmistakably that the advance was engaged. The deci-
sive battle was on. The fate of Fort Pitt and Pittsburgh was at stake.
Never moments of graver periL

Digitized by


Digitized by



^/.^J^ar T^q BATTt. S A/SA/^ d^i/S^ y/^UAf

i^A /Af€a Br COL OA/sr^ Souqus t o vsa rne
OA/ THe s^AA^p 6^^ o/^ Aoo /yes.

SBATTALtQf^ Men '7£ HT/W^nCHMe^-tS 0^ fHfi Tf^OO^S

Digitized by



Two companies were rushed forward in support. The woods were
quickly cleared by a charge, but driven from, one position the Indians
appeared in another, until it became apparent from the firing' on both
flanks and in the rear that the little command was surrounded. It was
necessary for the front to march rapidly to the rear and form a new front
to protect the convoy. The horses had been laden principally with flour
in sacks which were unloaded to form an effective breastwork. The
Indians made quick work of the animals.

Bouquet's inspired men fought with desperation; the combatants
were about even in numbers, but they were ill-matched by a cunning foe,
a reckless, vaunting foe. Night came and with it terror ; the command
was entirely surrounded ; cries of the wounded rent the air, answered by
the yells and war whoops of the savages. Not a drop of water in sight —
so the wounded suffered and died, and day came and with it a deadly fire.
If ever a commander was to win with odds against him this was the
occasion. It was plain it must be a decisive and bold stroke that would
give victory.

It is an old story how Bouquet won ; how he feigned retreat in part
and lured the foe from their coverts into the open ; how he charged with
the bayonet; how the retreating Indians were caught in the rear; how
they fled, leaving the field covered with dead braves. One captive was
taken — only to be riddled with English bullets. Revenge came, but with
the loss of fifty killed and sixty-five wounded, but Pitt was saved. Bou-
quet is the best historian of his battle. He was a ready and succinct
writer. His letters to Amherst are really his official report of the battle.
His technical account of the action is a thrilling story. The battle is
acknowledged to have been one of the best contested actions ever fought
between Indians and white men. If there was any disparity of numbers
the advantage was on the side of the troops. The Indians displayed a
fierceness and intrepidity that was matched by the steady valor of Bou-
quet's men. The Indian tactics, so deadly to Braddock, utterly failed in
the attack on Bouquet.

The dispatches that Bouquet sent Amherst are dated August 5 and 6,
1763. On both days his forces were in action. These dispatches contain
a clear and complete account of the battle at Bushy Run. They are
accepted as containing all the facts concerning the battle and are the
data extended and embellished by all historians. Bouquet was aware of
the suspense with which all classes awaited news from his army and was
prompt to report. He wrote the first letter under the apprehension that
he would not survive the renewed engagement on the morrow. Both let-
ters were forwarded to the British commander-in-chief by the same ex-
press — ^within a few days after the victory. The originals are preserved
in the British War Offices in London. Bouquet calls his first camp Edge
Hill and located it twenty-six miles from Pittsburgh. It is about twenty-

Bouquet's first letter reads :

Sir— The Second Instant the Troops and Convoy Arrived at Ligonier, whence I
could obtain no Intelligence of the Enemy. The Expresses sent since the beginning of


Digitized by



July, having been Eidier killed or Obliged to Return, all the Passes having been occu-
pied by the Enemy. In this uncertainty I Determined to leave all the Waggons with
the Powder, and a Quantity of Stores and Provisions, at Ligonier. And on the 4th
proceeded with the Troops, and about 350 Horses Loaded with Flour.

I intended to have HaJted today at Bushy Run (a mile beyond this Camp), and
after having Refreshed the Men and Horses, to have Marched in the Night over Tur-
tle Creek, a very Dangerous Defile of Several Miles, Commanded by High and Craggy
Hills ; But at one o'clock this Afternoon, after a march of 17 miles, the Savages sud-
denly Attacked our Advanced Guard, which was immediately Supported by the two
Light Infantry Companys of the 42d Regiment, Who Drove the Enemy from their
Ambuscade and pursued them a good Way. The Savages Returned to the Attack, and
the Fire being Obstinate on Our Front, and Extending along our Flanks, We made a
General Charge with the whole Line to Dislodge the Savages from the Heights, in
which attempt We succeeded without Obtaining by it any Decisive advantage; for as
soon as they were driven from One Post they Appeared on Another, 'till by Continual
Reinforcement, they were at last able to Surround us, and attacked the Convoy left in

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 70 of 81)