J. W. O'Neill Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America: comprising biographical sketches of ... online

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8B BRANT— BATTLE OF ORISKANA. rBooK t.

eamm a flight has almoat always been a diamal defeat It waa now tha
ease. Tbe other regiment, heinnied in as they were, saw, in a moment,
that,

To figirt, or Boc to fight, was deatk

They, therefore, back to back, forming a front in eyeiy directioii, fought like
men in despair. This, Dr. Tnmglovt thus forcibly depicts : —

" Now, band to band, tbe cootest it for life.
With bay 'net, tomliawfc, iword. and tcalptog kaife:
Now store remote tbe work of oeath we ply,
Aad thick as hail the sbow'riac ballets flyj
Fbll many a hardy warrior sinks supine y
Yelb, shrieks, groans, shouts and thundering voUeyi join ;
Tbe dismal din tbe ringing forest fills,
Tbe sounding echo roars along tbe hills."

The poet thus p t eaeuts to oar new the attackmg parties : —

** Of two departmenU were the assailmg fees ;
Wild savage natives lead the first of tbosej
Their almost naked frames, of Yarious dyes,
And rings of black and red surround thetr eyes:
On one side they present a shaven head ;
Tbe naked half or tbe vennilion red ;
In spots tbe party-colored feee tbey drew,
Beyond descriptioii horrible to view j
Tfcleir ebon locks in braid, with paint o'ernread }
Tbe silvered ears depending from tbe heaci ;
Tbeir gaodry my d^riptive power teceeds.
In phimes of feathers, gutt'ring plates and beads.'*

He thus speaks of the tories: —

" These fer tbe first attack tbeir ferce unite.
And most sustain the htrj of tbe fight j
Their rule of warfare, devastation dire.
By undistinguished plunder, death and fire ;
Tbey torture man and beast, with barbarous rage
Nor tender infant spare, nor rev'rend sage."

And BuStr is noticed as firflows >^

** O'er them a horrid monster bore command,
Whoae inauspicious birth dismced our land ;
By malice ui^d to every barberous art ;
Of cruel temper, but of coward heart.*'

With such brarery did they fight in this fi>rk>m condition, that the Indianf
began to give way ; and, but for a reinforcement of tories, imder M^or Wai"
ton, they would have been entirely dispersed.* This reinforcement m thus
characterised by the surgeon : —

** The setfnnd was a reomrfo crew,
Who arm aad dress as Christien natioos do,
Led by a chief wIm bore the first command ;
A bold invader of bis native hmd."

The sight of this reinfbrcement greatly increased the rage of the Ameri-
cans. It was composed of the yery men who had left that part of the coun-
try at the commencement of the war, and were held in abhorrence for their
loyalty to the king. The fight was renewed with vigor, and the reinforcement
fought also vrith Intivery, tmtil about thirty of their number were killed.

* Dr. Oordtm says the tories and Indians got into a most wretched confusion, and fought
one another; and t6at the latter, at last, thought it was a plot of the whites on both sidea, to
get them into that situation, that they might cut them off.



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Cbap. V.l BRANT.— ANECDOTE OF OEN. HERKIMER. 581

Major fTotfon, their leader, was wounded and taken priaoner, but left upon

thtk hAttlA.arrniin^.



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582 BRANT^DESTRUCnON OF CHERRY-VALLEY. [Boos V

" Wheo MTAfM, for horrid fpoft prepared,
Demand anoiber prisoner firom tbe Euard,
We Mw tbeir fear'd approach, with mortal fii|;fat,
Their scalping-knives toey sharpened in our sight,
Beside the guard they sat them oo the ground,
And ▼iew'd, with piereingejres, the prisoners round."

" At lengthy one rising seized me by tbe hand }
Br him drawu forth, on trembling knees I stand ;
I bid my fellows all a long adieu,
With answering grief, my wretched case they Tiew.
The^ led me bound along the winding flood.
Far m tbe gloomy boaom of the wood ;
There, (horrid sirht!) a prisoner roasted lav,
Tbe carving-knife had cut his flesh away.''

After enduring every thing but death in his captivity, Dr. Younglove returned
home in safetv.

In 1778, a iort was built at Cherry- valley, where families for considerable
extent about took up their abode, or retired occasionally for safety. Brani
intended to destroy this, and came into the neighborhood for the purpose
It happened that, at the time he chose to make Uie discovery of the strength
of the garrison, the boys were assembled in a training, with wooden guns,
for amusement : not having a clear view of them fix)ra the foliage of the trees
which intervened, Brani thought them to be men. It was his design to have
made the attack the following night ; but on this discovery, he gave up die
design. He still remained in the neighborhood ; secreted behind a lai^ rock
near the main road to the Mohawk, and about two miles north of the fort in
the valley. Here he waited to intercept some unwary passenger, and gain
more certain intelligence. Near this place is the little cascade called by the
natives, J^aharawcu The inhabitants of the valley were in expectation of a
company of soldiers from the Mohawk, to reinforce them, and the same day
Lieutenant Wormwood came from thence, and informed them that Colonel
KLock would arrive the next day with the party. Near night he set out to
return, accompanied by one Pder Sitz, the bearer of some despatches. He
was a young ofBcer, of fine personal appearance, and was to retiun the next
day with one of the companies of soldiers. He had been out of si^ht but a
few minutes, when, as he passed the ambush of Bntntj his warriors fired
upon him, and he fell firom his horse. The chief, springing from his hiding-
place, toniahawked him with his own hands. Wormwood and his companion
were ordered to stand, but not obeying, occasioned their being fired upon.
Brant was acquainted with Lieutenant Jformwood before the war, and after-
wards expressed sorrow at his fate, pretending that he took him to be a con-
tinental officer. His horse inunediately running back to the fort, with blood
upon the saddle, gave some indication of what had happened His compan-
ion, SUzj was taken prisoner.

In June, the same summer, Brant came upon Springfield, which he burned,
and carried off a number of prisoners. The women and children were not
maltreated, but were left in one house unmolested. About this time, great
pains were taken to seize the wary chief, but there was no Captain C%tircft,
or, imlike Philip of Pokanoket, Brant had the remote nations to fly to without
fear of being killed by them. Captain M^Ktan himted him for some time,
and, not being able to find him, wrote an insulting letter for him, and left it
in an Indian path. Among other things, he challenged him to single combat,
or to meet him with an equal number of men ; and *< that if he would come to
Cherry-vallev, and have a fair fight, they would change him finom a Brant
into a Goos, This letter, it ts supposed. Brant receiv^, from an intimation
contained in one which he wrote about the same time to a tonr. To this man
iPardfar Carr, of Edmeston) he writes from Tunadilla [Unamlla] under date
9 July, 1778, — ^ Sir : I understand 6y the huMans that waa at ytnar JbiiM lad
week,that one &m\th lives near with vou^haalittU marten Ishouldbe

muA ohligtd to you, (/* you wotdd be aokind a$ to try to get as much com at
Smith can tpared; he haa sent mejwe sjfcmlet atready^ qfwhidi lam much ohUg^
ed to Aim, cmd unM see him paid, and would be very glad tf you could spare one
or two your tnen to join us, especially EaaM, I wotdi be gOd to see km, and I



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CiiAP. v.] BRANT.^-DESTRUCT10N OF WYOMING. 583

toiak you could sent mt as numy guna you haot^ as I know you have no we for
thtm, if you any ; aa I mam now tojigld the crud rebeU as weU as lean; what-



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664 BRANT.*DE8TRUCnuPl OF WTOMING. [Boax V

deyilfl ; ' and of the 400 who had marched out on this unfortunate parley
only about 20 escaped,'' among whom were the commanding officers.

The fort at Wyoming was now closely besieged, and seemg no chance of
escape, Colonel BiMer proposed a parley with his ^^mrui and namesake, which
was assented to. The place of meeting was appomted at some distance from
the fort, and die Americans marched out in considerable force, to prevent
treachery, to the place appointed ; but when they arrired ^ere, they found
nobody with whom to parley. The commander of the tories has been Imuid-
ed with gross infamy, for this piece of treachery with his kinsman ; for be
feigned fear from his approach, and had retired as they advanced, displayiug
meanwhile the flag of truce. The unwary Americans were, by this treacher-
ous stratagem, led into an ambush in nearly the same manner as were Huiek-
inmm and ffhedoTy at Wickabaug Pond, in Phitip^s war. They were, io a
moment, nearly surrounded by JSranfs warriors, and the work of death raged
in all its fury.* The tories ^ were not a whit behind the very chiefest " of tl^tn
in this bloody day. A remnant only regained the fort, out of several hundreds
that went forth. They were now more closely besieged than before ; and
the more to insult the vanquished, a demand was sent in to them to surrender,
^ accompanied by 196 bloody scalps, taken from those who had just been
slain." When the best terms were asked of the besiegers, the *^ infamow
BtUler** replied in these two words, **the hatchd/* This was the only tndk
we hear of his uttering, it was the hatchet, indeed— a few only fled to the
surrounding wilderness, there to meet a more lingering death by fiunine.
These were chiefly women and children.

Thus passed the/ourtk of Jvhf, 1778, m the before flourishinff settlement
of Wyoming, on the eastern branch of the Susquehannah. Baiiow knew
well, m his eariy day, who was forever to be branded with infkmy for the acti
of this memorable tragedy. He says, —

" His savage hordes the murderous Johnson leads,
Files through the woods and treads the tangled weeds
Shuns open combat, teaches where to rui^
Skulk, couch the ambush, aim the hunter's gun.
Whirl the sly tomahawk, the war-whoop sing.
Divide the spoiis, and pack the scalps tney bring/'

Cohtmbiad, vi. 389, &c

Having now got full possession of Wyoming, and, observes Dr. Thacher,
"after selecting a few prisoners, the remainder of the people, including
women and children, were enclosed in the houses and barracks, which were
immediately set on Are, and the whole consumed togetlier. Another fort was
near at hand, in which were 70 continental soldiers ; on surrendering vritbout
conditions, these were, to a man, butchered in a barbarous manner ; when
the remainder of the men, women and children were shut up in the houses,
and the demons of hell glutted tlieir vengeance in beholding their destruction
in one general conflagration." The houses of the tories were spared. As
though they could not exercise their cruelty enough i. on human beings,
they fell upon the beasts in the field — shooting some, wounding and man-
gling othere, by cutting out their tongrues, &c and leaving them alive. Well
does Campbell make his Oneidai chief to say, (who comes as a friend io
warn the settlement of the approach of the combined army of tories anu
Indians,)

** * Rut this iff not a time,'— 4ie started up,

And smote his breast with woe-denouncing hand—

' This is no time to fill thy joyous cup :

The mammoth comes — tlie toe— the monster Brandt^

With all his howling desolating band }—

These eyes have seen their blade, and burning pine,

Awake at once and silence half your land.

Red is the cup they drink ; but not with wine :
Awake and watch to-night ! or tee no morning shine.

* There is much inconcniity in relation to the affairs of Wyoming. Chanman distinctljr
fUtes that Brant commanded the right wins of the army under Budtry when ne was met by
the forces that marched out to meet them ; out it has lately, been denied that BrmU was even
ki Wyoming during these affairs.



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Chap. V.] BRANT.— CRUELTIE8 AT WYOMUVa 585



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686 BRANT.— DESTRUCTK^ OF CHERRY- VALLEY [B00& ▼

displeased with the project, undentanding tliat Captain WtJUer had been put
in office over him by his old general, WaiUr^s father, but stifled his resent-
ment Their whole force was 700 roen^ 500 of whom were the warnors of
BranL

Colonel Ichabod JUden^ of Massachusetts, was in conmiand at Cherry-
valley, and to his misguided judgment is to be attributed the disaster which
ensued. But, like IValdron of Cochecho, he was doomed to escape the dis-
grace. He was early apprized of the march of Brandy and when urged to
receive the inhabitants into the fort, observed that there was no danger, as
he would keep out scouts who would apprize them of the approach of an
enemy in season to remove. Scouts were accordingly sent out; one of
which, either forgetting the business they were upon, or, what was equally
reprehensible, nude a large fire and lay down to sleep. Branfs warriors
were not misled by so luminous a beacon, and the whole were made prison-
ers. This was on the night of the 9 November, 1778. The prisoners now
in the hands of Brant were obliged to give the most exact intelligence con-
cerning the garrison. On the morning of the 11, favored bv a thick and hazy
atmosphere, they approached the fort. Colonels Mkn ana Staeia quartered
at the house of a Mr. Pfells. A Mr. HambU was fired upon as he was coming
from his house to the fort, by a scout, which gave the first notice of the
enemy. He escaped, and gave the alarm to Colonel Mkn^ who, strange as
it may appear, was still incredulous, and said it was nothing more than some
straggling Indians. The last space of time was thus lost !^-and, in less than
half an hour, all parts of the place were invested at once. Such of the sol-
diers as were collected being immediately all killed or taken, the poor inhab-
itants fell an easy prey. Colonel Alden was among the first victims. Jake
Ckomaiy in the massacre at Natchez, he fied fit>m nis house, and was pur-
suea by an Indian with his hatchet, at whom the colonel endeavored several
times to discharge his pistol ; but it missing fire, and losing time in facing
about for this purpose, the Indian was sufficientlv near to mrow his toma-
hawk with deadly efifect He did so. Colonel JUdtn fell upcm his face, and
his scalp was in a moment borne oflT in triumph. ^ A tory boasted that he
killed Mr. WtU$ while at ynyer." His daughter, a young lady of great
amiableness, fied firom the bouse to a pile of wood for shelter ; but an In-
dian pursued her, who, coming near, composedly vriped his long knife,
already bloody, upon his legnns, then returmng it to his belt, seized her by
the arm, and with a blow of his tomahawk ended her existence. She could
speak some Indian, and begged her murderer to spare her life, and a tory
interceded, who stood near, urging that she was his sister; but he would
hear to neither. Other transactions in this afi^, of still greater horror, we
must pass in silence.

Between SO and 40 prisoners were carried oflT; but the fort, containing
about 200 soldiers, was not taken, although several trials were made upon it

Brant was the only person engaged in this tragedy of whom we hear any
acts of clemency ; one of which was the preservation of a poor woman and
her children, who, but for him, would have met the tomahawk. He inquired
for Captain M^Kuaiy (who wrote him the letter before mentioned,) saving he
had now come to accept his challenge. Being answered that ^ Capt M^Kean
would not turn his back upon an enemy," he replied, ^I know it He is a
brave man, and I would have given more to have taken him than any othei
man in Cherry-valley ; but I would not have hurt a hair of his head.''

Brani had seen and heard so much of what is called cwUixtd warfare^ that
he was afraid of the traduction of his character, and always said that, in his
councils, he had tried to make his warriors humane ; and to his honor it is
said, (but in proportion as his character is raised, that of the white man
must sink,) that where he had the chief command, few barbarities were
committed.

The night before Brant and ButUr fell upon Cherrpr-valley, some of the
tories who had friends there, requested liberty to go m secretly and advise
them to retire. BuUer, though some of his own fiieuds were among the
inhabitants, refused, saying, ^ that there were so many families connected,
that the one would inform the otherS; and all would escape. He thus aaori*



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Cbaf. v.] brant^defeated by colonel WILLET. 687



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586 BRANT.— I^STROYS MINISINK, CBmk V

Five Nations chastised for actuif as they had bean taught tf tbe white
people ; yea, by the Amenoana tbemaehrea.*

The fullowiDg summer, (23 July, 1779,) CdoDel Brmt^ with 60 of hk war-
riors and 27 white men, came suddenly upon MiniMnk, in Orange county.
New York, where they killed sundry of the inhabitants and noade otheiv
captives. They burnt ten houses, twelve bams, a garrison and two mills,
and then commenced their retreat The militia from Goshen and places
adjacent, to the number of 149, coUected^pursued, and came im with them,
when a most bloody battle was fbu^it. Tho Indians were finally victorious,
and 30 only, out of the 149 whites, escaped. Some were carried into cap-
tirity, and the rest were killed. Not being sufficiently cautious, they ^U
into an ambush, and so fought at creat disadvanti^ge.t

In 1821, a county meedng was held, by which it was voted that the bones
of the slain should be collected, and deposited under a suitable monument
at the same time ordered to be erscted4 In 1822, the committee appointed
to collect the bones **which had been exposed to the suns sBd snows for 43
years,** had ibund those <tf 44 persons, which wore, with much ibrmality,
publicly interred.^

In the spring of 1780, BrmU surprised Harpersfield, with a company of
his warriors, wd a few tories. He took 19 prisoners, and killed several
others. On 2 August following, he fell upon Cani\|oharrie, with about
400 mixed warriors, killed 16 people, took about 55 prisoners, chiefly women
and children ; they killed and drove away, at the same time, about WO cattle
and horses, burnt 53 houses, and as many bams, besides out-houses, a new
and elegant church, a grist-mill and two garrisons.

DouUless there were many other warlike scenes in which Brani was
engaged personally; but we have already dwelt longer upon them than we
intended.

European writers, for a lone time, contended that the N. American Indians
had, naturally, no beard8.| A Mr. M'CmuUmd took the trouble of writing
to BrmU, after the revolution, to get the truth of the matter. The following
is Branfi letter to his inquiry^— ^ AlM^goro, 19 ^^prU^ 1783L The wun of ^
Six ATatiotu have all betards by nature ; om have likewm all other Indian nations
qf North •^merieOf wkidi I have Hen, Some hdian» allow a pari of the heard
upon the ddn and ripper lip to grow, and a few ^ tl^Mohawki sfcooe toiih razoroy
ta the satne wumner om Ewropeans; hut the generahty jduek out the hatre if the
heard by the rootgy aa soon aa thejf begin to appear; ana ae they conlinaie (Am prac-
iiee oil their live$y they appear to heSe no bend^ or, dL mod^ onhf a few etraggUwr
hairSf u^ch they have neglected lo pluck out lam, however^ qf opinion^ that if
the buUam were to thave^ they would never have bearde altogether so thick ae the
Europeans; and there are some to be met with whohave actually very little beanL%

Jot. BaAUT THATKKDAIVEaA.'*

A daughter of Colonel Brant married a Frendiman, who in June, 1789.
was kUl^ by a party of Indians, while peaceably travelling up the Wabash
River. He was m company with nine others, four of whom were killed ^nd
three wounded. When the hostile par^ came up to them, and discovered

* See the speech of Big-truy C<*m^j>lcaU, and Half'toumj to which nothing need be added
by way of commentary upon auch aflkin.
t Gordorit America, iii. 22. % BpaffonTt Gax. 328.

2Hc*me^9 Amer. Annals, ii. 90S.
Even the ^reai luminary VoUairt fell into this error. He says, "Lee Troqmoie, Ut
•ons, et tout Us peupUs Jtup^d la Floride, paruremt oHmdtrtM el »an» aucwn poU mr It
C0rpi exeeati la tHe** That is, all from the 60* of N. latitode. Voyes aSmret commiettM
ir. 706, ed. Paris, 1817, Svo. Bee also Rai^ml, viii. Sia

A gentleman, Mr. W. /. SneUiw, who resided amonr the western Indians for some tioie,
fays. It U not an error that the lodians have no beard \ that the ** Saques and Foxes have bot
wory few hairs upon their feces, nor have they any instrument for exiirpatiajr it : and what
iiiakesthefectcertainb,thev have no hair on the concealed parts of their bodies.'' Aceoid*
iBf to Lawsov, Aeeeuai o/lhelnHam of North Caralma, 190, 191, the saaM it true wkk
mnrd to them. La»Mon travelled much among the sontheni hunant.
Y This is the case with many of the whites.



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Chap. V.] BRANT.— HIS EXERTIONS FOR PEACE. 689

the son-in-law of Brant, they aflosted in drawing the arrows from the wound-
ed, and then went o£*

\Vhen the Indians upon die southern and western frontier were showing
themselves hostile, in 1791, Colonel Brani used his exertions to prevent hos-
tilities, by visiting such tribes as appeared hostile. His name appears in
many important transactions of those times. The boundary line between
the United States and the Indian nations had not been satis&ctorily estab-
lished, which was the cause of much trouble. A gentleman in Canacia wrote
to another in the state of New York, under date of 2 August, 1791,
wherein Colonel Brant is thus mentioned: <* Capt JosMh Branty aner bavins
attended for some time the councils of the western Indians at the Miami
River, set off a few days ago for Quebec, attended with several of the chiefs
from that quarter ; as they avowedly go to ask Lord Dorchtsta'i advice, and
as we well know his and govern menrs strong desire Ibr peace, we would
gladly hope that it ma^ be the means of bringinff on an accommodation.''

In 1792, his arrival in Philadelphia is thus publicly noticed in the Gazette
of that city : — ** Capt Joseph Brant, the principal warrior chief of the Six
Nations, arrived in this city on Weclnesday etenmg last, (June 20.) It is said
his errand is a visit to a number of his acquaintance residing here, and to
)>ay his respects to the president of the United States^" He left there about
the beginnmg of July, upon another peace excursion among the western
tribes, which still remained hostile.

When General Wayne was marching into the Indian country, in 1793, many
of the tribes were alarmed, having heard that his armv consisted of 8000
men. Learning, also, that commissioners accompanied the army, authorized
to treat of peace, and wishing to know the strength of the Americans, thirty
chiefs of different tribes were de^tched upon this inmortant business.
Colonel Brant was one of these 30 Indian ambassadors. li* the Americans
would make the Ohio the boundary, they wished peace. The whole cause
of General Wayw^s war appears to have been about the lands lying west of
the Ohio and Alleghany Rivers. We have no doubt Brant secretly, if not
openly, advocated the establishment of this boimdary ; yes. and we must
acknowledge that if he did, it was from the best of reasons. We know that
Ttcumsth labored incessantly for this boundary. Rightly did they conceive
of the mij^hty wave of population rolling' westward, southward and north-
ward. Truly, they must have been blind not to have seen that it was about
to en^f them forever ! When they had met the commissioners, and found
them inflexible in their determination, BranJt, with most of the chiefs of the
Six Nations, gave up the point as hopeless, preferring peace, on any terms,
to war. But the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanees and Miamis would not
agree to it

Mention will be found in the account of Farm/at-hrather of a great council
held by the chiefs of most of the western nations at Niagara, in April, 1793.
In this council it was agreed that peace should be maintained ; and <* they
unanimously agreed to meet the Americans in a grand council, to be holden
the June follovring, upon the south side of Lake Erie ; and for the purpose
of making the peace more permanent and extensive, they have appointed
Brant who is now their kinff of kings, to go and convene all those tnbes who
live to the north-west of Lake Oiitaria He accordingly, the day aAer,
set out for thai purpose." The Indians did not assemble uiitU July, from the
difficulty of their journeys and other causes, which is generally the case witli
meetings of this kind. The council was held at ^ndusky, and Cok>nel
Brani set out from Niagara for that place in May. Before leaving, he had



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