Copyright
Robert Tomes.

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

. (page 9 of 126)
Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 9 of 126)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Amusements. Death. Good Cooks and Good Eating at Headquarters. Good Morals. Arrival of Indians. While
Thunder and his Daughter Bright Lightning. Entertainment of the Savages. " Drams round." The Indians disaf
fected. The Indian Women the Cause of the Trouble. Departure of the Indians. An Occasional Delaware shows
Himself. Delawares suspected of Villany. Captain Jack and his Indian-Killers. The Captain s History. Brad-
dock s Contempt. The Consequences. Captain Jack goes off in a Huff, and all his Indian-Killers with him. Arri
val of Horses and Wagons sent by Franklin. First Appearance of Daniel Morgan on the Field of History. Daniel
and the British Officer. No Flour and Beef. A Detachment of Cavalry and Wagons ordered out for Supplies.
Braddock in a Rage. The March begun. The Hard Road. Five Miles in Two Days. Lightening the March.
Women and Baggage sent back to the Fort. Shades of Death. Arrival at Little Meadows.



THE army had had a tedious march to
Will s creek, or Fort Cumberland, as it
was now called, in honor of the British
prince. The general himself, having had
a good opportunity of seeing the absurdi
ty of the route, and, as Washington writes,
" of damning it very heartily," was deter
mined now to abandon his fine coach and
his stately progress, and submit himself
to the hard requirements of the wild
country in which he had begun his cam
paign.

Twenty-seven days had been already
consumed in the march, and there was
every prospect of a long detention now



at Fort Cumberland. The British min
isters, when they heard of the delays,
were greatly vexed. " The duke of Cum
berland," says Walpole, " who is now the
soul of the regency, is much dissatisfied
at the slowness of General Braddock, who
does not march as if he was at all impa
tient to be scalped. It is said for him that
he has had bad guides, that the roads
are exceedingly difficult, and that it was
necessary to drag as much artillery as he

does This is not the first time," adds

the malevolent gossip, " that the duke
has found that brutality did not neces
sarily constitute a general."



COLONIAL.]



CAMP AT FORT CUMBERLAND.



63



Braddock, however, was not to blame
for these delays, which fretted his impet
uous temper as much as they could pos
sibly have annoyed his patron the duke of
Cumberland. The general had met with
disappointment at every point and turn.
Here at the fort, where he had been prom
ised the greatest plenty of all kinds of
provisions, none that were fresh could be
obtained. The men had already marched
through an uninhabited wilderness, with
out anything but salted meat, and there
was every reason to fear that their health
would suffer in consequence. The gen
eral did all in his power to remedy these
deficiencies by offering large rewards and
lending money out of his own pocket to
several people, in order to enable them
to provide the camp. By these means
some supplies were procured, but not in
sufficient abundance to satisfy their wants.

The artillery, after being; de-
May 20, J

tamed at Alexandria a whole

fortnight, awaiting wagons and horses,
now came in, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Gage. The party,
which was accompanied by the naval de
tachment of seamen, had suffered greatly
on the route. They had been often with
out provisions for themselves and fodder
for their horses. The men, worn out with
hauling the guns over "prodigious mount
ains," and exposed to the fitful changes
of the spring weather, now suffering from
the sultry heat and again from the damp
cold and heavy dews, became ill, and
some so disabled, that they were obliged
to be left on the route. They found lit
tle encouragement from the various semi-
barbarous frontiersmen at whose losr-



houses and forts they stopped on their
march. There was " one Cressop, a rattle
snake colonel and a d d rascal," whom

they had a particular reason for remem
bering for his roguery and ill service.

The forces were now all collected at
Fort Cumberland. There were the two
regiments sent out from England, com
posed of a few hundred more than their
original strength of a thousand, but not
up to their full complement of fifteen
hundred, as the expected recruits from
Maryland and Virginia had not been ob
tained. There was the troop of Virginia
light>horse ; the two independent compa
nies from New York, under Captain Ho
ratio Gates ; two companies of " hatchet-
men," or pioneers ; a company of guides ;
the detachment of sailors, and a few In
dians, making in all about two thousand
men.

The British officers, with their set no
tions about military order and appear
ance, were not very well pleased with the
looks of the provincials. They had been
submitted to a systematic drill. Ensign
Allen, their drill-master, "had taken great
pains with them, and they performed
their evolutions and firings as well as
could be expected ; but their languid,
spiritless, and unsoldier-like appearance,
considered with the lowness and igno
rance of most of their officers, gave little
hopes of their future good behavior."
Their " future good behavior," however,
was such as to put to the blush the boast
ed superiority of the regulars, and to
prove how little they deserved this con
tempt, which was common to British gen
eral and British subaltern.



G4



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i



Braddock shared in this depreciation
of the provincial soldier, and wrote : "The
American troops have little courage or
good will. I expect from them almost
no military service, though I have em
ployed the best officers to drill them."
lie became so rude in his denunciations
of the provincials, that Washington s pa
triotism was wounded, and he warmly
took up the defence of his countrymen.
He, however, gave up the general, as of
impracticable obstinacy and prejudice,
and as one who was " incapable of argu
ing without warmth, or giving up any
point he had asserted, be it ever so incom
patible with reason or common sense."

Doubtless the provincial troops did ap
pear, during these comparatively holyday
tunes at Fort Cumberland, to great dis
advantage with the British regulars. Du
ring the compulsory detention here, Brad-
dock had a fine opportunity of displaying
some of his London-park tactics, and even
Washington was struck with admiration
at the effective show and strict discipline
of the British grenadiers. The general
himself kept up considerable state. He
held a daily levee at his tent every morn
ing from ten to eleven o clock, and ex
pected his. various officers to present
themselves in full uniform. The camp
was arranged on the most approved prin
ciples of military art, and the strictest
system and most regular order every
where established. The troops were dai
ly exercised and submitted to the seve
rest discipline. None of the usual cere
monies were omitted, but all as strictly
celebrated as if the troops had been sta
tioned under the Tower-guns at London,



instead of being encamped in a wilder
ness.

A Cap tain Bromley dies, and his funeral
takes place, with every detail of military
order and respect, notwithstanding the
discomforts of the camp on "an exces
sively hot day." A captain s guard march
ed before the corpse, with the captain of
it in the rear, the firelocks reversed, and
the drums beating "The Dead March."
On coming near the grave, the guard
formed two lines, facing each other, rest
ing OR their arms with the muzzles down
ward, and leaning on the butts of their
muskets. The body, with the sword and
sash of the dead captain on the coffin,
was now carried between the two lines
of soldiers, and followed by the officers,
walking two and two. The chaplain, a
Mr. Philip Hughes, having read the ser
vice, the guard fired three volleys over
the grave, and marched back to the



o

camp.



There was, however, with all this strict-
ness of discipline, an effort made to keep
up the spirits of the camp by occasional
amusements. The young officers got up
races and hunting-parties ; and the gen
eral, who had his cooks from Europe, and
prided himself upon his kitchen, gave fre
quent invitations to dinner. There was,
however, a strict attention paid to the
morals of the troops. No sutler was al
lowed to sell more than one gill of spirits
a day to each man, and this was to be
diluted with three gills of water; and
every soldier found drunk was sent im
mediately to the guardhouse, and when
sober, next morning, received two hun
dred lashes. Theft was punished with



COLONIAL.]



INDIAN CHIEFS AND BEAUTIES.



6f>



death. Gambling was prohibited to the
non-commissioned officer and common
soldier, under a penalty of three hundred
lashes; and all lookers-on were deemed
principals, and punished the same.

Of all the Indians who had been prom
ised, only thirty as yet had arrived at the
fort. These were some chiefs and war
riors belonging to the Six Nations. There
was Monicotoha, the wise man, whose
duty it was to do all the speaking ; White
Thunder, who had " a daughter called
Bright Lightning ;" he it was who had
charge of the wampum-belts ; and there
were also Silver-Heels and Great Tree,
all potent men in their various tribes.
As soon as they arrived, the general re
ceived them at his tent, surrounded by
all his officers in full uniform, and with
his guard drawn up and presenting arms.
The interpreter was instructed to tell
the assembled chiefs that their brothers
the English, who were their old friends,
were come to assure them that every
misunderstanding that had been in for
mer times should now be buried under
that great mountain, which was throw
ing its shadow over the camp. A belt
of wampum was then passed, with still
further assurances of friendship, and the
whole concluded with " the ceremony of
drams round."

Again, on the next day, the general
had another reception of his Indian
friends, when he expressed his great sor
row at the death of the half-king, old
Tanacharisson, Washington s capricious
friend, and his desire that they should
take up the hatchet for the great king of
England, their father, against the French.
9



Presents of rings, beads, knives, and paint,
being distributed, the Indians went of^
greatly rejoicing, and, to "show they were
pleased, made a most horrible noise, dan
cing all night."

" For a time all went well," says Wash
ington Irving, whose description of the
issue we borrow; for when he once -gets
upon his favorite subject of the Indians,
his narrative becomes so charmingly pic
turesque and humorous, that we listen to
it with such delight as not to care to in
vestigate its accuracy. "The Indians
had their separate camp," writes Irving,
" where they passed half the night, sing
ing, dancing, and howling. The British
were amused by their strange ceremonies,
their savage antics, and savage decora
tions. The Indians, on the other hand,
loitered by day about the English camp,
fiercely painted and arrayed, gazing with
silent admiration at the parade of the
troops, their marchings and evolutions ;
and delighted with the horse-races, with
which the young officers recreated them
selves.

" Unluckily, the warriors had brought
their families with them to Will s creek,
and the women were even fonder than
the men of loitering about the British
camp. They were not destitute of at
tractions, for the young squaws resemble
the gipsies, having seductive forms, small
hands and feet, and soft voices. Among
those who visited the camp was one who
no doubt passed for an Indian princess.
She was the daughter of the sachem,
White Thunder, and bore the dazzling
name of Bright Lightning. The charms
of these wild-wood beauties were soon



66



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



acknowledged. The squaws/ writes Sec
retary Peters, bring in money plenty;
the officers are scandalously fond of them.

"The jealousy of the warriors was
aroused ; some of them became furious.
To prevent discord, the squaws w r ere for
bidden to come into the British camp.
This did not prevent their being sought
elseAvhere. It was ultimately found ne
cessary, for the sake of quiet, to send
Bright Lightning, with all the other wo
men and children, back to Aughquick.
White Thunder and several of the war
riors accompanied them for their protec
tion."

The Indians, for some reason or other,
never returned with their warriors in
such numbers as they had promised.
Some have blamed the general, saying
that he underrated their services. It is
probable, with his contempt for every
thing but " regular" warfare, he did ; but,
at the same time, he seems to have treat
ed his savage visitors always with great
consideration. Franklin says, " He slight
ed or neglected them, and they gradually
left him, although they might have been
of great use to his army as guides or
scouts, if he had treated them kindly."
It was not, however, so much the fault
of the general, as the treacherous char
acter of the people he had to deal with.
Some of the Indians evidently were act
ing faithlessly from the beginning, and
only coquetting with the British, to ob
tain gifts, or aAvaiting the result of the
struggle with the French, in order to
give in their adherence to the stronger.

Delaware warriors were, almost daily,
coming into the camp, with offers of ser



vice, and pretended information of the
enemy. The British officers were from
the beginning suspicious; and the out
spoken sailor, who has left a journal of
the expedition, says, " These people [the
Delawares] are villains, and always side
with the strongest." This he says just
after some of them had come into the
camp and told the general that they
would return home, collect their warriors,
and meet him on their march. Another
Delaware turns up again, with some du
bious information about Fort Du Quesne,
when our sailor declares, " I believe this
fellow is a villain, as he is a Delaware,
who never were our friends." Whatever
may have been the cause, Braddock had
never at any time over half a hundred
Indians with him, and of these only eight
were left at the close of the expedition.
The general, however, was more to
blame for another loss, that of Captain
Jack and his band of "Indian-killers."
This man was an early settler on the
frontiers of Pennsylvania, where with his
family he lived the life of an occasional
hunter and farmer. During the season
for game, he was abroad in the forest-
wilderness, with his gun upon his shoul
der, and in his leathern suit, engaged in
the chase for deer, the bear, and the fox.
He thus supplied his family with wild
meat, and gathered skins for barter at
the various trading-posts with the fur-
dealers, who supplied him in exchange
with guns, ammunition, Jamaica spirits,
and articles of food and clothing required
by himself and family. When not occu
pied in the chase, he busied himself in
cultivating the patch of cleared ground



COLONIAL.]



CAPTAIN JACK.



G7



which surrounded his rude log-house, and
planting it with potatoes and Indian corn.
Though roughened by the wild life he
led on the frontier, he had taken to him
self a wife, who had borne him several
little ones, and his independent and some
what reckless disposition was thus still in
subjection to the ties of civilization.

One day, the hunter returns, loaded
with game, in eager expectation of a
warm welcome from wife and children,
when, as he reaches the familiar spot of
his home, he finds his log-house burned
to the ground, and his family lying dead
and mangled amid the ashes ! This cruel
work he knew at once to have been that
of the ruthless savage. The rude ele
ments of the man s character now swelled
up with a violence that overmastered all
the gentler emotions, Avhich were once,
but alas ! no longer called forth, at the
soft entreaty of wife and child. He
swore revenge against the whole race of
Indians ; and, gathering about him other
frontiersmen, broken loose like himself
from the bonds of kindred and civilized
life, he commenced a career of such fierce
onslaught upon his savage enemies, that
"The Black Hunter of the Forest" for
thus he was called, from the swarthiness
of his visage was a terror from the
northern lakes to the Chesapeake.

Such was the Captain Jack, who with
his men had now offered himself to Brad-
dock, and been rejected, because forsooth
the British guardsman would not bate a
jot of his Hyde-park rules of discipline,
even in the wilderness ! Jack had made
it a condition of his services that he and
his men should not be subjected to the



May 20,



routine of military discipline. Braddock,
with an absurd obstinacy, refused compli
ance. The captain and his "Indian-kil
lers" moodily departed. The general
made a great mistake. These bold woods
men, familiar as they were with the wild
life of the borders, and the habits of the
Indians whom they even resembled in
appearance, their faces being blackened
by exposure to sun and weather, and
their garb being of the rude Indian ma
terial and make would have been the
best force to act as guides through the
forest, and as a protection against the
chances of a savage ambuscade.

The horses and wagons which, as will
be recollected, Franklin had undertaken
to supply, and had so promptly
got ready, now reached the camp,
after considerable detention on the rough
roads. There came with the wagons a
remarkable man, of whom we shall hear
more in the progress of our history of
the battles of America,. This was Daniel
Morgan, of Pennsylvania. Living a some
what reckless and dissipated life, but be
ing sufficiently well to do in the world
as to own a wagon and horses, he had
joined the expedition. He was a person
of humble position, but of high spirit;
and had hardly started in this new enter
prise, when an officer, taking advantage
of the former, had an opportunity of find^
ing out the latter. Daniel, being behind
time one day with his horses, was severe
ly reprimanded by the military gentle
man in command, to whom he answered
in terms not usually addressed in the Brit
ish army to a superior. The officer drew
his sword. Daniel brandished his whip.



68



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



The officer made a thrust. Daniel knock
ed the weapon out of his hand, and lashed
him with his w T hip. The teamster was
accordingly arrested and punished. Five
hundred lashes was the sentence ; but, as
Daniel fainted after the first four hun
dred and fifty, the last half-hundred were
remitted. Daniel has reported that the
officer subsequently acknowledged that
the fault was his own, and handsomely
apologized.

Although the wagons and horses had
arrived, they did not bring with them the
supplies of food and stores expected.
That " rattlesnake colonel" Cressop had
allowed the teams to pass his fort at Co-
negogee without sending the flour con
tracted for; and the fellow s father turned
out to be as great a rogue as the son, for,
although he had sent the beef, it was ne
cessary to bury it as soon as it reached
the camp. The father had been paid to
salt this beef, whereas the old rascal had
put it up without pickle, and in dry casks
which could never have contained any.

Without flour and beef, the general
was obliged to send thirty wagons, with
a detachment under Washington, to Win
chester, over sixty miles of mountainous
and rocky country, for a supply. Three
hundred pack-horses were also ordered
off for flour; and a troop of light-horse
to bring up the rascal Cressop from Co-
negogee, full ninety miles distant.

Braddock became every day more and
more inflamed against the provinces, and
with reason, for they all failed in their en
gagements toward him. Governor Mor
ris s secretary, Mr. Richard Peters, came
in for a large share of the general s anger,



having just arrived in camp when the
raging storm w r as at its height. Peters
asked for a guard to protect the laborers
on the road which was being made, in
accordance with Braddock s requisition,
to connect Fort Cumberland with the
high-roads of Pennsylvania, in order to se
cure a communication for reinforcements
and provisions from that province. He
would not supply guards for wood-cut
ters, not he, declared the general, with
an oath ; let Pennsylvania do it. Subse
quently, however, Braddock did do it
himself, as without his aid the road would
never have made any progress ; for the
laborers were so constantly harassed by
their fears, and occasionally by the In
dians themselves, that they hardly ven
tured to go to their work in the wilder
ness.

Everything that was done had to be
done by the general himself. It was only

/ o

after he had thus taken the work into
his own hands, that he got the necessary
supplies, and was prepared to march.
Six weeks of valuable time had been al
ready lost, in awaiting the slow and re
luctant action of the provincial govern
ments. He was again detained a month
afterward in doing what ought to have
been done long before by the colonial
authorities.

Toward the close of May, a council-of
war having been called, the plan of march
was agreed upon. The first preliminary
step was accordingly made immediately

after, by sending; a detachment

* I i * j ^ May 29,

of six hundred men, under the

command of Major Chapman, to act as
pioneers and open the way. They started



COLONIAL.]



THE HARD MARCH.



69



June 7.



at daybreak, and when night came they
had only got about two miles from the
camp, and no wonder ; for there was a
mountain in the way, the ascent and de
scent of which were almost a perpendic
ular rock. Three wagons were entirely
destroyed in the operation of getting
past this obstruction, and "many more
were extremely shattered," although three
hundred men, with a company of miners,
had been engaged several days previous
ly in making that hill passable. A pas
sage, however, was soon after discovered
through a valley by Lieutenant Spend-
lowe of the naval brigade, by which the
"great mountain" could be avoided, and
this was adopted by the general for the
march.

Sir Peter Halket was the next
to follow Major Chapman, with
his brigade, artillery, and baggage-wag
ons. Three days subsequently, Colonel
Dunbar marched with his division ; and
a few hours afterward, General
Braddock, accompanied by his
aids-de-camp, set out with the remainder
of the forces.

The general was not long in discover
ing that he had engaged in an underta
king full of difficulty and danger. The
march was over a rough country now
through a deep forest, which required to
DC cleared at every step ; and again over
mountains, which demanded all the skill
of the sailors, and the constant labor of
the soldiers, to scale with their heavy ar
tillery and baggage. Lieutenant-Colonel
Burton had ridden back to the general,
and reported that he had been two days
in marching about five miles, on a better



June 10.



road than they were to expect afterward.
This induced Braddock, on consultation
with his officers, to diminish the heavy
load with which the army was encum
bered. Two six-pounders, four cohorns,
and a considerable quantity of stores and
ammunition, were sent back to the fort,
and twenty wagons thus cleared; the load
of each man was reduced, and the horses
allowance of two hundred weight it was
found necessary to diminish one half, as
most of the animals were sorry nags, in
capable of full duty. Even the officers
determined to rid themselves of much of
their personal baggage, and, giving up
the marquees and their luxurious ap
pointments, resolved to content them
selves with the common soldier s tent and
its bare necessities. They were thus en
abled to make over their superfluous
horses for the common service. The
general himself gave up twenty, which
proves him to have had rather an exor
bitant stud. The weakest men in the
ranks, together with all the women, with
the exception of two to each company,
were also sent back to the fort.

Lightened and relieved even as they
were now, the march continued to be
exceedingly difficult and slow, and the
whole force did not reach Little Mead
ows, twenty-four miles only from Fort
Cumberland, until the 1 8th of June. D u-
ring this march, although "all possible
care was taken," the line was sometimes
extended to a length of four or five miles.
So soon came to pass what Benjamin
Franklin foretold of the army making " a
slender line nearly four miles long, which
may expose it to be attacked by surprise



70



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



on its flanks, and to be cut like thread
into several pieces, which from their dis
tance can not come up in time to sup



Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 9 of 126)