THE REVOLUTION. *Pgs. 74 – 110
**footnotes appear in blue
Patriotic Meetings—Troops sent to the Field—Military Operations under Gens. Hand and McIntosh and Col. Brodhead—Expeditions under Gen. George Rogers Clarke—Fate of Col. Lochry’s Command—The Moravian Expeditions and Massacre.
Washington County had no separate and independent organization or existence during the period of the Revolution until near the close of the great struggle for independence; and as for this very good reason the Revolutionary muster-rolls embrace no military organizations distinctively from this county, and no full regiments or companies are known to have been raised here for regular service in the Continental or Pennsylvania line, it might be inferred that the people then living within the territory that is now the county of Washington took very little, if any, part in the patriotic conflict. But such an inference would be wholly erroneous; for, besides the men who went from the then sparsely populated country west of the Monongahela to join the regiments and companies that were raised on the other side of that river, in Westmoreland County, soon after the opening of hostilities, there were also furnished from the settlements of Washington County, both before and immediately after its erection as such, many hundreds of volunteers and militiamen, who took gallant part, and did good service in the numerous expeditions that were sent from the valleys of the Monongahela and Ohio against the Indian tribes in the Northwest. These campaigns and expeditions were necessary for the protection of the frontiers against incursions and massacres by savages, incited by white renegades and the British, and sometimes led by officers of the royal army. They were as much a part of the Revolutionary conflict as were the battles of Trenton and Monmouth; and the men who took part in them were as much entitled to credit for their bravery and patriotism as were those who fought in the army of Washington on the Delaware and Brandywine.
Early in May, 1775, the tidings came across the Alleghenies that on the 19th of the preceding month a detachment of royal troops from Gen. Gage’s force at Boston had fired on the Massachusetts provincials at Lexington Common; that the yeomanry had returned the fire and harassed the retreating regulars far on their way towards the city. Thus was announced the opening of the first act in the great drama of the Revolution, and the response which it brought forth from the people west of the mountains was prompt and unmistakably patriotic.
The dispute and feud between Virginia and Pennsylvania was then at its height in this region, both States claiming and both attempting to exercise jurisdiction over the country between Laurel Hill and the Ohio; but the partisans of both provinces unhesitatingly laid aside their animosities, or held them in abeyance, and both, on the same day, held large and patriotic meetings, pledging themselves to aid to the extent of their ability the cause of the colonies against the encroachments of Britain. Prominent in the proceedings of both meetings were men from the section of country which six years later became the county of Washington, then embraced, according to the Virginia claim, in the county of Augusta of that colony, and partly, according to Pennsylvania’s claim, in her county of Westmoreland, though there was little attempt on the part of the latter at that time to exercise jurisdiction west of the Monongahela. The meeting called and held under Virginia auspices was reported as follows:
“At a meeting of the inhabitants of that part of Augusta County that lies on the west side of the Laurel Hill, at Pittsburgh, the 16th day of May, 1775, the following gentlemen were chosen a committee for the said district, viz.: George Croghan, John Campbell, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, John Canon, John McCullough, William Goe, George Vallandigham, John Gibson, Dorsey Pentecost, Edward Cook, William Crawford, Devereux Smith, John Anderson, David Rogers, Jacob Van Meter, Henry Enoch, James Ennis, George Wilson, William Vance, David Shepherd, William Elliott, Richmond Willis, Samuel Sample, John Ormsby, Richard McMaher, John Nevill, and John Swearingen.”
A standing committee was appointed, to have “full power to meet at such times as they shall judge necessary, and in case of any emergency to call the committee of this district together, and shall be vested with the same power and authority as the other standing committee and committees of correspondence are in the other counties within this colony.”
It was by the meeting “Resolved, unanimously, That this committee have the highest sense of the spirited behavior of their brethren in New England, and do most cordially approve of their opposing the invaders of American rights and privileges to the utmost extreme, and that each member of this committee respectively will animate and encourage their neighborhood to follow the brave example. . . .
“Resolved, That the recommendation of the Richmond Convention of the 20th of last March, relative to the embodying, arming, and disciplining of the militia, be immediately carried into execution with the greatest diligence in this country by the officers appointed for that end, and that the recommendation of the said convention to the several committees of this colony to collect from their constituents, in such manner as shall be most agreeable to them, so much money as shall be sufficient to purchase half a pound of gunpowder and one pound of lead, flints, and cartridge paper for every tithable person in their county be likewise carried into execution.
“This committee, therefore, out of the deepest sense of the expediency of this measure, most earnestly entreat that every member of this committee do collect from each tithable person in their several districts the sum of two shillings and sixpence, which we deem no more than sufficient for the above purpose, and give proper receipts to all such as pay the same into their hands. . . . And this committee, as your representatives, and who are most ardently laboring for your preservation, call on you, our constituents, our friends, brethren, and fellow-sufferers, in the name of God, of all you hold sacred or valuable, for the sake of your wives, children, and unborn generations, that you will every one of you, in your several stations, to the utmost of your power, assist in levying such sum, by not only paying yourselves, but by assisting those who are not at present in a condition to do so. We heartily lament the case of all such as have not this sum at command in this day of necessity; to all such we recommend to tender security to such as Providence has enabled to lend them so much; and this committee do pledge their faith and fortunes to you, their constituents, that we shall, without fee or reward, use our best endeavors to procure, with the money so collected, the ammunition our present exigencies have made so exceedingly necessary.
“As this committee has reason to believe there is a quantity of ammunition destined for this place for the purpose of government, and as this country on the west side of Laurel Hill is greatly distressed for want of ammunition, and deprived of the means of procuring it, by reason of its situation, as easy as the lower counties of this colony, they do earnestly request the committees of Frederick, Augusta, and Hampshire that they will not suffer the ammunition to pass through their counties for the purposes of government, but will secure it for the use of this destitute country, and immediately inform this committee of their having done so. Ordered, that the standing committee be directed to secure such arms and ammunition as are not employed in actual service or private property, and that they get the same repaired, and deliver them to such captains of independent companies as may make application for the same, and taking such captains’ receipt for the arms so delivered.
“Resolved, That this committee do approve of the resolution of the committee of the other part of this county relative to the cultivating a friendship with the Indians, and if any person shall be so depraved as to take the life of any Indian that may come to us in a friendly manner, we will, as one man, use our utmost endeavors to bring such offenders to condign punishment.
“Resolved, That the sum of fifteen pounds, current money, be raised by subscription, and that the same be transmitted to Robert Carter Nicholas, Esq., for the use of the deputies sent from this colony to the General Congress; which sum of money was immediately paid by the committee then present.” The delegates referred to in this resolution were John Harvie and George Rootes, who were addressed, in instructions from the committee, as “being chosen to represent the people on the west side of the Laurel Hill in the Colonial Congress for the ensuing year,” the committee then instructing them to lay certain specified grievances of the people of this section before the Congress at their first meeting, “as we conceive it highly necessary they should be redressed to put us on a footing with the rest of our brethren in the colony.”
The meeting held on the same day at the county-seat of Westmoreland was not so numerously attended by people west of the Monongahela, the greater part of the prominent men of this section considering themselves as belonging to Virginia and attending the Augusta County meeting at Pittsburgh. The Westmoreland meeting declared themselves to be
“Possessed with the most unshaken loyalty and fidelity to His Majesty King George the Third, whom we acknowledge to be our lawful and rightful king, and who we wish may long be the beloved sovereign of a free and happy people throughout the whole British Empire;” but
“Resolved, unanimously, That the Parliament of Great Britain, by several late acts, have declared the inhabitants of the Massachusetts Bay to be in rebellion, and the ministry, by endeavoring to enforce those acts, have attempted to reduce the said inhabitants to a more wretched state of slavery than ever before existed in any state or country. Not content with violating their constitutional and chartered privileges, they would strip them of the rights of humanity, exposing lives to the wanton and unpunishable sport of a licentious soldiery, and depriving them of the very means of subsistence.” They also resolved that they would oppose the oppressions of the ministry with their lives and their fortunes. “And the better to enable us to accomplish it we will immediately form ourselves into a military body, to consist of companies, to be made up out of the several townships, under the following association, which is declared to be the Association of Westmoreland County.” The objects of which Association were declared to be:
“First. To arm and form ourselves into a regiment, or regiments, and choose officers to command us, in such proportions as shall be thought necessary.
“Second. We will with alacrity endeavor to make ourselves masters of the manual, exercise, and such evolutions as may be necessary to enable us to act in a body with concert, and to that end we will meet at such times and places as shall be appointed, either for the companies or the regiment, by the officers commanding each when chosen.
“Third. That should our country be invaded by a foreign enemy, or should troops be sent from Great Britain to enforce the late arbitrary acts of its Parliament, we will cheerfully submit to military discipline, and to the utmost of our power resist and oppose them, or either of them, and will coincide with any plan that may be formed for the defense of America in general or Pennsylvania in particular.” And the meeting further resolved that when the Parliament should show a willingness to do justice to the colonies, then, and not till then, should the Association of Westmoreland County be dissolved.
About a month after the events above narrated, a small body of men who had volunteered from the frontier settlements crossed the Monongahela River and marched eastward over the mountains to join a Maryland company which was being formed under Capt. Michael Cresap for service in the provincial army. The nominal home of Capt. Cresap was at Old Town, Md., but his base of operations at that time, and for a few previous years, was at Redstone Old Fort, now Brownsville, on the Monongahela, opposite the eastern border of Washington County. Here he had a good house1 and a store, from which he traded at points below on the river. He had been engaged, and somewhat prominent, in the Indian fighting of 1774, known as Dunmore’s war, being the same Capt. Cresap to whom was (wrongfully, it now seems almost certain) charged the crime of killing the family of the Indian chief Logan. The men who now marched to join his company in Maryland are mentioned as “his old companions in arms,” and although none of their names have been preserved, there is little doubt that most, if not all of them, were from the settlements on the Monongahela, and between that river and the Ohio.
[1 The first house having “a shingle roof nailed on” that was ever built west of the mountains.]
Cresap had been in Kentucky in the spring of 1775, but being taken ill there had set out by way of the Ohio and across the mountains for his home in Maryland, where he hoped to recover his health. “On his way across the Allegheny Mountains2 he was met by a faithful friend with a message stating that he had been appointed by the Committee of Safety at Frederick a captain to command one of the two rifle companies required from Maryland by a resolution of Congress. Experienced officers and the very best men that could be procured were demanded. ‘When I communicated my business,’ says the messenger in his artless narrative, ‘and announced his appointment, instead of becoming elated he became pensive and solemn, as if his spirits were really depressed, or as if he had a presentiment that this was his death-warrant. He said he was in bad health, and his affairs in a deranged state, but that nevertheless, as the committee had selected him, and as he understood from me his father had pledged himself that he should accept of this appointment, he would go, let the consequences be what they might. He then directed me to proceed to the west side of the mountains and publish to his old companions in arms this his intention; this I did, and in a very short time collected and brought to him at his residence in Old Town [Maryland] about twenty-two as fine fellows as ever handled rifle, and most, if not all of them, completely equipped.’”
[2 Extract from “Logan and Cresap,” by Col. Brantz Mayer.]
It was in June that these men were raised and moved across the mountains to Frederick, Md., to join Cresap’s company. A letter written from that place on the 1st of the following August to a gentleman in Philadelphia said, “Notwithstanding the urgency of my business, I have been detained three days in this place by an occurrence truly agreeable. I have had the happiness of seeing Capt. Michael Cresap marching at the head of a formidable company of upwards of one hundred and thirty men from the mountains and backwoods, painted like Indians, armed with tomahawks and rifles, dressed in hunting-shirts and moccasins, and though some of them had traveled near eight hundred [?] miles from the banks of the Ohio, they seemed to walk light and easy, and not with less spirit than on the first hour of their march.” . . . They marched in August, and joined Washington’s army near Boston, where and in later campaigns they did good service. Their captain’s health growing worse he resigned and started for Maryland, but died on his way in New York in the following October. The names of the men who were recruited west of the mountains for Cresap’s company cannot be given, but there can be little doubt that most of them were his old comrades of the Dunmore war, and from the settlements between the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.
In the fall of 1775 the Seventh Virginia Regiment was recruited and organized by Col. William Crawford. This was the first considerable body of men raised in the Monongahela country for the Revolutionary service. Col. Crawford’s home was on the Youghiogheny at Stewart’s Crossing’s (now the borough of New Haven, Fayette Co.), but being an active Virginia partisan, and very popular among the Virginians west of the Monongahela,1 many of his men were recruited in what afterwards became Washington County, the remainder being largely obtained in that part of Westmoreland County which became Fayette. Crawford did not at once receive the colonelcy of the Seventh, but became its commanding officer in 1776. It was afterwards commanded by Col. John Gibson. The regiment entered the service with the Continental army in the East, and remained there for some time, but during the later years of the war served in the Western Department, with headquarters at Fort Pitt.
[1 It was the almost universal opinion among the people west of the Monongahela at that time that they were within the jurisdiction of Augusta Co., Va.]
The Thirteenth Virginia (known as the “West Augusta Regiment”) was afterwards raised, chiefly by Crawford’s efforts, in the same region of country in which the Seventh had been recruited. The Thirteenth (of which Crawford was made colonel) performed its service in the West, being stationed in detachments at Fort Pitt and other points on the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers. An extract from a letter written by Crawford to Gen. Washington,2 dated “Fredericktown, Md., February 12, 1777,” is given below because of its reference to the two regiments raised in the Monongahela country, viz.:
[2 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 62.]
“Many reasons have we to expect a war [with the Indians] this spring. The chief of the lower settlements upon the Ohio has moved off; and should both the regiments be moved away, it will greatly distress the people, as the last raised by myself [the West Augusta Regiment] was expected to be a guard for them if there was an Indian war. By the Governor of Virginia I was appointed to command that regiment at the request of the people. The conditions were that the soldiers were enlisted during the war, and if an Indian war should come on this spring they were to be continued there, as their interest was on the spot; but if there should be no Indian war in that quarter, then they were to go wherever called. On these conditions many cheerfully enlisted. The regiment, I believe, by this time is nearly made up, as five hundred and odd were made up before I came away, and the officers were recruiting very fast; but should they be ordered away before they get blankets and other necessaries, I do not see how they are to be moved; besides, the inhabitants will be in great fear under the present circumstances. Many men have already been taken from that region, so that if that regiment should march away, it will leave few or none to defend the country. There are no arms, as the chief part of the first men were armed there, which has left the place very bare; but let me be ordered anywhere, and I will go if possible. . . . . “
It seems remarkable that the sparsely-settled country west of Laurel Hill (and principally the Monongahela Valley) should have been able to furnish two full regiments3 (furnishing almost all the arms for one regiment) and put them into the field by the spring of 1777. But there had also been raised under Pennsylvania authority in what was then Westmoreland County (then including the present county of Washington) a company under Capt. Joseph Erwin. It marched to Marcus Hook, where it was incorporated with Col. Samuel Miles’ “Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment.” It was subsequently included in the Thirteenth Pennsylvania, then in the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, and was finally discharged from service at Valley Forge Jan. 1, 1778, by reason of expiration of its term of enlistment. During its period of service the company fought at Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Quibbletown (N. J.), Brandywine, and Germantown. On the roll of this company are found the names of Joseph Brownlee, John Brownlee, Andrew Bryson, Robert Heslet, Leech, Orr, and others, who either were then or afterwards became residents of Washington County.
[3 In February, 1777, Congress appropriated the sum of $20,000, “to be paid to Col. William Crawford for raising and equipping his regiment, which is part of the Virginia new levies.” It is not certain as to which of the regiments raised by Crawford this had reference, but it appears to have been the last one, the “West Augusta Regiment.”]
Under authority of a resolution of Congress dated July 15, 1776,4 was raised the Eighth Regiment of the Pennsylvania line, for the defense of the western frontier, to garrison the posts of Presque Isle, Le Bœuf, and Kittaning. One company of this regiment was raised in Bedford County, and all the remaining seven companies were recruited in the territory then comprised in Westmoreland County. On the 29th of July, 1776, Congress appointed as field-officers of this regiment Col. Eneas McKay, Lieut.-Col. George Wilson, and Maj. Richard Butler. September 22d, David McClure was elected chaplain, and Ephraim Douglass, quartermaster. Among the names of company commanders are found those of Capt. Van Swearingen and Capt. Samuel Brady, both of Washington County. Among the private soldiers Washington County family names are numerous.
[4 Journal, vol. i, pp. 411-19.]
On the 23d of November Congress directed the Board of War to order the regiment to march with all possible expedition by the nearest route “to Brunswick, N. J., or to join Gen. Washington wherever he may be.” On the 4th of November the regiment received orders to march to Amboy, N. J., whereupon Lieut.-Col. George Wilson wrote from the regimental rendezvous to Col. James Wilson as follows:
“Ketanian, Dec. 5th, 1776.
“Dr Colonall: Last Evening We Recd Marching orders, Which I must say is not Disagreeable to me under yee Sircumstances of ye times, for when I entr’d into ye Service I Judged that if a necessity appeared to call us Below it would be Don, therefore it Don’t come on me By Surprise; But as Both ye Officers and Men understood they Ware Raised for ye Defence of ye Western Frontiers, and their fameleys and substance to be Left in so Defenceless a situation in their abstence, seems to Give Sensable trouble, altho I Hope We Will Get over it, By Leving sum of ower trifeling Officers Behind who Pirtend to Have More Wit then seven men that can Rendar a Reason. We are ill Provided for a March at this season, But there is nothing Hard under sum Sircumstances. We Hope Provision Will be made for us Below, Blankets, Campe Kittles, tents, arms, Regimentals, &c., that we may not Cut a Dispisable Figure, But may be Enabled to answer ye expectation of ower Countre.
“I Have Warmly Recommended to ye officers to Lay aside all Personall Resentments at this time, for that it Would be construed By ye Worald that they made use of that Sircumstance to Hide themselves under from ye cause of their countrie, and I hope it Will have a Good Efect at this time. We Have ishued ye Neceserey orders, and appointed ye owt Parties to Randevous at Hanows Town, ye 15th instant, and to March Emeditly from there. We have Recomended it to ye Militia to Station One Hundred Men at this post until further orders. I Hope to have ye Pleasure of Seeing you Soon, as we mean to take Philadelphia in ower Rout. In ye mean time, I am, With Esteem, your Harty Wellwisher and Hble St,
“To Col. James Wilson, of the Honorable the Cont. Congress, Phila.”
Until the 5th of December, 1776, the regiment was styled in the quartermaster’s receipts “the Battalion commanded by Col. Eneas Mackay,” but at that date it is first styled “The Eighth Battalion of Penn’a troops in the Continental service,” showing that it had then been assigned to duty in the Continental line. The regiment marched from Kittaning on the 6th of January, 1777, and it and the Twelfth Pennsylvania were the first regiments of the line in the field. The next notice of it is found in the “Life of Timothy Pickering” (volume i, page 122), in the following reference to the Eighth Pennsylvania:
“March 1, 1777, Saturday.
“Dr. Putnam brought me a billet, of which the following is a copy:
“‘Dear Sir: Our Battalion is so unfortunate as not to have a Doctor, and, in my opinion, dying for want of medicine. I beg you will come down to-morrow morning and visit the sick of my company. For that favor you shall have sufficient satisfaction from your humble servant,
“‘Capt. of 8 Batt. of Pa.
“‘Quibbletown, Feb. 28, 1777.’
“I desired the Dr. by all means to visit them. They were raised about the Ohio, and had traveled near five hundred miles, as one of the soldiers who came for the Dr. informed me. For 150 miles over mountains, never entering a house, but building fires and encamping in the Snow. Considerable numbers, unused to such hardships, have since died. The Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel among the dead. The Dr. informed he found them quartered in cold shattered houses.”
Cols. Mackay and Wilson having died, Daniel Brodhead became colonel, Richard Butler lieutenant-colonel, and Stephen Bayard major. When Morgan’s rifle command was organized, Lieut.-Col. Butler was made lieutenant-colonel of it, and Maj. James Ross, of the First Pennsylvania, became lieutenant-colonel. According to a return signed by the latter, dated “Mount Pleasant, June 9, 1777,” the number of men enlisted between the 9th of August and the 16th of December, 1776, was six hundred and thirty; enlisted since the 16th of December, thirty-four; making a total of six hundred and eighty-four. The strength of the respective companies was:
Capt. David Kilgore’s Company . . 3 55
Capt. Samuel Miller’s “ . . 4 82
Capt. Van Swearingen’s “ . . 3 71
Capt. James Pigott’s “ . . 4 55
Capt. Wendel Ourry’s “ . . 4 54
Capt. Andrew Mann’s “ . . 4 58
Capt. James Montgomery’s Company . 2 57
Capt. Michael Huffnagle’s “ . 4 70
Capt. Lieut. John Finley’s “ . 2 77
Capt. Lieut. Basil Prather’s “ . 3 69
From the total thirty-six were deducted as prisoners of war, fourteen missing, fifty-one dead, fifteen discharged, one hundred and twenty-six deserted. Lieut. Matthew Jack, absent from April 13th, wounded. Ensign Gabriel Peterson, absent from April 17th, wounded. Capt. Moses Carson, deserted April 21st. First Lieut. Richard Carson, deserted. Aquila White, ensign, deserted February 23d. Joseph McDolo, first lieutenant, deserted. Thomas Forthay, ensign, deserted. Alexander Simrall, second lieutenant, cashiered. David McKee, ensign, dismissed the service. Ephraim Douglass, quartermaster, taken by the enemy, March 13th.
Capt. Van Swearingen, First Lieut. Basil Prather, and Second Lieut. John Hardin with their commands were detailed on duty with Col. Morgan, and greatly distinguished themselves in the series of actions that resulted in the surrender of Gen. Burgoyne at Saratoga. These commands consisted of picked riflemen out of all the companies of the Eighth Pennsylvania.
A return dated Nov. 1, 1777, shows the strength of the regiment present: colonel, major, two captains, six lieutenants, adjutant, paymaster and surgeon, sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant and drum-major, twenty-nine sergeants, nine drums and fifes, one hundred and twelve rank and file fit for duty; twenty-eight sick present, seventy-seven sick absent, one hundred and thirty-nine on command; total, three hundred and fifty-one. Prisoners of war, one sergeant and fifty-eight privates. Capt. Van Swearingen, Lieut. Basil Prather, and Lieut. John Hardin on command with Col. Morgan. Vacant offices: lieutenant-colonel, four captains, three lieutenants, eight ensigns, chaplain, and surgeon’s mate. Lieut.-Col. Ross resigned after the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.
On the 5th of March, 1777, the regiment was ordered to Pittsburgh for the defense of the western frontiers, and by direction of Gen. McIntosh, Col. Brodhead made, about the 12th of July, a detour up the West Branch to check the savages who were ravaging Wyoming and the West Branch Valley. He was at Muncy on the 24th of July, and had ordered Capt. Finley’s company into Penn’s Valley, where two of the latter’s soldiers, Thomas Van Doren and Jacob Shedacre, who had participated in the campaign against Burgoyne, were killed on the 24th, in sight of Potter’s fort, by the Indians. (Pennsylvania Archives, O. S., vol. vi. page 666.) Soon after, Col. Hartley with his regiment relieved Col. Brodhead, and he proceeded with the Eighth to Pittsburgh.
A monthly return of the troops commanded by Col. Brodhead in the Western Department, dated July 30, 1780, gives the strength of the Eighth Pennsylvania: colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, two captains, three lieutenants, four ensigns, adjutant, paymaster, quartermaster, surgeon, surgeon’s mate, sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant, one drum and fife major, ten sergeants, ten drums and fifes, one hundred and twenty rank and file fit for duty, four sick, two furloughed, eight on command, three deserted, six joined the Invalid Company.
In a letter from Gen. William Irvine to Gen. Washington, soon after he took command at Fort Pitt, dated Dec. 2, 1781, he says, “I have reformed the remains of the late Eighth Pennsylvania into two companies, and call them a detachment from the Pennsylvania line, to be commanded by Lieut.-Col. Bayard.” [The first company, Capt. Clark, Lieuts. Peterson and Reed; second company, Capt. Brady, Lieuts. Ward and Morrison.]
Capt. Matthew Jack, in a statement on file, says, “In the year 1778 the Eighth was sent to Pittsburgh to guard the frontier, and placed under the command of Gen. McIntosh; that they went down to the mouth of the Beaver, and there built Fort McIntosh, and from that went, upon McIntosh’s command, to the head of the Muskingum, and there built Fort Laurens. In the year 1779 went up the Allegheny, on Gen. Brodhead’s expedition, attacked the Indians and defeated them, and burned their towns. On the return of the regiment, its time having expired, it was discharged at Pittsburgh.” For a full account of the services of this regiment in the West the reader is referred to “Brodhead’s Letter-Book,” published in the twelfth volume, first series, of Pennsylvania Archives.
Van Swearingen was probably the most noted captain in the Eighth Pennsylvania. On the 19th of September he and a lieutenant and twenty privates were captured in a sudden dash that scattered Morgan’s men. He fell into the hands of the Indians, but was rescued by Gen. Fraser’s batman (one who takes care of his officer’s horse), who took him before the general. The latter interrogated him concerning the number of the American army, but got no answer, except that it was commanded by Gens. Gates and Arnold. He then threatened to hang him. “You may, if you please,” said Van Swearingen. Fraser then rode off, leaving him in care of Sergt. Dunbar, who consigned him to Lieut. Auburey, who ordered him to be placed among the other prisoners, with directions not to be ill treated. Swearingen, after Burgoyne’s army was removed to Virginia, made especial exertions to have Dunbar and Auburey exchanged. Swearingen was the first sheriff of Washington County in 1781. His daughter became the wife of the celebrated Capt. Samuel Brady (also of the Eighth Pennsylvania), so conspicuous in the annals of Western Pennsylvania.
Roster of Field and Staff Officers of the Eighth Pennsylvania.
Mackay, Eneas, of Westmoreland County, July 20, 1776; died in service, Feb. 14, 1777.
Brodhead, Daniel, from lieutenant-colonel Fourth Pennsylvania, March 12, 1777; joined April 1777; transferred to First Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Wilson, George, July 20, 1776; died in service at Quibbletown, February, 1777.
Butler, Richard, from major, March 12, 1777, ranking from Aug. 28, 1776; transferred to lieutenant-colonel of Morgan’s rifle command, June 9, 1777; promoted colonel of Ninth Pennsylvania, ranking from June 7, 1777; by an altercation subsequent to March 12, 1777, Richard Butler was placed in the First Pennsylvania, and James Ross in Eighth Pennsylvania.
Ross, James, from lieutenant-colonel First Pennsylvania; resigned Sept. 22, 1777.
Bayard, Stephen, from major, ranking Sept. 23, 1777; transferred to Sixth Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Butler, Richard, July 20, 1776; promoted lieutenant-colonel March 12, 1777.
Bayard, Stephen, March 12, 1777, ranking from Oct. 4, 1776; promoted lieutenant-colonel, to rank from Sept. 23, 1777.
Vernon, Frederick, from captain Fifth Pennsylvania, ranking from June 7, 1777; transferred to Fourth Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Kilgore, David, died July 11, 1814, aged sixty-nine years four months and twelve days; buried in the Presbyterian graveyard of Mount Pleasant (Middle Church), Westmoreland County. – Letter of Nannie H. Kilgore, Greenburg, July 23, 1878.
Miller, Samuel, died in service, Jan. 10, 1778; left a widow, Jane Cruikshank, who resided in Westmoreland County in 1784.
Van Swearingen,1 Aug. 9, 1776. Van Swearingen had been in command of an independent company, in the pay of the State from February to Aug. 11, 1776, in defense of the frontiers in Westmoreland County.
[1 The names of the captains appear, on the first return found, in the order indicated above, but date of commissions cannot be ascertained. Probably they were all dated Aug. 9, 1776, as Van Swearingen’s.]
Piggott, James; on return June 9, 1777, he is marked sick in camp.
Mann, Andrew; on return of June 9, 1777, he is marked sick in quarters since May 2d.
Carson, Moses, left the service, April 21, 1777.
[The foregoing captains were recommended by the committees of Westmoreland and Bedford Counties, and directed to be commissioned by resolution of Congress Sept. 14, 1776.]
Montgomery, James, died Aug. 26, 1777; his widow, Martha, resided in Westmoreland County in 1824.
Huffnagle, Michael, died Dec. 31, 1819, in Allegheny County, aged sixty-six.
Jack, Matthew, from first lieutenant; became supernumerary Jan. 31, 1779; resided in Westmoreland County in 1835, aged eighty-two.
Stokely, Nehemiah, Oct. 16, 1777; became supernumerary Jan. 31, 1779; died in Westmoreland County in 1811.
Cooke, Thomas, from first lieutenant; became supernumerary Jan. 31, 1779; died in Guernsey County, Ohio, Nov. 5, 1835.
Dawson, Samuel, from Eleventh Pennsylvania, July 1, 1778; died at Fort Pitt, Sept. 6, 1779; buried in First Presbyterian churchyard in Pittsburgh.
Moore, James Frances, from Thirteenth Pennsylvania, July 1, 1778.
Clark, John, from Thirteenth Pennsylvania, July 1, 1778; transferred to First Pennsylvania, July 17, 1781.
Carnahan, James, from Thirteenth Pennsylvania, July 1, 1778; transferred to Fourth Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Finley, Joseph L., from Thirteenth Pennsylvania, July 1, 1778; brigade-major, July 30, 1780; transferred to Second Pennsylvania Jan. 17, 1781.
Crawford, John, from first lieutenant, Aug. 10, 1779; transferred to Sixth Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Brady, Samuel, from captain lieutenant, Aug. 2, 1779; transferred to Third Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Brady, Samuel, commission dated July 17, 1776; from Sixth Pennsylvania; promoted captain Aug. 2, 1779.
Moseley, Robert (written Moody in the return), resigned May 16, 1777; resided in Ohio County, Ky., in 1820, aged sixty-nine.
Cooke, Thomas, promoted captain.
Finley, John, promoted captain Oct. 22, 1777.
Jack, Matthew, lost his left hand by the bursting of his gun at Bound Brook, N. J.; promoted captain April 13, 1777.
Carson, Richard, left the service in 1777.
McGeary, William, resigned April 17, 1777.
McDolo, Joseph, left the service in 1777.
[The foregoing first lieutenants were commissioned under the resolution of Congress of Sept. 16, 1776.]
Richardson, Richard, returned June 9, 1777, as recruiting.
Prather, Basil, returned Nov. 1, 1777, as on command with Col. Morgan from June 9th; resigned April 1, 1779.
Hughes, John, Aug. 9, 1776; resigned Nov. 23, 1778; resided in Washington County in 1813.
Crawford, John, from second lieutenant April 18, 1777; promoted captain Aug. 10, 1779; promoted to Second Pennsylvania, with rank of captain, from April 18, 1777.
Hardin, John, July 13, 1777; Nov. 1, 1777, returned as on command with Col. Morgan; resigned in 1779; afterwards Gen. John Hardin, of Kentucky; murdered by the Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, in 1791. – Wilkinson’s Memoirs.
Mickey, Daniel, became supernumerary Jan. 31, 1779.
Peterson, Gabriel, July 26, 1777; died in Allegheny County, Feb. 12, 1832.
Stotesbury, John, from old Eleventh Pennsylvania, commission dated April 9, 1777; he was a prisoner in New York for some time; transferred to the Second Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Neilly, Benjamin, from ensign, Oct. 4, 1777.
Finley, Andrew, on return of Nov. 1, 1777; marked sick since October 16th; retired in 1778; resided in Westmoreland County, 1813.
Amberson, William, in 1779 he was deputy muster-master-general; resided in Mercer County in 1835.
Read, Archibald, vice Joseph Brownlee, Dec. 13, 1778; died in Allegheny County in 1823.
Graham, Alexander, vice Basil Prather, April 1, 1779.
Ward, John, April 2, 1779; transferred to Second Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1781.
Thompson, William, Aug. 9, 1776; resigned May 17, 1777.
Simrall, Alexander, Aug. 9, 1776; left the army in 1777; resided in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1834, aged eighty-eight.
Guthrie, James, Aug. 9, 1776.
Rogers, Philip, Aug. 9, 1776.
Smith, Samuel, Aug. 9, 1776; killed at Germantown, Oct. 4, 1777.
Mountz, William, Aug. 9, 1776; resigned April 17, 1777.
Beeler, James, Jr., Aug. 9, 1776.
Crawford, John, Aug. 9, 1776; promoted first lieutenant, April 18, 1777.
[The foregoing second lieutenants were commissioned under resolution of Congress, Sept. 14, 1776, dating as above.]
Owine, Barnabas, marked on return of Nov. 1, 1777, as command in the infantry.
Carnahan, John, resigned in 1779.
Neilly, Benjamin, promoted to first lieutenant, Oct. 4, 1777.
Mecklin, Dewalt, resigned April 17, 1777.
White, Aquila, left the army Feb. 23, 1777; resided in Montgomery County, Ky., in 1834.
[The foregoing second lieutenants were commissioned under resolution of Congress, Sept. 14, 1776.]
Forshay, Thomas, left the service in 1777.
McKee, David, left the service in 1777.
Peterson, Gabriel, on a return of June 9, 1777, he is marked as absent, wounded, from April 17, 1777; promoted to first lieutenant, July 26, 1777.
Guthrie, John, appointed Dec. 21, 1778.
Morrison, James, appointed Dec. 21, 1778.
Wyatt, Thomas, appointed Dec. 21, 1778; resided at St. Louis, Mo., in 1834, aged eighty.
Cooper, William, appointed April 19, 1779.
Davidson, Joshua, appointed April 19, 1779; resided in Brown County, Ohio, in 1833, aged eighty-one.
McClure, Rev. David, appointed Sept. 12, 1776.
Huffnagle, Michael, appointed Sept. 7, 1776.
Crawford, John, lieutenant, 1780.
Boyd, John, July 20, 1776.
Douglass, Ephraim, Sept. 12, 1776; taken prisoner while acting as aide-de-camp to Gen. Lincoln, March 13, 1777; exchanged Nov. 27, 1780; prothonotary of Fayette County in 1783; died in 1833.
Neilly, Benjamin, appointed in 1778.
Morgan, Abel, from old Eleventh; resigned in 1779; died in 1785.
Morton, Hugh, March 7, 1780.
Saple, John Alexander, 1778.
Reed, Archibald, 1778.
Muster-roll of Capt. Nehemiah Stokely’s company, in the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, in the service of the United States of America, commanded by Col. Daniel Brodhead, taken for the months of October, November, and December, 1778, and January, 1779.
Stokely, Nehemiah, Oct. 16, 1777; supernumerary, Jan. 31, 1779.
Hughes, John, Aug. 9, 1776; resigned Nov. 23, 1778.
Wyatt, Thomas, Dec. 20, 1778; on command at Fort Laurens.
Crawford, Robert, three years.
Hezlip, Rezin, three years.
Smith, John, three years, on command at Sugar Camp.
Armstrong, George, war.
Bradley, Thomas, three years.
Jarret, William, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Ackles, Arthur, three years, on guard at block-house.
Stevenson, James, three years, on command at Sugar Camp.
Bacon, John, war, at Fort Laurens.
Caldwell, Robert, three years, on command, making canoes.
Cline, George, three years.
Cooper, Joseph, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Counse, Felix, three years.
Eyler, Jonas, war, on command at Fort Laurens.
Fisher, John, three years.
France, Henry, three years.
Handcock, Joseph, three years.
Hill, John, three years.
Holmes, Nicholas, three years.
Holstone, George, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Kerr, William, three years.
Lamb, Peter, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Lewis, Samuel, war.
Lynch, Patrick, three years, on command, boating.
McCombs, Allen, three years.
McCaully, Edward, war.
McGreggor, John, war.
McKeehan, David, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
McKissan, James, three years.
McLaughlin, Patrick, three years.
Matthew, William, three years, on command, boating.
Marman, George, war, on command, recruiting.
Martin, Paul, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Miller, George, three years, on command at Fort Laurens.
Richard, Richard, three years.
Shaw, Jacob, three years, on furlough.
Shelhamer, Peter, three years.
Smith, Emanuel, three years.
Smith, Jacob, three years.
Smith, John, war.
Sommerville, William, three years, on command; enlisted Aug. 8, 1776, under Capt. Ourry; October, 1778, appointed conductor of artillery; see letters to Pennsylvania Archives, second series, vol. iii, p. 245, etc.; he was appointed by President Jefferson postmaster at Martinsburg, Va., and died there, March 18, 1826, aged seventy.
Steel, Thomas, war.
Tracey, James, war, on guard.
Turner, William, three years.
Webb, Hugh, war, on command, at Sugar Camp.
Wilkie, Edward, war, on command at Fort Laurens.
Fort McIntosh, Feb. 21, 1779.
Then mustered Capt. Stokely’s company, as specified in the above roll.
D.M.M. Genl., M.D.
I certify that the within muster-roll is a true state of the company, without fraud to these United States, or to any individual, to the best of my knowledge.
I do certify that there is no commissioned officer present belonging to the company.
Col. 8th Pa. Regt.
Commissioners’ Office for Army Accounts,
New York, July 19, 1786.
This may certify that the above and foregoing is a true copy of the muster-roll of Capt. Stokely’s company, the original of which is filed in this office.
Jno. Pierce, M.G.
Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, Continental Line1
[1 “This roll of the Pennsylvania line of course falls far short of doing justice to the patriotism of Pennsylvania. It is in fact a mere roll of the line as discharged in January, 1781. The hundreds who fell in all the battles of the Revolution, from Quebec to Charleston, are not here; the wounded who dragged their torn limbs home to die in their native valleys are not here. The heaths of New Jersey, from Paramus to Freehold, by a line encircling Morristown and Bound Brook, were, in the summer of 1777, dotted with the graves of the Eighth and Twelfth Pennsylvania. These regiments from the frontier counties of the State – Westmoreland and Northumberland – were the first of the line in the field, though they had come from the banks of the Monongahela and the head-waters of the Susquehanna. At Brandywine the Pennsylvania troops lost heavily, the Eighth and Twelfth and Col. Hartley’s additional regiment in particular, in officers and men; and Col. Patton’s additional regiment, after the battle of Germantown, could not maintain its regimental organization." – The Pennsylvania Line, from July 1, 1776, to Nov. 3, 1783.]
[Those marked (e) are taken from a list in the secretary’s office of soldiers whose depreciated pay escheated to the State.]
Allison, John, died in Versailles, Ky., June 16, 1823, aged seventy-five
Abrams, Gabriel, Kilgore’s company, 1776-79.
Aikins, Robert, resided in Bedford County, 1790.
Alcorn, James, transferred to Invalid Corps, July 1780.
Allen, William, deserted August, 1778.
Anderson, William, resided in Mercer County, 1809.
Anderson, George, resided in Westmoreland County, 1835, aged eighty-four.
Askins, James, deserted August, 1778.
Baker, Michael, died in Greene County, Ill., Sept. 13, 1831.
Byles, Joseph, of Piggott’s company.
Beard, John, deserted August, 1778.
Berlin, Isaac, died in Crawford County, June 16, 1831, aged seventy-six.
Bess, Edward, Van Swearingen’s company, 1778-79; also in Crawford’s campaign; died in Washington County, July 17, 1822, aged seventy-seven.
Blake, Luke William.
Blake, Nicholas, enlisted August, 1776.
Blakeney, Gabriel, private at Long Island; lieutenant in Flying Camp; captured at Fort Washington; resided in Washington County, 1817.
Boveard, James, Kilgore’s company, 1776-79; died in 1808, in East Buffalo township, Union County.
Boyer, Oziel, killed in action.
Bright, John (e).
Brown, John, resided in Armstrong County, 1825.
Burbridge, Thomas, Kilgore’s company; taken December, 1780; in captivity three years; resided in Westmoreland County, 1805.
Burns, Pearce, transferred to Invalid Corps, August, 1777.
Byan, David, August, 1777-79; Capt. Piggott’s company; served at Saratoga under Van Swearingen; went West with regiment, 1778; at the building of Fort McIntosh and Fort Laurens; Pennsylvania pensioner, 1813.
Cooper, William, of Kilgore’s company.
Crawford, Robert, Aug. 20, 1776-Sept. 15, 1779; resided in Venango County, 1825.
Clark, David (e), Capt. Kilgore’s company, April, 1777.
Call, Daniel, resided in Westmoreland County, 1821.
Campbell, George, Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland Co., 1786.
Caseves, Patrick, deserted August, 1778.
Cavenaugh, Patrick, enlisted at Carlisle in Capt. Huffnagle’s company; he saved Gen. Lincoln from capture by the British in New Jersey; afterwards express-rider for Gen. Greene; died in Washington County, April 5, 1823, aged eighty-three.
Chambers, Moses, from Ligonier; deserted August, 1778.
Churchfield, John, enlisted July, 1776; wounded in the leg in the battle of Germantown; resided in Westmoreland County 1835, aged eighty-six.
Clark, Benjamin, Kilgore’s company; wounded at Bound Brook, 1777; also, in 1778, on march to Fort McIntosh; resided in Steubenville, Ohio, 1815.
Connor, Bryan, enlisted July 2, 1777.
Cooper, Joseph,1 deserted August, 1778; died Jan. 16, 1823, in Bedford County, aged sixty-eight.
[1 The fact of a soldier being marked on one roll deserted amounted to nothing, because they usually returned after a few months’ absence.]
Cooper, Leonard, from Maryland; deserted August, 1778.
Cooper, William, Aug. 17, 1776-September, 1779; resided in Venango County, 1810.
Critchlow, James, enlisted August, 1776, in Capt. Moses Carson’s company; served in all the Saratoga engagements under Lieut.-Col. Butler; resided in Butler County, 1835, aged seventy-eight.
Cruikshank, Andrew, Miller’s company, Aug. 17, 1776-September, 1779; resided in Butler County, 1810.
Davis, William, died in Muskingum County, Ohio, in 1834, aged eighty-two.
Davis, John, died in Holmes County, Ohio, June 7, 1830, aged sixty-four.
Dennis, Thomas, killed in April, 1779.
Dennison, Joseph (e), transferred to Seventh Regiment.
Dickerson, Henry, enlisted 1776 in Van Swearingen’s company; at Saratoga, etc.; resided in Washington County in 1813.
Dougherty, James, alias Capt. Fitzpatrick, deserted August, 1778, and executed for robbery.
Dougherty, Mordecai, brother of above, deserted August, 1778.
Du Kinson, Joseph, killed in action.
Evans, Arnold (e).
Evans, Anthony, promoted to fife-major, Third Pennsylvania.
Edwards, David (e).
Faith, Abraham, Capt. Mann’s company, Aug. 15, 1776-Nov. 19, 1779; resided in Somerset County in 1825, aged seventy-four.
Faughey, James, deserted August, 1778
Finn, James, transferred to Invalid Corps.
Fossbrooke, or Frostbrook, John, resided in Bath Co., Ky, in 1834, aged one hundred and four.
Fulton, Joseph, July 4, 1776.
Gallagher, Michael, June 7, 1776; deserted before he reached the regiment.
Gill, William, wounded in hand at Bound Brook; resided in Mercer County in 1833, aged eighty-four.
Glenn, Hugh, killed in action.
Graham, Alexander, deserted August, 1778.
Graham, William, Capt. Kilgore’s company; resided in Westmoreland County in 1811.
Guthery, Archibald, killed August, 1779.
Gwyne, Joseph, June 7, 1776; served three years; resided in Greene County in 1808.
Hamill, Hugh, Finley’s company, 1776-79; resided in Westmoreland County in 1809.
Hancock, Joseph (e), Capt. Mann’s company, 1777; resided in Wayne County, Ind., in 1834, aged seventy-seven.
Hardesty, Obadiah, resided in Lawrence County, Ill., in 1833, aged seventy-one.
Harman, Conrad, died in Muskingum County, Ohio, June 9, 1822, aged seventy-five.
Hezlip, Rezin, Stokely’s company; resided in Baltimore in 1813.
Hayes, Jacob, from Brandywine, deserted August, 1778.
Hayes, Joel, from Brandywine, deserted August, 1778.
Hiere, David, deserted August, 1778.
Hoback, Philip, resided in Madison County, Ind., in 1820, aged sixty-four.
Hockley, Richard, Capt. Clark’s company; resided in Westmoreland County in 1813.
Hotten, John, Aug. 2, 1776-Sept. 17, 1779; resided in Westmoreland County in 1812.
Hunter, Nicholas (e).
Hunter, Robert, John Finley’s company; wounded at Bound Brook and Paoli; resided in Westmoreland County in 1808.
Jamison, John, Capt. Miller’s company; enlisted in 1776, at Kittaning; served three years; resided in Butler County in 1835, aged eighty-four.
Jennings, Benjamin, Sept. 9, 1776-Sept. 9, 1779, in Kilgore’s company; drafted into rifle command; resided in Somerset County in 1807.
Johnson, Peter (e), resided in Harrison County, Va., in 1829.
Jones, Benjamin, resided in Champaign County, Ohio in 1833, aged seventy-one.
Jordan, John, Westmoreland County.
Justice, Jacob, resided in Bedford County in 1820.
McKinney, or Kenney, Peter, Capt. Clark’s company, 1776-79; resided in Butler County in 1835, aged seventy.
Kean, Thomas, Aug. 23, 1776, Capt. Montgomery’s company; he was an indentured servant of William Rankin.
Kerr, William, Capt. Miller’s company, Aug. 1776-Sept. 9, 1779; resided in Westmoreland County in 1823.
Kildea, Michael, paid from Jan. 1, 1777-Aug. 1, 1780.
Lee, William, died in Columbiana County, Ohio, Jan. 6, 1828, aged eighty-five.
Lewis, William, of Brady’s company; resided in Morgan County, Ohio, in 1831.
Lingo, Henry, resided in Trumbull County, Ohio, 1834, aged seventy-one.
Long, Gideon, resided in Fayette County, 1835, aged seventy-nine.
Luckey, Andrew, of Westmoreland County; Miller’s company; became teamster to Eighth Pennsylvania; discharged at Valley Forge; resided in Fayette County, 1822, aged sixty-eight.
Miller, John, killed in action.
McChristy, Michael, Capt. Van Swearingen’s company, October, 1777.
McComb, Allen, of Mann’s company, 1776-79; resided in Indiana County, 1810.
McConnell, John, of Huffnagle’s company, Aug. 28, 1776-August, 1779; died in Westmoreland County, Dec. 14, 1834, aged seventy-eight.
McFee, Laughlin, killed in action.
McGowen, Mark, enlisted in 1775, in Capt. Van Swearingen’s company of two years; Aug. 9, 1776, this company was broken up, and he re-enlisted under the same captain in Eighth Pennsylvania, and served three years; resided in Mercer County, Ky., in 1830.
McKee, John, resided in Bath County, Ky., in 1830.
McKinney, John, Capt. S. Miller’s company; enlisted March, 1778.
McKissick, James, Miller’s company; resided in Maryland in 1828.
McMullen, Thomas, August, 1776-79; died in Northampton County in 1822.
Maxwell, James, 1776-79, Capt. Montgomery’s company; resided in Butler County in 1822.
Mitchell, James, Mann’s company, 1776-79; resided in Somerset County in 1810.
Moore, William, Capt. Jack’s company, November, 1777.
Morrow, William, transferred to Invalid Corps, August, 1780.
Murray, Neal, August, 1776, Miller’s company; taken at Bound Brook, April 17, 1777; released, and rejoined at Germantown, where he was again taken and made his escape.
Porter, Robert, resided in Harrison County, Ohio, 1834, aged seventy one years.
Paris, Peter, Invalid Corps, Aug. 2, 1779.
Parker, Charles, 1776-79; resided in Armstrong County, 1818.
Pegg, Benjamin, Piggott’s company, Aug. 13, 1776-September, 177; resided in Miami County, Ohio, in 1834, aged eighty-two.
Perry, Samuel, Invalid Corps, September, 1778.
Pettitt, Matthew, resided in Bath County, Ky., 1834, aged seventy-four.
Phillips, Luke, Aug. 28, 1776.
Smith, John, 1776-Sept. 20, 1779; died in Indiana County, 1811.
Swan, Timothy, resided in Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1834.
Sham, Michael, resided in Rowan County, N. C., in 1834, aged eighty-six.
Shedacre, Jacob, Finley’s company; killed by the Indians near Potter’s fort, Centre County, July 24, 1778; had served under Morgan at Saratoga.
Sherlock, Edward, died in Ross County, Ohio, Feb. 11, 1825, aged sixty-eight.
Shilhammer, Peter, resided in Westmoreland County in 1824.
Simmons, Henry, June 12, 1776, Huffnagle’s company.
Smith, Henry, resided in Rush County, Ind., in 1834, aged sixty-nine.
Smith, John, Sr., resided in Frederick County, Va., in 1834, aged ninety.
Smith, John, 2d, resided in Westmoreland County in 1835.
Smith, John, 3d, from Mifflin County; in Ourry’s company, October, 1777; re-enlisted from Third Pennsylvania, Capt. Cook’s; taken and scalped at Tuscarawas.
Stephen, Patrick, Capt. Kilgore’s company, October, 1777.
Stokely, Thomas, August, 1776; resided in Washington County in 1823.
Taggert, William, transferred to Invalid Corps, July, 1780.
Tharp, Perry, resided in Marion County, Ky., in 1834.
Turner, William, in Stokely’s company, Sept. 17, 1776-79; resided at Connellsville, Fayette Co., in 1835, aged eighty-one.
Van Doren, Thomas, Finley’s company; served at Saratoga; killed by the Indians near Potter’s fort, Centre County, July 24, 1778.
Vaughan, Joseph, enlisted in Capt. Samuel Moorehead’s company, April 24, 1776, served two years and six months; then drafted into Capt. Miller’s, and served six months; resided in Half-Moon township, Centre County, in 1822, aged sixty-two.
Verner, Peter, Invalid Corps, Aug. 2, 1779.
Woods, John, transferred to Invalid Corps.
Wyatt, Thomas, promoted ensign, Dec. 21, 1778; shoulder-bone broken at Brandywine.
Wagoner, Henry, 1776-79; resided in Cumberland County in 1819.
Waine, Michael, deserted August, 1778.
Waters, Joseph, 1776-79.
Watson, John, July 4, 1777.
Weaver, Adam, 1776-79, Kilgore’s company; resided in Westmoreland County in 1821.
Wharton, William, resided in Pendleton County, Ky., in 1834, aged eighty-seven.
Wilkey, David, deserted August, 1778.
Williams, John, Invalid Corps, Aug. 2, 1779.
Williams, Lewis, resided in Muskingum County, Ohio, in 1834, aged ninety-two.
Williams, Thomas, killed in action.
Wilson, George, Capt. Huffnagle’s company, October, 1777.
Wilson, William, resided in Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1820, aged sixty-eight.
Wolf, Philip, resided in Bedford County, in 1790.
Wyatt, Thomas, promoted sergeant.
“Roll of Capt. John Clark’s Company,
“In a Detacht. from Penn. Line, Commanded by Stephen Bayard, Esq., Lt. Colo., for the Months of Feb., March & April, 1783.
Paterson, Gabel Bryson, Samuel.
Crawford, John. Everly, Michl.
McCline, John. Blake, Willm.
Gladwin, John. McAfee, Mathw.
Johnston, Peter, discharged March 17, 1783. Marmon, George.
Kidder, Benjn. Edwards, Jno.
Bond, Jno. Kenny, Peter.
Amberson, Johnston. Smith, John.
Atchinson, Joseph, deserted Sept. 7, 1783. Dixon, Willm.
Bigget, Robert. Dorough, John.
Boothe, George. Fossbrook, John.
Cardwell, Joseph, deserted April 1, 1783. Gibson, Henry.
Caringer, Martin. Girdler, James.
Carty, Richd. Harmon, Conrad.
Casteel, Saml. Hoetzley, Richard.
Chalmers, Andw. Hutchison, John.
Clark, James. Jones, Benjn.
Connor, John. Kerns, Godfrey.
Conway, Felix. Kerr, Danl.
Cripps, John. Landers, David.
Dinnis, Michl. Lingo, Henry.
Dinnison, James. Lucas, Henry.
McGill, James. Maxwell, James.
McGuire, Andrew. McAuley, Edward.
Mercer, George. McCristall, Michl.
Miller, Isaac. Sherlock, Edward, prisoner of war; joined Feb., 1783.
Mooney, Patrick. Steed, James, deserted 27th March, 1783.
Morrison, Edward. Stuart, Charles.
Murphy, Michl. Tharpe, Perry.
Ox, Michael. Wharton, Willm.
Parker, Charles. Willson, Willm.
Rooke, Timothy. Winkler, Joseph V.
ROLL OF CAPT. SAMUEL BRADY’S COMPANY.
“Now Captain John Finley’s Company, of the Detachmt from the Penn. Line, in the Service of the United States of America, commanded by Lt Colo Stephn Bayard, for the months of Feb., March, and April, 1783.”
Brady, Samuel. Finley, John.
Mahon, John. Ward, John.
Font, Matthew. Sample, William.
Cheselden, Edward. Porter, Robert.
Davis, Willm. Swan, Timothy.
Miller, John. Whitman, John.
Anderson, George. Lacorn, John.
Bannon, Jeremiah. Martin, George.
Branon, Michael. McGloughlin, Patrick.
Brothers, Matthew. Merryman, Wm.
Brown, John. Miller, John.
Cain, John. Mourey, Christian.
Callahan, John. Phillips, Matthew.
Cavenaugh, Barney. Roairk, Patrick, died Sept. 2, 1783.
Coleman, Joseph, died June 11, 1783. Robinson, Simon.
Crowley, Timothy. Shereden, Martin.
Dimsey, Thomas. Shuster, Martin.
Dolphin, James. Simmonds, Henry.
Evans, Arnold, deserted June 27, 1783. Steel, Thomas.
Everall, Charles. Strephan, William.
Fitz Gibbons, David. Stubbs, Robert.
Gibbons, David. Sutton, David.
Gollacher, John. Tea, John.
Greenland, James. Terman, Henry.
Grimes, John. Ward, Matthias.
Hanley, Michael. Wilkinson, Willm.
Hobach, Philip, deserted June 2d; Williams, Lewis.
joined June 4, 1783. Winn, Webster.
Jordon, John, discharged July 1, 1783. –– (faded out), Hugh.
Kelley, Edward. –– (faded out), Obediah.
Lacey, Lawrence. John Finley, Capt.
Immediately after the departure of the Eighth Pennsylvania from Kittaning to join the army in the East, a detachment of Westmoreland militia marched from that county for Philadelphia, as appears from the following letter,1 addressed by John Proctor to the Council of Safety:
[1 Penn. Archives, 1776-77, p. 202.]
“Carlisle, January ye 27th, 1777.
“Dear Sir, – I am on my Martch with a party of Melisha from the county of Westmoreland, of the first Batallion of about 240; we are like to be Scarse of Cash, and will not be able to Retch Philadelphia with a Suplay, and hauve Dispatched the Bairor Leutn Colln Archibald Lochry to your Honourabble Bord, and I hope you will Send by Him the Sum whitch you may think Nesery. Vitlin is very high and Hard to be got.
“I am Sir,
“youre Very Humble Ser’t,
“On the Service of the United States
To the President of Council in Philadelphia.
by favour sent Colln Lochry.”
No roll of this detachment has been found, nor anything further ascertained with regard to its movements or services.
Other than the military organizations which have already been mentioned, viz.: the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, the company which joined Miles’ Rifles, the Seventh and Thirteenth Virginia Battalions, and the detachment of Westmoreland militia, no other troops were raised in the Monongahela country for regular service in the Revolutionary armies, though many were afterwards raised for the various Indian campaigns and expeditions. From that time forward to the close of the war the able-bodied men west of the Monongahela were kept constantly on guard, if not on actual duty, against Indian incursions and massacre along the frontier; and it could not be expected that they would leave their families and home defenseless to serve in the armies operating hundreds of miles away across the mountains.
At the beginning of the war Col. John Neville had taken possession of Fort Pitt with a body of Virginia militia from the Monongahela and Ohio River settlements, and held the old and dilapidated work until superseded in the command by Brig.-Gen. Edward Hand, an officer in the Continental establishment in 1777. During Neville’s occupancy he pursued a peaceful policy towards the Indians, and in this course he was supported and aided by Col. George Morgan, congressional agent of Indian affairs in the West, who soon afterwards became a resident on Chartiers Creek at the place now known as Morganza, in Washington County. By their combined efforts, however, they failed to repress the hostility of the tribes, except the Delawares, who then, and for a considerable time afterwards, remained peaceable.
In 1777 several incursions were made by the Indians, among which was an attack at Wheeling Creek near Fort Henry (Wheeling), which is mentioned in the following letter from Capt. Samuel Meason to Gen. Edward Hand,2 viz.:
[2 Ibid., p. 445.]
“Fort Henry, June 8, 1777.
“Sir, – Yesterday, between the hours of five and six o’clock, as a few of Capt. Van Meter’s Company were fishing about half a mile from this fort up Wheeling Creek, a certain Thomas McCleary and one Lanimore, being some distance from the others, were fired on by a party of Indians to the number of six, seven, or eight guns, of which the several persons near do not agree, as some say eight or upwards. Lanimore and others gave the alarm. I went to the place and found Tracks, but difficult to ascertain the number of Indians. McCleary’s shoe being found which he wore when he received the wound, we presently found him killed and scalped. He had run about three hundred yards from the creek. Night coming on by the time that we were satisfied of its being Indians, I proposed to set out this morning by daylight in pursuit, and have drawn out of Capt. Virgin’s company eight men, so that we amount to thirty men well equipt, and do cross the river at this place, as they seemed by their Tracks to bend their direction down the river, and purpose to pursue them to the last extremity and hazard. I sett off at eight this morning, and flatter myself that you will not disapprove our Proceeding but call on me if any occasion should require, and as I may not return to the ensuing council at Catfish, I take this opportunity to return your Honour the strength of my company, which consists of fifty men, of which forty-five are in good order and furnished for going on any emergency and expedition that may be necessary.”
From this letter it appears probable that at that time the fort was garrisoned by men from the vicinity of the Monongahela, –- the company of Capt. Brice Virgin, who resided near the present borough of Washington, and that of Capt. Van Meter, from what is now Greene County. At about the same time that the above-mentioned attack was made at Wheeling Creek, a small party of Indians was prowling on the head-waters of Buffalo Creek, but they committed no murders in the vicinity at that time.
On the 1st of September a force of two hundred and ten Indians laid siege to Fort Henry, but failed to capture the place. They withdrew across the Ohio with but trifling loss to themselves, after having killed fifteen, and wounded five more of the whites. On the 27th of the same month a Wyandot party of forty warriors attacked a body of forty-six white men eight miles below Wheeling on the Virginia side of the Ohio. In this action twenty-one of the white men were killed, a considerable number wounded, and one taken prisoner by the savages. This last-named attack had the effect to create a general panic through all the country from the Ohio to the Monongahela.
In the spring of 1778 the hostility of the Indians became far more active, the result of the instigations of the British on the lake frontier, and still more by Simon Girty and other white renegades who had deserted from Fort Pitt and gone to the Indians to incite them on in their work of massacre and devastation. In January of that year Gen. George Rogers Clarke, a Virginia officer, whose career in the Dunmore war of 1774 has already been noticed, raised about one hundred and fifty Virginians, chiefly on the upper Monongahela, for a campaign against the British posts in the far West. He embarked this force in boats built and launched on the Monongahela at and near the site of West Brownsville.1 Passing down the Monongahela and Ohio in May, he received reinforcements at points below on the Ohio, proceeded to the lower river, disembarked his forces, and marching thence through a wilderness country partly submerged in many places, effected the reduction and capture of Vincennes, Kaskaskia, and other British posts west of the Wasbash, achieving a success that at once made his name famous.
[1 Another expedition that started from the same vicinity in that year was that of David Rogers, who had been authorized by the Virginia government to purchase supplies in New Orleans. He, like Clarke, built keel-boats, and in these, with about thirty men, went down the Monongahela in June. On arriving at New Orleans he found that he must go up the river to St. Louis to receive his goods. This he did, but more than a year was consumed in the voyage, and when on this way back, up the Ohio, in October, 1779, the Indians attacked his party, killed nearly all (including Rogers), took the rest prisoners, and captured the entire cargoes of goods, consisting of provisions, clothing, rum, and other articles, besides a considerable amount of silver money.]
In February, 1778, Gen. Hand made an expedition into the Indian country west of the Ohio, the first which entered that region in any considerable force in the Revolution. About five hundred men marched from Fort Pitt and proceeded to the Cuyahoga River for the purpose of destroying some British stores reported to be there. The result of this movement was one Indian warrior and one squaw killed, and one squaw taken prisoner; and of the white troops, one captain wounded and one man drowned. From the insignificance of its achievements this was called in derision the “Squaw Campaign.”
In May, 1778, Gen. Hand was succeeded in this command of the Western Department by another Continental officer, Brig.-Gen. Lachlin McIntosh, who brought with him a small force from the regular Continental line. In the mean time Pennsylvania and Virginia had become aroused to the danger menacing their western frontiers, and had taken measures to raise a force for their protection. The Congress too had become aware of the increased hostility of the Indians and its cause, and had awakened to the pressing necessity of more active measures for the protection of the almost defenseless borders. This resulted in the determination to send an expedition for the reduction of the British post of Detroit, as the surest means of overawing the savages and so insuring the safety of the frontiers.
Orders were therefore issued to Gen. McIntosh to organize the proposed expedition and march against Detroit. In obedience to these orders he moved down the Ohio River with his little force of Continentals, a battalion of Virginians, and several companies of Pennsylvanians (raised by the State for the emergency as before mentioned), and halting at the mouth of Beaver, the site of the present town of that name, erected there a small fort, which was named Fort McIntosh. This, the first military work ever erected by the United States on the Indian side of the Ohio, was a stockade, but bastioned, and on each bastion was mounted a six-pounder gun. It was scarcely more than worthless as against even light artillery, but for the purpose for which it was built was considered formidable.
By the time Fort McIntosh was completed it was found that the proposed expedition against Detroit would be too expensive an undertaking for the slender resources of the Congress. It was therefore abandoned. Gen. McIntosh, having received orders to proceed instead at his discretion against some of the Indian settlements, and having decided on an expedition against the Wyandot towns on the upper waters of the Sandusky, leaving a garrison at the fort, marched with about one thousand men into the western wilderness towards his objective-point. But for some cause which is not perfectly clear, on reaching the Muskingum River he decided to proceed no farther until spring, and therefore halted there and erected a defensive work, which he named, in honor of the president of the Continental Congress, Fort Laurens. It was a weak stockade, located on the west bank of the river, near the site of the present town of Bolivar, Tuscarawas Co., Ohio. Having decided on a suspension of operations for the season, he left in the fort a garrison of one hundred and fifty men, under command of Col. John Gibson, and returned with the main body of his force to Fort Pitt.
In January following Gen. McIntosh’s return to Fort Pitt, Col. Gibson at Fort Laurens suddenly found himself besieged by a body of about eight hundred and fifty Indians, who reached the vicinity of the fort in the evening after dark. During the first night of the presence of the savages they caught the horses which were outside the fort, took off their bells, and led them some distance into the woods, then concealing themselves in the grass that bordered the path to the woods, and at about daybreak a party of them commenced rattling the bells at a point beyond the ambush. The people in the fort supposed the horses were there, and sixteen men were sent to bring them in. When they had been drawn sufficiently into the ambushment the concealed Indians fired on them in front and rear, killing all but two, who were taken prisoners. In the afternoon of the same day the whole Indian force marched within full view of the garrison to an elevated piece of ground on the opposite side of the river, where they made their encampment. The siege of the fort continued for six weeks, at the end of which time the garrison became greatly straitened for provisions, but it proved that the savages were still more so. During the time of their stay frequent conversations were held between the besiegers and besieged, the former telling Col. Gibson that they did not want war, but they were determined that the white man should not come and occupy their country and build forts within it. With Col. Gibson’s garrison there was a Delaware Indian called John Thompson, who during the investment had been permitted by both parties to go to and fro between the Indian camp and the fort at will. Finally the savages sent word by this Thompson to the white commandant that they wanted peace, and would make a treaty and leave the place if he would send them a barrel of flour and some tobacco. The garrison were terribly reduced for provisions, but Col. Gibson acceded to the request of the Indians, and sent them the articles demanded, whereupon the savages raised the siege and marched away through the woods, but did not keep their promise to make a treaty of peace.
Col. Gibson had a large number of sick men in his garrison, and soon after the Indians had apparently left the vicinity, he detached Col. Clarke with fifteen men to escort these invalids to Fort McIntosh, but they had not proceeded far from the fort when they fell into an ambush of the treacherous Indians, and all were killed or taken prisoners except Col. Clarke and three others who succeeded in making their escape to the fort. This act of perfidy so incensed Col. Gibson that he at once sallied out with the main part of his force, determined to attack and punish the Indians for their treachery, but the savage forces had disappeared and were not again seen.
During the continuance of the siege, Col. Gibson had managed to send a friendly Delaware with a message to Gen. McIntosh at Fort Pitt, notifying him that unless men and provisions were promptly sent him he would be compelled to surrender. The general sent messengers in haste to the settlers up the Monongahela, acquainting them of the situation of affairs at Fort Laurens, and asking instant aid in men and provisions. The settlers promptly responded, many volunteering for the expedition of relief, and others furnishing pack-horses, with an abundant supply of provisions. With these and part of the garrison of Fort Pitt (making an entire force of about seven hundred men), Gen. McIntosh set out without delay, and marched rapidly to Fort Laurens, which was reached a few days after the departure of the besieging force of Indians. When the relief force appeared in sight at the fort the joy of the garrison was great, and found expression in the firing of a salute of musketry, which, however, cost them dear, for it frightened the pack-horses and caused them to break loose and run into the woods with their loads, by which accident a great part of the flour was lost, the sacks being broken open, and their contents scattered among the trees and bushes so that it could not be recovered. The meats of course were not injured.
A new garrison under Maj. Frederick Vernon was left at Fort Laurens, and Gibson’s command, with the main force under Gen. McIntosh, returned to Fort Pitt. During the stay of Maj. Vernon at Fort Laurens the garrison under his command was reduced to the verge of starvation, and finally, in the spring of 1779, the fort was evacuated and abandoned. The evacuation of Fort McIntosh followed soon afterwards. The withdrawal of the troops from these forts was the final abandonment of the proposed expeditions of Gen. McIntosh against the British post of Detroit and the Wyandot towns on the Sandusky. The troops with which he had prosecuted his operations at Forts McIntosh and Laurens in 1778 and the early part of 1779 were, with the exception of the small Continental force which he brought with him from the East, made up almost exclusively of men from the country between the Laurel Hill and the Ohio River, the territory which afterwards became Washington County furnishing its full share.
Through all the Monongahela country and westward to the Ohio River there was great consternation and alarm and no little indignation at the withdrawal of the garrisons of the frontier forts, McIntosh and Laurens, and public meetings were held to memorialize Congress and pray for the re-occupation of the posts. But Congress could do nothing, for the operations of the armies in the East called for all, and more than all, the men and means at command. So the borders were of necessity left for the time to take care of themselves and protect their exposed frontiers from savages, white outlaws, and the British.
Gen. McIntosh had retired from the command of the Western Department in 1779, and was succeeded by Col. Daniel Brodhead, who, as it appears, was invested with power to order out the militia of the western counties through the several county lieutenants. Early in 1780 the Indians commenced their work of devastation in the frontier settlements. On the 18th of March, Col. Brodhead, in a communication to the president of the Council,1 said, “I am sorry to inform you that the Savages have already begun their hostilities. Last Sunday morning at a Sugar Camp upon Raccoon Creek five Men were killed & three lads & three girls taken prisoners. It is generally conjectured that the Delawares2 have struck this blow, and it is probable enough, but it is possible it may have been done by other Indians. If the Delawares are set against us, with their numerous alliances, they will greatly distress the frontier, as my Force is quite too small to repell their invasions. I have wrote to the Commander-in-Chief for a reinforcement from the main army, but I fear it will not be in his power to detach any of the troops. . . You may rely on my giving every possible protection & countenance to our settlements, but I have very little in my power without calling out the Militia, and for them I have no provisions. What Col. Geo. Morgan [congressional Indian agent] has been doing this two years past I know not, but I conceive that if he had been where his employment required we should have been much better provided.”
[1 Penn Arch., 1779-81, p. 140.]
[2 It was afterwards proved that the Delawares had no hand in or knowledge of this bloody business, and it was so announced by Col. Brodhead.]
On the 27th of April the commandant said, in a letter to the president of the Council, “I am glad to hear of the four Companies voted to be raised by the authority of the State for the Defense of the frontier, and as I flatter myself the Easter parts of the State are at present freed from apprehensions of Danger, so I hope these Companies, when raised, will be ordered to this District, where the Enemy are remarkably hostile. Between forty and fifty men, women, & Children have been killed & taken from what are now called the Counties of Yoghogania, Monongalia, & Ohio since the first of March [meaning the country west of the Monongahela River], but no damage has yet been done in the County of Westmoreland. It is to be lamented that our treasury is low, but as I always avoid an anticipation of evil, so I hope for better accounts from thence.” On the 13th of May he again wrote the president,3 saying, “The Mingoes are again prevailed on by English Goods and address to disturb our repose. They have lately killed and wounded several people in Westmoreland County, & the Tracks of four parties have been discovered on that frontier within the last four Days, and two parties of Indians have crossed the Ohio between Logstown and this place [Fort Pitt] since Morning. I have only the Cullings of the last year’s men left, and can do but very little to prevent their incursions, but do all I can.
[3 Pa. Arch., 1779-81, p. 246.]
“The Delaware Indians continue their professions of Friendship, and some of them are now with my Scouts; but having nothing but fair words to give them, I expect they will soon be tired of this Service. For heaven’s sake hurry up the Companies voted by the Hon’ble Assembly, or Westmoreland County will soon be a wilderness.”
In view of this alarming situation of affairs, Col. Brodhead conceived that offensive operations against the Indians west of the Ohio would be the surest means of securing peace and safety for the frontier settlements, and accordingly he at once commenced the fitting out and organizing of such an expedition, to be composed chiefly of troops drafted from the militia of the western counties. Reference to this proposed expedition is made in the following letter, addressed by Brodhead to Col. Joseph Beelor,4 county lieutenant of Yohogania County, Va., it being a circular letter addressed also to the lieutenants of the Virginia counties of Monongalia and Ohio, viz.:
[4 Col. Beelor was a resident on Chartiers Creek, in what is now Peters township, Washington Co. Therefore the letter has reference to the drafting of troops from the militia in the region now Washington County.]
“Head-Quarters, Fort Pitt, May 9th, 1780.
“Dear Sir, – I find it will not be in my power to provide for the number of men I have ordered to be called into service so soon as I expected. Besides, I have heard that a number of Artillery and Stores and two Regiments of Infantry are now on their march to reinforce my command. The account of Artillery and Stores I have received officially, and I believe the other may be credited.
“It will be essentially necessary for the leading officers of your County to excite the greatest industry in planting and sowing the Summer crop, and to have your troops at Fort Henry (Wheeling, Va.) by the 4th day of next month. The Militia should be drafted for two months, although the expedition will probably end in one, and let them be well armed and accoutred as circumstances will admit. Encourage them to bring two weeks’ allowance of provisions lest there should be a deficiency.
“I have no doubt but you and all the good People of your County are convinced of the necessity there is for prosecuting some offensive operations against the Savages, and I trust that by a well-timed movement from the new settlements down the river to favour our Expedition we shall be enabled to strike a general panic amongst the hostile tribes. I am averse to putting too much to hazard, as a defeat would prove fatal to the settlements, and therefore I expect the full quota of men will be furnished, which with the blessing of Divine Providence will insure success. Indeed, I expect besides the Militia many will turn out volunteers to secure to themselves the blessings of peace.
“I have the honor to be with great respect,
“Col. Com’d’g W.D.”
In reference to the same matter the following circular letters were addressed to Cols. Joseph Beelor, lieutenant of Yohogania, John Evans, of Monongalia, Archibald Lochry, of Westmoreland, and David Shepherd, of Ohio County, Va., viz.:
“Head-Q’r’s, Fort Pitt, May 20, 1780.
“Dear Sir, – I find it impossible to procure a sufficient quantity of provisions to subsist the Troops which were intended to be employed on an expedition against the Indians in alliance with Great Britain; therefore you will be pleased to give immediate notice to such as are warned not to march until you receive further notice from me. In the mean time I shall endeavor to give every possible protection to the settlements and amuse the Indians by speeches. I am sorry for having given you the trouble of drafting the militia, but the disappointments with regard to the means of getting supplies are very embarrassing, and must apologize for the alteration in our measures.”
Another addressed by Col. Brodhead to the county lieutenants was as follows:
“Headquarters, Fort Pitt, July 31, 1780
“Dear Sir – I am informed by Col’nl Beeler that he has had a meeting of his Officers, and that it is the general opinion fifteen days’ allowance of salt provisions cannot be furnished by the Volunteers who were expected to aid the Regular Troops in the proposed Expedition against the hostile Indians, and that fresh provisions cannot be preserved for so many days at this warm season of the year. I believe the generality of the inhabitants in these new settlements have not meat of their own at this season of the year sufficient to spare for their subsistence on the expedition. And I have the mortification to assure you that the public magazines are quite empty, and that I cannot yet see a prospect of obtaining a sufficient supply for the sustenance of the Troops already in service. Under these circumstances I find it indispensably necessary to postpone the rendezvousing the troops until our affairs wear a more favorable aspect. And as I wish, in matters of such great Publick weight and concern, to have the advice and concurrence of the principal Officers, I must request you to meet your Brother Lieutenants of the other Counties at my quarters on the 16th day of next month, in order that measures to be adopted for the annoyance of the enemy and the defense of the Frontier Settlements may be well weighed and understood; at which time, too, it will be in my power to inform you what Publick Supplies can be procured for the numbers that may be deemed necessary to employ.”
These letters from the commandant at Fort Pitt show the principal cause (lack of supplies) that compelled him to postpone from time to time his proposed expedition into the Indian country, a cause which, more than any other, delayed the execution of the project until the following year. At the time in question the officers commanding the few American troops west of the Alleghenies had great difficulty in obtaining the supplies necessary for the subsistence of their men. On the 7th of December, 1780, Gen. Brodhead said in a letter of that date addressed to Richard Peters.1 “For a long time past I have had two parties, commanded by field-officers, in the country to impress cattle, but their success has been so small that the troops have frequently been without meat for several days together, and as those commands are very expensive, I have now ordered them in.” He also said that the inhabitants on the west side of the mountains could not furnish one-half enough meat to supply the troops, and that he had sent a party of hunters to the Little Kanawha River to kill buffaloes, “and to lay in the meat until I can detach a party to bring it in, which cannot be done before spring.”
1 In the same letter to Peters, Brodhead made allusion to furnishing of spirits for the use of the troops, and indicated pretty plainly his preference for imported liquor over the whiskey of Monongahela, viz.: “In one of your former letters you did me the honor to inform me that his Excellency the commander-in-chief had demanded of our State seven thousand gallons of rum, and now the commissioner of Westmoreland informs me that he has verbal instructions to purchase that quantity of whiskey on this side of the mountains. I hope we shall be furnished with a few hundred gallons of liquor fit to be drank.”
The two parties mentioned by Col. Brodhead as having been sent out by him, and kept for a long time in the country for the purpose of impressing cattle, were undoubtedly the commands of Capts. Samuel Brady2 and Uriah Springer, of Westmoreland, the former a resident of that part which afterwards became Washington County, and the latter of that which became Fayette.
2 Capt. Brady had then recently returned from an expedition to the Indian towns in the Northwest. In a letter written by Col. Brodhead, at Fort Pitt, to President Reed, in the first part of the preceding June, he said, “Captn Brady, with five men & two Delaware Indians, set out for Sandusky, with a view to bring off a british Prisoner or some Indian Scalps. One of his Indians left him and returned to his place, sick or cowardly, He has been out ten days, and in as many more I expect him back again, if he is fortunate. I beg leave to recommend Capn Brady to the notice of the Hon’ble Executive Council as an excellent officer, and I sincerely wish he may not leave the service for want of the promotion he has merited and is justly entitled to, ever since the resignation of Captain Moore.”
Capt. Lieut. Brady’s return from his expedition was noticed by Col. Brodhead in a letter addressed to President Reed, dated Fort Pitt, June 30, 1780, as follows: “. . . Captain Brady is just returned from Sandusky. He took Prisoners two young Squaws within a mile of their principal Village; one of them effected her escape after six Days’ march, the other he brought to Cuskusky, where he met seven warriors who had taken a woman & Child off Chartiers Creek. He fired at the Captain and killed him, and have brought in the woman & the Indian’s Scalp, but the Squaw made her escape at the same time. When Captain Brady fired at the Indians, he had only three men with him & but two rounds of powder. He was out thirty-two Days, six of which he was quite destitute of Provisions of any kind, but he has brought his party safe to this place. Capt. Lieut. Brady’s zeal, perseverance, & good Conduct certainly entitles him to promotion; there has been a vacancy for him since the Death of Captain Dawson, which happened in last September, and I must beg leave to recommend him to the Hon’ble Executive Council as an officer of merit.” – Pa. Arch., 1779-81, pp. 378, 379.
Brady’s party was sent up the west side of the Monongahela, and Springer’s to the east side of that river and up the valley of the Redstone. The following letters, addressed by the commandant to those officers, show something of the nature of the service in which they were engaged, and the difficulties they encountered in performing it, viz.:1
Head Qrs., Fort Pitt, Sept. 21, 1780.
“Sir – As Money is not yet sent to this Department to pay for the Provisions necessary to subsist the Troops, & they have already suffered; And as our endeavors to obtain a temporary supply from the Inhabitants upon the credit of the United States have not proved effectual, I am Instructed by the hon’ble Board of War prudently to avail myself of a license given by the hon’ble Executive Council of the State of Pena in the words following, viz.: [words not given] in the mean time we can have no objection to the using necessary Compulsion, rather than the Troops should suffer; I sincerely lament the necessity of using this mode of supplying the Troops under my command, & wish it could be avoided, but I hope the virtuous Inhabitants will judge rightly of the measure and chearfully submit to a temporary compulsion, for to gain an everlasting Right to dispose of their property, not only by their own consent in the Legislature, but by Inclination as Individuals. And I desire you will assure them that I have just reason to expect they will be generously & speedily paid the full value of such articles of Provisions as may be taken for supplying the Troops.
1 Pa. Arch. 1779-81, pp. 565, 566.
“An As’t Purchasing Commissary is to attend you, and previous to your making use of Compulsory means you are to make the Inhabitants acquainted with your Instructions; after which, if they are of ability to spare Cattle or sheep to the Commissary upon public Credit, agreeable to the terms mentioned in his Instructions, & shall refuse to do so, then, & not otherwise, you will proceed to take from such of them refusing as aforesaid as many Cattle & sheep as they can spare without Injury to their Families & further encrease; and all such Cattle & Sheep are to be immediately marked for the Public & drove to some Field, to be taken in a convenient part of the Settlement for Collecting & herding them until a sufficient number be collected for the present exigency. For all which you are to pass Receipts agreeable to the valuation or appraisement of the Commissary & one reputable Inhabitant, which you will cause to be made. You are to acquaint me frequently by letter of your success, inclosing returns of the Cattle and Sheep taken and procured by consent.
“You are upon no pretence to take Cattle or Sheep from the poorer sort of Inhabitants, or from such as have been great sufferers by the Enemy; but you are to take them from such as have lived more secure. The good Inhabitants are to be treated with the utmost Civility, & you shall inflict immediate punishment on Soldiers guilty of Marauding or insulting the Inhabitants who conduct themselves inoffensively towards them.
“You are to consider these Instructions as confined to those Inhabitants only who have uniformly considered themselves as Cityzens of Pena, as the license of the Hon’ble Executive Council cannot at present be understood to extend to such as in the unsettled state of the boundaries have acknowledged another jurisdiction.
“I wish you great success and hope you will be enabled to obtain the necessary supplies for immediate Consumption by agreement & Consent.
“I have the honor to be, &c.,
Colo. Command’g W. D.
“Capt’n Saml. Brady.”
“Head Quarters, Pitt, Oct. 11, 1780.
“Dear Sir, – I am favored with yours of the 9th inst., and am much distressed on account of the apparent aversion of the people to afford us supplies, and the more so as I see no alternative between using force and suffering. . . . Under our present circumstances, we cannot admit a modest thought about using force as the ultimate expedient; and in case you are likely to meet with opposition, you must send notice to Captain Springer, near Little Redstone, who will doubtless detach a party to your assistance. The commander-in-chief’s thanks to you are now in my pocket, and will publish them when you return. At present it will not suit to relieve you.
I am, &c.,
“Capt. Samuel Brady.”
“Head Quarters, Fort Pitt, Oct. 20, 1780.
“Dear Sir, – I have this moment received your favor of yesterday, and am sorry to find the people above Redstone [vicinity of Brownsville, Fayette County] have intentions to raise in arms against you. I believe with you that there are amongst them many Disaffected, and conceive that their past and present conduct will justify you in defending yourself by every means in your power. It may yet be doubtful whether these Fellows attempt anything against you; but if you find they are Determined, you will avoid, as much as your safety will admit, in coming to action until you give me a further account, and you may depend upon your receiving succour of Infantry and Artillery. I have signed your order for ammunition and have the honor to be, &c.
“Capt. Uriah Springer.”
The tenor of these instructions to his subordinate officers clearly indicates that in the opinion of Col. Brodhead at least the sentiment of patriotism, which at the commencement of the war was almost universal among the people west of the Laurel Hill, had now become greatly diminished if not extinct with regard to a large proportion of the inhabitants of this frontier region. This belief on his part was emphasized by him in a letter written at Fort Pitt on the 7th of December following, in which he said, “I learn more and more of the disaffection of the inhabitants on this side of the mountains. The king of England’s health is often drank in company.” And he gave as his opinion, gathered from the observation of many of his officers, including Col. John Gibson, that “Should the enemy approach this frontier and offer protection, half the inhabitants would join them.” Afterwards Gen. Irvine (who succeeded Brodhead as commandant at the fort) wrote, “I am confident that if this post was evacuated the bounds of Canada would be extended to the Laurel Hill in a few weeks.”
Col. Brodhead, although he did not abandon the project of an expedition against the Indian towns west of the Ohio, found it impossible to carry it out during the year 1780, not only for lack of provisions but from the difficulty (particularly in the latter part of the year) of procuring men from the settlements willing to volunteer for the campaign. This unwillingness was, perhaps, caused by the fact that the Indians had made several incursions into the Monongahela country, which alarmed the inhabitants and made them particularly unwilling to absent themselves, leaving their homes unprotected. One of these incursions was announced by Brodhead to President Reed in a letter of September 16th, in which he said, “Intelligence is just received of Seven persons being killed and taken on Ten-Mile Creek by the Savages; but under our present circumstances I have not provisions to furnish a party for pursuit.” Afterwards the Indians made another attack on the Ten-Mile settlers, but with less bloody results.
On the 17th of October, Col. Brodhead wrote the president of the Council,1 narrating the obstacles which he had encountered in his attempts to organize and carry out the Indian campaign, as follows:
1 Pa. Archives, 1779-81. p. 588.
“In full confidence that a sufficient supply of Provisions would sooner or later be furnished for the Troops in this District, as well as for such number of Militia as policy or the exigencies of affairs might render it necessary to call into action, I, with view to cut off the Wyandotts, and other Indian Towns that were very troublesome to our Settlements, called for a Draught from the Militia at three different times, and was as often disappointed in obtaining Provisions, which, with the unsettled state of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Virginia, has greatly discouraged the Inhabitants, and I apprehend given a handle to the disaffected. I take the liberty to inclose copies of letters lately received from Cols. Beeler2 and McCleery, purporting some of the above facts.
2 The letter here referred to was from Col. Joseph Beeler, lieutenant of Yohogania County, Va. (resident on Chartiers Creek, in what is now Washington County), and ran as follows:
“October 10th, 1780.
“Dear Sir – I received yours of the 7th Inst. this morning, but it is not in my power to give you a just return, as you request, until the last of this week, for I have been obliged to issue orders to press horses and draught men, as I could not get Volunteers enough, of which I have not got a return as yet. I am sorry to inform you that I am afraid we shall come but little speed; I find that the Government of Virga will not protect me in any thing I do by vertue of the laws of Virga since their last Resolution & the laws of Pensla have not as yet taken us under their protection; all this the Country is acquainted with, so that every thing I do is at the Risque of my Fortune, unless protected by the States. If it had not been to forward an Expedition, I should have declined acting a good while ago; as no man ever had a more disagreeable time of it than I have at present, having no law to defend me. We are assured of your good intentions for the safety of the Countrey, and are very sorry that we cannot act with that spirit that we ought to. But hope the laws of Pena will either be extended in a few Days from this time, or the laws of Virga be kept in force. It is very unhappy for this Countrey that the two contending States has not provided a better way for the defence of this Countrey than to let it fall between them both until matters are settled between them.
“I have the honor to be, with the greatest
“Respect, Dear Sir, your most obedt Hble Servt,
“without Law to protect me.”
The letter which Col. Brodhead refers to as from William McCleery was written by that gentleman as acting in place of Col. John Evans, lieutenant of Monongalia County, Va., and a resident in what is now Greene County. After stating that he writes for Col. Evans, who was absent, McCleery continues: “I went to the Officers of the Second Battalion of our County Militia, who happened to be then assembled in General Muster, & made the matter known to them, at the same time call’d upon them for a Copy of their Returns made to Colo Evans, that I might as near as possible comply with your request, & they (after some consultation held on the matter) gave it to me for answer, That as they found all their hopes of Relief from a Campaign being this fall carried out against their Indian Enemies abortive, and knowing that their frontiers were at 60 to 70 Mile in Length, were infested with the savages killing their People, have at last obliged them to say that they can’t spare any men; further adding that they are heartily sorry that there should be the least seeming Jarr or descenting Voice from the orders of Col. Brodhead as a Commanding Officer for the defence of this Countrey; but from his never having it in his power for want (as we conceive) of the necessary Supplies to put his Schemes in execution during the whole course of last Summer & Fall, & our unhappy People daily falling an easy pray to the Enemy, obliges them to throw off all dependence on any natural aid on this side of the Mountains this Fall but that of themselves for their relief, and therefore they mean to embody and take the most plausible methods for their defense, and under these circumstances they think their number is already too small without any division. Notwithstanding they were ready twice last summer, both with Men, Horses, and Provisions, to have comply’d with your requisition fully had you put your plan in execution. I have (as I look upon it my duty, lest any deception should take place) stated the matter truly as I took it from the Officers’ Mouths. And now permit me to observe to you that the state of our frontiers is really deplorable, to see helpless Women and Children flying before the ravages of the Savage, and that even while part of us is engaged in burying of our Neighbors [referring to the then recent Indian massacre on Ten-Mile] that have been butchered by them, Others of us falling a sacrifice to their Hellish inventions, those and many other matters that have come under your Cognizance, I hope you will (as a Friend to human nature) state in a proper light to the Board, from the which proper relief can be had. I have the Honor to be, with due respect,
“Dr Sir, Yr most Obedt. Hble Servt.
– Penn. Arch., 1779-81, pp. 583-85.
“The Troops are again without Provisions; my parties in the Country [meaning his foraging parties under Capts. Brady and Springer] are as Industrious as Circumstances will admit, but the Inhabitants disappoint them by driving their Cattle into the Mountains; and they now threaten to rise in arms against them whilst others threaten with Writs and Passes, I do not however despair of obtaining a quantity of Flour; But conceive it will be next to an impossibility to procure any considerable quantity of Beef or Pork on this side of the mountains to lay up for the Winter Season, and it is but too likely that the prosecution of compulsory means will be productive of Bloodshed amongst our own citizens.
“The Delaware chiefs with upwards of thirty warriors are come to aid me upon an Expedition, but as I have neither Bread nor Meat to give them, they will discover that it is not in my power to act offensively. They appear much dejected on account of the total want of goods, which they were promised in exchange for their peltry.”
Each one of the commandants of Fort Pitt from the time of the commencement of the war – Neville, Hand, McIntosh, and Brodhead – had been especially desirous of retaining for the American cause the friendship of the Delaware tribe of Indians, and had used all available means to accomplish that end. The reason for these efforts to conciliate the Delawares in particular was thus explained by Col. Brodhead.1 “I am not ignorant,” he said, in a letter to President Reed, “of the influence of the Delaware Councils over near twenty different Nations, and it is for that reason only why so much notice has been taken of them. There are villains amongst them as well as other People, but it must be confest that their Councils have been steady, and their young men serviceable.” He was very desirous, and often urged upon the Supreme Executive Council, that the principal Delaware chiefs should receive commission in the American forces, just as it was reported the higher chiefs of the Wyandots and other hostile tribes had been commissioned to grades below field-officers in the British army. He also recommended, frequently and earnestly, that liberal amounts of Indian goods, trinkets, paints, strouds, gay blankets, and watch-coats be promptly sent out to be distributed as presents among the Delawares as the surest way of retaining their friendship and alliance.”2
1 Pennsylvania Archives, 1779-81, p. 250.
2 “The Indian captains appointed by the British commandant at Detroit,” said Brodhead, in a letter to the Council, “are clothed in the most elegant manner, and have many valuable presents made to them. The Captains I have Commissioned by authority of Congress are naked, and received nothing but a little whiskey, for which they are reviled by the Indians in general. So that, unless a change of System is introduced, I must expect to see all Indians in favor of Britain, in spite of every address in my power.”
Col. Brodhead was (as is made apparent by his letter of October 17th, already quoted) much encouraged by the accession of the Delaware war party, embracing nearly forty chiefs and warriors, to this forces, believing that it only needed the distribution of presents among them to insure a continuance of their friendliness to the Americans. But the desired goods were not forthcoming, and this fact had a very depressing influence on the enthusiasm of the Delaware chiefs and warriors. Still worse than this was the effect produced by a base attempt on the part of some of the officers and men of the Westmoreland County militia to murder these same Delawares, an outrage which Brodhead reported to President Reed in a letter dated Nov. 2, 1780, as follows:
“In my last I informed you that near forty of the friendly Delaware Indians had come to aid me against the Hostile tribes. Their number has since exceeded forty, and I believe I could have called out near an hundred. But as upwards of forty men from the neighborhood of Hannah’s Town have attempted to destroy them whilst they consider themselves under our Protection, it may not be an easy matter to call them out again, notwithstanding they were prevented from executing their unmanly intention by a guard of regular Soldiers posted for the Indians’ protection. I was not a little surprised to find the late Captains Irwin & Jack, Lieut Brownlee & Ensign Guthrey concernd in this base attempt. I suppose the women & children were to suffer an equal Carnage with the men.” In other communications Brodhead intimated that a proclamation which had been issued by the authorities offering a reward or bounty on Indian scalps3 and prisoners had much to do with the barbarous attempt against the lives of the friendly Delawares, though he had himself advocated the adoption of this measure of retaliation as against the hostile Indians.
3 The president of the Supreme Executive Council, in a letter to Brodhead, dated Philadelphia, April 29, 1780, says, –
“After many Consultations & much Deliberation we have concluded of offer a Reward for Scalps, & hope it will serve as an Inducement to the young Fellows of the County & others to turn out against the Indians. I herewith send you several of them. We ware sensible it may be attended with Inconveniences, but it occurred to us as a Measure of Necessity & the only effectual Weapon against the Savages; we hope it is so guarded that many abuses will not happen.” – Penn. Arch., 1779-81, p. 218.
Soon after the occurrences above narrated the Delawares began to give evidence of decided disaffection, a symptom that was more especially manifest when they were under the influence of the liquor which was dealt out to them at the fort. “Two Delaware Indians who in their cups spoke contemptuously of our service,” said Brodhead in a letter to Gen. Washington, “I have them confined in irons, but am at a loss what further to do with them until I see what number join us, and hear what their general conduct has been.” His allusion to the number of Delawares who might join him had reference to an order which had been sent to their towns west of the Ohio requiring all Delawares disposed to continue friendly to remove without loss of time to the vicinity of Fort Pitt, where they could be kept under the eye of the commandant.1 This order brought the matter to a conclusion, and, together with the other causes which have been noticed, resulted soon after in an open espousal of the British cause by the Delawares, though a few of them still continued friendly to the Americans.
1 “A number of Delaware Indians from Coochocking have been here since my last, and appear to be as friendly as ever. I am persuaded that a few are well affected, but they are now put to the trial by being ordered to remove hither without loss of time and remain under our protection, where their daily transactions will be seen and known.” – Letter of Col. Brodhead to Gen. Washington, dated Fort Pitt, March 27, 1781; Pa. Arch., 1781-83, p. 39.
On learning of the final defection of the Delawares, Col. Brodhead determined to push forward his expedition into the Indian country immediately and at all hazards. Being unable to obtain any troops by draft from the militia of Westmoreland County,2 he called for volunteers, and the call was responded to, principally by men from the territory of the newly-erected (though not organized) county of Washington. The force amounted to a little over three hundred men, of whom about one-half were volunteers. From the place of rendezvous at Wheeling (Fort Henry) they crossed the Ohio, and marched as rapidly as possible and by the most direct route to the principal village of the hostile Delawares, which was located on the Muskingum River, on the lower part of the site of the present town of Coshocton, Ohio.
2 The county lieutenant of Westmoreland, Col. Archibald Lochry, in a letter to Col. Brodhead, dated Twelve-Mile Run, April 2, 1781, said, “I collected the principal officers of the county together to send the answer you requested of me. I was not able to attend their meeting, but requested Col. Cook to send an express to you, with what encouragement you might depend on, which I hope you have received by this time. I am just returned from burying a man killed and scalped by the Indians at Col. Pomeroy’s house; one other man is missing and all Pomeroy’s effects carried off. I have been attempting to get some Militia to cover our Frontier until some other succour arrives, which I hope will be soon. I am afraid from the Disposition of the people you have little to expect from us. If the Cumberland Militia arrive in time for our intended Expedition they shall go with you, and your humble servant to Boot.”
On the same date James Perry, sub-lieutenant of Westmoreland, wrote to Brodhead, saying, ”We sent instructions to the Second and Third Battalions of Westmoreland Militia, agreeable to your orders, to raise volunteers for the Expedition. The Major of the Third Battalion came to me on Saturday last and informed me that he could not raise one volunteer for the Expedition. The Second had made no return yet, but I am doubtful they have done nothing.
“I have not yet heard what Col. Lochry has done in the First Battalion; but, upon the whole, I believe you need not depend on any men from this county, as the people in the interior part of the county live in a state of indifferent security, and the frontiers dare not well leave their families.” – Pa. Arch. 1781, pp-51-52.
The failure of Brodhead to obtain any troops form the militia of Westmoreland County appears to have been the result of ill feeling (amounting to a quarrel) between him and County Lieutenant Lochry, as is evident from an examination of the correspondence between them, and between each and the president of the Council, in 1780-81.
When the expedition reached a point near to Salem, which was one of the three principal villages of the peaceful Moravian Indians, some of the undiscriminating volunteers manifested the same murderous spirit which afterwards accomplished its bloody purpose in the campaign of Col. Williamson. They seemed determined to move upon the town and destroy it, but were finally prevented from doing so by the efforts of the officers, chiefly by Col. Brodhead. The commander sent forward a message to the Rev. John Heckewelder (a Moravian missionary who resided with the Indians in the town), informing him of the object of the expedition, and requesting him to send a small supply of provisions, and also to accompany the messenger on his return to the camp. The old missionary complied with the request, sent the provisions, and reported in person to Col. Brodhead at the camp. The colonel inquired of him if any of his Christian Indians were away from the village, engaged in hunting or other business in the country lying on his line of march, as in that case the troops might do them injury, not being able to distinguish between them and hostile Indians, a result which he was most anxious to prevent. Heckewelder assured him that none of his people were out, and thereupon the force was again put in motion, and the missionary returned to his village after receiving the thanks of the commander.
Brodhead’s expedition reached its first objective point, the Delaware village of “Coochocking,” in the evening of the 19th of April, and effected a complete surprise of the place, as the Indians had not heard of the march of any white force against them. The town was destroyed, fifteen warriors killed, about twenty prisoners taken, and all the crops planted by the Indians in the vicinity devastated. Another town, called Indaochaie, was also destroyed, its site being about two and a half miles below that of the other villages and on the east bank of the Muskingum River. After accomplishing these results the expeditionary force marched up the valley to a half-deserted village called Newcomers’ Town (at or near the site of the present village of that name in Ohio), where there were a few Delawares who still remained friendly. These placed themselves under protection of Col. Brodhead, and the force then took up its line of march on the return to Fort Pitt. The official report of the campaign, made by Col. Brodhead in a communication to the president of the Council, was as follows:3
3 Pa. Arch., 1781-83, p. 161.
“Phila., May 22d, 1781.
“Sir, – In the last letter I had the Honor to address to your Excellency I mentioned my intention to carry an expedition against the revolted Delaware Towns. I have now the pleasure to inform you that with about three hundred men (nearly half the number Volunteers from the country) I surprised the Towns of Cooshasking and Indaochaie, killed fifteen Warriors, and took upwards of twenty old men, women, and children. About four miles above the Town I detached a party to cross the river Muskingum and destroy a party of about forty warriors who had just before (as I learnt by an Indian whom the advanced Guard took prisoner) crossed over with some prisoners and Scalps and were drunk, but excessive hard rains having swell’d the river bank high it was found impracticable. After destroying the Towns with great quantities of poultry and other stores, and killing about forty head of Cattle, I marched up the River about seven miles with a view to send for some craft from the Moravian Towns and cross the river to pursue the Indians. But when I proposed my plan to the Volunteers I found they conceived they had done enough, and were determined to return, wherefore I marched to Newcomers’ Town, where a few Indians who remained in our Interest had withdrawn themselves not exceeding thirty men. The Troops experienced great kindness from the Moravian Indians and those at Newcomers’ Town, and obtained a sufficient supply of meat and Corn to subsist the men and Horses to the Ohio River. Captain Killbuck and Captain Luzerne, upon hearing of our Troops being on the Muskingum, immediately pursued the Warriors, killed one of the greatest Villains and brought his scalp to me. The plunder brought in by the Troops sold for about eighty Thousand pounds1 at Fort Henry. I had upon this Expedition Captains Mantour [Montour] and Wilson and three other faithful Indians, who contributed greatly to the success. The troops behaved with great Spirit, and although there was considerable firing between them and the Indians, I had not a man killed or wounded, and only one horse shot.”2
1 Of course Col. Brodhead here has reference to Continental money, which at that time was nearly at its lowest point of depreciation.
2 Withers, in his “Chronicles of Border Warfare,” pp. 220-21, relates as follows in reference to the alleged slaughter of prisoners by Brodhead’s men after the destruction of the town. IN his narrative (which by comparison with Col. Brodhead’s report seems to be purely a fabrication) he says, “It remained then to dispose of the prisoners. Sixteen warriors particularly obnoxious for their diabolical deeds were pointed out by Pekillon [a friendly Delaware chief who accompanied Col. Brodhead] as fit subjects of retributive justice and taken into close custody. A council of war was then held to determine their fate, and which doomed them to death. They were taken some distance from town, dispatched with tomahawks and spears and then scalped. The other captives were committed to the care of the militia to be conducted to Fort Pitt.
“On the morning after the taking of Coshocton, an Indian making his appearance on the opposite bank of the river called out for the ‘Big Captain.’ Col. Brodhead demanded what he wished. ‘I want peace,’ replied the savage. ‘Then send over some of your chiefs,’ said the colonel. ‘May be you kill,’ responded the Indian. ‘No,’ said Brodhead; ‘they shall not be killed.’ One of the chiefs, a fine-looking fellow, then came over, and while he and Col. Brodhead were engaged in conversation a militiaman came up, and with a tomahawk which he had concealed in the bosom of his hunting-shirt struck him a severe blow on the hinder part of his head. The poor Indian fell and immediately expired.
“This savage deed was the precursor of other and equally atrocious enormities. The army on its return had not proceeded more than half a mile from Coshocton when the militia guarding the prisoners commenced murdering them. In a short space of time a few women and children alone remained alive. These were taken to Fort Pitt, and after awhile exchanged for an equal number of white captives.”
While Brodhead’s campaign against the Delaware towns on the Muskingum was in progress, another and a more formidible expedition was being raised and organized, having for its object the capture of the British post of Detroit and the destruction of the Wyandot towns on the Sandusky River. The expedition was to be composed of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and to be led by Gen. George Rogers Clarke, who had achieved considerable renown by his successful campaign against the British posts in the Illinois country in 1778, as has been mentioned. The expedition which he was now to command against Detroit was to be organized principally at Fort Pitt, to rendezvous at Fort Henry (Wheeling), and to proceed thence down the Ohio River to the Great Falls (at Louisville, Ky.), and from there to march northwardly through the wilderness to its objective-points.
The project seems to have been originated by the government of Virginia, although it afterwards received the sanction of Gen. Washington for the United States, and was also promoted by the Executive Council of Pennsylvania. As early as Jan. 22, 1781, Col. Brodhead, in a letter written at Fort Pitt and addressed to President Reed, of the Pennsylvania Council,3 said, “I sincerely wish there was no occasion to trouble you with a further tale of misfortune. But as the United States in general, and our State in particular, are immediately interested in retaining in this District all the Grain that has been raised in it, it might appear criminal in me were I to remain silent respecting certain Instructions lately sent by Governor Jefferson (of Virginia) for the purchase of 200,000 Rations on this side the mountains, for the use of the Troops under Col. Clark; for which purpose he has already advanced 300,000 pounds, and promises to furnish, upon the first notice, any further Sum that may be necessary to compleat the payment of that purchase. Because this contract, together with the Consumption of multitudes of emigrants arrived and expected in this District (chiefly to avoid militia Duty and Taxes), will scarcely leave a pound of flour for the Regular or other Troops which it may be necessary to employ, either offensively or defensively, against the Enemy for the Defence of this part of the Frontier Settlements.
“It seems the State of Virginia is now preparing to acquire more extensive territory by sending a great body of men under Col. (whom they intend to raise to the rank of Brigadier) Clark to attempt the reduction of Detroit. I have hitherto been encouraged to flatter myself that I should sooner or later be enabled to reduce that place. But it seems the United States cannot furnish either Troops or resources for the purpose, but the State of Virginia can.”
3 Pa. Archives, 1779-81, p. 707.
In February following, Gen. Washington issued orders to Gen. Clarke to proceed in the raising and organizing of his force for the purpose mentioned; and on the 25th of that month Gen. Brodhead reported to President Reed:1 “I have just received instructions from his Excellency the commander-in-chief directing me to detach all the field-pieces, Howitzers, and train, also a part of my small force, under Col. Clark, who I am told is to drive all before him by a supposed unbounded influence he has amongst the inhabitants of the Western country. I sincerely wish his Excellency’s expectations may be fully answered. . . .” Again, on the 10th of March, he wrote the president of the Council:2 “I have likewise received instructions from his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief to order the Maryland Corps to Richmond in Virginia, and to detach with the artillery and field-pieces under Brig.-Gen. Clark a major or Capt’s Command from my small remaining number of Troops. . . . Genl. Clark is come over the mountain, and his commissaries are purchasing great quantities of flour and Indian corn; but he appears to be doubtful of carrying his grand object, and I shall not be surprised to see his Expedition fall through, for it is clear to me that wise men at a great distance view things in the Western country very differently from those who are more immediately acquainted with circumstances and situations.”
1 Pa. Arch., 1779-81, p. 743.
2 Ibid., p. 766.
Although Clarke was a Virginian officer and had entirely favored the claims of that State in its territorial controversy with Pennsylvania, he was not averse to enlisting men from the latter State to make up the force necessary for his expedition, and accordingly he at once entered into correspondence with the Executive Council to obtain its consent to the project. The letter which he addressed to President Reed3 on the subject was as follows:
3 Ibid., 1781-83, p. 23.
“March 23, 1781.
“D. Sir – Though unacquainted, I take the liberty of writing to your Excellency on a subject I hope will Consern you so much as to Honour my proposition. I make no doubt but that you are fully acquainted with the design of the enterprise. I am order’d to Comd of the greatest consequence to the Frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, if our Resources should not be such as to Inable us to Remain in the Indian Country during the fair season, I am in hopes they will be sufficient to Visit the Shawanees, Delawares, and Sandusky Town, defeating the Enemy and laying those Cuntrees waste, would give great Ease to the Frontiers of both States, whom I think equally Interested. But Sir nothing great can be expected without the assistance of numbers of men from the Country on this side of the Lawrell Hill, many living within the boundary of Pennsylvania are willing to go on the Expedition, many more would go if it was not for a timid, simple disposition, fearing it would disoblige yr Excellency & Councill, at least they make use of such arguments as an Excuse, others alternately shifting from one state to the other, to screen themselves from any Military Duty that might be Required of them, but as I am Confident from the nature of the intended Expedition you would wish to give it every aid in your power, I hope sir that you will inform the Inhabitants on this side of the Mt that such is your sentiments. They are fully able to spare five hund men, I don’t think they could be better imployed to the advantage of themselves or Country, I should have solicited yr governor of Virga to have made this Request of you, but the want of time for it to go through that Channel, and Confident of its meeting with your approbation Induced me to do it myself. I hope Sr that you will Honour me with an immediate answer Pr Express, as it is of the greatest Consequence to us & that the fate of the Indians at present appears to depend on the Resolutions you may take.
“With esteem I beg leave to subscribe myself,
Yr very Ob. Servt,
“G. Clark, Brig. G.”
To this communication of Gen. Clarke President Reed replied under date of May 15th as follows:4
“Sir – I received your Letter of the 23d March a considerable Time after its Date. The Enterprise you refer to has never been officially communicated to us, but from common Report we learn that an Expedition under your Command is destined agt Detroit. We are very sensible of its Importance to this State as well as Virginia, & there is no Gentleman in whose Abilities & good Conduct we have more Confidence on such an occasion. After this it seems unnecessary to add that it will give us great Satisfaction if the Inhabitants of this State cheerfully concur in it; & we authorize you to declare that so far from giving Offence to their Government, we shall consider their Service with you as highly meritorious. At the same Time we must add that from the exhausted State of our Treasury – from the great Demands made upon us by the Congress & Gen. Washington and other Contingencies, we are in no condition to answer any Demands of a pecuniary kind, and therefore do not mean, by any Thing we have said, to raise an Expectation which we cannot answer. We have above two Months ago wrote to Col. Brodhead, most earnestly requesting him to forward your Views, informing him that they are highly approved by us – we shall be most concerned if we should be disappointed in this respect. We have had a correspondence with Govr Jefferson on the Subject & explained our sentiments to him very fully. We have also sent forward by our member from Westmoreland, Encouragement to the People there to co-operate with you in all Respects, & hope it will be attended with good effect. Wishing you Success equal to your Merit and good Intentions I remain,” etc.
4 Ibid., p. 85.
The member of the Council from Westmoreland referred to in the above communication was Christopher Hays, and it was understood to have been largely through his influence that the Council decided favorably to Clarke’s views. Under the authority conferred by the President’s communication, Gen. Clarke, on the 3d of June, addressed the “Council of Officers” of Westmoreland to secure their concurrence and assistance. The result was that the matter was laid before the people of that county at a public meeting held for that purpose on the 18th of June, at which meeting it was:
“1st. Resolved, That a Campaign be carried on with Genl Clark.
“2d. Resolved, That Genl Clark be furnished with 300 men out of Pomeroy’s, Beard’s, and Davises Battalion.
“3dly. Resolved, That Coll. Archd Lochry gives orders to sd Colls. to raise their quota by Volunteers or Draught.
“4thly. Resolved, That £6 be advanced to every volunteer that marches under the command of Genl Clark on the proposd Campaign.
“5th. And for the further Incouragement of Voluntiers, that grain be raised by subscription by the Different Companies.
“6thly. That Coll. Lochry concil with the Officers of Virginia respecting the manner of Draughting those that associate in that State and others.
“7th. Resolved, That Coll. Lochry meet Genl Clark and other officers and Coll. Crawford on the 23d Inst., to confer with them the day of Rendezvouse.
“Signd by ordr of Committee,
“John Proctor, Prest.”
It was not Clarke’s purpose or desire to recognize the Pennsylvania county of Washington (which had then recently been erected but not organized) or its officers, so he applied to the officers in command of the militia of the so-called Virginia counties of Yohogania, Monongalia, and Ohio to aid him in securing men for the expedition. The result in Yohogania was a meeting of the officers1 of that county, June 5th, at the old court-house, near Andrew Heath’s, on the west side of the Monongahela, above and in sight of the present town of Elizabeth, at which meeting a draft of one-fifth of the militia of said county (which, according to the Virginia claim, included the north half of Washington County, Pa., and all of Westmoreland as far south as the centre of the present county of Fayette) was made for the expedition. The people, however, believing that the territory claimed by Virginia as Yohogania County was really in the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, denied the authority of the Virginia officers, and refused to submit to the draft until the question of jurisdiction was definitely settled. But the public notice given by Christopher Hays to the people of Westmoreland and Washington that he held in his hands money from the Executive Council to be expended for the protection of the frontier had the effect to quiet to a great extent, though not entirely to allay, the dissatisfaction, and the work of raising men in the two Pennsylvania counties (or, as Gen. Clarke expressed it, in Yohogania, Monongalia, and Ohio Counties, Va.) was allowed to proceed, though not without strong and bitter protest.
1 This meeting and its proceeding were mentioned in a letter from James Marshel (county lieutenant of Washington) to President Reed, as follows:
“Washington County, June 27, 1781.
“Sr – Since I had the honour of Addressing your Excellency last, the old Enemies of his government and their adherents have exerted themselves to the Utmost to prevent this County being organized. On the 5th Inst. a Council of the Militia officers of Yohagena County was held at their Court-house, and in Consequence of sd Council, the fifth part of the Militia of sd County was drafted for General Clark’s Expedition, but the people did not Conceive they were Under the Jurisdiction of Virginia, therefore they denied their Authority, and almost Universally Refused doing duty under any government whatever until the line between the States is actually run.” – Pa. Arch., 1781-83, p. 233.
The main part of the force destined for Gen. Clarke’s expedition (that is to say, nearly all except about one hundred and fifty men furnished by Westmoreland, under Col. Lochry and Capt. Benjamin Whaley, as will be mentioned hereafter) was raised in Washington County, but it appears evident from certain correspondence of that time that this was accomplished, not by the action of the Washington County military authorities, but by the officers of the so-called Virginia counties which covered the territory of Washington. That there was a bitter quarrel at that time between James Marshel, lieutenant of the newly-erected (but unorganized) county of Washington, and Dorsey Pentecost (successor of Col. Joseph Beeler in the office of county lieutenant of Yohogania, Va.) is evident from the recriminating letters written by both these gentlemen to the president of the Supreme Executive Council. Pentecost declared (and no denial of the assertion is found in Marshel's correspondence) that it was chiefly through his energy and efforts that Gen. Clarke’s main force was raised. And that force was raised by some means, and placed in camp in a short space of time after the meeting of officers at the Yohogania court-house and subsequent refusal of the people to submit to the draft there ordered, is made apparent in a letter written by Col. Pentecost to President Reed, dated “Washington County, July 27, 1781.”2 In that letter he says –
2 Pa. Archives, 1781-83, pp. 315-19.
“While Mr. Marshel was at Philadelphia, Gen’l Clarke came here with an Intent to carry an Expedition against the Savages, which was principally intended to have been aided by Volunteer from this County. He consulted myself with many others on the most probable Plan for Success. Every Effort was tried, but to no effect; the Frontiers were murdered every Day & the Militia could not be got out. The Field Officers for Yohogania County called on me & requested that I would take the Command of the same, & endeavor to save it from utter Destruction. I accordingly swore into a Commission for that Purpose which had been in the County upwards of a Year, & which I had neglected to qualify to, on account of the apparent Probability there was for a Change of Government. Soon after this, Gen’l Clark had a meeting of the Principal People to consult on the most Plausible Plan to raise the Militia for his Expedition. They, after long Deliberation, Resolved that nothing could effect so desirable a Plan save my Exertions as County Lieut of Yohogania, and in the most pointed Terms (in an address to me) requested that I would put my Command in Force, and use every Exertion to facilitate the Expedition. The Day following, I was furnished with a Demand from Gen’l Clark for the Quota of the County. I went into the Business with Resolution, conducted myself with a steady Firmness, and with a great Deal of Fatigue, Trouble, & Perplexity, have accomplished that Business, and the Militia are now encampt.” In another part of the same communication he says, “I am now in General Clarke’s Camp, about three miles below Fort Pitt, and am about to leave this Country on the Expedition under that Gentleman’s Command.” And he further says, with regard to the course which had been pursued by Col. Marshel with reference to the raising of men for Clarke’s expedition: “And he accordingly did all he could to perplex the People, and advised them to pay no obedience to Draughts that I had ordered for Gen’l Clark’s assistance, & has actually offered Protection to some of ‘em, though he before, on a Request of Gen’l Clark’s, declared he could do nothing as an officer, wish’d well the Expedition, & as a Private Person would give every assistance to promote it.”
There is no doubt that in the enforcement of the draft ordered from the militia by the lieutenants of Yohogania and Monongalia Counties Gen. Clarke pursued the business with great vigor, and showed very little leniency toward those (and they were many) who were inclined to deny the jurisdiction of Virginia.1 Many bitter complaints were made against him for his stern methods of enforcing the draft, among which complaints in that particular are the charges made against him (as also against Dorsey Pentecost) in the following letter, addressed by Col. James Marshel to the president of the Council,2 viz.:
1 Many of those people who had been willing and anxious for the establishment of Virginia’s claim, so that they might purchase their lands from her at one-tenth part of the price demanded by Pennsylvania Land-Office, were now quite as ready to deny her right to demand military service from them.
2 Pa. Arch., 1781-83, pp. 343-45.
“Washington County, 8th August, 1781.
“Sr, – When I began to organize the Militia of this County, I expected the line between the States would have been run (at least by the Commissioners of this State) in May last; but Finding they did not arrive at neither of the periods given us to expect them, I thought it my duty to take the most favourable Opportunity that would Offer to form the Militia. About the fifteenth of June last, I apprehended Appearances favourable and accordingly advertised two Battalion Elections, but soon found that General Clark’s preparations for his Expedition and the Extraordinary Freedom with which he and his party of the old Virginia Officers used with the people of this County stood greatly in the way; they were Indefatigable in propagating reports of the General being a Continental Officer, having extraordinary Countenance and Authority from the State of Pennsylvania, in pulling down my Advertisements, dissuading the people from attending the Elections, crying out that I was everything that was bad, and was doing all this to hurt the Expedition, &c.; all which, however false, produced a Visible Indisposition in the people towards attending the Elections; and altho’ I was not attempting anything with design to Injure his Expedition, I could not do anything to fill up the General’s troops out of the Militia of this frontier County, not having Council’s orders for that purpose. . . . I can only say at present I have acted such a part as I thought a faithful Officer ought to do in similar cases; and that I Ever Conceived I had no right so much as to say any of the people of this County had a right to go with general Clark without your Excellency’s Orders for that purpose; much less that I should ly still on purpose that the Virginia Officers should draft the Militia of this County for that service. If any complaint of what kind soever should be lodged against me, I hope your Excellency will favour me with a Coppy thereof, that I may have an Opportunity of doing myself Justice; and as the Manner in which the Genl and his Underlings have treated the people of this and Westmoreland Counties has been so arbitrary and unprecedented, I think it my duty to inform your Excellency the particulars of a few facts. The first instance was with one John Harden, in Westmoreland, who, with a number of others, refused to be drafted under the government of Virginia, alleging they were undoubtedly in Pennsylvania, and declared if that government ordered a draft they would obey cheerfully, and accordingly elected their officers and made returns thereof to Col. Cook. After this the general, with a party of forty or fifty horsemen, came to Harden’s in quest of him to hang him, as the general himself declared; but not finding the old gentleman took and tied his son, broke open his mill, fed away and destroyed upwards of one hundred and fifty bushels of wheat, rye, and corn, killed his sheep and hogs, and lived away at Mr. Harden’s expense in that manner for two or three days; declared his estate forfeited, but graciously gave it to his wife; formed an article in which he bound all the inhabitants he could lay hands on or by any means prevail upon to come in to him; under the penalty of ten months in the regular army, not to oppose the draft. Another man in Westmoreland, being in Company with Clark’s troops, happened to say the draft was Illegal, upon which he was Immediately Confined, and Ordered to be hanged by the General. Col. Penticost, being willing to assist the General, issued Orders to the Commanding officers of the old Militia Companys, to Raise an armed force and Collect the Delinqts; and altho these orders were Chiefly disobeyed, yet there has been several armed Banditties in the County under command of a certain Col. Cox and others, who have acted nearly in the same manner as the general himself has done.
“They being in Quest of John Douglas (a Gent. Elected one of our Justices for this County) and not finding him the first attempt, broke open his house in the night time, Fed away and destroyed such a part of Rye and Corn (his property) as they thought proper; Drew their swords upon his wife and Children in order to make them Discover where he was; the sd Cox and his party have taken and confined a Considerable number of the Inhabitants of this County, amongst which were Hugh Scott (one of the acting trustees of the County), altho’ he was not drafted; in a word the Instances of high treason against the State are too many to be Enumerated, therefore shall not trouble your Excellency any more on the subject at present.”
President Reed, in his reply1 (dated Aug. 25, 1781) to Col. Marshel’s letter, said, “. . . As General Clark’s proceedings have been the Occasion of so much Dissatisfaction in the Country, & it is given out that he has extraordinary Countenance from us, we think it necessary to state our Sentiments & the Facts respecting his Command. We were informed early last Spring that a Plan of an Expedition under Gen. Clark against the Western Indians was approved by Gen. Washington. Our Opinion of the Gentleman, from his former Successes and acknowledged Abilities, as well as our Belief that his Expedition would be beneficial to our Frontier, led us to give it our Countenance so far as to write to the Gentlemen of Westmoreland County, with a View that is should be communicated to you, that it was our Wish that Gen. Clark might be assisted so far as to encourage Volunteers to go with him & to supply him with Provisions, if he should have Occasion to apply for them, he paying their Value. We also wrote to Gen. Clark himself, a Copy whereof is inclosed, by which you will see the Extent of the Countenance & Support he has derived from us. But while we utterly disprove the irregularities and hardships which have been exercised by him [Gen. Clarke] towards the inhabitants, we cannot help fearing that too many, in consequence of the unsettled state of boundaries, avail themselves of a pretense to withhold their services from the publick at a time when they are most wanted, and when an exertion would not only serve the country, but promote their own security. We cannot help also observing that, by letters received from the principal gentlemen in Westmoreland, it seems evident they approve of Gen. Clark’s expedition, and that the lieutenants of both States united in the plan of raising three hundred men for that service. As the state of publick affairs had not admitted your forming the militia sufficiently to concur in these measures, we concluded that these resolutions would also include your county, and even now are at a loss to account for the different opinions entertained on the point by the people of Westmoreland and Washington Counties.”
1 Pa. Arch., 1781-83, pp. 367-69.
In a letter by Christopher Hays, of Westmoreland, and Thomas Scott, of Washington County, to President Reed, dated “Westmoreland, August 15, 1781,” they said, “. . . The truth of the matter is, the General’s Expedition has been wished well, and volunteers to the service have been Incouraged by all with whom we corispond; but we have heartily reprobated the General’s Standing over these two counties with armed force, in order to dragoon the Inhabitants into obedience to a draft under the laws of Virginia, or rather under the arbitrary orders of the officers of that Government, without any orders from Virginia for that purpose, and this is really the part the General hath acted, or rather the use which has been made of him in this country.”
“With respect to Gen. Clarke’s Proceedings,” said President Reed, in his reply to the above, “we can only say that he has not authority from us to draft Militia, much less to exercise those acts of Distress which you have hinted at, and which other letters more particularly enumerate. His Expedition appears to us favorable for the Frontiers, as carrying Hostilities into the Indian Country, rather than resting totally on the defensive. We find the Gentlemen of Westmoreland, however different in other Things, to have agreed in Opinion that his Expedition deserved encouragement. . . .”
Gen. Clarke on his part accused several officials of Washington and Westmoreland Counties of using every means in their power, fair and unfair, to prevent the raising of men for the expedition and ruin its chances of success. In a communication dated at Wheeling, August 4th,2 and addressed to the president of the Council, he said, “I thank you for the favorable sentiments and the Requisition to this country to give all possible aid to the Enterprise I am ordered on. Had they have done so, as their Interest loudly call’d for, I believe there would have been no Reason to doubt but our most Sanguine Expectations would have been answered. But so far from compleating your wishes, that part of them have taken every step in their power to frustrate the design (at a time when their neighbors were daily massacred) by confusing the Inhabitants and every other device their abilities would admit of, though small, are too apt to effect the minds of such persons as Inhabit this frontier. What put it more in their power was the unsettled Territory, and no orders of yours appearing you mention you had sent by one of your members (meaning Christopher Hays, of Westmoreland) with Encouragement for the people to co-operate with me in all respects. But he appears to have taken every step to disappoint the good Intentions of Col. Lochry1 and many other Gentlemen of Westmoreland County who have used every Effort to Raise men. But disappointed by those alluded to, I have Endeavored to make myself acquainted with the different persons who appeared to be busy in Ruining the sentiments of the Inhabitants and think it my duty as a citizen and officer to acquaint you with the principals, Believing that you are Imposed on as those bodies gain their Influence by opposing Every measure proposed for the publick good in the Military Department, strange that such Conduct should have those Effects among any class of People in This Dept. Every commanding officer has Experienced, and I think I can Venture to say you never will be able to have anything of Importance done in this Quarter until many of them are removed from their respective offices. The Inhabitants on my arrival was so Buoyed up at the thought of my carrying out an Expedition that promised them peace that it was Required all their little artifices to disappoint, which is too likely to be the case at present. Mr. M. [Col. Marshel], of Washington County, Lt.-Colos. C and D, I believe to be the perpetrators of these Evils. I fear this country will feel, after giving you my honor that I am not influenced by prejudice to point out those Gentlemen. I can assure you they are persons that will Ever disgrace this part of the country while in power. As for Mr. M., he has, I learn, lived in Obscurity until lately; his promotion has so confused him that his Conduct is Contradictory in his own publick writing, and as wavering as the minds of that class of mortals he has had the Honour to Influence. . . I learn that it is generally believed that the Inhabitants of the western country are disaffected. I do not think it to be the case, and was the line between the two states Established, and the whole well officered, they might in a short time be made Valuable Citizens, and any necessary force call’d to the field on the shortest notice. But at present scarcely a week passes but you hear of some massacre. Sufficient stores of necessaries provided to Enable them to Reduce the Indians, and yet those Inducements are not sufficient to draw them to action, owing to those principles before Recited.”
2 Ibid., pp. 331-32.
1 It is a fact beyond dispute that Hays, who was at first extremely favorable to the furnishing of men for the expedition, afterwards turned bitterly against it, the reason for this change being that he came to believe (as did also Col. Marshel and others) that it was a project for the advancement of Virginia interests and the extension of the territory of that State in the West. (See his letter to President Reed, ibid., p. 369).
The troops of Gen. Clarke’s expedition, embracing infantry, mounted men, and several pieces of light artillery (but not including the Westmoreland County men under Col. Lochry, who were not ready to move with the main force), were gathered in camp on the Ohio River, most of them at Fort Henry (Wheeling), but a part encamped about three miles below Fort Pitt, where they lay on the 27th of July, as is shown by the letter of Col. Dorsey Pentecost of that date, before quoted. From that point they moved down the river and joined the main body at the rendezvous at Fort Henry, where they were in camp on the 4th of August. It was the purpose of the commander to remain at that point until the arrival of the Westmoreland detachment, but this was found to be impracticable on account of the desertion of his men. Accordingly he broke camp at Fort Henry and proceeded down the river about the 10th of August.
At the mouth of the Kanawha River the forces were landed, with the intention, on the part of Gen. Clarke, to wait there for the arrival of the rear detachment. But here, although so far away from their homes, the men evinced even more determination to desert than they had at Fort Henry, having begun to realize more fully than before the dangerous nature of the service in which they were engaged. Thereupon Gen. Clarke, finding that if he should remain there any considerable time he would find himself without a following, ordered an immediate re-embarkation of the troops, and went on down the river, but even while on the passage the desertions continued, though they were of course less numerous than from the encampments.
The passage from Fort Henry to the point of destination consumed about three weeks. The banks of the river down which the expedition passed were occupied at various points by hostile Indians, but these dared not offer any attack on the forces because of the cannon which Clarke had with him, artillery being always greatly dreaded by savages of all tribes. After a journey which was especially tedious on account of the low water in the river, the troops reached their destination at the Falls of the Ohio about the end of the month of August. There they waited for reinforcements from Kentucky, which never came, and for the arrival of the detachment under Col. Lochry, but the waiting was in vain (for reasons hereafter given), and the commander, having now no hope of reinforcement, and finding his force so much weakened by desertion that it would be madness for him to march with it in any expectation of being able to reduce the post of Detroit, or even of the Indian towns on the Sandusky, he reluctantly abandoned the enterprise. This disastrous ending of the expedition was the result of the desertion of the men, not only by reducing the strength of the main force, but by compelling the commander to move on from Fort Henry, and again from the mouth of the Kanawha, without waiting, as he wished and intended to do, for the arrival of the detachment under Col. Lochry, thereby leaving that brave officer and his command to proceed on their way alone and unsupported to meet the terrible fate which overtook them, and which is now to be narrated.
The force raised in Westmoreland County (including men from Washington County) for Clarke’s expedition, about one hundred and ten strong, as before mentioned, and under the command of Col. Archibald Lochry, proceeded to the rendezvous at Fort Henry, where the commanding officer expected to join the main body under Gen. Clarke. But on arriving there he found that the general had gone down the river the day before, leaving a Maj. Craycroft with a few men and a boat for the transportation of the horses, but without either provisions or ammunition, of which they had but a very insufficient supply. Clarke had, however, promised to await their arrival at the mouth of the Kanawha; but on reaching that point they found that he had been obliged, in order to prevent desertion (which his men were more than ever determined on), to proceed down the river, leaving only a letter affixed to a pole directing them to follow. Their provisions and forage were nearly exhausted; there was no source of supply but the stores conveyed by Clarke; the river was very low, and as they were unacquainted with the channel, they could not hope to overtake the main body. Under these embarrassing circumstances Col. Lochry dispatched Capt. Shearer with four men in a small boat, with the hope of overtaking Gen. Clarke and of securing supplies, leaving his (Shearer’s) company under the command of Lieut. Isaac Anderson. Before Shearer’s party had proceeded far they were taken prisoners by Indians, who also took from them a letter to Gen. Clarke, informing him of the condition of Lochry’s party.
About the same time Lochry captured a party of nineteen deserters from Clarke’s force. These he afterwards released, and they immediately joined the Indians. The savages had before been apprised of the expedition, but they had supposed that the forces of Clarke and Lochry were together, and as they knew that Clarke had artillery, they had not attempted an attack. But now, by the capture of Shearer’s party, with the letters, and by the intelligence brought to them by the deserters, they for the first time learned of the weakness and exposed situation of Lochry’s command, and they at once determined on its destruction.
Collecting in force some miles below the mouth of the Great Miami River, they placed their prisoners (Shearer’s party) in a conspicuous position on the north shore of the Ohio, near the head of Lochry’s Island, with the promise to them that their lives should be spared if they would hail Lochry’s men as they came down and induce them to land. But in the mean time, Col. Lochry, wearied by the slow progress made, and in despair of overtaking Clarke, landed on the 24th of August, at about ten o’clock in the morning, on the same shore, at an inlet which has since borne the name of Lochry’s Creek,1 a short distance above the place where the Indians were awaiting them. At this point the horses were taken on shore and turned loose to feed. One of the men had killed a buffalo, and all, except a few set to guard the horses, were engaged around the fires which they had kindled in preparing the meal from it. Suddenly a volley blazed forth on them from a wooded bluff, and simultaneously a large force of Indians appeared and rushed to attack them. The men, thus surprised, seized their arms and bravely defended themselves as long as their ammunition lasted. Then they attempted to escape by their boats, but these were unwieldy, the water was very low, and the party, too much weakened to avail themselves of this method of escape, and being wholly unable to make further resistance, surrendered to the savages, who at once proceeded to the work of massacre. They killed Col. Lochry and several others of the prisoners, but were restrained from further butchery by the timely arrival of their chief,2 who declared that he disapproved of their conduct, but said he was unable wholly to control his men, who were eager to revenge the acts of Col. Brodhead against the Indians on the Muskingum a few months before.
1 This creek empties into the Ohio, nine or ten miles below the mouth of the Miami. Lochry’s Island, near the head of which the prisoners were placed by the Indians to decoy their friends on shore, is three miles below the creek.
2 It has been stated that the chief in command of this Indian party was the famous Capt. Brant, and that he afterwards professed much regret for the massacre of Lochry and his men.
The party which Col. Lochry surrendered to the Indians consisted of but sixty-four men, forty-two having been killed. The Indians engaged numbered over three hundred of various tribes, but principally those of the Six Nations. They divided the plunder among them in proportion to the numbers of each tribe engaged.
On the next day the prisoners were marched to the Delaware towns, where they were met by a party of British and Indians, who said they were on their way to the Falls of the Ohio to attack Gen. Clarke. The prisoners were separated and taken to different places of captivity at the Indian towns, and there they remained (excepting a few who escaped) until the close of the Revolutionary struggle. After the preliminary articles of peace had been signed (Nov. 30, 1782) they were ransomed by the British officers in command of the Northern posts and were sent to Canada, to be exchanged for British prisoners in the hands of the Americans.3 In the spring of 1783 they sailed from Quebec to New York, and from there returned home by way of Philadelphia, having been absent twenty-two months. But more than one-half of those who went down the Ohio with Col. Lochry never again saw their homes.
3 The following memorial of escaped prisoners belonging to Col. Lochry’s command was presented to the Supreme Executive Council, addressed to President Moore, and indorsed July 3, 1783, viz.:
“Sir, – We, the subscribers, inhabitants of the County of Westmoreland, beg leave to represent to your Excellency and Council that we had the misfortune to be made prisoners of by the Indians on the 24th of August last and carried to Montreal, and there kept in close confinement till the 26th of May last, when we were so fortunate as to make our escape, and after a long and fatigueing march through the Wilderness we got to this city yesterday at three o’Clock. As we are at present destitute of both Money and Cloathes, without which we cannot go home, We pray your Exc’y and Council to take our case into Consideration, and order us our pay from the time we were made prisoners to this. We were under the command of Colo. Loughery when taken, and have a list of all those, both officers and privates, who are now prisoners of that party, which, together with such information as is in our power, we are ready to give for the satisfaction of your Exc’y and Council.
“We have the Honour to be
“Your Excellency’s Hble Servts,
“Lieut. Capt. Sheerer’s Company Rangers.
“Late Quartermaster to Colonel Lochry.”
A similar petition was presented to Council Jan. 6, 1783, by prisoners from Lochry’s command, then returning (not escaped) from Canada, as follows:
“We, the Subscribers, would beg leave to represent the situation of Henery Dungan, Sergt of Captn John Boyd’s Company, and Robert Watson, John Marrs, and Mich. Hare, of Capt. Thos. Stokely’s Com’y of Rangers of this State, that they have been Captured by the Savages in the Summer of Eighty-one, and are now on their return from Canada, being Destitute of Money, and allmost Cloathing, would bet that Council would take their Situation under Consideration, and grant them such supply’s as they in their wisdom shall think necessary.
(Signed) “John Boyd,
“Capt’n of Rangers S. P.
“Capt. Of Rangers S. P.”
–– Penn. Arch., 1781-83, pp. 738-34.
Upon the abandonment of the expedition by Gen. Clarke at the Falls of the Ohio, the men composing the force made their way as best they could through the wilderness to their homes, encountering many perils and hardships, and being more than two months on the weary homeward journey. The arrival of a part of them, as also the terrible disaster to Col. Lochry’s command, was announced by Gen. Irvine (who had in the mean time succeeded Col. Brodhead in the command of the Western Department) in a letter to Gen. Washington, dated Fort Pitt, Dec. 2, 1781, as follows:
“. . . Capt. Craig, with the detachment of artillery, returned here on the 26th inst. [ult?] . . . A Col. Lochry, of Westmoreland County, Pa., with about one hundred men in all, composed of volunteers and a company raised by Pennsylvania for the defense of that county, started to join Gen. Clarke, who, it is said, ordered him to unite with him (Clarke) at the mouth of the Miami, up which river it was previously designed to proceed; but the general, having changed his plan, left a small party at the Miami, with directions to Lochry to follow him to the mouth of the Falls. Sundry accounts agree that this party, and all of Lochry’s troops to a man, were waylaid by the Indians and British (for it is said they had artillery), and all killed or taken, not a man escaping, either to join Gen. Clarke or to return home. When Capt. Craig left the general he would not be persuaded but that Lochry with his party had returned home. These misfortunes throw the people of this county into the greatest consternation, and almost despair, particularly Westmoreland County, Lochry’s party being all the best men of their frontier. At the present they talk of flying early in the spring to the eastern side of the mountains, and are daily flocking to me to inquire what support they may expect.”
While Gen. Clarke’s expedition was in progress, and long before the intelligence had been received of its disastrous termination, another expedition was projected, its object being identical with a part of Clarke’s plan, viz., the capture and destruction of the Indian towns on the Sandusky River. The enterprise was conceived and fostered by Cols. Brodhead and Gibson at Fort Pitt, and by Hays, Marshel, and other officials of the Pennsylvania counties on both sides of the Monongahela. Undoubtedly military jealousy had much to do with the advocacy of the plan by Col. Brodhead and other officers at Fort Pitt, but they, as well as Marshel, Hays, and other Pennsylvania officials, also believed, or affected to believe, that Clarke’s campaign was prosecuted wholly in the interest of Virginia, and with the ulterior object of establishing the claims of that State to territory in the West.
As early as the 23d of August, Col. Brodhead mentioned the proposed enterprise in a letter of that date addressed to the president of the Council, viz.: “An Expedition against the Sanduskies is in Contemplation, and I wish to promote it, but what can be done with naked and starved men, unless the Country will afford a generous supply, you will easily Determine.” The expedition was to be under the command of Col. Gibson, of the Seventh Virginia Regiment, and the rendezvous was ordered at Fort McIntosh on the 5th of September. A considerable number of volunteers were recruited, including many of the leading citizens of Washington County. But the same difficulties were encountered in the raising of supplies which Brodhead had previously met in the prosecution of his campaign against the Delaware towns, and he made little if any progress towards the desired result during the short time he afterwards remained as commandant at Fort Pitt.
On the 24th of September, 1781, Brig.-Gen. William Irvine received orders to supersede Col. Brodhead in the command of Fort Pitt and the Western Department. He at once repaired to his post of duty, and began the arduous task of having the work put in a tolerable condition for defense, and of bringing the troops under his command there up to as near a state of efficiency as was practicable. The Eighth Pennsylvania and Seventh Virginia Regiments at Fort Pitt had been reduced to a mere remnant, sufficient men remaining in each to form two full companies, but no more, and they were reorganized in that way, and the supernumerary officers sent elsewhere. Of the condition of the soldiers at the fort Irvine wrote Gen. Washington: “I never saw troops cut so truly deplorable a figure. No man would believe from their appearance that they were soldiers; nay, it was difficult to determine whether they were white men.”
Under such circumstances and in view of the almost impossibility of obtaining supplies, Gen. Irvine did not encourage the projected expedition to the Sandusky towns, and it was accordingly abandoned for that year. He ascertained that the post at Wheeling (Fort Henry) was occupied by a garrison of one Continental officer and fifteen privates, but he could not spare any of the soldiers from Fort Pitt for their relief, and he found some difficulty in obtaining elsewhere even the small number of men necessary. On the 14th of November he wrote James Marshel, county lieutenant of Washington, asking him to furnish volunteers for the relieving party. Marshel replied, two days later, "I cannot comply with your requisition of engaging a number of men for the defense of Fort Wheeling, as I am heartily tired out with volunteer plans;” but he added, “I shall order out, according to class, the number of militia you have demanded, and order the officer to wait on you for instructions.” He did so, sending Lieut. John Hay in command of one sergeant and fifteen privates of the Washington County militia. The officer waited on Gen. Irvine as ordered, and on the 28th of November received his instructions “to proceed to Wheeling with the detachment under his command, there to relieve the garrison of Continental troops, taking upon himself the charge of the post.” Lieut. Hay and his detachment occupied Fort Henry until the 2d of February following, when the officer and garrison were relieved by another lieutenant and a detachment of equal numbers from the Washington County militia, and these remained garrisoning the post until about the 1st of April following.
Williamson’s Expeditions. – In November, 1781, after the proposed campaign against Sandusky had been given up for that year, a small expedition was sent against the Moravian towns on the Muskingum River. The reason for this movement against the peaceful Moravians was that many of the borderers believed, or professed to believe, that they (the Christian Indians) were secretly in league with the warlike savages who lived farther to the northwest, that even if they did not take active part in the frequent raids and butcheries, they did at least at their isolated towns – situated midway between the Ohio River frontier and the hostile villages on the Sandusky – give shelter, subsistence, and information to the Shawanese and Wyandot warriors when engaged in their bloody forays; and some even believed that the Moravians themselves mingled with the war parties and wielded the knife and tomahawk. It was not intended, however, in this expedition to use fire and sword against the Indians of the Moravian towns, but to induce them, if possible, to remove farther away from the Ohio, or, failing in this, to take them as prisoners to Fort Pitt.
The expedition numbered between seventy-five and one hundred men, and was made up of volunteers from the country west of the Monongahela River, principally from Washington County. The commanding officer (Col. David Williamson) was of the same county and one of its prominent citizens.
The organization of the expedition was effected with but little delay, for the enterprise was one involving little danger to deter volunteers, and it was not necessary for its probably short term of service to accumulate a large amount of provisions. Having no artillery, camp equipage, or supply trains to impeded his progress, Col. Williamson moved his force rapidly to the Ohio, and thence to the towns on the Muskingum; but in the mean time he had been forestalled in his projected work by a large force of hostile savages,1 who charged the Moravians with being in league with the whites, and on this plea had visited their towns, broken them up, driven the people away to Sandusky, and carried the white Moravian missionaries residing among them prisoners to Detroit.
1 The hostile Indians and British, being suspicious that the Moravians had been secretely working in the interests of the Americans, resolved to drive them from their towns on the Muskingum. An Indian force was therefore gathered for this purpose, composed of Wyandots, Delawares, and Shawanese, in all amounting to more than three hundred warriors. The first of the Indian parties – a body of one hundred and forty Wyandots under their Half-King, and accompanied by Matthew Elliot, a Tory, holding a captain’s commission in the British service – reached the Muskingum on the 10th of August, 1781. The Upper Sandusky Delawares, under Capt. Pipe and Wingenund, came in soon after, and by the 14th the whole force was gathered at the Moravian towns, where they remained for nearly a month. On the 11th of September they left on their return to Sandusky, forcing the Moravian Indians to accompany them, abandoning their villages, cattle, and crops. The war parties also made prisoners of Heckewelder, Zeisberger, and other missionaries found at the villages, and sent them to the British at Detroit, where they were tried as spies, charged with holding correspondence with the Americans. They were soon afterwards acquitted by the British court-martial at Detroit, and allowed to rejoin their Indian converts in the vicinity of Sandusky.
On his arrival at the towns, Williamson found them deserted, except by a small party of the Moravians, who had been driven away, but who had been allowed by their captors to return for the purpose of gathering some corn which had been left standing in the fields near the villages. This party he took prisoners and marched them to Fort Pitt, where, however, they were soon after set at liberty by Gen. Irvine, the commandant.
During the winter of 1781-82 the people of the frontier settlements looked forward with dread and painful foreboding to the time of melting snows and springing grass, the time when the lifting of winter’s embargo would permit the Western savages to come out from the shelter of their towns and carry devastation across the border from the Ohio to the Monongahela. The months of December and January were exceedingly and continuously cold, but at the beginning of February the weather became unusually mild; and this sudden and remarkable change proved to be the opening of spring. In a few days the snow had disappeared, and the season seemed like April rather than February. The savages on the Sandusky at once availed themselves of the unusual circumstance, and took the war-path. A party of them entered Virginia as early as the 8th of the month, and murdered a young man named John Fink at the Buchanan settlement. This was the opening act of the Indian hostilities of the memorable year 1782.
On the 10th1 of February a war party of Shawanese attacked the house of Robert Wallace, on the waters of Raccoon Creek, in the present township of Hanover, Washington County. The husband and father was away from home at the time of the attack, and the Indians having killed his cattle and hogs, and committed all the depredations possible except that of burning the house, took Mrs. Wallace and her three children prisoners, and moved as rapidly as possible with them towards the Ohio, evidently anticipating a prompt pursuit. When Wallace returned in the evening and saw the desolation of his home he at once understood the cause, and during the night roused the neighboring settlers, and formed a party to start at dawn on the trail of the savages, and rescue the prisoners from their hands if possible. The party, determined on revenge, set out as proposed, but there came a light fall of snow which concealed the trail, and compelled them to return without having accomplished their object.
1 Butterfield’s and some other accounts erroneously give the 17th as the date of the attack on Wallace’s house.
Within a few days of the time when the Shawanese attacked Wallace’s house,2 another party of Indians appeared in the west party of Washington County, and captured a man named John Carpenter, who lived on the waters of the Dutch Fork of Buffalo Creek.3 They also took his two horses, and with these and their prisoners they made their way to and across the Ohio, swimming the somewhat swollen river, and nearly losing the horses in doing so, and proceeded rapidly to the Muskingum. At the end of the first day’s journey beyond that river the horses were hobbled and turned loose to feed. In the morning Carpenter was sent to bring them in, and finding them attempting to make their way back over the trail of the previous day, he suddenly resolved that he too would make the attempt, though he well knew that his fate would be a terrible one if he should fail. Freeing the horses from their hobbles he mounted one of them, and made his way as rapidly as possible to the Ohio, which he reached in safety near Fort McIntosh. Thence he went to Fort Pitt, reported the events of his captivity to Col. Gibson, and came back to his home in Washington County.
2 It was about the 15th of February that Carpenter was captured. Some accounts have it “early in March,” but this is a mistake. He had escaped and returned to the settlements before the 25th of February.
3 Doddridge in his “Notes” says Carpenter lived in Virginia, not far from Wellsburg.
Upon his return Carpenter reported in the settlement that his savage captors were six in number and that among them were two who called themselves Moravian Indians and spoke in good Dutch. These two, he said, had appeared particularly vindictive towards the whites, and treated him much more severely than did the others. The settlers had already become aroused, and were preparing to form an expedition to invade the Indian country as their only means of safety and peace. But when they received the intelligence brought by Carpenter, they at once concluded that the atrocities then recently committed were the work of the Moravians. Even before this they had been strongly inclined to hold the so-called Christian Indians responsible for the atrocities which had been committed, for it was known that some of the Moravians had returned from their enforced exile and were reoccupying their former homes;4 and, as the frontiersmen said, it was not likely that the hostile savages from far-off Sandusky would have reached the border settlements so early in the season; or if in fact they were the perpetrators of the outrages, they must have made the Muskingum villages the base of their operations, and in such a case the blame was chargeable on the Moravians. There were some who dissented from this view of the case, but when the story of Carpenter’s capture and captivity was told, it was agreed by nearly all that the Moravians had at least given aid to the murdering savages by furnishing them with a refuge and subsistence, if indeed they had not also actually accompanied the war parties and taken active part in their work of massacre and devastation. It was therefore the general sentiment of the people that an expedition should be sent at once to the Moravian towns to compel their final and permanent evacuation by the Moravians, to burn the houses so that the place could no longer be used as a shelter and base of operations for war parties, and to take bloody vengeance on all hostile savages who might be found there; but it does not appear that in the inception of the enterprise there was any intention (at least among the leading men) to kill any of the really peaceable Moravians, or to do them any violence beyond compelling them (by force if need be) to vacate the villages and remove either to a remote part of the Indian country or to the vicinity of Fort Pitt, where they could be kept under the surveillance of the military authorities.
4 “Having received intelligence that the Indian towns on the Muskingum had not moved, as was supposed, a number of men, properly provided, collected and rendezvoused on the Ohio opposite the Mingo Bottom, with a design to surprise the above [Moravian] towns.” – Pennsylvania Gazette, April 17, 1782.
So unanimous among the settlers was the sentiment in favor of such an expedition that its ranks could have been easily and quickly filled with volunteers, but Col. James Marshel, who as county lieutenant of Washington had entire control of the military of the county, was entirely opposed to that method of raising men, being – as he had previously expressed himself in an official letter to Gen. Irvine – “heartily tired out with volunteer plans.” He had received authority from the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania (in circular instructions to lieutenants of the western counties, dated Jan. 8, 1782) to call out the militia of his county at will on any emergency which in his opinion rendered it necessary, and he now promptly exercised that authority by calling out the militia of the county the number of men which he thought necessary for the successful accomplishment of the object in view. The force, which consisted of about one hundred and sixty men,1 all of Washington County, and all, or very nearly all, of whom were mounted, was placed under command of Col. David Williamson. It left the county on the 3d of March, and in the morning of the 4th crossed the Ohio River to the Mingo Bottom, which was on the western bank of the stream, about two and a half miles below the present town of Steubenville.
1 Butterfield, in his “Historical Account of the Expedition Against Sandusky under Col. William Crawford in 1782,” gives the strength of this force as ninety men only; and Doddridge (page 248) places it at “between eighty and ninety men;” but this is undoubtedly an error. Most of the accounts which bear the appearance of authenticity state the number to have been one hundred and sixty. One of the apparently most reliable of these accounts is the “Relation of Frederick Linebach,” which is found in the Pennsylvania Archives of 1781-83, page 524, and is given farther on in this narrative. It embraces the account given of the expedition by two persons living near Easton, Pa., but who were present on the frontier at the time Williamson’s party returned from the campaign. In a few days thereafter they left the frontier and returned to Eastern Pennsylvania, where they related the facts as given. The number of Williamson’s men was stated by them as one hundred and sixty. The statement of men who were on the border at the time, who heard al the facts related, and very likely saw the forces of the expedition, is of more value than any account written years afterward from recollection or tradition. It is true that Dr. Doddridge was also living on the frontier at the time, but as he was then only about twelve years old, it is not to be supposed that he would of his own knowledge have any definite information as to the number of men composing the expedition.
Stone, in his “Life of Brant,” ii, 220, says, “A band of between one and two hundred men from the settlements of the Monongahela turned out in quest of the marauders [those who had committed atrocities on the frontier east of the Ohio, and part of whom were supposed to be the Moravians], thirsting for vengeance, under the command of Col. David Williamson.”
On page 143 of “Contributions to American History,” published by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, is found the following: “In March, 1782, one hundred and sixty militiamen living upon the Monongahela set off on horseback to the Muskingum, in order to destroy three Moravian Indian settlements.”
Col. Whittlesey, in the “American Pioneer,” vol. ii, p. 428, says, “They were principally from the Monongahela region, and appointed Williamson to the command.”
Gen. Irvine, who was in the East at the time the expedition set out, and who arrived back at Fort Pitt a few days after the forces came back from their bloody work on the Muskingum, wrote to Gen. Washington on the 20th of April following, in which letter he said that upon his arrival at Fort Pitt he found that “about three hundred men had just returned from the Moravian towns.”
When the Shawanese war party who destroyed the home of Robert Wallace, on Raccoon Creek, made their rapid retreat to the Ohio with their prisoners, in the night of the 10th of February, they found Mrs. Wallace and her infant child to be serious impediments to the rapidity of their march, and so, soon after crossing the river, these two helpless ones were ruthlessly murdered,2 the mother scalped, and her body impaled on the sharpened trunk of a sapling standing directly on the path which led from the Mingo Bottom to the villages of the Muskingum. On their arrival at the Moravian town of Gnadenhütten they announced the bloody work on which they had been engaged and exhibited the plunder they had secured. The Christian Indians at once saw how their own safety might be endangered by this visit of the hostile party. They reproached the Shawanese for having compromised them by stopping at their town, and begged them to proceed on their homeward journey without delay. The warriors complied with this request, but not until they had cunningly induced the simple Moravians to purchase from them some of the household utensils they had brought from the ravaged home on Raccoon Creek, and had disposed of the blood-stained dress of Mrs. Wallace to some of the foolish young squaws of Gnadenhütten. These were dear purchases to the unsuspecting Moravians, for they soon paid for them with their lives. It has been the opinion of many that the scheme was preconcerted on the part of the hostile Indians, who knew of the preparations which were being made in the white settlements for an expedition against the Muskingum towns,3 and left these articles at Gnadenhütten, expecting that the white men would find them there, and regarding the fact as positive proof that the Moravians had committed the outrages on Raccoon and Buffalo Creeks, would murder them and destroy their towns in retaliation. The hostile Indians suspected that the Moravians were in secret alliance with the Americans,4 and therefore might have wished to have them destroyed, or at least permanently driven from their towns, so that the war parties might pass to and fro between the Sandusky and the Ohio without having their movements watched and reported to the frontiersmen. If such was their wish and intention it was natural that rather than do the bloody work themselves they should prefer to have it done by the whites, because in that event it would be sure to rouse a universal spirit of revenge among the Northwestern savages, and to unite all the tribes and bands (some of which were still wavering and neutral) in a general Indian league against the Pennsylvania and Virginia settlers. If such was their plan it was a deep-laid one, which was adroitly executed, and only too successful in its results.
2 The two other Wallace children – Robert, aged two and a half years, and his brother, ten years of age – were taken to Sandusky, where the elder one died. Robert was sold to the Wyandots, and remained with that tribe nearly three years. His father heard of his being there, and after the close of the Revolution sent for him, and having succeeded in obtaining his release from captivity brought him back to his home in Washington County.
3 The story was afterwards current among the inhabitants that the infamous renegade, Simon Girty, was present in the settlements in disguise when the expedition was being formed, and that he did all in his power to promote it. That the Indians wished to have the blame of their outrages thrown on the Christian Indians is evident from the fact that two of the most savage captors of John Carpenter pretended to be Moravians, though they were but warriors in that disguise.
4 “The peaceable Indians [Moravians] first fell under suspicion with the Indian warriors and the English commandant at Detroit, to whom it was reported that their teachers [the missionaries] were in close confederacy with the American Congress for preventing not only their own people but also the Delawares and some other nations from associating their arms with those of the British for carrying on the war against the American colonies. The frequent failures of the war expeditions of the Indians was attributed to the Moravians, who often sent runners to Fort Pitt to give notice of their approach. This charge against them was certainly not without foundation. In the spring of 1781 the war chief of the Delawares fully apprised the missionaries and their followers of their danger both from the whites and Indians, and requested them to remove to a place of safety from both. This request was not complied with. The almost prophetic predictions of this chief were literally fulfilled.” – Doddridge’s Early Settlement and Indian Wars, page 257.
The same advice which was given to the Moravian Indians by the Delaware chief, as mentioned by Doddridge, was also pressed on them by Col. Brodhead at the time he was marching with his expedition to the Delaware towns in April, 1781, but they persisted in their determination to remain, seeming to court their own destruction.
Col. Williamson’s forces moved from the Mingo Bottom1 and passed up the valley of Cross Creek, on the direct trail to the Moravian towns. Before they had advanced far from the river they passed the spot where the Indian murderers of Mrs. Robert Wallace had impaled her mutilated body. Naturally the rage of the volunteers was raised to the highest pitch by the ghastly sight, and many and deep were the imprecations launched against the Moravians as the perpetrators of bloody deed. If they had reasoned more coolly they must have regarded the presence of the corpse at that place as evidence in favor of the innocence of the Christian Indians, for if they had done the murder, they would hardly have advertised the fact by placing the body in that position on the direct path to their settlements; but the men were too highly excited and incensed to reason in this way, and so they marched on, full of wrath and vengeful feelings against the peaceful inhabitants of the villages on the Muskingum.
1 “Mingo Bottom is a rich plateau on the immediate bank of the Ohio, in the south half of section 27 of township two, range one, of the government survey, extending south to a small affluent of the Ohio known as Cross Creek. Opposite the upper portion of Mingo Bottom is Mingo Island, containing about ten acres, although much larger in 1782. It supports scanty growth of willow bushes only, but within the recollection of many now living it was studded with trees of large size, particularly the soft maple. Cross Creek, on the Virginia side, flows into the Ohio about three-fourths of a mile below. Before the great flood of 1832 the island contained not less than twenty acres. The usual place of crossing was directly from shore to shore, across the head of the island. At the landing on the west bank the vagrant Mingoes had once a village, deserted, however, as early as 1772. Their town gave name to the locality. The Ohio has been forded at this crossing in very low water. The bluffs of the river are below the island on the Virginia side, above on the Ohio side. Mingo Bottom contains about two hundred and fifty acres.” – Butterfield’s Expedition against Sandusky, p. 63.
Late in the evening of the 6th of March the expedition arrived within less than a mile of Gnadenhütten, and the men bivouacked so near the village that their advanced scouts could faintly hear the shouting of the Indian children, yet none of the doomed people in the town knew of their approach. The place had not been permanently reoccupied by the Moravians since their expulsion by the hostile Indians in the preceding September; but a body of about one hundred and fifty of the exiles (including many women and children) had come back from the place to which they had been driven, and were then engaged at their old settlement, gathering corn of the previous year’s crop to carry to their suffering brethren on the Sandusky. A part of them were at Gnadenhütten and the remainder at the two other villages, engaged in the same work.
Early in the morning of the 7th the forces moved from their bivouac of the previous night, and advanced towards the town in two divisions. The left division was divided into three parties, one to move through the woods to the river-bank below the town, one to march in the same way to the stream at the upper end of the town, and the third to move at the proper time directly on the village. The right division was to move under cover to the river at a point about a mile above the town, and there to cross to the other shore for the purpose of capturing a body of the Indians who, as the commander had learned form his scouts, were on the west side of the river.
When the right division reached the river above the town they found the stream filled with floating ice and too much swollen to ford. They had neither the time nor the means necessary to build rafts for crossing, and no canoes or other craft were to be seen along the east bank. On the west, however, they saw what appeared to be a canoe, and a young man named Sloughter volunteered to swim across and bring it over. This was done, but it proved to be, not a canoe, but a trough intended for holding sugar-water. Though large for that use, it would only carry two men at a time, and in that manner they crossed the river, some of the men, however, stripping off their clothes, placing them in the trough, and then swimming by its side across the stream. When some fifteen or twenty of the party had gained the west bank of the river, one of the scouts, who had been posted a short distance in advance, discovered an Indian. Two shots were instantly fired at him, breaking his arm. He proved to be a young half-breed, named Joseph Shabosh, who had been sent out to catch a horse. After breaking his arm the scouts rushed upon him, killed2 and scalped him, he the while begging piteously for his life, telling them that he was a Christian, and that his father was a white man and a minister. The firing of the shots at young Shabosh of course put an end to all hopes of further concealment, and word was at once sent to the parties of the left division to move instantly on Gnadenhütten, while the men of the right division who had gained the west bank of the river – that is to say the party who had killed Shabosh – marched as rapidly as possible to the capture of the Moravians who were on that side of the stream. These were found in a field, gathering corn to take to Sandusky. The white men told them they had come to take them all to Fort Pitt for safety.
2 The name of Charles Bilderback has been preserved as that of the man who killed and scalped young Shabosh, and who seven years afterwards was captured by an Indian party, taken to the very place where Shabosh was murdered, and there killed and scalped. This is the tradition. The most that can be said of it is that it may be true.
“The Indians surrendered,1 delivered up their arms, and appeared highly delighted with the prospect of their removal, and began with all speed to prepare victuals for the white men, and Indians were immediately dispatched to Salem, a short distance from Gnadenhütten, where the Indians were gathering in their corn, to bring them into Gnadenhütten. The party soon arrived with the whole number of Indians from Salem. In the mean time the Indians at Gnadenhütten were confined in two houses some distance apart and placed under guards, and when those from Salem arrived they were divided and placed in the same houses with their brethren from Gnadenhütten.”
1 From the Rev. Joseph Doddridge’s “Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania.”
While these scenes were being enacted Williamson’s men in Gnadenhütten ransacked the village, and found there what they considered damning proof of the treachery and guilt of the Moravians. They seized the Indian horses and pointed to the brands on them as proof that they had been stolen from the settlements. The Indians in reply said they were in the habit of branding their horses for identification, and offered to produce the branding irons they used for the purpose. Tea-kettles, pots, basins, pewter plates, and a variety of other articles were found which the white men alleged to have been taken from the houses of the settlers east of the Ohio. The Indians replied that nearly all these things had been brought by the missionaries from the missions on the Susquehanna, though some had been purchased by them from traders. But then came the fatal evidence that there were among these articles some household utensils which had been taken from the house of Robert Wallace, and that the dress which his wife wore when she received the death-blow was found upon the person of one of the young Moravian women, and these were fully identified by Wallace himself who was present with the expedition. In the face of these facts all protestations of innocence on the part of the Indians were unavailing. Their doom was already fixed in the minds of the incensed borderers, who at once demanded of Col. Williamson that they should be put to death.
Under the pressure of these demands the commander called a council of war to decide what should be done, but the officers composing it evaded the responsibility of making a decision, and in fact they knew they would be powerless to enforce it if made against the wishes of the men. Williamson thereupon ordered that the question be referred to a vote of the volunteers, which vote should be final. The men were then formed in line and the question formally put to them, “Shall the Moravian Indians be taken as prisoners to Fort Pitt, or put to death here?” All those in favor of sparing their lives were directed to advance three paces to the front. At the order all stood fast in the line save eighteen brave men who advanced to the front, and stood there in hopeless minority until the commander announced the result, then withdrew, and, as tradition says, called on God to witness that they were guiltless of participation in the awful tragedy about to be enacted.
It was evening on the 7th of March when the dread decision was communicated to the unhappy Moravian prisoners. They had already abandoned all hope of mercy from man, and when asked if they were prepared to die answered that they were Christians, and had no fear of death. They were then told that they must make all preparation during the night, and die on the following morning.
The work of butchery was done in the forenoon of the 8th of March.2 The victims were dragged by ropes placed about their necks, some singly and others in pairs, to the place of slaughter, where they were knocked down like beasts with a cooper’s mallet, and then tomahawked and scalped. The particulars are too dreadful to dwell upon. The tale of Wyoming’s massacre is less soul-sickening than the record of that day’s work done by Christian white men.
2 The manner in which Dr. Doddridge and some others tell the story of the massacre would lead to the inference that the Moravian prisoners were slaughtered on the 7th of March, commencing immediately after their doom was decided by the vote of the volunteers. That such was not the case, but that the killing was postponed until the morning of the 8th, is shown by the Rev. David Zeisberger’s narrative of the transaction, as also by the “Relation of Frederick Linebach,” which is given in these pages. Gen. Irvine, however, in a letter to Gen. Washington, dated April 20, 1782, said the report there was that Williamson’s men had killed the Moravians “after cool deliberation and considering the matter for three days.”
“The prisoners,” says the Rev. Dr. Doddridge, “from the time they were placed in the guard-house foresaw their fate, and began their devotions of singing hymns, praying, and exhorting each other to place a firm reliance in the mercy of the Saviour of men. When their fate was announced to them these devoted people embraced, kissed, and bedewing each others’ faces and bosoms with their mutual tears, asked pardon of the brothers and sisters for any offense they might have given them through life. Thus at peace with God and with each other, on being asked by those who were impatient for the slaughter whether they were ready to die, they answered that they had commended their souls to God and were ready to die. The particulars of the dreadful catastrophe are too horrid to relate. Suffice it to say that in a few minutes these two slaughter-houses, as they were then called, exhibited in their ghastly interior the mangled, bleeding remains of these poor unfortunate people of all ages and sexes, from the aged, gray-headed parents down to the helpless infant at its mother’s breast, dishonored by the fatal wounds of the tomahawk, mallet, war-club, spear, and scalping-knife.”
An account of the operations of Williamson’s forces from the time of their setting out on the expedition to that of their return to the settlements, including the slaughter of the Moravians, is found in the Pennsylvania Archives of 1781-83, page 524, as follows:
“Relation of what Frederick Linebach was told by two of his Neighbours living near Delaware River, above Easton, who were just returned from the Monongahela.
“That some time in February one hundred and sixty Men, living upon the Monaungahela set off on Horseback to the Muskingum, in order to destroy Three Indian Settlements, of which they seemed to be sure of being the Touns of some Enemy Indians. After coming nigh to one of the Touns they discovered some Indians on both sides of the River Muskingum. They then concluded to divide themselves in Two parties, the one to cross the River and the other to attack those Indians on this side. When the party got over the River they saw one of the Indians coming up towards them. They laid themselves flat on the ground waiting till the Indian was nigh enough, then one of them shot the Indian and broke his arm; then three of the Militia ran towards him with Tomahawks; when they were yet a little distance from him he ask’d them why they had fired at him; he was Minister Sheboshch’s [John Bull’s] Son, but they took no notice of what he said, but killed him on the Spot. They then surrounded the field, and took all the other Indians Prisoners. The Indians told them that they were Christians and made no resistance, when the Militia gave them to understand that they must bring them as Prisoners to Fort Pitt they seemed to be very glad. They were ordered to prepare themselves for the Journey, and to take all their Effects along with them. Accordingly they did so. They were asked how it came they had no Cattle? They answered that the small Stock that was left them had been sent to Sandusky.
“In the evening the Militia held a Council, when the Commander of the Militia told his men that he would leave it to their choice either to carry the Indians as Prisoners to Fort Pitt or to kill them; when they agreed that they should be killed. Of this Resolution of the Council they gave notice to the Indians by two Messengers, who told them that as they had said they were Christians they would give them time this night to prepare themselves accordingly. Hereupon the Women met together and sung Hymns & Psalms all Night, and so likewise did the Men, and kept on singing as long as there were three left. In the morning the Militia chose Two houses, which they called the Slaughter Houses, and then fetched the Indians two or three at a time with Ropes about their Necks and dragged them into the Slaughter houses, where they knocked them down; then they set these Two houses on Fire, as likewise all the other houses. This done they went to the other Towns and set fire to the Houses, took their plunder, and returned to the Monaungahela, where they held a Vendue among themselves. Before these Informants came away it was agreed that 600 men should meet on the 18th of March to go to Sandusky, which is about 100 miles from the Muskingum.1
1 Linebach (or Leimbach) was an inhabitant of Northampton County, Pa., living not far from the Moravian headquarters at Bethlehem, in that county. On receipt of the intelligence of the massacre, he communicated it to the Moravian Bishop Seidel, who requested that he would make the statement to Congress, which he did, carrying with him a letter from L. Weiss to Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, as follows (see Penn. Archives of 1781-83, p. 523):
“Sir, – I received this afternoon a letter of the Reverend Nathaniel [Seidel], Bishop of the United Churches of the Brethren, residing at Bethlehem, dated the 5th instant. He informs me that the same day a melancholy report was brought to him by one Mr. Leimbach, relative to a murder committed by white Men upon a number of Christian Indians at a place called Muskingum. He continues in his Letter that the same Mr. Leimbach is to proceed the next day to Philada in order to give Congress information how he came to the knowledge of that Event, so that Congress, unless it had already a better account of the affair than he can give, might, upon his Report, take some measures, as well as the mischief already done, as more which might be done, and thus prevent the total extirpation of a Congregation of Indians converted to the Faith of Jesus Christ, and the Judgments of Almighty God against our dear Country, which stands much in need of his divine Protection. The Bishop desires me to give attention to Mr. Leimbach’s Report (I have done it), and to direct him where he should make his addresses. I make bold, Sir, to address him to you, and to begg the Favour that you introduce him, if possible this night, with the Delegates of the State of Virginia, from whence it is said the mischief originated, and to-morrow morning with Congress. Your Humanity, Sir, gives me Confidence to use the Freedom to trouble you this day, the day set apart for the Service of Men to their God, about a Cause which is most properly his own. The Tragic scenes of erecting two Butcher-Houses or Sheds, and killing in cold blood 95 browne or tawny sheep of Jesus Christ, one by one, is certainly taken notice of by the Shepherd, their Creator and Redeemer.
“I am, with particular respect, Sir,
“Your most obed. humble Servant,
“Sunday, 7 April, 1782.”
It appears by the letter of Weiss that he supposed the outrage to have been committed by Virginians, and every effort was made at that time to encourage that belief and make it general. It is not strange that the Moravian bishop at Bethlehem should have readily accepted this idea, for he knew that the feeling of enmity was particularly bitter between the Virginians and Indians, and he knew of the kindness which had been shown by Gen. Irvine, a Pennsylvanian, to the Christian Indians on the Muskingum, and of the services which the latter had rendered to the general in notifying him in advance of proposed irruptions by the hostile tribes. An attempt was also made to fasten the odium of the crime distinctively upon the Scotch settlers. Among the papers transmitted by Secretary Thomson to the Executive Council of Pennsylvania with a copy of Linebach’s statement was a letter from George Niser, dated York Town, April 4, 1782, in which he said, “I have seen a Letter wrote by a Woman at Pittsburgh, date the 21st of March, which contains these particulars: ‘The Militia have killed 99 of the Moravian Indians, Viz., 33 Men and 66 Women and Children.’ In another Letter from the same of the 5th April, ‘The Moravian Indian Congregation is butchered, as it is reported, by the Scotch. They came and told them they must prepare directly for Death. The Indians requested but an hour’s Time for this Purpose, which was granted. They went to their Meeting-house to join in Prayers to the Lord. After an hour had passed they fell upon them and butchered all of them in cold Blood in the meeting-house, and then set fire to the House.’” – Pa. Archives, 1781-83, p. 525.
Of the whole party of about one hundred and fifty Indians of all ages who were present at the three villages when Williamson’s forces made their appearance, about one-third the number were at work at the upper village. These heard the shots that were fired at Young Shabosh, and one or two of them cautiously advancing down the river to ascertain the cause soon found the body scalped and mutilated. No further warning was necessary. The alarm was instantly given to the people at the upper town, who fled in terror to the woods, and thus made their escape, leaving their corn and implements behind them. Soon after their flight a party of Williamson’s men came to the village, but finding it deserted made no attempt to pursue, though the horsemen could easily have overtaken the fugitives. The white men having set fire to the village, then returned to Gnadenhütten. After the massacre that town was also set on fire and entirely consumed, including the two slaughter-houses and the bodies of the slain Moravians.
The number of Indians slaughtered was reported as eighty-eight, but Heckewelder, the white Moravian missionary, in his account gave the number of the murdered ones as ninety-six, – sixty-two adults, male and female, and thirty-four children. All these, he says, were killed in the two slaughter-houses except four, who being supposed to be warriors were taken some distance away on the open ground, there to be tomahawked and scalped. One of them in being taken to the fatal spot escaped from his captors by cutting the rope which bound him and then dashing away towards the woods. He was, however, soon overtaken by the horsemen, who cut him down and scalped him. Only two of those taken in the lower towns escaped the slaughter. These were two Indian boys of about fifteen years of age. One of them, who was called Thomas, was knocked down with a tomahawk and scalped, but being only stunned recovered after a time, and on looking around him saw another boy named Abel lying near, wounded and scalped but still alive. Thomas had the presence of mind to lie down again, feigning death, and it was well for him that he did so, for in a few minutes a white man came near, and seeing Abel still living dispatched him with his tomahawk. After a while Thomas crept slowly and painfully along over the dead bodies, succeeded in getting out of the house unobserved, and gained the shelter of the woods, afterwards making his way in safety to Sandusky. The other boy who escaped had managed to hide himself away in the cellar of the house where the women were imprisoned, and just before the building was fired crept out through a narrow window or hole in the foundation. Another boy had been concealed with him in the cellar, and attempted to follow his companion through the window, but being of larger size found it impossible to get through, and so was compelled to remain and perish in the flames. It is stated in some accounts that another Indian boy, eight years of age, was brought away by one of the volunteers, who took him to his home in the settlements, where he remained until nearly grown to manhood, when he left his white master and rejoined the Delawares in the West.
When the work of the massacre was finished, and the destruction of the Moravian towns made complete, the forces of Col. Williamson started on their return, taking with them more than eighty Indian horses, partly laden with plunder from the devastated villages on the Muskingum. On the 10th of March they reached and crossed the Ohio and marched thence to their homes, but they did not immediately disband. It does not appear that they had yet begun to feel any shame or compunction for the frightful crimes they had committed; on the contrary, they were exultant, and (as is shown by Linebach’s account) at once set on foot a plan for a new expedition to number six hundred men to invade the Indian country. If their only object was to proceed against the hostile savages, it was a legitimate and praiseworthy enterprise; but it seems as if they had resolved on nothing less than the extermination of all Indians.
On a little island in the Allegheny, known as Smoky or Killbuck’s Island, lying opposite Fort Pitt, there were encamped a small band of friendly Delawares, among whom were several who actually held commissions in the service of the United States. The name of the island – Killbuck’s – was derived from Captain Killbuck,1 who had more than once received commendation from Gen. Brodhead in his official communications for bravery, efficiency, and steadfast fidelity to the American cause. This little island was visited with fire and sword on the 24th of March by a body of men from Chartiers Creek, some of whom had accompanied Williamson on the Moravian expedition, though the colonel was not with them in this new raid, nor is it probable that he approved or knew of their intentions. They killed several of these friendly Indians, including two who held commissions in the service of the government, and would have killed all if they had been able to accomplish it; but the remainder succeeded in making their escape to the fort, except two, who swam to the other shore and took to the woods. One of the latter was a chief called the Big Cat, who narrowly escaped death at the hands of the assailants. He had always been found among the most steadfast of the Indian allies of the United States, but from this time his friendship ceased, and he never again trusted the Americans.
1 Captain Killbuck had at that time a son in the college at Princeton, N. J., who was placed there by authority of Congress, and being educated at the expense of the government.
The marauding party, after killing all who came within their reach upon the island, crossed over with their plunder to the fort. They were enraged that the fugitives from the island had eluded their vengeance and found shelter within the work, and they were particularly incensed against Col. Gibson (the temporary commandant) for his known friendship for the murdered Moravians and his outspoken condemnation of their own villany. They sent a message to him saying that they would scalp him if he came their way, but they could not gain admittance to the fort, and were compelled to return to their homes without the opportunity of committing any further outrages against the friendly Delawares or of scalping the commandant.
In some accounts of the Gnadenhütten massacre it is stated that Col. Gibson, being apprised in advance of the murderous intentions of Williamson’s men, had sent a runner to the Moravian villages to inform the people of their danger, but that the runner did not reach the towns in time to make the information of any avail. Col. Gibson would undoubtedly have done this if he had had the opportunity, but the statement that he did actually send such a messenger is rendered improbable by a letter written by him to the Moravian bishop at Bethlehem, Pa., dated May 9, 1781,2 a copy of the material parts of which is here given, viz.:
2 Heckewelder’s Indian Nations, p. 81.
“To the right Rev. Nathaniel Seidel:
“Sir, – Your letter by Mr. Shebosh,3 of the 11th ult., came safe to hand. I am happy to find that the few small services I rendered to the gentleman of your Society in this quarter meets with the approbation of you and every other worthy character. Mr. Shebosh will be able to give you a particular account of the late horrid massacre perpetrated at the towns on Muskingum by a set of men, the most savage miscreants that ever degraded human nature. Had I have known of their intentions before it was too late I should have prevented it by informing the poor sufferers of it. I am in hopes in a few days to be able to send you a more particular account than any that has yet transpired, as I hope to obtain the deposition of a person who was an eye-witness of the whole transaction and disapproved of it. Should any accounts come to hand from Mr. Zeisberger, or other gentlemen of your Society, you may depend on my transmitting them to you. . . . Believe me, with esteem, your most obedient Servant,
“Col. 7th Virginia Regt.”
3 The father of young Shebosh, the first victim of Gnadenhütten.
Gen. Irvine, who had been for some time at Philadelphia and Carlisle, returned to Fort Pitt and resumed command on the day following the attack on the Delawares at Killbuck’s Island. He found affairs in the department in a bad condition, the troops at the fort demoralized, and the country in general in a state bordering on anarchy. Some of the people applauded the dark deeds done on the Muskingum, while many were loud in their condemnation. The Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania having received from Congress Linebach’s account of the massacre, addressed to Gen. Irvine the following letter of inquiry,1 viz.:
1 Pa. Arch., 1781-83, p. 525.
Philada., April 13, 1782.
“Sir, – The Council having received information thro’ various channels that a party of Militia have killed a number of Indians at or near Muskingham, and that a certain Mr. Bull [young Shebosh] was killed at the same time, the Council, being desirous of receiving full information on a subject of so much importance, request you will obtain and transmit to them the facts relative thereto, authenticated in the clearest manner.”
Though Gen. Irvine had always been the fast friend of the Moravian Indian congregation, and of the white missionaries who had them in charge, it is evident that he was induced by considerations of policy to prevent a thorough investigation and exposition of the facts connected with the massacre.2 On the 9th of May, 1782, he wrote from Fort Pitt to the president of the Council, saying, ––
“Sir, – Since my letter of the 3d instant to your Excellency, Mr. Penticost and Mr. Canon have been with me; they and every intelligent person whom I have conversed with on the subject are of the opinion that it will be almost impossible ever to obtain a just account of the conduct of the Militia at Muskingum. No man can give any account except some of the party themselves. If, therefore, an inquiry should appear serious, they are not obliged, nor will they give evidence. For this and other reasons I am of opinion further inquiry into the matter will not only be fruitless, but in the end may be attended with disagreeable consequences.”
2 In a letter which Gen. Irvine wrote to his wife about that time concerning the Moravian butchery he said, “Whatever your private opinion of these matters may be, I conjure you, by all the ties of affection, and as you value my reputation, that you will keep your mind to yourself, and that you will not express any sentiment for or against these deeds.” – Contributions to American History, p. 148.
On the 8th of May Dorsey Pentecost, of Washington County, wrote from Pittsburgh to William Moore, president of the Executive Council, on the same subject, as follows:
“Dr Sir, – I arrived home last Thursday without any particular accident; yesterday I came to this place, have had a long conference with Gen. Irwin and Col. Gibson on the subject of public matters, Perticularly respecting the late excurtion to Kushacton,3 that affair is a subject of great speculation here, some condemning, others applauding the measure; but the accounts are so various that it is not only Difficult but almost Indeed Intirely Impossible to learn the real truth; no person can give Intelligence but those that were along, and notwithstanding there seems to have been some difference amongst themselves about that business yet they will say nothing, but this far I believe may be depended on, that they killed the Innocent with the guilty, and its likely the majority was the former. I have heard it Insinuated that about thirty or forty only of the party gave their Consent or assisted in the Catastrofy. . . . It’s said here, and I believe with truth, that Sundry articles were found amongst the Indians that was taken from the Inhabitants of Washington County, and that the Indians Confessed themselves that when they set out from St Duskie, Ten warriors came with them who had went into the Settlements, and that four of them were then in the Towns who had returned. If those Indians that were killed were really friends, they must have been very Imprudent to return & settle at a place they knew the white people had been at and would go to again, without giving notice & besides to bring warriors with them who had come into the Settlements & after murdering would return to their Towns and of course draw people after them filled with revenge, Indignation & Sorrow for the loss of their friends their wives & their Children. . . .”
3 Meaning the Moravian settlements, which were frequently called by that name among the settlers from the old Delaware town of Kushacton or Coshocton, that was destroyed by Col. Brodhead, and which was also located on the Muskingum, in the same region.
On the following day, May 9th, Pentecost again wrote the president of the Council, viz.:
“Dr Sir, – Since writing the letter that accompanys this, I have had another and more particular conversation with Gen. Irwin on the subject of the late excurtion to Kushacton, and upon the whole I find that it will be Impossible to git an Impartial and fare account of that affair, for although sundry persons that were in Compy may disapprove of the whole or every part of the Conduct, yet from their Connection they will not be willing, nor can they be forced to give Testimony, as it effects themselves, and the people here are greatly divided in Sentiment about it, and an Investigation may produce some serious effects, and at least leave us as Ignorant as when we began, and instead of rendering a service may produce a Confusion and Ilwill amongst the people, yet I think it necessary that Council should take some Cognizance or notice of the matter, and in such a Time as may demonstrate their disapprobation of such parts of their conduct as are Censurable, otherwise it may be alleged that Govermt (Tacitly at least) have Incouraged the killing of women and children; and in a proclamation of this kind it might be well not only to recommend but to forbid that in future Excursions that women, children, and Infirm persons should not be killed, so contrary to the Law of arms as well as Christianity. I hope a mode of proceeding something like this would produce some good effects, and perhaps soften the minds of the people, for it is really no wonder that those have lost all that is near and Dear to them, go out with determined revenge and Exterpation of all Indians.”
These letters disclose a determination on the part of Pentecost (though he was in no way implicated in the affair) and others to suppress the facts connected with the massacre and to prevent investigation; and they were enabled to accomplish this result through the concurrence of Gen. Irvine, who, as is evident, took that course for policy’s sake, though he was deeply mortified and grieved at the result of Williamson’s expedition. By those who were engaged in the bloody work, and by their friends, it was vehemently asserted that their action was generally approved by the people of the frontier settlements, but it is certain that this assertion was unfounded. Col. Edward Cook, the county lieutenant of Westmoreland (who had succeeded the unfortunate Col. Lochry in that office in December, 1781), in a letter addressed by him to President Moore, dated Sept. 2, 1782, thus expressed his detestation of the murderous deeds of the Washington militiamen: “ . . . I am informed that you have it Reported that the massacre of the Moravian Indians Obtains the Approbation of Every man on this side of the Mountains, which I assure your Excellency is false; that the better part of the Community are of Opinion the Perpetrators of that wicked Deed ought to be Brought to Condein Punishment; that without something is Done by Government in the Matter it will Disgrace the Annals of the United States, and be an Everlasting Plea and Cover for British Cruelty.” And the testimony of a man of the character and standing of Col. Edward Cook is above and beyond the possibility of impeachment.
As the expedition of Col. Williamson was hastily made up, and held together but a few days, it is not probable that there were ever any muster-rolls of its organization, if, indeed, it could have been termed an organization at all. It is known, however, that there is in existence a list (called a roll) of the names of the men who composed the expedition, made up, no doubt, soon after their return from the Muskingum, when the affair began to be one of wide-spread public notoriety. But this list is in hands from which it cannot be obtained, nor can any access be had to it, for obvious reasons. Probably there is no person now living, other than the custodian of this list, who knows the names of a dozen persons who were with Col. Williamson at Gnadenhütten on the memorable 8th of March, 1782. Various accounts have been given, naming the person who first used the fatal mallet,1 and of fiendish remarks said to have been made by the butchers while doing their work, but these accounts have not about them sufficient proof or strong probability to entitle them to perpetuation. Nor does any one at the present day know the names of any of the humane eighteen who advanced to the front from the long line that stood fast for murder.
1 “Very few of our men imbrued their hands in the blood of the Moravians. Even those who had not voted for saving their lives retired from the scene of slaughter with horror and disgust.” – Doddridge’s Early Settlements and Indian Wars, page 261.
Whether Col. Williamson voted or not is not known. It is not likely that he did, knowing that his vote could not affect the dread result. It would be gratifying to be able to say with certainty that he did give his voice for mercy; and it is a pleasant task to record the favorable opinion of him which is expressed by one who knew him, the Rev. Dr. Doddridge, who says,2 “In justice to the memory of Col. Williamson I have to say that, although at that time very young, I was personally acquainted with him, and, from my recollection of his conversation, I saw with confidence that he was a brave man, but not cruel. He would meet an enemy in battle and fight like a soldier, but not murder a prisoner. Had he possessed the authority of a superior officer in a regular army, I do not believe that a single Moravian Indian would have lost his life, but he possessed no such authority. He was only a militia officer, who could advise but not command. His only fault was that of too easy a compliance with popular opinion and popular prejudice. On this account his memory has been loaded with unmerited reproach.”
2 Early Settlements and Indian Wars, page 260.
*Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).
Transcribed by Cindy Burchell in August 2002, for inclusion on www.chartiers.com and associated sites