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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
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Chapter IX. — Lord Dunmore's Expedition to the Scioto Against the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, and Mingoes. Incident of Logan.

THE peace concluded with the Indians, influenced as they were by the presence of large armies, and compelled thereto by the force of circumstances, not being consonant to their feelings, exercised only a temporary restraint upon their actions. Canada having submitted to the British arms, they had no longer their ancient ally to rest on, and they had finally submitted, in 1764, to a power they could not continue to oppose; assuming the garb of peace, and breathing words of submission, while their hearts still glowed with their native predilection for war and plunder. The fire was merely smothered. This state of quasi amity and friendship continued for several years subsequent to the expeditions of Bradstreet and Bouquet. These expeditions had, however, been the means of making geographical explorations, which had developed districts of country so inviting in all their natural characteristics, the alluvions, called "bottoms," possessing a deep and fertile soil, surrounded by sylvan scenery of an enchanting character, that the desire for their acquisition by an agricultural people, became equally ardent and absorbing. The Indians were very soon regarded as a mere incumbrance on the land, and life was freely ventured in its acquisition.

The project for the settlement of Kentucky originated in 1773. A resolution was formed to make the attempt early the following spring, notwithstanding it was occupied by Indians, who had committed some mischief, and were suspected of hostile intentions. The mouth of the Little Kenawha was selected as the place of rendezvous. Reports of a very alarming nature deterred several persons from joining in the attempt. About eighty or ninety fearless and enterprising men met at the rendezvous, amongst whom was George Eodgers Clarke, the future conqueror of Illinois. The explorers remained encamped at this point for several days, during which time, a small party of hunters, who had gone out to obtain supplies of meat for the camp, were fired on, at a point on the Ohio below their camp. This act betokened a state of hostile feeling among the Indians. It being deemed necessary to select a commander, Captain Michael Cresap was chosen, who had acquired a reputation the previous year, and who, was known to he then on the Ohio, above, with a party. They had purposed attacking a Shawnee

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town, located on the Scioto river, at a place called Horsehead Bottom; but Cresap opposed it, on the ground that, although appearances on the part of the Indians were very suspicious, there was no open war, and that, being yet early in the spring, it was most prudent to await further developements. This advice was followed, and the whole party accompanied him up the river to Wheeling, 325 at which place they established their headquarters. The numbers of the armed explorers were quickly augmented by the surrounding settlers; a fort was erected, and, after some negotiations with the commander, at Pittsburg, acting under the authority of Lord Dunmore, the existence of a state of war was publicly announced.

This period of Indian history requires a moment's further attention, as a war with the Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes was on the point of commencing. A foul deed was committed a few days subsequently, by some reckless and unprincipled traders, or vandal scouts, who, according to Colonel Sparks, 326 unknown to Cresap, stole on Logan's lodge, and cruelly murdered his family. This crime introduced on the scene of action the celebrated chieftain, Logan, whose misfortunes have excited wide-spread sympathy, and whose simple eloquence has electrified the world.

Logan was born at Shamoken, on the Susquehanna, a spot whose precincts have been hallowed by the good deeds of the benevolent Count Zinzendorf and his followers, who there founded the mission of Bethlehem. 327 Logan's father, whose name was Shikelimo, was an Iroquois, of the Cayuga tribe. 328 The murder of his family and his relations, on the Ohio, in 1774, was not the result of the expedition from Virginia, which has just been described, but was attributable to the inordinate desire for acquisition, on the one part, and of exasperation of the races on the other, which has so long characterized the Indian trade on remote sections of the frontiers. The event occurred two days after the final decision at Wheeling, 329 and at a time when uncommonly great excitement existed between the Indians and the whites. Two canoes from the west bank of the Ohio stopped at a trader's station, at the mouth of Yellow river, some twenty miles below Wheeling. There is no evidence that the armed frontiersmen at the station knew that either Logan's wife, sister, or any relative of his, was among the number of these trading visitors, and the atrocious act must be regarded as a result of the then prevalent and rancorous hatred of the Indian race. The victims were shot down in their canoes, while crossing the Ohio, not because they were obnoxious as individuals; not because they were of the family of Logan; but simply on account of their affinity with the wild Turanian race. 330 Such is the generally acknowledged version of this base

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transaction. Colonel Sparks, while exonerating Cresap from complicity in this dark transaction, either personally, or through any orders or permission given to his men, reveals an entirely new feature in the case. No member of Logan's family was in the two canoes which stopped at Baker's Bottom; but they were killed in Logan's own lodge, on Mingo Bottom, during his absence on a hunting excursion. The cowardly deed was done by some of Cresap's men, who had stolen away from his camp, contrary to his wishes, while he was journeying from Wheeling to Pittsburg, and against his express orders, which were, to respect Logan's residence, and not to attack it. Not only was this so, but, when Cresap heard the firing, he immediately ran in the direction whence the sounds proceeded, and interposed his authority to stop the massacre. 331 There is also another misstatement which requires correction. The pusillanimous attack on the canoes at Yellow Creek was not committed by the men of Cresap's command, then on the Ohio, far less by Cresap himself, or by his orders. On the contrary, not only was Cresap a brave and worthy man, distinguished for his services in the Indian wars of that period, as well as during that of the Revolution, which succeeded it, 332 but he was also a friend of Logan, and, according to George Rodgers Clarke, opposed an attack on Logan's house, at Mingo Bottom. 333 In this exoneration of Cresap, Colonel Sparks, who was a private in Lord Dunmore's army, at the date of the delivery of Logan's speech, in Camp Charlotte, on the Scioto, concurs. 334

The force congregated at Wheeling soon became engaged in a struggle with the Indians. A day or two after their arrival at that place, some canoes containing Indians were discovered descending the river, under shelter of the island. They were pursued for fifteen miles, when a battle ensued, in which a few men were killed and wounded on each side. Hostilities having thus commenced, the entire country soon swarmed with armed Indians; and the settlers, to ensure their own safety, were compelled to huddle together in block houses.

An express was despatched to Governor Dunmore, at Williamsburg, with information as to the position of affairs on the frontiers. The legislature being then in session, measures were at once adopted for repelling the Indians. Early in the month of June, a force of 400 men, collected in eastern Virginia, reached Wheeling, whence they descended the river to the Indian town of Wappatomica, but without effecting anything, as the town was deserted, and the Indians had fled. In this expedition, the men suffered much for want of food; the Indians were not intimidated. After various manoeuverings, and much countermarching, during which several Indian towns were burned, and a few men killed, Indian subtlety proving more than a match for English discipline and rash confidence, the army returned to Wheeling, and was disbanded.

A more formidable expedition, however, was organized at the seat of the Virginia

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government, of which Governor Dunmore announced his determination to assume the command. By the 1st of September, a force, numbering from 1000 to 1200 men, was organized, under the immediate command of General Andrew Lewis. After marching nineteen days through the wilderness, General Lewis reached Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kenawha, where he was to have been joined by Dunmore; but, instead thereof, he received despatches from him, changing the plan of operations, and directing him to proceed to the Scioto river. While preparing to comply with this order, his camp was suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a body of Shawnees and their allies, led on by the Shawnee chief, Monusk, or Cornstalk, and a fiercely-contested battle ensued. The Indians exhibited great daring, rushing to the encounter with a boldness and fury which has seldom been equalled, and accompanying their onslaught with tremendous noise and shouting. Colonels Lewis and Fleming were killed, and the troops were obliged to give ground for a time; but a reinforcement being ordered up, the Indians were, in turn, compelled to fall back. The battle raged from eleven o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, when the natives retreated. The Indians engaged were Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, and Mingoes. 335 Among the leaders of the latter was the celebrated Tah-ga-yu-ta, or Logan, whose eloquence has thrilled so many hearts. The Virginians acknowledge a loss of 150 men, and the Indians are estimated to have lost 200 warriors. Indian history nowhere records such an obstinately contested battle. The loss of the Virginians would have been much greater, had they not adopted the system of the natives, darting from tree to tree with the spring of a cougar, and taking aim with the precision of woodsmen and hunters.

Having properly interred the dead, and erected and garrisoned a temporary fort, General Lewis moved forward to the Scioto; but, in the meantime, Lord Dunmore had reached that stream by way of Pittsburg, and had established a camp, which he called Charlotte, at the mouth of a small stream, known as the Sippi. 336 At this camp, the Indians were collected, and a treaty of amity was concluded. In the council, Cornstalk spoke with a manly tone and demeanor, which excited remark; all the tribes which had been engaged in the battle, were there represented, except the Mingoes. 337 The latter, being under the influence of Logan, who had entered into this war with the most revengeful feelings, were restrained by him from coming forward. Lord Dunmore sent for the chief; but he declined attending, and transmitted to him the noted speech, 338 which has given to his name a literary immortality.

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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:
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