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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 IX. — Virginia Sends an Expedition Against the Western Indians, and Conquers Southern Illinois.

THE erection of Forts M'Intosh and Laurens, on the banks of the Beaver and the Tuscarawas rivers, demonstrated to the Indians that they would be held accountable for their actions. But a more important military movement, one which has had a permanent and predominant influence on the history of the West, was originated in the year 1778. Western Virginia having suffered dreadfully from the inroads of the Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes, General George Rogers Clarke was commissioned by the State authorities to invade the country of the Illinois. His enterprise, courage, and tact, would not have been derogatory to a Hannibal. He descended the western slope of the Alleghanies by the River Kenawha, which was his point of rendezvous, with a force not exceeding 200 men. The fort, at this point, was then invested by Indians, whom he successfully routed, with the loss of only one man. His next object of attack was Kaskaskia, from which he was separated by a wilderness of 1000 miles in extent. But he had a force of picked men, whom no lack of means could discourage, and whose heroic ardor no opposition of natural impediments could dampen. Descending the Ohio to its falls, he erected a small fort on Corn Island, in their vicinity, which he garrisoned with a few men, and then continued his course down the river to within sixty miles of its mouth, where he landed his men, and, with only four days' provisions, commenced his march across the wilderness to the Illinois country. He was six days in reaching Kaskaskia, during two of which his little army was destitute of provisions. Reaching the town at midnight, and finding the garrison and inhabitants asleep, he carried it by surprise, taking the commandant, Rocheblave, prisoner, whom he immediately sent under guard to Richmond, together with important letters and papers, implicating persons in power. The fort was found to be sufficiently strong to have been defended against a force of one thousand men. The following day, finding horses in the vicinity, General Clarke mounted about thirty of his men, under Captain Bowman, and sent them against the upper towns on the banks of the Mississippi. They took possession of the French towns and villages, as high up as Cahokia; and, in the course of three days thereafter, no less than 300 of the French inhabitants took the oath of allegiance to the American government. Leaving a

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garrison at Kaskaskia, General Clarke then proceeded across the country to Vincennes, on the Wabash, which he also surprised and captured. This post was in the heart of the Miami country, which had been the seat of French trade, and had, according to Mr. Law, 394 been established as a mission in 1710. Its importance was so much felt by Governor Hamilton, of Detroit, that he suddenly mustered a force, and recaptured the place. General Clarke, who was at Point Pleasant, on hearing of this, although it was then winter, determined to retake the post, and, with a resolute party of men, who, during their march, frequently waded through water breast high, executed his purpose; also making Hamilton prisoner. This man was a rough, bad-tempered, and cruel officer, who had excited the ire of the Indians by his malignancy. 395

The effect of these movements on the mass of the Indians was more important in a political view than it appeared to be. Kaskaskia and Vincennes had been mere outposts to Detroit, which was a depot for the prisoners taken by the Indians, and where they received the rewards for the scalps they brought in.

The effect upon the Delaware Nation of the operations during this year, of which Fort Pitt was the centre, was to promote the conclusion of a treaty of peace, which was signed, on the 17th of September, 1778. 396 by the chiefs Koquathaheelon, or White Eyes, Pipe, and Kellbuck, before Generals Andrew and Thomas Lewis. This was the first of a long list of treaties with the Indian tribes, in which the nations, when pressed by war, sometimes made a virtue of necessity, and conceded points which, on some occasions, the want of popular support, and again, the lack of power in their governments, did not enable them to comply with, although the aboriginal delegates who gave their assent to them did so with full integrity of purpose. It is certain that the Delaware Nation was soon after engaged in hostilities against the United States; for, besides the recognition of this fact by the treaty of Fort M'Intosh, dated June 21st, 1785, 397 a supplementary article to that treaty provided that the chiefs Kelelamand, White Eyes, and one or two other persons of note, who took up the hatchet for the United States, should be received back into the Delaware Nation, and reinstated in all their original rights, without any prejudice.

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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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