Copyright
Robert Tomes.

Battles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) online

. (page 84 of 126)
Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 84 of 126)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


insure a complete subjugation of the revolted states to the
crown, would be the issuing of proclamations of pardon to
all who should desert the republican standard, and return
to their allegiance to King George." The paper seems to
have had its effect, for the subsequent southern campaign
of the British accorded witli the views set forth by Lee in
his plan, upon the success of which he emphatically declares
that he is ready to stake his life. With this document the
treason of General Lee is proved beyond a doubt; and his
conduct at Monmouth was doubtless prompted by a desire
to throw the game into the hands of the enemy, to whose
interest while at New York he had pledged himself. (This
" plan" of Lee was discovered at the close of 1857, among
some papers said to have been brought from Nova Scotia,
and offered for sale in New York. It was published in 1859
under the auspices of Professor George H. Moore, the libra
rian of the Historical Society.)



sons given by Lee for his retreat were
such that, "if they do not absolutely es
tablish its propriety, they give it so ques
tionable a form as to render it probable
that a public examination never would
have taken place, could his proud spirit
have stooped to offer explanation instead
of outrage to the commander-in-chief."

It has been inferred, from the fact that
Washington, after Lee s retreat, and hav
ing temporarily deprived him of his com
mand, should have immediately reinstated
him on the field, that therefore it was his
intention to have overlooked his conduct,
until he was provoked into noticing it by
Lee s insolent letters. This supposition,
however, seems so to belittle the motives
of Washington, by giving them a person
al character, that it is surprising that his
torians have ventured thus to dishonor
the great man.

" I will defy any person out of my own
family," said Washington himself, " to say
that I have ever mentioned his name, if
it w r as to be avoided ; and when not, that
I have studiously declined expressing any
sentiment of him or his behavior." Lee
did his utmost to provoke recrimination,
but Washington passed by his malevo
lence without notice, declaring : " I have
neither the leisure nor inclination to en
ter the lists with him in a newspaper;
and, so far as his production points to
personality, I can and do from my inmost
soul despise it." Lee havjng by will left
his papers in charge of Mr. Goddard, the
editor of the "Maryland Journal" who in
1785 proposed to publish them, and wrote
to Washington, to know if he wished to
examine them previously ; but the latter



048



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART n.



declined, solemnly averring : " I can have
no request to make concerning the work.
I never had a difference with that gen
tleman but on public grounds; and my
conduct toward him, on this occasion, was
such only as I felt myself indispensably
bound to adopt in discharge of the public
trust reposed in me. If this produced in
him unfavorable sentiments of me, I can
never consider the conduct I pursued with
respect to him either wrong or improper,
however I may regret that it may have
been differently viewed by him, and that
it excited his anger and animadversions.
Should there appear in General Lee s wri
tings anything injurious or unfriendly to
me, the impartial and dispassionate world
must decide how far I deserved it, from
the general tenor of my conduct."

In passing judgment upon the charac
ter of General Lee, it must be borne in
mind that from the beginning he seems
to have acted from interested and selfish
motives. Thus, when on the 19th of July,
1775, the continental Congress appointed
a committee to wait upon him and notify
him of his appointment, they reported
that Lee gave for answer : " That he had
the highest sense of the honor conferred
upon him by the Congress ; that no effort
in his power shall be wanting to serve
the American cause ; but, before he en
tered upon the service, he desired a con
ference with a committee, to consist of one
delegate from each of the associated colonies,
to whom he desired to explain some par
ticulars respecting his private fortune." A
committee having been appointed, and



reporting favorably, Congress " resolved
that the colonies tvill indemnify General Lee
for any loss of property which he may sustain
by entering into their service ; and that the
same be done by this or any future Con
gress, as soon as such loss is ascertained."
This was in marked contrast to the con
duct of Washington, who, though incur
ring a pecuniary risk far greater than that
of Lee, not only required from Congress
no surety for the safety of his private for
tune, but nobly served throughout the
war without personal reward.

General Charles Lee "must hereafter
be deservedly ranked with Church and
Arnold, among the traitors whose deeds
stain the annals of the American Revo
lution Reckless and unprincipled, he
was willing to be a traitor to both par
ties; but, fortunately for the republican
cause, he was deprived of opportunities
for doing mischief at a most critical time.
As a military adventurer, he was con
tinually aiming to secure personal advan
tages. Proud of his abilities, and puffed
up by flatterers, he aspired to be the com-
rnander-in-chief of the American armies.
His ambition was checked at the outset.
His meteoric light was dimmed by the
steady planetary lustre of a greater than
he; and, chafed by disappointment, and
hopes deferred, and a jealous spirit of ri
valry, he was ready to betray the people
who confided in his honor, and to seek
preferment, fame, and fortune, through
the dark lanes of treason and its abiding
infamy."*



REVOLUTIONARY.] THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEY OF WYOMING.



G49



CHAPTER LXXII.

Description of the Vale of Wyoming. An Indian Paradise. " Delightful Wyoming." A Change. Quarrel of the
Shawnees and the Delawares. The Lords of Wyoming. The First White Man. Count Zinzendorf. An Unbeliev
ing Audience. A Miracle. Conversion. Yankee Adventurers. The Susquchanna Company. Peace and Happi.
ness. A Sudden Change. Indian Massacre. The Pennsylvania Company. The Quarrel with Great Britain. The
Patriots of the Valley. Wyoming in Danger. Colonel Zehulon Butler. Preparations for Defence. Approach of
the Enemy. The Butler Rangers. Encingerachtan. The Battle. Fratricide. Massacre. Suffering. Horror upon
Horror. Surrender of Fort Forty. Savage Orgies. Tragic Laughter. Flight of the Inhabitants. Adventure and
Suffering. Desolate Wyoming. A Metamorphosis.



1778,



AMONG the mountains of Pennsyl
vania, between the Blue Ridge and
the Alleghanies, lies the valley of Wyo
ming. Through a gap in the rugged wall
of mountain which encloses it, the river
Susquehanna bursts, and then winds in a
gentle flow among the rolling fields and
level meadows which, for more than a
score of miles in length and three miles
in breadth, form the fertile area of the
vale. As the river turns and turns in its
tortuous course through groves of wil
low, sycamore, and rnnple, it widens here
and there into lake-like expanses, where
its waters are increased by the flow of
other and smaller streams, which gush in
noisy torrents from the mountains on all
sides, but soon subside into gentle rivu
lets as they course smoothly through the
level meads. The scene of beauty pre
sented by Wyoming is unsurpassed in
Nature. The mountains, often precipi
tous and rugged, and jagged here and
there with wild ravines, either choked
with the forest-growth or flooded with
turbulent torrents, increase by contrast
the gentle beauties of the valley which
they enclose.

82



Inviting, however, as is this beautiful
valley to repose and happiness, it had
hardly been the abode of either at the
time of which we write. Long before
the white man, attracted by its promise
of generous reward to labor, sought to fix
his home upon its fertile soil, the Indian
had made it his favorite resort. The sav
age may have been unconscious of the
beauties, but he was familiar with the
advantages, of the valley. Its seclusion
offered comparative security to his wig
wam, his squaw, and his children, hidden
from a vindictive enemy among the ma
ples on the river-bank, while he roamed
beyond the mountains in pursuit of the
elk. The stream which flowed close by
his door was filled with fishes of all kinds
with the perch, the pike, the bass, the
catfish, the roach, and the shad. Small
game, too, abounded everywhere in the
valley. The quail whistled in the mead
ow ; the pheasant rustled in its leafy cov
ert; the wild-duck reared her brood and
bent the reed in every islet ; and even
the red deer ventured to browse upon
the acclivities of the surrounding hills/ -

* Miner s History of Wyoming.



050



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART IT.



With nothing but the rude culture of
the Indian, the maize grew abundantly
on the fertile land ; while the wild plum,
the grape, the hazelnut, and the butter
nut, yielded a profuse harvest, without
the care or labor of man.

Such was " delightful Wyoming" by Na
ture ; but it was never long a scene of
peace and repose. Different tribes of In
dians came to build their villages in the
valley. There was plenty of room for
all. The Nanticokes had settled on the
east side of the Susquehanna, and the
Shawnees in the meadows on the west ;
when the Delawares, driven away from
their native river by the warlike IroquoLs,
came also to settle in the valley, on the
banks of the first-named stream.

For awhile, peace reigned among them.
The Delawares, however, being away up
on the mountains, on a hunting-expedi
tion, some of their squaws with their chil
dren went to gather wild fruits along the
banks of the river, when they came upon
a company of Shawnee mothers and little
ones. A Shawnee boy (so runs the tradi
tion) having caught a large grasshopper,
a quarrel arose between him and some
of the little Delawares as to whom it be
longed. The mothers now took part in
the dispute, and from words they came
to blows ; when, after several had been
killed in the strife, the Shawnees were
forced to take to their canoes and paddle
across to the side of the river where they
belonged.

When the Delaware warriors returned
from the mountains, and heard of the
quarrel and its fatal consequences, they
resolved upon revenge. A fierce conflict



ensued, in which nearly one half of the
whole tribe of the Shawnees were killed,
and the rest were driven for ever from
the valley.* In the course of time, the
Delawares became the sole lords of Wy
oming.

The first white man who penetrated
through the mountains to this secluded
valley was Count Zinzendorfj who came
with pious enthusiasm to convert the In
dians, f He arrived in 1742, accompanied
only by an interpreter, and boldly set up
his tent on the outskirts of the village.
He told the Indians, as they gathered
threateningly about him, that he had
crossed the great waters, and was a mes
senger from the Great Spirit sent to teach
them the true worship. They listened,
but did not believe his word ; and, think
ing that his object was to take their lands
from him, they determined to destroy the
intruder. With the genuine nature of
Indians, they chose the night for the pur
pose, and, with their tomahawks in their
hands, groped their way to the good man s
tent. As they lifted its folds, and were
stealing in with cautious steps, they saw

* They migrated to North Carolina, thence to Ohio, and
were finally removed to the " Indian reservation" in Kansas,
where they now remain, in charge of Quakers.

t Count NICHOLAS Louis ZINZENDORF, the restorer of
the sect of Moravians, was born at Dresden, in 1700. He
was son of the elector of Saxony s chamberlain; and was
educated at Halle and Wittenberg. He early manifested an
enthusiastic turn of mind with respect to religious concerns.
In 1721, having given an asylum on his estate to some of
the persecuted Moravian brethren, he espoused their doc
trines, and became the head of their church. To spread
those doctrines, and procure toleration for the professors of
them, he travelled over a large part of continental Europe,
visited England, and made two voyages to America. He
died in 1760. The Moravians, and their head, were long
the subject of many gross calumnies, from which, however,
their meritorious conduct has amply vindicated them. Cy
clopaedia of Biography.



REVOLUTIONARY.] COUNT ZINDENDORF. MASSACRE OF WHITES.



651



Zinzendorf seated upon a bundle of reeds
which he had cut from the margin of the
river, and writing in a book before him.
At that moment a huge rattlesnake, which
had been enlivened by the warmth of the
fire that the count had lighted, came out
of the hollow of a tree, and crawled over
his feet, apparently without his being con
scious of it. The deadly purpose of the
savages was at once arrested ; and, believ
ing that their visiter was under the pro
tection and truly a messenger of the Great
Spirit, they stole quietly back to the vil
lage, and told of the wonder which they
had beheld. This secured a favorable re
ception for Zinzendorf among the Dela-
wares j and the Moravians date their suc
cess as missionaries among the Indians
from this event.

Other white visiters, however, soon
came, with very different objects from
those of the benevolent Zinzendorf. In
1750, a band of shrewd New-Englanders
crossed the mountains, and, gazing from
the summits of the surrounding hills upon
the fertile valley of Wyoming, were at
once impressed with the advantages it
offered for a profitable enterprise. On
contrasting the rugged hills of their na
tive Connecticut with the fat lands which
had gladdened their eyes from the mount
ain-tops of the Susquehanna, they became
dissatisfied with their home, and deter
mined to emigrate. The " Susquehanna
Company" was accordingly formed, for
the purpose of trading with the Dela-
wares for their beautiful valley, and ma
king arrangements for the proposed set
tlement. The Indians were readily per
suaded to part with " delightful Wyoming"



for the sum of " two thousand pounds of
current money of the province of New
York."

It was not, however, till the year 1762,
after the close of the French War, that
the New-Englanders took possession of
their purchase, when some two hundred
men entered the valley, and commenced
clearing farms. They had cut down the
timber, built their log-houses, and, before
the winter frosts set in, had sown broad
fields with wheat. They now concealed
their implements of husbandry, that they
might be secure from the depredations
of the Indians, who still preserved their
villages in the valley, and returned to
pass the winter in Connecticut. In the
spring of 1763 they came back with their
wives and their children* their cattle and
their household furniture, intending to
make Wyoming their permanent home.

The season had been favorable ; their
crops had proved abundant, and the set
tlers were looking forward with hope to
a life of peace and happiness, when sud
denly a large party of their savage neigh
bors burst upon them with a loud war-
whoop, and began an indiscriminate mas
sacre. Twenty fell at the first attack,
and the rest of the white settlers fled in
fright to the mountains. The Indians,
fearful that they would suffer a severe
retribution from the hands of the whites,
disappeared altogether from the valley ;
when again, after an interval of six years,
another hardy band of settlers came from
Connecticut. There were no longer any
red men to oppose them, but some hardly
less savage whites now disputed posses
sion of the valley.



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART IT.



A Pennsylvania company, in the mean
while, had prevailed upon the Indians to
sell their land over again, and repudiate the
purchase of theNew-Englanders. Accord
ingly, when forty of the latter, under the
authority of the Susquehanna Company,
came to take possession of Wyoming, they
found a formidable number of represen
tatives of the rival association prepared
to dispute it with them. A fight ensued,
and the " Yankees" were driven off; but,
coming back with a reinforcement, they
fi nally, after a prolonged struggle,succeed-
ed in securing possession of the ground.
The dispute, however, still remained un
decided, when the breaking out of the
Revolutionary War diverted the inhabit
ants of the valley from their own quarrel
to that with Great Britain.

The people, with prompt patriotism,
eagerly came forward to sustain the cause
of liberty. Two companies, of eighty-two
men each, were raised in the town of
Westmoreland, as the chief settlement in
the valley of Wyoming was called. These
readily obeyed the summons of Congress
to join Washington, and aid in fighting
the battles of the country. They were
with the continental army in its camp at
Brunswick, when their homes on the Sus
quehanna were threatened with devasta
tion by the savage allies of the British.
Letters came from aged fathers, mothers,
from wives and sisters, urging their nat
ural protectors to hasten to the defence
of all they loved. The summons was
heard, but could not be obeyed. The
men begged for permission to leave the
army, and go to Wyoming, but were re
fused. Congress and their own state of



Connecticut were appealed to, but in vain.
At the last moment, some twenty men,
willing to risk all, deserted, and five com
missioned officers resigned, and hastened
to Wyoming, with the sad foreboding that
they might be too late, and even power
less if in time, to avert from their beloved
vale the impending blow, but determined
to share the common peril with their kin
dred.

Colonel Zebulon Butler, a continental
officer, had been successful in his appli
cation for leave of absence from the army,
and, being chosen leader, now prepared
to make every resistance which the val
ley with its diminished population was
capable of. On each side of the Susque
hanna were several old forts, rudely con
structed of logs. The principal one on
the west, about two miles above Wilkes-
barre, was " Fort Forty," so called from
having been raised by the forty pioneers
who came into the valley in 1769. This
had been strengthened when the Revo
lutionary War began, and blockhouses
were now added to it, to shelter the wo
men and children when forced to seek
refuge from the enemy.

Colonel Zebulon Butler now mustered
all the force that he could gather. This
amounted but "to two hundred and thirty
enrolled men and seventy old people
boys, civil magistrates, and other volun
teers." Most of the able-bodied men were
with Washington s army, and those who
had been left in the valley were the few
whose labor w r as necessary to cultivate
the land ; while the rest of the male in
habitants were the aged and the sick.
They all now came forward in the urgen-



REVOLUTIONARY.] WYOMING INVADED BY TORIES AND INDIANS.



653



cy of danger. The strong men abandoned
the fields ; the old men and the feeble
left their retreats beneath the sweet
shades of the honeysuckled porch; the
boys played no longer about the school-
house. Age, youth, and sickness, were
nerved to unusual vigor ; and every one,
with musket on his shoulder, prepared to
strike a blow for the defence of his home.

While the men were being drilled from
morning till night at the fort, the \vomen
and the girls cheerfully went forth into
the fields to plant seed, make hay, or gar-
iier corn. They also bore a share in the
military preparations. A " pounder" was
brought into the settlement; "and the
women took up their .floors, dug out the
earth, put it in casks, and run water
through it (as ashes are leached); then
took ashes in another cask, and made
lye ; mixed the water from the earth with
weak lye, boiled it, set it to cool, and the
saltpetre rose to the top. Charcoal and
sulphur were then used, and powder pro
duced for the public defence."*

The expected foe finally approached.
On the last day of June, 1778, Colonel
John Butler, a tory of Tryon county, in
New York, an ally of Sir William and Sir
Guy Johnson, and like them famous as a
leader of the Indians, entered the head
of the valley of Wyoming. The force
with him numbered about eleven hun
dred men, and was composed of the But
ler Rangers, a detachment of Johnson s
Royal Greens, and about six hundred In
dians, led on by Encingcrachtan., a chief of
the " Turtle" tribe of the Senecas. Among
Butler s troops were some tories who be-

* Miner s History.



longed to Wyoming valley, and who, hav
ing been driven away from their homes,
burned to revenge themselves upon the
patriots, although they had been their old
neighbors, and among them were their
kindred.

At the head of the valley there were
still some settlers left who clung to the
tory interests ; and as soon as Butler pre
sented himself, his plans were facilitated
by their connivance. Fort Wintermost
was in the control of a family of that
name, who, being loyalists, did not hesi
tate to yield it up at once ; while another
fort was forced to surrender. Butler then
sent a summons to Fort Forty, which the
resolute patriots who held it answered by
a prompt refusal.

As soon as the enemy had entered the
valley, Colonel Zebulon Butler mustered
alt his force at the fort, where the settlers
had fled for refuge. The summons to sur
render having been refused, a council was
held, to consider what next was to be
done. The majority were for marching
out against the foe, and giving them bat
tle at once. Butler and some of the old
er officers were in favor of delay, in the
hope that some reinforcements which they
had urgently entreated might be sent to
their aid, would arrive. The impatience
of the rest, however, could not be con
trolled ; and Colonel Butler, though still
opposed to the march, mounted his horse,
exclaiming, "I tell you we go into great
danger, but I can go as far as any of you !"
and led forth his meager band of "three
hundred men, old men, and boys." They
set out on their march at three
o clock in the afternoon ; and, as



65 t



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



they advanced toward the head of the val
ley, they saw Fort Wintermost in flames,
which had been set on fire by the enemy,
to give the impression that they were re
tiring.

The colonel pushed on until he came
w r ithin sight of the enemy, posted on a
plain between the river Susquehanna and
a marsh, when, selecting his ground, he
drew up his little force. On the right of
"Indian Butler" (as lie was called, to dis
tinguish him from the commander of the
patriots) were his savage allies and the
tories of Wyoming, while on his left were
his own Rangers and Johnson s Royal
Greens. The patriot Butler formed his
line of the same extent, directly opposite,
posting his right near the river, and his
left, under Colonel Denison, toward the
marsh.

" Men, yonder is the enemy !" exclaim
ed the patriot colonel. " We come out
to fight, not only for liberty, but for life
itself; and, what is dearer, to preserve
our homes from conflagration, and our
women and children from the tomahawk.
Stand firm the first shock, and the Indi
ans will give way. Every man to his
duty!" "Be firm! everything depends
on resistingthe first shock," repeated Colo
nel Denison on the left : and the whole
line was ordered to fire, and at each dis
charge to advance a step.

The men behaved themselves with cool
ness, and kept up the fire steadily and
with such effect, that at one moment the
enemy appeared to waver; but the Indi
ans now came to their rescue. These sav
ages plunged into the morass, to turn the
left flank of the patriots ; while others,



[PART n.

skulking behind the bushes and the pine-
trees which grew near the river, kept up
a galling fire on the right. Colonel Deni
son strove to prevent the Indians from
outflanking him, and ordered the left wing
to fall back, that it might present a front
to them. His raw militia, however, mis
understood the order, and began to re
treat. "Don t leave me, my children,"
cried their colonel, " and the victory is
ours !" But it was too late. The great
est confusion prevailed, and the patriots
finally turned and fled in all directions,
with the savages in fierce pursuit. Few
escaped the merciless tomahawk; no quar
ter was shown, and many of those taken
prisoners were put to d^eath with cruel
tortures.

The Indians counted two hundred and
twenty-seven scalps as their barbarous
trophies of the day, and only spared the
lives of five of the captives, who were
saved with the greatest difficulty by the
interposition of their white leader, Butler.
Great as were the horrors of the massa



Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 84 of 126)