Page images

river. Believing that the whole force of the enemy wat there, I balted the army, formed in order of battle, and brought up our two six-pounders to cover the party that were ordered to repair the bridge-a few shot from those pieces, soon drove off the Indians and enabled us, in two hours to repair the bridge and cross the troops. Col. Johnson's mounted regiment being upon the right of the army, had seized upon the remains of the bridge at the mills under a heavy fire from the Indians. Our loss on this occasion, was two killed and three or four wounded, that of the enemy was ascertained to be considerably greater. A house near the bridge containing a very considerable number of muskets had been set on fire--but it was extinguish ed by our troops and the arms saved. At the first farm above the bridge, we found one of the enemy's vessels on fire, loaded with arms and ordnance stores, and learned that they were a few miles ahead of us, still on the right bank of the river with the great body of the Indians. At Bowles' farm, four miles from the bridge we halted for the night, found two other vessels and a large destillery filled with ordnance and other valuable stores to an immense amount in flames—it was impossible to put out the fire--two twenty-four-pounders with their carriages were taken and a large quantity of ball and shells of various sizes. The army was put in motion early on the morning of the 5th ; L pushed on in advance with the mounted regiment and requested Gov. Shelby to follow as expeditiously as possible with the infantry ; the Governor's zeal and that of his men enax bled them to keep up with the cavalry, and by 9 o'clock, we were at Arnold's Mills, having taken in the course of the morning two gun-boats and several batteaux loaded with provisions and ammunition.

A rapid at the river at Arnold's mills affords the only fording to be met with for a considerable distance, but, upon examination, it was found too deep for the infantry Having, however, fortunately taken two or three boats and some Indian canoes on the spot, and obliged the horsemen to take a foot-man behind each, the whole were safely erossed by 12 o'clock. Eight miles from the crossing we passed a farm, where a part of the British troops had encamped the night before, under the command of Col. Warburton. The detachment with Gen. Proctor had arrived

the day before at the Moravian towns, 4 miles higher up. Being now certainly near the enemy, I directed the advance of Johnson's regiment to accelerate their march for the purpose of procuring intelligence. The officer commanding it, in a short time, sent to inform me, that his progress was stopped by the enemy, who were formed across our line of march. One of the enemy's waggouers being also taken prisoner, from the information received from him, and my own observation, assisted by some of my officers, I soon ascertained enough of their position and order of battle, to determine that, which it was proper for me to adopt.

From the place where our army last halted, to the Moravian downs à distance of about three and a half miles, the road passes through a beach forest without any clearing, and for the first two mileg near to the bank of the river. At from two to 300 yards from the river, a swamp extends parallel to it, throughout the whole distance. The intermediate ground is dry, and although the trees are tolerably thick, it is in many places clear of underbrush. Across this strip of land, its left appayed upon the river, supported by artillery placed in the wood, their right in the swamp covered by the whole of the Indian force, the British troops were drawn up.

The troops at my disposal consisted of about 120 regulars of the 27th regiment, five brigades of Kentucky volunteer inilitia infantry, under his Excellency Gov. Shelby, averaying less than five hundred men, and Col. Johnson's regimenit of mounted infantry, making in the whole an aggregate, something about 3000. No disposition of an army opposed to an Indian force can be safe unless it is secured on the flanks and in the rear. I had therefore no difficulty in arranging the infantry couformably to my general order of battle. Gen. Trotter's brigade of 500 meu, formed the front line, his-right upon the road and his left upon the swamp. Gen. King's brigade as a second line, 150 yards in the rear of Trotter's, and Chiles' brigade as a corps of reserve in the rear of it. These three brigades formed the command of Major-General Henry; the whole of Gen. Desha's division, consisting of two brigades, were formed en polence upon the left of


Whilst I was engaged in forming the infantry, I had directed Col. Johnson's regiment, which was still in front, to be formed in two lines opposite to the enemy, and upon the advance of the infantry, to take ground to the left, and forming upon that flank to endeavor to turn the right of the Indians. A moment's reflection, however, convinced me that from the thickness of the woods and swampness

of the ground, they would be unable to do any thing on horseback, and there was no time to dismount them and place their horses in security. I therefore determined to refuse my left to the Indians, and to break the British lines at once by a charge of the mounted infantry; the measure was not sanctioned by any thing I had ever seen or heard of, but I was fully convinced that it would succeed. The

American back woodsmen ride better in the woods than any other people. A musket or rifle is no impediment to them, being accustomed to them from their earliest youth. I was persuaded, too, that the enemy would be quite unprepared for the shock, and that they could not resist it. Conformable to this idea, I directed the regiment to be drawn

up in close column, with its right at the distance of 50 yards from the road, (that it might be, in some measure, protected by the trees from the artillery) its left upon the swamp, and to charge at full speed as soon as the enemy bad delivered their fire. The few regular troops of the 27th regiment, under Col. Paul, occupied in a column of sections of four, the small space between the road and the river, for the purpose of seizing the enemy's artillery, and some ten or twelve friendly Indians to move under the bank. The crotchet formed by the front line, and Gen. Desha's division, was an important point. At that place the venerable Governor of Kentucky was posted, who, at the age of sixtysis, preserves all the vigor of youth, the ardent zeal which distinguished him in the revolutionary war, and the undaunted bravery which he manifested at King's mountain. With my aids-de-camp, the acting assistant Adj. General, Capt. Butler, my gallant friend Com. Perry, who did me the honor to serve as my volunteer aid-de-camp, and Brig. Gei. Cass, who having no command, tendered me his assistance, I placed myself at the head of the front line of infantry, to direct the movements of the cavalry, and give them the necessary support.

[ocr errors]

The army had moved on in this order but a short distance, when the mounted men received the fire of the British line, and were ordered to charge; the horses in the front of the column recoiled from the fire; another was given by the enemy, and our column at length getting in motion, broke through the enemy with irresistable force. In one minute the contest in front was over ; the British officers seeing no hope of reducing their disordered ranks to order, and our mounted men wheeling upon them and pouring in a destructive fire, immediately surrendered. It is certain that three only of our troops were wounded in this charge. Upon the left, however, the contest was more severe with the Indians. Col. Johnson, who commanded on that Hank of his regiment, received a niost galling fire from them, which was returned with great effect. The Indians still further to the right advanced and fell in with our front line of infantry, near its junction with Desha's division, and for a moment made an impression upon it. His Excellency Gov. Shelby, however, brought up a regiment to its support, and the enemy receiving a severe fire in front, and a part of Johnson's regiment having gained their rear, retreated with precipitation. Their loss was very considerable in the action, and many were killed in their retreat.

I can give no satisfactory information of the number of Indians that were in the action, but they must have been considerably upwards of 1000. From the documents in my possession, (Gen. Proctor's official letters, all of which were taken) and from the information of respectable inhabitants of this Territory, the Indians kept in pay by the British were much more numerous than has been generally supposed. In a letter to Gen. de Rottenburgh, of the 27th uit. Gen. Proctor speaks of having prevailed upon 3,200 of the Indians to accompany him. Of these it is certain that 50 or 60 Wyandot warriors abandoned him.

The number of our troops were certainly greater than that of the enemy, but when it is recollected, that they had taken a position that effectually secured their flauk, which it was impossible for us to turn, and that we could not present to them a line more extended than their own, it will not be considered arrogant, to claim for my tronps, the palm of superior bravery,

In communicating to the President, through you, sir, my opinion of the conduct of the officers who served under me, I am at a loss how to mention that of Gov. Shelby, being convinced that no eulogium of mine can reach his merits, The Governor of an independent state, greatly my superior in years, experience, and in military character, he placed himself under my command, and was not more remarkable for his zeal and activity, than for the promptitude and cheerfulness with which he obeyed my orders. .

On the day of action, 6 pieces of brass artillery were tak. en, and two iron 24 pounders the day before. Several others were discovered in the river and can be easily procured. Of the brass pieces, three are the trophies of our revolutionary war, that were taken at Saratoga and York, and surrendered by Gen. Hull. I have the honor to be, &c.

Killed 7-wounded 22.


Killed 112 ---wounded, vot known--prisoners 634.

The fruits of Gen. Harrison's victory independent of the great advantages obtained, are of the British regular army, 609 non-commissioned officers and privates, 2 Cols. 4 Majors, and 19 officers of the line, prisoners ; and 12 pieces of cannon, 6000 stands of arms, 5 gun-boats, and ammunition and stores to the amount of 1,000,000 of Dollars !!

SPEECH OF TECUMSEH.* In the name of the Indian chiefs and warriors, to Maj.

Gen. Proctor, as the representatives of their great father the king. Father, listen to your children ! You have them now all before

you. The war before this,t our British father gave the hatchet to his red children, when our chiefs were alive.

They are now dead. In that war, our father was thrown on his back by the Americans, and our father took them by

* Tecumseh was killed at the battle of the Moravian torons.

+ The Revolutionary war.

« PreviousContinue »