Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

»778- men, children and defenceless of all sorts crowded for protection. He suffered himself to be enticed by his cousin to abandon the fortress. He agreed to march out, and hold a conference with the enemy in the open field (at so great a distance from the fort, as to shut out all possibility of protection from it) upon their withdrawing according to their own proposal, in order to the holding of a parley for the conclusion of a treaty. He at the same time marched out about 400 men well armed, being nearly the whole strength of the garrison, to guard his person to the place of parley, such was his distrust of the enemy's designs. On his arrival he found nobody to treat with, and yet advanced toward the foot of the mountain, where at a distance he saw a flag, the holders of which, seemingly afraid of treachery on his side, retired as he advanced; whilst he, endeavouring to remove this pretended ill-impression, pursued the flag, till his party was thoroughly enclosed, when he was suddenly freed from his delusion, by finding it attacked at once on every side. He and his men, notwithstanding the surprise and danger, fought with resolution and bravery, and kept up so continual and heavy a fire for three quarters of an hour, that they seemed to gain a marked superiority. In this critical moment, a soldier through a sudden impulse of fear, or premeditated treachery, cried out aloud—'? the colonel has ordered a retreat." The fate of the party was now at once determined. In the state of confusion that ensued, an unresisted flaughter commenced, while the enemy broke in on all sides without obstruction. CoL Zeb. Butler, and about seventy of his men escaped; the latter got across the river to fort WilkeJborough, the colonel made his

way way to sort Kingston; which was invested the next day 1778. on the land fide. The enemy, to sadden the drooping f £ spirits of the weak remaining garrison, sent in for their | contemplation the bloody scalps of a hundred and ninety-six of their late friends and comrades. They kept up a continual fire upon the fort the whole day. In the evening the colonel quitted the fort and went down the river with his family. He is thought to be the only officer that escaped.

Colonel Nathan Dennison, who succeeded to the command, seeing the impossibility of an effectual defence, went with a flag to col. John Butler, to know what terms he would grant on a surrender: to which application Buder answered with more than savage phlegm in two . short words—the hatchet. Dennison having defended; the fort, till most of the garrison were killed or disabled, was compelled to surrender at discretion. Some of the unhappy persons in the fort were carried away alive; but the barbarous conquerors, to save the trouble of murder in detail, shut up the rest promiscuously in the houses and barracks; which having set on fire, they enjoyed the savage pleasure of beholding the whole consumed in one general blaze.

, They then crossed the river to the only remaining sort, Wilkesborough, which in hopes of mercy surrendered without demanding any conditions. . They found about seventy continental soldiers, who had been engaged merely for the defence of the frontiers, whom they butchered with every circumstance of horrid cruelty. The remainder of the men, with the women and children, were shut up as before in the houses, which being set on sire, they perished altogether in the flames.

A ge

i778i A general scene of devastation was now spread through fall the townships. Fire, sword, and the other different instruments of destruction alternately triumphed. The settlements of the tories alone generally escaped, and appeared as islands in the midst of the surrounding ruin." The merciless ravagers having destroyed the main objects of their cruelty, directed their animosity to every part of living nature belonging to them; shot and destroyed some of their cattle, and cut out the tongues of others, leaving them still alive to prolong their agonies.

The following are a few of the more singular circumstances of the barbarity practised in the attack upon Wyoming. Capt. Bedlock, who had been taken prisoner, being stripped naked, had his body stuck full of splinters of pine knots *, and then a heap of pine knots piled around him; the whole was then set on fire, and his two companions, capts. Ranson and Durgee, thrown alive into the flames and held down with pitchforks. The returned tories, who had at different times abandoned the settlement in order to join in those savage expeditions, were the most distinguished for their cruelty; in this they resembled the tories that joined the British forces. One of these Wyoming tories, whose mother had married a second husband, butchered with his own hands, both her, his sather-in-law, his own sisters and their insant children. Another, who during his absence had sent home several threats against the life of his sather, now not only realized them in person, but was himself, with his own hands, the exterminator of his whole

* Pine knots are so replete with turpentine, that they are fired and used at night to illuminate the room; and lighted splinters are often Carried about in the houses of the Carolina planters instead of candles.

samily, family, mother, brothers and sisters, and mingled their 1778« blood in one common carnage, with that of the ancient husband and father. The broken parts and scattered relics of families, consisting mostly of women and children, who had escaped to the woods during the different scenes of this devastation, suffered little less than' their friends, who had perished in the ruin of their houses. Dispersed and wandering in the forests, as chance and fear directed, without provision or covering, they had ft long tract of country to traverse, and many without doubt perished in the woods. But whatever distresses and cruelties have been experienced by the Wyoming setders, the British cause, so far from being served by them, is I much injured, through the bitter and lasting resentment they six in the minds of the Americans.

Some expeditions were undertaken on the other side by the Americans. Col. Clarke's through the Indian country, which commenced last summer, is worthy of particular observation from the successful spirit of enterprise, courage and prudence, with which it was conducted.

The colonel left Virginia with a small party of between i and 300 men. The object in view was the reduction of the French settlements planted by the Canadians on the Upper Mississippi, in the Illinois country; and at so vast a distance, that they were obliged to traverse no less than about 1200 milts of an uncultivated and uninhabited wilderness. Much of the mischief which had fallen upon the southern and middle states, from the incursions of the Indians, had been attributed to the governor of those settlements, who beside acting as an agent for the British government, and paying large rewards for. scalps, had been indefatigable in attempting td ?;..;'. excite

*778, excite the Ohio and Mississippi Indians ttsundertake expeditions against the frontiers. This conduct was the motive to the present enterprise. The party, after a long course down the Monongahela, and a voyage on the Ohio, arrived at the great falls of the latter, within about 60 miles of its mouth, where they hid their boats', and bent their course by land to the northward. In this stage of the expedition, after consuming all the provision they had been able to carry on their backs, they endured a hard march of two days without any sustenance. , They therefore, when arrived in this hungry state, about midnight, at the town of Kaskaskias, were unanimously determined to take it or perish in the attempt.

The town contained about 250 houses, and was sufficiently fortified to have withstood a much stronger enemy; but distance having forbidden all idea of danger among the inhabitants, of course superseded all precaution against surprise. Both town and fort were taken without noise or opposition, before the people were well awake, and the inhabitants were so effectually secured, that not a person escaped to alarm the neighbouring settlements. The governor, Philip Rotheblave, was senc to Virginia, with all the written instructions he had received from Quebec, Detroit, and Michillimackinack, for setting on the Indians, and paying them great rewards for the scalps of the Americans. The inhabitants were required to take an oath of allegiance to the United States, and the fort became the head quarters of the victors.

A small detachment pushed forward from this place on horseback, and surprised and took with as little difficulty three other French towns, lying from fifteen to

about

« ZurückWeiter »