NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

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


Previous section

Next section

Chapter V. — Termination of the Siege of Fort Stanwix.

THE siege of Fort Stanwix was prosecuted during sixteen days after the 1777 battle of Oriskany. There appearing to be no further prospect of relief from the militia, it was resolved to send information of the condition of the fortress to the commandant of the army at Saratoga. Colonel Willet volunteered, with a single companion, to undertake this perilous duty. Creeping through the closely-guarded Indian lines, at night, he picked his way through woods and unfrequented paths to Fort Dayton (now Herkimer), whence he proceeded to Saratoga. General Schuyler immediately ordered Arnold, with a detachment of 900 men, and two pieces of artillery, to march to its relief. But before this force reached its destination, an apparently trivial circumstance caused St. Leger to break up his encampment, and suddenly retreat. Among a company of tories who had been captured, one night, in an unlawful assembly at Little Falls, was one Hon Yost, a Mohawk half-breed, who had, with others, including the noted Butler, been condemned to death by a court-martial. When Arnold arrived at Fort Dayton, the mother of this man, who was a simpleton, but on this account regarded with more favor by the Indians, besought him, with piteous supplications, to avert his doom. Arnold was at first inexorable; but eventually said, that if Hon Yost would, in glowing terms, announce his approach, in St. Leger's camp before Fort Stanwix, he would grant him a reprieve from the gallows. The event proved Arnold's sagacity. Hon Yost represented to St. Leger that he had narrowly escaped, and had been hotly pursued; in proof of which assertion he exhibited his coat, that he had hung up, fired at, and perforated with bullet-holes. He exaggerated the force of Arnold's detachment in every particular, and, as he spoke Mohawk fluently, he advised the whole Indian force to fly instantly. A perfect panic prevailed. The morning after his arrival, which was the 22d of August, the men on the ramparts of the fort beheld, with surprise, a sudden movement in the enemy's camp. Not only were the Indians in full retreat, but also St. Leger, Sir John Johnson, and Brant, with all their host of Indians and tories. The tents were left standing, and the whole train of artillery, including the mortars, was abandoned. The following day General Arnold marched into the fort, with General Larned of the Massachusetts line, and was

-- 291 --

received with salutes and huzzas. During twenty-one days had the siege been closely maintained, and as closely contested. The firmness and endurance of the garrison excited admiration throughout the country, and imparted new spirits to the friends of the Revolution, who had been so recently depressed by Burgoyne's invasion. It was the first of a series of victories, beginning in the most gloomy period of the contest, the year 1777. When the smoke of the Revolution cleared away, and memory reverted back to the times that tried men's souls, the site of this fort was named, and has since been called, ROME, 376 in allusion to the bravery of its defence.

This triumph was followed, in October, by the surrender of Burgoyne. Early the following year, on the 6th of February, France joined the colonies, entering into a treaty of amity, commerce, and alliance with them, and, from this moment, the success of the patriots was no longer problematical.

-- 292 --

Previous section

Next section


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
Powered by PhiloLogic