Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

. (page 21 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 21 of 193)
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yet by forced and rapid marches it may, in a great de-
gree, be accomplished. I am clearly of opinion that
you should regulate your last day's march so as to
reach the town about dawn of day, or a little before,
and that the march of this day should be as long as
can well be performed.

"I need scarcely mention to so virtuous and disin-
terested a set of men as you will have the honor to
command that though the main, object at present is
for the purpose above set forth, viz., the protection
of this country, yet you are to consider yourselves as
acting in behalf of and for the United States, that of
course it will be incumbent on you especially who
will have the command to act in every instance in
such a manner as will reflect honor on, and add re[ni-
tation to, the American arms, of nations or inde-
pendent States.'

" Should any person, British, or in the service or
pay of Britain or their allies, fall into your hands, if
it should prove inconvenient for you to bring them
off, you will, nevertheless, take special care to liberate
them on parole, in such manner as to insure liberty
for an equal number of jjcople in their hands. There
are individuals, however, who I think should
brought off at all events should the fortune of
throw them into vour hands. I mean such as h



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ut he was not hackwanl in letting it be known


Heekcwehler, in


his "History of the Ind-an .V




ion of CniMfor.l."


"gaugof handitti


" and L.'.skiel, \vi itiiig in the sum




s a resident of Bull-skin township, in what was


of Indian Missio


n.V Bald, "Tho same giing cf


h.ll.'i. l.jLa


f unity. In 1770 he had enlisted in the West


conimitted Uie mn


ssacre on the Muskingum d:d lu


I give up 11


Virginia) as a private so'.dier. Soon after en-


design upon the r


•ninaut of the Indian congregat


on. though


_riiuthy Col. Crawford, the comman.ling officer


l.ayed for a season


They niaiched in Hay, 1-^■■2.


to Saudii.


le illli of August, 1T7S, he w:,« i,.,|...int...| sur-


they found noih


lig l.it .•iiiity hut - - Tl,.- T;,


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D.I)., following tl






(under comnmnd of Col .1 ' ■ i , . i .ll


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a sou of Presley


ue, a prominent puhlic n


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recipient of a pension fro


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the act of May


se directions were ohseired


Jla.i.


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nison lei


g doiguatid ,as


and Maj. Gaddis as third i




man 1







ulath



many relutivea by the Imlians. and witnessed tlieir Iiorrid niurdLrs and
other deprediitiuns on so extensive .1 scaly, they became subjecU uf that
iiiiliscriuiinntiiig thii-stfor revenge wliich is such a prominent fuature in
the savage character, and liaving liad a taste of blood and plniHlei',
without risk or loss on their part, they resolved to go on and kill eveiy
Indian they could find, whether fiiend or fue." Does not the tenor of
Gen. Inint-'s instnulions to Cul. CiawTord conipk-ti-ly di^pruvc the alio*
gatiuus of Loskicl, llecliewclder, and Doddridge?



THE REVOLUTION.



95



deserted to the enemy siuce the Declaration of Inde-
pendence."

The forces of Col. Crawford commenced their march
from Mingo Bottom early in the morning of Saturday,
the 2oth of May. There was a path leading from
the river into the wilderness, and known as " Wil-
liamson's trail," because it was the route over which
Col. Williamson had previously marched on his way
to the Moravian towns. This trail, as far as it ex-
tended, offered the easiest and most practicable route,
but Col. Crawford did not adopt it,' because it was a
principal feature in his plan of the campaign to avoid
all traveled trails or routes on which they would be
likely to be discovered by lurking Indians or parties
of them, who would make haste to carry intelligence
of the movement to the villages which it was his pur-
pose to surprise and destroy. So the column, divided
into four detachments, each under immediate com-
mand of one of the four field-majors, moved up from
the river-bottom into the higher country, and struck
into the trackless wilderness, taking a course nearly
due west, piloted by the guides Slcver and Zane.
The advance was led by Capt. Biggs' company, in

hich were found young William Crawford (ensign),
James Paull, John Eodgcrs, John Sherrard, Alex-
ander Carson, and many other Fayette County vol-
unteers.

Through the depths of the gloomy forest, along the
north side of Cross Creek, the troops moved rapidly
but warily, preceded by scouts, and observing every
precaution known to border W-arfare, to guard against
ambuscade or surprise, though no sign of an enemy
appeared in the unbroken solitude of the woods. No
incident of note occurred on the march until the
night of the 27th of May, when, at their third camp-
ing-place, a few of the horses strayed and were lost,
and in the following morning the men who had thus
been dismounted, being unable to proceed on foot
without embarrassing the movements of the column,
were ordered to return to Jlingo Bottom, which they
did, but with great reluctance.

On the fourth day they reached and crossed the
Muskingum Eiver, and then, marching up the western
side of the stream, came to the ruins of the upper
Moravian village, where they made their camp for
the night, and found plenty of corn remaining in the
iged fields of the Christian Indians. This en-
campment was only sixty miles from their starting-
point on the Ohio, yet they had been four days in
reaching it. During the latter part of their journey
to this place they had taken a route more southerly
:han the one originally contemplated, for their horses
Iliad become jaded and worn out by climbing the
liills and floundering through the swamps, and so the

I Dr. Doddridge, in his " Notes," eoys, "The army marched along
i7(('(»jsoii"e trail, na it was then called, until they arrived at the uprer

Sloravian town." In this, as in many other parts of Lis narrative,

Doda:-:<lge was entirely mistaken.



commander found himself compelled to deflect his
line of march so as to pass through a more open and
level country; but he did this very unwillingly, for it
led his army through a region in which they would
be much more likely to be discovered by Indian
scouts or hunting-parties.

Up to this time, however, no Indians had been
seen ; but while the force was encamped at the ruined
village, on the evening of the 28th of May, Maj.
Brinton and Capt. Bean went out to reconnoitre the
vicinity, and while so engaged, at a distance of about
a quarter of a mile from the camp, they discovered
two skulking savages and promptly fired on them.
The shots did not take efl'ect and the Indians fled,
but the circumstance gave Col. Crawford great un-
easiness, for, although he had previously supposed
that his march had been undiscovered by the enemy,
he now believed that these scouts had been hovering
on their flanks, perhaps along the entire route from
Mingo Bottom, and it was certain that the two savages
who had been fired on would speedily carry intelli-
gence of the hostile advance to the Indian towns
on the Sandusky.

It was now necessary to press on with all practica-
ble speed in order to give the enemy as little time as
possible to prepare for defense. Early in the morning
of the 20th the column resumed its march, moving
rapidly, and with even greater caution than before.
From the Muskingum the route was taken in a
northwesterly course to the Killbuck, and thence up
that stream to a point about ten miles south of the
present town of Wooster, Ohio, where, in the even-
ing of the .30th, the force encamped, and where one of
the men died and was buried at a spot which was
marked by the cutting of his name in the bark of the
nearest tree.

From the lone grave in the forest they moved on
in a westerly course, crossing an affluent of the Mo-
hican, passing near the site of the present city of
Mansfield, and arriving in the evening of the 1st of
June at the place which is now known as Spring
Mills Station, on the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and
Chicago Railroad. There by the side of a fine spring
they bivouacked for the night. In the march of the 2d
they struck the Sandusky River at about two o'clock
P.M., and halted that night in the woods very near
the eastern edge of the Plains, not more than twenty
miles from the Indian town, their point of destina-
tion. They had seen no Indian since their dejiarture
from the night camp at the Moravian Indian village
on the Muskingum, though they had in this day's
march unknowingly passed very near the camp of
the Delaware chief Wingenund.

On the morning of the 3d of June the horsemen
entered the open country known as the Sandusky
Plains, and moved rapidly on through waving grasses
and bright flowers, between green belts of timber and
island groves such as few of them had ever seen
before. Such were the scenes which surrounded



9G



HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.



them during all of that day's march, and at night j
they made their fireless bivouac on or near the site of
tlie present village of Wyandot, not more than ten
miles from their objective pointy where (as they be-
lieved) the deadly and decisive blow was to be struck.
Two hours after sunrise on the 4th the men were
aijain in the saddle, and the four squadrons began
their inarch, moving with greater caution than ever.
A march of six miles brought them to the mouth
of the Little Sandusky ; thence, having crossed the
stream, they proceeded in a direction a little west of
north, past an Indian sugar-camp of the previous
spring (which was all the sign that they had seen of
Indian occupation), and passed rapidly on towards
the Wyandot town,' the objective point of the expe- i
dition, which, as the guide Slover assured the com- j
mander, lay immediately before them within striking j
distance. Suddenly, at a little after noon, the site of
the town came in fnll view through an opening in
tlie timber, Init to tlieir utter amazement they found
only a cluster of deserted huts without a single in- i
habitant! The village appeared to have been de-
serted for a considerable time, and the place was a
perfect solitude. This was a dilemma which Col. j
Crawford had not foreseen nor anticipated, and he at ,
once ordered a halt to rest the horses and give time
for him to consider the strange situation of affairs,
and to decide on a new plan of operations.

The guides, Slover and Zane, and some others in I
Crawford's command were well acquainted willi the
location of the Indian town. John Slover had pre- 1
viously been a prisoner with the Miamis, and during
his captivity with that tribe had frequently visited
tlie Wyandot village on the Sandusky. In guiding
tlie expedition there he had, of course, expected to
find the village as he had before seen it, and was, like
the rest, astonished to find it deserted. The fact, as
afterwards learned, was that some time before Craw-
ford's coming, but how long before has never been
delinitely ascertained, the Indians, believing that
their upper village was peculiarly exposed to danger
from the incursions of the whites, had abandoned it
and retired down the river about eight miles, where
tliey gathered around the village of the Half-King,
Pomoacan ; and that was their location when the col-
umns of Col. Crawford descended the Sandusky.

Contrary to the belief of the Pennsylvania and
Virginia settlers that the mustering of their forces
and the march of their expedition was unknown to
the Indians, the latter had been apprised of it from
tlie inception of the project. Prowling spies east of
the Ohio had watched the volunteers as they left their
hdines in the Monongahela Valley and moved west-
ward towards the rendezvous; they had seen the
gathering of the borderers at Mingo Bottom, and had



The location of the old A\'yantlot town was tlin
present towu of I'pper Sandusky, or five miles
[he river, and on its oppos Ic bank.



: southeast of



shadowed the advancing column along all its line (
march from the Ohio to the Sandusky. Swift runners >
had sped away to the northwest with every item of
warlike news, and on its receipt, the chiefs and war-
riors at the threatened villages lost not a moment in
making the most energetic preparations to repel the
invasion. Messengers were dispatched to all the Wy-
andot, Delaware, and Shawauese bands, calling on
them to send in all their braves to a general rendez-
vous near the Half-King's headquarters, and word ws
sent to De Peyster, the British commandant at De-
troit, notifying him of tlie danger threatening his In-
dian allies, and begging that he would send them aid'
without delay. "This request he at once acceded i
sending a considerable force of mounted men, witlii
two or three small pieces of artillery. These, however,
did not play a prominent part in the tragedy which
followed.

The Indian scouts who had watched the little army
of Crawford from the time it left Mingo Bottom .sent
forward reports of its progress day by day, and from
these reports the chiefs at the lower towns on the San-
dusky learned in the night of the 3d of June that the
invading column was then in bivouac on the Plains,
not more than eighteen miles distdnt. The war-pa^
ties of the Miamis and Shawauese had not come in
to the Indian rendezvous, nor had the expected aid
arrived from the British post at Detroit, but the chiefs
resolved to take the war-path without them, to hara
and hold the advancing enemy in check as much
possible until the savage forces should be augmented
sufficiently to enable them to give battle with hope of
success. Accordingly, in the morning of the 4th ot
June, at about the same time when Col. Crawford
was leaving his camp-ground of tlie previous night
to march on the deserted Indian town, the great Dela-
ware chief, Capt. Pipe, set out from his town wi
about two hundred warriors, and marched to the ren-
dezvous, where his force was joined by a larger party
of Wyandots under their chief Ghaus-sho-toh. Wi
them was. the notorious white renegade, Simon Girty.
mounted on a fine horse and decked out in full Indian
costume. Tlie combined Delaware and Wyandot
forces numbered in all more than five hundred braves:
— a screeching mass of barbarians, hideous in theli
war-paint and wild with excitement. After an orgit
of whooping, yelling, and dancing such as savages
were wont to indulge in before taking the war-path
the wild crowd relapsed into silence, filed out fromthi
place of rendezvous, and glided away like a huge ser
pent across the grassy plain towards the cover of I
distant belt of forest.

In the brief halt at the deserted village Col. Craw-
ford consulted with his guides and some of the officer;
as to the most advisable course to be adopted undft
the strange circumstances in which he found himsel
placed. John Slover was firm in the opinion that th'
inhabitants of the village liad removed to a town situ



THE EEVOLUTIOX.



97



a few miles below. He also believed that other
villages would be found not far away from the one
which had been abandoned, and that they might be
surprised by a rapid forward movement. Zane, the
other guide, was less confident, and not disposed to
advise, though he did not strongly oppose a farther
advance into the Indian country. The commander,
after an hour's consideration of the embarrassing
question, ordered the column to move forward towards
the lower towns. Crawford's army and the combined \
Indian forces under Pipe and Ghaus-sho-toh were now
rapidly approaching each other.
, Crossing the river just below the abandoned village,
the Pennsylvania horsemen pressed rapidly on in a
northerly direction to the place which afterwards
lio'/aiiie the site of Upper Sandusky. There was no j
iiiiliration of the presence of the foe, but the very i
sik uie and solitude seemed ominous, and the faces of i
oflicers and men grew grave, as if the shadow of ap-
proaching disaster had begun to close around them.
A mile farther on, a halt was ordered, for the gloom
liad deepened over the spirits of the volunteers, until,
for the first time, it found expression in a demand from
some of them that the advance should be abandoned
and their faces turned back towards the Ohio River.
At this juncture Col. Crawford called a council of
war. It was composed of the commander, his aide-
de-camp, Eose, the surgeon. Dr. Knight, the four
majors, the captains of the companies, and the guides,
er and Zane. The last named now gave his opin-
ion promptly and decidedly against any farther ad-
vance, and in favor of an immediate return ; for to
his mind the entire absence of all signs of Indians
was almost a sure indication that they were concen-
trating in overwhelming numbers at some point not
far off. His opinion had great weight, and the council
decided that the march should be continued until
evening, and if no enemy should then have been dis-
covered, the column should retire over the route by
which it came.

During the halt Capt. Biggs' company, deployed as
scouts, had been thrown out a considerable distance
fto the front for purposes of observation. Hardly had
the council reached its decision when one of the
scouts came in at headlong speed with the thrilling
intelligence that a large body of Indians had been
discovered on the plain, less than two miles away.
Then, "in hot haste," the volunteers mounted, formed,
and moved forward rapidly and in the best of spirits,
the retiring scouts falling in with the main body of
horsemen as they advanced. They had proceeded
nearly a mile from the place where the council was
held when the Indians were discovered directly in
their front. It was the war-party of Delawares, under
their chief, Capt. Pipe, — the Wyandots being farther
to the rear and not yet in sight.

When the Americans appeared in full view of the
Delawares, the latter made a swift movement to oc-
cupy an adjacent wood, so as to fight from cover, but



Col. Crawford, observing the movement, instantly
dismounted his men and ordered them to charge into
the grove, firing as they advanced. Before this vigor-
ous assault the Delawares gave way and retreated to
the open plain, while Crawford's men held the woods.
The Indians then attempted to gain cover in another
grove farther to the east, but were repulsed by Maj.
Leet's men, who formed Crawford's right wing. At
this time the Wyandot force came up to reinforce the
Delawares, and with them was Capt. Matthew Elliott,
of the British army, dressed in the full uniform of an
officer in the royal service. He had come from De-
troit, and arrived at the Indian rendezvous a little in
advance of the British force, but after Pipe and Ghaus-
sho-toh had set out with their braves to meet Craw-
ford. He now came up to the scene of confiict, and
at once took command of both Indian parties. On
his arrival he immediately ordered the Delaware chief
to flank the Americans by passing to their left. The
movement was successfully executed, and they held
the position, much to the discomfort of the frontiers-
men, who, however, could not be dislodged from their
cover. But they had no great advantage of position,
for the Indians were scarcely less sheltered by the tall
grass of the plains, which almost hid them from view
when dismounted, and afforded a considerable pro-
tection against the deadly fire of the Pennsylvania
marksmen.'

The fight commenced at about four o'clock, and
was continued with unabated vigor, but with varying
success, through the long hours of that sultry June
afternoon. Through it all, the villanous Simon Girty
was present with the Delawares, and was frequently
seen by Crawford's men (for he was well knowu by
many of them), riding on a white horse, giving orders
and encouraging the savages, but never within range
of the white men's rifles. The combined forces of the
Wyandots and Delawares considerably outnumbered
the command of Col. Crawford, but the latter held
their own, and could not be dislodged by all the arti-
fices and fury of their savage assailants. When the
shadows of twilight began to deepen over grove and
glade, the savage hordes ceased hostilities aud retired
to more distant points on the plains.

The losses in Col. Crawford's command during the
afternoon were five killed and twenty-three wounded,
as reported by the aide-de-camp. Rose, to Gen. Irvine.
One of the killed was Capt. Ogle, and among the
oflScers wounded were Maj. Brinton, Capt. Ross, Capt.
Munn, Lieut. Ashley, and Ensign McMasters. Philip
Smith, a volunteer from Georges Creek, Fayette
County, received a severe wound iu his elbow, which

1 " Some of the bonlurers climbed trees, and from their biisliy tops took
deiidly aim at the beads of the enemy as tliey arose above Ibe gras.s.
Daniel Canon [of Fayette Connty] was conspicnons in tliis novel mode
of warfare. He was one of the dead shots of the army
lofty liidiDK-place tlio reports of his unerring rifle gave
evidence of the killing of savages. ' I do not know how many Indians
I killed,' saiil he, afterwards, ' but I never s.iw the same head again above
the grass after I shot at it.' "—Biillcr/idd.



, and from bis



HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY, PENXSYLVANIA.



protruded slightly from behind the tree which he had
taken as a cover while firing.'

The losses of the Indians were never ascertained.
Though doubtless greater than those of the whites,
tliey were probably not very heavy, because the savage
combatants were to a great extent hidden from view
by the tall grass which grew everywhere in the open-
ings. A number of Indian scalps were taken by
Crawford's men, but no prisoners were captured on
either side.

At the close of the conflict of the 4th of June tlie
advantage seemed to be with the white men, for the
foe had retired from their front, and they still kept
possession of the grove,'- from which the red demons
had tried persistently but in vain for nearly four
liniirs to dislodge them. The officers and men of
Cul. Crawford's command were in good spirits, and
tlie commander himself felt confident of ultimate
victory, for his volunteers had behaved admirably,
exhibiting remarkable steadiness and bravery during
the trying scenes of the afternoon. But the Indians
were by no means dispirited, for they had suflered no
actual defeat, and they knew that their numbers
would soon be augmented by the Shawanese and other
war-parties who were already on their way to join
them, as was also the British detachment which had
been sent from Detroit.^ The night bivouac of the
Wyandots was made on the plains to the north of the
battle-field, and that of the Delawares at about the
same distance south. Far to the front of the Indian
camps, lines of fires were kept burning through the
night to prevent a surprise, and the same precaution-
ary measure was taken by Col. Crawford. Out-
lying scouts from both forces watched each other with
sleepless vigilance through the hours of darkness,
aud frontiersmen and savages slept on their arms.



I.i-.mght hin. iK.w,.. N


i'nmiv I'JlN'oiiiio


iiting:in'iisoimbletime


I crawled alontr to


■a dragged uway. I cc


t.ld idainlj- seo the


was fouKlit in and nro


mid tlic grove since


i.i; in what is now Cnvi


lownsliip, Wvnn-


.Id lialf a mile Mst nf


'''n.i""iV!'TI,M!



It was the wish of Col. Crawford to make a vigor-
ous attack on the Indians at daylight on the morning
of the 5tli, but, he was prevented from doing so by the
fact that the care of his sick^ and wounded was very
embarrassing, requiring the services of a number of
men, and so reducing the strength of his fighting
force. It was determined, however, to make the best
preparations possible under the circumstances, and to
attack with every available man in the following
night. The Indians had commenced firing early in
the morning, and their fire was answered by the



Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 21 of 193)