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Entered aacording to act of Congress, in the year 1852, by 


W> tte Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of 






There are but few persons iu this country who 
have not, at some time or other, felt the want of an 
accurate, well written, concise, yet clear and reliable 
history of their own or some other state. 

The want here indicated is now about being sup- 
plied; and, as the task of doing so is no light or 
superficial one, the publishers have given into the 
hands of the two gentlemen whose names appear in 
the title-page, the work of preparing a series of Cabi- 
net Histories, embracing a volume for each state in 
the Union. Of their ability to perform this well, we 
need not speak. They are no strangers in the literary 
world. What they undertake the public may rest 
assured will be performed thoroughly, and that no 
sectarian, sectional, or party feelings will bias their 
judgment, or lead them to violate the integrity of 

The importance of a series of state histories like 
those now commenced, can scarcely be estimated. 
Being condensed as carefully as accuracy and interest 
of narrative will permit, the size and price of the 
volumes will bring them within the reach of every 
family in the country, thus making them home-read- 
ing books for old and young. Each individual will, 

6 publishers' preface. 

in consequence, become familiar, not only with the 
history of his own state, but with that of other states : 
— thus mutual interest will be re-awakened, and old 
bonds cemented in a firmer union. 

In this series of Cabinet Histories, the authors, 
while presenting a concise but accurate narrative of 
the domestic policy of each state, will give greater 
prominence to the personal history of the people. 
The dangers which continually hovered around the 
early colonists ; the stirring romance of a life passed 
fearlessly amid peril; the incidents of border war- 
fare ; the adventures of hardy pioneers ; the keen 
watchfulness, the subtle surprise, the ruthless attack, 
and prompt retaliation — all these having had an im- 
portant influence upon the formation of the American 
character, are to be freely recorded ; while the progres- 
sive development of the citizens of each individual state 
from the rough forest life of the earlier day to the 
polished condition of the present, will exhibit a pic- 
ture of national expansion as instructing as it is inte- 

The size and style of the series will be uniform 
with the present volume. The authors, who have 
been for some time collecting and arranging materials, 
will furnish the succeeding volumes as rapidly as their 
careful preparation will warrant. 


The history of Kentucky, here introduced to the 
reader, is the first of a series of popular state histories, 
now in course of publication. The aim has been to 
present a graphic picture of the progress of the state, 
from its first settlement by Daniel Boone down to the 
present time. 

The fierce and incessant inroads by which the 
savages sought to drive the first settlers from their 
favourite hunting-grounds ; the capture of Kaskaskia, 
Cahokia, and Vincennes, by General Clark; the ex- 
peditions of Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne ; the at- 
tempts made by Spain to sever Kentucky from the 
Union ; the machinations of Burr and his fellow-con- 
spirators; the services of the volunteers from Ken- 
tucky in the war of 1812, and the more recent inva- 
sion of Mexico, have all been recorded : briefly in 
some respects, but always fully whenever they came 
within the scope of state history. 

Kentucky occupies a peculiar position in relation to 
her sister states. Previous to the explorations which 
led to the erection of block-houses and rudely forti- 
fied stations by the early pioneers, the western In- 
dians had fondly clung to the hope that the Ohio 
River would remain the boundary line between the 

whites and the aborigines. When this hope was over- 
shadowed by the advance of hardy frontiersmen — 
few, indeed, at first, but gradually increasing in 
numbers until they grew to be formidable — the In- 
dians commenced hostilities, and in their endeavours 
to force the daring intruders to desert their favourite 
hunting-grounds, and retrace their steps across the 
Ohio River, Kentucky became the battle-ground of 
the West, and by the wonderful endurance and energy 
of her pioneers, opened a peaceful path to those who 
came afterward and settled in the territories beyond. 
From this circumstance, and from the frank-hearted 
patriotism of her people, Kentucky occupies a high 
position among the States of the Union, and exercises 
a wide influence in the councils of the nation. 

This volume records briefly, yet, it is believed, with 
fidelity and clearness, every event of leading interest 
connected with the progression of the state to its pre- 
sent position; at the same time there is presented, as 
much in detail as possible, a narrative of those thrill- 
ing adventures of the early settlers which give to the 
history of Kentucky the fascination of a romance. 



Inb-oduction — Doctor Walker touches the northern parts of 
Kentucky — Explorations of John Finley — His glowing de- 
scriptions of the country — Boone and others proceed to Ken- 
tucky — Builds a cabin near Red River — Boone and Stuart 
captured by the Indians — Mysterious fate of their com- 
panions — Arrival of Squire Boone — Stuart killed and scalped 
— Squire Boone returns home — Solitary condition of Daniel 
Boone — Returns to North Carolina — Colonel Knox and the 

. Long Hunters — Boone sets out for Kentucky with five fami- 
lies — Is attacked by the Indians, and turns back — Leads 
a party of surveyors to the falls of the Ohio — Captain Bul- 
litt — The brothers McAffee — The Wataga treaty — Opera- 
tions of Boone — Attacked by the Indians — Fort at Boones- 
borough buUt — Forts of tlie early settlers — Harrodstown 
station — Immigration continues — The Transylvania Com- 
pany form a proprietary government — Virginia annuls the 
treaty of Wataga — Boone brings his family to Kentucky — 
Arrival of McGary, Hogan, and Denton — Simon Kenton... 


George Rogers Clark — Suggests a meeting of the colonists at 
Harrodsburg — Appointed with Gabriel Jones a member of 
the Virginia assembly — Applies to the council for ammuni- 
tion for the colonists — The daughter of Boone and two other 
females captured within sight of the fort — The Indians pur- 
sued and the captives retaken — Kentucky erected into a 
county of Virginia — Clark conveys the powder granted by 
Virginia down the Ohio — Is pursued by the Indians — Se- 
cretes the powder at the mouth of Limestone Creek — Colonel 
Todd defeated near the Blue Licks — Jones and Grayson 



killed — MeCleUand's Fort attacked — Kenton and others at- 
tacked near Hinckston's station — Harrodsburg invested by 
the Indians — Fearful situation of James Ray — Major Clark 
assaults the Indians — Heroism of Logan — A spy company 
organized — Skirmish at Boonesborough — The life of Boone 
saved by Kenton 32 


Border life — Clark sends spies to Kaskaskia — Projects an ia- 
Tasion of Hlinois — Submits to the Governor of Virginia a 
plan of operations against the British outposts — Is appointed 
to lead the expedition — Boone taken prisoner at Blue Licks 
— Escapes from Chillicothe and returns to Boonesborough 
— Is besieged by a large Indian force led by Captain Du 
Quesne — Artifices of the Indians — The siege raised — Clark 
captures Kaskaskia and Cahokia — Sends his prisoners to 
Virginia — Takes Vineennes — His success in conciliating the 
Indians — Governor Hamilton recaptures Vineennes — Hia 
ulterior designs — Clark resolves to attack Hamilton — His 
terrible march through the wilderness — Reaches Vineennes 
— His stratagem — Fatal accuracy of his rifles — Governor 
Hamilton surrenders 48 


The first block-house built at Lexington — Expedition of Colonel 
Bowman against ChUlicothe — Bravery of Logan — Singular 
conduct of Bowman — The attack by Logan — Bowman orders 
a retreat — Harassed by the Indians — The savages repulsed 
by Logan and others — Land law of Kentucky — Its obnox- 
ious features — Vexatious law-suits arising from it— Colonel 
Rogers attacked by the Indians on the Ohio — Dreadful 
slaughter of the whites — Romantic anecdote of Captain 
Denham and his companion — EuddeU's station attacked by 
Canadians and Indians under Colonel Byrd — Ruddell sur- 
renders — Treacherous conduct of the savages — Indignation 
of Byrd — Martin's station captured — Byrd retreats down 
the Ohio — Escape of Captain Hinckstou — His ingenuity in 
discovering the route to Lexington by night — His perilous 
escapes — Surrounded by Indians — Reaches Lexington in 
safety — Indians retreat with their booty 61 


Clark destroys the Piqua towns on the Miami — Kentucky di- 
vided into three counties — Indian incursions — Immigration 


continues — Transylvania University incorporated by Virgi- 
nia — Indians invest Estill's station — Are pursued — Defeat 
of Estill — Bryant's station attacked by Girty at the head 
of six hundred Indians — Heroism of the women — Arrival 
of reinforcements — Their perilous situation — Skirmish in 
the corn-field — Attack on the station — Girty attempts to ne- 
gotiate — Answer of Reynolds — The Indians raise the siege 
— Are pursued by a party under Colonel Todd — Fatal reck- 
lessness of McGary — The Kentuekians attacked by the In- 
dians from an ambush — Desperate conflict — Rout of the 
Kentuekians — Escape of Daniel Boone — Presence of mind 
of Netherland— Retaliation of Clark — Burns the Miami 
towns 73 


Increase of immigration — Prospect of peace with England — 
Difficulties continue — Indian hostilities cease — Kenton re- 
claims his settlement in Washington — Brodhead opens a 
store in Louisville — General James Wilkinson immigrates 
to Kentucky — New counties laid off — Proposition to sepa- 
rate from Virginia — Expedition of Clark against the In- 
dians on the Wabash — Causes of its failure — Conventions 
in Kentucky — Difficulties with the general government — 
The navigation of the Mississippi — Spanish intrigues- 
Brown has several conferences with Gardoqui — Letter of 
Innis to the Governor of Virginia — General Wilkinson- goes 
to New Orleans — Returns — Tempts the Kentuekians by the 
offer of an independent treaty with Spain — Animosity of 
parties — Letter of Marshall — Conventions — Kentucky re- 
ceived into the Union 86 


Indian inroads — Silas Hart pursues the Indians — Is killed — 
Heroism of young Hart — Captivity of the family — Judge 
Rowan sails down the Ohio — Is pursued by Indians — His 
perilous position — Wonderful presence of mind of Mrs. 
Rowan — Adventure of Caffree, McClure, and Davis — Meet 
with an equal number of Indians — Terrible combat — Caf- 
free and Davis killed — Subsequent adventures of McClure 
— His escape — Colonel Marshall descends the Ohio — Is 
hailed by James Girty — Indian decoys — Captain Ward as- 
saulted by Indians — Death of his nephew — Panic of the 
others — The search for a stray horse by Downing and 
Yates — They are followed by Indians — Downing conceals 
himself — The pursuit — Perilous situation of Downing — 
His remarkable escape 93 



Indians attack the house of widow Shanks — Their stratagem 
— The house fired — Fearful massacre — Heroic conduct of 
young Shanks — Pursuit of the Indians — Their singular es- 
cape — New mode of warfare on the Ohio — Political condi- 
tion of Kentucky — Adventure of John Lancaster — Taken 
captive with his companions — His escape and subsequent 
privations — Floats down the Ohio on a raft — Is rescued at 
the falls — Ballard's house attacked — Stubborn defence by 
old Mr. Ballard — Daring conduct of Bland Ballard, the cele- 
brated spy — Loss of the Indians 110 


Captain Hubbell descends the Ohio — Is attacked by Indians 
— His desperate defence — The Indians beaten off — Boat of 
Captain Greathouse captured — Hubbell again attacked — 
Indians retire with great loss — Heroism of a boy — Num- 
ber of wounded — Painful condition of Captain Hubbell — 
The boat reaches Limestone — Unsuccessful pursuit of the 
savages — John May descends the Ohio — Indian stratagem — 
Finn urges May to put into the Ohio shore — Finn surprised 
by the savages — The boat attacked and captured — Skyles 
wounded — May and Miss Fleming kUled — Reception of the 
Indians by Johnston — Captain Marshall descends the Ohio 
with three boats — Is pursued by the Indians — The attack 
and defence — His escape with the loss of two boats 123 


Indian outrages — Action of the general government — Expedi- 
tion of General Harmar — Miami villages burned — Hardin 
detached to follow up the Indians — Falls into an ambush — 
Is defeated — Painful situation of Captain Armstrong — Har- 
mar retreats — Hardin again detached — Indian stratagem — 
Noble conduct of the regulars — Hardin defeated — Harmar 
returns home — Harmar and Hardin court-martialled — Ac- 
quittal — Resignation of Harmar — Scott's expedition — De- 
struction of the villages on the Wabash — Return of the 
troops — St. Clair's expedition — Rendezvous at Fort Wash- 
ington — Feeling of the Kentuckians — Object of the cam- 
paign — Condition of the army — Fort Hamilton built — Erec- 
tion of Fort Jefferson — The march — Desertion of the 
militia — Of the Mountain Leader, a Chickasaw chief and 
his band — St. Clair encamps on one of the tributaries of 
the Wabash — Furious attack by the Indians, led by Lit- 


tie Turtle and Girty— Defeat of St. Clair— Retreat to Fort 
Washington 140 


Personal incidents of St. Clair's campaign — William Kennan 
— His strength and activity — Discovers the Indians — Is 
pursued by them — A race for life — His extraordinary leap 
The retreat — Carries a wounded companion — His terrible 
recourse to relieve himself — Assists Mr. Madison, afterward 
governor of Kentucky — Excitement in Kentucky — Scott 
and Wilkinson call for volunteers — Wilkinson marches to 
the battle-ground — Horrid spectacle — Constitution of Ken- 
tucky — Its provisions — Legislative acts — Population of the 
state — Indian disturbances — Settlement on Elkhorn attack- 
ed — The Cooks killed — Resolute conduct of the widows — 
Escape of McAndre — Martin kUled — Escape of Dunn — Mur- 
der of his two sons — Indians pursued 152 


St. Clair superseded — Wayne appointed his successor — Colonel 
Hardin — Sent as a messenger to the Indians — Is murdered 
— Biographical notice — Hardin serves under Dunmore — 
Volunteers with Captain Morgan — Is wounded in the thigh 
— Rejoins Dunmore in an expedition against the Indian 
towns — Contemplates moving to Kentucky — War between 
England and the colonies — Hardin enlists men for the de- 
fence of his country — Is appointed a lieutenant — Offered a 
majority, but declines — Moves to Kentucky — Appointed 
colonel of the county militia — His services — Grave charge 
against Wilkinson — Tecumseh — Kenton's skirmish with 
him — His stratagem and escape — The last Indian inroad — 
Kenton forms an ambuscade on the Ohio — Kills four In- 
dians and two white men — Escape of the others 166 


Genet supersedes Ternant as ambassador to the United States 
— Perplexing position of the government — Washington calls 
a cabinet councQ — Proclamation of neutrality resolved upon 
— High-handed conduct of Genet — His reception by the 
people— Projects an expedition against the Spanish settle- 
ments — Despatches agents to Kentucky to raise volunteers 
— George Rogers Clark commissioned a major-general in 
the French service — Letter to Governor Shelby from the 
Secretary of State — His reply — Democratic societies formed 
— Second letter to Shelby — His sympathy with the move- 


ment — Shelbj's letter to the Secretary of Stat« — Reply of 
Edmund Randolph — Washington issues a proclamation to 
the people of Kentucky — The recall of Genet solicited — Ac- 
tivity of the Democratic associations — Meeting at Lexing- 
ton — ReeaU of Genet — The expedition abandoned — Genet 
marries and settles in New York 177 


Commissioners sent to the Indians to treat for peace — Refusal 
of the savages to treat — The army under AVayne — Fort 
Greenville built— St. Clair's battle-ground reoccupied — Fort 
Recovery built — Wayne joined by the Kentucky volunteers 
— Commences his march — Indian villages abandoned — 
Builds Fort Adams and Defiance — Intelligence of the In- 
dians — A flag sent to them — Their answer — Fort Deposit 
built — The enemy discovered — Battle of Fallen Timbers — 
Defeat of the Indians — Wayne encamps near the British 
fort — Altercation with Major Campbell — Conduct of the 
Kentuckians — Fort Wayne built — Treaty with the Indians 
— Feeling in Kentucky — Marshall elected to the Senate of 
the United States — Attempt to remove Judges Muter and 
Sebastian — Courts of quarter sessions and oyer and termi- 
ner abolished — Other laws. 188 


Retrospective — Joe Logston — His character — Leaves the fort 
in search of cattle — Is fired on by two Indians — His horse 
kUled under him — Wounds one Indian severely — Is attack- 
ed by the other — Both combatants disarmed — A fearful 
trial of strength and activity — Kills his antagonist — Re- 
turns to the fort — Is disbelieved — A search instituted — The 
story confirmed — An example of savage heroism — The 
Nickajack expedition — The people of Tennessee call upon 
Kentucky for assistance — Colonel ^Vhitley marches with 
one hundred men — Forms a junction with Colonel Orr — Is 
appointed to conamand the troops — Surprise of the Nicka- 
jack towns — A second expedition organized — The result — 
Anecdote of Whitley — Proceeds to the southern towns to 
recover some negroes — Conduct of a half-breed — Friendship 
of Otter Lifter — His chanuster — Biography of Whitley — His 
death ,.,.*. 200 


Fin&l ratification of the treaty of peace between Great Britain 
and the United States — Spain agrees to grant the navi- 


gation of the Mississippi — Intrigues with Kentucky — Power, 
the Spanish agent, confers with Judge Sebastian — Baron 
Cai'ondelet's proposition — Views of Sebastian, Innis, and 
Nicholas — Power visits General AVilkinson at Detroit — His 
reception — Reply of Wilkinson — Views of Sebastian — 
Power's own opinion — Power sent to Fort Massac under an 
escort — Reaches New Madrid — Subsequent revelation con- 
cerning Sebastian — Adams elected President of the United 
States — His unpopularity in Kentucky — Meeting of the le- 
gislature — Proposition to revise the constitution — Votes for 
and against a convention — Decision of the legislature 212 


Garrard elected Governor of Kentucky — Denounces the alien 
and sedition laws — Nullification resolutions written by Jef- 
ferson — Endorsed by Kentucky — Denounced by other states 
— Creation of new counties in Kentucky — Education pro- 
moted — Various academies established — Appropriations of 
land for their support — Meeting of convention — New con- 
stitution adopted — Garrard re-elected governor — An at- 
tempt made to encourage manufactures — Election of Jef- 
ferson — Navigation of the Mississippi interrupted — Louisi- 
ana ceded to France — Excitement in Kentucky — Letter of 
Jefferson to Livingston — Monroe sent to Paris — Purchase 
of Louisiana — Claiborne takes possession of New Orleans — 
Greenup elected Governor of Kentucky — Re-election of Jef- 
ferson — Kentucky militia discharged. 224 


Aaron Burr — Elected Vice President of the United States — 
Loses the confidence of his party — Is nominated for Gover- 
nor of New York — Defeated through the influence of Ham- 
ilton — Kills Hamilton in a duel — Flees to South Carolina — 
Returns to Washington — Sets out for the West — His nomi- 
nal projects — His association with Wilkinson — Becomes ac- 
quainted with Blennerhasset — Actual project of Burr — 
Reaches New Orleans — Returns overland to Kentucky — 
Spends the spring and summer in Philadelphia and Wash- 
ington — Attempts to win over Eaton, Truxton, and Decatur 
— His second journey to the West — Builds boats on the 
Muskingum — Contracts for supplies and enlists volunteers 
— Wilkinson at Natchitoches — Receives despatches from 
Burr — Sends a messenger to the president — Orders New Or- 
leans to be strengthened — Proceeds to Natchez — Despatches 
a second messenger to Washington — Writes to Claiborne 


and the Governor of the Mississippi Territory — Reaches 
New Orleans — His measures at that place 233 


Conflicting reports concerning the intentions of Burr — Ex- 
posures made at Frankfort — Energetic conduct of Daviess 
— His affidavit against Burr — An examination ordered — 
Burr attends the court — The case postponed — A new grand 
jury summoned — Second appearance of Burr — Absence of 
General Adair, the principal witness for the prosecution — 
The examination pressed — Acquittal of Burr — His false de- 
claration to Henry Clay — Action of the general government 
— Jefferson sends an agent to Ohio — Disclosures by Blen- 
nerhasset — Seizure of ten boats on the Muskingum — Tyler's 
flotilla — Burr proceeds to Nashville — Meets the volunteers 
at the mouth of the Cumberland River — Descends the Mis- 
sissippi to New Madrid — Gains a knowledge of Wilkinson's 
revelations — Encamps above Natchez — The militia called 
out by the Governor of the Mississippi Territory — Burr sur- 
renders himself to the civil authorities — His boats searched 
— Charges against Sebastian and Innis 245 


Critical foreign relations with the United States — Berlin de- 
crees — Restraint upon commercial enterprise — Attack upon 
the Chesapeake — Great excitement throughout the Union 
— Embargo — One hundred thousand militia called for — Re- 
solutions passed in Kentucky — Declaration of war — Indian 
difiBculties — Tecumseh — His attempts to form a confedera- 
tion of tribes — Assembling of warriors at Tippecanoe — 
March of Harrison — Battle of Tippecanoe — Death of Joseph 
H. Daviess — Return of Tecumseh — His interview with Har- 
rison — Hull appointed to command the northwestern army 
— Invades Canada — Returns — General Brock summons De- 
troit — Surrender of Hull — Indignation of the states — Volun- 
teers from Kentucky — Hopkins marches against the lUinois 
Indians — Is deserted by his men — A second northwestern 
army organized — Harrison commissioned a brigadier-gene- 
ral — Appointed commander-in-chief. 257 


Plan of the fall campaign of 1812 — Harrison appointed com- 
mander of the northwestern army — Winchester marches 
from Fort Wayne — Difficulties of the route — Deplorable 
condition of the troops — Winchester halts at the Rapids — 


The enemy approach Frenchtown— A detachment of Ken- 
tuckians under Colonel Lewis sent against them — Proctor 
advances from Maiden — Battle of the River Raisin — Sur- 
render of the Americans — Inhuman massacre — Reception 
of the news in Kentucky — Four regiments of volunteers 
raised — Harrison builds Fort Meigs — Is reinforced from 
Kentucky — Siege of Fort Meigs by Proctor — Advance of 
General Clay — Colonel Dudley destroys a part of the Bri- 
tish batteries — His detachment surrounded by British and 
Indians — Terrible slaughter of the prisoners — Inhuman 
conduct of Proctor — Tecumseh — His indignant reply to the 
British general 269 


Great advantages possessed by the British — Perry ordered to 
build vessels on the shore of Lake Erie — Extraordinary ac- 
tivity and despatch — Proctor assaults Fort Stephenson — 
Croghan's noble defence — Perry's victory on Lake Erie — 
Harrison advances into Canada — Proctor retreats toward 
the Moravian towns — Battle of the Thames — Surrender of 
the regulars and flight of Proctor — Desperate conflict with 
the Indians — Colonel Johnson severelj' wounded — Tecum- 
seh killed — The British forces under Packenham threaten 
New Orleans — Vanguard of the enemy bivouac on the Mis- 
sissippi — Night attack by Jackson and Coffee, supported by 
the schooner Caroline — Arrival of Packenham — His tardy 
movements — Activity of Jackson — Kentucky reinforcement 
arrives — Battle of the Sth of January — Terrible slaughter of 
the enemy — Death of Packenham — Retreat of the enemy.... 281 


Peace proclaimed between England and the United States — 
Inflated condition of the currency — Dreadful monetary de- 
rangement — Banks chartered — Power of replevin extended 
— Bank of the Commonwealth chartered — Great excitement 
on account of the relief law — Relief and anti-relief parties 
organized — Legality of the relief law contested — Decision 
of Judge Clark^ sustained by the court of appeals — Gene- 
ral alarm and outcry — Unsuccessful attempt of the legisla- 
ture to remove the judges — The old court of appeals abolish- 
ed, and a new one established — The constitutionality of the 
latter contested — The old court sustained— State and gene- 
ral politics — Suspension of specie payments — Second mone- 
tary derangement — The legislature again applied to for 
relief — Wisdom of the measures adopted — Governors of 

Kentucky — Presidential election 298 




Mexico and the United States — Annexation of Texas — Gene- 
ral Taylor ordered to move to the Rio Grande — Encamps at 
Corpus Christi — Erects a post at Point Isabel — Marches to 
a point opposite Matamoras — Builds Fort Brown — The 
Mexicans cross the Rio Grande in force — Taylor returns to 
Point Isabel — Again marches to Fort Brown — Battle of 
Palo Alto — Battle of Resaca de la Palma — Occupation of 
Matamoras — Reception of reinforcements — March upon 
Monterey — Storming of Monterey — Great reduction of the 
force under General Taylor — Is compelled to assume the 
defensive — Return of Santa Anna to Mexico — Concentrates 
a large army at San Luis Potosi — Marches against Taylor 
— Battle of Buena Vista — Conclusion 



Introduction — Doctor Walker touches the northern parts of 
Kentucky — Explorations of John Finley — His glowing de- 
scriptions of the country — Boone and others proceed to Ken- 
tucky — Build a cabin near Red River — Boone and Stuart 
captured by the Indians — Mysterious fate of their companions 
— Arrival of Squire Boone — Stuart killed and scalped — Scjuire 
Boone returns home — Solitary condition of Daniel Boone 
— Returns to North Carohna — Colonel Knox and the Long 
Hunters — Boone sets out for Kentucky vpith five families — Is 
attacked by the Indians, and turns back' — Leads a party of 
surveyors to the falls of the Ohio — Captain Bullitt — The 
brothers McAfee — The Wataga treaty — Operations of Boone 
— Attacked by the Indians — Fort at Boonesborough built 
— Forts of the early settlers — Harrodstown station — Immigra- 
tion continues — The Transylvania Company form a proprie- 
tary government — Virginia annuls the treaty of Wataga 
— Boone brings his family to Kentucky — Arrival of McGary, 
Hogan, and Denton — Simon Kenton. 

No history of any individual state belonging 
to the North American Confederation presents so 
graphic a picture of the courage, energy, capacity 
of endurance, and indomitable tenacity of its peo- 
ple, as that of Kentucky. The sternest truths, 
in relation to the difficulties encountered by the 
bold hunters and hardy pioneers of " the dark 
and bloody ground," assume the wild charm and 


vivid colouring of tlie most startling romance. 
In this case, history far transcends fiction, by 
giving all those minute details of time, place, and 
circumstance, which stamp all narratives of real 
adventure with the fascinating impression of per- 
fect lifelikeness. 

As the self-reliant type of the American cha- 
racter at the epoch of the Revolution, the Ken- 
tuckian stands pre-eminent. He may even stand 
for it at the present day. The descendant of the 
cavaliers of Virginia and Maryland, he carried 
with him into the wilderness many of the noble 
qualities for which that brave, high-toned, but 
reckless class of people were distinguished ; while 
he left behind him not a few of their vices. 
Daring even to rashness, he was yet full of all 
generous impulses ; fierce to his enemies, he was 
yet hospitable to the stranger ; quick to resent 
an injury, yet prompt to forgive it ; fertile in 
stratagem, yet steadfast in resolve ; fiery in pur- 
suit, yet cool and collected in action ; never re- 
treating but to fight, Parthian-like, as he fell 
back ; never stooping to the earth but to gather 
strength for the rebound ; simple in his tastes 
and pleasures ; a doer of brave acts and generous 
deeds — not to gain the applause of others, but 
from native nobility of soul. Free even to the 
verge of lawlessness, time has reversed in him 
the stigma which Captain John Smith had cast 
upon his progenitors, who, if they were amenable 


to the censure of that valiant soldier, as being 
" more fitted to corrupt than found a common- 
wealth," have yet the merit of having redeemed 
their memory in the pure republicanism of their 
children's children. 

Of the original occupants of that splendid coun- 
try, which, under the modern name of the State 
of Kentucky, stretches from the thirty-sixth to 
the thirty-ninth degree of north latitude, and 
from the eighty-second to nearly the ninetieth 
degree of west longitude, nothing now is known. 
That they were superior in civilization to the In- 
dians who subsequently roamed its sylvan aisles, 
and contested their possession so long and so 
hardily with the Anglo-American pioneers, is 
suflSciently attested by the remains of their skil- 
fully-constructed fortifications, their copper tools 
for mechanical purposes, their curiously-carved 
pipes, and the more perfect and ingenious charac- 
ter of their household utensils. As to who they 
were, or of what nation, how they came, or whither 
they departed, antiquarian knowledge has hitherto 
been at fault, and the traditions of their ruder 
successors furnish no clue. 

Until Dr. Walker touched upon the northern 
parts of Kentucky, at some time between the years 
1747 and 1758, no Anglo-Saxon foot had ever 
stood upon its soil. Nine years after this latter 
period, it was partially explored by John Finley, 
who, on returning home from his adventurous 


excursion, gave such glowing accounts of the rich- 
ness and fertility of the new country, that the 
bold and daring frontiersmen of Virginia and 
North Carolina were stimulated to cross the rug- 
ged Cumberland Mountains, and view for them- 
selves the beauty of a land whose genial clime, 
and flowery meadows, and almost eternal verdure, 
had animated to such a warmth of enthusiasm the 
usually calm and practical mind of the sturdy 

In 1769, Daniel Boone, in company with five 
others, of whom Finley was one, left his family 
upon the Yadkin in North Carolina, and started 
to examine the new hunting-grounds of which he 
had heard so favourable an account. 

Near to Red River, upon the borders of the 
present state of Kentucky, Boone and his com- 
panions built a cabin to protect themselves from 
the inclemency of the weather, and devoted their 
time to hunting and the chase, in which they 
were singularly successful. 

This course of life remained undisturbed for 
several months, and it may be they began to 
think that the Indians who claimed lordship over 
the soil would suffer a few hunters and trappers 
to roam over their sylvan territory without moles- 
tation. If such were indeed their thoughts, the 
time was near at hand when they were to be 
fatally undeceived. On the 22d of December, 
Boone and his companion Stuart, while out on 


one of their usual hunting excursions, were sur- 
prised and captured by the Indians. 

After an imprisonment of seven days, the two 
woodsmen succeeded in making their escape, and 
returned to their cabin on Red Rivei^ They found 
it plundered and deserted. The fate of their 
companions was never ascertained. A few days 
after this. Squire Boone, from Carolina, accom- 
panied by another man, reached the camp of his 
brother. Cheered by this unexpected reinforce- 
ment, small as it was, Boone and Stuart resolved 
to remain in the country, but the determination 
proved fatal to the latter ; he was soon afterward 
shot and scalped by the outlying savages. Boone 
himself escaped, but these disasters so terrified 
the companion of Squire Boone, that he returned 
home to North Carolina, leaving the two brothers 
alone in the wilderness, separated by hundreds 
of miles from the white settlements, and destitute 
of every thing but their rifles. 

At length, their ammunition being nearly ex- 
hausted, it was agreed upon between the two 
brothers, that the younger should return to Caro- 
lina for a fresh supply ; while Daniel, the elder, 
remained to take charge of the camp. For a few 
days after the departure of his last remaining 
companion, Boone felt lonely and depressed ; but 
his spirits soon revived, and though the only 
white man in that portion of the vast wilderness, 
he continued his customary hunting excursions, 


finding game in abundance, and cheered in his 
solitary rambles by the great natural beauty of 
the scenery around him. 

Toward the close of July, 1770, the younger 
Boone returi^d. From that time until March, 
1771, the two brothers continued to range the 
country without receiving any injury, when they 
retraced their steps to North Carolina, 

Boone had been absent from his family for 
about three years, during nearly the whole of 
which time he had never tasted bread or salt, nor 
beheld the face of a single white man, with the 
exception of his brother and the friends who had 
been killed. 

But while Boone was traversing singly the 
northern and middle regions of Kentucky, a band 
of resolute men from Holston, on the Clinch 
River, led by Colonel James Knox, and calling 
themselves the Long Hunters, explored the mid- 
dle and southern portions of the territory. 

The reports brought home by Boone and his 
brother in relation to the loveliness of the cli- 
mate, and the unexampled productiveness of the 
soil, soon attracted other adventurers to place 
themselves under the leadership of the daring 
pioneer. Equally eager himself to return to the 
land which had so won upon his affections, Daniel 
Boone disposed of all his property, with the 
exception of such portable articles as he might 
require, and on the 25th of September, 1771, 


accompanied by his family, once more set out for 
his destined home. In Powell's valley Boone was 
joined by five other families and forty men. But 
though this party commenced their journey in 
high spirits, they grew depressed as the distance 
from their old homes gradually increased. 

At the foot of the Cumberland Mountains they 
were attacked by a large body of Indians, whom 
they succeeded in defeating, though not until 
after a severe engagement, in which the whites 
lost six men in killed and wounded. Among the 
former was Boone's eldest son. Discouraged by 
this early initiation into dangers which they 
feared would increase as they advanced, they 
concluded to proceed no farther on their journey 
at this time ; but to fall back upon the settle- 
ments on Clinch River, about forty miles from the 
scene of action. Here they remained until 1774. 

But though his companions thus quietly, and 
perhaps with a sense of relief, ensconced them- 
selves within the limits of less dangerous territory, 
Boone himself was of too restless a nature to be 
content to live in a like calm and equable man- 
ner. His desire for a change, which would in- 
volve the exercise of both caution and daring, was 
soon to be gratified. At the instance of Lord 
Dunmore, then governor of the province of Vir- 
ginia, Boone consented to lead a party of survey- 
ors through the wilderness to the falls of the 
Ohio, a distance of eight hundred miles. 


The able and judicious manner in which this 
arduous service was performed induced Dunmore 
to place Boone in command of three frontier 
stations in western Virginia. He remained in 
charge of these posts until 1774, and in the in- 
termediate time was engaged in several aifairs 
with the Indians. 

In the mean while, Virginia had directed that 
the bounty in lands which she had given to the 
troops engaged in the old French war should be 
located upon the waters of her western territory ; 
and in 1773 Captain Thomas Bullitt conducted a 
party of surveyors to the falls of the Ohio, where 
a camp was constructed to protect them from the 
Indians. It was at this period that many surveys 
were made, and wide tracts of country explored 
with a view to future settlement, both by the 
party encamped at the falls of the Ohio, and by 
the brothers McAfee, who had ascended to the 
forks of the Kentucky River. 

It was now that the services of Boone were 
again to be put in requisition. Colonel Richard 
Henderson, a man who had raised himself from 
the low condition of a constable to the position 
of associate chief-judge of North Carolina, finding 
himself involved in great pecuniary difficulties 
through his wild speculations and his expensive 
style of living, resolved to attempt by one bold 
effort the acquisition of an enormous fortune. 
Having succeeded in forming a company for the 


object he proposed to eflfect, he availed himself 
of the knowledge of so experienced a woodsman 
as Boone, who, at his request, and at the solicita- 
tion of several gentleman of North Carolina, 
attended a treaty with the Cherokees, known as 
the treaty of Wataga, for the purchase of the 
lands south of the Kentucky Kiver. By this 
treaty, all that tract of country lying between the 
Cumberland River, the mountains of the same 
name, and the Kentucky River, south of the 
Ohio, was transferred, for the sum of fifty thou- 
sand dollars, to the company of which Henderson 
was the chief originator. A few speculators be- 
came thus the owners of all that territory which 
now comprises more than one-half of the state 
of Kentucky. They immediately proceeded to 
take possession of their newly-acquired purchase. 
It was now that the assistance of so experienced 
a man as Boone became peculiarly valuable. His 
business was to mark out a road for the pack- 
horses and wagons of Henderson's party. Leav- 
ing his family on Clinch River, he set out upon 
this hazardous undertaking at the head of a few 
men, in the early part of the year 1775, and 
arrived, without any adventure worthy of note, 
on the 22d of March in the same year, at a point 
within fifteen miles of the spot where Boones- 
borough was afterward built. Here they were 
attacked on two successive days by the Indians, 
who were finally beaten off after a severe contest, 


in which the -whites sustained a loss of four men 
in killed and wounded. 

On the 1st of April, they reached the southern 
bank of the Kentucky River, and began to build 
a fort, afterward known as Boonesborough. By 
the 16th of the same month the fort was com- 
pleted, notwithstanding the dangers to which they 
were exposed from continual interruptions from 
the Indians, and which occasioned the loss of 
another of their party. 

The forts of the early settlers consisted of 
cabins, block-houses, and stockades, built in the 
form of a hollow square. A range of cabins com- 
monly formed at least one side of the fort. Di- 
visions, or partitions of logs, separated these rude 
dwellings from each other. The walls on the 
outside were ten or twelve feet high, the slope of 
the roof being invariably inward. A few of these 
cabins had puncheon floors, which were formed 
by splitting trees of about eighteen inches in 
diameter, and hewing the face of them with a 
broadaxe ; but the greater part of the floors were 

The block-houses were built at the angles of 
the fort. They projected about two feet beyond 
the outer walls of the cabins and stockades. 
Their upper stories were about eighteen inches 
every way larger in dimensions than the under 
ones, leaving an opening at the commencement 
of the second story to prevent the enemy from 


making a lodgment under the walls. A large 
folding-gate, made of thick slabs, closed the fort 
on the side nearest the spring. The stockades, 
cabins, and block-house walls were furnished with 
apertures at proper heights and distances. The 
entire extent of the outer wall was made bullet 
proof. The whole of this work was constructed 
without the aid of a single nail or spike of iron, 
as such articles were not to be obtained. 

Previous to this, howevei', another settlement 
had been commenced between the Kentucky and 
the Salt Rivers, eight miles from the former, 
and about one mile from the latter. In May, 
1774, Captain John Harrod, with forty-one men, 
descended the Ohio River, and penetrating the 
intervening forest, selected, about the middle of 
June, the site for a town in the vicinity of a fine 
spring, and erected the usual cabins and block- 
houses. The settlement thus organized received 
soon after the name of Harrodstown. 

Rendered perfectly furious by these daring en- 
croachments upon their old hunting-grounds, the 
Indians subjected the fort of Boonesborough to 
incessant attacks ; but the fierce warriors soon 
found themselves confronted by a courage and 
endurance superior to their own, and by a cool 
deliberate forecast, which, in most instances, 
circumvented all their stratagems. 

The fort w^as scarcely built before immigrants 
began to flock into the newly-acquired territory. 


The first object of those to whom the territory 
had been ceded by the Cherokees, was to strength- 
en their right to it by the establishment of a pro- 
prietary government. 

On the 23d of May, 1775, in obedience to a 
summons issued by Henderson, a number of per- 
sons residing in or around Boonesborough met 
under the shade of a large elm tree near the walls 
of the fort, and forming themselves into a legis- 
lative body, elected Henderson president, gave to 
the new country the name of Transylvania, fixed 
upon Boonesborough as its capital, and passed 
nine laws. By the compact entered into during 
the session of this assembly between the proprie- 
tors and the colonists, a free, manly, and liberal 
government was established over the territory. 
It was further agreed that the election of dele- 
gates should be annual ; that there should be 
perfect freedom of opinion in matters of religion; 
that judges should be appointed by the proprie- 
tors, but answerable for malconduct to the peo- 
ple ; and that the convention should elect the 
treasurer, and have the sole power of raising and 
appropriating all moneys. 

This compact was solemnly executed under the 
hands and seals of three proprietors acting for 
the company, and by Thomas Slaughter, chair- 
man of the convention, acting for the colonists. 

But the new province of Transylvania was des- 
tined to occupy but a brief space in the history 


of the North American colonies. Lord Dunmore 
speedily issued a proclamation refusing to recog- 
nise the validity of the cession, and the legisla- 
ture of Virginia annulled the treaty as being con- 
trary to the chartered rights of that state. But 
as some compensation to the proprietors for their 
services in opening the wilderness and preparing 
the way for civilization, they were granted a 
tract of land twelve miles square on the Ohio, 
below the mouth of Greene River. 

Notwithstanding the check thus given to the 
ambitious schemes of the Transylvania Company, 
the settlements thus began continued to increase, 
though but slowly. 

In the summer of the same year that witnessed 
the completion of the fort, Boone returned to 
Clinch River for his family. He brought them 
to their new home as soon as the journey could 
be performed, and Mrs. Boone and her daughters 
were the first white women who ever stood upon 
the banks of the Kentucky River. They were 
soon reinforced by the arrival of the three fami- 
lies of McGary, Hogan, and Denton^^ with their 
wives and children. 

From this time Boonesborough and Harrods- 
town, or Harrodsburg as it was soon afterward 
called, became the nucleus and support of immi- 
gration to Kentucky. It was during this year, 
also, that Simon Kenton, subsequently so emi- 
nently distinguished as a pioneer and Indian 


fighter, erected a log cabin and raised a crop of 
corn within a mile of the present town of Wash- 
ington, in Mason county, where he continued 
until the autumn, when he removed to Boones- 


George Rogers Clark — Suggests a meeting of the colonists at 
Harrodsburg — Appointed with Gabriel Jones a member of 
the Virginia assembly — Applies to the council for ammuni- 
tion for the colonists — The daughter of Boone and two other 
females captured within sight of the fort — The Indians pur- 
sued and the captives retaken — Kentucky erected into a county 
of Virginia — Clark conveys the powder granted by Virginia 
down the Ohio — Is pursued by the Indians — Secretes the 
powder at the mouth of Limestone Creek — Colonel Todd de- 
feated near the Blue Licks — Jones and Grayson killed — 
McClelland's Fort attacked — Kenton and others attacked near 
Hinckstone station — Harrodsburg invested by the Indians — • 
Fearful situation of James Ray — Major Clark assaults the 
Indians — Heroism of Logan — A spy company organized — ■ 
Skirmish at Boonesborough — The life of Boone saved by 

Among the numerous adventurers who crossed 
the wilderness and penetrated Kentucky in 1775, 
was one whose name afterward became peculiarly 
conspicuous in the annals of the state — George 
Rogers Clark. He was then a young man of 
twenty-three years of age, by profession a sur- 
veyor ; a business which appears to have pre- 
sented to the enterprising young men of that day 
a most congenial and attractive field for the exer- 
cise of their energies. How long Clark continued 


in this vocation is unknown. When he visited 
Kentucky he had already seen service, having, 
in what was called Dunmore's war, been already 
engaged at the head of a company in active opera- 
tions against the Indians. Clark remained in 
Kentucky during the spring and summer of this 
year, familiarizing himself with the resources of 
the country, and from his already well-known 
and commanding talents, was at once selected to 
command the irregular militia of the settlements. 
In the fall he returned to Virginia ; but came 
back again to Kentucky in the spring of the fol- 
lowing year, with the view of making it his per- 
manent home. From this time forth his name is 
closely associated with the progress of western 
settlements in power and civilization. His mind 
had been very early impressed with the immense 
importance of the frontier country to the security 
of the parent state Virginia, and the necessity 
of a more regular system of military operations. 
With the view of accomplishing this design, he 
suggested to the settlers, on his return, the pro- 
priety of convening a general assembly of the 
people at Harrodsburg, for the purpose of form- 
ing a more definite and certain connection with 
the government and people of Virginia than as 
yet existed. Owing to the difl&culties and dis- 
putes arising out of the contested claims of the 
Transylvania Company, this step was rendered 
imperatively necessary, in order that the relation 


of the settlement to Virginia might he distinctly 
ascertained. The proposed meeting was accord- 
ingly held at Harrodsburg on the 6th of June, 
1776, when Clark and Gabriel Jones were chosen 
delegates to the assembly, which then held its 
session at Williamsburg, the ancient capital of 
Virginia. Finding on their arrival that the legis- 
lature had adjourned, Jones directed his steps to 
the settlements on Holston, leaving Clark to at- 
tend alone to the Kentucky mission. 

He immediately waited on Governor Henry, 
then lying sick at his residence in Hanover 
county, to whom he stated the objects of his 
journey. Bearing a letter from the governor, 
Clark next waited on the executive council of the 
state, and made application for five hundred 
weight of gunpowder for the defence of the vari- 
ous stations. To this application the indefinite 
state of the relations existing between the colo- 
nists and Virginia interposed a temporary ob- 
stacle. It was at length, however, overcome by 
the firmness of Clark, and an order was passed 
on the 23d of August, 1776, by which the keeper 
of the magazine was directed to transmit the gun- 
powder to Pittsburg, to be there delivered to Clark, 
or to such other persons as he ' might appoint to 
receive it, for the use of the people of Kentucky. 

This liberal conduct on the part of the council 
may probably have been hastened by an incident 
which had already occui'red at Boonesborough, 


in the month preceding. On the 7th of Julj, a 
daughter of Boone, and two other females by 
the name of Calloway, were amusing themselves 
in a canoe within sight from the fort, when a 
concealed party of Indians suddenly rushed from 
the surrounding coverts and carried them away 
captives. The screams of the terrified girls 
quickly alarmed the families in the garrison ; 
but, as it was near nightfall, and the canoe on 
the opposite side of the river, pursuit was not 
commenced in time to follow more than five miles 
during the night. 81 5630 

By daylight next morning, a party, consisting 
of Daniel Boone, Colonel Floyd, and six others, 
got upon their track, and continued the pursuit. 
The exceeding caution of the Indians rendered 
it difiicult for the pursuing party to keep on 
their trail, but they pressed forward notwith- 
standing in the direction they supposed the In- 
dians would take, and with almost incredible 
rapidity. Having travelled about thirty-five miles, 
they struck a buffalo trace, where they found the 
tracks quite plain. The pursuit was urged on 
with great keenness, and at the further distance 
of ten miles, they came in sight of their foes just 
as they were kindling a fire to cook. 

Both parties saw each other at the same in- 
stant. Four of the whites fired, and then charged 
so suddenly and furiously upon the Indians, that 
they were compelled to retreat, with a single shot- 


gun ■without ammunition, and without having time 
to tomahawk their captives. The girls sustained 
no other injury than excessive fright and fatigue. 
Two of the Indians were killed. The whites were 
so much rejoiced at the recovery of their children, 
that they refrained from continuing the pursuit, 
and retraced their steps to the fort. 

At the fall session of the Virginia legislature, 
Clark and his associate Jones laid the Kentucky 
memorial before that body. Though not ad- 
mitted to take their seats as recognised mem- 
bers, they were yet able to defeat the endeavours 
of Colonels Henderson and Campbell, who were 
still contending for the validity of the Wataga 
treaty, and to obtain the passage of a law by 
which the cis-montane territory was recognised 
as a part of the state of Virginia, and erected 
into a county, under its previous name of Ken- 

By this act, which was passed on the 6th of 
December, 1776, Kentucky became entitled to a 
separate county court, two justices of the peace, 
a sheriff, constables, coroners, and militia officers. 
In the spring of 1777, the court of quarter ses- 
sions held its first sitting at Harrodsburg, at- 
tended by the sheriff of the county, and his clerk 
Levi Todd. The first court of Kentucky was 
composed of John Todd, John Floyd, Benjamin 
Logan, John Bowman, and Richard Calloway. 

Having thus succeeded to a considerable ex- 


tent in the mission they were delegated to perform, 
Clark and Jones set out once more for Kentuckj. 
Being advised that the powder was still remaining 
at Pittsburg, they determined to proceed home by 
that route and bring it with them. This duty 
was one of great danger. The Indians around 
Pittsburg were both numerous and hostile, and 
it was requisite to use the utmost secrecy and 
caution to avoid being intercepted by them. 
Hastily embarking with the powder, to which had 
been added a good supply of lead, Clark and 
Jones, assisted by seven boatmen, moved with 
great expedition down the Ohio, with the In- 
dians following vigorously in the rear ; but they 
finally succeeded in eluding their pursuers for a 
time by turning in at the mouth of Limestone 
Creek, at the spot where the eity of Maysville 
now stands. 

After ascending the creek a short distance, 
the cargo was landed and buried, at different 
places in the woods along its banks. They then 
turned their boat adrift, and directed their course 
to the nearest station, with the view of returning, 
accompanied by an escort sufficient to insure the 
safe transportation of the stores. The first sta- 
tion they approached was McClelland's, situated 
where Georgetown now stands. Finding it too 
weak in numbers to justify detaching a sufficient 
party to convey the secret ammunition, Clark, 
piloted by Simon Kenton — who had broken up his 


old camp and joined the settlers at McClelland's 
— set out for Harrodsburg. Unfortunately, du- 
ring their absence, Jones prevailed on Colonel 
John Todd and ten men to accompany him to 
the place where the ammunition was concealed. 
They accordingly set out, and on the 25th of 
December, while in the vicinity of the Blue Licks, 
were encountered by the Indian chief Pluggey 
and defeated. Jones and William Grayson were 
killed, and two of the party taken prisoners. The 
remainder escaped into the station, where Clark 
and Kenton arrived soon after with a reinforce- 
ment from Harrodsburg. 

On the morning of the 1st of January, 1777, 
Pluggey and his warriors appeared before the 
fort. McClelland and his men sallied out to 
attack them, but were repulsed, McClelland him- 
self and two of his men being slain, and four 
others wounded. The Indians soon afterward 
withdrew, and in a few days the ammunition was 
brought in safety to the station by a party orga- 
nized and led by Clark. 

This welcome acquisition, by supplying the 
colonists with an abundance of that ammunition 
of which they stood in so much need, enabled 
them subsequently to make a successful defence 
against the savages, by whom they now began to 
be constantly beset on all sides. The danger 
indeed grew so threatening, that McClelland's 
Fort was abandoned, as the neighbouring station 


of Hinckston's had been a short time previous, 
and the settlers from both places, in great gloom 
and amidst the lamentations of the women and 
children, departed for Harrodsburg. Here Ken- 
ton also took up his abode. 

In the spring, Clark, v.'ho had now command 
of the settlements, with the title of major, sent 
Kenton, John Haggin, and four others, to Hinck- 
ston's old station, to break out some flax and hemp. 
Haggin was in front, and observed a party of In- 
dians encamped around the deserted fort. Ken- 
ton, who was as prudent as he was brave, advised 
an immediate retreat ; but when Haggin remarked, 
that it would be an act of cowardice to run with- 
out having one firej Kenton sprang from his 
horse, and the others, with one sensible exception, 
followed his example. In the mean time, the In- 
dians, who had already discovered the approach 
of the whites, opened a brisk fire upon the latter, 
which speedily compelled them to seek safety in 
flight. Directing his party to retreat into Har- 
rodsburg, Kenton separated from them, to put the 
garrison at Boonesborough on their guard. Al- 
though he reached the vicinity of the fort at an 
early hour, he determined not to enter it before 
darkness set in, knowing the custom of the In- 
dians to lie in ambush around the stations, and 
thus cut off" whoever might attempt to enter or 
depart. This caution saved his life ; for when 


the men carrying in the bodies of two of their 
friends who had been killed a few hours before, 
on the very same path by which he entered. 

In March, 1777, while James Ray, his brother, 
and another man, were engaged in clearing some 
land about four miles from Harrodsburg, they 
were attacked by a party of forty-seven Indians, 
under the command of the celebrated chief Black- 
fish. The Indians were attracted to the place by 
the noise of the axes, and rushing in upon the 
choppers, killed the younger Ray, and took the 
third man prisoner. The elder Ray — distin- 
guished afterward as General James Ray — being 
uninjured by the discharge of rifles, fled in the 
direction of the fort. Several of the swiftest In- 
dians followed him, but such was his fieetness and 
activity, that he distanced them all, and reached 
the fort in safety. 

By this fortunate escape of Ray, the garrison 
at Harrodsburg were enabled to prepare them- 
selves in time for the expected attack. The 
militia was immediately organized, ammunition 
provided, water and provisions secured, and the 
fort put in the best possible state of defence. 

On the morning of the 7th of March, 1777, 
several days after the escape of Ray, the Indians 
approached the vicinity of the fort, and, prelimi- 
nary to an attack, fired an out-cabin on the east 
side of the town. 

The garrison, unconscious of the proximity of 

ray's adventure. 41 

the enemy, and supposing the fire to be the 
result of accident, rushed out of the fort with a 
view to extinguish the flames. The Indians in- 
stantly attempted to intercept their return. The 
whites retreated, keeping up a random fire until 
they reached a piece of woods on the hill, now 
occupied by the court-house in Harrodsburgh, 
where each man took a tree, and soon caused the 
Indians in turn to give back, when the detach- 
ment from the garrison succeeded in regaining 
the fort. In this skirmish one Indian was killed, 
and four of the whites wounded, one of whom 
subsequently died. 

During the same year, while Eay and a man 
named McConnell were shooting at a mark near 
the fort, the latter was suddenly shot down by 
the Indians. Ray instantly glanced his eye in 
the direction of the shot, and perceiving the ene- 
my, raised his rifle to avenge the death of his 
friend, when he was suddenly attacked by a large 
body of Indians, who had crept near him unseen. 
His powers as a runner were again called into 
requisition, and Ray bounded towards the fort, 
distant a hundred and fifty yards, with the speed 
of an antelope, amidst showers of bullets from 
the savages. But when he approached the gates 
of the fort, he found them closed, and the garri- 
son. too much under the influence of their fears to 
open them for his admission. In this critical 
situation, pursued by the savages, and refused 


shelter bj his friends, Ray threw himself flat 
upon the ground, behind a stump just large 
enough to protect his body. Here, within seven 
steps of the fort wall, in sight of his mother, he 
lay for four hours, while the Indians kept up an 
incessant fire, the balls often striking and tear- 
ing up the ground on either side of him. At 
last, becoming somewhat impatient, he called out 
to the garrison, and entreated them to dig a hole 
under the cabin wall, and take him in. Strange 
as may have appeared the suggestion, it was im- 
mediately carried out, and the noble young 
hunter was speedily within the shelter of the fort, 
and in the arms of his friends ! 

Owing to the watchfulness of the Indians, but 
little corn was raised around Harrodsburg the 
whole of this season. In order to make up for 
the deficiency, the people of the fort determined 
late in the season to make a turnip patch, about 
two hundred yards northwest of the station. 
While clearing the ground, an Indian was shot 
at by the guard, and the men retired. The next 
day the cattle were perceived to be disturbed, and 
snuffing the air about a small field in the farthest 
corner, that had been allowed to grow up in very 
high Aveeds. The presence of concealed Indians 
was instantly suspected, so sure were the cattle 
to betray their vicinity, either from the sight of 
the Indians themselves, o^ from the smell of the 
paint upon their persons. This indication prompt- 


ed Major George Rogers Clark to turn the am- 
buscade upon the enemy. For this purpose, some 
men were still kept at work in the turnip patch 
nearest the fort, and in order to prevent suspicion 
by the Indians of any movement from within, 
they occasionally hallooed to their companions to 
come out to their work, while Clark, with a party 
of the garrison, sallied out of the fort with great 
secrecy, and, making a circuit, came up on the 
rear of the Indians as they lay concealed in the 
weeds. A volley was discharged at the concealed 
foe, and four of -their number killed — one by 
Clark and another by Ila.y. The Indians in- 
stantly retreated, and were pursued by the whites 
about four hundred yards down the creek, where 
they came upon the remains of a deserted Indian 
encampment, of sufficient extent for the accom- 
modation of five or six hundred warriors. From 
this camp the enemy had issued during the pre- 
ceding summer to assail the stations, which they 
had kept in a state of constant alarm, and had 
destroyed the greater portion of their horses and 
cattle. The Indians had now abandoned their 
position, and the party which had just been pur- 
sued was supposed to be the remnant of the In- 
dian force which had occupied the encampment. 
Major Clark complimented Ray with the gun of 
the Indian which he had shot, and which was the 
first he had ever killed. The property found in 
the Indian camp, consisting principally of cooking 


utensils, was, as usual, divided by lottery among 
the captors. 

In 1775, there was a fort established by Colo- 
nel Logan at St. Asaph's, in Lincoln county, and 
within a mile of the present town of Stanford. 
It was called Logan's Fort. On the 20th of 
May, 1777, this fort was invested by a force of 
one hundred Indians ; and on the morning of 
that day, as some of the females were outside of 
the gate engaged in milking the cows, the men, 
who acted as the guard for the occasion, were 
fired upon by a party of Indians concealed in 
a thick canebrake. One man was shot dead, 
another mortally wounded, and a third so badly 
disabled as to be incapable of making his escape ; 
the remainder made good their retreat into the 
fort, and closed the gate. 

Harrison, the wounded man, by a violent ex- 
ertion ran a few paces and fell. The garrison 
strongly sympathized with the exposed sufferer, 
but the danger was so hazardous that they resist- 
ed for some time the agonizing appeals of the 
wretched wife whose husband lay writhing before 
her eyes. The enemy forbore to fire upon Har- 
rison, in the hopes of luring a portion of the gar- 
rison to his assistance. Though there were but 
twelve effective men within the gates, Logan could 
not resist the heart-moving appeals made by the 
family of Harrison, and called upon some of his 
men to follow him. At length John Martin con- 

Logan's heroism. 45 

sented, and rushed with Logan from the fort ; 
but he had not gone far before he shrank from 
the imminence of the danger, and sprang back 
within the gate. Logan paused for a moment, 
then dashed on alone and undaunted, reached 
unhurt the spot where Harrison laj, threw him 
over his shoulders, and amidst a tremendous 
shower of rifle balls made a safe retreat into the 

Subsequent reinforcements obtained by the 
heroism of Logan compelled the baffled savages 
to retire. 

About this time a regulation was adopted, 
which subsequently proved of infinite service to 
the safety of the settlements. To watch the In- 
dians and give notice of their approach, six spies 
were appointed ; two for each of the only three 
stations then remaining. For the payment of 
these spies, Major Clark pledged the faith of Vir- 
ginia. Boone appointed Kenton and Brooks ; 
Harrod, Samuel Moore and Bates Collier ; and 
Logan, John Conrad and John Martin. These 
men performed good service. It was the custom 
for two each week, by turns, to range up and 
down the Ohio, and about the deserted stations, 
looking for Indian signs. By this means, the 
settlers had timely notice during the year of the 
approach of the enemy, with the exception of the 
occasion following. 

Early on the morning of the 4th of July, whilo 


Kenton and two others, who had loaded their 
guns for a hunt, were standing in the gate of the 
fort at Boonesborough, two men in the fields 
adjacent were fired on by the Indians. They 
immediately fled, not being hurt. The Indians 
pursued them, and a warrior overtook and toma- 
hawked one of the men within seventy yards of 
the fort, and proceeded leisurely to scalp him. 
Kenton shot the daring savage dead, and imme- 
diately with his hunting companions gave chase 
to the others. 

Boone, hearing the reports of fire-arms, has- 
tened with ten men to the relief of Kenton. The 
latter turned, and observed an Indian taking aim 
at the party of Boone ; quick as thought he 
brought his rifle to his shoulder, pulled the trigger 
first, and the redman bit the dust. 

Boone, having advanced some distance, now 
discovered that his party, consisting of fourteen 
men in all, was cut off from the fort by a large 
body of the enemy, who had got between him 
and the gate. There was no time to be lost : 
Boone gave the word — " Right about — fire — 
charge !" and the intrepid hunters dashed in 
among their adversaries in a desperate endeavour 
to reach the fort. 

At the first fire of the Indians, seven of the 
fourteen whites were wounded, and among the 
number the gallant Boone, whose leg being bro- 
ken, he fell to the ground. An Indian sprang 


on him with an uplifted tomahawk, but before the 
blow descended, Kenton rushed on the warrior, 
discharged his gun into his breast, and bore his 
leader into the fort. When the gate was closed, 
and all things secure, Boone sent for Kenton, 
and said to him, "Well, Simon, you have be- 
haved yourself like a man to-day — indeed, you 
are a fine fellow." This was great praise from 
Boone, who was a taciturn man, and little given 
to compliment. Kenton had certainly fully 
earned the brief eulogium ; he had saved the life 
of his captain, and killed three Indians with his 
own hand. The enemy, after keeping up the 
siege for three days, retired. 



Border life — Clark sends spies to Kaskaskia — Projects an in- 
vasion of Illinois — Submits to the Governor of Virginia a 
plan of operations against the British outposts — Is appointed 
to lead the expedition — Boone taken prisoner at Blue Licks 
— Escapes from Chillicothe and returns to Boonesborough — 
Is besieged by a large Indian force led by Captain Du Quesne 
• — Artifices of the Indians — The siege raised — Clark cap- 
tures Kaskaskia and Cahokia — Sends his prisoners to Vir- 
ginia — Takes Vincennes — His success in conciliating the 
Indians — Governor Hamilton recaptures Vincennes — His 
ulterior designs — Clark resolves to attack Hamilton — His 
terrible march through the wilderness — -Reaches Vincennes 
— His stratagem — Fatal accuracy of his rifles — Governor 
Hamilton surrenders. 

As the war had hitherto been carried on in 
Kentucky, the colonists had successfully de- 
fended themselves in the three principal stations 
of Boone, Harrod, and Logan, from the nume- 
rous hordes of Indians by whom they were almost 
continually surrounded. There appears to have 
been a fierce excitement in this border life, which 
with many of those brave and restless spirits grew 
at length into a passion. 

Removed to a distance of several hundred 
miles from the nearest white settlement, these 
isolated borderers, whose numbers, in September, 
1777, did not exceed eighty-one men capable of 
bearing arms, speedily acquired that intense love 


of freedom and that loathing of restraint -which 
the wild life of a forester so naturally engenders. 

Major Clark, though still a very young man, 
seems to have been endowed naturally with by 
far the most thoughtful and sagacious mind of 
all the colonists. He was no sooner enabled to 
acquire a correct knowledge of the sources from 
which the Indians derived support and encou- 
ragement in their hostilities, than he came to the 
conclusion that the only way to put a stop to 
their sanguinary inroads, was by striking a direct 
blow at those points where they were fostered 
and encouraged. 

Casting his eyes toward the British posts of 
Detroit, Vincennes, and Kaskaskia, he saw at 
once the origin of all the frontier difficulties. It 
was by the arms and clothing supplied at these 
military stations, that the merciless ferocity of 
the Indian warriors was stimulated to the com- 
mission of those excesses by which the frontiers 
had been so long deluged with blood. 

In order to substantiate the correctness of 
these views, Clark despatched two spies to recon- 
noitre the British posts, and report their situa- 
tion. On their return they brought intelligence 
of great activity on the part of the garrisons, 
who omitted no opportunity to encourage the 
Indian depredations on the settlements in Ken- 
tucky. They also informed him, that, although 
the British had sought by means of wilful mis- 


representation to prejudice the French inhabit- 
ants of those remote stations against the Vir- 
ginians and Kentuckians, there were many among 
them aifectionatelj inclined toward the Ameri- 
cans and their cause. This was in the summer 
of 1777. In December of the same year, Clark 
submitted to the executive of Virginia a plan for 
the reduction of the British posts. The result 
was in every respect satisfactory. The governor 
and council, finding that but little was required, 
and being struck with the great practical sagacity 
of the young frontiersman, granted him such 
facilities as he needed. As it was imperative for 
the success of the expedition that it should be 
conducted with the utmost secrecy, Clark re- 
ceived, on the 2d of January, 1778, two sets of in- 
structions, — one public, directing him to proceed 
to Kentucky for its defence, — the other private, 
ordering an attack upon the British post at 
Kaskaskia in Illinois. Twelve hundred pounds 
were advanced to defray the necessary expenses, 
and an order on the Virginia commandant at 
Fort Pitt directed the latter to furnish Clark 
with such boats and military stores as were re- 
quisite for the object he had in view. 

Some time was consumed in organizing the 
expedition, and in the mean Mobile the colonists of 
Kentucky experienced a disaster which seriously 
threatened the entire annihilation of their settle- 


In the month of February, Boone, at the head 
of thirty men, was at the lower Blue Licks, en- 
gaged in making salt, when he was surprised by 
one hundred Indians, on their march to attack 
Boonesborough, and himself and party taken pri- 
soners. They surrendered on terms of capitula- 
tion, which were faithjully observed by the In- 
dians, and were all carried to Detroit. Here his 
companions were delivered over to the English 
commandant, but Boone was reserved by the 
Indians and taken to Chillicothe. His captors 
treated him with great kindness, and permitted 
him to hunt with but little restraint upon his 

He continued to bear his imprisonment with 
well-assumed cheerfulness until the second week 
of June, when, observing that a large concourse 
of warriors had assembled, painted and equipped, 
for an expedition against Boonesborough, he de- 
termined to effect his escape at every hazard. 
He waited until the morning of the 16th of June, 
when making an early start he left Chillicothe, 
and after a journey of one hundred and fifty miles 
in four days, during which time he had partaken 
of but one meal, he reached Boonesborough, and 
was received by the garrison as one risen from 
the dead. 

His family, supposing him killed, had returned 
to North Carolina, and his men, apprehending no 


danger, had suffered the defences of the fort to 
fall into decay. 

As the enemy might be hourly expected, no 
time was lost in strengthening the place to the 
utmost. The garrison laboured night and day, 
and after ten days' severe exertion, were enabled 
to rest from their long-c(}ntinued toil, fully pre- 
pared for the approach of the savages. Boone 
learned soon afterward, that in consequence of 
his escape the Indians had determined to delay 
their attack for some wrecks. The attack was 
delayed so long, that Boone resolved to carry 
the war into the Indian country. Marching with 
nineteen picked men against the town of Paint 
Creek on the Scioto, he encountered, within four 
miles of the town, a party of thirty warriors, on 
their route to join the main army in its attack 
on Boonesborough. This party he assaulted, and 
put to the rout without loss or injury to him- 
self; and then, hastily retracing his steps, suc- 
ceeded in eluding the Indian force on the sixth 
day of their march, and reached the fort in 

The following day, the Indians, five hundred 
strong, commanded by Captain Du Quesne and 
other British Canadian ofiBcers, appeared before 
the gates. The British colours were displayed, 
and the fort summoned to surrender. Boone re- 
quested two days for consideration, which were 
granted. His garrison consisted of only fifty, 


and he could expect no assistance from Logan or 
Harrod, as all communication between the sta- 
tions was cut off by strong detachments of the 
enemy. At the expiration of the armistice an 
answer was returned, that the fort would be de- 
fended to the last. 

A proposition was then made to treat, and 
Boone and eight of the garrison met the Bri- 
tish and Indian officers on the plain in front of 
the fort, w'hen an effort being made to detain the 
Kentuckians as prisoners, they sprang out from 
the midst of their savage enemies, and succeeded, 
under a heavy fire of rifles, in gaining the fort, 
with only one man wounded. The attack was 
instantly commenced by a heavy fire against the 
picketing, and was returned by the garrison with 
fatal accuracy. The Indians then attempted to 
push a mine into the fort, but their object being 
discovered by the quantity of fresh earth they 
were compelled to throw into the river, Boone 
cut a trench within the fort so as to intersect their 
line of approach, and thus frustrated their design. 

After exhausting all the ordinary artifices of 
Indian warfare, and finding their numbers daily 
thinned by the fatal fire from the garrison, they 
raised tlie siege on the ninth day from their first 
appearance, and returned home. The loss on 
the part of the garrison was two men killed, and 
four wounded. Of the savages twenty-seven were 
killed, and many wounded, who, as usual, were 


carried off. This was the last siege sustained by 

Unconscious of the terrible danger with which 
the frontier stations were menaced, Colonel Clark, 
with a force of only four companies, furnished 
by Virginia, and a few scouts and guides, de- 
scended the Ohio in boats to the falls, where he 
landed on Corn Island thirteen families, who had 
accompanied him from Pittsburg as immigrants to 
Kentucky. It was these immigrants who shortly 
afterward laid the foundation of Louisville on the 
opposite shore. 

Proceeding on his way, Clark iBoated down the 
Ohio until he reached an island at the mouth of 
the Tennessee. Here he was so fortunate as to 
encounter a party of hunters, from whom he ob- 
tained much important intelligence in relation to 
the state of things at Kaskaskia. They reported 
that the garrison was under the command of M. 
Rocheblave, that the militia were well disciplined, 
and, that in apprehension of an expedition from 
Kentucky, spies were stationed on the Missis- 
sippi Ptiver, and Indian hunters directed to keep 
a sharp look-out for the approach of any hostile 
force. Expressing their belief that the post 
might be captured by surprise, the hunters offered 
their services as guides, which being immediately 
accepted, the party again set out. Concealing 
their boats at a point on the Illinois shore near 
old Fort Massac, the little army took up its line 


of march through the wilderness ; Clark march- 
ing at the head of his men, and sharing their con- 
dition in every respect. 

On the evening of the 4th of July, 1778, the 
expedition arrived in the neighbourhood of the 
town, where it lay until dark, when the march 
was resumed. That night the town and fort were 
surprised and captured, without the effusion of a 
drop of blood. M. Eocheblave, the British go- 
vernor, was taken in his bed, but very few of his 
public papers were secured, as they were secreted 
or destroyed by his wife, whom the Kentuckians, 
from honourable motives of delicacy, refrained 
from molesting. 

In the course of a few days, Clark, by his wise 
and prudent policy, was so successful in dissi- 
pating the alarm and gaining the aifection of the 
French inhabitants, that they became far more 
strongly attached to the American government, 
than they had been previously to that of their 
British rulers. 

Having thus, by his humane conduct, even 
more than by the success of his arms, secured the 
safety of his command, he next turned his atten- 
tion to the reduction of the village of Cahokia, 
situated about sixty miles up the Mississippi. 
The capture of this small post was a proceeding 
of some importance, inasmuch as the village, 
though a small one, enjoyed a considerable trade 
with the Indians, and was a depot for the distri- 


bution of arms and ammunition to the latter, 
many of whom were in the neighbourhood when 
the Americans approached. 

Major Bowman, to whom Clark had intrusted 
the command of the expedition, reached the vici- 
nity of the town without detection. The detach- 
ment was strengthened by the addition of several 
gentlemen, citizens of Kaskaskia, who had volun- 
teered their services in the humane hope of being 
able, by their influence, to secure the surrender 
of the post without bloodshed. Their hopes were 
crowned with the most gratifying success. The 
inhabitants were at first surprised and alarmed, 
but when they learned of the gentlemen from Kas- 
kaskia, with what a noble humanity the Americans 
had acted at the latter place, the general con- 
sternation was converted into shouts of welcome. 

Having secured and sent oflf his prisoners to 
Virginia, Clark next turned his attention toward 
the British post at Vincennes. By the enthu- 
siastic agency of a French priest, M. Gibault, the 
enterprise was achieved with the same ease which 
had characterized his former ones. On the 1st 
of August, the inhabitants threw oflf their alle- 
giance to the British, the garrison was over- 
powered and expelled, and the American flag 
displayed from the ramparts of the fort. 

Leaving a small force under Captain Helm for 
the protection of the place, Clark now retraced 
his steps to Kaskaskia, where he employed con- 



siderable time in conciliating the various Indian 
tribes who had hitherto been so fiercely hostile to 
the Americans. The successes he had achieved, 
the influence of the great name he had already 
acquired among savages, joined to his thorough 
knowledge of the Indian character, enabled him, 
in the course of a short time, to detach them from 
the British interest and link them to the cause 
of the Americans. 

In the mean time, Clark, having no tidings 
from Vincennes, became seriously anxious as to 
the fate of the small garrison he had left at that 
place. His fears were not without foundation. 

On the 20th of January, 1779, Colonel Vigo 
brought the information that Governor Hamilton, 
who commanded the British force in the north- 
west, had marched from Detroit with a mixed 
force of British and Indians, had taken prisoners 
the handful of men left by Clark to garrison 
Vincennes, and re-established the British power. 
Colonel Vigo also stated, that the object of Ha- 
milton was not merely limited to recapturing the 
forts taken by Clark from the British, but that 
his intentions were to lay waste Kentucky, and 
then advance up the Ohio and seize Fort Pitt. 
The season, however, being so far advanced, he 
had determined to defer his project until the 
ensuing spring ; and, in the meanwhile, had con- 
cluded to employ his Indians in desultory attacks 
upon the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia. 



Clark now clearly saw that his position at 
Kaskaskia was a very precarious one. Cut off from 
all hopes of obtaining reinforcements, he must 
either extricate himself by a bold and sudden 
attack upon Hamilton at Vincennes, or wait his 
approach and then defend himself in the best 
manner he was able. He decided upon the 
former. He no sooner learned from his spies 
that the Indian force under Hamilton had de- 
parted from Vincennes, to commence their war- 
fare on the settlements, and that Hamilton lay 
at Vincennes with his regulars only, than he 
resolved to proceed against him at once, and 
capture both the commander and garrison by a 
coup de main. 

He accordingly made immediate preparation 
for the expedition. On the 7th' of February, he 
3ommenced his march through the wilderness 
with a force of one hundred and seventy-five men, 
having previously despatched Captain Rogers, 
with a company of forty-six men and two four- 
pounders in a boat, with orders to force their 
way up the Wabash, station themselves a few 
miles below the mouth of White River, suffer 
nothing to pass, and wait for further orders. 

For seven days the land expedition pursued 
its toilsome course over the drowned lands of 
Illinois, exposed to every privation that could 
exhaust the spirits of men, when it arrived at the 
Little Wabash. 


But now the worst part of the expedition was 
still before them. At this point the forks of 
the stream are three miles apart, and the oppo- 
site heights of land five miles distant even in the 
ordinary state of the water. When the expedi- 
tion arrived, the intervening valley was covered 
with water nearly three feet in depth. 

Through this dreadful country the expedition 
was compelled to make its way until the 18th, 
when they arrived so near Vincennes that they 
could hear the morning and evening guns at the 
fort. On the evening of the same day they en- 
camped within nine miles of the town, below the 
mouth of the Embarrass River. Here they were 
detained two days, having no means of crossing 
the river. On the 20th, the guard surprised a 
boat, in which the men and arms were transported 
to the opposite shore. There was still, however, 
an extensive sheet of water to be passed, which, 
on sounding, proved to be up to the arm-pits. 
When this discovery was made, the whole detach- 
ment began to manifest symptoms of alarm and 
despair, which Colonel Clark observing, took a 
little powder in his hand, mixed some water with 
it, and having blackened his face, raised an In- 
dian whoop and marched into the water. 

The effect of the example was electrical, and 
the men followed without a murmur. In this 
manner, and singing in chorus, the troops made 
their way through the water, almost constantly 


waist deep, until they arrived within sight of the 
town. The immense exertion required to effect 
this march may not be described. When the 
men reached the dry land, they were so exhaust- 
ed that many of them fell, leaving their bodies 
half immersed in the water. 

Having captured a man who was discovered 
shooting ducks, Clark sent by him a letter into 
the town, notifying the inhabitants he should take 
possession of the place that night. 

On the evening of the 23d, the detachment set 
off to take possession of the town. After march- 
ing and countermarching around the elevations of 
the plain, and displaying several sets of colours 
to give the garrison as exaggerated an idea of 
their numbers as possible, Clark posted his men 
on the heights at the rear of the village and 
opened a spirited fire upon the fort. The men 
would lie within thirty yards of the fort un- 
touched by its guns, from the awkward elevation 
of its platforms, while no sooner was a port-hole 
opened, than a dozen rifles would be directed at 
it, cutting down every thing in the way. The 
garrison became discouraged, and could not stand 
to their guns, and in the evening of the next day 
the British commandant, finding his cannon use- 
less and apprehensive of the result of being taken 
at discretion, sent a flag asking a truce of three 
days. This was refused, and on the 24th of 
February, 1779, the fort was surrendered, and 


the garrison became prisoners of war. On the 
25th, it was taken possession of by the Ameri- 
cans, the stars and stripes were hoisted, and 
thirteen guns fired to celebrate the victory. 


The first block-house built at Lexington — Expedition of Colonel 
Bowman against Chillicothe — Bravery of Logan — Singular 
conduct of Bowman — The attack by Logan — Bowman orders 
a retreat — Harassed by the Indians — The savages repulsed 
by Logan and others — Land law of Kentucky — Its obnoxious 
features — Vexatious law-suits arising from it — Colonel Rogers 
attacked by the Indians on the Ohio — Dreadful slaughter of 
the whites — Romantic anecdote of Captain Denham and his 
companion' — Ruddell's station attacked by Canadians and 
Indians under Colonel Boyd — Ruddell surrenders — Treache- 
rous conduct of the savages — Indignation of Byrd — Mar- 
tin's station captured — Byrd retreats down the Ohio — Es- 
cape of Captain Hinckston — His ingenuity in discovering the 
route to Lexington by night — His perilous escapes — Sur- 
rounded by Indians — Reaches Lexington in safety — Indians 
retreat with their booty. 

Leaving Clark in possession of Vincennes, let 
us now turn to Kentucky and watch the progress 
of events in that quarter. 

The first thing for which the year 1779 was 
distinguished among the frontiersmen, was the 
building of a block-house by Robert Patterson, 
upon the spot where the beautiful city of Lexing- 
ton now stands. This was in the early part of 

In July of the same year, Colonel Bowman led 


an expedition against the Indian town of Chilli- 
cothe, and as the attack ended disastrously, not- 
withstanding the bravest spirits of Kentucky 
marched under Bowman's orders, it may be as 
well to narrate the affair with some minuteness 
of detail. 

In this expedition Colonel Logan was second 
in command; while Harrod, Bulger, Bedinger, 
and others, held subordinate stations. 

The detachment consisted of one hundred and 
sixty men, well accustomed to Indian warfare, 
and, if we except Bowman, officered by the best 
men upon the frontier. 

So secretly had the measures been taken for a 
surprise, that from the time they left Har rods- 
burg until they reached within a mile of Chilli- 
cothe, they had successfully eluded the vigilance 
of the enemy, whom the spies reported as utterly 
unconscious of their approach, and in a state of 
the most perfect exemption from alarm. 

Putting the party in motion, Logan was ordered 
to take a left-hand route, and half encircle the 
town, while Bowman marched to the right in the 
same manner. When this was accomplished, and 
the divided parties had formed a junction in front 
of the town, the attack was to commence. 

Logan performed his part of the service with 
boldness and secrecy, but after waiting for several 
hours for the approach of his commander, he was 
doomed to disappointment. Daylight appeared, 


and an Indian dog began to bark loudly. This 
brought out one of the Indians from a cabin hard 
by, who walked cautiously toward the party, halt- 
ing frequently, rising on tiptoe and gazing about 

Logan hoped to have taken him prisoner, but 
the firing of a gun from one of Bowman's con- 
cealed party on the other side of the village gave 
the alarm to the Indians and brought matters to 
a crisis. Even then if Bowman had dashed 
forward, the attack would have been successful. 
Logan's party sprang from the grass and rushed 
upon the village, while the Indians made for the 
great cabin in the centre of the town. Here it 
was that, having collected in great force, they 
determined to offer an obstinate resistance. 

Taking possession of the deserted cabins, 
Logan and his party worked their way from one 
house to another, until they were within easy 
rifle-shot of the Indian redoubt. 

While thus occupying a good position from 
whence they could assail their enemies, they 
began to grow anxious for the coming of Bow- 
man and his party ; but as the latter still .re- 
frained from making any attack, and as Logan, 
who had pressed with his detachment very near 
to the redoubt, was now suffering under a galling 
fire, he found it almost as hazardous to retreat 
as to advance. 

Utterly unconscious of the cause of Bowman's 


inaction, and with his communication cut off by 
the fierce fire of the warriors who had recovered 
from the panic into which they were at first 
thrown, Logan formed the daring project of 
making a movable breastwork of the planks 
which formed the floor of the cabins, and under 
cover of it, to rush upon the stronghold of the 
enemy, and carry it by main force. Before the 
necessary steps could be taken to carry out this 
desperate plan, a messenger arrived from Bow- 
man with orders to retreat. 

In utter astonishment and indignation, Logan 
asked if Bowman had been overpowered by the 
enemy ? No ! Had he even beheld an enemy ? 
No ! Why then did he wish to abandon the at- 
tack ? He did not know, the colonel had ordered 
a retreat ! Very reluctantly Logan obeyed, and 
the evil consequences of such an order were soon 
made manifest. 

Hitherto the men, buoyed up with the hope of 
support, had acted bravely in concert ; now, de- 
pressed by an order for which they could not ac- 
count, they lost all firmness, and each one shift- 
ing for himself, broke from the scene of action, 
leaving his companions to seek safety in any 
manner they might think best. 

This sudden rout astonished even the Indians, 
who sallied out and pursued the stragglers until 
they had united themselves to the party under 
Bowman, the latter having remained, as if stricken 


suddenly witli imbecility, very near to the same 
spot where Logan had left him the night before. 

While the Indians were profiting by their un- 
expected deliverance from the deadliest peril, the 
whites were filled with confusion and dismay. 

A disorderly retreat commenced, which at 
length assumed something like regularity by the 
exertions of the subordinate ofiicers. Bowman 
himself sat rigidly upon his horse, neither giving 
an order nor taking any measures to repel the 

With the sharp crack of the Indian rifles the 
instinctive courage of the men returned. Throw- 
ing themselves into the form of a hollow square, 
they kept the enemy at bay until they could 
cover themselves by trees, and when this was ac- 
complished, the Indians were speedily repulsed, 
and the troops recommenced their march. 

They had scarcely proceeded half a mile be- 
fore the enemy reappeared, and opened a fire 
upon the front, rear, and both flanks. Again a 
square was formed, and the enemy beaten back. 

This was repeated several times, and each time 
with the same result. But this harassing con- 
dition of things was beginning to have its usual 
effect. The men grew unsteady, and wavered at 
the approach of their enemies. Seeing the panic 
rapidly spreading, Logan, Harrod, and Bedinger, 
with a few of the boldest and best mounted of 
the troops, charged suddenly and with great 


daring upon the Indians, broke through the net- 
work of bushes behind which the latter were 
sheltered, forced them from their coverts, and, 
scouring the forest in every direction, cut down 
as many as they could overtake. 

This decisive step completely dispersed the 
enemy, and the weary and dispirited continued 
their retreat without further molestation, having 
suffered, through the incapacity of their com- 
mander, a loss of nine killed and a few others 

During this year, the well-known land law of 
Kentucky, which subsequently created such an 
immense amount of litigation, was passed by the 
legislature of Virginia. Though just and liberal 
in some of its features, its radical defect was in 
the absence of a provision for a general survey 
of the country at the expense of the government, 
and in the permission which it gave to each pos- 
sessor of a warrant, to locate the same where he 
pleased. But the survey was required to be 
made at his own cost, and in such precise terms, 
that each subsequent locator might recognise the 
land already taken up, and make his entry else- 
where. It is needless to state how impossible 
this was to such rough woodsmen and indifferent 
surveyors as then and subsequently settled the 
country. The natural consequence was, that sur- 
veys, patents, and entries, were piled upon each 
other in almost inextricable confusion, and are 


the source of many most troublesome and vexa- 
tious law-suits even to the present time. 

The passage of the land law had a remarkable 
eifect upon immigration. People began imme- 
diately to flock into Kentucky in vast numbers, 
for the purpose of locating land warrants ; but 
though they added greatly to the general strength 
of the territory, their presence only seemed to 
provoke the Indians to more determined hostili- 

In the autumn of 1779, a terrible disaster took 
place. As two keelboats laden with military 
stores, under charge of Colonel Rogers, were as- 
cending the Ohio River, a number of Indians on 
rafts and in canoes shot out suddenly from the 
mouth of the Little Miami, and were carried by 
the strong current of the latter river nearly 
across to the opposite shore. 

Colonel Rogers, expecting to take the Indians 
by surprise, immediately landed his crew, to the 
number of seventy men, and advanced secretly 
to the attack. Before, however, he could reach 
the point where he expected to meet the savages, 
he was himself surrounded by a force of nearly 
treble his numbers. The Indians immediately 
poured in a close discharge of rifles, and then, 
throwing down their guns, fell upon, the survivors 
with the tomahawk. The panic was complete, 
and the slaughter awful. Colonel Rogers and 
forty-five men were killed instantly. The re- 


mainder fled to their boats, but the guards Avho 
had charge of the latter had already fled with 
one of them, and the enemy had gained posses- 
sion of the other. Making one desperate charge, 
they broke through the lines of savages, and with 
the loss of several wounded, succeeded in efi"ecting 
their escape to Harrodsburg. 

Among the w^ounded was Captain Robert Den- 
ham. Shortly after breaking through the enemy's 
lines he was shot through both hips, and the 
bones being shattered, he instantly fell to the 
ground. Dragging himself into the top of a large 
prostrate tree which lay near by, he succeeded 
in eluding the notice of the Indians by concealing 
himself among its branches. Here he lay until 
the evening of the second day, when he disco- 
vered that another person was near him, who 
was wounded in both arms. 

By mutually assisting each other, Denham in 
killing game for his companion, and the latter in 
carrying Denham about from place to place, they 
managed to sustain life until the 27th of Novem- 
ber, when they were relieved by a flatboat, which 
they hailed as it floated down the Ohio, and were 
taken to Louisville, where, after a few weeks' 
confinement, they perfectly recovered of their 

No further hostilities of any consequence in- 
terfered with the peace of Kentucky until the 
summer of 1780, when a formidable force, con- 


sisting of six liundred Indians and Canadians, 
under the command of Colonel Byrd, an officer 
of the British army, accompanied by six pieces 
of artillery, appeared before Ruddell's Station, 
on the easterly bank of the south fork of Licking 
River, three miles below the junction of Hink- 
ston's and Stone's branches of the same stream." 

To Colonel Byrd's summons to surrender, Cap- 
tain Ruddell answered by offering to yield on 
certain conditions, one of which was that the 
garrison should be under the sole protection of 
the British. To these terms Colonel Byrd agreed ; 
but immediately the gates were opened, the In- 
dians rushed in, and seizing all they could lay 
their hands on, claimed them as their prisoners. 
The scene which followed was heart-rending. 
Buddell remonstrated with the colonel against 
this barbarous violation of his word ; but as the 
Indians were far more numerous than the Cana- 
dians, Byrd himself had no power to control his 
savage allies. 

After the prisoners were divided in this sum- 
mary manner among their captors, the Indians 
proposed an attack upon Martin's Station, which 
was five miles from Ruddell's. To this, however, 
Colonel Byrd, who was heartily ashamed of the 
conduct of his allies, would not consent until the 
chiefs pledged themselves in behalf of their fol- 
lowers that the prisoners should be entirely un- 
der the control of the British, and that the 


savages would content themselves with the pos- 
session of the plunder. 

When this was agreed upon, Martin's Station 
was invested and its garrison captured, Colonel 
Bjrd taking sole charge of the prisoners. 

The Indians now urged Bjrd to precipitate 
his force upon Bryant's Station and Lexington ; 
but the latter, giving as a reason for not comply- 
ing with their wishes, the improbability of success, 
and the scanty supply of provisions to support 
the prisoners he had already, countermarched 
with his force to the forks of the LicT^ing, where 
he got his military stores and artillery on board 
of his boats, and moved off with all 

At this place the Indians separated from the 
Canadians, taking with them the prisoners they 
had captured at Ruddell's Station. 

Among the latter was Captain John Hinkston, 
a brave man and an experienced woodsman. The 
second night after leaving the forks of the Lick- 
ing, the Indians encamped near the river ; every 
thing was very wet, in consequence of which it 
was diflBcult to kindle a fire, and before a fire was 
made it was quite dark. 

A guard was placed over the prisoners, and 
while a part of them were employed in kindling 
the fire, Hinkston sprang from among them, and 
was immediately out of sight. An alarm was 
instantly given, and the Indians ran in every 


direction, not being able to ascertain the course 
he had taken. Hinkston ran but a short distance 
before he lay down by the side of a log, within 
the dark shade of a large beech tree, where he 
remained until the stir occasioned by his escape 
had subsided, when he moved off as silently as 
possible. The night was cloudy and very dark, 
so that he had no mark to steer by, and after 
travelling some time toward Lexington, as he 
thought, he found himself close to the camp from 
which he had just before effected his escape. 

In this dilemma he was obliged to tax his skill 
as a woodsman, to devise a method by which he. 
should be enabled to steer his course without light 
enough to see the moss on the trees, or without 
the aid of sun, moon, or stars. He ultimately 
adopted this method. He dipped his hand in the 
water, which almost covered the whole country, 
and holding it above his head, he instantly 
felt one side of his hand cold ; he immediately 
knew that from that point the wind came : he, 
therefore, steered the balance of the night by 
the cold side of his hand, that being from the 
west, he knew, and best suited to his purpose. 
After travelling several hours, he sat down at the 
root of a tree, and fell asleep. 

A few hours before day there came on a heavy 
dense fog, so that a man could not be seen at 
twenty yards' distance. This circumstance was 
of infinite advantage to Hinkston, for as soon as 


daylight appeared, the howling of wolves, the 
gobbling of turkies, the bleating of fawns, the 
hoot of owls, and the noises of other wild animals, 
were heard in almost every direction. Hinkston 
was too well acquainted with the customs of the 
savages not to know that it was Indians, and not 
beasts and birds, that made these sounds ; he, 
therefore, avoided approaching the places where 
he heard them, and, notwithstanding he was 
several times within a few yards of them, with 
the aid of the fog he escaped, and arriving safely 
at Lexington, brought the first news of the event 
which led to his capture and subsequent escape. 

The Indians not only collected all the horses 
at Ruddell's and Martin's stations, but also many 
around Bryant's and Lexington, and with their 
booty crossed the Ohio River near the mouth of 
Licking, and there dispersed. 

The British descended Licking River to the 
Ohio, went down the Ohio to the mouth of the Big 
Miami, and up the Miami as far as it was then 
navigable for their boats, when they hid their 
artillery and marched by land to Detroit. 



( larl destroys the Piqua towns on the Miami — Kentucky di- 
vided into three counties — Indian incursions — Immigration 
continues — Transylvania University incorporated by Virgi- 
nia — Indians invest Estill's station — Are pursued — Defeat of 
Estill — Bryant's station attacked by Girty at the head of six 
hundred Indians — Heroism of the women — Arrival of rein- 
forcements — Their perilous situation — Skirmish in the corn- 
field — Attack on the station — Girty attempts to negotiate — 
Answer of Reynolds — The Indians raise the siege — Are 
pursued by a party under Colonel Todd — Fatal recklessness 
of McGary — The Kentuckians attacked by the Indians from 
an ambush — Desperate conflict — Rout of the Kentuckians 
— Escape of Daniel Boone — Presence of mind of Nether- 
land — Retaliation of Clark — Burns the Miami towns. 

In order to retaliate for this daring inroad, 
Clark, who had now returned to Kentucky, issued 
a call for volunteers to support his regiment in an 
expedition against the Indians. It was not long 
before numbers had joined his standard. When 
the forces were assembled at the mouth of Lick- 
ing River, they amounted in all to one thousand 
men. Marching with great secrecy and celerity, 
Clark reached the Indian towns before the enemy 
were aware of his approach. 

After a sharp conflict, in which the loss was 
equal, the Indians fled ; the towns were reduced 
to ashes, and the gardens and fields laid waste. 

This being accomplished, Clark returned to the 
Ohio and discharged the militia. The Indians 


being under the necessity of resorting to hunting 
for the support of their families, gave the colo- 
nists no further trouble during the season. 

In November of this year, Kentucky was di- 
vided into three counties, to which the name of 
Fayette, Lincoln, and Jefferson, were given. They 
had now three county courts, holding monthly 
sessions, three courts of common law and chan- 
cery jurisdiction, sitting quarterly, and a large 
number of magistrates and constables. No court 
capable of trying capital offences existed nearer 
than Richmond in Virginia. 

Indian incursions continued through the year 
1781 ; but being undertaken only by small par- 
ties of warriors, were easily repelled. Immigra- 
tion still brought large numbers into the new 
territories, and speculation in lands was carried 
on with an ardour that seemed rather to increase 
than to suffer any abatement. 

It was during this year, that Transylvania 
University was established in Fayette county, 
Kentucky, by the legislature of Virginia. One- 
sixth of the surveyors' fees, formerly conferred 
on the college of William and Mary, with eight 
thousand acres of the first quality land in the 
then county of Kentucky, were granted for the 
endowment and support of the seminary. 

The year 1782 opened disastrously. In the 
month of May, a party of twenty-five Wyandots 
invested Estill's station, on the south of Kentucky 


River. After having killed one white man, taken 
a negro prisoner, and destroyed the cattle, they 
retreated. Captain Estill immediately organized 
a company of twenty-five men, and pursued them. 
When he reached the Hinkston fork of Licking 
River, the Wyandots were ascending leisurely a 
hill on the opposite side. Estill's men immedi- 
ately opened a fire upon the retreating Indians, 
who at first seemed disposed to run ; but upon 
their chief, who was severely wounded, calling to 
them to remain and fight, they took to the trees 
and returned the fire of their pursuers. 

Each party, now protected by such shelter as 
they could find, commenced a rapid discharge of 
rifles from opposite sides of the creek. Coolly 
and deliberately the firing was continued for up- 
wards of an hour, until one-fourth of the combat- 
ants on both sides had fallen. Finding his men 
gradually lessening in number, and having no hope 
of success in the manner he was situated, Estill 
formed the desperate resolution of detaching six 
of his men up the valley through which the creek 
ran, with orders to cross the creek above, and. 
fall upon the Indian rear. 

This movement was no sooner observed by the 
Wyandot chief, than he made a rapid charge 
across the creek, and falling upon the whites, 
now weakened by the absence of the detachment, 
drove them from their coverts, and compelled 
them to retreat with great slaughter. In this 


charge, Captain Estill and eight men were killed, 
and four others wounded. The Indians lost more 
than half of their number ; but the loss of the 
whites was much greater. This action lasted 
two hours, and is considered to have been one of 
the best contested battles for the numbers en- 
gaged that was ever fought on the frontier. 

On the 14th of August, a most formidable at- 
tack was made upon Bryant's station by an army 
of six hundred warriors, of various tribes, headed 
by the infamous renegade Simon Girty. 

This fort, which was situated on the southern 
bank of the Elkhorn, contained about forty ca- 
bins placed in parallel lines, connected by strong 
palisades, and garrisoned by some forty or fifty 

A few days previous to this. Captain Holden, 
with a party of seventeen men, had been de- 
feated near Upper Blue Licks, a messenger from 
whom arrived at Bryant's in time to warn the 
people at the latter station of the approaching 
enemy. Owing to this fortunate circumstance, 
the garrison was already under arms when Girty 
and his savage warriors appeared. Supposing 
from the preparations made by the garrison 
to receive them, that their actual presence in 
the vicinity was known, a considerable body of 
Indians was placed in ambush near to the spring, 
which was at some distance from the fort, 
while another and smaller party was ordered to 


take position in full view of the garrison, with 
the hope of enticing them to an engagement out- 
side of the walls. 

Had this stratagem proved successful, the re- 
mainder of the forces were so posted as to be 
able, on the withdrawal of the garrison, to storm 
one of the gates and cut off their return to the 

Unconscious of the snare which had been laid 
for them, the garrison were in the act of sallying 
out, having already opened one of the gates for 
this purpose, when they became alarmed by a 
sudden firing from an opposite direction, and 
hastily falling back, they closed the gates and 
firmly secured them. One difficulty, however, 
they had to encounter, — a want of water. Acting 
on the belief, that although there might be an 
ambush at the spring, yet that the Indians, in de- 
siring to effect the capture of the station by 
stratagem, would not unmask themselves to the 
women of the fort, the latter were urged to go 
in a body to the spring, and each of them bring 
up a bucket full of water. Naturally enough, 
the females at first objected ; but after listening 
to the arguments of the men, a few of the boldest 
declared their readiness to brave the danger, and 
the younger and more timid rallying in the rear 
of the elderly matrons, they all marched down in 
a body to the spring within point-blank shot of 
more than five hundred Indian warriors. Not a 


shot was fired. They filled their buckets with- 
out interruption, and regained the fort in safety. 

As soon as messengers had been sent oflf to 
procure assistance from the nearest stations, and 
the arrangements for the reception of the enemy 
were completed, thirteen young men were ordered 
to make a sally upon the decoy party, while the 
rest of the garrison posted themselves at the op- 
posite side of the fort, ready to pour a plunging 
fire upon the ambuscade as soon as it was un- 

No sooner was the sally made, than Girty 
sprang up at the head of the main body of his 
warriors, and rushed rapidly upon the western 
gate, which he supposed to have been left un- 
defended. Into this mass of dusky bodies the 
garrison poured several rapid volleys of rifle balls 
with destructive effect. Their consternation may 
be imagined. With wild cries they dispersed on 
the right and left, and in two minutes not an 
Indian was to be seen. A regular attack then 
commenced, and continued until two o'clock in 
the afternoon, when a reinforcement of sixteen 
horsemen and double that number of foot ap- 
proached the vicinity of the garrison. 

On one side of the road by which they ap- 
proached was a field containing one hundred acres 
of standing corn ; on the opposite side was a thick 
wood. In this wood, and in the corn, three hun- 
dred Indians crouched, within pistol-shot of the 


road, waiting silently in ambush for the rein- 
forcements which they had been advised were ad- 

The horsemen came in view at a time when the 
firing had ceased, and every thing was quiet. 
Seeing no enemy and hearing no noise, they 
entered the lane at a gallop, and were instantly 
saluted with a shower of rifle balls at a distance 
of ten paces. At the first shot, the whole party 
put spurs to their horses, and rode at full speed 
through a rolling fire, which continued for several 
hundred yards ; but owing to the furious rate at 
which they rode, and the dust raised by the 
horses' feet, they all escaped and entered the fort 

The men on foot were less fortunate ; they 
were passing through the corn-field, but hearing 
the firing, ran up to succour their friends. For- 
tunately, when they reached the place of ambush 
the Indian guns were mostly discharged. The 
savages, however, raised a yell and rushed upon 
them ; but the rifles of the Kentuckians being 
loaded, they were enabled to keep the enemy at 
bay for some time, by pointing at them with their 
pieces, and then dodging and running deeper 
among the corn. 

Some entered the wood and escaped through 
the thickets of cane, some were shot down in the 
wood, others maintained a running fight, halting 
occasionally behind trees, and keeping the savages 


at a distance with their rifles. A stout young 
fellow, being hard pressed by Girty and several 
Indians, discharged his rifle and Girty fell ; the 
ball struck a thick piece of sole leather in the 
pouch of the renegade, which saved his life, but 
upon the fall of their leader the savages halted, 
and the chase was discontinued. In this stirring 
skirmish the whites lost six men in killed and 
wounded. The loss of the Indians was less, in- 
asmuch as the whites never fired their rifles, ex- 
cept as a last resort. 

The Indians now returned to the siege of the 
fort. Finding that their loss had already been 
heavy, and well knowing that the neighbouring 
Nations would soon take the alarm, and hasten 
to the rescue of their friends, the chiefs were 
inclined to raise the siege, but Girty resolved to 
try the effect of negotiation. 

Near one of the bastions there was a large 
stump, to which he crept on his hands and knees, 
and from which he hailed the garrison. 

Commending them for their bravery, he as- 
sured them, that having six hundred warriors with 
him, further resistance would be madness ; that 
he was in hourly expectation of reinforcements 
and artillery, which would instantly blow their 
cabins into the air ; but that if they surrendered 
at once, he gave them his honour, that not a hair 
of their heads should be injured. He told them 
his name, inquired whether they knew him, and 


assured them that they might safely trust to his 

Many of the garrison, really fearing the ap- 
proach of artillery, began to cast uneasy glances 
at one another, when an energetic young man by 
the name of Reynolds took upon himself to re- 
ply to Girty. 

He told the renegade he was very well known ; 
that he himself had a worthless dog he called 
"Girty;" that if the Indians had artillery and 
reinforcements they might bring them up ; that 
the garrison also expected reinforcements soon ; 
and that if Girty and his gang of murderers re- 
mained twenty-four hours longer before the fort, 
their scalps would be found drying in the sun 
upon the roofs of the cabins. 

Girty expressed great offence at the tone and 
language of the spirited young Kentuckian, and 
retired with an avowal of his sorrow at the in- 
evitable destruction which awaited the garrison 
on the following morning. He had no sooner, 
however, rejoined the chiefs, than instant pre- 
parations were made for raising the siege. About 
daylight in the morning they retired precipitately, 
leaving several pieces of meat upon their roasting 
sticks, and their fires still burning. 

By noon the same day, one hundred and sixty 
men had assembled at Bryant's station, eager to 
punish the invaders. Colonels Todd, Trigg, and 
Daniel Boone ; Majors Harland, McBride, and 


Levi Todd ; Captains Bulger and Gordon, with 
forty-five commissioned ojQ&cers, including the 
celebrated McGary, assembled in council, and 
hastily determined to pursue the enemy, without 
waiting for Colonel Logan, who was known to 
be collecting a strong force in Lincoln, and who 
might be expected to join them in twenty-four 

It is said that McGary objected to this pre- 
cipitancy of action, but that the eagerness of 
the others was not to be overruled. Accordingly, 
on the afternoon of the 18th of August, the line 
of march was taken up, and the pursuit urged 
with that unreflecting rashness which has so often 
been fatal to Kentuckians. Most of the officers 
and many of the privates were mounted. 

At the Lower Blue Licks, for the first time 
since the pursuit commenced, they came within 
view of the enemy, who, as the pursuers reached 
the southern bank of Licking, were ascending 
the rocky ridge on the other side. 

The Indians halted for a moment, gazed at the 
Kentuckians, and then proceeded slowly onward. 
The latter halted also, while the officers entered 
into consultation. Finding some difficulty in 
knowing how to act, they appealed to Boone for 

He immediately acknowledged the critical na- 
ture of their situation, cut off as they were from 
all support, and from his knowledge of the coun- 


try expressed his apprehension of an ambush at 
about the distance of a mile in advance. He 
suggested that it was best to do one of two things. 
Either to wait for Logan, or to divide their force, 
and while one-half marched up the river, crossed it 
at the rapids, and fell upon the rear of the enemy, 
the other division should make an attack in front. 

Upon this advice opinions were divided. At 
length, the fiery and impetuous McGary suddenly 
interrupted the consultation by a war-whoop, and 
spurring his horse into the stream, waved his hat 
over his head, and shouted aloud, " Let all who 
are not cowards follow me." The effect was 
electrical. The men dashed instantly into the 
river, each striving to be foremost. 

The vanguard had no sooner reached the ra- 
vine where Boone had expressed his apprehen- 
sions of an ambush, than a body of Indians sprang 
up and attacked them. McGary's party instantly 
returned the fire ; but the latter were on an open 
ridge, while the Indians were protected by their 
bushy covert. The centre and rear, hurrying up 
to support their comrades, were stopped by the 
terrible fire from the ravine. Still, however, they 
maintained their ground ; gradually closed upon 
the Indians, and drove them from the ravine, 
when the fire became mutually destructive. Upon 
the oflficers especially it had told terribly. Todd 
and Trigg, in the rear ; Harland, McBride, and 
young Boone, in front, were already killed. 


At length, the Indians succeeded in outflank- 
ing the Kentuckians, and as this would cut off 
the retreat of the latter bj the river, the rear 
•was seized with a panic, which communicating 
itself to the front, the force of the whites fell 
back hurriedly. The Indians immediately sprang 
forward in pursuit, and, falling upon them with 
their tomahawks, made a cruel slaughter. The 
horsemen generally escaped, but the foot, espe- 
cially those who had been in the van at the 
commencement of the attack, were nearly all 
destroyed. Boone plunged into the ravine which 
the Indians had just quitted, and after sustaining 
several volleys unhurt, outstripped his pursuers, 
crossed the river below the ford by swimming, 
and returned by a circuitous route to Bryant's 

In the river the scene was equally terrible. 
The ford was crowded with horsemen, footmen, 
and Indians, all mingled together, and fighting 
with the fury of desperation. The presence of 
mind shown by a man named Netherland saved 
a portion of the fugitives. Being well mounted, 
he with some twenty others had reached the 
opposite bank of the river, when, seeing his com- 
panions about to continue their flight, he called 
upon them to halt, fire upon the Indians, and 
save those who were still in the stream. The 
party instantly obeyed ; a fatal discharge from 
their rifles checked the impetuosity of the sa- 

Clark's expedition. 85 

vages, and gave time to tlie footmen to cross in 
safety. The check, however, was but momentary; 
the Indians crossed in great numbers above and 
below, and the pursuit was urged keenly for 
twenty miles, though with but little loss. In this 
terrible conflict, the Kentuckians sustained a loss 
of sixty killed, and seven taken prisoners. The 
number of wounded was never ascertained. Some 
of the fugitives reached Bryant's station on the 
night after the battle, and were there met by 
Colonel Logan at the head of four hundred and 
fifty men. 

Logan remained at Bryant's until the last of 
the survivors had arrived, and then continued his 
march to the battle-ground. The bodies of the 
dead were interred, and having satisfied himself 
that the Indians had crossed the Ohio and were 
beyond his reach, he returned to Bryant's sta- 
tion and disbanded his troops. 

Colonel Clark no sooner heard of this terrible 
defeat, than he determined to retaliate for the 
havoc made by the Indians, by an immediate ex- 
pedition into the heart of their own country. 
Calling for volunteers to join his regiment of 
state troops, then permanently stationed at Louis- 
ville, he was promptly answered by numbers 
flocking to his standard. One thousand riflemen 
rendezvoused at the mouth of Licking, and, under 
the command of Clark, penetrated to the Miami 
towns in Ohio. No resistance was offered. The 


Indians every where fled in terror before them. 
Their towns were burned, their crops destroyed, 
and the whole country laid waste with the most 
unsparing severity. 

The Indians did not recover from the effects 
of this chastisement for a long time, and never 
afterward entered Kentucky in force. 


Increase of immigration — Prospect of peace with England 
— Difficulties continue — Indian hostilities cease — Kenton 
reclaims his settlement in Washington — Brodhead opens a 
store in Louisville — General James Wilkinson immigrates 
to Kentucky — JVew counties laid off — Proposition to separate 
from Virginia — Expedition of Clark against the Indians on 
the Wabash — Causes of its failure — Conventions in Ken- 
tucky — Difficulties with the general government — The navi- 
gation of the Mississippi — Spanish intrigues — Brown has 
several conferences with Gardoqui — Letter of Innis to the 
Governor of Virginia — General Wilkinson goes to New 
Orleans — Returns — Tempts the Kentuckians by the offer of 
an independent treaty with Spain — Animosity of parties 
— Letter of Marshall — Conventions — Kentucky received into 
the Union. 

The cessation of war between Great Britain 
and the United States of America led to an ex- 
traordinary increase in the number of immigrants 
to Kentucky. The fertile territory, soaked with 
the blood of the brave frontiersmen, was now to 
enjoy a state of comparative peace. Hostile in- 


cursions by the Indians were no longer dreaded, 
for the latter well knew, from bitter experience, 
that a fearful retaliation would immediately fol- 
low. The prospects of ]peace with England para- 
lyzed the arm of the savages, who, having no 
longer their losses repaired by the Canadian au- 
thorities, hesitated to continue a war which was 
not sanctioned by their ancient allies. 

Many causes, however, contributed to prevent 
the proper execution of the treaty, which, by ex- 
asperating the bitterness already existing between 
the two nations, finally stimulated the Indians to 
a renewal of the war. 

By mutual stipulations agreed upon between 
the contracting parties, England was bound to 
carry away no slaves, and to surrender the north- 
western posts ; while the United States had stipu- 
lated to admit the legal collection of all debts 
due by her citizens to British merchants. 

All of these conditions were violated. Vir- 
ginia prohibited the collection of British debts 
until the slaves which had been taken from her 
state were restored ; and England refused to sur- 
render the northwestern posts until the debts of 
British subjects were legally recognised. Con- 
gress could do nothing ; and the posts were held 
by Great Britain for ten years after peace had 
been ratified. In the mean time, however, the 
Indians, if not absolutely pacific, were at least 
not hostile. 


Kentucky rapidly increased in population. 
Kenton, after an interval of nine years, reclaimed 
his settlement in Washington, and, in 1784, 
erected a block-house where Maysville now stands. 

In the spring of 1783, Kentucky was formed 
into a district, and a court of criminal and civil 
jurisdiction, coextensive with the district, was 

During this year, Daniel Brodhead established 
the first store in Louisville, the merchandise for 
which was brought in wagons from Philadelphia 
to Pittsburg, and thence to Louisville in fiat- 

In 1784, General James Wilkinson immigrated 
to Kentucky, and settled in Lexington. He had 
already distinguished himself in the war of Inde- 
pendence ; he was the aid-de-camp of Gates at 
Saratoga, and for his distinguished services in 
that glorious campaign, received from Congress the 
appointment of brigadier-general. The avowed 
object which had tempted him into the wilderness 
was to improve his embarrassed fortunes ; and it 
soon became understood, that in connection with 
an eastern company, he was ready to enter into 
any speculations that might tend to advance this 
object. He soon became popular, and entering 
warmly into the fierce political controversies 
which subsequently harassed the state, was as 
bitterly assailed by his antagonists as he was 
warmly defended by his friends. 


The distance from the seat of the parent go- 
vernment operating injuriously to Kentucky, led 
the people about this time to agitate for a sepa- 
ration from Virginia. Accordingly, toward the 
close of this year, the first convention of dele- 
gates appointed for that purpose met at Danville, 
to debate the question in all its bearings. 

On the 23d of May, 1785, a second convention 
met, and decided that a constitutional separation 
from Virginia was expedient. After agreeing 
upon a petition to the legislature, and an address 
to the people of Kentucky, the convention was 

A third convention was held in August of the 
same year, and the former petition and address 
modified in its style and language. Chief-justice 
Muter and Attorney-general Innis were deputed 
to present the petition to the legislature of Vir- 
ginia. This was accordingly done, and in Janu- 
ary, 1786, the legislature passed an act with 
great unanimity in conformity with the wishes of 
Kentucky, but appended thereto certain terms 
and conditions, which, though perfectly fair and 
just, necessarily produced some delay. 

As yet there was neither newspaper nor print- 
ing press in Kentucky, and the address to the 
people was circulated in manuscript. Fresh im- 
migrants continued to pour in. The new county 
of Nelson had already been taken from Jeff"erson, 
and before the end of the year three other new 


counties were erected : Bourbon taken from Fay- 
ette, and Mercer and Madison from Lincoln. 

The stipulations made by Virginia, in passing 
the act of separation, were, that five delegates 
should be elected from each of the seven counties 
of Kentucky, to take into consideration the for- 
mation of an independent government. That the 
determination to separate by the convention 
should govern the consent of Virginia, provided 
Congress, before the 1st of June, 1787, would 
admit the new state into the Union, and that 
Kentucky would agree to assume her proportion 
of the Virginia debt. Other requisitions of less 
moment were made; but the convention being 
prevented from sitting with a sufficient number 
of members, owing to the expedition undertaken 
at the time by General Clark against the Indians 
on the "Wabash, the legislature of Virginia post- 
poned the period of separation, by a revision of 
the previous act, until the 1st of January, 1789. 

The expedition of Clark consisted of a thou- 
sand volunteers. They rendezvoused at Louis- 
ville, and were well supplied with arms and am- 
munition by private contribution. These were 
placed on board of nine keelboats, which were 
ordered to proceed to Vincennes, while the volun- 
teers should march to the same point by land. 

The flotilla, laden with provisions and muni- 
tions of war, encountered obstacles in the naviga- 
tion of the Wabash which had not been foreseen, 


and was delayed beyond the time -wliicli had been 
calculated. The army of volunteers, after wait- 
ing for fifteen days the arrival of the boats, 
became weary, disgusted, and insubordinate. 
Clark, too, no longer possessed the entire confi- 
dence of his troops. He had become intempe- 
rate. A detachment of three hundred volunteers 
broke .off from the main body, and took up the 
line of march for their homes. Clark remon- 
strated, and entreated, even with tears, but in 
vain. A total disorganization of the force soon 
followed, and the expedition returned with its 
mortified commander to Kentucky, without hav- 
ing effected any of the purposes for which it was 

After a delay of three months, the convention 
met at Danville, to consider the revised act of 
separation. "When the new conditions with which 
it was clogged became known to the people of 
Kentucky, and they found that two years must 
elapse before they could claim the privileges of 
an independent state, a general expression of 
anger and impatience was elicited. They were 
already wearied with the number of conventions 
which had met, and adjourned without accom- 
plishing any thing ; and now they found them- 
selves farther off than ever from the attainment 
of their wishes. 

Another cause of fierce agitation at this time 
was the subject of the navigation of the Missis- 


sippi. In consequence of information received 
from gentlemen of Pittsburg — styling themselves 
a committee of correspondence — by which the 
people of Kentucky were advised that John Jay, 
the American secretary of state, had made a pro- 
position to Don Gardoqui, the Spanish minister, 
to cede the navigation of the Mississippi to Spain 
for twenty years, in consideration of certain 
commercial advantages to be enjoyed by the 
eastern states, a fifth convention was called, 
which met at Danville, on the 17th of September, 

This convention resolved unanimously in favour 
of separation from Virginia ; adopted an address 
to Congress asking admission into the Union ; 
and in conformity to the provisions of the act 
under which they met, directed the election of a 
new convention to frame a constitution. 

That the application to Congress might be 
urged with greater effect, the Virginia legisla- 
ture, at the request of this convention, elected as 
one of the Virginia delegates to Congress, John 
Brown, one of the most eminent lawyers of Ken- 
tucky, and a gentleman of great influence and 

The unavoidable delays which retarded the re- 
cognition of Kentucky as an independent state 
by Congress, exasperated the people greatly. 
In the mean time, Spain was intriguing for the 
purpose of inducing Kentucky not to enter the 


confederacy at all ; but to assume the rights of 
an independent people. Brown held long con- 
ferences with Gardoqui, the Spanish minister, 
and in his letters to a friend, spoke of the pecu- 
liar advantages connected with the navigation of 
the Mississippi, which Spain would grant to Ken- 
tucky, if the latter would erect herself into an 
independent government ; advantages, he added, 
which could never be conceded by Spain so long 
as Kentucky remained a member of the Union. 

Innis, the attorney-general of Kentucky, also 
wrote to the executive of Virginia, in July, 1787, 
giving it as his opinion, that Kentucky would 
form an independent government in two or three 
years, as Congress did not seem disposed to pro- 
tect her, and she could not, under the present 
system, exert her strength. 

But it was by the exertions of General Wilkin- 
son, that the Spanish party became formidable 
in the state. Knowing that the navigation of the 
Mississippi was of primary importance to the 
people, Wilkinson made a voyage to New Orleans, - 
and when he returned home, brought with him 
the intelligence that he had obtained for himself 
the privilege of shipping tobacco to New Orleans 
and depositing it in the king's stores at the price 
of ten dollars per hundred weight. He imme- 
diately offered to purchase tobacco to any amount, 
and dilated eloquently upon the advantages that 
would result to Kentucky even from a partial 


opening of the trade. He intimated that a com- 
mercial treaty might be formed with Spain, which 
would throw open their ports to the whole western 
country, if the West were erected into an independ- 
ent government capable of treating with a foreign 

The condition of the general government was 
at this time embarrassing in the extreme. The 
old confederation was about to be broken, and the 
new federal constitution which had been so vigor- 
ously contested, and so hesitatingly adopted, had 
not yet been confirmed by the states to whom 
it had been referred for ratification. Virginia 
was bitterly opposed to it, and some of the most 
popular leaders of Kentucky, with an immense 
majority of her people, were equally anti-fede- 

As if to add fuel to the flame, Congress had 
declined to act upon the petition of Kentucky, 
and had referred the whole subject to the new 
government. Thus disappointed, the people of 
Kentucky grew daily more warmly in favour of 
declaring a separate independence, and of secur- 
ing those advantages from Spain, in relation to 
the navigation of the Mississippi, with which 
"Wilkinson had so glowingly tempted them. 

A proposition to form a constitution without 
further delay was warmly advocated, and it was 
proposed in convention that the question should 
be submitted to each militia company in the dis- 


trlct, and that the captain of each company should 
report the result of the vote. 

This proposition was successfully opposed. 
But the parties in favour respectively of confede- 
ration and of separate state independence were 
so equally balanced in convention, that reso- 
lutions of the most opposite tendency were offered 
and carried. 

A seventh convention was then called, which 
met at Danville, in November. Previous to this, 
however, the Kentucky Gazette was established 
at Lexington by John Bradford, and through 
the columns of this newspaper the people were 
enabled to glean a more accurate knowledge of 
the real condition of things. 

As the time for the election of delegates to the 
seventh convention approached, a concise and 
clear statement appeared in the Gazette, of the 
particular clauses in the laws of Virginia, and 
in the articles of the confederation, which would 
be violated by the formation of an independent 
government in the manner proposed by Wilkin- 
son and his party. This well- written article, which 
though it appeared under the signature of George 
Muter, was attributed to the pen of Colonel 
Thomas Marshall, had an excellent effect in 
modifying the opinions of many who had hitherto 
been opposed to the Union. 

Of the five representatives in convention to 
which Fayette was entitled, four were elected 


from the party headed by Marshall, -while Wil- 
.kinson was the only candidate on the opposite 
side who was successful. 

A series of long, turbulent, and vexatious debates 
ensued, in which Wilkinson, Brown, and Innis, 
the leaders of the independent party, were con- 
spicuous for the boldness of their sentiments, 
and the daring character of their innuendos. 

In the mean time, Virginia sought to allay the 
feud by passing a third act, requiring the election 
of delegates to another convention, to assemble 
at Danville, in July, 1789, and go over the whole 
ground anew. 

In the winter of this year, an English agent 
from Canada visited Kentucky, and called on 
Colonel Marshall, and subsequently on General 
Wilkinson. His object appears to have been to 
sound the temper of Kentucky, and to ascertain 
how far she would be willing to unite with 
Canada in any contingency that might arise. 
Suspicion having arisen among the people of his 
being a British spy, he soon found it necessary 
to seek safety, by retiring from the country with 
equal speed and secrecy. 

The new general government having by this 
time gone into operation, the executive of Vir- 
ginia was authorized to inform the convention, 
that a force of regulars would soon be organized 
to protect Kentucky from any future Indian in- 
cursions. This information, acting upon the 


modified temper of the people, doubtless had its 
■weight upon their representatives. The eighth 
convention met in July, 1790. They accepted 
the Virginia act of separation ; drew up a me- 
morial to Congress praying for admission into 
the Union, and made provision for the election 
of a ninth convention, to assemble in April, 1791, 
and form a state constitution. At the meeting 
of Congress in December, 1790, Washington 
strongly urged the recognition of Kentucky as 
one of the states of the Union ; and on the 4th 
of February, 1791, an act to that effect passed 
both houses, and received the signature of the 



Indian inroads — Silas Hart pursues the Indians — ^Is kUled — 
Heroism of young Hart — Captivity of the family — Judge 
Rowan sails down the Ohio — Is pursued by Indians — His 
perilous position — 'Wonderful presence of mind of Mrs. Rowan 
— Adventure of Caffree, McClure, and Davis— Meet with an 
equal number of Indians — Terrible combat — Caffiree and 
Davis killed — Subsequent adventures of McClure — His es- 
cape — Colonel Marshall descends the Ohio — Is hailed by 
James Girty — Indian decoys — Captain Ward assaulted by 
Indians — Death of his nephew — Panic of the others — The 
search for a stray horse by Downing and Yates — They are 
followed by Indians — Downing conceals himself — Pursuit 
— Perilous situation of Downing — His remarkable escape. 

It has been already stated, that after the ex- 
pedition of Colonel Clark against the Miami 
towns, the Indians generally preserved pacific 
relations with the whites. Occasional inroads, 
however, took place during the period of political 
ferment into which Kentucky was plunged, by 
her almost interminable succession of conven- 
tions. The incidents connected with these in- 
roads afford instances of presence of mind and 
heroism equal to any that occurred in the earlier 
history of the settlement. 

Late in the summer of 1782, one of these pre- 
datory bands of Indians, having committed ex- 
cesses in Hardin county, Silas Hart, surnamed 
by the savages for his keen sagacity, " Sharp 


eye," assembled a party of settlers and pursued 
the marauders. In the pursuit Hart shot their 
chief, while several others of the party were also 
killed, only two making good their escape. When 
the death of the chief was made known to his 
brother, h^ declared vengeance on Hart, and 
collecting a small band of warriors, he secretly 
made his way to the vicinity of Elizabethtown, 
and commenced plundering and destroying. 

No sooner was the neighbourhood fairly aroused 
than the Indians decamped. Among the fore- 
most in pursuit was Hart. Finding it impossible 
to overtake the savages, the people returned to 
their homes. In the mean while, the Indians, who 
had secretly kept a watch upon the movements of 
their pursuers, turned when they turned, and fol- 
lowed them back into the settlement. 

Hart reached home, some five miles from Eliza- 
bethtown, about dark in the evening, and having 
no apprehension of any Indians being near, went 
to bed and slept soundly. The next morning, while 
the family were seated at breakfast, the Indians, 
who had secreted themselves around the house 
during the night, suddenly appeared at the door, 
and the brother of the fallen chief shot Hart dead. 
The son of Hart, a boy of twelve years of age, 
no sooner saw his father fall, than, grasping a 
rifle, he sent a bullet through the savage before 
he could enter the door. 

The Indians then rushed into the house in a 


body, but though the foremost warrior was im- 
mediately killed by a blow from a hunting-knife 
in the hands of the resolute boy, the family 
were speedily overpowered and carried oflf into 
captivity. The daughter of Hart, being unable 
from debility to endure the fatigue of a forced 
march, was despatched by the Indians at a short 
distance from the settlement. The mother and 
son were devoted to a more painful and lingering 

When the captives reached the Wabash towns 
preparations were made for their execution ; for- 
tunately, the extraordinary heroism of the boy 
touched the heart of an influential woman of the 
tribe, and at her intercession his life was spared. 
Mrs. Hart was also saved from the stake, by the 
interposition of a chief. The mother and son 
were finally ransomed, and returned to their deso- 
late homes. 

No further adventure with the Indians occur- 
red until the latter part of April, 1784, when the 
father of the late Judge Rowan, with his own 
and five other families, set out from Louisville 
in two flat-bottomed boats for the long falls of 
Greene River. The families were in one boat, 
and their cattle in the other. 

After descending the Ohio about a hundred 
miles, as the boats, which were kept near the 
centre of the river, were floating quietly along, 
the yelling of a large body of Indians was heard 

rowan's adventure. 101 

some two or three miles below, whose fires were 
discovered soon after upon the northern shore. It 
was then about ten o'clock at night, and the con- 
jecture of Rowan and his companions was, that 
the savages had captured a boat which had passed 
the flat boats about mid-day, and were massacring 
their captives. 

In order to protect themselves as far as it was 
possible so to do, the two boats were lashed 
together, and the men, seven in number, posted 
by Mr. Rowan in the most favourable positions 
for resisting an attack. The boats were then 
rowed closer to the Kentucky shore, and kept 
silently upon their course. The fires of the In- 
dians extended at intervals for half a mile. When 
the boats had reached a point nearly opposite the 
central fire, they were discovered by the Indians, 
hailed, and ordered to bring to. In profound 
stillness the boats kept on their way ; and the In- 
dians, meeting with no response, gave a terrific 
yell, sprang into their canoes, and darted in pur- 
suit. Silently the boats continued to descend the 
river, borne onward only by the force of the cur- 
rent. The Indians approached within one hun- 
dred yards, and every thing on their part indi- 
cated a determination to board. 

At this moment, Mrs. Rowan quietly rose from 
her seat, collected the axes, and placed one by 
the side of each man, tapping him slightly with 
the handle of the axe to make him aware of the 


proximity of the weapon. She then retired to 
her seat, retaining a hatchet for her own use. 

For three miles the savages continued to hover 
at a short distance from the rear of the boats, 
yelling loudly; when, as if awed by the perfect 
silence maintained by those on board, they re- 
linquished farther pursuit. Mrs. Rowan, in speak- 
ing of the incident afterwards, said, in her calm 
way, " We made a providential escape, for which 
we ought to feel grateful." 

Somewhere about the same time, a party of 
southern Indians, having stolen some horses in 
Lincoln county, were pursued by three young 
men whose respective names were Davis, Caffree, 
and McClure. Ardent and energetic, the latter 
determined, if they could not overtake the In- 
dians, to proceed to their towns on the Tennes- 
see River and make reprisals. Acting upon/this 
resolution, they had reached within a few miles 
of the Indian town of Chickamongo, when they 
fell in with three Indians travelling in the same 
direction with themselves. They agreed by signs 
to travel together, though each Was evidently sus- 
picious of the other. The Indians walked on one 
side of the road and the whites on the other, 
watching attentively every movement. At length, 
the Indians beginning to converse among them- 
selves very earnestly, the whites, convinced of 
their treacherous intentions, resolved to antici- 
cipate them. The plan of attack being agreed 


to, Caffree, who was a powerful man, sprang on 
the nearest Indian, hurled him to the ground, 
and proceeded to tie him. At the same instant 
Davis and McClure levelled their rifles at the 
others : McClure fired and killed his man, but the 
gun of Davis missed fire. Davis, McClure, and 
the remaining Indian immediately took trees; 
while Caff"ree was left upon the ground with the 
prostrate Indian, and exposed to the fire of the 
other. The savage who had sheltered himself 
fired at Cafi'ree and wounded him mortallj. Find- 
ing himself growing weak, Caffree called upon 
Davis to assist him in tying the Indian, and in- 
stantly afterward expired. In the mean time, 
McClure had shot the other Indian, while the 
Indian who had been released by the death of 
Caffree sprang to his feet ; and seizing Caffree's 
rifle, presented it at Davis. The rifle of the lat- 
ter being out of order, he darted into the forest, 
closely pursued by the Indian. McClure, re- 
loading his rifle, and taking with him the one 
which Davis had dropped, followed them for some 
distance, making signals for his friend, but in 
vain ; the latter was never heard of afterward. 

McClure, now being alone in the enemy's coun- 
try, resolved to return to Kentucky. He had 
scarcely retraced his steps more than a mile, be- 
fore he saw advancing from the opposite direc- 
tion an Indian warrior, riding a horse with a bell 
round its neck, and accompanied by a boy on foot. 


Dropping one of tlie rifles lest it might create 
suspicion, McClure advanced with an air of con- 
fidence, and extending his hand, made signs of 
peace. The Indian replied in a like manner, and 
dismounting, seated himself upon a log, drew out 
his pipe, took a few puffs himself, and then handed 
it to McClure. 

In a few minutes another bell was heard at 
the distance of half a mile, and a second party 
of Indians appeared on horseback. The Indian 
now coolly informed his white companion by signs, 
that when the horsemen arrived McClure must 
consider himself a prisoner, and consent to have 
his feet bound by thongs under the belly of the 
horse. In order to explain it more fully, the 
Indian got astride of the log and locked his legs 
beneath it. While he was making these gestures 
McClure suddenly lifted his rifle, blew out the 
brains of the Indian, and then darted into the 

The Indian boy instantly mounted the horse, 
and rode off in an opposite direction. A fierce 
pursuit of McClure was now urged by the In- 
dians, aided by several small Indian dogs, who 
frequently ran between the legs of the fugitive 
and threw him down. After falling five or six 
times his eyes became so full of dust that he was 
perfectly blinded. Despairing of success, he 
doggedly lay upon his face, expecting every in- 
stant to feel the edge of a tomahawk. To his 

girty's warning. 105 

astonishment no enemy appeared. Even the In- 
dian dogs, after worrying him for some time, left 
him to continue his journey unmolested. Find- 
ing every thing quiet, he arose in a few moments, 
and taking up his gun, continued his march to 
Kentucky, where he arrived in safety. 

During this year, another equally characteris- 
tic incident occurred on the Ohio River. Colonel 
Thomas Marshall, while descending the river in a 
flat-boat with a numerous family, was hailed near 
the mouth of the Kenawha, by a man who an- 
nounced himself as James Girty, the brother of 
the notorious r§negade Simon Girty. The boat 
dropped slowly down within one hundred yards of 
the northern shore, and Girty making a corre- 
sponding movement on the beach, a conference was 
kept up for several minutes. Girty said he had 
been posted there by order of his brother Simon, 
to warn all boats of the danger of permitting them- 
selves to be decoyed ashore. The Indians had 
become jealous of Girty, and he had lost that 
influence which he formerly held among them. 
He deeply regretted the injury which he had in- 
flicted upon his countrymen, and wished to be 
restored to their society. In order to convince 
them of the sincerity of his regard, he had di- 
rected his brother to warn all boats of the snares 
spread for them. James Girty said, that every 
effort would be made to draw passengers ashore. 
White men would appear upon the bank, and 


children would be heard to supplicate for mercy. 
"But," continued he, "do you keep the middle 
of the river and steel your heart against every 
mournful application you may receive." The 
colonel thanked him, and continuing on his 
course reached Maysville without meeting with 
any further interruption by the way. 

As if to corroborate the statement of Girty, 
Captain James Ward descended the Ohio some- 
where about the same time. He and six others 
— one of whom was his nephew — had embarked 
in an indifferent boat, about forty-five feet long, 
and eight feet wide, with no oth^ bulwark than 
a single pine plank above each gunnel. The boat 
was much encumbered by baggage, and six horses 
were on board. No enemy having been visible 
for several days, the voyagers had become secure 
and careless, and suffered the boat to drift within 
fifty yards of the Ohio shore. Suddenly, several 
hundred Indians showed themselves on the bank, 
and, running boldly to the water's edge, opened a 
heavy fire. 

Captain Ward and his nephew were at the 
oars when the enemy appeared. The former, 
well knowing that in gaining the middle of the 
river lay their only chance of safety, immediately 
strained every nerve to succeed in doing so ; but 
his nephew started up, and seizing his rifle, was 
in the act of firing, when he received a ball in 
the breast and fell dead. Unfortunately the oar 

downing's adventure. 107 

dropped overboard, and the exertions of Captain 
Ward only urged the boat nearer shore. 

Replacing the lost oar by a plank, he succeeded 
in getting out farther into the river. When he 
found himself at leisure to examine the condition 
of his crew, he found his nephew lying in his 
blood perfectly lifeless, and a German wounded 
in several places. All the horses were either 
killed or wounded mortally. None of the other 
men were hurt, although the whole party were 
so panic-stricken that they did not fire a single 

In August, 1786, a lad by the name of Down- 
ing, who lived at a fort near Slate Creek, in what 
is now Bath county, was requested by a com- 
panion to assist him in hunting for a horse which 
had strayed away on the preceding evening. 
Downing readily complied, and the two friends 
searched in every direction, until at length they 
found themselves in a wild valley, at a distance 
of six or seven miles from the fort. Here Down- 
ing became alarmed, and repeatedly told his 
companion, Yates, that he heard sticks cracking 
behind them, and was certain that Indians were 
dogging them. Yates, an old woodsman, laughed 
at the fears of the boy, and contemptuously asked 
him at what price he rated his scalp, offering to 
insure it for sixpence. Downing, however, was not 
so easily satisfied. He observed that in whatever 
direction they turned, the same ominous sounds 


continued to haunt them, and as Yates continued 
to treat the matter recklessly, he resolved to take 
measures for his own safety. Gradually slacken- 
ing his pace, he permitted Yates to advance 
twenty or thirty paces ahead, and immediately 
afterward, as they descended the slope of a 
gentle hill, Downing slipped aside and hid him- 
self in a thick cluster of whortle-bushes. Yates 
proceeded on, singing carelessly some rude song,^ 
and was soon out of sight. 

Scarcely had he disappeared, when Downing 
beheld two savages put aside the stalks of a cane- 
brake, and look out cautiously in the direction 
which Yates had taken. Fearful that they had 
seen him step aside, he determined to fire upon 
them and trust to his heels for safety ; but so 
unsteady was his hand, that in raising his gun 
to his shoulder, it went off before he had taken 
aim. He immediately ran, and after proceeding 
about fifty yards, was met by Yates, who had 
hastily retraced his steps. The enemy were then 
in full view, and Yates, who might have out- 
stripped Downing, graduated his steps to those 
of his youthful companion. 

The Indians, by taking a shorter path, gained 
rapidly upon the fugitives, across whose way lay 
a deep gully. Yates easily cleared it, but Down- 
ing dropped short and fell at full length upon 
the bottom. The Indians, eager for the capture 
of Yates, continued the pursuit without appear- 


ing to notice Downing, who, quickly recovering 
his strength, began to walk slowly up the ditch, 
fearing to leave it lest the enemy should see him. 
He had scarcely emerged into open ground be- 
fore he saw one of the Indians returning, appa- 
rently in quest of him. His gun being unloaded. 
Downing threw it away, and again took to flight ; 
but the Indian gained on him so rapidly that he 
lost all hope of escape. Coming at length to a 
large poplar, which had been blown up by the 
roots, he ran along the body of the tree on one 
side, while the Indian followed on the other, ex- 
pecting to intercept Downing at the root. But 
here fortune favoured the latter in a most singu- 
lar manner. A she-bear which was suckling her 
cubs in a bed at the root of the tree suddenly 
sprang upon the Indian, and while the latter was 
yelling and stabbing his hirsute antagonist with 
his knife. Downing succeeded in making his 
escape, and reaching the fort, where he found 
Yates reposing after a hot chase, in which he 
also had distanced his pursuers. 



Indians attack the house of widow Shanks — Their stratagem 
— The house fired — Fearful massacre — Heroic conduct of 
young Shanks — Pursuit of the Indians — Their singular es- 
cape — New mode of warfare on the Ohio — Political condi- 
tion of Kentucky — Adventure of John Lancaster — Taken 
captive with his companions — His escape and subsequent 
privations — Floats down the Ohio on a raft — Is rescued at 
the falls — Ballard's house attacked — Stubborn defence by 
old Mr. Ballard — Daring conduct of Bland Ballard, the cele- 
brated spy — Loss of the Indians. 

On the night of the 10th of April, 1787, the 
house of a widow named Shanks, on Cooper's 
Run, in Bourbon countj, was attacked by In- 
dians. This house, which was a double cabin, con- 
sisting of two rooms, with an open way between, 
contained at the time the assault was made, be- 
sides the widow herself, a widowed daughter, three 
other daughters, a young girl, and two sons of 
adult age. Although the hour was near mid- 
night, one of the young men still remained up, 
and in the opposite room a sister was busily en- 
gaged at the loom. 

An hour before, while they were yet uncon- 
scious of the actual presence of Indians, the sus- 
picions of the son had been aroused by the cry 
of owls hooting to each other in the adjoining 
wood in a rather unusual manner ; and by the 


terroi and excitement of the horses, who were en- 
closed, as customary, in a pound near the house. 

Several times the young man was on the point 
of awaking his brother, but as often refrained 
through fear of being ridiculed for his timidity. 
At length hasty steps were heard without, and 
then came several sharp knocks at the door, ac- 
companied by the usual question of the wayfarer, 
"Who keeps house?" spoken in good English. 

The young man hastily advanced to withdraw 
the bar which secured the door, supposing the 
new comer to be some benighted settler ; when 
his mother, whose greater experience had proba- 
bly detected the Indian accent, instantly sprang 
out of bed, and warned her son that the men 
outside were savages. 

The other son being by this time aroused, the 
two young men, seizing their rifles, which were 
always charged, prepared to repel the enemy. 
Conscious that their true character was discover- 
ed, the Indians now strove to break in the door ; 
but a single shot from a loophole compelled 
them to shift their point of attack ; and unfortu- 
nately they then discovered the door of the other 
cabin which contained the three daughters. 

By some oversight in the construction of the 
cabin, none of the loops enabled the brothers to 
cover the door of the room in which their sisters 
were, and the Indians were able to force it open 
by means of rails taken from the yard fence. 


The girls being thus placed at the mercy of the 
savages, one was instantly secured ; but the eldest 
defended herself desperately with a knife, and 
succeeded in mortally wounding a savage before 
she was tomahawked. The youngest girl darted 
out into the yard, and might have escaped in the 
darkness ; but the poor creature ran round the 
house, and, wringing her hands in terror, kept 
crying out that her sisters were killed. 

The brothers, agonized almost to madness by 
her cries, were preparing to sally out to her as- 
sistance, when their mother stayed them, and 
calmly declared that the child must be abandoned 
to her fate. The next instant, the child uttered 
a loud scream, followed by a few faint moans, 
and then all was silent. 

Almost immediately afterwards, that portion 
of the house which had been occupied by the 
daughters was set on fire, and the flames soon 
communicating to the opposite room, the brothers 
were compelled to fling open the door and at- 
tempt to seek safety by flight. 

The old lady, supported by her eldest son, 
sought to cross the fence at one point, while the 
widowed daughter, with her child in her arms, 
and attended by the younger of the brothers, 
ran in a diff'erent direction. The blazing roof 
shed a light over the yard but little inferior to 
that of day, and the savages were distinctly seen 
awaiting the approach of their victims. The old 


lady was permitted to reach the stile unmolested, 
but in the act of crossing, received several balls 
in her breast and fell dead. Her son providen- 
tially remained unhurt, and by extraordinary 
agility effected his escape. The other brother, 
being vigorously assailed by the Indians, defended 
his sister desperately for some time, and drew 
the attention of the savages so closely to him- 
self, that she succeeded in eluding their vigilance. 
The brave and devoted young man was less fortu- 
nate ; he fell beneath repeated blows from the 
tomahawks of his enemies, and was found at 
daylight, scalped and mangled in a most shock- 
ing manner. 

Of the whole family, consisting of eight per- 
sons when the attack commenced, only three 
escaped. Four were killed on the spot, and one, 
the second daughter, carried off prisoner. 

The alarm was soon given, and by daylight 
thirty men were assembled under Colonel Ed- 
wards, and pursued the Indian trail at a gallop, 
tracking the footsteps of the savages in the snow. 
The trail led directly into the mountainous coun- 
try bordering upon Licking, and afforded evi- 
dences of great hurry and precipitation on the 
part of the Indians. Unfortunately, a hound had 
been permitted to accompany the whites, and as 
the trail became fresh, and the scent warm, she 
pursued it with eagerness, baying loudly and giv- 
ing alarm to the savages. The consequence of 


this imprudence was soon displayed. The enemy ^ 
finding the pursuit keen, and perceiving the 
strength of their prisoner beginning to fail, in- 
stantly sank their tomahawks in her head, and 
left her, still warm and bleeding, upon the snow. 
As the whites came up, she retained strength 
enough to wave her hand in token of recognition, 
and appeared desirous of giving them some in- 
formation in regard to the enemy ; but her 
strength was too far gone. Her brother sprang 
from his horse, and endeavoured to stop the 
effusion of blood, but in vain. She gave him 
her hand, muttered some inarticulate words, and 
expired within two minutes after the arrival of 
the party. 

The pursuit was renewed with additional 
ardour, and in twenty minutes the enemy was 
within view. They had taken possession of a 
narrow ridge, and seemed desirous of magnifying 
their numbers in the eyes of the whites, by run- 
ning rapidly from tree to tree, and maintaining 
a steady yell in their most appalling tones. 

The pursuers, however, were too experienced 
to be deceived by so common an artifice ; and 
being satisfied that the number of the enemy 
must be inferior to their own, they dismounted, 
tied their horses, and flanking out in such a man- 
ner as to enclose the savages, ascended the ridge 
as rapidly as Avas consistent with a due regard 
to the shelter of their persons. 


The firing quickly commenced, and now tliev 
discovered, for the first time, that only two In- 
dians were opposed to them. They had volun- 
tarily sacrificed themselves for the safety of the 
main body, and had succeeded in delaying pur- 
suit until their friends could reach the mountains. 
One of them was instantly shot dead, and the 
other was badly wounded, as was evident from 
the blood upon his blanket, as well as that which 
filled the snow for a considerable distance. The 
pursuit was recommenced, and urged keenly until 
night, when the trail entered a running stream 
and was lost. 

During the latter part of January, 1788, a 
party of Indians stole somiC horses on Elkhorn, 
near Colonel Johnson's mill. They were pur- 
sued by Captain Herndon and some of his men, 
but escaped. This escape was effected by means 
of a most singular manoeuvre on the part of one 
of the Indians. The latter,after travelling about 
twenty miles, were surprised by their pursuers 
in a brushy copse of wood. The whites no 
sooner made preparations to fire on the savages, 
than they scattered in various directions. One 
Indian alone remained. He continued, notwith- 
standing the presence of his pursuers, to spring 
from tree to tree, to yell and dodge, and spring 
aloft, and make all manner of singular noises, 
like a man perfectly frantic. This strange ex- 
hibition so engrossed for a time the attention of 


the attacking party, that thej looked on in a 
sort of bewildered amazement, and hesitated to 
fire. In the mean time, the other Indians had 
escaped out of rifle shot ; and the stratagem of 
the savage having succeeded in effecting its ob- 
ject, he himself suddenly disappeared, leaving 
the pursuers to wonder at their own delusion and 

In March, the Indians surprised a camp of 
Kentuckians on the Cumberland road, and killed 
two of them. Pursuit was immediately urged, 
but, although the savages were overtaken and 
fired on, they escaped unhurt. 

About this time they adopted a more dangerous, 
because a more secure mode of warfare. They 
manned a flat-boat, and having perfected them- 
selves in its management, laid in ambush on the 
Ohio for the family boats which were constantly 
descending that river. They succeeded in cap- 
turing several, slaughtered the persons on board, 
and possessed themselves of considerable booty. 
The people of Kentucky were greatly exaspe- 
rated by these repeated outrages ; but being dis- 
tracted by the fierce political feuds which grew 
out of the Spanish intrigues of Wilkinson and 
others, they were not able to make the usual re- 

The violent and illegal separation from Vir- 
ginia which was urged upon the people of Ken- 
tucky by Wilkinson and his partisans was fraught 


with the most momentous consequences. Had 
thej succeeded in carrying out their object, it 
would have had the effect of precluding the re- 
cognition of Kentucky by the general government 
as one of the confederated states, and have forced 
her to stand upon that independent footing which 
the emissaries of Spain so ardently desired. Hap- 
pily, more judicious counsels grew gradually into 
favour; the Spanish influence declined, and the 
state, as we have already seen, was formally re- 
cognised by the general government. 

But as yet this fortunate result had not been 
achieved, and the political condition of the terri- 
tory continued to be terribly shaken by intestine 
divisions, which not only interfered with the pros- 
perity of the settlers, but loosened their attach- 
ment both to Virginia and the federal compact. 

During the month of May, John Lancaster, 
accompanied by Colonel Joseph Mitchell, his son, 
and a man named Brown, while descending the 
Ohio in a flat-boat, discovered a party of Indians 
lying in wait for them at the mouth of the Miami. 
As the current bore the boat directly towards the 
savages, escape was hopeless. The Indians dis- 
played a white flag in token of friendship, but at 
the same time levelled their muskets at the man 
who was at the oar, and would have shot him 
down had not the chief interposed. The latter, 
who was known as Shawnese Jim, speaking in 
broken English, assured the white men that his 


people meant them no harm, and that they merely 
wished to trade with them. 

Mean time a skiff, manned by four Indians, 
was seen to put oif from the shore, and was rowed 
rapidly toward the boat, which it struck with so 
much force as to upset the skiff, and precipitate 
three of the Indians into the river. Lancaster 
immediately, with great presence of mind, leaped 
into the river and aided in rescuing the strug- 
gling Indians. But the well-intentioned effort to 
conciliate the good-will of those in whose power 
he was, met with no immediate return. The In- 
dians, on entering the boat, seized on the whites 
and made them prisoners, two of them struggling 
violently for the possession of Lancaster. When 
they reached the shore, the opposing claimants 
fought desperately with each other on the same 
ground of quarrel, when Captain Jim interposed, 
and decided in favour of the first who had seized 
the person of the captive. The boat was soon 
rowed to the shore, and rifled of its contents. 
The Indians then decamped with their booty and 
the four prisoners they had taken. 

During the first night, which was spent in 
revelry and drunkenness, the prisoners were bound 
down on their backs to the earth, with cords, 
which were passed about their bodies and limbs, 
and tied closely to stakes driven in the ground. 
Their situation was pitiable in the extreme. The 
rain poured down in torrents ; while their only 


covering was a blanket thrown over each, the 
savages having stripped them of their clothing 
and money. 

The next morning they were released from 
their confinement, and hurried on toward an In- 
dian village, some sixty-five miles from the mouth 
of the Miami. When they reached what was pro- 
bably one of the Shawnese towns, the Indian 
master of Lancaster suddenly came to him, and, 
embracing him with tears, exclaimed amidst sobs 
and lamentations, that he should be his brother 
in the place of one he had lost during the pre- 
vious year. 

The Indian ceremony of adoption took place im- 
mediately. Lancaster was stripped of his blanket, 
and after having his body anointed with bear- 
oil, was painted of a vermilion colour. He was 
then taught some fragments of an Indian song, 
and made to join in the savage festival which 
ensued. This consisted of songs and dances, one 
Indian beating time with a stick, the head of 
which was curiously wrought and trimmed with 
the hoofs of deer. The ceremony of adoption 
concluded with the cessation of the perform- 

Lancaster continued a captive with the Indians 
for eight days, in which time, from his great 
swiftness of foot, he acquired the name of Kiohba, 
or the Running Buck. He was treated with great 
kindness by the tribe while his foster-brother re- 


mained in the camp, but during his absence began 
to experience rougher treatment. 

Captain Jim, under whose charge he was now 
left, became sullen and vindictive. He quarrelled 
with his wife, who through fear of him fled from 
the camp. While he was returning from the pur- 
suit of her, his daughter, who was well acquainted 
with her father's moods, and who had become 
attached to Kiohba, said suddenly to the latter, 
' " Run." Lancaster took her advice, and instantly 
darted from the camp. 

On casting a glance backward from a neigh- 
bouring eminence, he saw Captain Jim beating 
the elder Mitchell with a tent pole ; and soon 
after his departure he learned that the younger 
Mitchell had been painted black and burned at 
the stake. The father and Brown were subse- 
quently ransomed by their friends, and after suf- 
fering hardships and privations almost incredible, 
returned to Pittsburg. Lancaster was soon out 
of sight of the Indian encampment, and after run- 
ning for six days, crossing repeatedly his own 
trail to set pursuit at default, he safely reached 
the Ohio River. During this time his only sub- 
sistence had been four turkey eggs, which he 
found in the hollow of a tree. Exhausted as he 
was, he immediately tied himself with bark to the 
trunk of a box elder tree, and after four hours' 
unremitting toil, succeeded in reaching the Ken- 
tucky shore. 

Lancaster's escape. 121 

When he had rested a short time, he determined 
to float down the river to the station at the falls, 
which he estimated was between thirty and forty- 
miles distant. Accordingly, he made a small raft 
by tying two trees together with bark, on which 
he placed himself with a pole for an oar. A 
little above Eighteen Mile Island, he heard the 
sharp report of a rifle, and thinking that his pur- 
suers had overtaken him, he crouched down and 
laid himself as close as he could. Hearing no 
other noise, however, he concluded that his alarm 
was without foundation. Shortly after, a dread- 
ful storm broke upon the river, night had already 
closed in, and the weary fugitive sank almost 
lifeless on the raft, drenched with rain, benumbed 
with the cold, and with the terrible apprehension 
on his mind that he might be precipitated over 
the falls during the darkness. 

At break of day, he was aroused from his 
death-like lethargy, by one of the most cheering 
sounds that ever fell on the ears of a forlorn and 
lost wanderer — the crowing of a cock, — which 
announced the immediate vicinity of a white set- 
tlement. The sound revived him ; he collected 
all his energies for one last effort, and sat upright 
on his little raft. Soon, in the gray light of the 
morning, he discovered the cabins of his country- 
men, and was enabled to eflect a landing at the 
mouth of Beargrass — the site of the present city 
of Louisville. 


It was in the early part of this year that the 
house of the father of Bland Ballard, so well 
known in frontier annals as a most accomplished 
woodsman and spy, was attacked by Indians. 
Old Mr. Ballard had left the little fort on Tick 
Creek, and gone to a house a little distance off, 
for the purpose of being nearer to the sugar camp. 
The first intimation they had of the presence of 
Indians was early in the morning, when Ben- 
jamin, another brother, went out to get wood to 
make a fire. The savages shot him, and then 
assailed the house. The inmates barred the 
door, and prepared for defence. There was no 
man in the house except Mr. Ballard, but of 
women there were several. In the fort there 
was only Bland Ballard, then about twenty-seven 
years of age, and an old man. As soon as young 
Ballard heard the guns, he repaired to within 
shooting distance of his father's house, but dared 
not venture nearer. Here he commenced using 
his rifle with good effect. In the mean time the 
Indians broke open the house and killed his 
father, with the loss of two of their own number. 
His stepmother and two sisters were also mur- 
dered, and the young sister was tomahawked, but 
she subsequently recovered. When the Indians 
broke into the house, his stepmother attempted 
to escape by the back door, but was pursued by 
one of the savages, who, as he raised his toma- 
hawk to strike the fatal blow, was shot down by 


Bland Ballard, but not in time to save his mother. 
The savage and his victim both fell dead together. 
The Indians were supposed to have numbered 
sixteen, and before they completed their work of 
death had sustained a loss of six or seven. 


Captain Hubhell descends the Ohio^ — Is attacked by Indians 
— His desperate defence — The Indians beaten ofl' — Boat of 
Captain Greathouse captured — Hubbell again attacked — In- 
dians retire with great loss — Heroism of a boy — Number of 
wounded — Painful condition of Captain Hubbell — The boat 
reaches Limestone — Unsuccessful pursuit of the savages 
— John May descends the Ohio — Indian stratagem — Finn 
urges May to put into the Ohio shore — Finn surprised by the 
savages — The boat attacked and captured — Skyles wounded 
— May and Miss Fleming killed — Eeception of the Indians by 
Johnston- — Captain Marshall descends the Ohio with three 
boats — Is pursued by the Indians — The attack and defence 
— His escape with the loss of two boats. 

A SHORT time subsequent to the adventure 
related in the preceding chapter, a much more 
terrible affair took place. In March of this year, 
Captain William Hubbell floated down the Ohio 
River in a flat-bottomed boat, on his return from 
the eastward, and after leaving Pittsburg, saw 
traces of Indians along the banks of the stream, 
which raised his suspicions and increased his 
watchfulness. There was on board the boat, be- 


sides Captain Hubbell, Mr. Daniel Light, and 
Mr. William Plascut and his family. Before 
they reached the mouth of the Great Kenawha, 
the number was increased by additions to twenty ; 
among whom were three persons whose respective 
names were Ray, Tucker, and Kilpatrick ; two 
daughters of the latter, a man by the name of 
Stoner, an Irishman, and a German. 

Information received at Gallipolis confirmed 
their previous expectation of a serious conflict 
with a large body of Indians ; and as Captain 
Hubbell had been regularly appointed commander 
of the boat, he made every preparation to resist 
the anticipated attack. 

The nine men were divided into three watches 
for the night, who were alternately to be on the 
look-out for two hours at a time. The arms on 
board, which unfortunately consisted mainly of 
old muskets very much out of order, were col- 
lected, loaded, and put in the best possible condi- 
tion for service. 

About sunrise on the 23d, Hubbell's party 
overtook a fleet of six boats descending the river 
in company, and at first concluded to join them 
for the sake of mutual protection. Finding, 
however, that they were a careless, noisy set of 
people, more intent on dancing than watching 
for Indians, Hubbell determined to push forward 
alone. One of the six boats, as if also desirous 
of keeping up with the party under Hubbell, 


pushed for-^ard for a short time ; but its crew at 
length dropped asleep, and Hubbell, pressing 
vigorously forward, soon left it in the rear. 

Early in the night, a canoe was seen dimly 
floating down the river, in which were probably 
Indians on the watch for their prey, fires and 
other signs were at the same time observed, which 
indicated the neighbourhood of a formidable body 
of savages. 

Just as daylight began to appear in the east, 
and before the men were up and at their posts, 
a voice at some distance below them repeatedly 
solicited them, in a plaintive tone, to come on 
shore, as there were some white persons who 
wished to take a passage in their boat. This the 
captain naturally concluded to be an Indian arti- 
fice. He accordingly roused the men, and placed 
every one upon his guard. 

The voice of entreaty was soon changed into 
the language of indignation and insult, and the 
sound of distant paddles announced the approach 
of the savage foe. At length, three Indian canoes 
were seen through the mist of the morning rapidly 
advancing, and with the utmost coolness the cap- 
tain and his companions prepared to receive them. 

Every man took his position, and was ordered 

not to fire till the savages came nearly up to the 

boat ; a special caution being given that the men 

should fire in succession, so that there might be 

no intervals. 



On the arrival of the canoes, they were found 
to contain from twenty-five to thirty Indians in 
each. As soon as they approached within musket- 
shot, they poured in a general fire from one of 
the canoes, by which Tucker and Light were both 
wounded. The three canoes now placed them- 
selves on the bow, stern, and side of the boat, 
and commenced a raking fire upon the voyagers ; 
but the steady firing from the boat had a power- 
ful effect in checking the confidence and the fury 
of the savages. 

Captain Hubbell, after firing his own gun, 
took up that of one of the wounded men, and was 
in the act of discharging it when a ball came and 
tore away the lock ; he coolly turned round, 
seized a brand of fire, and applying it to the pan, 
discharged it with effect. He was in the act of 
raising his gun a third time, when a ball passed 
through his right arm, which for a moment dis- 
abled him. 

Just as he had recovered the use of his hand, 
which had been momentarily drawn up by the 
wound, he observed the Indians about to board 
the boat. Severely wounded as he was, he rushed 
forward to the bow and assisted in forcing them 
ofi", first by the discharge of a pair of horse pis- 
tols, and afterward by billets of wood which had 
been prepared for the fire. Meeting with so des- 
perate a resistance, the Indians at length discon- 
tinued the contest. 


The boat wliich Hubbell had previously left 
behind during the slumber of its crew, now ap- 
pearing in sight, the canoes were rapidly directed 
towards it. They boarded it without opposition, 
killed Captain Greathouse and a lad of about 
fourteen years of age, placed the women in the 
centre of their canoes, and manning them with a 
fresh reinforcement from the shore, again pursued 
Hubbell and his party. A melancholy alterna- 
tive now presented itself to these brave, but 
desponding men. They must either fall them- 
selves a prey to the savages, or run the risk of 
shooting the women in the canoes, who had been 
purposely placed there by the Indians, in the 
hope of obtaining protection from their presence. 
Hubbell was compelled for the sake of his own 
wounded to risk the latter, well knowing how lit- 
tle mercy was to be expected if the savages were 

There were now but four men left on board of 
Captain Hubbell's boat capable of defending it, 
and the captain himself was severely wounded in 
two places. The second attack, however, was re- 
sisted with almost incredible firmness and vigour. 
Whenever the Indians would rise to fire, their 
opponents would commonly give them the first 
shot, which in almost every instance would prove 
fatal. Notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, ' 
and the exhausted condition of the defenders of 
the boat, the Indians at length appeared to de- 


spair of success, and the canoes successively 
retired to the shore. Just as the last one was 
departing, Captain Hubbell called to the Indian 
who was standing in the stern, and on his turning 
round, discharged his piece at him. When the 
smoke, which for a moment obstructed the vision, 
was dissipated, he was seen lying on his back, 
and appeared to be severely, perhaps mortally 

Unfortunately the boat now drifted near to the 
shore where the Indians were collected, and a 
large concourse, probably between four and five 
hundred, were seen rushing down on the bank. 
^ Ray and Plascut, the only men remaining unhurt, 
were placed at the oars, and as the boat was not 
more than twenty yards from shore, it was 
deemed prudent for all to lie down in as safe a 
position as possible, and attempt to push forward 
with the utmost practicable rapidity. While they 
continued in this situation, nine balls were shot 
into one oar, and ten into the other, without 
wounding the rowers, who wei'e hidden from view 
and protected by the side of the boat and the 
blankets in its stern. During this dreadful ex- 
posure to the fire of the savages, which continued 
about twenty minutes, Mr. Kilpatrick observed a 
particular Indian, whom he thought a favourable 
mark for his rifle, and, notwithstanding the 
solemn warning of Captain Hubbell, rose to shoot 
him. He immediately received a ball in his 


mouth, which passed out at the back part of his 
head, and was almost at the same moment shot 
through the heart. He fell among the horses 
that about the same time were killed, and present- 
ed to his afflicted daughters and fellow travellers, 
who were witnesses of the awful occurrence, a 
spectacle of horror which we need not further 
attempt to describe. 

The boat was now providentially and suddenly 
carried out into the middle of the stream, and 
taken by the current beyond the reach of the 
enemy's balls. Our little band, reduced as they 
were in numbers, wounded, afBicted, and almost 
exhausted by fatigue, were still unsubdued in 
spirit, and bqing assembled in all their strength, 
men, women, and children, with an appearance 
of triumph gave three hearty cheers, calling to 
the Indians to come on again if they were fond of 
the sport. 

Thus ended this awful conflict, in which, out 
of nine men, only two escaped unhurt. Tucker 
and Kilpatrick were killed on the spot, S toner 
was mortally wounded, and died on his arrival at 
Limestone, and all the rest, excepting Ray and 
Plascut, were severely wounded. The women and 
children were all uninjured, excepting a little son 
of Mr. Plascut, who, after the battle was over, 
came to the captain, and with great coolness re- 
quested him to take a ball out of his head. On 
examination, it appeared that a bullet, which had 


passed through the side of the boat, had pene- 
trated the forehead of this little hero, and re- 
mained under the skin. The captain took it out, 
and the youth, observing, " that is not all," 
raised his arm, and exhibited a piece of bone at 
the point of his elbow, which had been shot off, 
and hung only by the skin. His mother ex- 
claimed, " Why did you not tell me of this ?" 
"Because," he coolly replied, "the captain di- 
rected us to be silent during the action, and I 
thought you would be likely to make a noise if I 
told you." 

• The boat made the best of its way down the 
river ; the object being to reach Limestone that 
night. The captain's arm having bled profusely, 
he was compelled to close the sleeve of his coat 
in order to retain the blood and stop its effu- 
sion. In this situation, tormented by excruciating 
pain, and faint through loss of blood, he was 
under the necessity of steering the boat with his 
left arm, till about ten o'clock that night, when 
he was relieved by Mr. William Brooks, who re- 
sided on the bank of the river, and who was 
induced by the calls of the suffering party to 
come out to their assistance. By his aid, and 
that of some other persons, who were in the same 
manner brought to their relief, they were enabled 
to reach Limestone about twelve o'clock that 

Immediately on the arrival of Mr. Brooks, 


Captain Hubbell, relieved from labour and re- 
sponsibility, sunk under the weight of pain and 
fatigue, and became for a while totally insensible. 
When the boat reached Limestone, he found him- 
self unable to walk, and was obliged to be carried 
up to the tavern. Here he had his wound dressed, 
and continued several days, until he acquired 
sufficient strength to proceed homewards. 

On the arrival of Hubbell's party at Lime- 
stone, they found a considerable force of armed 
men about to march against the same Indians 
from whose attacks they had so severely suffered. 
They now learned that on the Sunday preceding, 
the same party of savages had cut off a detach- 
ment of men ascending the Ohio from Fort Wash- 
ington, at the mouth of Licking Kiver, and had 
killed with their tomahawks, without firing a gun, 
twenty-one out of twenty-two men, of which the 
detachment consisted. 

Crowds of people, as might be expected, came 
to witness the boat which had been the scene of 
so much heroism and such horrid carnage, and to 
visit the resolute little band by whom it had been 
so gallantly and perseveringly defended. On 
examination it was found that the sides of the 
boat were literally filled with bullets and with 
bullet holes. There was scarcely a space of two 
feet square in the part above water, which had 
not either a ball remaining in it, or a hole 
through which a ball had passed. Some persons 


■who had the curiosity to count the number of 
holes in the blankets which were hung up as cur- 
tains in the stern of the boat, affirmed that in the 
space of five feet square there were one hundred 
and twenty-two. Four horses out of five were 
killed, and the escape of the fifth, amidst such a 
shower of balls, appears almost miraculous. 

The day after the arrival of Captain Hubbell 
and his companions, the five remaining boats 
which they had passed on the night preceding the 
battle reached Limestone. Those on board re- 
marked, that during the action they distinctly 
saw the flashes, but could not hear the reports of 
the guns. The Indians, it appears, had met with 
too formidable a resistance from a single boat to 
attack a fleet, and suffered them to pass unmo- 
lested ; and since that time, it is believed that no 
boat has been assailed by Indians on the Ohio. 

The force which marched out to disperse this 
formidable body of savages discovered several 
Indians dead on the shore, near the scene of ac- 
tion. They also found the bodies of Captain 
Greathouse and several others, — men, women, 
and children, — who had been on board of his 
boat. Most of them appeared to have beep 
whipped to death, as they were found stripped, 
tied to trees, anc^ marked with the appearance of 
lashes ; and large rods, which seemed to have 
been worn with use, were observed lying near 

may's adventure. 133 

An adventure similar in some respects to the 
above, and equally tragic in its consequences, 
occurred about the middle of March, 1790. John 
May, from whom the city of Maysville derives 
its name, embarked at Kelly's station, on the 
Kenawha, for Maysville, in company with his 
clerk, Charles Johnston, and a Mr. Skyles, a 
Virginia merchant, who had with him a stock of 
dry goods for Lexington. They were joined at 
Point Pleasant by a man named Flinn, and two 
sisters by the name of Fleming. When near the 
mouth of the Scioto, they were awakened, on the 
morning of the 20th, by Flinn, whose turn it was 
to watch, and informed that danger was at hand. 
All instantly sprang to their feet, and hastened 
upon deck, without removing their night-caps or 
completing their dress. The cause of Flinn's alarm 
was quickly evident. Far down the river a smoke 
was seen ascending in thick wreaths above the 
trees, and floating in thinner masses over the bed 
of the river. All instantly perceived that it 
could only proceed from a large fire ; and no one 
doubted that it was kindled by Indians. As the 
boat drifted on, it became evident that the fire 
was on the Ohio shore, and it was instantly de- 
termined to put over to the opposite side of the 

Before this could be done, however, two white 
men ran down upon the beach, and clasping their 
hands in the most earnest manner, implored the 


crew to take them on board. They declared they 
had been taken by a party of Indians in Ken- 
nedy's bottom a few days before, had been con- 
ducted across the Ohio, and had just effected 
their escape. 

Fearful of treachery, the party paid no atten- 
tion to their entreaties, but steadily pursued their 
course down the river, and were soon considera- 
bly ahead of the supplicants. 

The two white men immediately ran along the 
bank, parallel with the course of the boat, and 
changed their entreaties into the most piercing 
cries and lamentations. The pity of the crew 
was awakened. Fiinn and the two females earn- 
estly insisted upon going ashore and relieving 
the white men, and even the incredulity of May 
began to yield to the persevering obduracy of the 
supplicants. A parley took place. May called 
to them from the deck of the boat, where he stood 
in his night-cap and drawers, and demanded the 
cause of the large fire, the smoke of which had 
occasioned so much alarm. 

The white men positively denied there being 
any fire near them. This falsehood was so palpa- 
ble, that May's former suspicions returned with 
additional force, and he positively refused to ap- 
proach the shore and take the men on board. 
In this resolution he was supported by Johnston 
and Skyles ; but Flinn and the females as vehe- 
mently opposed it. 


Flinn urged that the men gave every evidence 
of real distress which could be required, and re- 
counted too many particular circumstances at- 
tending their capture and escape, to give colour to 
to the suspicion that their story was invented for 
the occasion. He added, that it would be a burn- 
ing shame to them and theirs for ever, if they 
should permit two countrymen to fall a sacrifice 
to the savages, when so slight a risk on their 
part would suflSce to relieve them. 

The boat having drifted by this time nearly 
a mile below where the men were left standing, 
Flinn, whose warm heart was touched by their 
apparent wretchedness, proposed that May should 
only touch the hostile shore long enough to per- 
mit him to jump out. If any Indians should ap- 
pear, the boat could be immediately put out into 
the stream, and he would run the risk of his own 
fate. May remonstrated, but to no purpose ; 
Flinn was inflexible, and in an evil hour the boat 
was directed to the shore. 

The instant it was within reach of the laud, 
Flinn leaped to the bank. At that moment six 
savages ran up, out of breath, from the adjoining 
wood, and seizing Flinn, began to fire upon the 
boat. The fire was immediately returned by 
Johnston and Skyles, while May attempted to 
regain the current. Fresh Indians arrived, how- 
ever, in such rapid succession, that the beach was 
quickly crowded by them, and May called out to 


his companions to cease firing and assist him at 
the oars. This was instantly done, but it was too 
late. Finding it impossible to extricate them- 
selves, they all lay down upon their faces and pas- 
sively awaited the approach of their conquerors. 
The enemy still stood off and poured in an inces- 
sant fire, by which all the horses were killed, and 
which began at length to ' prove fatal to the 
crew. One of the females received a ball in her 
mouth, and instantly expired. Skyles was se- 
verely wounded in both shoulders, and as the 
fire every moment grew hotter, May arose and 
waved his night-cap in signal of surrender. He 
instantly received a ball in the middle of the 
forehead, and fell perfectly dead by the side of 
Johnston, covering him with his blood. 

Now at last the enemy ventured to board. 
Throwing themselves into the water with their 
tomahawks in their hands, a dozen or more swam 
to the boat and began to climb its sides. John- 
ston stood ready to do the honours of the boat, 
and presenting his hand tc each Indian in suc- 
cession, he helped them over the side. Each 
Indian greeted him with great apparent cordial- 
ity, by a shake of the hand, and the usual salu- 
tation of, " How de do ?" in passable English; 
while Johnston encountered every visitor with an 
affectionate squeeze and a forced smile, in which 
terror struggled with civility. Having shaken 
hands with all their captives, the Indians pro- 


ceeded coolly to scalp the dead. The boat was 
then drawn ashore, and its contents examined with 
great greediness. In addition to the pain of his 
wounds, Skyles was compelled to witness the total 
destruction of his property by the hands of the 
spoilers, who tossed his silks, cambric, and broad- 
cloth into the dirt with the most reckless indif- 
ference. At length they stumbled upon a keg 
of whisky. The prize was eagerly seized, and 
every thing else abandoned. The Indian who had 
found it, instantly carried it ashore, and was fol- 
lowed by the rest with tumultuous delight. A 
large fire was quickly kindled, and victors and 
vanquished huddled indiscriminately around it. 

Flinn was subsequently burned at the stake 
by his fiendish captors, with all the aggravated 
tortures that savage cruelty could devise. Skyles, 
after running the gauntlet, and having been con- 
demned to death, made his escape to the white 
settlements. The remaining Miss Fleming was 
rescued by an Indian chief, at the moment her 
captors were preparing to burn her alive, and 
conducted in safety to Pittsburg. Johnston was 
finally ransomed by a Frenchman for six hundred 
silver brooches. 

On the next morning the Indians arose early 
and prepared for another encounter, expecting 
as usual that boats would be passing. It hap- 
pened that Captain Thomas Marshall, of the Vir- 
ginia artillery, afterward a citizen of Mason, and 



son of Colonel Marshall, in company with a'everal 
other gentlemen, was descending the Ohio, having 
embarked only one day later than May. About 
twelve o'clock on the second day after May's 
disaster, the little flotilla appeared about a mile 
above the point where the Indians stood. In- 
stantly all was bustle and activity. The addi- 
tional oars were fixed to the boat, the savages 
instantly sprang on board, and the prisoners were 
compelled to station themselves at the oars, and 
were threatened with instant death unless they 
used their utmost exertions to bring them along- 
side of the enemy. The three boats came down 
very rapidly, and were soon immediately opposite 
their enemy's. The Indians opened a heavy fire 
upon them, and stimulated their rowers to their 
utmost efforts. 

The boats became quickly aware of their dan- 
ger, and a warm contest of skill and strength took 
place. There was an interval of one hundred yards 
between each of the three boats in view. The hind- 
most was for a time in danger. Having but one 
pair of oars, and being weakly manned, she was 
unable to compete with the Indian boat, which 
greatly outnumbered her both in oars and men. 
The Indians soon came within rifle-shot, and 
swept the deck with an incessant fire, which ren- 
dered it extremely dangerous for any of the crew 
to show themselves. Captain Marshall was on 
board the hindmost boat, and maintained his 

Marshall's adventure. 139 

position at the steering-oar in defiance of the 
shower of balls which flew around him. He stood 
in his shirt sleeves with a red silk handkerchief 
bound about his head, which afforded a fair 
mark for the enemy, and steered the boat with 
equal steadiness and skill, while the crew below 
relieved each other at the oars. 

The enemy lost ground from two circumstances. 
In their eagerness to overtake the whites, they 
left the current, and attempted to cut across 
the river from point to point, in order to shorten 
the distance. In doing so, however, they lost 
the force of the current, and soon found them- 
selves dropping astern. In addition to this, the 
whites conducted themselves with equal coolness 
and dexterity. The second boat waited for the 
hindmost, and received her crew on board, aban- 
doning the goods and horses, without scruple, to 
the enemy. Being now more strongly manned, 
she shot rapidly ahead, and quickly overtook the 
foremost boat, which, in like manner, received 
the crew on board, abandoning the cargo as be- 
fore, and, having six pair of oars, .and being 
powerfully manned, she was soon beyond the 
reach of the enemy's shot. The chase lasted 
more than an hour. For the first half hour the 
fate of the foremost boat hung in mournful sus- 
pense, and Johnston, with agony, looked forward 
to the probability of its capture. The prisoners 
were compelled to labour hard at the cars ; but 


they took care never to pull together, and by 
every means in their po^Yer endeavoured to favour 
the escape of their friends. 

At length the Indians abandoned the pursuit, 
and turned their whole attention to the boats 
which had been deserted. The booty surpassed 
their most sanguine expectations. Several fine 
horses were on board, and flour, sugar, and cho- 
colate, in profusion. Another keg of whisky 
was found, and excited the same immoderate joy 
as at first. 


Indian outrages — Action of the general government — Expedi- 
tion of General Harmar — Miami villages burned — Hardin 
detached to follow up the Indians — Falls into an ambush — Is 
defeated — Painful situation of Captain Armstrong — Harmar 
retreats — Hardin again detached — Indian stratagem — Noble 
conduct of the regulars — Hardin defeated — Harmar returns 
home — Harmar and Hardin court-martialled — Acquitted 
— Resignation of Harmar — Scott's expedition — Destruction 
of the villages on the Wabash — Return of the troops— St. 
Clair's expedition — Rendezvous at Fort Washington — Feel- 
ing of the K'entuckians — Object of the campaign — Condition 
of the army — Fort Hamilton built— Erection of Fort Jeffer- 
son — The march — Desertion of the mihtia — ^Ofthe Mountain 
Leader, a Chickasaw chief and his band — St. Clair encamps 
on one of the tributaries of the Wabash — Furious attack by 
the Indians, led by Little Turtle and Girty — Defeat of St. 
Clair — Retreat to Fort Washington. 

The repeated outrages suffered by Kentucky 
at length roused the general government to at- 

harmar's expedition. 141 

tempt the extirpation of the marauding bands, 
by organizing an expedition for that purpose. 
The force, which was composed of one hundred 
regulars from Fort Washington, and one hundred 
and thirty Kentucky volunteers, marched against 
the Indian camp on the Scioto, but finding it de- 
serted, returned without accomplishing any thing. 

A more formidable expedition, consisting of 
three hundred and twenty regulars, and two quo- 
tas of militia from Pennsylvania and Kentucky, 
amounting in the whole to upwards of eleven 
hundred men, was called out by order of the Pre- 
sident of the United States, and directed to 
march against the Indian towns in the northwest. 

The command, as before, was intrusted to 
General Harmar. Colonel John Hardin, an 
intelligent and gallant soldier, headed the volun- 
teers from Kentucky. 

With these united forces Harmar marched, 
about the 30th of September, against the Miami 
villages. The latter being found deserted by the 
Indians, the army burned them, destroyed the 
corn, and then encamped on the ground. An 
Indian trail being discovered soon after, Hardin, 
with one hundred and fifty militia, properly ofii- 
cered, and thirty regulars, commanded by Captain 
Armstrong and Ensign Hartshorn, was detached 
from the main body, in pursuit. 

In a prairie, at the distance of six miles, the 
Indians had formed an ambush on each side of 


their own trail, having previously confused their 
footsteps with so much art, that the troops pene- 
trated the defile without suspicion. The latter 
were no sooner involved deeply within the snare 
laid for them, than the enemy poured in a heavy 
fire from among the bushes and long grass by 
which they were concealed from view. Greatly 
to the mortification of their colonel, the militia 
broke at once and fled, deserting the regulars, 
who stood firm till nearly all of them were killed. 

The Indians remained on the field, and during 
the night held a dance of victory, exulting with 
frantic shouts and gestures over their dead and 
dying enemies. To this ceremony Captain Arm- 
strong was a constrained and unwilling witness, 
being sunk to his neck in mud and water, within 
a hundred yards of the scene. 

The life of Ensign Hartshorn was also saved 
by his having accidentally fallen over a log hid- 
den among weeds and grass. During the night 
both these ofiicers eluded the notice of their ene- 
mies, and arrived in camp. 

Apparently disheartened by the result of this 
skirmish, Harmar broke up his camp in a day or 
two afterward, and retreated nearer the settle- 
ments. On the second day of the march, when 
about ten miles from the ruined villages, the gene- 
ral ordered a halt, and sent Colonel Hardin back 
to the main town with some sixty regulars and 
three hundred militia. 


Hardin had no sooner reached the point to 
which he had been ordered, than a small body of 
Indians appeared on the ground. After receiving 
the fire of the militia, the savages broke into sepa- 
rate parties, and by seeming to fly as if panic- 
stricken, encouraged the militia, to follow in pur- 
suit. The stratagem was successful. 

The militia had no sooner disappeared in chase 
of the fugitives, than the regulars, thus left alone, 
were suddenly assaulted by large numbers of the 
foe, who had hitherto remained in concealment. 

The Indians precipitated themselves upon the 
sixty regulars under Major Willis, but were re- 
ceived with the most inflexible determination. 
The Indian yell, so appalling even to the bravest 
hearts, was heard in cool inflexible silence. The 
hurtling of the tomahawk was met by the thrust 
of the bayonet. 

In vain was Indian after Indian killed ; the 
numbers increased ; as one fell, others fresh from 
their hiding-places gave additional strength and 
support to their companions. The destruction 
of the regulars was complete ; scarcely an indi- 
vidual escaped ; they all fell, with their major, on 
the spot they occupied. 

In the mean time, the militia came straggling 
in from their vain and hopeless pursuit. After a 
hard and murderous struggle, the whites were 
compelled to give way, leaving their dead and 
wounded behind them. 


Of the regular^ engaged in this most sanguina^ 
ry battle, only ten escaped back to the camp ; 
■while the militia, under Hardin, lost ninety-eight 
in killed, and had ten others wounded. 

After this unfortunate repulse, Harmar retired 
without attempting any thing further. The con- 
duct of Harmar and Hardin did not escape severe 
criticism and censure. Both demanded a court- 
martial ; Hardin was unanimously and honourably 
acquitted. Harmar was also acquitted, but im- 
mediately afterward resigned his commission. 

The repulse of Harmar added greatly to the 
insecure condition of Kentucky. Elated by their 
success, the Indians continued their depredations 
with greater audacity than ever. The earlier 
movements of the newly-organized federal govern- 
ment were difficult and embarrassing. With the 
view, however, to the defence of the western and 
northwestern frontiers, an act was passed by 
Congress for increasing the army ; St. Clair, the 
governor of the northwestern territories, receive(J 
a commission as major-general, and steps wer^ 
taken for raising the new regiment and the levies, 
the command of which was to be given to General 

In the mean time, while these new troops were 
being organized, an expedition was gotten up in 
Kentucky under General Charles Scott. The 
call was no sooner made, than volunteers to the 
number of between eight and nine hundred 


flocked to his standard. Wilkinson, though hold- 
ing no commission from the state, enlisted for 
the expedition. He was chosen second in com- 
mand, and assuming the title of colonel, soon 
rendered himself conspicuous by his activity, at- 
tention, and address. 

The army, all mounted men, marched from the 
mouth of the Kentucky River on the 23d of May, 
and after penetrating the wilderness for one 
hundred and fifty miles, reached at length the 
villages on the Wabash. Fifty-eight prisoners 
were taken, and several warriors were killed ; but 
the greater part of the Indians succeeded in 
escaping. A detachment under Wilkinson was 
sent against the Kickapoo village, eighteen miles 
distant; but there also the inhabitants had 
escaped. The village, which consisted of about 
seventy houses, was burned to the ground, and 
with it a quantity of corn, peltry, and other arti- 
cles. . Many of the houses, which were well 
finished, seemed to have been inhabited by 
Frenchmen, and the books and papers found 
there indicated a close connection with Detroit. 
After these acts of retaliation the volunteers re- 
turned home, pleased with their new commander, 
and highly elated with the conduct of Wilkinson. 

Indian depredations in the southern and north- 
eastern parts of Kentucky still continuing. Gene- 
ral Wilkinson published a call in July, for five 
hundred mounted volunteers, to proceed against 



the Indians northwest of the Ohio. As Colonel 
John Hardin and Colonel James McDowell both 
favoured the proposed enterprise, and agreed to 
serve as majors, an expedition was soon orga- 
nized. Marching into the Indian country, the 
army destroyed the village L'Anguille, killed one 
or two warriors, took a few prisoners, and re- 
turned home without losing a man. 

The government now prepared to strike what 
was supposed would be a decisive blow. On the 
4th of August, General Scott was ordered by 
the governor of the commonwealth to comply 
with any requisition made on him by the officer 
commanding the United States troops on the 

Washington, who was at this time president, 
warned by the disastrous defeat of Harmar, de- 
termined to employ a force sufficient to crush at 
a single blow all future opposition on the part of 
the Indians. This force, which was to consist 
of two thousand regular troops, composed of 
cavalry, infantry, and artillery, was ordered to 
move from the several states in which they had 
been enlisted, toward Fort Washington, now 
Cincinnati, where the men rendezvoused about 

The command was given to General St. Clair, 
an officer who was at that time, not only old and 
infirm, but one who had been very unfortunate in 
his military career during the Revolutionary war. 


He was particularly unpopular in Kentucky, and 
no volunteers could be found to serve under him. 
The militia of Kentucky had been called on, and 
about one thousand reluctantly furnished by 
draft; but as they disliked to serve in conjunc- 
tion with a regular force, and were unfavourable 
to the commander-in-chief, many desertions took 
place daily. . 

The season was already advanced before St. 
Clair took the field. The whole force of regulars 
and levies, able to march from Fort Washington, 
did not much exceed two thousand men. 

The object of the campaign was to establish a 
line of posts stretching from the Ohio to the 
Maumee ; to build a strong fort on the latter' 
river, and by leaving in it a garrison of one thou- 
sand men, to enable the commander of the fort 
to send out detachments to keep the neighbour- 
ing Indians in awe. 

The army took up its line of march on the 1st 
of October, and halted for a couple of days at 
Fort Hamilton, which was built on the Great 
Miami, twenty-four miles north of the infant 
city of Cincinnati. On the 4th, the march was 
resumed. At a distance of forty-four miles fur- 
ther north, the army was again halted, and Fort 
Jefferson erected near the present dividing line 
between Ohio and Indiana. On the 26th of Oc- 
tober, a reinforcement of several hundred Ken- 
tucky militia having reached the new fort, the 


march was continued. Encumbered by wagons 
and artillery, the progress of the army was both 
slow and painful. The militia from Kentucky, 
who were for the most part substitutes, were 
reckless and ungovernable. The levies from 
other states, also, having been supplied with 
very inferior clothing, grew discontented, while 
the term of those who had enlisted earliest was 
about to expire. 

The Kentucky force dwindled at every step. 
On the 1st of November, a whole regiment de- 
serted in a body, and the first regiment had to 
be detached to protect the approaching trains of 
provision wagons, and escort them to the camp. 

In the midst of this unfortunate condition of 
things, the mountain leader, a Chickasaw chief, 
doubtless foreseeing the probable result of such 
gross insubordination, withdrew his band of war- 
riors and returned home. St. Clair, however, 
continued his march, and on the evening of the 
3d of November halted on one of the tributaries 
of the Wabash. A few Indians were seen, but 
they fled with precipitation. The troops en- 
camped ; the regulars and levies in two lines, 
covered by the stream ; the militia, on the op- 
posite shore and about a quarter of a mile in ad- 
vance. Still further in advance. Captain Slough 
was posted with a company of regulars. His 
orders were to intercept small parties of the 
enemy if they should venture to approach the 


camp, and to give intelligence of any occurrences 
that might transpire. 

Colonel Oldham, who commanded the remains 
of the Kentucky levies, had been cautioned to 
remain on the alert during the night, and to send 
out patroles of twenty-five or thirty men each, in 
different directions before daylight, to scour the 
adjoining woods. 

In the course of the night, Captain Slough 
discovered the Indians approaching in such num- 
bers, that he drew in his men, and reported to 
General Butler. The latter, however, by a sin- 
gular and most fatal negligence, neither reported 
the information to the commanding general, nor 
took any measures to check the advance of the 

Early the next morning, about sunrise, just as 
the troops were dismissed from parade, the camp 
of the militia was suddenly attacked. The regu- 
lars, who composed the first line on the other 
side of the stream, formed at the earliest alarm ; 
but the flying militia rushed in disorder across the 
water and darted into the camp, closely fol- 
lowed by swarms of infuriated savages. Many 
of the latter, having reserved their fire, now- 
poured it in continuous volleys upon the regulars, 
who, shaken by the distraction and tumult, were 
unprepared to return it. 

The instantaneous exertions of the officers 
got the troops into some kind of order ; the fire 



was returned, and the assailants checked for a 
moment ; but the regulars in front never re- 
covered from the effects of their first confusion. 
Immediately afterward, a most tremendous fire 
was directed upon the centre of the shattered 
front, upon the artillery, and next upon the 
second line. Firing from the ground, hidden 
behind trees, or logs, or brush, and never seen 
but when darting from covert to covert, the In- 
dians advanced in front, and on either flank, 
close upon the American lines, and up to the 
mouths of the field-pieces, from which the men 
were driven with great slaughter. The second 
line made several charges with the bayonet, be- 
fore which the Indians gave way ; but they soon 
rallied, and returned to the attack as fiercely as 

At length the Indians broke into the camp on 
the left flank, and flinging aside their guns, sprang 
upon the Americans and hewed them down with 
the tomahawk. They were again charged with 
the bayonet, and retreated ; but immediately the 
pursuit stopped, they returned again to the camp. 
These movements were frequently repeated, and 
always with the same result. 

In these charges many officers fell ; and among 
them General Butler, the second in command. 
St. Clair, labouring under the effects of gout, was 
unable to leave his cot. The Indians had turned 
the left flank of the encampment. The artillery, 


which had been captured and retaken several 
times, was no longer serviceable, every officer 
belonging to it being killed, except one, and he, 
badly wounded, was in the power of the enemy. 
A retreat was determined on. The shattered 
troops were collected toward the right of the 
camp : a charge was made as if to turn the right 
flank of the enemy, but in fact to gain possession 
of the road. No sooner was this accomplished, 
than the militia broke and ran. The other troops 
then followed in perfect and most irremediable 
rout. They strewed their arms all along the 
way, were deaf to every order, and perfectly 
ungovernable. The camp, artillery, baggage, 
and wounded, were left in the hands of the enemy. 
Most of the officers had already fallen. St. Clair 
made his escape on a pack-horse, which he could 
neither mount nor dismount without assistance. 

The Indians soon gave over the pursuit, but 
the flying troops did not stop until they reached 
Fort Jefi'erson, where they arrived about sunset 
completely exhausted, one day's flight having 
carried them over a space which covered a fort- 
night's advance. Here the first regiment was 
found three hundred strong. Its presence in the 
field, in St. Clair's opinion, would not have 
altered the fortune of the day, as the troops pos- 
sessed too little discipline to recover from their 
first confusion, while its destruction would have 
completed the triumph of the enemy, and left 


the frontier without any organized defence. 
Leaving his wounded at Fort Jefferson, St. Clair 
retreated to Cincinnati, the point from which the 
expedition had started. 

The loss in this disastrous enterprise amounted 
to upward of nine hundred men, including fifty- 
nine ofiicers. Of these, six hundred were killed. 
The Indian force was supposed to have ranged 
some where between one thousand and fifteen 
hundred, including half-breeds and refugees, and 
among the latter the notorious Girty. The prin- 
cipal leader was said to have been Little Turtle, 
a chief of the Miamis, who had led on the attack 
against Harmar the year before. 


Personal incidents of St. Clair's campaign — William Kennan — 
His strength and activity — Discovers the Indians — Is pur- 
sued by them — A race for life — His extraordinary leap — The 
reti-eat — Carries a wounded companion — His terrible recourse 
to relieve himself — Assists Mr. Madison, afterward Governor 
of Kentucky — Excitement in Kentucky — Scott and Wilkin- 
son call for volunteers — Wilkinson marches to the battle- 
ground — Horrid spectacle — Constitution of Kentucky — Its 
provisions — Legislative acts — Population of the state — Indian 
disturbances — Settlement on Elkhorn attacked — The Cooks 
killed — Resolute conduct of the widows — Escape of Mcx'^ndre 
— Martin killed — Escape of Dunn — Murder of his two sons 
— Indians pursued. 

Among the personal incidents connected with 
this unfortunate campaign, there are two related 


of William Kennan, a Kentucky ranger, which 
afford fine illustrations of frontier character. 

Kennan had long been remarkable for strength 
and activity. In the course of the march from 
Fort Washington, he had repeated opportunities 
of testing his astonishing powers in those respects, 
and was universally admitted to be the swiftest 
runner of the light corps. 

On the evening preceding the action, his corps 
had been advanced in front of the first line of 
infanti-y, in order to give seasonable notice of 
ihe enemy's approach. Just as day was dawn- 
ing, he observed about thirty Indians within one 
hundred yards of the guard fire, approaching 
cautiously toward the spot where he stood in 
company with twenty other rangers, the rest 
being considerably in the rear. Supposing it to 
be a mere scouting party, and not superior in 
number to the rangers, he sprang forward a few 
paces in order to shelter himself in a spot of 
peculiarly rank grass, and, after firing with a 
quick aim upon the foremost Indian, fell fiat 
upon his face, and proceeded with all possible 
rapidity to reload his gun, not doubting for a 
moment that his companions would maintain 
their positions and support him. 

The Indians, however, rushed forward in such 
overwhelming masses, that the rangers were com- 
pelled to fly with precipitation, leaving young 
Kennan in total ignorance of his danger. For- 


tunatelj, the captain of his company had observed 
him when he threw himself in the grass, and 
suddenly shouted aloud, " Run, Kennan ! or you 
are a dead man !" He instantly sprang to his 
feet, and beheld the Indians within ten feet of 
him, while his company was more than one hun- 
dred yards in front. 

Not a moment was to be lost. He darted off 
with every muscle strained to its utmost, and was 
pursued by a dozen of the enemy with loud yells. 
He at first pressed straight forward to the usual in the creek, which ran between 
the rangers and the main army ; but several In- 
dians, who had passed him before he arose from 
the grass, threw themselves in the way, and com- 
pletely cut him off from the rest. 

By the most powerful exertions, he had thrown 
the whole body of pursuers behind him, with the 
exception of one young chief, probably Messhawa, 
who displayed a swiftness and perseverance equal 
to his own. In the circuit which Kennan was 
obliged to make, the race continued for more than 
four hundred yards. The distance between them 
was about eighteen feet, which Kennan could not 
increase, nor his adversary diminish. Each for 
the time put his whole soul into the race. 

Kennan, as f^r as he was able, kept his eye 
upon the motions of his pursuer, lest he should 
throw the tomahawk, which he held aloft in a 
menacing attitude, and, at length, finding that 


no Other Indian was immediately at hand, he 
determined to try the mettle of his pursuer in a 
different manner, and felt for his knife in order 
to turn at bay. It had escaped from its sheath, 
however, while he lay in the grass, and his hair 
almost lifted the cap from his head when he found 
himself totally unarmed. As he had slackened 
his pace for a moment, the Indian was almost in 
reach of him when he recommenced the race ; 
but the idea of being without arms lent wings to 
his flight, and for the first time he saw himself 
gaining ground. He had watched the motions 
of his pursuer, however, too closely to pay pro- 
per attention to the nature of the ground before 
him, and suddenly found himself in front of a 
large tree, which had been blown down, and upon 
which brush and other impediments were heaped 
to the height of eight or nine feet. 

The Indian, heretofore silent, now gave a sharp 
quick yell, as if sure of his victim. Kennan had 
not a moment to deliberate. He must clear the 
impediment at a leap, or perish. Putting his 
whole soul into the effort, he bounded into the 
air with a power which astonished himself; and 
clearing limbs, brush, and every thing else, 
alighted in perfect safety on the other side. A 
loud yell of amazement burst from the band of 
pursuers bringing up the rear, not one of whom 
had the hardihood to attempt the same feat. 

Kennan, however, had no leisure to enjoy his 


triumph. Dashing into the creek, where the high 
banks would protect him from the fire of the 
enemy, he ran up the edge of the stream until he 
found a convenient crossing-place, and rejoined 
the rangers in the rear of the encampment, pant- 
ing from the fatigue of exertions which had seldom 
been surpassed. But little breathing time was 
allowed him. The attack instantly commenced, 
and was maintained for three hours with un- 
abated fury. 

When the retreat took place, Kennan was at- 
tached to Major Clarke's battalion, which had 
the dangerous service of protecting the rear. 
This corps quickly lost its commander, and was 
completely disorganized. Kennan was among the 
hindmost when the flight commenced, but exerting 
those same powers which had saved him in the 
morning, he quickly gained the front, passing 
several horsemen in his flight. Here he beheld 
a private in his own company, an intimate ac- 
quaintance, lying upon the ground with his thigh 
broken, who, in tones of the most piercing dis- 
tress, implored each horseman as he hurried by 
to take him up behind. As soon as he beheld 
Kennan coming up on foot, he stretched out his 
hands and entreated him to save him. Notwith- 
standing the imminent peril of the moment, his 
friend could not reject so passionate an appeal, but 
seizing him in his arms he placed him upon his back, 
and ran in that manner several hundred yards. 


At length, the enemy was gaining upon them 
so fast, that Kennan saw their death was certain 
unless he relinquished his burden. He accord- 
ingly told his friend that he had used every pos- 
sible exertion to save his life, but in vain ; that 
he must relax his hold about his neck, or they 
would both perish. The unhappy man, heedless 
of every remonstrance, still clung convulsively to 
Kennan's back, until the foremost of the enemy, 
armed with tomahawks alone, were within twenty 
yards of them. Kennan then drew his knife 
from its sheath, and cut the fingers of his com- 
panion, thus compelling him to relinquish his 
hold. The wounded man rolled upon the ground 
in utter helplessness, and Kennan beheld him 
tomahawked before he had gone thirty yards. 
Relieved from his burden, Kennan darted forward 
with an activity which once more brought him to 
the van. Here again he was compelled to neg- 
lect his own safety to attend to that of others. 

The late Governor Madison, of Kentucky, who 
afterward commanded the corps which defended 
themselves so honourably at the river Raisin, was 
at that time a subaltern in St. Clair's army. Being 
a man of feeble constitution, he was totally ex- 
hausted by the exertions of the morning, and was 
found by Kennan sitting calmly upon a log, wait- 
ing the approach of his enemies. Kennan has- 
tily accosted him, and inquired the cause of his 
delay. Madison, pointing to a wound which had 


bled profusely, replied, he was unable to walk 
farther, and had no horse. Kennan instantly 
ran back to the spot where he had seen an ex- 
hausted horse grazing, caught him without diffi- 
culty, and having assisted Madison to mount, 
walked by his side until they were out of danger. 
Fortunately the pursuit ceased soon after, as the 
plunder of the camp presented irresistible at- 
tractions to the enemy. The friendship thus 
formed between these two young men continued 
through life ; but Kennan never entirely re- 
covered from the immense exertions he was con- 
strained to make during this unfortunate expe- 

The disastrous defeat of St. Clair created the 
greatest alarm, not only in Kentucky, but 
throughout the whole northwest territory. At 
first it was believed that St. Clair was besieged 
in Fort Jefi"erson, and both Scott and Wilkinson 
issued calls for volunteers to march to his relief. 
The subsequent intelligence of his arrival at Fort 
Washington, and that nothing more was to be 
attempted than his remaining force was able to 
effect, quieted in some respect the public mind ; 
and the volunteers, who had commenced rapidly 
assembling, returned for the present to their 

About two months after the battle, Wilkinson, 
who had mean while been appointed to command 
the second regiment, marched from Fort Jeffer- 


son, -with two companies of regulars and one 
hundred and fifty mounted militia, to visit the 
field. Though covered with snow a foot deep, it 
presented a horrid spectacle. The dead were 
buried; one piece of cannon was brought oiF; 
the carriages of the other pieces remained, but 
the guns themselves were not to be found. 
There was not a tree or bush in the neighbour- 
hood unmarked by musket balls. No Indians 
anywhere appeared. Yet, during Wilkinson's 
absence from Fort Jefferson, a party of the gar- 
rison, having wandered a mile or two from the 
fort, had been set upon, and several of them 

It has been already mentioned, that the ninth 
and last convention met at Danville, in April, 
1792, and formed the first constitution of the 
state of Kentucky. In some of its prominent 
features it departed very widely from that of the 
parent state, Virginia. In the representation by 
counties, ^lumbers were established as the basis. 
Suffrage was universal, and sheriffs were elected 
triennially by the people. But the popular ele- 
ment infused into the constitution was not admit- 
ted without certain strong checks. The execu- 
tive, the senate, and the judiciary were entirely 
removed from the direct control of the people. 
No pecuniary qualification was required either in 
voters or officers ; but representatives must be 
twenty-four years of age, senators twenty-seven, 


the governor thirty, and all of them citizens of 
the state for two years. 

The representatives were to be chosen annually, 
by the votes of the free white citizens. The 
governor was chosen by electors, who were elected 
by the people every fourth year. The members 
of the senate were appointed by the same elec- 
toral college which chose the president, and might 
be selected indifferently from any part of the 
state. The judiciary were appointed by the 
governor during good behaviour, but subject to 
removal on an address to that effect from two- 
thirds of both branches of the legislature. 

The supreme court had, however, original and 
final jurisdiction in all land cases. This last fea- 
ture was engrafted on the constitution by Colonel 
Nicholas, and was found most expensive and 
mischievous in practice. 

The constitution was adopted, and the officers 
elected in May, 1792. Isaac Shelby, an old 
Revolutionary officer, who had gallantly dis- 
tinguished himself at King's Mountain and Point 
Pleasant, was elected the first governor of Ken- 
tucky. Alexander Bullitt was chosen speaker of 
the senate, and Robert Breckenridge, of the 
house of representatives. James Brown was ap- 
pointed secretary of state, and George Nicholas 
attorney-general. John Brown and John Ed- 
wards were elected by joint ballot senators to 


Congress. Frankfort was fixed upon as the fu- 
ture seat of government. 

During the first session of the legislature, acts 
were passed establishing the supreme court, con- 
sisting of three judges, county courts, and courts 
of quarter sessions, — the latter having common 
law and chancery jurisdiction. A court of oyer 
and terminer was also formed, composed of three 
judges, having criminal jurisdiction, and sitting 
twice a year. 

The new state of Kentucky was rapidly rising 
into importance. By the census, which had been 
taken in 1790 under the authority of the United 
States, the population of Kentucky numbered at 
that time, seventy-three thousand six hundred 
and seventy-seven souls. Of these, sixty-one 
thousand one hundred and thirty-three were free 
white persons ; twelve thousand four hundred 
and thirty slaves ; and one hundred and fourteen 
free coloured persons, excluding Indians. One- 
half of the white people, at least, and probably 
three-fourths of the slaves, were from Virginia ; 
the residue being mainly from Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, and North Carolina. 

Notwithstanding this amazing increase of popu- 
lation within a few years, the Indians, elated by 
their brilliant victories over the large forces sent 
against them, still continued to prowl about the 
thinly-settled portions of the state, and after 


murdering the settlers, eluding pursuit by a rapid 

About Christmas, in the year 1791, a new set- 
ment was made on main Elkhorn, between three 
and four miles from Frankfort, by two brothers 
named Cook, their brothers-in-law Mastin and 
Dunn, and two other persons by the names of 
Bledsoe and Farmer ; all of whom had families. 

On the 28th of April, 1792, an attack was 
made on three several points of the settlement, 
almost simultaneously, by about one hundred In- 
dians. The first assault was made on the Cooks. 
The brothers were in their cabins, one engaged 
in shearing sheep, the other looking on. The 
sharp crack of rifles was the first intimation they 
received of the proximity of the Indians, and 
that fire was fatal to both the brothers. The 
elder fell dead immediately, and the younger was 
mortally wounded, but was enabled to reach his 
cabin. The two Mrs. Cooks, with three children, 
were instantly collected in the house, and the 
door, a very strong one, made secure. 

The Indians, unable to enter, discharged their 
rifles at the door, but without injury, as the balls 
did not penetrate the thick boards of which it was 
constructed. They then attempted to cut it 
down with their tomahawks, but with no better 

While these things occurred without, there was 
deep sorrow, mingled with fearless determination 


and higli resolve, -within. The younger Cook, 
mortally wounded, immediately the door was 
barred, sank on the floor and breathed his last ; 
and the two widows were left th6 sole defenders 
of the cabin with the three children. 

There was a rifle in the house, but no balls 
could be found. In this extremity, one of the 
women got hold of a musket-ball, and placing it 
between her teeth, succeeded in biting it into two 
pieces. With one she instantly loaded the rifle. 

The Indians, failing in their attempt to cut 
down the door, had retired a few paces in front, 
doubtless to consult upon their future operations. 
One seated himself upon a log, apparently appre- 
hending no danger from within. Observing him, 
Mrs. Cook took aim from a narrow aperture and 
fired, when the Indian gave a loud yell, bounded 
high in the air, and fell dead. 

This unexpected event infuriated the savages, 
who, being able to speak imperfect English, 
threatened to burn the house with all its inmates. 
Several speedily climbed to the top of the cabin, 
and kindled a fire on the boards of the roof. 
The devouring element soon began to take eff"ect, 
and with less determination on the part of those 
within, would soon have enveloped the whole of 
them in destruction. One of the women instantly 
ascended to the loft, while the other handed her 
water with which she extinguished the fire. 
Again and again the roof was fired, and as often 


extinguished. The water failing, the undaunted 
women procured some eggs, which were broken, 
and their contents thrown upon the fire. Their 
next resource was the bloody waistcoat of their 
husband and brother-in-law ; the blood with which 
this was profusely saturated checked the further 
progress of the flames, which, with a few subse- 
quent efforts, were at length fully subdued. The 
savage foe yielded, and the fruitful expedients 
of female courage triumphed. One Indian, in 
bitter disappointment, fired at his unseen enemy 
through, the boards, but did not injure her. They 
now descended from the roof. 

About the time the attack commenced, a young 
man named McAndre escaped on horseback in 
view of the Indians. Supposing he would give 
the alarm to the older settlements ; as soon as 
the savages descended from the roof, a few of 
them climbed some trees in the vicinity and in- 
stituted a sharp look-out. While in the trees, 
one of them fired a second ball into the loft of 
the cabin, which cut to pieces a ball of yarn 
hanging near the head of Mrs. Cook, but with- 
out doing further injury. Soon after, they threw 
the body of the dead Indian into the adjacent 
creek, and fled precipitately. 

A few moments after the Cooks were attacked, 
Martin, in conversation with McAndre near his 
cabin, was fired upon and wounded in the knee, 
but not so badly as to disable him. He com- 


menced a retreat into his house, Avhen he received 
a second shot which killed him. McAndre 
escaped on horseback, and carried with him to 
the settlement one of Martin's small children. 

Dunn, and two of his sons, one aged sixteen, 
and the other nine years, not having been ob- 
served by the Indians when the attack commenced, 
escaped to the woods and separated. The old 
man made his way safely to the older settlement, 
but the boys were afterward discovered by the 
Indians, and both murdered. 

One of the negroes at Innis's quarter, being 
sick, was killed, and the two others taken captive. 
Of the latter, one died among the Indians, and 
the other returned to his master. The survivors 
of this infant colony were taken to the older set- 
tlements, where they experienced all the kindness 
and hospitality so characteristic of pioneer life. 

The alarm quickly spread, and before night- 
fall a body of from seventy-five to one hundred 
men were in hot pursuit of the retreating foe. 
The main body of the Indians, however, reached 
the Ohio, and crossed it safely in advance of the 
Kentuckians. A small party, who had lingered 
behind and stolen some negroes and horses from 
another settlement, were overtaken by a party 
of the whites, a short distance from the river. 
One of the Indians was shot, but, in falling, level- 
led his rifle and killed one of the horsemen, who 
had advanced too rashly toward hiiji. 



St. Clair superseded — Wayne appointed his successor — Colonel 
Hardin — Sent as a messenger to the Indians — Is murdered 
— Biograpliical notice — Hardin serves under Dunmore — 
Volunteers with Captain Morgan — Is wounded in the thigh 
— Rejoins Dunmore in an expedition against the Indian 
towns — Contemplates moving to Kentucky — War between 
England and the colonies — Hardin enlists men for the de- 
fence of his country — Is appointed a Heutenant — Offered a 
majority, but declines — Moves to Kentucky — Appointed 
colonel of the county militia — His services — Grave charge 
against Wilkinson — Tecumseh — Kenton's skirmish with 
him^His stratagem and escape — The last Indian inroad — 
Kenton forms an ambuscade on the Ohio — Kills four Indians 
and two white men — Escape of the others. 

Depredations still continued, and General 
"VVasliington, to the great distress of Kentucky, 
persevered in the employment of a regular force, 
instead of mounted militia. St. Clair was super- 
seded, and General Wayne appointed his succes- 
sor. A regular force was to be organized, and 
a final effort made to crush the hostile tribes. 

The death of Colonel John Hardin, which oc- 
curred in May of this year, but which was not 
confirmed until some time in December, created 
great sorrow among the people of Kentucky, by 
whom he was much beloved. 

Colonel Hardin had been solicited by General 
Wilkinson, commanding at Fort Washington, to 


become the bearer of a flag to the hostile tribes 
northwest of the Ohio, with a view of negotiating 
terms of peace. The service was known to be 
dangerous, and many of those who were best 
acquainted with the Indian character believed it 
would be fatal to the undertaker. Notwithstand- 
ing these ominous misgivings, the chivalrous 
nature of Colonel Hardin would not permit him 
to decline a commission because of the peril at- 
tendant upon its performance. He accordingly 
set out in May, attended by an interpreter. 

While on his way to the Miami villages, he ar- 
rived at an Indian camp, about a day's journey 
from where Fort Defiance was subsequently built 
by General Wayne, and nearly the same distance 
from a town inhabited by the Shawnese and 

He was well received by the Indians in camp, 
but had not been long there before five Delawares 
came in, with whom Hardin proposed to proceed 
to the town that evening. They, however, de- 
clined returning until the next day ; and as they 
appeared peaceably disposed, Hardin concluded 
to camp with the Indians during the night, which 
he did without molestation. 

In the morning, he was murdered by some of 
the savages ; but whether his death was ac- 
companied by any circumstaMes of barbarity, 
has never been ascertained. They seized his 
horse, gun, and saddle-bags, expecting doubtless 


to find money and presents in the latter. His 
servant they made a prisoner, and taking him 
with them on the road to Sandusky, mm-dered 
him hy the way. 

Colonel Hardin fell in the thirty-ninth year 
of his age, after a life, the last twenty years of 
which had been spent, for the most part, in the 
service of his country. 

In the expedition conducted by Governor Dun- 
more against the Indians, young Hardin served 
the capacity of ensign in a militia company. 
During the ensuing August, he volunteered with 
Captain Zach Morgan, and in an engagement 
with the savages was wounded while in the act 
of aiming his rifle at the enemy. The better to 
support his gun, he had sunk on one knee, and 
while in this position the ball struck his thigh on 
the outer side, ranged up it about seven inches 
and lodged near the groin, whence it was never 
extracted. The enemy were beaten, and fled. 

Before he had recovered from his wound, or 
could dispense with his crutches, he joined Dun- 
more on his march to the Indian towns. Soon 
after the peace which ensued, Hardin turned his 
attention toward Kentucky, as to a scene for 
new adventure ; and had actually prepared for 
his journey, when it was abandoned on account 
of increasing rumours of an approaching war 
with Great Britain. 

The American Congress having determined to 


raise a military force, Hardin applied himself to 
the business of recruiting, and "with such success, 
that he was soon enabled to join the continental 
army with the command of a second lieutenant. 
He was afterward attached to Morgan's rifle 
corps, which was generally on the lines, and with 
which he served until his resignation of his com- 
mission as first lieutenant, in December, 1779. 
In the mean time, he had acquired and held a 
high place in the esteem of General Daniel Mor- 
gan, by whom he was often selected for enter- 
prises of peril, which required discretion and 
intrepidity to insure success. 

A few anecdotes have been preserved which 
illustrate very forcibly the coolness, courage, and 
eminent military talents of Hardin. 

While with the northern army, he was sent out 
on a reconnoitring excursion, with orders to 
capture a prisoner, for the purpose of obtaining 
information. Marching silently in advance of 
his party, he found himself, on rising the abrupt 
summit of a hill, in the presence of three British 
soldiers and a Mohawk Indian. The moment 
was critical; he presented his rifle, and ordered 
them to surrender. The British immediately 
threw down their arms ; the Indian clubbed his 

They remained motionless, while he continued 
to advance on them ; but none of his men having 
come to his assistance, he turned his head a little 



to one side, and called them to come on. At 
this time, the Indian warrior, observing his eye 
withdrawn from him, reversed his gun with a 
rapid motion, with the intention of shooting. 
Hardin caught the gleam of light which was re- 
flected from the polished barrel of thp gun, and 
readily divining its meaning, brought his own 
rifle to a level, and without raising his piece to 
his face, gained the first fire, and gave the Indian 
a mortal wound, who, however, was only an in- 
stant too late, his ball passing through Hardin's 
hair. The rest of the party were marched into 
camp, and Hardin received the thanks of General 

Before he left the army he was offered a ma- 
jor's commission in a regiment about to be raised ; 
but he declined, alleging he could be of more 
service where he then was. In 1779 he resigned, 
and returned home. 

The ensuing year he proceeded to Kentucky, 
and located lands on treasury warrants, for him- 
self and some of his friends. In April, 1786, 
he removed his wife and family to Nelson, after- 
ward Washington county, in Kentucky. In the 
same year, he volunteered under General Clark 
for the Wabash expedition, and was appointed 
quartermaster. In the course of 1789, the In- 
dians stole all his horses, without leaving him 
one for the plough. They were pursued, but 
escaped across the Ohio. In the same year he 


was appointed county lieutenant, with the rank 
of colonel, which gave him command of the mili- 
tia of the county. As the summer advanced, he 
determined to cross the Ohio, and scour the coun- 
try for some miles out, in order to break up any 
bands of Indians that might be lurking in the 

With two hundred mounted men he crossed 
the river, and on one of the branches of the Wa- 
bash fell on a camp of about thirty Shawnese, 
whom he attacked and defeated with a loss of 
two killed, and nine wounded. 

From these Indians Colonel Hardin recovered 
two of the horses and some colts which had been 
stolen in the spring ; and it is worthy of remark, 
that no more horses were stolen from that neigh- 
bourhood during the war. 

There was no expedition into the Indian coun- 
try after Hardin settled in Kentucky in which 
he was not engaged, except that of General St. 
Clair, which he was prevented from joining by 
an accidental wound received while using a car- 
penter's adze. His death, which took place in 
the spring of 1792, has been already narrated. 

General Wilkinson was much censured for 
sending an officer of so much importance as Har- 
din upon a mission of so dangerous a character, 
and for which service any other messenger would 
have answered as well. The enemies of Wilkin- 
son did not scruple to charge him with having 


knowingly sent Hardin to his death, from jealousy 
of the great popularity which the latter had ac- 
quired in Kentucky. The subsequent murder of 
Major Trueman, an officer of great merit, who 
had been despatched by Wilkinson upon a similar 
errand, and with whom he was known to be at 
variance, gave additional colour to the charge. 

Another Indian warrior now appeared upon 
the battle-fields of Kentucky ; this was the cele- 
brated Tecumseh. He had already distinguished 
himself in various skirmishes with the whites, 
who, in the retaliatory spirit of the times, often 
carried the war in return into the Indian country. 

In the spring of 1793, while Tecumseh and a 
few of his followers were hunting in the Scioto 
valley, they were unexpectedly attacked by a 
party of whites from Mason county, Kentucky. 
The circumstances which led to this skirmish 
were the following : — 

Early that spring, an express reached the set- 
tlement in Mason, who stated that some stations 
had been attacked and captured on Slate Creek, 
in Bath county, and that the Indians were re- 
turning with their prisoners to Ohio. 

A party of thirty-three men was immediately 
raised to cut off their retreat. They were divided 
into three companies of ten men each ; Simon 
Kenton commanding one, Baker another, and 
Captain James Ward the third. The whole party 
crossed the Ohio at Limestone, and aimed to 


strike the Scioto above Paint Creek. After 
crossing this creek near where the great road 
from Maysville to Chillicothe now crosses it, 
evening came on, and they halted for the night. 
In a short time they heard a noise, and «, little 
examination disclosed to them that they were in 
the vicinity of an Indian camp. Their horses 
were promptly taken hack some distance and 
tied, to prevent an alarm. A council was held, 
and Captain Baker offered to go and reconnoitre, 
which being agreed to, he took one of his com- 
pany and made the examination. 

He found the Indians encamped on the bnnk 
of the stream, their horses between them and the 
camp of the whites. After Baker's report was 
made, the party determined to remain where they 
were until near daylight the next morning. Cap- 
tain Baker and his men were to march round and 
take a position on the bank of the stream in front 
of the Indian camp ; Captain Ward was to occu- 
py the ground in the rear ; and Captain Kenton 
one side, while the river presented a barrier on 
the other, thus guarding against the retreat of 
the Indians. It was further agreed that the 
attack should not commence until it was light ■ 
enough to shoot with accuracy. 

Before Kenton and Ward had reached the po- 
sitions they were respectively to occupy, the bark 
of a dog in the Indian camp was heard, and then 
the report of a gun. Upon this alarm. Baker's 


men Instantly fired, and Captains Kenton and 
Ward, with their -companies, raising the battle 
cry, rushed toward the camp. To their surprise, 
they found Baker and his men in the rear instead 
of the front of the Indians, thus deranging the 
plan of attack, but whether from design or acci- 
dent is unknown. The Indians sent back the 
war-whoop, retreated a few paces, and took to 
the trees. It was still too dark to fire with pre- 
cision, but a few random shots were made, and a 
terrible shouting kept up by the Indians. 

While the parties were thus at bay, Tecumseh 
had the address to send a part of his men to 
the rear of the Kentuckians for the horses, 
and when the animals were brought to the front, 
which was accomplished without discovery, the 
Indians mounted and effected their escape, car- 
rying with them John Ward, the brother of 
Captain James Ward, and the only one of the 
party who was wounded. One Kentuckian was 
killed, a member of Baker's company. No pur- 
suit was made of the Indians, nor did they prove 
to be of the same party who had attacked the 
Slate Creek station. 

The last inroad made by the Indians into Ken- 
tucky took place in the course of the summer of 
this year. The spies, who had been ranging the 
Ohio below Limestone, discovered where a party of 
twenty Indians had crossed the river, and sunk 
their canoes in the mouth of Holt's Creek. The 


sinking of their canoes and concealing them was 
evidence of the intention of the Indians to re- 
cross the Ohio at the same place. 

When Kenton received this intelligence, he 
despatched a messenger to Bourbon county, to ap- 
prize them that the Indians had crossed the river 
and had taken that direction. He immediately 
proceeded to collect a number of choice spirits, 
■whom he could depend upon in a case of emer- 

Among the latter was Cornelius Washburn, a 
man both daring and sagacious. With this party 
Kenton crossed the Ohio at Limestone, and pro- 
ceeded down to opposite the mouth of Holt's 
Creek, where the Indian canoes lay concealed. 
Here his party lay ambushed for four days before 
they saw or heard any thing of the Indians. 

On the fourth day of their ambuscade, they 
observed three Indians come down the bank, and 
drive six horses into the river. The horses 
swam over. The Indians then raised one of the 
canoes they had sunk, and crossed the Ohio. 
When the enemy came near the shore, Kenton 
discovered that of the three men in the canoe, 
one was a white man. As he thought the latter 
was probably a prisoner, he ordered his men to 
fire at the Indians only ; they did so, and the 
two Indians fell. The headway which the canoe 
had, ran it upon the shore ; the white man in the 
canoe picked up his gun, and as Kenton ran 


down to the water's edge to receive him, he 
snapped his gun at the whites. Kenton then 
ordered his men to kill him, and he was imme- 
diately shot. 

About three or four hours afterward two more 
Indians and another white man came to the river 
and drove in five horses. The horses swam over, 
and the Indians, raising another of their canoes, 
followed across. As soon as the canoe touched 
the shore, Kenton's party fired upon the Indians 
and killed them all. The white man who was 
with them had his ears cut, his nose bored, and 
all the marks which distinguished the Indians. 

Kenton and his men still kept up their ambus- 
cade, knowing there were more Indians and one 
canoe behind. Some time during the night the 
main body of Indians came to the place where 
their canoes were sunk, and hooted like owls ; 
but not receiving any answer, they began to think 
all was not right. The two parties who had 
been killed, the main body expected to find en- 
camped on the other side of the Ohio, but as no 
answer was given to their hooting?, one of the 
Indians must have swum the Ohio and discovered 
the ambuscade. Standing on a high hill or knoll 
in the rear of Kenton, the savage gave three long 
and loud yells ; after which he shouted to his 
friends on the opposite shore to make their escape. 

Not many minutes after he had given them 
this warning, the Bourbon militia came up. It 


being dark, the Indians broke and run, leaving 
about thirty horses which they had stolen from 
the latter neighbourhood. The next morning 
some attempt was made to pursue the savages ; 
but they had scattered and straggled off in such 
small parties that the pursuit was soon abandoned. 


Genet supersedes Ternant as ambassador to the United States 
— Perplexing position of the government — Washington calls 
a cabinet council — Proclamation of neutrality resolved upon 
— High-handed conduct of Genet — His reception by the 
people — Projects an expedition against the Spanish settle- 
ments — Despatches agents to Kentucky to raise volunteers — 
George Rogers Clark commissioned a major-general in the 
French service — Letter to Governor Shelby from the Secre- 
retary of State — His reply — Democratic societies formed — 
Second letter to Shelby — His sympathy with the movement 
— Shelby's letter to the Secretary of State — Reply of Ed- 
mund Randolph — Washington issues a proclamation to the 
people of Kentucky — The recall of Genet solicited — Activity 
of the democratic associations — Meeting at Lexington — Re- 
call of Genet — The expedition abandoned — Genet marries 
and settles in New York. 

In the year 1793, the new republic of France 
being threatened with a sanguinary struggle 
against the combined monarchical powers of 
Europe, despatched Citizen Genet to supersede 
Ternant as ambassador to the United States. 

News of the French declaration of war against 


England reached New York five days before 
Genet arrived at Charleston, bringing the same 

While this threatening state of affairs was 
creating the greatest commotion abroad, the 
situation of the government of the United States 
was singularly perplexing. The policy of the 
government and the interests of the country de- 
manded the exercise of the strictest neutrality ; 
but by the treaty of commerce between France 
and America, French privateers and prizes were 
entitled to shelter in the American ports — a shel- 
ter not to be extended to the enemies of France. 
By the treaty of alliance, also, the United States 
were bound, in express terms, to guaranty the 
French possessions in America. 

The arrival of Genet, especially as he appeared 
to be armed with unusual powers, was regarded 
by the government with great anxiety. Nor did 
the conduct of the new French ambassador at all 
tend to decrease the feeling. To counteract the 
first impulse of the American people, who, retain- 
ing a grateful remembrance of the assistance which 
France rendered them in their struggle for liberty, 
were disposed to espouse the quarrel of their for- 
mer generous ally, President Washington met the 
members of his cabinet at Philadelphia, by whom, 
after an elaborate discussion of the articles of the 
treaty, it was unanimously agreed, that while a 
proclamation of neutrality should issue. Genet, as 

genet's extraordinary conduct. 179 

minister of the new French republic, should be re- 
ceived and recognised. In the mean while, Genet 
— who had been welcomed with the greatest enthu- 
siasm by the governor and citizens of South Caro- 
lina — commenced fitting out privateers from the 
port of Charleston. Two vessels, manned mostly 
with Americans, put to sea under the French 
flag, and soon made numerous captures of home- 
ward-bound British vessels. Washington and his 
cabinet, denounced the privateering commissions 
issued by Genet, as irregular and void ; and de- 
clared the condemnation of prizes by the French 
consuls unauthorized by treaty. The French 
minister, inflated by the popular acclamations 
with which he had been received, treated the 
proclamation of neutrality with contempt, and 
proceeded to organize various military expe- 
ditions within the United States, as if the lat- 
ter was already engaged in war as an ally of 

The journey of Genet from Charleston to Phila- 
delphia was like a triumphal procession. He was 
escorted into the latter city by an enthusiastic 
crowd, feasted the succeeding day by a large 
body of citizens, and by his own speeches, and 
the inflammatory harangues of his adherents, 
sought to involve the United States in the war 
which the government so strenuously desired to 
avoid. Having an eye to the seizure of the Spa- 
nish possessions in Florida, Genet despatched 


emissaries to tlie south and west, to enlist volun- 
teei'S in the service of France. 

Taking advantage of the feeling in Kentucky 
in relation to a free navigation of the Missis- 
sippi River, four agents were sent into the latter 
state, furnished with commissions, and corre- 
sponding powers, to raise an army of two thousand 
men and appoint a generalissimo. The project 
was, to descend the Ohio and Mississippi in boats, 
attack the Spanish settlements at the mouth of 
the Mississippi, and bring the whole of that 
country under the dominion of the French re- 

George Rogers Clark, whose distinguished ser- 
vices in the Illinois country have already been 
recorded, accepted a commission from Genet, as 
" Major-general in the armies of France, and 
commander-in-chief of the French Revolutionary 
legions on the Mississippi." 

Much of the old renown of Clark as a compe- 
tent military leader had been lost by his dissi- 
pated habits of life ; but so great was the enthu- 
siasm of the people, and so strong the temptations 
offered by Genet, that he found no difficulty in 
obtaining any number of volunteers. 

According to the proclamation issued by Clark, 
" all persons serving for the expedition were to 
be entitled to one thousand acres of land ; those 
that engaged for one year were to be entitled to 
two thousand acres of land ; and if they enlisted 

Washington's interference, 181 

to serve during the continuance of the \var, they 
were to have three thousand acres of any unap- 
propriated land that might be conquered. The 
officers were to receive a like bounty in land in 
proportion to their rank, while the pay of both 
officers and privates was to be the same as that 
of other French troops." 

As soon as President Washington heard of the 
proposed expedition, he caused Governor Shelby 
to be informed of it, accompanied by the request 
that the latter would warn the citizens of Ken- 
tucky against the consequences ; and particularly 
to assure them that all acts of hostility committed 
by them against a nation at peace with the United 
States were forbidden by the laws, and would 
expose them to punishment. 

The governor in his reply, expressed his dis- 
belief in the existence of any such project, and 
added, " that the citizens of Kentucky were pos- 
sessed of too just a sense of the obligations they 
owed to the general government to embark in 
any enterprise that would be so injurious to the 
United States." With this answer the president 
remained for a time satisfied. In the mean time, 
democratic societies, somewhat similar to the 
Jacobin clubs of France, were established in the 
East, and extended themselves to Kentucky. Two 
clubs of this character were formed at George- 
town and Paris, in the latter state. Another at 
an earlier date was established at Lexington. 



The members of these associations, proclaiming 
themselves the friends of the people, offered to 
become the guardians of their rights and liber- 
ties, against what they were pleased to call the 
mal-administration of the general government. 
They openly and bitterly condemned the presi-' 
dent's proclamation of neutrality, abused his de- 
cisions in relation to Genet, and declared their 
abhorrence of every thing whatever which bore- 
the name of federal. 

On the 6th of November, another letter from 
the secretary of state, on the part of the general 
government, notified the (xovernor of Kentucky, 
that Lachaise, Depeau, Mathurin, and Gregnon 
had left Philadelphia on the 2d of the month, 
empowered by the French minister to raise volun- 
teers and fill blank commissions at disci'etion. 
The governor was again requested not to permit 
them to foment within that state any hostilities 
against the territories of Spain. The secretary 
of war also wrote a letter to the governor, bear- 
ing the same date, authorizing Shelby to put 
down, by means of a military force, if necessary, 
the expedition projected by Genet ; giving him 
the assurance that the United States would hold 
itself responsible for all lawful expenses incurred. 

But so much did Governor Shelby sympathize 
with the French movement, that, when the legis- 
lature of the state assembled in November, he 
neither alluded in his message to the enterprise, 

Shelby's connivaxce. 183 

then well known to be on foot, nor did he issue 
any proclamation admonishing the people from 
joining it. 

This inclination of Shelby to promote the 
French cause, by refraining from taking any ac- 
tive measures in opposition to it, did not escape the 
penetration of the French agents. Depeau had 
the audacity to write to him, avowing himself 
authorized by Genet to procure provisions for 
the expedition, and asking him whether it was 
his intention to arrest such as joined in it. 

In reply to Depeau, and with a view of cau- 
tionieg the French emissaries not to violate the 
laws too openly, Shelby enclosed a copy of the 
instructions sent him by the secretary of state, 
and ended his letter by a half-regretful avowal 
that his situation compelled him to pay attention 
to it. 

On the 6th of Januar}', General Wayne, find- 
ing that the Governor of Kentucky had taken no 
steps to prevent volunteers from enlisting in the 
service of France, addressed him a letter, ad- 
vising him that the cavalry stationed between 
Georgetown and Lexington had been directed to 
act in obedience to his orders, in the event of his 
having any occasion for their services ; and if 
that force should be found insufficient, a larger 
one would not be withheld. 

"What reply Shelby made is not known; but 
on the loth of the same month, he wrote to the 


secretary of state, acknowledging his having re- 
ceived information that Clark had accepted a 
commission to raise a body of men, but that he 
had not, so far as he was aware, taken any steps 
to do so. A little further on, the governor adds : 
" I have great doubts, even if Clark and the 
French agents attempt to carry this plan into 
execution — provided they manage the business 
with prudence — whether there is any legal au- 
thority to restrain or to punish them ; at least, 
before they have actually accomplished it. For 
if it is lawful for any one citizen of this state to 
leave it, it is equally so for any number of them. 
It is also lawful for them to carry with them any 
quantity of provisions, arms, and ammunition. 
And if the act is lawful in itself, there is nothing 
but the particular intention with which it is done 
that can possibly make it unlawful. 

" I know of no law which inflicts a punishment 
on intention only, or any criterion by which to 
decide what would be sufficient evidence of that 
intention : even if it was a proper subject of 
legal censure. 

" I shall, upon all occasions, be averse to the 
exercise of any power which I do not consider 
myself clearly and explicitly invested with ; much 
less would I assume power to exercise it against 
men whom I consider friends and brethren, in 
favour of a man whom I view as an enemy and a 


« I shall also feel but little inclination to take 
an active part in punishing or restraining my 
fellow-citizens for a supposed intention only — to 
gratify, or remove the fears of the minister of a 
prince who openly withholds from us an invalua- 
ble right ; and who secretly instigates against us 
a most savage and cruel enemy." 

After this letter, there could be no possibility 
of mistaking the position of Governor Shelby. 
It was very evident that the movement met with 
his hearty concurrence, and it is not at all im- 
probable, that if the old veteran had been free of 
his official station, he would have joined the ex- 
pedition in person. 

Shelby was a man who entertained strong pre- 
judices. He was attached to the French people 
for the efficient aid they had rendered the coun- 
try during the Revolutionary struggle. He hated 
the British and the Spaniards ; and he desired, 
beyond all other things, a free navigation of the 

The letter of Shelby was no sooner received 
by the general government, than Edmund Ran- 
dolph, then secretary of state, replied to it, point- 
ing out the errors into which the governor had 
fallen, and explaining the duties he seemed so 
well disposed to neglect ; while Washington or- 
dered General Wayne to occupy Fort Massac 
with artillery, and to take such other steps as 
might be necessary to arrest the expedition. 


Genet still persevered in his schemes ; placed 
himself in direct opposition to the government of 
the United States, and, supported by the nume- 
rous democratic societies which had spread by 
this time over all parts of the Union, became both 
popular and insolent. 

Unable any longer to endure the repeated 
attacks by which the administration was assailed, 
a cabinet council was held at Philadelphia, to 
consider what should be done. 

After reading over Genet's correspondence, it 
was unanimously agreed to send a copy of the 
whole, with a full statement of Genet's conduct, 
to Gouverneur Morris, to be laid before the exe- 
cutive council of France, with a letter request- 
ing the recall of the obnoxious ambassador. 

Washington, who had hitherto refrained through 
motives of delicacy from interfering in the affairs 
of Kentucky, otherwise than through the executive 
of the state, now determined to appeal to the 
good sense and patriotism of the great body of 
the people. 

By a proclamation dated the 24th of March, 
1794, he informed them of the illegality of the 
project set on foot by French agents, and warned 
them of the danger of embarking in it. 

The proclamation effected a considerable change 
in the sentiments of many who had previously 
been led to suppose that the enterprise was un- 
dertaken with the consent and by the connivance 


of the President of the United States. Several 
influential persons immediately threw up their 
commissions ; while those who still desperately 
adhered to the cause felt themselves placed in a 
position of considerable embarrassment. 

The activity of the democratic societies within 
the state still continued without abatement. 
Every means was resorted to for the purpose of 
inflaming the popular mind, the favorite topic 
being the navigation of the Mississippi, which 
they alleged was withheld from Kentucky because 
of the jealousy of the eastern states. 

In the spring of 1794, a general meeting of 
the people was held in Lexington, and resolutions 
adopted, inviting the citizens of the diff'erent 
counties to elect delegates to a convention whose 
object was not strictly defined, but which looked 
in the old direction of separation. 

Just at this time, however, the intelligence 
came that Genet had been recalled ; that his acts 
were disavowed by the French government, and 
all his proceedings disapproved. 

The French agents, Lachaise and Depeau, 
immediately lost caste in the estimation of their 
former friends. Clark, stripped of his magnifi- 
cent title, retired to private life, and the project, 
which had caused so much alarm to the general 
government, fell through, never to be revived 

Citizen Genet, learning that the government 


of the French Republic had been wrested from 
the hands of those from whom he had received 
his appointment, did not venture to return to his 
own country, but consoled himself for the change 
by marrying an American lady, and settling in 
New York. 


Commissioners sent to the Indians to treat for peace — Refusal 
of the savages to treat — The army under Wayne — Fort 
Greenville built — St. Clair's battle-ground reoccupied — Fort 
Recovery built — Wayne joined by the Kentucky volunteers 
— Commences his march — Indian villages abandoned — Builds 
Forts Adams and Defiance^Intelligence of the Indians — A 
flag sent to them — ^Their answer — Fort Deposit built— The 
enemy discovered — Battle of Fallen Timbers — Defeat of the 
Indians — Wayne encamps near the British fort — Altercation 
with Major Campbell — Conduct of the Kentuckians — Fort 
Wayne built— Treaty with the Indians — Feeling in Ken- 
tucky — Marshall elected to the Senate of the United States 
— Attempt to remove Judges Muter and Sebastian — Courts 
of quarter sessions and oyer and terminer abolished — Other 

In the mean time, in order to bring the Indians 
to terms, without the effusion of blood, Washing- 
ton had despatched commissioners to them em- 
powered to frame a treaty of peace. Elated by 
their previous successes over the several armies 
which had been sent against them, the savages 
not only refused all pacific overtures, but pre- 
pared to meet a renewal of hostilities with the 
utmost confidence. 


While this negotiation was pending, the troops 
under Wayne remained at Fort Washington, 
where they suffered greatly from an epidemic 
influenza. When it was known that the com- 
missioners had failed in effecting a treaty, Wayne 
marched with his army, and leaving garrisons 
behind him at the intermediate posts, established 
himself with twenty-six hundred regulars, in a 
fortified camp at Greenville, six miles in advance 
of Fort Jefferson. Wayne had previously made 
a requisition upon the state of Kentucky for 
mounted volunteers. The great reluctance of 
the militia to serve with regulars was soon ob- 
served by the commander-in-chief, from the tardi- 
ness with which they responded to his call. On 
the 20th of September, 1793, Wayne earnestly 
urged General Charles Scott, commandant of the 
militia at Georgetown, to advance by the 1st of 
October with all the force he could collect in the 
mean time. 

On the 28th of September, Governor Shelby 
ordered a draft from the militia to supply the 
deficiency of volunteers ; and on the 24th of the 
following month, Scott, with a force of one thou- 
sand mounted men, was encamped on a prairie, 
nearly midway between Fort Jefferson and the 
head-quarters of General Wayne. The season 
being too far advanced to render military opera- 
tions effective, Wayne dismissed the volunteers 
until the opening of spring, and, building Fort 


Greenville, went into winter-quarters with, his 

It was during this enforced suspension of hos- 
tilities, that Wayne ordered a part of the legion- 
ary cavalry remaining in Kentucky to obey any 
call made upon them by Shelby for the suppres- 
sion of the French expedition against Louisiana. 
The passive encouragement given to the agents 
of Genet, by the Governor of Kentucky, prevented 
the latter from making use of the power thus 
placed in his hands, but the offer was not the less 
honourable to the vigilance of Wayne. 

The necessity of transporting provisions on 
pack-horses, through seventy miles of wilderness, 
rendered the support of the troops at Fort Green- 
ville very expensive to the general government. 
It, however, afforded occupation to the army in 
guarding the supplies by the way, and in keeping 
open the communication between the various posts 
which had been established along the line of 

During the winter several Indian chiefs visited 
the fort. The first impression created by their 
appearance was, that the savages were at length 
disposed to sue for peace ; but those pleasing an- 
ticipations were soon dissipated. After satisfying 
their curiosity, and holding with Wayne and his 
oflScers several idle talks, they departed as sud- 
denly as they had come, and without making any 


As the winter advanced, Wayne pushed for- 
ward a strong detachment to build and occupy 
Fort Recovery, on the site of the battle-field 
where St. Clair had met with so disastrous a defeat. 

In May, 1794, intelligence being received that 
the British and Indians were posted on the 
Miami, near the villages at the Rapids, Wayne 
determined to commence operations as early as 
possible, and renewed his requisition upon the 
Governor of Kentucky for additional troops. 

The action of Shelby was, in this instance, 
prompt and efficient ; by the middle of July, 
General Scott had assembled sixteen hundred vo- 
lunteers. With this force he immediately marched 
from the rendezvous at Georgetown, for head- 

On the 26th of the month, the first division 
joined the regular army at Fort Greenville, and 
without waiting till the remainder of the volun- 
teers came up, Wayne commenced his march for 
Fort Recovery. 

The Indians had already opened the campaign 
by a vigorous assault upon Fort Recovery during 
the latter part of June. After two days' hard 
fighting, they sufi'ered a repulse ; but were not 
altogether unsuccessful. They captured three 
hundred pack-mules, and inflicted a loss of fifty 
men, upon an escort of one hundred and fifty, 
which had just guarded a provision train, and lay 
encamped outside the fort. 


After leaving Fort Recovery, Wayne advanced 
to St. Mary's, by an unfrequented route, with the 
view of taking the Indians by surprise ; but on his 
arrival at the villages he found them abandoned. 
This "was the more mortifying to the general, 
since, in order to divert the attention of the In- 
dians from the route he intended to pursue, he 
had caused two roads to be opened from Green- 
ville in the direction of St. Mary's ; while he 
marched by the obscure way already mentioned. 
The treacherous conduct of a volunteer, who, 
while the army was secretly approaching the In- 
dian settlement, escaped to the enemy and warned 
them of their peril, rendered a stratagem en- 
tirely useless, which, at the outset, offered the 
most favourable prospects of success. 

At this place Wayne built Fort Adams, and 
at the confluence of the Au-Glaize and the Miami, 
he erected a strong stockade, which he named 
Fort Defiance. 

On the 12th of August, he learned from several 
prisoners who had been taken, that the main body 
of the Indians had retired down the Miami about 
thirty miles, where they occupied a camp at the 
foot of the Rapids, and in the vicinity of a new 
fort recently built by the British. 

Having in his camp a man by the name of 
Miller, who had been a prisoner among the In- 
dians and understood their language, Wayne 
determined to send him to them once more with 


pacific overtures. Miller was at first averse to 
undertaking so dangerous a mission, it being his 
opinion, from what he had observed, that the 
Indians were unalterably determined on war, 
and that they would not only pay no respect 
to a flag, but would most probably murder the 

Still anxious to make the experiment, Wayne 
assured Miller that he would hold the prisoners 
then in his custody as pledges for his safety, and 
that he might select from among them any num- 
ber he desired to accompany him. Thus en- 
couraged, Miller consented to deliver the mes- 
sage, and took with him one of the men and 
a squaw. With these attendants he left the camp 
on the afternoon of the 13th, and at daybreak 
the next morning reached the tents of the hostile 
chiefs, without being previously discovered. He 
immediately displayed his flag, and proclaimed 
himself a messenger. Instantly, he was assailed 
on all sides with hideous yells, and the cries, 
" Kill the runaway !" " Kill the spy !" 

Elevating his voice, and speaking to the in- 
furiated savages in their own tongue, Miller ex- 
plained to them the purport of his mission. This 
partially calmed them. He was taken into cus- 
tody, and permitted to read to them the letter of 
Wayne. Miller took particular care to lay great 
stress upon a passage in the letter, which stated 
that if the Indians did not send the bearer back 



to him by tlie 16tli of the month, he would at 
sunset of that day cause every prisoner in his 
camp to be put to death. 

On the 15th Miller was liberated by the In- 
dians, who replied to the message of Wayne, that 
if he waited where he was for ten days, they 
would come and treat with him ; but that if he 
advanced, they would give him battle. 

Before the return of his messenger, Wayne had 
commenced his march. On the 16th Miller met 
the general-in-chief, and, after delivering the 
answer which the Indians had sent, expressed his 
belief, from the constant arrival of small parties, 
and the manner in which they were painted, that 
they had already determined on war, and only 
desired the delay in order to gain time for their 
reinforcements to join them. Wayne advanced 
at once. 

- On the 18th, when within about seven miles 
of the British garrison, he halted the army and 
threw up hastily a fort, which he called Fort De- 

On the morning of the 20th, his spies, who 
had been sent out the day before, returned and re- 
ported the enemy encamped in a bushy wood, their 
left flank being protected by the rocky bank of the 
river. The advance was immediately resumed in 
the same order as before ; the right flank composed 
of the regulars under Wayne, leaning on the Mi- 
ami; one brigade of the Kentucky troops, com- 


mancled by General Todd, occupied the left; -wliile 
the other, commanded by General Barbee, was 
placed in the rear as a reserve. A strong de- 
tachment under Major Price was thrown in ad- 
vance, to give notice when the enemy were found. 

As soon as the Indian fire was heard, the 
legion was formed in two lines in the midst of a 
thick wood, the ground being covered with old 
fallen timber prostrated in some tornado, a posi- 
tion very favourable to the Indians, since the 
mounted volunteers could hardly act. The In- 
dians were in three lines, extending from the 
river at right angles, and within supporting dis- 
tance of each other. 

As the weight of their fire indicated a disposi- 
tion to turn the left flank of the legion, Wayne 
ordered the second line into position on the left of 
the first. He also directed the mounted volunteers 
to attempt to gain the enemy's rear by a circuit- 
ous route, while Captain Campbell, commanding 
the cavalry, was instructed to move along the 
bank of the river, until he had penetrated and 
passed the Indian left. 

The front line of the legion, a short distance 
in advance, was now ordered forward with arms 
trailed, to rouse the savages from their coverts, 
with the bayonet, before firing a shot. When 
they had succeeded in doing so, they were to de- 
liver the whole of their fire, and then charge 
again with the bayonet, without giving the enemy 


time to reload their pieces. These orders were 
obeyed with such alacrity, that before the other 
troops could get into position, the Indians were 
completely routed. In less than an hour the 
enemy passed the British fort in full flight, and 
Wayne halted in full sight of it. The loss of 
the legion was one hundred and seven men in 
killed and wounded. Among the former, were 
Captain Campbell and Lieutenant Towlis. The 
loss of the Indians was not ascertained, but it 
was believed not to have exceeded that number. 

The corn-fields were ravaged close up to the 
British fort, and the establishment of McKee, 
the British Indian agent, was burned with the rest. 

General Wayne encamped near the fort for 
three days. While he continued there, a sharp 
and angry correspondence took place between 
himself and Major Campbell, the commander of 
the British garrison. Campbell inquirec^by what 
authority the American general approached so 
near the British cannon, and insulted his com- 
mand? Wayne retorted, by commenting upon 
the protection tacitly afforded by Campbell to 
the fugitive Indians, who had taken refuge be- 
hind his fortifications, and asked, in return, by 
what authority he had posted a garrison under 
a foreign flag within the territory of the United 
States ? -5 

Campbell responded by declining to discuss the 
question of right. He asserted that he held pes- 


session of the post by the authority of his Bri- 
tannic majesty, and expressed his determination 
to maintain it until ordered to withdraw by his 

The Kentuckians, already exasperated against 
the British, on acccount of the protection which 
the latter had for so many years extended to the 
Indians, sought to increase the difficulty between 
the two commanders by firing off their rifiies 
within range of the fort-guns, and by offering 
various other insults to the garrison. The re- 
spect which both Wayne and Campbell felt for 
their respective governments — who were at .this 
time endeavouring to adjust by an amicable treaty 
all matters in controversy — induced both com- 
manders to stop short of a sanguinary issue to 
their quarrel. 

Wayne fell back to Fort Deposit, which hav- 
ing improved and strengthened he now named, in 
scornful contempt of the assumed jurisdiction of 
Campbell, Fort Defiance. From this place he 
marched to the main forks of the river, where he 
built Fort Wayne. 

In the mean time, he had sent another flag to 
the Indians, offering them peace, and inviting 
them to a friendly council. The chiefs agreed 
to meet him at Greenville. Leaving garrisons in 
Fort Defiance and Fort Eecovery, Wayne re- 
turned, and occupied his old winter-quarters. 

During this brief campaign of ninety days, he 


had inarched three hundred miles, opening a road 
as he went along ; had gained a victory ; driven 
the Indians from their principal settlement, and 
destroyed the provisions upon which the savages 
had relied for their subsistence during the winter. 

The Kentucky volunteers, having suffered con- 
siderably from sickness, were discharged about 
the middle of October, and returned to their 
homes, well pleased with their commander, and 
better disposed to do justice to the intrepidity of 
the regulars than they had ever been before. 

The success of Wayne went far to obliterate 
the §tigma under which the general government 
had laboured in consequence of the previous de- 
feats. The regular troops also gained at length 
that honourable recognition for courage and in- 
trepidity which had hitherto been denied them. 
Upon the Indians, the effect of their sudden and 
most unexpected defeat at the Rapids was both 
deep and lasting. Those tribes of the east and 
south, who had previously been strongly disposed 
to form an alliance with their northwestern breth- 
ren, now desired nothing more than to maintain 
the most pacific relations with the whites. With 
the hostile Indians a treaty was soon afterward 
made, which was respected for nearly eighteen 

In Kentucky, the odium with which the gene- 
ral government had been so long regarded now 
yielded to better and more friendly feelings. 


The federalists, who, being placed under the ban 
of the democratic associations, had until now 
been scarcely able to obtain even a decent show 
of respect, with the decline of French and Spa- 
nish intrigues, grew gradually into favour ; so 
much so indeed, that during the following winter, 
Humphrey Marshall, one of the leaders of that 
party, was elected to the senate of the United 
States, over his talented republican competitor, 
John Breckenridge. 

At the meeting of the legislature, an attempt 
was made to remove two of the judges of the Su- 
preme Court, for having given an illegal decision 
in an important law-suit, which, if the judgment 
had not been speedily reversed and reprobated, 
would have seriously affected the tenure of lands 
in the state. The resolution being with difiaculty 
carried at all, and the constitution requiring con- 
curring majorities of two-thirds in each house to 
sustain an address, the effort to remove Judges 
Muter and Sebastian failed. At the next spring 
term, however. Muter joined the dissentient judge, 
Wallace ; the former decree was set aside, and 
the decision reversed. 

By an act of this legislature, the courts of 
quarter sessions and the court of oyer and ter- 
miner were abolished, and the district courts 
established in their places. Original jurisdiction in 
land cases was also taken away from the Supreme 
Court, and conferred upon the district courts. 


Another singular act ^vas also passed at this ses- 
sion, ^vhich made it obligatory upon every white 
male over sixteen years of age to kill a certain 
number of squirrels and crows annually. 


Retrospective — Joe Logston — His character — Leaves the fort 
in search of cattle — Is fired on by two Indians — His horse 
killed under him — Wounds one Indian severely — Is attacked 
by the other — Both combatants disarmed — A fearful trial of 
strength and activit}' — Kills his antagonist — Eeturns to the 
fort — Is disbelieved — A search instituted — The story con- 
firmed — An example of savage heroism — The Xickajack ex- 
pedition — The people of Tennessee call upon Kentucky for 
assistance — Colonel Whitley marches with one hundred men 
— Forms a junction with Colonel Orr — Is appointed to com- 
mand the troops — Surprise of the JVickajack towns — A second 
expedition organized — The result — Anecdote of Whitley — 
Proceeds to the southern towns to recover some negroes — 
Conduct of a half-breed — Friendship of Otter Lifter — His 
character — Biography of Whitley — His death. 

Before taking leave of the eventful year 1794, 
it may perhaps be as well to take up the minor 
incidents connected with it, and which, although 
presenting themselves in the form of episodes to , 
the general narrative, exhibit the hardy character 
of the Kentucky borderers, and the energy and 
resolution by which they were distinguished. 

In February of this year, the Indians made a 
sudden attack upon the settlements on Greene 
River, and the whites who escaped the first sur- 


prise took refuge in one of the forts, where 
they determined to remain until the savages re- 

Among those who formed the temporary gar- 
rison of the rude station, was a wild reckless fel- 
low, of great activity and daring, but not over 
honest, Avho was known to his companions as Big 
Joe Logston. This man, accustomed to a free 
roving life, could not long remain satisfied with 
a confinement so ill-suited to his previous habits, 
and after endeavouring, without success, to pre- 
vail upon others to accompany him for the pur- 
pose of hunting up cattle, he rode out alone into 
the forest. As all the cattle, which had not 
been killed by the Indians, had been frightened 
off to a distance beyond his hope of recovering 
them, Logston, toward the close of the day, con- 
cluded to return to the fort. 

While riding carelessly along a path which 
led in that direction, the first intimation he had 
of danger was the sharp crack of two rifles, one 
on each side of his track. One of the balls 
grazed his breast, but without injuring the breast- 
bone ; the other struck his horse behind the sad- 
dle, and he immediately fell. Logston was on 
his feet in an instant, with his rifle in his hands, 
and from his great activity might readily have 
escaped by flight ; but this he was not disposed 
to do. 

The moment the rifles Avere fired, an athletic 


Indian sprang toward Logston with his upraised 
tomahawk ; but as soon as the latter presented 
his piece, the savage jumped behind two pretty 
large saplings at a small distance apart, neither 
of which being of sufficient size to entirely cover 
his body, he was compelled to keep darting 
rapidly from one to the other, to save himself 
from the effect of a steady and direct aim. 

Perfectly conscious of having two enemies upon 
the ground, whose motions it was necessary to 
watch, Logston kept a keen look-out for the 
other, and by a quick glance of the eye, detected 
him behind a tree scarcely large enough to hide 
him. He was at that time rapidly loading his 
gun. While in the act of pushing down his bul- 
let he exposed his hips, and in an instant Log- 
ston fired and wounded him severely. 

The other Indian immediately rushed at Log- 
ston with his raised tomahawk. They were well 
matched, for both were large men, and both dis- 
tinguished among their associates for strength 
and activity. The Indian made a halt at the 
distance of fifteen or twenty feet, and threw his 
tomahawk with all his force ; Logston dodged it, 
and clubbing his gun, made at the Indian, think- 
ing to knock him down. The Indian, depending 
entirely on dodging, sprang into some brush or 
saplings to avoid the blow. At length Logston — 
whose rifle, from being repeatedly struck against 
the trees while aiming at the wary Indian, was 


reduced to the naked barrel — made a side blow 
with such force, that, again missing the Indian, 
the barrel flew out of his hands and beyond his 
reach. ' 

The Indian now gave an exulting cry, and 
sprang at him with all the savage fury of which 
he was master. Neither of them had a weapon ; 
but the Indian, seeing Logston bleeding, thought 
he could throw him down and despatch him. In 
this he was mistaken. They seized each other, 
and a desperate struggle ensued. Logston could 
throw his antagonist upon the ground, but could 
not hold him there. The Indian, being naked 
with his hide oiled, had greatly the advantage in 
a ground scuffle, and would slide out of Logston's 
grasp and rise. 

After throwing him five or six times, Logston 
found, between violent exertions and loss of blood, 
he was getting exhausted, and that he must 
change his mode of warfare, or lose his scalp, 
which he was not yet willing to spare. 

He threw his opponent again, and without at- 
tempting to hold him, jumped from him, and as 
he rose, aimed a fist blow at his head, which 
knocked him down again. Each time the savage 
attempted to regain his feet, Logston gave him a 
powerful blow, and each time his antagonist re- 
covered himself more slowly. Logston at length 
succeeded in striking him with great force under 


the ear, and the Indian fell, as the sturdy borderer 
thought, pretty nearly dead. 

Bending down to grasp his neck, Logston soon 
discovered that the Indian was so far sensible 
that he was stealthily using the fingers of his right 
hand in an effort to unsheath a knife that hung 
at his belt. The knife was short, and so sunk 
within the sheath, that it was necessary to force 
up the handle by pressing against the point. This 
the Indian was endeavouring to effect, and with 
good success. Logston, keeping his eye on it, 
permitted the savage to work the handle out, 
when he suddenly grasped it, jerked it from the 
sheath, and sank it up to the hilt in the Indian's 
breast, who gave a deep groan and expired. 

Logston now thought of the other Indian, and 
not knowing to what extent he was wounded or 
crippled, proceeded cautiously in search of him. 
He found him with his back broken, and propped 
against a log. Severely wounded as he was, he 
had succeeded in loading his gun, and tried seve- 
ral times to raise it for the purpose of shooting 
Logston, but at each effort he would fall forward, 
and had to push against his gun to raise himself 

Feeling already much fatigued, and not wish- 
ing to expose himself to the effects of a chance 
shot from an enemy already too much disabled to 
escape, Logston returned to the fort. When he 
reached there, he was covered with dirt and blood 


from head to foot, and as his companions, seeing 
the wretched plight in which he was, refused to 
credit his story, he told them to sally out and 
judge for themselves. 

The next morning a strong party set out for 
the battle-ground. At first they could discover 
nothing but the dead horse. At length they 
found a trail, as if something had been dragged 
away. On tracing it, they came upon the body 
of the larger Indian, at a little distance, beside a 
log, and covered up with leaves. Still pursuing 
the trail, which was not now so plain, they found 
■ the wounded Indian lying on his back, with his 
own knife sticking in his body, just below the 
breast-bone, evidently to show that he had killed 
himself, and had not come to his death by the 
hand of an enemy. They had a long search be- 
fore they found the knife with which Logston 
had killed the larger Indian. They at length 
discovered it forced into the ground, apparently 
by the weight of a person's heel. This had been 
done by the crippled Indian. The great efforts 
he must have made, alone, and under circum- 
stances of extraordinary agony, show to what a 
height of savage heroism the Indian character 
sometimes rose. 

Though more strictly belonging to the history 
of Tennessee, the famous Nickajack expedition 
cannot be passed without mention, from the num- 
ber of Kentuckians who were engaged in it. 


Early in the summer of this year, the Indians 
committed so many outrages upon persons and 
property in West Tennessee, that the settlers in 
that region, heing weak and few, petitioned their 
neighbours of Kentucky for assistance. 

Placing entire confidence in Captain William 
Whitley, they requested him to bring with him a 
party, and take the command of an expedition 
against the Nickajack towns. 

He accordingly raised one hundred volunteers, 
and, marching to the place of rendezvous, found 
Colonel Orr already there, with five hundred 
men. Upon a vote being taken, with the consent* 
of Orr, Whitley was elected commander, though 
the men, to entitle them to receive pay for their 
services, were mustered under the name of Orr. 

Each man was equipped, and ready to march 
at a minute's warning. Fifteen miles of the in- 
tended route were over mountains, and these 
were to be crossed in the night. 

This is the first time that mounted horse artil- 
lery is recollected to have been used. Whitley, 
now colonel by the authority of his troops, had 
mounted a swivel on his own riding horse, so that 
he could wheel and fire in any direction he 
pleased. The balls were of wrought iron, of 
which he took with him twenty or thirty for 
use on this occasion. 

In the mountains the way was so difficult, 
that some perplexity was likely to ensue, as the 

Whitley's expedition. 207 

war-path was but small, and often eluded tlie 

In order to accomplish the surprise of the 
snemj, which was a matter of the utmost im- 
portance, it was necessary to cross the last moun- 
tain before day, and cover the party, in its 
approach to the town, with the brushy forest of 
the plain. 

A moment's reflection suggested the means of 
relief. Colonel Whitley ordered light-wood knots 
of resinous pine to be collected, and a torch thus 
made, to be carried at the head of each company. 
Before sunrise next morning the town was sur- 
rounded and assailed ; fifty Indians were killed, 
nineteen taken prisoners, and the place laid in 

Taking with him a detachment of twenty men, 
Whitley proceeded toward the Running Water 
town, but was stopped by a party of Indians, 
who met him boldly, and attacked, at the beat of 
the drum. Two Indians were killed, and the 
rest, being hard. pressed, fied. 

Some papers, taken from parties who, while 
travelling in Kentucky, had been defeated by the 
Indians, were recovered. Among these were 
some which had belonged to a Dunkard, whom 
a gang of white robbers, under one Middleton, 
had previously been charged with having mur- 
dered. The articles of plunder found in the 
towns showed that the punishment the savages 


had received was well deserved ; as among other 
articles recovered were white men's shirts with 
bullet holes through them. 

After the return of this expedition, Whitley 
engaged in no further enterprises until the fall 
of the year, when he arranged with General Lo- 
gan to raise another body of men, and cut off the 
balance of the hostile towns on the Tennessee 
River, and thus put an end to the war. 

Owing to the increasing prospect of a general 
peace, Logan failed to attend at the rendezvous. 
This, however, was unknown to Whitley, who 
proceeded to comply with his engagement. When 
he reached the settlements on Holston, he found 
the people friendly and hospitable ; but Gover- 
nor Blount, who was desirous of bringing about a 
peace by less stringent means, forbade his pro- 
ceeding, and threatened to give intelligence to 
the Indians. 

Whitley, however, was not to be restrained 
from keeping his word. He procured canoes, 
descended the river, and lying concealed during 
the day, travelled only at night. Reaching with- 
in *due time the place appointed for rendezvous, 
he waited there three days for Logan, and then 
took up his march for home overland. His route 
for one hundred and fifty or two hundred miles 
lay through a mountainous and broken wilder- 
ness, the whole of which had to be traversed on 
foot. His party, which, including himself, con- 


sisted of eleven men, soon found their little pro- 
vision exhausted. As the signs of Indians were 
abundant, they were prevented from hunting, and 
in consequence suffered greatly from hunger. 
They at length reached home, after having lived 
for three days, during their perilous journey, on 
the flesh of one raccoon. 

Soon after peace was proclaimed, and before 
the war feeling had generally subsided, Whitley 
went to the southern towns to reclaim some ne- 
groes that had been taken in the contest. 

When he reached Watts's town, a half-breed by 
the name of Jack Taylor, who spoke English, and 
acted as interpreter — if he did not intend to pro- 
cure Whitley's death — at least determined to in- 
timidate him. The Indians being assembled, 
Whitley had no sooner declared the purpose of 
his visit, than Taylor told him he could not get 
the negroes. Taking a bell that was at hand, he 
tied it by a string round his waist, then seizing a 
drum, and beating and ringing with all his might, 
he raised the war-whoop. 

Whitley afterward said, when telling the story, 
<' I thought the times were squally. I looked at 
Otter Lifter : he had told me I should not be 
killed. I thought him a man of honour. His 
countenance remained unchanged, and I kept my 
own." At this time the Indians gathered about 
him armed, but fired their guns in the air, to his 
very great relief. The interpreter. Jack Taylor, 


finding Whitley could not be frightened away, 
and that he renewed his demand for the negroes, 
replied, that he could not get them ; they were 
under the protection of the United States ; " and 
your law say, prove your property." Whitley 
told him he would go home and bring a thousand 
witnesses, with every man his gun to swear by. 
" Ugh," replied Jack, "too many ! too many !" 
After a pause he added, there were three white 
prisoners, two girls and a boy, that would be 
given up ; but the negroes could not, until the 
Little Turkey, a principal chief, returned. 

When the latter came back, which was in a 
day or two, he summoned the chiefs to meet him 
at Turkey town, and it was there decided to sur- 
render the negroes to Whitley, without troubling 
him to prove his property by the rifle. 

Otter Lifter, on whose word Whitley had re- 
posed with so much confidence, was a remarkable 
man. He had raised himself to renown as a war- 
rior witnout ever having killed women, or children, 
or prisoners. His friend, his word, and his rifle 
were all he cared for. He said the Great Spirit, 
when he made all the rest of the animals, created 
men to kill and eat them, lest they should con- 
sume all the grass ; that to keep men from being 
proud he sufi'ered them to die also, or to kill one 
another and make food for worms : that life and 
death were two warriors always fighting ; with 
which the Great Spirit amused himself. 


The veteran pioneer, William Whitley, of whom 
the previous incidents have been recorded, was 
born in August, 1749, in Augusta county, Vir- 
ginia. He was among the very first settlers of 
the then almost unknown region called Kentucky. 
In 1775, having married Esther Fuller, and com- 
menced housekeeping in an humble way, with 
health and labour to season his bread, he told 
his wife he had heard a fine report of Kentucky, 
and he thought they could get their living there 
with less hard work. Her reply was, " Then, 
Billy, if I was you, I would go and see." In two 
days he was on his way, with axe and plough, and 
gun and kettle. 

As the scenes witnessed by him are similar to 
those witnessed by others, the details are unne- 
cessary. SuflBce it to say, he was in the expedi- 
tions of Bowman and Clark, and after passing an 
eventful life, which was rewarded by an inde- 
pendent fortune, he fell in the sixty-fifth year of 
his age at the battle of the Thames, while fight- 
ing as a private soldier in the ranks of the Ken- 
tucky militia. There is no monument raised to 
the memory of the brave and gallant pati'iot, 
William Whitley ; but the state has honoured the 
good old pioneer by giving his name to one of 
her counties. 



Final ratification of the treaty of peace between Great Britain and 
the United States — Spain agrees to grant the navigation of 
the Mississippi — Intrigues with Kentucky — Power, the Spa- 
nish agent, confers with Judge Sebastian — Baron Caron- 
delet's proposition — Views of Sebastian, Innis, and Nicholas 
— Power visits General Wilkinson at Detroit — His reception 
— Reply of Wilkinson — Views of Sebastian — Power's own 
opinion — Power sent to Fort Massac under an escort — 
Reaches New Madrid — Subsequent revelation concerning 
Sebastian — Adams elected President of the United States — 
His unpopularity in Kentucky — Meeting of the legislatures- 
Proposition to revise the constitution — Votes for and against 
a convention — Decision of the legislature. 

Late in the year 1794, the long-pending 
treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, was 
signed at London. On the 7th of March, 1795, it 
was received at the oiEce of the secretary of state 
in Philadelphia, and was ratified soon after by 
the president. and senate. The surrender of the 
north-western posts, so long withheld by the 
British until their own commercial claims should 
be adjusted, followed as a matter of course ; and 
the Indians, no longer protected by the power 
of their ancient ally, had neither the inclination 
to commence a war, nor the ability to successfully 
sustain one. Peace, therefore, continued for a 


long time among the nortli--u-estern tribes, while 
the progress of Kentucky, both in population 
and wealth, was steady and uninterrupted. 

To add to the gratification of the Kentuckians, 
the treaty with Spain, which had been for some 
time in the course of negotiation, ended in set- 
tling satisfactorily the long-disputed questions 
of the Spanish boundaries, and the navigation of 
the Mississippi. 

By this treaty, Spain ceded to the United States 
the right to navigate the Mississippi to the ocean 
together with a right of deposit at New Orleans, 
for three years, at the end of which period, either 
this privilege was to be continued, or an equiva- 
lent establishment was to be assigned them at 
some other convenient point on the bank of the 
lower Mississippi. 

But while this negotiation with Spain was 
pending, Carondelet, the Spanish governor at 
New Orleans, sought by various ways to detach 
Kentucky from the Union. In July, 1795, he 
sent a certain Thomas Power to Kentucky, with 
a letter to Benjamin Sebastian, then a judge of 
the court of appeals. In this communication, 
Carondelet expressed the willingness of his Ca- 
tholic majesty to open the Mississippi to the 
western country, and requested Sebastian to 
have agents chosen by the people of Kentucky 
to negotiate a treaty upon that and other matters. 
These delegates were directed to meet Colonel 


Gayoso at New Madrid, for the purpose of adjust- 
ing the provisions of the treaty. 

Sebastian, having shown this letter to Judge 
Innis, George Nicholas, and William Murray, 
they all agreed that Sebastian should meet Gay- 
oso at New Madrid, and hear what he had to 

The meeting accordingly took place, and the 
outline of a treaty was agreed upon ; but intel- 
ligence of the treaty concluded between Spain 
and the United States being received nearly 
about the same time, the negotiation was broken 
off, though much to the dissatisfaction of Sebas- 

That several persons, high in authority in Ken- 
tucky, were at this period, and had been for seve- 
ral years, partisans and pensioners of Spain, 
scarcely admits of a doubt. 

The year previous to this, six thousand dol- 
lars were sent to General Wilkinson from New 
Orleans, on board of a public galley. The charge 
of this money was intrusted to Captain Richard 
Owens, a gentleman of broken fortune, whose 
residence in Kentucky was near that of Judge 
Innis, The latter, who had on other occasions 
furnished Wilkinson with agents for Spanish in- 
tercourse, on this recommended Owens for that 

AVhen the galley reached the mouth of the 
Ohio River, the money was taken from it and 


placed on board another, in which Captain Owens 
embarked with six Spanish sailors. A few days 
afterward, Owens was robbed and murdered by 
his crew. One of the company, who had refused 
to participate in the act, fled to New Madrid, and 
impeached his companions. Three of the mur- 
derers being shortly afterward arrested in the 
neighbourhood of Frankfort, they were taken 
before Judge Innis. When he ascertained who 
they were, he refused to try them, on the plea 
of their being Spanish subjects. Notwithstand- 
ing the crime had been committed within his ju- 
risdiction, he committed them to the care of his 
brother-in-law, Charles Smith, who, on deliver- 
ing them to General AYilkinson at Fort Wash- 
ington, Cincinnati, was directed to convey them 
to some Spanish oificer on the Mississippi, as it 
was not expedient to make the matter public. 

At the time Owens received the six thousand 
dollars, another instalment of six thousand three 
hundred and thirty-three dollars was delivered 
to Captain Collins, also one of Wilkinson's agents. 
This money was conveyed by sea to New York, 
and reached Wilkinson in 1795. A further sum 
of six thousand five hundred and ninety dollars, 
Wilkinson told General Adair, had been delivered 
for him at New Orleans, a part of which he had 
received, and expected the remainder. 

The ratification of the treaty, although it 
checked for a brief season the prosecution of 


Spanisli intrigues in the West, did not by any 
means discourage the Spanish partisans from 
holding out to the court of Madrid great hopes 
that Kentucky and the territory of the great west 
■would at no very distant day withdraw from the 
federal union, and form an independent govern- 
ment. The nucleus of all these schemes and 
visionary expectations was in Kentucky. 

In 1797, while Andrew Ellicott, as commissioner 
on the part of the United States, was waiting 
patiently for the co-operation of the Spanish au- 
thorities to commence the survey of the boundary 
line, those very authorities, by means of their 
agents among the southern Indians, were stimu- 
lating the latter to throw obstacles in the way of 
the surveyors. They went still further. Power, 
the former agent of Carondelet, appeared in 
Louisville, bearing a letter to Sebastian, and a 
request that he would communicate its contents 
to Innis, Nicholas, and Murray. Sebastian de- 
clined any intercourse with the latter, but showed 
the letter to Judge Innis. 

The suggestions contained in the despatch 
■were, that the gentlemen already named should 
attempt, by a series of well-written publications, 
to influence the public mind to consider favour- 
ably a project of withdrawal from the Atlantic 

They were to expose, in the most striking point 
of view, the inconveniences and disadvantages 


arising from a connection with the Eastern states ; 
while the benefits to be reaped from a secession 
were to be pointed out in the most forcible and 
powerful manner. The danger of permitting the 
federal troops to take possession of the posts on 
the Mississippi, and thus forming a cordon of 
fortified places around them, was also to be par- 
ticularly expatiated upon. 

In consideration of gentlemen devoting their 
time and talents to this object, Carondelet pro- 
posed to appropriate one hundred thousand dol- 
lars to their use, to be paid by drafts on the 
treasury at New Orleans, or conveyed into Ken- 
tucky at the expense of his Catholic majesty. 
As a further inducement to embark in this scheme, 
Carondelet agreed to guaranty to any persons 
who might lose their offices in consequence of 
their advocating secession, a compensation equal 
at least to the emoluments of their office, let their 
efforts be crowned with success, or terminate in 

As soon as independence was declared, it was 
proposed that Fort Massac should be taken pos- 
session of by the troops of the new government ; 
Spain undertaking to furnish the fort with 
twenty field-pieces, all the arms and ammunition 
necessary for the use of the garrison, and to ap- 
propriate the sum of one hundred thousand dol- 
lars to be delivered at Fort Massac, and expended 
in the raising and maintaining the troops. 


The boundary lines '5\liicli were to separate tlie 
new western government from that of Spain 
were likewise strictly defined by the same instru- 
ment, in which, by subsequent clauses, Spain 
agreed to assist in defending and supporting the 
independence of its new ally, and to co-operate 
in reducing the Indians upon its borders. Such 
were the outlines of the provisional treaty sent 
by Governor Carondelet to Judge Sebastian, by 
the hands of the Spanish agent, Power. 

This shameful proposition, coming from a na- 
tion which had just sealed and ratified a formal 
treaty with the United States, was received by 
Sebastian without a single expression of indigna- 
tion or abhorrence. 

Innis long subsequently stated under oath, that 
when the document was submitted to him for 
perusal, he observed to Sebastian that it was a 
dangerous project, and one which ought not to 
be countenanced, inasmuch as the western people 
had now obtained the navigation of the Missis- 
sippi River, by which all their wishes were grati- 
fied. He then goes on to say : — 

"Mr. Sebastian concurred with me in senti- 
ment, but observed, that Power wished a written 
answer, and requested me to see Colonel Nicholas, 
saying, that whatever we did he would concur in." 

Innis afterward acknowledges that he saw 
Nicholas, who wrote a firm and decided refusal 
to the overtures of Spain, in which they jointly 


declared, that they would not be concerned, either 
directly or indirectly, in any attempt that might 
be made to separate the western country from the 
United States. This letter was signed both by 
Innis and Nicholas, and delivered to Power 
through the medium of Judge Sebastian. But 
the transaction was kept an entire secret, both 
from the state and general government. 

Power, in the mean time, visited Wilkinson, 
who, holding a command in the regular army, 
was then at Detroit. His ostensible object was 
to deliver Wilkinson a letter of remonstrance 
from Governor Carondelet, against the United 
States taking immediate possession of the posts 
on the Mississippi. The real purpose of his 
journey was to sound him upon the Spanish pro- 

Wilkinson having gone to Michilimackinac, 
Power waited at Detroit until his return. An 
interview then took place, of which Power subse- 
quently gave to Governor Carondelet the follow- 
ing account : — 

" General Wilkinson received me very coolly. 
During the first conference I had with him, he 
exclaimed very bitterly, ' We are both lost, with- 
out being able to derive any benefit from your 

" He said the governor had orders from the 
president to arrest me, and send me to Philadel- 
phia ; and added, ' that there was no way for me 


to escape, but by permitting myself to be con- 
ducted immediately under a guard to the Fort 
Massac, and from thence to New Madrid. Hav- 
ing informed him of the proposals of which I was 
the bearer, he proceeded to tell me that it was a 
chimerical project ; that the inhabitants of the 
western states, having obtained by treaty all they 
wanted, would not wish to form any other politi- 
cal or commercial alliances ; and that they had 
no motive for separating themselves from the 
other states of the Union, even if France and 
Spain should make them the most advantageous 
offers ; that the fermentation which existed four 
years back was now appeased." 

Wilkinson told him further, that Spain had no 
course to pursue under present circumstances but 
to comply fully with the treaty ; which had over- 
turned all his plans and rendered the labours of 
ten years useless : that he had destroyed his 
ciphers, and that his honour did not permit him 
to hold correspondence with the Spanish govern- 
ment. He complained of his secret having been 
divulged, that he had known from the preceding 
September that Spain did not intend giving up 
the posts on the Mississippi, but she would be 
compelled. He added, that when the posts were 
surrendered, it was probable that he would be 
made governor of Natchez, and he should then, 
perhaps, have it in his power to realize his politi- 
cal projects. 


<'Mr. Sebastian," continues Power, "held a dif- 
ferent opinion. He said, if there is a war with 
Spain, she will have nothing to fear from Ken- 
tucky, and insinuated that it would be the readiest 
way for Spain to accomplish a union with the 
West ; inasmuch as it would coerce Kentucky into 
taking an open part against the Atlantic states." 

Power's own opinion was that only three mo- 
tives would be able to impel Kentucky to break 
the confederation of the states. A w^ar with the 
French republic ; a prohibition to navigate the 
Mississippi ; and an incapacity on the part of 
the state to pay its share of the common duties. 

The intention of Power had been to return 
from Detroit by way of Louisville, but Wilkinson 
induced him to take a route through the unset- 
tled country of the Miami of the lake, and thence 
by way of Fort Massac to New Madrid. Wil- 
kinson, intimating that Power was a messenger 
charged with an answer to despatches received 
by himself as commander of the American army, 
placed the agent under care of Captain Shaum- 
bergh, and an escort of United States troops, 
who had orders to proceed to Fort Massac by 
the nearest and shortest route. 

When he arrived at the latter post, Power re- 
ceived from Sebastian the letter of Innis and 
Nicholas, and then sailed down the Mississippi 
to report to Carondelet the ill success of his 



The particulars of this transaction remained 
unknown till 1806, when they were divulged, and 
the public then learned for the first time that 
Sebastian had been receiving an annual pension 
of two thousand dollars from the year 1795 up 
to the period his treasonable conduct was ex- 

On the 4th of March, 1797, Mr. Adams had 
succeeded General Washington as President of 
the United States ; but with the people of Ken- 
tucky he was even less a favourite than his illus- 
trious predecessor. The administration of Wash- 
ington had always been unpopular in the border 
state, but that of Adams was denounced with a 
fierceness and virulence which can only be pal- 
liated by referring it to the exasperated state of 
party feeling, as it existed at that time. 

During the session of the legislature, the pro- 
priety of calling a convention to revise the old 
constitution was debated with great animation. 
The object of the proposed revision was to bring 
the election of the governor and senate more 
under the control of the popular vote, and to 
change the law regulating the election of sherifis. 
As it was necessary to consult the wishes of the 
people in regard to the proposed change, a poll 
was opened in May, 1797, when it was found 
that out of nine thousand eight hundred and 
fourteen votes, regularly returned, five thousand 
four hundred and forty-six were in favour of a 


convention ; but as five counties did not return 
the whole number of their votes, the result was 
considered doubtful. Another election was, there- 
fore, ordered, which took place in May, 1798, 
when out of eleven thousand eight hundred 
and fifty-three votes returned, nearly nine thou- 
sand called for a convention. Even at this 
election, the actual indifference of the people 
to any agitation of the subject may be in- 
ferred from the fact that ten counties failed to 
return the whole number of their votes, and 
eight counties declined voting at all. The con- 
vention, however, was called by the succeeding 
legislature, under the impression that such was 
the true desire of their constituents. 



Garrard elected Governor of Kentucky — Denounces the alien 
and sedition laws — Nullification resolutions written by Jeffer- 
son — Endorsed by Kentucky — Denounced by other states — 
Creation of new counties in Kentucky — Education promoted 
— Various academies established — Appropriations of land for 
their support — Meeting of convention — New constitution 
adopted — Garrard re-elected governor — An attempt made to 
encourage manufactures — Election of Jefferson — Navigation 
of the Mississippi interrupted — Louisiana ceded to France — 
Excitement in Kentucky — Letter of Jefferson to Livingston 
— Monroe sent to Paris — Purchase of Louisiana — Claiborne 
takes possession of New Orleans — Greenup elected Gover- 
nor of Kentuckj^ — Re-election of Jefferson — Kentucky militia 

In his address to the legislature, which met in 
November, 1798, Governor Garrard, the suc- 
cessor of Shelby, denounced as unconstitutional 
and dangerous to public liberty the acts recently 
passed by Congress, and commonly known as the 
alien and sedition laws. 

Under the influence of the fierce party spirit 
then unhappily prevalent, a great deal of cen- 
sure had been cast on these acts, the first of 
which gave the President of the United States 
control over suspected aliens, while the object 
of the other was to suppress libels against the 
government, the president, or either branch of 
the legislature, and to put down combinations 
of seditious persons. 


To these acts, as the leader of the ultra Demo- 
cratic party, Mr. Jefferson was bitterly opposed. 
He therefore drew up a series of resolutions, 
which were presented to the house by John 
Breckenridge, the representative from Fayette, 
and almost unanimously adopted. 

The object being to define the powers of the 
general government, and the rights and privi- 
leges of the states, the first resolution declared — 

" That the several states composing the United 
States of America are not united on the princi- 
ple of unlimited submission to the general go- 
vernment ; but, that by compact under the style 
and title of a constitution for the United States, 
and of amendments thereto, they constituted a 
general government for special purposes, dele- 
gated to that government certain definite powers, 
reserving, each state to itself, the residuary mass 
of right to their own self-government ; and, that 
whensoever the general government assumes un- 
delegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, 
void, and of no force ; that to this compact each 
state acceded, as a state, and is an integral party; 
its co-states forming as to itself the other party : 
that the government created by this compact was 
not made the exclusive or final judge of the ex- 
tent of the powers delegated to itself; since that 
would have made its discretion, and not the con- 
stitution, the measure of its powers ; but that, as 
in all other cases of compact among parties hav- 


ing no common judge, each party has an equal 
right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as 
of the mode and measure of redress." 

Enough is shown in the above resolution to 
prove that the doctrine of nullification is not of 
recent origin ; and that South Carolina, who has 
subsequently most sturdily supported the princi- 
ples enunciated above, can point to Thomas Jef- 
ferson and Kentucky as the first to distinctly 
avow them. Subsequent reflection and a cooler 
and more impartial condition of the public mind 
has caused, not only Kentucky, but most of the 
other states of the Union, to reject a doctrine, 
which, if carried practically into operation, would 
not only clog the machinery of the general go- 
vernment, but break up the confederation into 
petty state sovereignties. 

A copy of the resolutions adopted by the legis- 
lature of Kentucky was ordered to be sent to 
each state in the Union ; but Virginia was the 
only one that assented to them. Some of the 
other states censured the Kentucky doctrine 
■with great severity ; even Kentucky herself, at a 
later day, repudiated it quite as unanimously as 
she had once, in the heat of party spirit, con- 
sented to let it go forth to the world under the 
sanction of her name. 

The rapidity with which the population of the 
state increased may be inferred from the fact, 
that although, during the year 1796, six new 


counties had been erected, under the respective 
names of Bullitt, Logan, Montgomery, Bracken, 
Warren, and Garrard, it was found necessary in 
1798 to augment the number by an addition of 
eleven others, which were called Pulaski, Pendle- 
ton, Livingston, Henry, Cumberland, Gallatin, 
Muhlenberg, Ohio, Jessamine, Barron, and Hen- 
derson. The greater number of these latter were 
in that section of the state known as tlfe Green 
River country, the settlers, of which had taken 
up claims south of Green River, under the head- 
right laws. 

Nor were the means of education at this period 
altogether neglected. The Winchester Academy 
was established at this session ; and in compli- 
ance with the joint request of the trustees of the 
Transylvania Seminary and of the Kentucky 
Academy, the two institutions were united upon 
terms previously agreed to by the parties. 

Twenty trustees were named, and the esta- 
blishment was henceforth to take the name of 
the Transylvania University. The seat of the 
seminary was fixed at Lexington, but could be 
removed by the board of trustees, two-thirds of 
whom were required to concur in the measure. 

The trustees were incorporated. They were 
to exercise a control over the receipts and dis- 
bursements, and possessed the right, by the con- 
currence of a majority of their number, to re- 
ceive poor boys, or youths of promising genius, 


into the institution, whose education was to be 
provided for by public donations, or from the 
common fund. 

The former laws of the two institutions, with 
certain modifications, were to be the laws of the 
university, until altered by the legislature. 

The Bourbon Academy was also established 
by an act of this session. 

By another act more than twenty similar seats 
of learning were likewise established, with corpo- 
rate powers vested in trustees, a faculty of su- 
perintendence, and all the necessary provisions 
for efficient action. 

This act, like one passed the preceding ses- 
sion, granted six thousand acres of land to each 
academy established by it. The location to be 
fixed under the direction of trustees. A like 
quantity of six thousand acres was also granted 
for an academy in each county of the state, where 
none had been established. The location of the 
latter being given to the several county courts. 

The convention which had been called by a 
majority of both houses in the legislature met 
at Frankfort, on the 22d of July, 1799, chose 
Alexander Bulllit for president, Thomas Todd 
for clerk, and adopted rules for its government. 
By the 17th of August, the convention had suc- 
ceeded in making a new constitution, which went 
into operation on the 1st day of June, 1800. 
James Garrard was re-elected governor, and 


Alexander Bullitt, lieutenant-governor. The 
brief period in which the new constitution was 
framed, and the unanimity with which it was 
adopted, are remarkable when contrasted with the 
protracted sessions which have since been held in 
other states, for the purpose of remodelling simi- 
lar instruments. 

At the session of 1799, the new counties of 
Breckenridge, Floyd, Knox, and Nicholas, were 
created. Eighty-eight acts were passed, and the 
receipts for the year in the public treasury 
shown to be eleven thousand two hundred and 
thirty-four pounds; which, with the balance of 
the last year, made fifteen thousand three hun- 
dred and sixty-four pounds. The expenditures 
within the same period were about fourteen thou- 
sand and seven hundred pounds. 

By one of the acts of this session, an attempt 
was made to encourage manufactures within the 
state, by an appropriation of six thousand acres 
of vacant land, south of Green River, for the use 
and emolument of manufacturers of wool, cotton, 
brass, or iron, who should settle on it, at the 
rate of five families for each thousand acres, be- 
fore the 1st of January, 1803, carry on their 
trade in good faith, and pay forty dollars the 
hundred acres in four equal annual instalments. 
The act, however, was badly digested, and its 
provisions being found impracticable, it expired 
under its own limitations. 


In the winter session of 1801, the act esta- 
blishing district courts was repealed bj the legis- 
lature of Kentucky, and the present circuit courts 
erected in their stead. At the same session, an in- 
surance company was chartered in Lexington. By 
a clause which was not thoroughly understood by 
the members who voted for it, or it would never 
have been admitted^ banking powers were granted 
to this company, who thus obtained the first bank 
charter ever granted in Kentucky. 

In relation to national affairs, — in which the 
people of Kentucky, from their devotion to the 
democratic candidate for president, took an inte- 
rest far beyond that which they felt in their own 
state appointments, — the news of the election of 
Mr. Jejfferson over Mr. Adams was received with 
the most unbounded expressions of satisfaction. 

In the course of the year 1802, the interrup- 
tion of the navigation of the Mississippi produced 
great excitement in Kentucky. This interrup- 
tion was effected by suspending the American 
right of 'deposit at New Orleans, which under 
the Spanish treaty had been granted for three 
years, with a proviso that, if the privilege should 
be withheld at the expiration of that time, some 
other place of deposit near the mouth of the 
river was to be granted. The latter provision 
not being complied with, the treaty was undoubt- 
edly violated, and western commerce most se- 
riously crippled. So excited were the people of 


Kentucky upon the subject, that -wlien it became 
known that Spain had ceded the territory of 
Louisiana to France, it would have required a 
very little additional misunderstanding to have 
produced a state of war. 

Jefferson immediately wrote to Livingston, at 
that time American minister at Paris, directing 
him to obtain, if possible, the immediate transfer 
of Louisiana, or at least of the island of Orleans, 
to the United States. In this letter he stated em- 
phatically, that if the possession of Louisiana was 
retained by France, it would completely reverse 
all the political relations of the United States, 
and form an epoch in their political course. 
<■<■ There is one spot on the globe," continued 
Jefferson, " the possessor of which is our natural 
and habitual enemy. That spot is New Orleans." 

This strong protest had its effect ; perhaps 
also the motion which was made in the Senate of 
the United States, to authorize the president to 
seize New Orleans by force of arms, may have 
had a tendency to accelerate the action of the 
French government. The motion was not car- 
ried, but Mr. Monroe was despatched to Paris 
to arrange the difficulty with the first consul. 

Livingston had opened a negotiation for the 
purchase of New Orleans, and the adjacent tracts 
on the Mississippi, before Monroe arrived. His 
prospects of success were at first unpromising 
enough; but the approach of a new European 


war so impressed Napoleon with the necessity of 
selling a territory which he could not by any pos- 
sibility defend while the fleets of Great Britain 
controlled the seas, that just before Monroe 
reached Paris, Talleyrand had requested Living- 
ston to make an oifer for the whole of Louisiana. 
After a few conferences, Bonaparte agreed to 
sell to the United States the entire territory of 
Louisiana for the sum of fifteen millions of dol- 
lars, and no time was lost in making the purchase. 

On the 20th of December, 1803, William C. 
Claiborne, governor of the Mississippi Territory, 
descended to New Orleans and took formal pos- 
session of the newly acquired territory in the 
name of the United States. 

In 1804, Christopher Greenup was elected 
Governor of Kentucky. Mr. Jefferson was the 
same year re-elected President of the United 

On the 4th of March, the governor of the 
commonwealth formally, by proclamation, dis- 
charged the militia, who, in expectation of making 
a military descent upon New Orleans, had volun- 
teered upon the service, with an alacrity which 
showed how strongly the people of Kentucky 
were moved upon a subject so vital to their com- 



Aaron Burr — Elected Vice President of the United States — 
Loses the confidence of his party — Is nominated for Gover- 
nor of New York — Defeated through the influence of Hamil- 
ton — Kills Hamilton in a duel — Flees to South Carolina — 
Keturns to Washington — Sets out for the West — His nomi- 
nal projects — His association with Wilkinson — Becomes ac- 
quainted with Blennerhasset — Actual project of Burr — 
Reaches IVew Orleans — Returns overland to Kentucky— • 
Spends the spring and summer in Philadelphia and Wash- 
ington — Attempts to win over Eaton, Truxton, and Decatur 
— His second journey to the West — Builds boats on the Mus- 
kingum— Contracts for supplies and enlists volunteers — 
Wilkinson at Natchitoches — Receives despatches from Burr 
— Sends a messenger to the president — Orders New Orleans 
to be strengthened — Proceeds to Natchez — Despatches a 
second messenger to Washington — Writes to Claiborne and 
the Governor of the Mississippi Territory — Reaches New Or- 
leans — His measures at that place. 

In the year 1801, Aaron Burr, a native of 
New Jersey, a graduate of Princeton, a colonel 
in the war of independence, and subsequently a 
senator of the United States, was elected Yice 
President of the Union. He was a man of the 
most extraordinary talents, plausible, intriguing, 
daringly ambitious, singularly polished in his 
address, but of the lowest moral character. 

Before the expiration of his term of office, he 
had lost the confidence of his party, and while 
Jefferson was unanimously nominated as a can- 
didate for re-election to the presidency ; in the 


selection of a candidate for vice president, Burr 
•was set aside, and George Clinton nominated in 
his stead. 

Possessing yet some little political povrer in 
New York, he was enabled to have himself 
brought forward by his friends as an independ- 
ent candidate for governor of that state, in op- 
position to Chief Justice Lewis, the nominee of 
the administration party. 

Owing to the high character of Alexander 
Hamilton, and the influence of his opinions upon 
the active politicians of the state. Burr was de- 
feated, and charging his discomfiture to the in- 
strumentality of Hamilton, only waited a favour- 
able opportunity for accomplishing a signal re- 

Hamilton at this time was at the head of the 
federal party, which, though shorn of its former 
power, was yet large enough to offer formidable 
opposition to any candidate whose fitness they 
doubted, or whose opinions were at variance with 
their own. 

Sinking rapidly in the scale of political repu- 
tation, and deeply involved in pecuniary liabili- 
ties. Burr brooded over the failure of his latest 
hope with a malignity, which, gathering strength 
by nursing, at length impelled him to force his 
antagonist into a duel. The result was such as 
might have been expected. Hamilton was shot 
down at the first fire, and to escape the indignant 

burr's schemes. 235 

outburst of public opinion, Burr fled to South 
Carolina, and took refuge with his accomplished 
and unfortunate daughter, who had married a 
■wealthy planter of that region. 

The seat of government having been removed 
to the District of Columbia, Burr returned to 
Washington and presided over the senate until 
the expiration of his term of office ; and then 
being unable to return to New York in conse- 
quence of the officers of that state holding a war- 
rant against him for the killing of Hamilton, he 
turned his attention to a wider field of opera- 
tions, and to bolder schemes of ambition. 

At the close of the session of Congress in the 
spring of 1805, Burr set out for the West. The 
nominal objects for which this journey was prose- 
cuted were variously stated. One was a specula- 
tion for a canal around the falls of the Ohio, 
which he had projected with Senator Dayton of 
New Jersey, whose extensive purchase of mili- 
tary land warrants had given him a large inte- 
rest in the military bounty lands in that vicinity. 

Burr had offered a share in this speculation to 
GeneralWilkinson, who, besides being commander- 
in-chief of the army in that quarter, had lately 
been appointed governor of the new territory of 
Louisiana. Burr and Wilkinson had long been 
known to each other, and the former seems to 
have reckoned confidently upon securing the co- 
operation of his old military associate, with whom 


he had carried on, at various times, a correspond- 
ence in cipher, and whose civil and military posi- 
tion promised to make him a very efficient agent 
in the scheme to which all other projects were 
intended finally to succumh. 

Wilkinson, who about this time was getting 
ready to embark at Pittsburgh to take possession 
of his government in Louisiana, invited Burr to 
descend the river in his company ; but as Burr's 
own boat — the common ark or flat-boat of those 
days — was already prepared to start, he pro- 
ceeded on his voyage alone. 

When nearly opposite Marietta, he stopped at 
Blennerhasset's Island, and there, for the first 
time, made the acquaintance of its enthusiastic 
but visionary owner. This was Herman Blen- 
nerhasset, an Irish gentleman, who, becoming 
disgusted with the political condition of his own 
country, had settled on an island in the Ohio, and 
being possessed of a considerable fortune, gratified 
his refined taste by erecting an elegant mansion 
in the wilderness, and surrounding it with all those 
luxurious accessories which had hitherto been un- 
known beyond the mountains. 

The beautiful and accomplished wife of Blen- 
nerhasset was no less an enthusiast than himself; 
and Burr, a master of all those arts which are 
best calculated to elicit the admiration of women, 
soon succeeded in attaching warmly to his cause 


two persons whose ambition had previously been 
bounded by the limits of their own domain. 

Working upon the ardent imagination of Blen- 
nerhasset, Burr moulded him as easily to his pur- 
poses as the potter the clay beneath his hands. 
Both Blennerhasset and his wife devoted them- 
selves, and all they possessed of wealth, to the 
fortunes of the crafty and unscrupulous adventu- 
rer, with an enthusiasm heated almost to fanati- 
cism by the glowing prospects held out to them 
in the future. 

The project which Burr actually entertained 
was one well adapted to enlist in his cause all 
those who were dissatisfied with their present 
condition of life, and such turbulent and restless 
spirits as were ready for any enterprise which 
promised to gratify their ambition, even though 
it should be at the expense of common justice 
and morality. 

Well knowing how odious the Spanish name 
had become to a great portion of the people of 
the West and South, from the difiiculties which 
had for so many years attended the navigation 
of the Mississippi on the one hand, and from the 
long existing territorial disputes on the other, 
the scheme which Burr desired to perfect was to 
organize a military force upon the Avestern waters, 
descend the Mississippi, and wrest from Spain a 
portion of her territory bounding on the Gulf of 
Mexico. As the consummation of this act would 


necessarily implicate the southwestern portion of 
the United States, it was proposed to make New 
Orleans the capital of the new empire, of which 
Burr was to become the chief, but whether dic- 
tator or president was left for the future to de- 

When he quitted the hospitable mansion of 
Blennerhasset, Burr resumed his voyage in his 
own boat, and met Wilkinson at Fort Massac, 
by whom he was provided with a barge, belong- 
ing to one of the officers, and manned by a crew 
of soldiers. Furnished with sufficient provision 
for the voyage, and bearing letters of introduc- 
tion from Wilkinson to gentlemen of New Or- 
leans, he sailed for that city, which he reached 
somewhere about the 25th of June, 1805. 

The unpopularity of Governor Claiborne, and 
the bitter feuds by which parties were divided in 
that city, oflfered great encouragement to his pro- 
jects. After a short stay in New Orleans, Burr 
reascended the river to Natchez, travelled by land 
to Nashville, where he was entertained for a week 
by General Andrew Jackson, and after being 
complimented with a public dinner, proceeded on • 
horseback to Kentucky. He spent a few weeks 
in the latter state, and then set out by land for 
St. Louis, where he took up his residence with a 
relation of his, who, at his special request, had 
been appointed secretary to the new territory of 

Wilkinson's conduct. 239 

It was not until he met him in St. Louis, that 
Wilkinson, according to his own account, began 
to entertain a suspicion of Burr's designs. The 
manner of the subtle intriguer is represented as 
having become altered and mysterious. He 
threw out hints of a splendid enterprise, and 
spoke of it cautiously, as favoured by the govern- 
ment, but at the same time charged the govern- 
ment itself with being imbecile, and insinuated 
that the people of the West were ready for a re- 

Wilkinson asserts that his own impressions of 
danger to the confederation were such, that he 
immediately wrote to his friend, the secretary of 
the navy, advising him that some great move- 
ment was contemplated by Burr, and cautioning 
him to keep a strict watch. The aid-de-camp 
of Wilkinson testified to having copied, and, as 
he believed, transmitted such a letter through 
the post to the secretary ; but as the latter could 
not recollect having received any such docu- 
ment, the important nature of which ought cer- 
tainly to have impressed itself upon his mind, it 
is a question of doubt whether the letter was ever 
sent at all. 

Passing through the Indiana territory. Burr 
next made the acquaintance of Governor Harri- 
son. Continuing his route eastward, he stopped 
at Cincinnati, Chillicothe, and Marietta, returned 
to Philadelphia toward the close of the year, and 


spent the following spring and summer partly in 
the latter city and partly in Washington. 

During this period his movements were en- 
veloped in a cloak of mystery. He resided in an 
obscure street and received many visiters, all of 
whom came to him on pretence of business, but 
no two of whom were admitted into his presence 

While he remained in Washington he had fre- 
quent interviews with Major Eaton, then recently 
returned from his well-known adventures in Tri- 
poli, to whom, warmed by the apparent willingness 
which Eaton exhibited to enter into his views, he 
divulged the whole extent of his projects. 

Eaton, notwithstanding his relations with the 
government were at that time of a delicate cha- 
racter, waited on the president, and suggested 
the appointment of Burr to a foreign mission, 
intimating, at the same time, his belief that it 
would be the means of preventing an insurrec- 
tion or a revolution in the western country, 
which would otherwise take place within eighteen 

The president, in reply, expressed his confi- 
dence in the attachment of the western people to 
the Union, and as no further questions were asked, 
Eaton did not feel himself authorized to say any 
more upon the subject. 

Having remarked in his conversation with 
Eaton, that if he could secure the marine corps 

bukr's machinations. 241 

— the only soldiers stationed at "Washington — 
and gain over the naval commanders, Truxton, 
Preble, Decatur, and others, he would overturn 
the Congress, make away with the president, and 
declare himself the protector of an energetic go- 
vernment. Burr, in pursuance of this idea, next 
sounded Commodore Truxton; but the latter, 
although dissatisfied with the treatment he had 
received, declined having any thing to do with 
the conspiracy. Decatur and others also re- 
fused to co-operate, and finding his prospects un- 
favourable in the Middle States, Burr set ofi" 
toward the close of the summer on a second 
western journey. 

As a cover to his designs, one of the first 
things he did on reaching Kentucky was to pur- 
chase of a Mr. Lynch, for a nominal considera- 
tion of forty thousand dollars, of which a few 
thousand were paid, an interest in a claim to a 
large tract of land on the Washita River, under 
a Spanish grant to the Baron de Bastrop. The 
claims held by Edward Livingston of New Or- 
leans to a portion of the above grant, had been 
previously purchased by Burr. 

In connection with Blennerhasset, Burr enter- 
ed into a contract for building fifteen boats on 
the Muskingum. He also made application to 
John Smith, one of the senators from Ohio, for 
the purchase of two gunboats, then building for 
the government ; authority was given to a house 


at Marietta for the purchase of provisions, a 
kiln erected for drying corn on Blennerhasset's 
Island, and a considerable number of young 
men enlisted for an enterprise down the Missis- 
sippi, the true nature of which was only myste- 
riously hinted. 

By this time "Wilkinson was at Natchitoches, 
in command of the troops collected there to op- 
pose the Spanish invasion. While at this post 
he received various letters from Burr, to which 
he sent replies ; but how far he committed him- 
self to the conspiracy, has never been ascertained. 
That he was tampered with to a considerable 
extent, and that his replies were at least evasive, 
does not admit of a doubt. A letter in cipher 
from Senator Dayton, assuring Wilkinson that 
he would certainly be deprived of his command 
at the next session of Congress, determined the 
course of the latter. He communicated the next 
morning to Colonel Cushing, his second in com- 
mand, the substance of Burr's letter, and express- 
ed his determination to hasten to New Orleans and 
defend that city against Burr, if he should ven- 
ture to attack it. After extracting from young 
Swartwout, the bearer of despatches from Burr, 
all the information necessary to guide his future 
proceedings, Wilkinson sent an express in hot 
haste to the President of the United States, 
stating the general outline of the scheme commu- 
nicated to him by Swartwout, and then, having 


been joined by a body of militia from Mississippi, 
advanced toward the Sabine. 

Simultaneously with his letter to the president, 
Wilkinson sent directions to the commanding 
officer at New Orleans to put the place in the 
best state of defence, and to attempt to get 
possession of the park of artillery left by the 
French government, lest it should fall into other 

As there were difficulties at this time between 
the United States and the Spanish government 
on the subject of their respective boundary lines, 
and as the troops of the two nations had been 
called out to watch the motions of each other, 
Wilkinson entered into a temporary arrangement 
with the Spanish commander, making the Sa- 
bine, for the time being, the line of demarcation 
between the territories of the disputants. 

His activity at this period was only equalled by 
his alarm, as despatch after despatch was received 
indicating the progressive steps of the revolu- 
tionists. He wrote to Gushing to hasten the 
march of the troops, he pressed the officer at 
New Orleans to push forward his defences, and 
sent him a reinforcement of men and artificers 
to assist in the work. He proceeded to Natchez, 
and despatched a second special messenger to 
the president, declaring that the existence of the 
conspiracy had been placed beyond all doubt, 
and expressing the necessity of putting New 


Orleans under martial law, a step in which he 
trusted to be sustained by the president. 

Not content with taking these precautions, 
Wilkinson warned Claiborne, the governor of 
the Louisiana Territory, that his government 
was menaced by a secret plot, and entreated 
him to co-operate with the military commander 
in measures of defence. At the same time he 
made a requisition upon the acting governor 
of the Mississippi Territdl'y for a reinforce- 
ment of five hundred militia to proceed to New 

In all these measures the activity and energy 
of Wilkinson were undoubted ; but it still remains 
a problem whether he intended to remain faith- 
ful to the United States, or to throw himself into 
the arms of Burr. When he wrote to the oflScer 
at New Orleans, he neither expressed any anxiety 
in relation to the safety of the place, nor gave 
any reasons for his desire to have it immediately 
strengthened. In his letter to Claiborne he ex- 
pressly enjoined secrecy till he himself arrived ; 
and when he made his demand upon the gover- 
nor of the Mississippi Territory, as he declined 
to specify the service in which the troops were 
to be engaged, the governor refused to send them 
at all. 

His proceedings on reaching New Orleans are 
less open to doubt. On the 9th of December, 
1806, a meeting of the merchants was called, 

Wilkinson's activity. 245 

"before ■whom "Wilkinson and Claiborne made 
an exposition of Burr's projects. The militia 
and a squadron of gunboats and ketches upon 
the river were placed at Wilkinson's disposal, 
SwartAvout and several others were arrested, and 
one of them, having obtained his release by a 
■writ of habeas corpus, -was re-arrested by order 
of Wilkinson, and ■with Swartwout sent a prisoner 
by sea to Washington, 


Conflicting reports concerning the intentions of Burr — Ex- 
posures made at Frankfort — Energetic conduct of Daviess — 
His aflidavit against Burr — An examination ordered — Burr 
attends the court — The case postponed — A new grand jury- 
summoned — Second appearance of Burr — Absence of Gene- 
ral Adair, the principal witness for the prosecution — The ex- 
amination pressed — Acquittal of Burr — His false declaration 
to Henry Clay — Action of the general government — Jeffer- 
son sends an agent to Ohio — Disclosures by Blennerhasset — 
Seizure of ten boats on the Muskingum — Tyler's flotilla — - 
Burr proceeds to Nashville — Meets the volunteers at the 
mouth of the Cumberland River — Descends the Mississippi to 
New Madrid — Gains a knowledge of Wilkinson's revelations 
— Encamps above Natchez — The militia called out by the 
Governor of Mississippi Territor}^ — Burr surrenders himself 
to the civil authorities — His boats searched — Charges against 
Sebastian and Innis. 

While these mysterious and alarming rumours 
■were agitating the people of the lo^wer Mississippi, 
Burr and his confederates in the western states 
were actively engaged in perfecting their prepara- 


tions for the attainment of the object they had 
in view. 

So various, however, and conflicting were the 
reports concerning the intentions of the conspira- 
tors, and so carefully had Burr shrouded the 
whole scheme in mystery, that the developments 
which were made in the newspapers of the day 
tended more to confuse the public mind than to 
enlighten it. 

Almost simultaneously with Burr's second ap- 
pearance in the western country, a series of 
articles appeared in the Ohio Gazette, strongly 
advocating the separation of the western states 
from the Union. Of these articles Blennerhasset 
was the nominal author, but the main arguments 
were believed to have been furnished by Burr. 
Articles of a similar, though less decided ten- 
dency, appeared also in the CommonAvealth, a 
democratic paper published at Pittsburgh. 

A short time previous to this, a newspaper 
called the Western World, which had been started 
at Frankfort, Kentucky, published a series of 
articles blending the present project of Burr with 
the old intrigues of the Spanish party in that 

Sebastian, then a judge of the Supreme Court, 
was boldly denounced as a pensioner of Spain, 
and charges of a similar, though less sweeping 
character, were also made against Senator Brown, 
Judge Innis, and General Wilkinson. 

Daviess's energetic conduct. 247 

But although in these papers, which were 
written by Colonel Humphrey Marshall, Burr 
was proclaimed a traitor to his country, and his 
whole scheme laid open, it was a long time be- 
fore the leading politicians of Kentucky could be 
brought to believe in his criminal designs. 

One gentleman, however, rising above the in- 
credulity of his party, kept a watchful eye on 
Burr, and wrote several letters to the president 
on the subject, but without receiving any specific 
authority to act in the matter. This was Colonel 
Joseph H. Daviess, the attorney for the United 

On the 5th of November, 1806, Daviess ap- 
peared in open court before Judge Innis, and 
made afiidavit to the effect, that he believed 
Burr to be engaged in organizing a military ex- 
pedition within the district, for the purpose of 
descending the Mississippi and making war on 
the provinces of Mexico. He concluded by 
moving that process might issue to compel the 
attendance of Burr before the court to answer 
the charge. After taking two days for reflection, 
Judge Innis refused to issue process, but directed 
a grand jury to be impanelled to inquire into 
the accusation, and witnesses to be summoned. 

At the time Daviess made application in the 
federal district court at Frankfort for the arrest 
of Burr, the latter was in Lexington. In less 
than four hours after the motion was made, he 


was in receipt of the tidings. He immediately 
wrote to Innis that he would be in court in a day 
or two, and confront his accuser. 

When he reached Frankfort in company with 
his counsel, Henry Clay and Colonel Allen, find- 
ing the motion already overruled, he addressed 
the judge, and demanded an immediate investi- 

Daviess replied, by declaring his readiness to 
proceed as soon as he could procure the attend- 
ance of his witnesses, and with the consent of 
Burr, the ensuing Wednesday was fixed upon by 
the court for the investigation. 

The immense sensation created by the afiidavit 
of Daviess caused the court-room to be filled 
on the day of trial with a large number of per- 
sons ; but it was soon discovered that David 
Eloyd, one of the principal witnesses relied upon 
by the district attorney, and undoubtedly a parti- 
san of Burr, had failed to make his appearance, 
and Daviess was reluctantly compelled to ask a 
postponement of the case. 

Relying, upon the next occasion, less upon 
Floyd as his principal witness than upon General 
Adair, Daviess made application on the 25th of 
November for a new grand jury, which was ac- 
cordingly summoned to attend on the 2d of De- 
cember following. 

Shortly after Burr entered the court-room, 
attended by his former counsel, the district at- 


torney rose, and -witli evident mortification, ex- 
pressed himself unable to proceed, in consequence 
' of the absence of General Adair, whose testimony 
was of the first importance to the prosecution. 
He therefore asked a postponement for a few 
days, and that the grand jury should be kept 
together until he could compel the attendance of 
General Adair by attachment. 

The counsel of Burr immediately objected to 
the delay, and demanded that the business should 
proceed at once. After a sharp and animated 
debate, the court decided that the case must be 
proceeded with, or the grand jury discharged. 
In order to obtain the time he required for the 
production of his witnesses, Daviess prepared an 
indictment against General Adair, which was re- 
turned by the jury, endorsed, "Not a true bill." 
He then moved for an attachment against the 
general, but the motion was refused by the court. 
At the suggestion of Daviess, the court then ad- 
journed until the following day. 

Finding himself thus far baffled at every step 
in his attempt to fasten the charge of criminality 
upon Burr, the prosecuting attorney sought and 
obtained a private interview with Judge Innis, 
who, in answer to a question from Daviess, as to 
whether he would have a right, as prosecutor, 
to attend the grand jury in their room, examine 
the witnesses, and give such explanations as 
might be found necessary to connect and apply 


their testimony, gave an opinion in the affirm- 

Fully believing that Innis would sustain in 
court the opinion which he had given unofficially, 
Daviess determined to proceed with the examina- 
tion with such witnesses as were present. 

Accordingly, the next morning, as soon as the 
judge had resumed his seat, the prosecuting at- 
torney asked permission to attend the grand jury 
in their room. This request was immediately 
opposed by the counsel of Burr, who denied the 
right of Daviess to examine the witnesses in the 
manner proposed. After some argument. Judge 
Innis remarked, that when he himself was at- 
torney-general for the commonwealth, he had 
never claimed or exercised any such privilege. 

" Sir !" said Daviess, " you admitted I had the 
right to do what I now propose." 

«'Yes," replied the judge quickly, "but that 
was out of court." 

" True, sir," responded Daviess, " but this is 
the first of my knowing you had two opinions 
upon the subject, the one private and confidential, 
the other public and official." 

The only reply of Innis was to refuse the re- 
quest, and the prosecuting attorney saw at once 
that his cause was lost. It was worse than lost, 
for as the witnesses in the grand jury room tes- 
tified reluctantly, the little that could be gleaned 
from them threw no light upon the design charged 


in the indictment, and on the 5th of the month 
the grand jury came into court and ignored the 

But this was not all : they presented at the 
same time a written declaration, signed by the 
whole of them, in which it was stated that there 
had been nothing in the testimony received by 
them which in the slightest degree criminated 
the conduct of either Burr or Adair ; nor could 
they, after all their inquiries and investigations 
of the subject, find any thing improper or inju- 
rious to the government of the United States de- 
signed or contemplated by either of them. 

This triumphant acquittal of Burr strength- 
ened his cause wonderfully in Kentucky: It 
was celebrated by a ball at Frankfort, which was 
rendered the more imposing by the attendance 
of many prominent men. 

The friends of Daviess, though fewer in number, 
did not fail to sympathize with him in his defeat, 
and as an evidence of their belief in the truth of 
the charges he had preferred, got up a similar 
entertainment in his honour. At one of these 
assemblies the editor of the Western World was 
attacked by some of the friends of Judge Innis, 
with the view of expelling him from the room, but 
he resisted until he was rescued by others. 

In justice to Mr. Clay, it must be stated, that 
before he agreed to act as the counsel of Burr, 
he demanded of him an explicit avowal, upon his 


honour, that he was not engaged in any de- 
sign contrary to the laws and peace of the 

Burr gave the required pledge in the most 
emphatic manner. He said, <« He had no design 
to intermeddle with or disturb the tranquillity of 
the United States, nor its territories, nor any 
part of them. He had neither issued, nor signed, 
nor promised a commission to any person, for 
any purpose. He did not own a single musket, 
nor bayonet, nor any single article of military 
stores, nor did any other person for him, by his^ 
authority or knowledge." He further added that 
his views were well understood and approved by 
the government, and were such as every man of 
honour and every good citizen must commend. 

The reckless disregard of all moral principle 
evinced by Burr in this avowal, which he well 
knew to be utterly false, is only paralleled by th^ 
daring with which he confronted the exposure of 
his schemes. 

At this very time, all his long and laboriously 
digested plans were in the act of being scattered 
to the winds. The communications of Wilkinson, 
the statements of Eaton, and the letters of Da- 
viess, had, as early as October, stimulated Jef- 
ferson to commission Graham, the secretary of 
the Orleans Territory, then about to leave Wash- 
ington, to investigate, on his way South, the 
charges against Burr, and if they appeared well 

burr's designs defeated. 253 

founded, to apply to the governors of the west- 
ern states to take steps to cut short his career. 

On the 27th of November, two days after he 
had received Wilkinson's despatches from Nat- 
chitoches, the president issued a proclamation de- 
nouncing the project of Burr, warning all good 
citizens against it, and calling upon those in au- 
thority to exert themselves in suppressing the 
enterprise and arresting all concerned in it. 

Previous to this, Graham had met with Blen- 
nerhasset at Marietta, and obtained from him 
such intelligence concerning the enterprise as 
warranted an immediate application to the Gover- 
nor of Ohio for authority to seize the boats on 
the Muskingum, then nearly completed. 

The legislature of Ohio, which was then in 
session, after debating the question with closed 
doors, promptly authorized the seizure to be made. 

During the same week that Burr was feasted 
and caressed at Frankfort, as an innocent and 
much-injured man, ten of his boats, laden with 
provisions and warlike stores, were captured on 
the Muskingum. 

Five other boats, filled with volunteers from 
the neighbourhood of Beaver, reached Blenner- 
hasset's Island about the 10th of December. 
This flotilla was commanded by Colonel Tyler, 
who took possession of the island and posted 
sentinels to prevent any communication with the 
river banks. He had scarcely done so, before 


Blennerhasset received information of the seizure 
of his boats on the Muskingum, and the approach 
of the militia ordered out by the Governor of 
Ohio. Hastily abandoning the place, he embarked 
in the boats of Tyler, and with a few of his fol- 
lowers descended the river, passed the falls of 
the Ohio about the 20th of the month, and reach- 
ed the point of rendezvous, the mouth of the 
Cumberland River, two days afterward. 

Leaving Frankfort on the 7th of December, 
Burr hastened to Nashville. From the latter 
place he descended the Cumberland with two 
boats, and on an island at its mouth was intro- 
duced to such of his adherents as yet clung to 
his desperate fortunes. Desertion had already 
thinned their ranks to less than two hundred men. 

Breaking up his encampment at this place, 
Burr proceeded to New Madrid, gathering slen- 
der reinforcements as he went along. Bitterly 
disappointed at finding his schemes thus suddenly 
baffled at the very moment of fruition, the last 
hope of Burr rested upon the city of New Or- 
leans and the surrounding territory. Bayou 
Peirre was named as a point of reunion ; and the 
party dispersed. 

When he reached the first settlement on the 
left bank of the Mississippi, Burr became ac- 
quainted with the revelations made by Wilkinson, 
and foreseeing at once the danger of an arrest, 
he ordered his boats to withdraw from the juris- 


diction of the Mississippi Territory. An en- 
campment was accordingly formed some thirty 
miles above Natchez, and a piece of ground clear- 
ed on which to exercise the men. 

Even here, he soon found himself equally in- 
secure. The president's proclamation having 
already reached the Mississippi Territory, the 
acting governor at once raised a body of four 
hundred militia for the purpose of arresting Burr. 

While those troops were collecting on the op- 
posite side of the river, several militia officers 
were sent to Burr to induce him to submit. 
After some little delay, a written agreement was 
entered into, which resulted in an unconditional 
surrender to the civil authorities. 

Previous to this, however, the chests of arms 
on board the boats were thrown secretly into the 
creek, so that when a search took place none 
were found in sufficient quantities to justify their 

The subsequent history of Burr, his arrest and 
acquittal, his wandering life, the extraordinai-y 
sensation created throughout the country by his 
trial at Richmond, his wanderings in Europe, 
and his death in extreme old age at New York, 
belong rather to the history of the United States, 
than to any single member of the confederation. 

The authentication of Burr's conspiracy by 
the government agent, Graham, created an im- 
mediate and violent reaction in the minds of the 


heople of Kentucky. The legislature, tlien in 
session, immediately passed an act similar to 
that of Ohio, and under it some seizures were 
made. An examination of the charges preferred 
against Judge Sebastian was ordered and pres- 
sed with so .much determination that, notwith- 
standing the opposition of many whose interest 
it was that the affair should remain concealed, 
the whole of his mysterious intrigues with Spain 
were exposed, and conclusive evidence brought 
forward to prove his receipt of an annual pension 
of two thousand dollars from the court of Madrid 
up to the period of his trial. Sebastian, finding 
all other efforts vain, attempted to stifle the in- 
quiry by resigning his seat upon the bench, but 
the legislature persevered until a thorough in- 
vestigation had taken place. Judge Innis, the 
principal witness against Sebastian, was also be- 
lieved to be deeply implicated, and as he held oflBce 
under the general government, a resolution was 
passed at the succeeding session requesting Con- 
gress to order an inquiry into his conduct. It 
was accordingly instituted soon after and resulted 
in his acquittal. 



Critical foreign relations with the United States — Berlin decrees 
— Restraint upon commercial enterprise — Attack upon the 
Chesapeake — Great excitement throughout the Union — 
Embargo — One hundred thousand militia called for— Reso- 
lutions passed in Kentucky — Declaration of war — Indian 
difficulties — Tecumseh — His attempts to form a confedera- 
tion of the tribes — Assembling of warriors at Tippecanoe — 
March of Harrison — Battle of Tippecanoe — Death of Joseph 
H. Daviess — Return of Tecumseh — His interview with Har- 
rison — Hull appointed to command the northwestern army 
— Invades Canada — Returns — General Brock summons De- 
troit — Surrender of Hull — Indignation of the states— Volun- 
teers from Kentucky — Hopkins marches against the Illinois 
Indians — Is deserted by his men — A second northwestern 
army organized — Harrison commissioned a brigadier-general 
— Appointed commander-in-chief. 

The war which had been so long raging on 
the continent of Europe, was now to have its 
effect upon the foreign relations of the United 
States. In order to counteract the naval su- 
premacy of Great Britain, Bonaparte, after hum- 
bling the power of Austria, dissolving the German 
empire, and overturning by a single blow the 
kingdom of Prussia, issued from the battle-field 
of Jena, on the 21st of November, 1806, his fa- 
mous Berlin decree. 

By this decree all the British islands were de- 
clared in a state of blockade, and all trade in 
English merchandize was forbidden. The neu- 
trality of a nation was not respected, and Ameri- 


can vessels bearing British merchandize, were 
held as much liable to seizure as the ships of 
Frenchmen or belligerents, engaged in the same 

The effect upon the United States was to raise 
the rate of marine insurance to such a ruinous 
height as to put a stop almost entirely to com- 
mercial enterprises. Something, however, was 
hoped from a remonstrance made by the Ameri- 
can ambassador at Paris to the French minister 
of marine, but the reply of the latter was found 
to be by no means satisfactory. 

One indication of a favourable change in the 
aspect of affairs yet remained. In his message 
to Congress, the president communicated the in- 
formation that Monroe and Pinkney, had agreed 
upon the terms of a treaty with Great Britain, 
by which the disputed points of neutral rights 
would in all probability be adjusted. DiflEiculties 
arising soon after, in relation to the right of im- 
pressment, prevented the negotiation from ending 
so happily as it had begun, and, in all probability, 
increased the series of annoyances which at length 
resulted in a declaration of war. 

The attack upon the Chesapeake, off the capes 
of Virginia, by the English frigate Leopard, by 
which several lives were lost and a number of 
seamen wounded, created the greatest excitement 
throughout the Union. 

On the 2d of July, 1807, an embargo was de- 


clared, closing the ports of the United States 
against British vessels. One hundred thousand 
militia were ordered to hold themselves in readi- 
ness for service, but without pay ; and volunteers 
were invited to enroll themselves. 

The great distress experienced by the com- 
mercial states in consequence of the embargo, led 
to its suspension at the ensuing session of Con- 
gress, until July, 1808, when it again went into 
operation. In March, 1809, a different mode of 
defence was resorted to. An act prohibiting all 
intercourse with Great Britain, France, and their 
dependencies, was passed by Congress. In re- 
taliation, Bonaparte issued another decree, by 
which a vast amount of property belonging to 
the citizens of the United States was seized in 
the ports of Spain, Naples, and Holland, and 
confiscated to the use of the French treasury. 

In 1808, Madison succeeded Jefferson as Presi- 
dent of the United States, and during the same 
year Charles Scott was chosen Governor of Ken- 

At the previous session of the legislature, a 
charter had been granted to the bank of Ken- 
tucky, with a capital of one million of dollars. 
One of the first acts of the session of 1808 was 
to pass, almost unanimously, u series of resolu- 
tions offered by Henry Clay, which strongly in- 
dicate the warlike feeling pervading the state at 
that time. 


In these resolutions it was declared, " that 
the embargo Avas a measure highly judicious, and 
the only honourable expedient to avoid war : 
that the general assembly of Kentucky would 
view with the utmost horror a proposition in any 
shape to submit to the tributary exactions of 
Great Britain, as attempted to be enforced by 
her orders in council, or to acquiesce in the viola- 
tion of neutral rights as menaced by the French 
decrees ; and they pledge themselves to the gene- 
ral government, to spend, if necessary, the last 
shilling, and to exhaust the last drop of blood, in 
resisting these aggressions." 

The voice of the people promptly responded to 
the sentiments expressed by their representatives. 
Great numbers of volunteers immediately enrolled 
themselves ; articles of foreign fabrication, espe- 
cially in respect to wearing apparel, were dis- 
carded, and substituted almost universally by 
clothing of domestic manufacture. 

The breach between the government of the 
United States and that of Great Britain daily 
became wider ; the people grew clamorous for 
an immediate resort to arms ; and at length, not- 
withstanding the strenuous opposition of the east- 
ern states. Congress, on the 18th of June, 1812, 
issued a formal declaration of war. 

The augmenting prospect of a war between Eng- 
land and the United States had long been viewed 
with satisfaction by many of the Indian tribes. 

TECUMSEfl. 261 

Receding, year by year, before the advancing 
footsteps of the whites, the necessity of self-pre- 
servation gradually forced upon their minds the 
project of a fixed boundary line, within which 
limit they might enjoy the freedom of their own 

Notwithstanding the treaty of Greenville, and 
the extension of white settlements far beyond the 
Ohio, the idea of limiting the Anglo-Saxon popu- 
lation to the banks of the latter river was still 
entertained by a large proportion of the Indians. 
Among those chiefs who exerted their influence 
in support of this favourite but visionary project, 
none rose to such renown as the celebrated Te- 
cumseh. The born foe of the whites, he declared 
" he could not look upon one of them without 
feeling the flesh crawl upon his bones." Ardent, 
energetic, and resolute, he devoted his whole life 
to the service of his people. From his boyhood 
up he took part in every battle in which it was 
possible to be present, and when he found, from 
the continually increasing numbers of his foes, 
that nothing was to be gained by desultory war- 
fare, he undertook the herculean task of uniting 
all the tribes, hitherto at variance with each 
other, into one friendly league of brotherhood in 
arms against the common enemy. Calling to his 
aid the mysterious powers with T^ich the Indians 
supposed his brother the Prophet to be invested, 
he visited the various tribes from Michigan to 


Florida, making prophets in all the chief towns, 
and gaining numerous proselytes to his cause. 
Upon such as declined to embrace his projects, 
he hurled the most withering denunciations; 
while, to his adherents, he promised exemption 
from wounds in battle, and a certain success to 
their efforts. 

On several occasions previous to his last and 
most important journey to the South, Tecumseh 
visited General Harrison, then Indian agent and 
governor of Indiana, and claimed the lands 
which had been ceded by the treaty of Green- 
ville, on the plea that " they belonged to all the 
tribes, and could not be parted with but by the 
consent of all." 

During the month of July, 1811, he again 
made his appearance at Yincennes, accompanied 
by about four hundred warriors. He apologized 
for several murders that had been committed by 
the Indians, and informed General Harrison that 
he had succeeded in inducing all the western tribes 
to place themselves under his direction, and that 
as soon as he had established a complete con- 
federacy, it was his intention to visit the presi- 
dent and settle all difficulties. 

It was shortly after this, that, taking with him 
a few followers only, he proceeded on his south- 
ern mission. "\?hile he was absent, the Prophet's 
town at Tippecanoe became the scene of the 
wildest excesses. "Warriors flocked in from all 

Harrison's movements. 263 

parts of the country, until they increased in 
numbers to a thousand men. Horrible incanta- 
tions were frequently practised, warlike ha- 
rangues roused the faint-hearted and inspired the 
strong. Lawless and bold, they broke out into 
excesses which the Prophet was unable to control, 
and at length precipitated the war before Te- 
cumseh returned, and while his vast and compre- 
hensive plan of general hostilities was as yet 
imperfectly organized. 

After receiving numerous reports of outrages 
eomniitted by these reckless savages, Governor 
Harrison moved toward the Prophet's town, and 
on the 5th of November encamped on a small 
creek, about eleven miles from the point of his 
destination. His whole eifective force, which 
numbered somewhere near nine hundred men, 
was composed of two hundred and fifty regulars, 
a large body of militia, and one hundred and 
thirty volunteers, many of whom were from Ken- 
tucky, and among them, acting as major of dra- 
goons, the former district attorney, the brave 
and chivalrous Joseph H. Daviess. 

During the march, which was resumed the 
following morning, parties of Indians were con- 
stantly seen hovering at a distance, but all at- 
tempts to open communication with them proved 

About a mile and half from the town, Harrison 
determined to encamp, and to endeavour once 


more to obtain a conference with the Prophet. 
The hostile manifestations in front, joined to the 
advice of his oflScers, induced him to continue 
his march. After advancing a short distance, 
he was met by a deputation of three Indians, 
with whom a suspension of hostilities was agreed 
upon until the next day. 

The army then moved to a dry piece of oak- 
land, about three-quarters of a mile from the 
Prophet's town, and there encamped for the 

The order of encampment was the order of 
battle, and each man slept immediately opposite 
his post in the line. On the morning of the 7th, 
a little after four o'clock, and within two minutes 
of the usual signal being given for the troops to 
turn out, a sudden attack was commenced by the 
Indians upon the left flank of the camp. They 
had crept up so near the sentinels as to hear 
them challenge when relieved, and had intended 
to rush in upon them and kill them before they 
had time to fire. One of them, however, dis- 
covered an Indian creeping toward him in the 
grass, and fired. It was followed by an Indian 
war-whoop and a desperate charge. The whole 
army was instantly on its feet. The camp-fires 
were extinguished. The general mounted his 
horse and proceeded to the point attacked. Some 
of the companies took their places in the line 
in forty seconds after the report of the first gun ; 


and all the troops were prepared for action in less 
than two minutes. The battle immediately became 
general, and was maintained on both sides with 
desperate valour. Observing that the left of the 
front line was sustaining a severe fire from a 
large bodj of Indians posted behind trees, Major 
Daviess was ordered to charge at the head of 
his dragoons, and dislodge them. Dashing for- 
ward at once with a mere handful of his men, 
Daviess was met by a fierce attack on both of 
his flanks, by which the major himself received a 
mortal wound, and his party were driven back. 
The Indians, however, were immediately after- 
ward dislodged by Captain Snelling at the point 
of the bayonet. 

Notwithstanding this repulse, the conflict was 
continued in front and on both flanks with un- 
abated fury until near daylight, when the Indians 
were routed by the infantry at the point of the 
bayonet, and being closely followed by the dra- 
goons were driven into a marsh and entirely dis- 

The destruction of the Prophet's town, and the 
corn in its vicinity, took place the day after the 
battle. On the 9th, the victorious army com- 
menced its march to Vincennes. 

A few days after this disastrous battle, Tecum- 
seh returned from the South, and hurled the bit- 
terest denunciations upon the head of his brother 
for the rashness by which he had annihilated, in 



a few hours, plans "which had been laboriously 
maturing for years. 

To Governor Harrison, Tecumseh sent word he 
had returned from the South, and was ready to 
visit Washington. The reply of Harrison being 
unsatisfactory to the haughty chieftain, the jour- 
ney was not undertaken. 

It was not until the month of June, 1812, that 
he sought a personal interview with the governor. 
At this, his last conference, he reproached Har- 
rison with having made war upon his people dur- 
ing his absence, and after scarcely deigning to 
listen to the reply, he left Fort Wayne and has- 
tened to Maiden, in Upper Canada, where he 
he joined the British standard. 

For some time after the declaration of war be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, the 
Americans sustained only a succession of defeats. 
General Hull, who had been appointed by Madi- 
son to the command of the northwestern army, 
crossed the river from Detroit and invaded Up- 
per Canada. After marching a few miles down 
the river and threatening Fort Maiden, he be- 
came disheartened at a trifling resistance offered 
by a British outpost, and fell back to Sandwich, 
where he remained, comparatively inactive, until 
the 8th of August, when he evacuated Canada, 
and again occupied Detroit. 

On the 15th of August, General Brock, com- 
mander of the British forces in Upper Canada, 


after capturing a small American garrison at 
Mackinaw, reached Sandwich, opposite Detroit, 
and summoned Hull to surrender. The answer 
of Hull was a refusal, and the batteries of the 
British were immediately opened. On the 16th, 
under' cover of their ships, they landed on the 
American shore a little below the town, and ad- 
vanced, in a close column of twelve deep, to the 
assault of the fort. 

While all was hushed expectation among the 
militia who were posted in the town, and the 
garrison at the fort, — at a time when there was 
neither wavering nor irresolution to be discovered 
among any of the defenders, nothing but hope 
and high determination, — an order was issued 
from the commanding general not to fire, the 
troops were directed to withdraw into the fort and 
stack their arms, and a white flag, in token of 
surrender, was hoisted upon the walls. 

By this disgraceful and humiliating act, not 
only was the deceived and indignant army of 
Hull made prisoners of war, but the territory of 
Michigan fell into the uncontrolled possession of 
the British conqueror, and with it the command 
of those Indian tribes, whose aggressions, up to 
this period, the Americans had been able for the 
most part to restrain. 

The surrender of Hull was received through- 
out the Union with one universal burst of exe- 
cration. Kentucky had already offered the ser- 


vices of seven thousand volunteers to the govern- 
ment, fifteen hundred of whom were on their 
march to Detroit, when the tidings reached them 
that the city and fort were in possession of the 
British oflBcers. 

Ardently desirous of being actively engaged, 
two thousand volunteers responded to the call of 
the governor, and marched against the Indian vil- 
lages of Illinois. Becoming uneasy at the scar- 
city of their provisions, and broken down by the 
hardships they encountered on their march, they 
at length grew restless and insubordinate. After 
wandering across the prairies for several days to 
no purpose, they refused to proceed any farther, 
and turning a deaf ear to the remonstrances of 
their officers, they broke up their array, and pro- 
ceeded to their homes. 



Plan of the fall campaign of 1812 — Harrison appointed com- 
mander of the northwestern army — ^Winchester marches 
from Fort Wayne — Difficulties of the route — Deplorable 
condition of the troops — Winchester halts at the Rapids — 
The enemy approach Frenchtown — A detachment of Ken- 
tuckians under Colonel Lewis sent against them — Proctor 
advances from Maiden — Battle of the River Raisin — Surren- 
der of the Americans — Inhuman massacre — Reception of the 
news in Kentucky — Four regiments of volunteers raised — 
Harrison builds Fort Meigs — Is reinforced from Kentucky — 
Siege of Fort Meigs by Proctor — Advance of General Clay — 
Colonel Dudley destroys a part of the British batteries — His 
detachment surrounded by British and Indians — Terrible 
slaughter of the prisoners — Inhuman conduct of Proctor — 
Tecumsen — His indignant reply to the British general. 

The plan of the fall campaign of 1812, as it 
emanated from the war office at Washington, was 
to unite as many regulars as could be enrolled in 
time, or detached from other service, to the large 
force of militia from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ken- 
tucky, and Virginia, already assembled at Fort 
Wayne, under their respective generals, and after 
raising General Harrison to the chief command, 
to direct his march at once upon Detroit. When 
the capture of that town and fort was effected, 
and the British expelled from the territory of 
Michigan, another attempt was to be made to 
penetrate into Canada, for the purpose of reduc- 
ing Fort Maiden, the possession of the lattec 


post by the Americans being of the utmost im- 
portance, both from its proximity to Detroit, and 
from the protection and encouragement it af- 
forded to the Indian tribes of the northwest. 

General Harrison proceeded at once to as- 
sume command of the army. He reached Fort 
Wayne on the 23d of September. Finding that 
General Winchester had already marched with a 
detachment of troops for Fort Defiance, with the 
intention of proceeding to the Rapids, he rode 
forward until he overtook the latter officer, and 
after a brief conference returned to the settle- 
ments for the purpose of putting in motion the 
centre and right wing of the army. 

Obstacles, however, of the most serious charac- 
ter soon occurred to try the patience of the gene- 
ral, and test but^ too severely the spirits of the 
men. The difficulties in transporting supplies and 
munitions of war over a route which in the rainy 
season was but little better than a succession of 
swamps and marshes, the deplorable condition of 
the troops under the combined effects of hunger, 
disease, and hardship, joined to the ill success of 
two expeditions sent out against the British and 
Indians encamped at the Rapids, infused a melan- 
choly presentiment into the minds of many, and 
dampened the ardour of all. 

The 1st of January, 1813, found the right 
wing of the army under Harrison at Upper San- 
dusky ; while the left wing, under Winchester, 


still remained at Fort Defiance. The force of 
the latter, amounting to nearly eight hundred 
men, consisted principally of volunteers from 
Kentucky, among whom were Colonels Allen and 
Hardin, eminent lawyers ; Major Madison, audi- 
tor of the state ; Colonels Scott and Lewis, and 
many other gentlemen of equal wealth and re- 

Leaving Fort Defiance,, the left wing, under 
Winchester, reached the Rapids on the 10th of 
January, and were there halted until the forces 
under Harrison should form a junction with 

On the 13th, however, a messenger brought 
intelligence of the advance of two companies of 
Canadian militia and two hundred Indians upon 
Frenchtown on the river Raisin. Fearful of the 
consequences to be apprehended from the ap- 
proach of the enemy, the inhabitants anxiously 
besought General Winchester to protect them. 

Regardless of the fact that, notwithstanding 
the comparatively small force at that time con- 
centrating at Frenchtown, it was a position which 
could receive in a few hours immense reinforce- 
ments from Maiden, only eighteen miles distant, 
with the lake firmly frozen between, the Ken- 
tuckians, impelled by a spirit of humanity, in- 
stantly requested permission to advance against 
the enemy. With much reluctance General Win- 
chester consented. The command of the detach- 


ment, numbering about five hundred men, was 
given to Colonel Lewis. The oflBcers immediately 
subordinate to him were Colonel Allen, and 
Majors Madison and Graves. The distance from 
the rapids to Frenchtown was forty-eight miles, 
which was accomplished by forced marches in 
less than two days. 

When the Kentuckians reached the vicinity of 
the town, they were informed that the British 
were already in possession of it. An immediate 
attack was resolved upon, and after a spirited 
conflict, ending in the complete rout of the enemy, 
the victors encamped within the line of. pickets 
from which the British had been driven. 

This was on the evening of the 18th. Two 
days after they were joined by General Win- 
chester, with a reinforcement of two hundred 
and fifty regulars under Colonel Wells. 

Finding the volunteers had taken up a position 
on the right of the enclosure, Wilkinson refused 
to occupy the vacant space on the left of the line, 
and from a too fastidious desire to preserve that 
military etiquette which assigns to regulars the 
post of honour, encamped his men on open ground 
outside the pickets. 

On the evening of the 21st, Winchester was 
informed that General Proctor was making pre- 
parations to march from Fort Maiden with a 
large force ; but not anticipating the celerity with 
which the British movements would be made, he 


retired to his head-quarters at the house of 
Colonel Navarre, distant nearly a mile from the 
camp, intending on the following day to throw 
up some defences for the protection of the ex- 
posed portion of his troops. 

But while the volunteers and regulars were 
thus lulled into such a state of fatal security that 
not even a single picket was thrown forward to 
warn them of the approach of an enemy, Proctor, 
at the head of the combined force of two thousand 
British and Indians, was marching upon French- 
town with equal speed and secrecy ; and on the 
morning of the 23d of January, 1813, suddenly 
assaulted the camp in two divisions. The regu- 
lars under Proctor advanced at once toward the 
line of pickets, while the Indians, under their 
chiefs Round Head and Split Log, attacked the 
regulars encamped on the open ground. 

Under cover of a heavy cannonade from six 
field-pieces, the British attempted to penetrate 
the enclosure ; but were received by so deadly a 
fire from the rifles of the Kentuckians, that after 
sustaining a loss of one hundred and twenty men 
in killed and wounded, they retreated in great 
disorder, when the field-pieces were again man- 
ned, and a heavy and destructive fire was directed 
against the picketing. 

During the time occupied by this fierce assault 
and repulse, the Indians had taken possession of 
some unoccupied houses within musket-shot of 


the right of the exposed regulars, and from these, 
and other situations affording shelter to their 
own persons, poured volley after volley upon the 
helpless and bewildered troops. 

In a few minutes the American regulars were 
totally routed. While they were in full flight, 
Winchester arrived, and endeavoured, but inef- 
fectually, to rally them. Colonels Lewis and 
Allen, with a body of brave Kentuckians, made 
a sortie from the fort in the hope of saving the 
small remnant of the troops from destruction. 

The battle once more became general. Win- 
chester and Lewis were taken prisoners by the 
enemy, and Allen, Woolfolk, Simpson, and 
Meade, all gentlemen of estimable character and 
high standing in Kentucky, were killed. Of 
those who had thus sallied from the picketing, 
not a single Kentuckian returned, and of the 
fugitives they so chivalrously endeavoured to suc- 
cour, scarcely one escaped death or capture. 

While this fearful conflict was being carried on 
outside of the picketing, the volunteers within, 
under the command of Majors Madison and 
Graves, efi"ectually succeeded in maintaining their 
position, and for four hours boldly resisted the 
assaults of the British regulars and the heavy 
cannonade by which they were supported. 

This gallant but unequal contest was continued 
until eleven o'clock, when, having but one keg 
of cartridges remaining, and receiving from Proc- 


tor the most positive assurances of protection, 
they consented to surrender themselves prisoners 
of war. 

The loss of the Americans in this disastrous 
battle, in killed, wounded, and missing, was three 
hundred men ; and of the British and Indians, 
about the same number. 

Scarcely, however, had the surrender taken 
place, before the infuriated savages, breaking 
through all restraint, commenced the horrible 
work of scalping, stripping, and mutilating the 
dead. Such of the helpless wounded as yet lay 
upon the field of battle were despatched with 
tomahawks, in the presence of Proctor and other 
British ofiicers, who were either unable, or un- 
willing from motives of policy, to check the blood- 
thirsty ferocity of their allies. The prisoners 
who had passed through the battle unhurt found 
safety in the British ranks. The wounded yet 
remaining were intrusted to the charge of the 
Indians, to be marched in the rear of the army 
to Maiden. The consequences might have been, 
and perhaps were, foreseen. Some were slaugh- 
tered in mere wantonness ; others from a san- 
guinary impulse of the moment. Those, also, 
who sank by the wayside from exhaustion or 
bodily weakness, were immediately despatched. 
Very few of the number ever reached the British 

About sixty of the wounded volunteers, and 


among them several of the principal oiEcers, 
had obtained permission of Proctor to remain at 
Frenchtown, and a promise was given that a 
sufficient guard should be furnished for their pro- 
tection, until they could be carried to Maiden 
the next day upon sleds. 'No guard, however, 
was left, and the Indians, re-entering the town, 
tomahawked Major Graves and Captains Hart 
and Hickman, together with a number of others. 
After plundering the rest of the wounded of 
their clothing, and of every article of value, they 
consummated this act of fiendish barbarity by 
setting fire to two houses filled with helpless 
and mutilated men, and burning them to the 

As soon as tidings of the massacre on the 
shores of the river Raisin reached General Har- 
rison at Sandusky, he despatched Doctor Ket- 
chum to Maiden with a flag, and a sum of money, 
to provide for the wants of the sick and wounded 

In defiance of the humane nature of his mis- 
sion, and the credentials Avhich he bore, the doc- 
tor was robbed of the specie intrusted to his 
care, grossly maltreated, taken first to Maiden, 
and after suffering confinement in Quebec, and 
several other Canadian forts, for a considerable 
length of time, at length succeeded in obtaining 
his liberation. 

The terrible loss inflicted upon Kentucky by 


the captivity or wanton murder of so many of 
her bravest citizens, instead of depressing the 
spirit of her people, roused them to the highest 
pitch of excitement. Four regiments of volun- 
teers immediately tendered their services, and 
were formed into a brigade, the command of 
which was given to General Clay. Governor 
Shelby, who had succeeded Scott as chief magis- 
trate of the state, was requested by the legislature 
to take the field in person. 

In the mean while, Harrison was lying at the 
rapids, where he had built Fort Meigs, a strong 
picketed work, with block-houses at the angles, 
similar in many respects to the old border sta- 
tions. As the time of the troops he had with 
him was nearly expired, a part of the Kentucky 
volunteers pushed forward by forced marches to 
reinforce him, and on the 12th of April reached 
Fort Meigs. The tardy movements of Proctor 
enabled Harrison to strengthen his system of 
defences as well as the means at his command 
would permit. 

Toward the close of the month, the British 
gunboats ascended the Maumee River, and dis- 
embarking their troops and siege artillery, pre- 
pared to assault the fort both from above and 

Harrison had at this time in garrison about 
twelve hundred troops, including regulars and 
volunteers, and General Clay with an equal num- 


ber, consisting of the main body of Kentucky 
volunteers, was marching to his relief. 

On the 1st of May, the British batteries open- 
ed upon the fort with a heavy fire. Owing to 
the scarcity of cannon-balls, it was responded to 
but feebly on the part of the Americans, whose 
main supply of twelve-pounders was derived 
from the balls thrown into the enclosure by the 

Three days subsequent to the commencement 
of the siege. General Clay reached Fort Defiance. 
Two several attempts were immediately made to 
inform Harrison of the approach of the brigade. 
The first, which was undertaken with great gal- 
lantry by Captain Leslie Combs, returned with- 
out accomplishing the object of the mission. 
Lieutenant Trimble was, however, more success- 

Clay was immediately ordered by Harrison, 
through Captain Hamilton, to land a detachment 
of eight hundred men upon the northern shore 
of the river, storm the batteries opposite to the 
fort, spike the cannon, and after destroying the 
carriages to re-embark at once and join the gar- 
rison at Fort Meigs. The remainder of the bri- 
gade was to force their way through the hordes 
of outlying Indians, and form a junction with 
the garrison as speedily as possible. 

The command of the detachment which was 
ordered to storm the batteries was given to 


Colonel Dudley, and if the orders of Harrison 
had been perfectly understood, the task would 
have been found of easy accomplishment, and the 
danger to the men but very slight, inasmuch as 
the main force of the British lay two miles below 
the batteries, while their Indian allies were on 
the other side of the river. 

Not fully comprehending the precise directions 
which had been sent, Colonel Dudley landed his 
troops on the other side of the river, carried the 
batteries with ease, spiked the cannon, and de- 
stroyed the carriages ; but instead of imme- 
diately taking to his boats and crossing over to 
Fort Meigs, finding himself assaulted by a small 
force of Canadians and Indians, he turned to 
fight them, and when they were put to flight, 
suffered his men to follow in pursuit. 

The time lost in this desultory skirmish en- 
abled Proctor to bring up a large body of his 
troops from the camp below, surround the Ken- 
tuckians, who were dispersed in the woods, and 
cut off their retreat to their boats. The Indians 
also, under Tecumseh, crossing over from the op- 
posite shore in large numbers, swelled the force 
of the enemy to such an overwhelming extent, 
that of the eight hundred Kentuckians forming 
the detachment under Dudley, six hundred and 
fifty were either killed or taken prisoners. 

The latter were taken down the river and hud- 
dled together in a ruined fort, under a guard so 


utterly inefficient for their protection, , that the 
Indians were suffered to make their way among 
the prisoners, and shoot, tomahawk, and scalp 
them at their pleasure. 

All this while, Proctor and other British offi- 
cers stood at a distance, within view of the mas- 
sacre, without attempting to control the bloody 
excesses of the savages. 

Fortunately for those who yet survived this 
onslaught, Tecumseh galloped up at full speed, 
sprang from his horse, and dashing into the midst 
of his bloodthirsty warriors, interposed his own 
person between them and the victims they had 
devoted to destruction. When their safety was 
accomplished, he sought out Proctor, and indig- 
nantly demanded why he had not put a stop to 
the massacre ? 

" Sir," said Proctor, "your Indians cannot be 
commanded." " Begone !" replied the chief con- 
temptuously, "you are not fit to command. Go 
and put on petticoats." 

Almost simultaneously with this cruel slaugh- 
ter, a detachment of Kentuckians sallied out from 
Fort Meigs, in company with a party of regulars^ 
and attacked a battery on the southern shore 
of the river. It was a spirited and brilliant little 
affair and conducted with great courage, but with 
a corresponding loss of men. 

Well aware that the garrison had been rein- 
forced, entertaining no hope of its speedy cap- 


ture, and becoming alarmed at the capture of 
Fort George by General Dearborn, Proctor 
abandoned the siege on the 9th of May, and re- 
tired -with his forces toward Maiden. 


Great advantages possessed by the British — Perry ordered to 
build vessels on the shore of Lake Erie — Extraordinary ac- 
tivity and despatch — Proctor assaults Fort Stephenson — 
Croghan's noble defence — Perry's victory on Lake Erie^ — ■ 
Harrison advances into Canada — Proctor retreats toward the 
Moravian towns — Battle of the Thames — Surrender of the 
regulars and flight of Proctor — Desperate conflict with the 
Indians — Colonel Johnson severely wounded — Tecumseh 
killed — The British forces under Packenham threaten New 
Orleans — Vanguard of the enemy bivouac on the Missis- 
sippi — Night attack by Jackson and Coffee, supported by the 
schooner Caroline — Arrival of Packenham — His tardy move- 
ments — Activity of Jackson — Kentucky reinforcement ar- 
rives — Battle of the 8th of January — Terrible slaughter of 
the enemy — Death of Packenham — Retreat of the enemy. 

Hitherto the war on the frontiers of Canada 
had been peculiarly disastrous to the American 
arms. One cause of this was, undoubtedly, the 
entire control which the enemy possessed over 
the navigation of Lake Erie. It gave the British 
general the important advantage of landing his 
troops with ease upon any point along the shores 
of the lake, and of moving his provisions and 
material of war with equal ease and absence of 


fatigue ; and if discomfited, it enabled him to re- 
tire into Canada without fear of being pursued. 

The Americans, on the other hand, were com- 
pelled to bring their reinforcements and supplies 
through nearly two hundred miles of a wild and 
difficult country, and to occupy isolated posts, 
where even small losses were of consequence, and 
large ones required months of energetic activity 
to repair. 

To counteract the superiority which the enemy 
had acquired by holding undisputed command of 
the lake, a number of small vessels were ordered 
to be built upon the shores of the lake, the su- 
perintendence and equipment of which were in- 
trusted to Lieutenant Perry, who was also autho- 
rized to assume command of the fleet as soon as 
it was ready for service. So rapidly were the 
orders from the navy department prosecuted, 
and so efficient were the officers and men detach- 
ed upon this service, that two brigs and seven 
smaller vessels, of which the timber was growing 
in the forest in the month of June, 1813, were 
built and ready for a cruise by the 1st of August 
following ; and three days afterward, Perry set 
sail in search of the enemy. 

In the midst of these naval preparations, Proc- 
tor, who had remained at Maiden until his force 
was reorganized, made a second attempt to cap- 
ture Fort Meigs ; but being foiled in his object 
he drew off his troops, and with his Indian auxi- 


liaries sailed for Fort Stephenson, a small pick- 
eted stockade built at Upper Sandusky the year 

The garrison at this place consisted of one 
hundred and sixty men. They -were commanded 
by Major Croghan of Kentucky, at that time a 
young man whose age did not exceed twenty-one 
years. The whole artillery of the fort was a 
single six-pounder. 

Believing the place to be utterly untenable, 
Harrison directed Croghan to abandon it, and 
retreat upon the main army. Fearful that his 
note would fall into the hands of the Indians, 
Croghan sent an answer in return " that he was 
determined to defend the place at all hazards." 
He was immediately put under arrest for disobe- 
dience of orders ; but on an explanation taking 
place, was reinstated in his command, with the 
understanding that he was to evacuate the post 
and repair to head- quarters in the event of the 
British approaching in force. 

No time, however, was given him to do so. On 
the 13th of July, the fort was invested by Proc- 
tor, at the head of five hundred regular troops, 
and seven or eight hundred Indians. As soon 
as he had completely cut off the retreat of the 
garrison, he demanded an immediate surrender. 

After consulting with his companions, Crog- 
han returned the following spirited answer : 
" "When the fort shall be taken there will be none 


left to massacre, and it will not be given up 
while a man is able to fight." 

The enemy immediately commenced a fire 
upon the fort from six field-pieces, and kept it up 
at intervals during the night. Under cover of the 
darkness, they succeeded in planting three of 
their cannon within a short distance of the pick- 
ets. After working their guns with- great vigour 
during the whole of the next morning, without 
making any sensible impression upon the garri- 
son, they changed their mode of attack, and con- 
centrated the whole fire from their six-pounders 
upon the northwest angle of the fort. Foresee- 
ing that the intention of Proctor was to carry the 
place by storm, as soon as a practicable breach 
could be effected, the defenders immediately 
strengthened the works on that side with bags 
of flour and sand. Loading their only field- 
piece with slugs and grape, they concealed it in 
the bastion covering the point to be assailed, 
and waited calmly the approach of the enemy. 
Shrouded entirely from view by the smoke of 
their artillery, five hundred British regulars ad- 
vanced to within twenty paces of the lines. A 
steady fire of musketry from the garrison pro- 
ducing some confusion, Colonel Short sprang 
over the outer works into the ditch, and called 
upon his men to follow. Immediately they did 
so, the six-pounder from the bastion opened upon 
them, succeeded by a fire of musketry. 


Their leader and twenty men fell dead at this 
discharge, and an equal number were wounded. 
They were retreating in the utmost disorder 
when the officer next in command succeeded in 
rallying them, and again they rushed to the at- 
tack. A second discharge of the field-piece, fol- 
lowed by a plunging fire of musketry, poured 
destruction upon their ranks. Utterly panic- 
stricken, they immediately broke into scattered 
parties, and fled to the surrounding woods, with 
a loss of one hundred and fifty men in killed and 
wounded. The loss of the garrison was but seven 
men, only one of whom was killed. 

After this terrible repulse, Proctor hastily 
withdrew to his boats, and returned in bitter 
mortification to Maiden. 

The gallant defence of Fort Stephenson was 
but the prelude to that long succession of vic- 
tories, both on land and water, by which, after a 
series of disasters, the honour of the American 
arms was at length most amply vindicated. 

Perry's victory on Lake Erie took place on the 
10th of September following. It was at once 
splendid in its results, and momentous in its 
consequences. After a desperate and well-fought 
battle, which lasted three hours, every vessel 
of the British squadron was captured. The 
American ascendency on the lakes was hence- 
forth complete, and Canada laid open to inva- 


The disasters attending previous attempts, ren- 
dered the subjugation of the British northwestern 
territory a matter of national pride. It was im- 
mediately resolved upon. Harrison, who still 
remained at Fort Meigs, had been reinforced by 
four thousand volunteers from Kentucky, under 
the command of Governor Shelby. 

The aids of the latter were. General John Adair 
and John J. Crittenden. Colonel Richard M. 
Johnson, subsequently Vice President of the 
United States, was also present at this time, in 
command of a regiment of mounted riflemen. 

Proctor still held possession of Detroit and 
Mackinaw ; but as soon as Harrison commenced 
crossing the lake, with the view of operating 
upon his rear, he precipitately abandoned all his 
former positions, and after destroying the fort 
at Maiden, retreated, inland, toward the Mora- 
vian towns. He was deserted almost immediately 
by the greater part of his Indian auxiliaries ; 
Tecumseh, and the warriors subject to his control, 
alone remaining faithful. 

Leaving a detachment under General McAr- 
thur to garrison Detroit, Harrison, accompanied 
by Perry and Cass as volunteer aids, lost no time 
in pushing forward in pursuit of Proctor. The 
force under his command, with the exception 
of one hundred and twenty regulars, consisted 
almost wholly of Kentucky volunteers. It num- 


bered, including friendly Indians, about tliree 
thousand five hundred men. 

On the 5th of October, after three days' severe 
marching, the enemy were discovered on the 
banks of the Thames, drawn up in order of bat- 
tle. The regulars under Proctor occupied a nar- 
row strip of bottom land,covered with beech trees, 
their left, strengthened by their artillery, resting 
on the river, and their right protected by a 
swamp. The Indians under Tecumseh were ju- 
diciously posted between two swamps still farther 
to the right. The number of regulars was proba- 
bly five hundred, and of Indians from one thou- 
sand to fifteen hundred. 

The five brigades of Kentucky volunteers, each 
averaging five hundred men, were disposed by 
Harrison in the following manner : Three bri- 
gades, commanded respectively by Generals Trot- 
ter, King, and Chiles, forming the first division 
under Major-general Henry, were drawn up in 
three parallel lines, opposite to the British regu- 
lars. The two remaining brigades, commanded 
by Generals Allen and Caldwell, composed a 
second division under Major-general Desha, and 
were formed on the left of, and at right-angles 
to the first division, for the purpose of confront- 
ing the Indians between the swamps. The regu- 
lars occupied a contracted space between the 
road and the river, waiting an opportunity to 
carry the British artillery by storm. 


The mounted men under Colonel Johnson, were 
originally formed in two battalions, also facing 
the Indians ; but when it was discovered that 
the British regulars were deployed as skirmish- 
ers, with intervals of four or five feet between the 
files, one battalion of the cavalry was detached 
to charge the latter, while the other, commanded 
by Colonel Johnson in person, was directed to 
remain at its post, and advance upon the savages 
as soon as the signal was given. Shortly after- 
ward the Americans moved forward, and as soon 
as they did so, the enemy opened their fire. The 
cavalry detached against the regulars charged 
instantly, and after recoiling for a moment, broke 
through the line of skirmishers, formed in their 
rear, poured upon them a destructive fire, and 
were preparing for a second charge, when the 
British officers, finding themselves unable to rally 
their troops, already panic-stricken and utterly 
disorganized, ordered them to throw down their 
arms and surrender themselves prisoners of war. 

General Proctor did not stay to witness the 
capture. As soon as he saw the effect resulting 
from the one terrible charge of the American 
cavalry, he galloped from the field, and escaped 
pursuit by the fleetness of his horse. 

The charge made by Colonel Johnson upon 
the Indians, from the nature of the soil and the 
peculiar mode of savage warfare, was not suc- 
cessful. The cavalry were therefore dismounted 


and directed to fight the enemy after the old 
border fashion. Even after the surrender of the 
British regulars, Tecumseh and his warriors con- 
tinued the fight, but, being hard pressed, they 
determined to precipitate themselves upon De- 
sha's brigade, and force a passage through. 
While the ranks were staggering under the effects 
of this concentrated fire, a regiment of volunteers 
under the venerable Shelby advanced and drove 
the Indians back to their coverts. Colonel John- 
son now placed himself at the head of a small 
detachment, and led them against a party of In- 
dians, who were gathered around Tecumseh. The 
combat here was fierce in the extreme, and John- 
son was borne from the field desperately wounded. 
About the same time Tecumseh fell, and the In- 
dians, dismayed by the loss of their leader, and 
pressed on every side by an overwhelming force, 
scattered in all directions. 

The victory of the Thames put an end to the 
war in the northwest. It continued, however, 
to rage with great violence, during the two fol- 
lowing years, on the eastern and southern borders 
of the United States ; but the people of Kentucky 
were not again engaged in active military duty, 
until they formed a portion of the force under 
General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. 

Early in December, 1814, sixty sail of British 
vessels appeared off the east coast of the Missis- 
sippi, bearing from eight to ten thousand veteran 


soldiers, commanded by Sir Edward Packenham, 
an officer who had already distinguished himself 
in the peninsular war. On the 14th the flotilla 
of American gunboats, despatched to watch the 
motions of the enemy, were attacked during a 
calm and compelled to surrender. 

On the 22d, the British vanguard, composed 
of three thousand men under General Keane, 
after capturing the small force of Americans 
posted at the mouth of Bayou Bienvenu, passed 
up the channel without opposition, and by two 
o'clock reached the bank of the Mississippi, where 
they bivouacked for the night. 

At this time, Major-general Andrew Jackson, 
the commander-in-chief of the American army, 
was encamped two miles below the city of New Or- 
leans, with seven hundred regular troops and three 
thousand militia, undisciplined and indiflerent- 
ly armed. Notwithstanding the disadvantages 
against which he would have to contend in risk- 
ing a battle with regulars inured to victory, and 
fresh from a triumphant campaign signalized by 
the final downfall of Napoleon, Jackson deter- 
mined at once to attack them. 

Ordering the American armed schooner Caro- 
line to drop down the river and co-operate with 
the land forces, he marched with twenty-five 
hundred men against the enemy. 

The British troops were encamped close to the 
Mississippi, with their right resting on a wood 


and their left on the river. A strong detach- 
ment under General Coffee was ordered to turn 
their right and attack them in the rear, while the 
main body, under Jackson in person, assailed 
them in front and on their left. The firing from 
the Caroline was to be the signal of attack. 

Darkness had already set in when the Caroline 
floated down the river, cast anchor abreast of 
the enemy's encampment, and directed by the 
light of the watch-fires, poured suddenly, and 
with immense destruction, a raking fire upon the 
troops, who were crowded thickly together on the 
level plain. Confused by this unexpected attack, 
for they had been totally unsuspicious of the 
character of the vessel, it was some time before 
subordination was restored, and in the mean while, 
the guns of the Caroline, loaded with grape and 
musket-balls, swept the encampment with a rapid 
succession of broadsides. 

While the firing from the Caroline was being 
answered by volleys of musketry and by congreve 
rockets thrown from the mortar battery, the en- 
campment was furiously attacked in front and 
rear by the land forces under Jackson and Cof- 

The camp-fires were immediately extinguished, 
and the darkness being rendered more intense 
by a heavy fog, the British commander was 
unable to oppose the coolness and science of his 
veteran troops to the impetuous irregularity of 


the American militia. After a desperate strug- 
gle and much confusion on both sides, the 
American and British troops mutually withdrew 
from the contest; the British resting on their 
arms until daylight, and the Americans remain- 
ing on the field of battle till four o'clock the fol- 
lowing morning, when they retired to a position 
two miles closer the city, where the swamp and 
the Mississippi approached nearest each other. 
The British loss in this night attack was esti- 
mated, in killed, wounded, and missing, at four 
hundred men. That of the Americans was two 
hundred and thirteen. 

The enemy remaining inactive during the next 
four days, Jackson employed his force in fortify- 
ing his position. After deepening the shallow 
ditch which extended across his front from the 
Mississippi on the right hand, to the swamp on 
the left ; he formed a rampart along the line with 
bales of cotton brought from New Orleans, and 
covered it with earth. 

The Caroline being soon after destroyed with 
hot shot by the enemy, Sir Edward Packenham 
brought up another detachment of his forces on 
the 24th, formed a junction with his vanguard, 
and on the 28th made an attack upon the Ameri- 
can line with rockets and bombs, but after seven 
hours of ineffectual firing fell back to his camp. 

No sooner had Packenham retired, than, find- 
ing from a demonstration made by Lieutenant- 


colonel Rennie that the left of the American 
line could be turned by the British in force, 
Jackson immediately set about strengthening that 
portion of his defences by prolonging the breast- 
work farther into the swamp. 

The extreme caution evinced by Packenham 
in all his movements had already been of singu- 
lar service to the American general. Taking 
advantage of the delay, he proceeded, with almost 
incredible labour and activity, to render his po- 
sition still more formidable. 

On the 1st of January, 1815, Packenham made 
another attempt to batter down the American 
breastwork, by a heavy cannonade from batte- 
ries constructed only a short distance from the 
lines. His guns were quickly silenced by the 
fire of the American artillery. An attempt made 
at the same time to turn the American left was 
also completely repulsed. 

On the 4th, Jackson was reinforced by two 
thousand five hundred Kentuckians under Gene- 
ral Adair ; and on the 6th the British general 
was joined by the remainder of his force, amount- 
ing to four thousand men. 

On the morning of the 8th of January, Pack- 
enham — instead of advancing with the boats at 
his command by the right bank of the river, 
where the impediments were few, and by which 
he might have completely avoided the formidable 
works which Jackson had by this time rendered 


almost impregnable — detached Colonel Thornton 
with fourteen hundred men to assail General 
Morgan on the opposite shore, while the main 
body moved in three columns on the left bank 
to the attack of Jackson's line. 

The column destined to assault the centre 
of the American works was led by Packenham. 
Lieutenant-colonel Rennie commanded the column 
on the British left, which was ordered to carry 
the redoubt upon the river; while Lieutenant- 
colonel Jones was directed to penetrate the 
swamp, turn the left of the American line, and to 
attack the rear of the centre. 

The works upon which the American troops 
had been for sixteen days so actively engaged were 
by this time completed. The simple ditch behind 
which Jackson halted his men after the night 
engagement of the 22d of December, had been 
deepened until it contained five feet of water, 
while a high breastwork, constructed of cotton- 
bags and earth, extended at right angles with 
the river for nearly a mile, and terminated only 
at a point where the swamp became impassa- 
ble. Eight separate batteries, mounting in all 
twelve guns, were judiciously disposed along the 

On the right of the line, which was strength- 
ened by an advanced redoubt, were posted the 
Louisiana militia and the regulars. One brigade 
of Tennesseans and eleven hundred Kentucky 


militia formed the centre. A second brigade 
of Tennesseans guarded the left flank. 

At the firing of two signal rockets the British 
veterans advanced. Through the thick fog, 
which then lay heavy upon the ground, the 
measured tread of the central column could be 
distinctly heard long before it became visible. 
Directed only by the sound, the artillery opened 
at once upon the approaching assailants. 

At this moment the fog slowly lifted, and dis- 
closed the centre column marching swiftly, but 
steadily, over the even plain in front of the in- 
trenchments. Notwithstanding the destructive 
cannonade, the men continued to advance, clos- 
ing up their ranks as fast as they were opened by 
the American fire. When the head of the column 
was within one hundred and fifty yards of the 
breastworks, the whole front of the Kentucky 
and Tennessee line, extending over a space of 
four hundred yards, kept up one continuous vol- 
ley of musketry, the files in the rear loading for 
those in front, and enabling them to discharge 
their pieces with scarcely an intermission. Terri- 
bly shattered, yet not wholly dismayed, the British 
column still moved forward, until the leading 
files reached the ditch. Here, swept by musketry 
and artillery, they were cut down by hundreds. 
No longer able to endure the incessant storm 
of balls and bullets, they fell back in disorder, 
suffering dreadfully in their retreat. General 


Packenham had already fallen in front of his 
troops, and Generals Gibbs and Keane were car- 
ried from the field, the one mortally, and the 
other severely wounded. 

General Lambert, the next in command, suc- 
ceeded in rallying the column for a second effort. 
It proved even more fatal than the first, — a few 
platoons only reaching the edge of the ditch, 
where they fell riddled with balls. The rest 
of the column broke and fled in confusion ; and 
although a third attempt to lead them to the at- 
tack was made by the surviving officers, the men 
moodily refused to advance again in the face of 
so murderous a fire. 

The British columns operating upon the right 
and left of the line met with no better success. 
In the attack upon the redoubt on the river side, 
Lieutenant-colonel Rennie and most of the in- 
ferior officers were killed. The redoubt was in- 
deed taken, but at a fearful loss of life, and the 
assailants still remained exposed to the fire from 
the breastworks, when the failure of the main 
assault compelled them to retreat in confusion. 

The impossibility of turning the American left 
— in consequence of the swampy nature of the 
ground and the resolute resistance offered by the 
Tennessee brigade under General Coffee — forced 
the enemy to withdraw from that quarter also, 
and take to the shelter of the ^ood. 

In the midst of this fearful carnage, the de- 


tacliment under Colonel Thornton crossed to the 
right bank of the river, and attacked the in- 
trenchments of General Morgan. 

The American right, being outflanked, abandon- 
ed its position. The left endeavoured to main- 
tain its ground, but finding itself closely pressed 
by the greater numbers of the enemy, spiked its 
guns and retreated. 

Colonel Thornton being severely wounded, 
the command of the detachment devolved upon 
Colonel Gubbins. The defeat of the main army 
rendered success upon this point of no avail. 
While Jackson was preparing to dislodge them 
from their position, they retreated across the river 
in obedience to the order of General Lambert. 

The immense loss of the British in this fatal 
battle has been variously stated at two and three 
thousand ; and by the most reliable account, 
could scarcely have been less than twenty-five 
hundred men. The loss of the Americans did 
not exceed six killed, and seven wounded. 

The force of the enemy actually engaged 
in the attacks on the right and left banks, was 
nearly seven thousand rank and file. That of 
the Americans numbered, in all, a little over five 
thousand men, a portion of whom were without 
arms and consequently ineffective. 

On the 9th, General Lambert commenced with 
great secrecy the preparation for re-embarking 
his troops ; but the final desertion of the British 


camp did not take place until the night of the 
18th, when the rear-guard hastily withdrew, 
leaving behind them eight of their wounded and 
fourteen pieces of artillery. 


Peace proclaimed between England and the United States — 
Inflated condition of the currency — Dreadful monetary de- 
rangement — Banks chartered — Power of replevin extended — 
Bank of the commonwealth chartered — Great excitement on 
account of the relief laws — Relief and anti-relief parties or- 
ganized — Legality of the relief law contested — Decision of 
Judge Clarke sustained by the court of appeals — General 
alarm and outcry — Unsuccessful attempt of the legislature to 
remove the judges — The old court of appeals abolished, and 
a new one established — The constitutionality of the latter 
contested — The old court sustained — State and general poli- 
tics — Suspension of specie payments — Second monetary de- 
rangement — The legislature again applied to for relief — 
Wisdom of the measures adopted — Governors of Kentucky — 
Presidential election. 

Two weeks previous to the disastrous defeat 
of the British forces below New Orleans, a treaty 
of peace had been concluded at Ghent between 
England and the United States. On the 18th 
of February, 1815, the president issued a procla- 
mation announcing the auspicious event, and set- 
ting apart an early day for the observance of a 
national thanksgiving. 

In 1816, George Madison was elected gover- 
nor of Kentucky ; but dying shortly afterward, 


the office fell by succession to Gabriel Slaughter, 
who had previously been chosen lieutenant-gover- 

The state of Kentucky was now destined to 
pass through an ordeal of the severest kind. 
The extraordinary increase in the nominal value 
of commodities, owing to the introduction of an 
inflated paper currency, in the place of the pre- 
cious metals, which the wars of Europe had ban- 
ished almost entirely from circulation, gave rise 
to a daring spirit of speculation, resultirfg, after 
the proclamation of a general peace, in the most 
calamitous consequences. 

On the part of Kentucky the revulsion was 
terrible. Forty independent banks, chartered 
at the session of 1817, with a capital of nearly 
ten millions of dollars, were reduced, with but 
few exceptions, to a condition of utter bank- 
ruptcy, within the brief space of two years. The 
people, oppressed with debt, clamoured loudly for 
relief; and various schemes were adopted for 
that purpose. 

The legislature of 1819 extended the power to 
replevy judgments from three to twelve months. 
That of 1820 chartered the Bank of the Com- 
monwealth, and pledged certain lands owned by 
the state for the final payment of its notes. The 
redemption of the notes in specie was not required. 
This paper was made payable and receivable in 
the public debts and taxes ; and on any creditor 


declining to receive it in payment of his debt, 
the debtor was authorized to replevy it for the 
space of two years. 

The old Bank of Kentucky, hitherto in good 
repute, was now brought under legislative influ- 
ence, and from a prosperous condition was soon 
reduced to bankruptcy. 

The notes of the new bank quickly sank to 
half their nominal value, and as creditors were 
compelled either to receive them at par, or to wait 
two years before they could enforce the payment 
of their claims, a turbulent state of public feeling 
was excited. Two bitterly hostile parties were 
the consequence. These were called relief and 
anti-relief. Of the first party was General Adair, 
who had been elected governor in 1820, several 
eminent lawyers, the great mass of debtors, and 
a large majority of the voting population. 

The anti-relief party consisted of the mercan- 
tile class, a large proportion of the bar and 
bench, and a majority of the better class of farm- 

The question of the legality of the legislative 
act for relief coming up before the circuit court 
of Clarke county. Judge Clarke boldly decided 
the act to be unconstitutional, and drew upon 
himself thereby a torrent of popular indignation. 

Resolutions were accordingly offered during 
the session of the legislature of 1822 to remove 
Clarke from his office, but were not carried, partly 


owing to the want of a constitutional majority, 
and partly to a desire among some of the mem- 
bers to await the decision of the Supreme Court 
of Kentucky. The judges composing the latter 
were John Boyle, William Owsley, and Benjamin 
Mills. Their decision, which was made at the 
fall term of 1823, fully confirmed the opinion of 
Judge Clarke, and declared that the act of tho 
legislature was in violation of the Constitution 
of the United States, and totally void. 

No sooner was this opinion made public, than 
the popular rage burst forth. Hitherto the will 
of the people having been triumphant in all 
things, they could ill bear to find themselves sud- 
denly curbed by the controlling power of the 
law. They immediately determined to remove 
the obnoxious judiciary. To efiect this, required 
a majority of two-thirds in both houses of the 
legislature, and success was to be determined by 
the result of the elections of 1824. 

General Desha, the candidate for governor, 
vehemently advocated the relief measures in his 
canvass of the state, and was elected by an im- 
mense majority. The relief party also obtained 
a large majority of both houses of the legislature. 

At the session held in December, the three 
judges were summoned before the legislative bar, 
and required to assign reasons for their decision. 
They were replied to by the eminent lawyers 
Rowan, Bibb, and Barry. A vote was at length 


taken, but as the constitutional majority of two- 
thirds was not obtained, the judges retired vie-' 

Foiled in their attempt to remove the judges 
by impeachment or address, the members of the 
relief party now determined upon breaking up 
the old court of appeals, and organizing it anew. 
A bill to this effect was accordingly drawn up : 
after it had been fiercely debated during three 
day and three protracted night sessions, it was 
carried by a large majority of both houses. 

The new court was organized soon after, but 
the old court denied the constitutionality of the 
act by which it was attempted to be superseded, 
and continued to hold its sessions as usual. There 
were thus for a long time two supreme courts 
of appeal in Kentucky, in consequence of which 
great legal confusion prevailed. 

This anomalous condition of things continued 
until the session of 1826, when the triumph of 
the old court party was completed by the repeal 
of the obnoxious act, and formal re-establishment 
of the original judges de facto, as well as de 

In 1828, General Thomas Metcalfe, the can- 
didate of the old court party, now organized 
under the name of "National Republican," was 
elected governor of the state by a small majority ; 
but at the presidential election which took place 
in November, the democratic republicans carried 


the state for General Jackson by a majority of 
eight thousand. 

In 1832, Henry Clay became a candidate 
for the presidency in opposition to General Jack- 
son. After a severe contest between the na- 
tional and democratic parties, Breathitt, the 
candidate of the latter for governor, was elected 
by upward of a thousand votes ; but at the pre- 
sidential election, which took place the succeeding 
November, the popular majority for Henry Clay, 
in opposition to General Jackson, exceeded seven 
thousand. Defeat, however, attended Clay in 
other states, and Jackson was re-elected. 

The triumph of the old court party sealed the 
fate of the Commonwealth Bank. In a few years 
its paper disappeared from circulation, and was 
replaced by the notes of two branch banks of the 
United States, one of which had been established 
at Lexington, and the other at Louisville. 

Upon the refusal of Congress to recharter the 
Bank of the United States, the legislature of 
Kentucky, at its sessions of 1833 and 1834, 
granted charters for establishing the Bank of 
Kentucky, the Northern Bank of Kentucky, and 
the Bank of Louisville, with an aggregate capi- 
tal of thirteen millions of dollars. 

The establishment of numerous banks in other 
states about the same time occasioned an enor- 
mous increase of paper money, and again en- 


couraged that reckless spirit of speculation which 
led to the disasters of 1837. 

In the spring of 1837, all the banks of the 
Union suspended specie payments, and this act 
of necessity was legalized in Kentucky by the 
succeeding legislature, who refused to compel the 
state banks to redeem their notes with specie, and 
declined exacting the forfeiture of their charters. 
In 1838, the monetary derangement appeared 
to have passed away, and a fair and prosperous 
condition of things ensued. This, however, was, 
unfortunately, but of brief duration ; a second 
suspension of specie payments took place in 

The people of Kentucky, however, succeeded 
in staggering on under the mass of their difficul- 
ties until the year 1842 ; when, driven almost to 
desperation by the frightful load of debt under 
^hich they laboured, they once more appealed 
to the legislature to provide some means for their 
relief. A calm dispassionate course of action, 
an extension of the periods at which judgment 
could be given, and a liberal accommodation af- 
forded by the existing banks, served to tranquil- 
lize in a great degree the public mind, and with 
the year 1843, the pressure gradually relaxed. 

The successive election of three governors of 
Kentucky has yet to be recorded. In 1836, 
Judge Clarke was chosen chief magistrate ; in 
1840, Robert P. Letcher ; and in 1844, Judge Wil- 


liam Owsley. The latter was succeeded In 1848 
by John J. Crittenden, the present attorney 
general of the United States. 

At the presidential election of 1840, Gene- 
ral Harrison was warmly supported by the whig 
party of Kentucky; but the vote he received 
fell far short of that cast by Kentucky for Clay 
in 1844. 

In the election of General Taylor to the presi- 
dential chair in 1848, a fusion of parties took 
place, and all the old distinctive issues for which 
the democrats and whigs had previously contend- 
ed, were, during that harmonious period, measura- 
bly cast aside, and have never since been revived 
in their ancient force and bitterness. 




Mexico and the United States — Annexation of Texas — General 
Taylor ordered to move to the Rio Grande — Encamps at 
Corpus Christi — Erects a post at Point Isabel — ^Marches to 
a point opposite Matamoras — Builds Fort Brown ^ — The 
Mexicans cross the Rio Grande in force — Taylor returns to 
Point Isabel — Again marches to Fort Brown — Battle of 
Palo Alto — ^Battle of Resaca de la Palma — Occupation of 
Matamoras — Reception of reinforcements' — March upon 
Monterey — Storming of Monterey — Great reduction of the 
force under General Taylor — Is compelled to assume the de- 
fensive — Return of Santa Anna to Mexico — Concentrates a 
large army at San Luis Potosi — Marches against Taylor — 
Battle of Buena Vista — Conclusion. 

In 1845, the relations of the United States 
■with the republic of Mexico, after maintaining 
for many years a threatening aspect, were ren- 
dered still more critical by the annexation of 

During the summer of this year, General 
Zachary Taylor was ordered to take command of 
an army of observation, and select a position be- 
tween the Nueces and the RiO Grande. He ac- 
cordingly encamped at Corpus Christi, where he 
remained until the 11th of March, 1846, when 
he was instructed to march to the east bank of 
the Rio Grande. 

Paying no regard to the remonstrance of the 
Mexican authorities, who warned him that the 
crossing of the Rio Colorado by troops from the 


United States would be followed by actual hostili- 
ties, Taylor pressed forward, and after establish- 
ing a post at Point Isabel, near the mouth of the 
Rio Grande, for the reception of his supplies, he 
put his small army again in motion, and finally 
fortified a position on the eastern bank of the 
Rio Grande, opposite the Mexican town of Mata- 
moras. The works which he threw up at this 
point were subsequently known as Fort Brown. 

The communication between Fort Brown and 
Point Isabel being shortly afterward obstructed 
by a large Mexican force, which had crossed the 
river and thrown itself between the two posts 
for that purpose, Taylor left a small garrison at 
Fort Brown and marched to Point Isabel, with 
the view of strengthening that post and of bring- 
ing back supplies. 

He succeeded in reaching Point Isabel on the 
3d of May without interruption, and on the 7th 
again set out for Fort Brown, a distance of 
twenty-three miles. His whole force consisted 
of two thousand three hundred regulars. It was 
accompanied by two eighteen-pounders, drawn 
by oxen, and by Ringgold and Duncan's batteries 
of flying artillery. 

Twelve miles from Point Isabel, at a place 
called Palo Alto, the Mexican army was disco- 
vered drawn up in order of battle. This splendid 
body of men was comprised of six thousand regu- 
lars, supported by a large number of rancheros, 


and strengthened bj ten pieces of artillery. The 
action was commenced by the Mexican artillery, 
and soon became general. The engagement was 
fought almost entirely by artillery, and the 
American superioi'ity in that arm soon became 
manifest. Ringgold's battery opened with terri- 
ble effect upon the Mexican right, and that of 
Duncan swept the left, while the two eighteen- 
pounders poured upon the centre a steady and 
destructive fire. For a long time the Mexicans 
strove, but in vain, to make head against the 
fierce storm of cannon-balls by which their columns 
were constantly cut up. 

At length they gave way, and fell back about 
four miles from the field of battle, where, having 
received a reinforcement of two thousand men, 
they encamped for the 'night. The Americans 
bivouacked on the field they had so gallantly 
won. The Mexican loss in this affair was two 
hundred killed and four hundred wounded ; that 
of the Americans was four killed, and thirty- 
seven wounded. Of the killed, three were officers, 
among whom were Major Ringgold and Captain 

The next morning General Taylor determined, 
contrary to the advice of his officers, to advance 
to the relief of Fort Brown. At Resaca de la 
Palma the Mexican army was again discovered, 
protected in front by a ravine, on the one flank 
by a pond of water, and on the other by a chap- 


paral or dense thicket of thorny bushes. In this 
engagement, the firing of the Mexicans was much 
more destructive than it had been the day pre- 
vious. The battery stationed to command the 
road swept the American lines with fearful exe- 
cution. Finding its capture absolutely neces- 
sary, General Taylor ordered Captain May to 
charge it with his dragoons. Pausing only for a 
moment, at the suggestion of Captain Ridgely, 
until the latter had drawn the fire of the Mexi- 
can artillery. May placed himself at the head of 
his troops, and calling upon them to follow, dash- 
ed down the road at full speed, and leaping the 
battery, drove the artillery-men from their pieces. 
The American infantry, moving rapidly up soon 
after, maintained possession of the captured bat- 
tery, and assaulting the Mexican centre with the 
bayonet, put the whole army to a complete rout. 
The Mexican loss in this battle, and in the sub- 
sequent pursuit, scarcely fell short of a thousand 
men ; that of the Americans was one hundred 
and ten. On the 18th of May, General Taylor 
took possession of Matamoras without resistance. 
The critical position in which this gallant lit- 
tle army had been placed, and from which it had 
only been extricated by an exhibition of almost 
Spartan heroism, had not been viewed without 
fearful solicitude on the part of the people of 
the United States. Reinforcements of volun- 
teers from the states bordering on the Ohio and 


Mississippi were despatched at once for the Rio 
Grande, and when these had arrived, and a por- 
tion of the supplies necessary for the support 
of his army had been received, General Taylor 
took up his line of route for the city of Monterey. 

To this ancient city, built in the valley of San 
Juan, at the foot of the Sierra Madre, Ampudia 
the Mexican general had retired after the evacua- 
tion of Matamoras. It was a place strong by 
nature, well fortified, and garrisoned by an army 
of seven thousand troops of the line, and three 
thousand irregulars. 

The force with which General Taylor advanced 
upon this stronghold consisted of six thousand 
six hundred and forty-five men, including oflScers. 
Against the forty-two pieces of cannon of the 
Mexicans, he could only oppose one ten-inch 
mortar, two twenty-four pound howitzers, and 
sixteen pieces of light artillery. 

Establishing his camp in a beautiful grove 
three miles distant from the city, reconnoissances 
were made of the enemy's defences, and as soon 
as the reports were received, the division under 
General Worth was ordered to take a circuitous 
route to the right of the town, and storm the 
fortified heights in its rear. On the afternoon 
of the 19th of September, Worth advanced. 
Halting for the night at the foot of the moun- 
tains, a little beyond range of the enemy's bat- 
teries, he succeeded in repelling, the following 


morning, a brilliant charge of cavalry, and cross- 
ing the Saltillo road, carried in a dashing manner 
the two heights Soldada and Independencia, and 
then precipitated a portion of his force upon the 
Bishop's palace. 

In the mean time Taylor had commenced a de- 
termined assault upon the batteries in front of 
the town, and finally succeeded in penetrating 
the city, from which, however, the troops were 
several times compelled to retire with severe 
loss. At length, the principal battery was car- 
ried by storm, and the enemy gradually forced 
back, foot by foot, to the grand plaza in the 
centre of the city. By working with picks and 
bars through the stone walls of adjacent houses, 
many of the barricades, hitherto so destructive, 
were avoided ; and as the division under General 
Worth was engaged piercing the heart of the 
city on the one side by this more secure but labo- 
rious mode of approach, while the main body 
under Taylor was operating in a like manner on 
the other, Ampudia, finding the space between 
himself and his assailants gradually, but surely, 
contracting, proposed terms of capitulation, which 
resulted in the surrender of the city. The Ameri- 
can loss in this attack numbered in killed and 
wounded five hundred men. 

The government of the United States having 
decided to assault Vera Cruz, the greater part of 
the forces under General Taylor were transferred 


to tlie southern line of operations, now about to 
be undertaken by Major-general Scott. This re- 
duction in the number of men under the com- 
mand of Taylor precluded all further advance, 
and obliged him to rest contented with maintain- 
ing the ground he had already won. His ability to 
do even this appeared to be growing daily more 
problematical. Santa Anna had returned to 
Mexico, and by the extraordinary influence he 
at that time wielded over the hearts of his coun- 
trymen, was enabled to concentrate at San Luis 
Potosi an army of twenty thousand men, well 
equipped, and admirably furnished with munitions 
of war. 

With this army the Mexican general advanced 
upon General Taylor, whose entire force did not 
exceed four thousand seven hundred men. The 
latter was at this time encamped at Agua Nueva, 
but upon the approach of Santa Anna he fell 
back to the strong position of Buena Vista, where 
he formed his men and awaited calmly the at- 

On the 22d of February, 1847, the clouds 
of dust which enveloped the Mexican cavalry, as 
it came dashing through the valley of La Encan- 
tada, was the first evidence which the Ameri- 
cans received of the immediate proximity of the 
enemy. As soon as the main army under Santa 
Anna came up, he despatched a flag of truce 
to General Taylor with a summons of surrender. 


A terse but perfectly respectful refusal was in- 
stantly returned by the American commander, and 
at three o'clock in the afternoon the enemy open- 
ed the battle by firing a shell upon that part of 
the American lines occupied by Washington's 
battery supported by the Indiana regiment. The 
afternoon was passed mainly in manoeuvres and 
desultory skirmishes between the light troops 
commanded by General Ampudia and the Ar- 
kansas and Kentucky riflemen, who were opposed 
to them. During the night the light division of 
Ampudia, being reinforced by two thousand in- 
fantry from the divisions of Lombardini and 
Pacheco, succeeded in gaining an elevated posi- 
tion to the left and rear of the American rifle- 
men ; and in this quarter, at the very first dawn 
of day, the battle of the 23d commenced. It 
was hotly contested, with changing fortunes, 
throughout the entire day, and only ceased when 
night separated the combatants. 

On the part of the Americans it was a day 
distinguished by acts of individual heroism such 
as have seldom been witnessed in any country, 
and nev«r exceeded in our own. 

Broken up into mere squads, for ten succes- 
sive hours the American volunteers gallantly sus- 
tained repeated charges from the immense masses 
of the enemy ; and now driven back, and now 
fiercely repulsing their assailants ; now hemmed 
in among ravines and cut up with terrible slaugh- 



ter ; and now checking, and literally annihilating 
whole ranks of the Mexican cavalry by the fire 
of the deadly and unerring rifle ; gallantly sup- 
ported by artillery, never better served, nor more 
daringly worked, they succeeded in recovering 
the whole of the positions from which they had 
been driven at various times, and finally bivouack- 
ed upon the field of battle. 

Shattered and disheartened, the enemy retired 
during the night, and the next day saw their 
ranks, utterly disorganized, in full retreat for 
San Luis Potosi. 

The American loss, in killed, wounded, and 
missing, was six hundred and sixty-six ; one hun- 
dred and thirty-seven of whom were from Ken- 
tucky. The loss of the Mexicans is supposed to 
have exceeded two thousand. 

With the battle of Buena Vista, as ending the 
war in that portion of Mexico, our history fitly 
closes. There is a moral grandeur in a contest 
such as this was, which speaks at once to the 
heart of every true patriot. An army of but 
little upward of four thousand seven hundred 
men, nearly all of whom were volunteer- soldiers 
suddenly attracted from their various peaceful 
pursuits, not only held twenty thousand of the 
choicest troops of Mexico at bay, but eventually 
compelled them to retreat with precipitation, 
leaving many of their wounded behind them, and 
two thousand of their dead upon the field. That 


such a battle, fought against such extraordinary 
numbers, and contested with so much pertinacity 
on the one side, and with so much resolution on 
the other, should have entailed a serious loss 
upon the victorious handful of Americans, was 
but a consequence of the indomitable courage by 
which the victory was finally wrested from the 
hands of a confident enemy. 

Kentucky has reason to be proud of the con- 
duct of her sons on that eventful day, — from 
the veteran commander-in-chief — himself nur- 
tured from infancy to manhood upon her fertile 
soil — down to the humblest volunteer. 

Here too fell, fighting to the last, many of her 
best and bravest; and the names of McKee, Clay, 
Willis, and Vaughn, will be remembered with 
sorrowful admiration so long as true patriotism 
has power to stir the heart to noble deeds, and 
courage is valued among men. 

Here then let this history pause. Not that 
the people of Kentucky after the victory at 
Buena Vista took no further interest in the war. 
In that terrible yet brilliant series of victories 
which characterized the march of General Scott 
from" Vera Cruz to the capital of Mexico, 
volunteers from Kentucky performed their duty 
worthily and well. But the greatest loss which 
the state sustained, and the greatest renown she 
acquired in the Mexican war, were dei'ived from 
the battle of Buena Vista. 


Of the present population of Kentucky we 
have as yet forborne to speak. The census of 
1840 exhibited, in ninety counties, the number 
of inhabitants as seven hundred and seventy-nine 
thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight. The 
census of 1850 shows an addition of ten coun- 
ties and an aggregate population of nine hun- 
dred and eighty-two thousand four hundred and 

With a territory, a considerable portion of 
which is of almost unexampled fertility, bounded 
on the north throughout its whole extent by the 
Ohio River, and on the west partially by the 
Mississippi, both fine navigable streams, Ken- 
tucky, though so far removed from the ocean, 
enjoys many advantages, which are denied in 
some measure to the states farther to the north- 
west. Inhabited by a people, brave, generous, 
and frank-hearted, sincerely attached to the 
Union, jealous of its honour, and prompt to yield 
obedience to its laws, she has succeeded in win- 
ning the warm regard of her sister states, and at- 
taining a high position in the national councils.