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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter VIII. — Peace Cconcluded with the Delawares, Shawnees, Miamies, Weas, Piankshaws, and Mingoes, or Trans-Ohio Members of the Six Nations in the West.

THE plan of Sir Jeffrey Amherst to bring the western Indians to terms, after the final conquest of Canada, was well devised. Had he directed but a single operation against them, both the southwestern and northwestern tribes would have united to oppose it; but, by sending a respectable and controlling force, under Bradstreet, to the northwest, through the great lakes, to Detroit, and, at the same time, another under Bouquet, from the present site of Pittsburg to the Tuscarawas and the Muskingum, against the tribes of the southwest, he effectually divided their force, and demonstrated to them the power and energy of the government claiming their submission, whose military prowess had caused the time-honored French flag to be struck at Quebec, Montreal, Niagara, and Du Quesne. His successor, General Gage, merely carried out this plan, but, if we may credit the testimony of a cotemporary officer, without much appreciation of the necessary precision in his orders. 322

The offer of terms of peace, to the Shawnees and other southwestern tribes, dubiously represented in the month of August, 1764, as made by Colonel Bradstreet while on his way to Detroit, was deemed to be a vainglorious assumption of power by the other officers in the field, and an unnecessary interference with the civic duties of Sir William Johnson. But his ardor and promptitude as a commander created a very favorable impression on the Indians in the region of the lakes; and his expedition to that, then remote point, inaugurated one of the soundest features of the British Indian policy.

Bradstreet did not leave Detroit until the 14th of September, 323 and on the 18th he reached Sandusky Bay, where he detached a party with orders to destroy a settlement of Mohicans in that vicinity, under Mohigan John; but the Indians eluded them. Single delegates from the Delawares, Shawnees, and Scioto-Iroquois, accompanied by a Tuscarora Indian, here met him, and made statements which, it is conceived, were not entitled to any weight, but were dictated by the spirit of Indian subtlety, which anticipated coming evil. He then proceeded with his army to Upper Sandusky, where

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a Wyandot village had been destroyed the previous year by Captain Dalzell. Here he received letters from General Gage, disapproving of his offers of peace to the Delawares and Shawnees. He had been directed to attack the Wyandots of Sandusky, and also the Delawares and Shawnees, then residing on the Muskingum and Scioto. The route to the former river, he was correctly informed, was up the Cuyahoga; and to the latter up the Sandusky. Both the carrying places were stated to be short, and the choice of either was left to him. But on making trial of the Sandusky, the water appeared to be too low, and his guides led him to think that, from the shortness of the portage, his provisions could be transported on men's shoulders. The portage between the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas fork of the Muskingum, was found to be, at that season, equally impracticable. In this dilemma, and to enable him to act as a check on the Delawares and Shawnees, against whom Bouquet was marching, Bradsteet determined to encamp on the Sandusky Portage. He opened a communication with Colonel Bouquet, who was advancing from Pittsburg, at the head of his army; and, by occupying this position he likewise exerted a favorable influence toward concluding a general peace with the western Indians, which effect resulted from that movement. From Indians who visited his camp he learned, that the Delawares and Shawnees were already tired of the war, and sought to make a peace on the best terms they could obtain. They were the more anxious on this point, because of the threat of the Six Nations, who were strongly in the English interest, to make war on them. To them, such a war was far more to be dreaded than the English armies, for they trembled at the very mention of the Iroquois. Everything, indeed, foreshadowed a favorable termination of the war.

Bouquet, who had attempted, in 1763, "to snatch a grace beyond the reach of art," at Brushy Run, and came near annihilation in the effort, had remained in garrison at Fort Pitt during the autumn and winter of 1763-64, where the Indians did not molest him. But experience had demonstrated that the subtlety and agility of the Indian movements, and their superior knowledge of the topographical features of the wilderness, required a degree of caution, on the march, beyond what would have been necessary in opposing civilized troops. The force destined for Bouquet reached Fort Pitt on the 17th of September, while Bradstreet was on his way from Detroit to Sandusky; but the former did not leave Fort Pitt until the 3d of October. He had under his command 1500 men, furnished with every needful supply. Having become an adept in the use of field maps, guides, and forest arts, he marched slowly and surely, his army covering a large space in the forest, and indicating great strength of purpose, as well as confidence of success. All this was observed and duly reported by Indian spies. The Indians, moreover, were aware that Bradstreet was on the Sandusky, at the head of even a larger force. To employ an Indian simile, these armies appeared like two converging clouds, which must soon overwhelm them.

On the 6th of October the army reached Beaver river, where they found a white

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man, who had escaped from the Indians. He stated that the latter were in much alarm, and those located along Bouquet's line of march had concealed themselves. On the 8th, the troops crossed the Little Beaver river, and on the 14th, encamped on the Tuscarawas. A competent observer, who visited the country in 1748, reported the number of Indian warriors in the Ohio valley, at 789. Of these there were Senecas, 163; Shawnees, 162; Wyandots, 140; Mohawks, 74; Mohicans, 15; Onondagas, 35; Cayugas, 20; Oneidas, 15; and Delawares, 165. 324 These figures would indicate an aggregate population of a fraction under 4000, and it is not probable that the number had varied much in sixteen years. While encamped on the Tuscarawas, two men arrived who had been sent by Bouquet from Fort Pitt as messengers to Colonel Bradstreet. On their return they had been captured by the Delawares, and conveyed to an Indian village, sixteen miles distant, where they were detained until the news arrived of Bouquet's advance with an army. From information subsequently received through Major Smallwood, one of the captives was finally surrendered by the Indians, a report being circulated that Bouquet was advancing to extirpate them. The effect of this news on the Indians implicated, was to determine them, with the connivance of a low-minded French trader, to massacre all the prisoners in their hands. The two messengers, however, were liberated, and commissioned to tell Colonel Bouquet, that the Shawnees and Delawares would visit him for the purpose of proposing terms of peace. Accordingly, their deputies arrived two days subsequently, and brought information that all their chiefs were assembled at the distance of about eight miles. The following day was appointed for a conference at Colonel Bouquet's tent. The first delegation which advanced comprised twenty Senecas, under the direction of their chief, Kigaschuta; next came twenty Delawares marshalled by Custaloga and Amik; and then six Shawnees, led by Keissnautchta, who appeared as the representative of several tribes. Each chief tendered a belt of wampum, accompanying its presentation by a speech, which embraced the usual subjects of Indian diplomacy; excusing what had been done during the war, placing all the censure on the rashness of their young men, promising to deliver up all their captives, soliciting a cessation of hostilities, and pledging future fidelity to their agreements.

Bouquet realized the advantage of his position, and a future day was appointed for his answer, which, when given, embraced all the points in question. He spoke to them as one having full authority; accused them of perfidy; upbraided them for having pillaged and murdered English traders; and charged them with killing four English messengers who carried a commission from the king. He also spoke to them of the audacity of their course in besieging the king's troops at Fort Pitt. The whole tone of his address was elevated, truthful, and manly. He concluded by informing them that, if they would deliver up to him all the prisoners, men, women, and children, then

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in their possession, not even excepting those who had married into the tribes, furnish them with clothing, horses, and provisions, and convey them to Fort Pitt, he would grant them peace; but, by no means, on any other terms.

He then broke up the conference, and put his army in motion for the Muskingum, it being a more central position, and one from which, if the Indians faltered in carrying out their engagements, he could the more readily direct his operations against them. While the army was encamped on the Tuscarawas, the Delawares brought in eighteen white prisoners, and also eighty small sticks, indicating the number still in their possession. The army broke ground on the Muskingum on the 25th of October, and on the 28th, Cocknawaga Peter arrived, with letters from Colonel Bradstreet. During the ensuing week the camp was a scene of continual arrivals and excitement. During the month of November, the Indians of the various tribes delivered up their captives. Such a scene was, perhaps, never before, and, certainly, has never since, been witnessed. They surrendered, of Virginians, thirty-two men and fifty-eight women and children; and of Pennsylvanians, forty-nine men and sixty-seven women and children. Major Smallwood, an officer who had been captured the previous year, near Detroit, by the Wyandots, was likewise restored to his friends. These comprised all who had escaped the war-club, the scalping-knife, and the stake; old and young were indiscriminately mingled together in the area. A solemn council ensued, at which Custaloga represented the Delawares, and Kigashuta the Senecas. The latter began:

"With this belt," (he opened the wampum) "I wipe the tears from your eyes. We deliver you these prisoners, the last of your flesh and blood with us. By this token we assemble and bury the bones of those who have been killed in this unhappy war, which the evil spirit excited us to kindle. We bury these bones deep, never more to be looked or thought on. We cover the place of burial with leaves, that it may not be seen. The Indians have been a long time standing with arms in their hands. The clouds have hung in black above us. The path between us has been shut up. But with this sacred emblem we open the road, clear, that we may travel on as our fathers did. We let in light from above to guide our steps. We hold in our hands a silver chain, which we put into yours, and which will ever remain bright, and preserve our friendship."

Similar sentiments were expressed by the other speakers, and a general cessation of hostilities resulted; the terms of pacification were agreed on, hostages were demanded and furnished, and six deputies appointed to visit Sir William Johnson. On the 18th of October, Bouquet set out on his return to Fort Pitt, which he reached on the 28th. From this point the rescued captives were sent to their respective homes. Bradstreet also returned, by way of Lake Erie, to Fort Niagara and Albany, a part of his army having marched thither by land. An effectual termination was thus put to the hostilities of the Indians against the British government, resulting from the conquest of Canada.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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