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They had known each other in their youth; Kenton had once saved the life of Girty; and deaf as the latter was habitually, to every dictate of benevolence, he admitted the claim of his former acquaintance; and actuated by one of those unaccountable caprices so common among savages, interceded for him, rescued him from the stake, and took him to his house, where, in a few days, the pioneer recovered his strength. Some of the chiefs, however, became dissatisfied; another council was held, the former decree was reversed, and Kenton was again doomed to the stake. From this extremity, he was rescued by the intercession of Drewyer, a British agent, who having succeeded in obtaining his release, carried him to Detroit, where he was received by the British commandant as a prisoner of war. From this place he made his escape, in company with two other Americans; and after a march of thirty days through the wilderness, continually exposed to recapture, had the good fortune to reach the settlements in Kentucky. o This is one of many similar adventures, which are related of this remarkable man, who seems to have possessed a courage which nothing could daunt, a vigor of mind equal to every emergency, and a strength of constitution, which enabled him to bear the most incredible fatigues and sufferings. He is still living—a venerable relic of a past age. He resides in the state of Ohio, a remarkable monument of the rapid advancement of the country. In the very region over which he roamed a hunter and a warrior, when not a single white man had erected
his cabin within its limits, he now finds himself the citizen of a state containing more than a million of inhabitants, and surrounded by other states but little less populous. He sees towns and cities, commerce and manufactures, government and laws, wealth, refinement and religion, where he once saw only the forest, the beast of prey, and the savage. He has lived a life of romantic and wild adventure; and after having braved a thousand dangers, and been miraculously preserved from death by violence, on various occasions, has outlived the most of his cotemporaries, and will probably die composedly in his bed, and be gathered in peace to his fathers.
IN 1778, an expedition was sent from Kentucky, against the Indians west of the Ohio, under the command of Colonel John Bowman; but owing to the mismanagement of the leader, it entirely failed.
In 1780, Colonel Clarke led an expedition against the Shawanees, residing on the Great Miami. It was conducted with the caution and promptitude, which had previously distinguished the movements of that officer. The Indians were completely surprised, and had barely time to send their squaws and children to the woods for safety. They, however, defended their cabins obstinately, and were only driven from them after a severe battle. The town was then burnt, the corn-fields laid waste, and the means of sustenance of the inhabitants, as far as possible, destroyed. This seems to have been the most effectual method for bridling the ferocity of the Indians; the death of a portion of their warriors, only increased their fury, but the destruction of their villages and corn-fields, chilled their courage, by showing them that the war could be carried to their homes; while it crippled their military power, by forcing them to engage in hunting to support their families.
The year 1782, is rendered memorable in the annals of Kentucky, as the era of the disastrous battle of the Blue Licks. A number of tribes having united in a formidable combination, a large body of Indian warriors was marched into Kentucky. A gallant force was hastily assembled to meet them, composed of the flower of the population of the nearest settlements to the point invaded—the best and bravest men, the most promising and chivalrous youth of the land. The enemy, having slaughtered a number of the unprotected inhabitants, and committed many depredations, were apparently retiring, when this army moved with alacrity in pursuit, full of the most sanguine expectations. Colonel Daniel Boone and others, who were conversant with the savage character, discovered a peculiarity in their mode of retreat, which afforded cause for suspicion; instead of their usual secrecy and speed, signs of carelessness and delay, were discovered on their trail, indicating their route, and betraying a willingness to be pursued; while on the other hand, the most effectual measures had been adopted to conceal their numbers. They effected the latter object, by moving in single file, by contracting their camps to the smallest possible compass, and by using but few camp-fires—and the former, by marking a distinct, though narrow path, and leaving various articles strewed by the way, as well to point it out to the pursuers, as to create the belief that they were retiring in confusion. . Deceived by these appearances, the younger warriors, burning with revenge, and eager for battle, rushed madly forward, while Boone, and a few other experienced men, endeavored to restrain their ardor. The consequence was, that they fell into an ambuscade, which had been arranged with consummate skill; a part of the Kentuckians were engaged and beaten before the rest came into action; the force was cut up in detail; and a signal defeat, accompanied with great slaughter, was the unhappy consequence. This was the most severe blow which ever fell upon the early settlers of Kentucky; a number of brave men were slain, many promising youth were among the fallen, and a considerable number of females and children were butchered or taken prisoner. Some families were wholly destroyed; others mourned a husband, a son, a wife, or an infant child, and the whole land was filled with gloom, with the lamentations of bereaved relatives, and the shame of a proud people. Colonel Clarke, who then resided at the falls of Ohio, immediately seized the opportunity of proposing a retaliatory expedition against the Indians; confident that in the indignant state of the public feeling, nothing could be more popular, nor better calculated to sooth the irritation of the people, and blunt the poignancy of their distress. His call was promptly answered. Officers and men volunteered; horses, provisions, and supplies of every kind, were gratuitously offered, by those who could not leave home, and the enterprising leader soon found himself at the head of a thousand mounted riflemen, who panted to meet the enemy. This expedition was conducted with the despatch and secrecy so essential to the success of partisan warfare, and for which its distinguished leader had already obtained celebrity. He proceeded to the Indian towns on the Miami and Scioto, but found them deserted. He passed from village to village, his approach producing everywhere the same effects. Dis