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Title: Life of Tecumseh, and of His Brother the Prophet - With a Historical Sketch of the Shawanoe Indians
Author: Drake, Benjamin, 1794-1841
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life of Tecumseh, and of His Brother the Prophet - With a Historical Sketch of the Shawanoe Indians" ***

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With a Historical Sketch of the Shawanoe Indians



Author of _The Life of Black Hawk_, _Tales from the Queen City_, &c. &c.

Printed and Published by E. Morgan & Co.
Stereotyped by J.A. James,



Many years have elapsed since the author of this volume determined to
write the life of TECUMSEH and of his brother the PROPHET, and actually
commenced the collection of the materials for its accomplishment. From
various causes, the completion of the task has been postponed until the
present time. This delay, however, has probably proved beneficial to
the work, as many interesting incidents in the lives of these
individuals are now embraced in its pages, which could not have been
included had it been put to press at an earlier period.

In the preparation of this volume, the author's attention was drawn, to
some extent, to the history of the Shawanoe tribe of Indians: and he
has accordingly prefixed to the main work, a brief historical narrative
of this wandering and warlike nation, with biographical sketches of
several of its most distinguished chiefs.

The author is under lasting obligations to a number of gentlemen
residing in different sections of the country, for the substantial
assistance which they have kindly afforded him in the collection of the
matter embraced in this volume. Other sources of information have not,
however, been neglected. All the histories, magazines and journals
within the reach of the author, containing notices of the subjects of
this memoir, have been carefully consulted. By application at the
proper department at Washington, copies of the numerous letters written
by general Harrison to the Secretary of War in the years 1808, '9, '10,
'11, '12 and '13, were obtained, and have been found of much value in
the preparation of this work. As governor of Indiana territory,
superintendant of Indian affairs, and afterwards commander-in-chief of
the north-western army, the writer of those letters possessed
opportunities of knowing Tecumseh and the Prophet enjoyed by no other

In addition to these several sources of information, the author has
personally, at different times, visited the frontiers of Ohio and
Indiana, for the purpose of conversing with the Indians and the
pioneers of that region, who happened to be acquainted with Tecumseh
and his brother; and by these visits, has been enabled to enrich his
narrative with some amusing and valuable anecdotes.

In the general accuracy of his work the author feels considerable
confidence: in its merit, as a literary production, very little. Every
line of it having been written while suffering under the depressing
influence of ill health, he has only aimed at a simple narrative style,
without any reference to the graces of a polished composition. B.D.

Cincinnati, 1841.








Parentage of Tecumseh--his sister Tecumapease--his brother Cheeseekan,
Sauweeseekau, Nehasseemo, Tenskwautawa or the Prophet, and


Birth place of Tecumseh--destruction of the Piqua village--early habits
of Tecumseh--his first battle--effort to abolish the burning of
prisoners--visits the Cherokees in the south--engages in several
battles--returns to Ohio in the autumn of 1790


Tecumseh attacked near Big Rock by some whites under Robert
M'Clelland--severe battle with some Kentuckians on the East Fork of the
Little Miami--attack upon Tecumseh in 1793, on the waters of Paint
creek--Tecumseh present at the attack on fort Recovery in
1794--participates in the battle of the Rapids of the Maumee, in


Tecumseh's skill as a hunter--declines attending the treaty of
Greenville in 1796--in 1796 removed to Great Miami--in 1798 joined a
party of Delawares on White river, Indiana--in 1799 attended a council
between the whites and Indians near Urbana--another at Chillicothe in
1803--makes an able speech--removes with the Prophet to Greenville, in
1805--the latter commences prophecying--causes the death of Teteboxti,
Patterson, Coltos, and Joshua--governor Harrison's speech to the
Prophet to arrest these murderers--effort of Wells the U.S. Indian
agent to prevent Tecumseh and the Prophet from assembling the Indians
at Greenville--Tecumseh's speech in reply--he attends a council at
Chillicothe--speech on that occasion--council at Springfield--Tecumseh
principal speaker and actor


Governor Harrison's address to the Shawanoe chiefs at Greenville--the
Prophet's reply--his influence felt among the remote tribes--he is
visited in 1808 by great numbers of Indians--Tecumseh and the Prophet
remove to Tippecanoe--the latter sends a speech to governor
Harrison--makes him a visit at Vincennes


Tecumseh visits the Wyandots--governor Harrison's letter about the
Prophet to the Secretary of War--British influence over the
Indians--Tecumseh burns governor Harrison's letter to the chiefs--great
alarm in Indiana, in consequence of the assemblage of the Indians at
Tippecanoe--death of Leatherlips, a Wyandot chief, on a charge of


Governor Harrison makes another effort to ascertain the designs of
Tecumseh and the Prophet--Tecumseh visits the governor at Vincennes,
attended by four hundred warriors--a council is held--Tecumseh becomes
deeply excited, and charges governor Harrison with falsehood--council
broken up in disorder--renewed the next day


Alarm on the frontier continues--a Muskoe Indian killed at
Vincennes--governor Harrison sends a pacific speech to Tecumseh and the
Prophet--the former replies to it--in July Tecumseh visits governor
Harrison at Vincennes--disavows any intention of making war upon the
whites--explains his object in forming a union among the
tribes--governor Harrison's opinion of Tecumseh and the Prophet--murder
of the Deaf Chief--Tecumseh visits the southern Indians


Governor Harrison applies to the War Department for troops to maintain
peace on the frontiers--battle of Tippecanoe on the 7th of
November--its influence on the Prophet and his followers


Tecumseh returns from the south--proposes to visit the President, but
declines, because not permitted to go to Washington at the head of a
party--attends a council at fort Wayne--proceeds to Malden and joins
the British--governor Harrison's letter to the War Department relative
to the north-west tribes


Tecumseh participates in the battle of Brownstown--commands the Indians
in the action near Maguaga--present at Hull's surrender--general Brock
presents him his military sash--attack on Chicago brought about by


Siege of fort Meigs--Tecumseh commands the Indians--acts with
intrepidity--rescues the American prisoners from the tomahawk and
scalping knife, after Dudley's defeat--reported agreement between
Proctor and Tecumseh, that general Harrison, if taken prisoner, should
be delivered to the latter to be burned


Tecumseh present at the second attack on fort Meigs--his stratagem of a
sham-battle to draw out general Clay--is posted in the Black Swamp with
two thousand warriors at the time of the attack on fort
Stephenson--from thence passes by land to Malden--compels general
Proctor to release an American prisoner--threatens to desert the
British cause--urges an attack upon the American fleet--opposes
Proctor's retreat from Malden--delivers a speech to him on that


Retreat of the combined British and Indian army to the river
Thames--skirmish at Chatham with the troops under general
Harrison--Tecumseh slightly wounded in the arm--battle on the Thames on
the 5th of October--Tecumseh's death


Critical examination of the question "who killed Tecumseh?"--colonel
R.M. Johnson's claim considered


Mr. Jefferson's opinion of the Prophet--brief sketch of his
character--anecdotes of Tecumseh--a review of the great principles of
his plan of union among the tribes--general summary of his life and




There is a tradition among the Shawanoes, in regard to their origin,
which is said to be peculiar to that tribe. While most of the
aborigines of this country believe that their respective races came out
of holes in the earth at different places on this continent, the
Shawanoes alone claim, that their ancestors once inhabited a foreign
land; but having determined to leave it, they assembled their people
and marched to the sea shore. Here, under the guidance of a leader of
the Turtle tribe, one of their twelve original subdivisions, they
walked into the sea, the waters of which immediately parted, and they
passed in safety along the bottom of the ocean, until they reached this

[Footnote A: History of the Indian Tribes of North America, by James
Hall and J. L. McKinney, a valuable work, containing one hundred and
twenty richly colored portraits of Indian chiefs.]

The Shawanoes have been known by different names. The Iroquois,
according to Colden's history of the "Five Nations," gave them the
appellation of Satanas. The Delawares, says Gallatin, in his synopsis
of the Indian tribes, call them Shawaneu, which means _southern_. The
French writers mention them under the name of Chaouanons; and
occasionally they are denominated Massawomees.

The orthography of the word by which they are generally designated, is
not very well settled. It has been written Shawanos, Sawanos, Shawaneu,
Shawnees and Shawanoes, which last method of spelling the word, will be
followed in the pages of this work.

The original seats of the Shawanoes have been placed in different
sections of the country. This has doubtless been owing to their very
erratic disposition. Of their history, prior to the year 1680, but
little is known. The earliest mention of them by any writer whose work
has fallen under our observation, was in the beginning of the
seventeenth century. Mr. Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia," says
that when captain John Smith first arrived in America a fierce war was
raging against the allied Mohicans, residing on Long Island, and the
Shawanoes on the Susquehanna, and to the westward of that river, by the
Iroquois. Captain Smith first landed on this continent in April, 1607.
In the following year, 1608, he penetrated down the Susquehanna to the
mouth of it, where he met six or seven of their canoes, filled with
warriors, about to attack their enemy in the rear. De Laet, in 1632, in
his enumeration of the different tribes, on either side of the Delaware
river, mentions the Shawanoes.--Charlevoix speaks of them under the
name of Chaouanons, as neighbors and allies in 1672, of the Andastes,
an Iroquois tribe, living south of the Senecas. Whether any of the
Shawanoes were present at the treaty[A] made in 1682, under the
celebrated Kensington elm, between William Penn and the Indians, does
not positively appear from any authorities before us; that such,
however, was the fact, may be fairly inferred, from the circumstance
that at a conference between the Indians and governor Keith, in 1722,
the Shawanoes exhibited a copy of this treaty written on parchment.

[Footnote A: "This treaty," says Voltaire, "was the first made between
those people (the Indians) and the Christians, that was not ratified
with an oath, and that was never broken."]

To the succeeding one made at Philadelphia, in February, 1701, the
Shawanoes were parties, being represented on that occasion, by their
chiefs, Wopatha, Lemoytungh and Pemoyajagh.[A] More than fifty years
afterward, a manuscript copy of this treaty of commerce and friendship,
was in the possession of the Shawanoes of Ohio, and was exhibited by
them. In 1684, the Iroquois, when complained of by the French for
having attacked the Miamis, justified their conduct on the-ground, that
they had invited the Santanas (Shawanoes) into the country, for the
purpose of making war upon them.[B] The Sauks and Foxes, whose
residence was originally on the St. Lawrence, claim the Shawanoes as
belonging to the same stock with themselves, and retain traditional
accounts of their emigration to the south.[C] In the "History of the
Indian Tribes of North America," when speaking of the Shawanoes, the
authors say, "their manners, customs and language indicate a northern
origin; and, upwards of two centuries ago, they held the country south
of Lake Erie. They were the first tribe which felt the force and
yielded to the superiority of the Iroquois. Conquered by these, they
migrated to the south, and from fear or favor, were allowed to take
possession of a region upon the Savannah river; but what part of that
stream, whether in Georgia or Florida, is not known; it is presumed the
former." Mr. Gallatin speaks of the final defeat of the Shawanoes and
their allies, in a war with the Five Nations, as having taken place in
the year 1672. This same writer, who has carefully studied the language
of the aborigines, considers the Shawanoes as belonging to the Lenape
tribes of the north. From these various authorities, it is apparent
that the Shawanoes belonged originally to the Algonkin-Lenape nation;
and that during the three first quarters of the seventeenth century,
they were found in eastern Pennsylvania, on the St. Lawrence, and the
southern shore of Lake Erie; and generally at war with some of the
neighboring tribes. Whether their dispersion, which is supposed to have
taken place about the year 1672, drove them all to the south side of
the Ohio, does not very satisfactorily appear.

[Footnote A: Proud's History of Pennsylvania.]

[Footnote B: Colden.]

[Footnote C: Morse's Report.]

Subsequently to this period, the Shawanoes were found on the Ohio river
below the Wabash, in Kentucky, Georgia and the Carolinas. Lawson, in
his history of Carolina in 1708, speaks of the Savanoes, removing from
the Mississippi to one of the rivers of South Carolina. Gallatin quotes
an authority which sustains Lawson, and which establishes the fact that
at a very early period in the history of the south, there was a
Shawanoe settlement on the head waters of the Catawba or Santee, and
probably of the Yadkin. From another authority it appears, that for a
time the Shawanoes had a station on the Savannah river, above Augusta;
and Adair, who refers to the war between the Shawanoes and Cherokees,
saw a body of the former in the wilderness, who, after having wandered
for some time in the woods, were then returning to the Creek country.
According to John Johnston,[A] a large party of the Shawanoes, who
originally lived north of the Ohio, had for some cause emigrated as far
south as the Suwanoe river, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. From
thence they returned, under the direction of a chief named Black Hoof,
about the middle of the last century, to Ohio. It is supposed that this
tribe gave name to the Suwanoe river, in 1750, by which name the
Cumberland was also known, when Doctor Walker, (of Virginia) visited

[Footnote A: I Vol. Trans. Amer. Antiquarian Society.]

Of the causes which led the Shawanoes to abandon the south, but little
is known beyond what may be gleaned from their traditions. Heckewelder,
in his contributions to the American Philosophical Society, says, "they
were a restless people, delighting in wars, in which they were
constantly engaged with some of the surrounding nations. At last their
neighbors, tired of being continually harassed by them, formed a league
for their destruction. The Shawanoes finding themselves thus
dangerously situated, asked to be permitted to leave the country, which
was granted to them; and they immediately removed to the Ohio. Here
their main body settled, and then sent messengers to their elder
brother,[A] the Mohicans, requesting them to intercede for them with
their grandfather, the Lenni Lenape, to take them under his protection.
This the Mohicans willingly did, and even sent a body of their own
people to conduct their younger brother into the country of the
Delawares. The Shawanoes finding themselves safe under the protection
of their grandfather, did not choose to proceed to the eastward, but
many of them remained on the Ohio, some of whom settled as far up that
river as the long island, above which the French afterwards built fort
Duquesne, on the spot where Pittsburg now stands. Those who proceeded
farther, were accompanied by their chief, named Gachgawatschiqua, and
settled principally at and about the forks of the Delaware, between
that and the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill; and some, even
on the spot where Philadelphia now stands; others were conducted by the
Mohicans into their own country, where they intermarried with them and
became one people. When those settled near the Delaware had multiplied,
they returned to Wyoming on the Susquehannah, where they resided for a
great number of years."

[Footnote A: The Shawanoes call the Mohicans their _elder brother_, and
the Delawares their _grandfather_.]

Chapman, in his history of Wyoming, states, that after the Shawanoes
were driven from Georgia and Florida, they built a town at the mouth of
the Wabash, and established themselves in it. They then applied to the
Delawares for some territory on which to reside. When granted, a
council was held to consider the propriety of accepting the offer of
the Delawares. On this question the Shawanoes divided--part of them
remained on the Wabash,--the others, composing chiefly the Piqua tribe,
formed a settlement in the forks of the Delaware. Alter a time, a
disagreement arose between them and the Delawares, which induced the
former to remove to the valley of the Wyoming, on the Susquehannah, on
the west bank of which they built a town, and lived in repose many
years. Subsequently to the treaty held at Philadelphia, in 1742,
between the governor and the Six Nations, the Delawares were driven
from that part of Pennsylvania; and a portion of them also removed to
the Wyoming valley, then in possession of the Shawanoes, and secured
the quiet occupancy of a part of it; built a town on the east bank of
the river, which they called Waughwauwame, where they lived for some
time, on terms of amity with their new neighbors.

During the summer of 1742, count Zinzendorf of Saxony, came to America
on a religious mission, connected with the ancient church of the United
Brethren. Having heard of the Shawanoes at Wyoming, he determined to
make an effort to introduce Christianity among them. He accordingly
made them a visit, but did not meet with a cordial reception. The
Shawanoes supposed that the missionary was in pursuit of their lands;
and a party of them determined to assassinate him privately, for fear
of exciting other Indians to hostility. The attempt upon his life was
made, but strangely defeated. Chapman relates the manner of it, which
he obtained from a companion of the count, who did not publish it in
his memoirs, lest the United Brethren might suppose that the subsequent
conversion of the Shawanoes was the result of their superstition. It is
as follows:

"Zinzendorf was alone in his tent, seated upon a bundle of dry weeds,
which composed his bed, and engaged in writing, when the assassins
approached to execute their bloody commission. It was night, and the
cool air of September had rendered a small fire necessary for his
comfort and convenience. A curtain, formed of a blanket, and hung upon
pins, was the only guard to his tent. The heat of this small fire had
aroused a large rattlesnake, which lay in the weeds not far from it;
and the reptile, to enjoy it the more effectually, had crawled slowly
into the tent, and passed over one of his legs, undiscovered. Without,
all was still and quiet, except the gentle murmur of the river, at the
rapids about a mile below. At this moment, the Indians softly
approached the door of his tent and slightly removing the curtain,
contemplated the venerable man, too deeply engaged in the subject of
his thoughts to notice either their approach, or the snake which lay
before him. At a sight like this, even the heart of the savages shrunk
from the idea of committing so horrid an act; and, quitting the spot,
they hastily returned to the town, and informed their companions, that
the Great Spirit protected the white man, for they had found him with
no door but a blanket, and had seen a large rattlesnake crawl over his
legs without attempting to injure him. This circumstance, together with
the arrival soon afterwards of Conrad Weizer, the interpreter, procured
the count the friendship of the Indians, and probably induced some of
them to embrace Christianity."

When the war between the French and the English occurred in 1754, the
Shawanoes on the Ohio took sides with the former; but the appeal to
those residing at Wyoming to do the same, was ineffectual. The
influence of the count's missionary efforts had made them averse to
war. But an event which happened soon afterward, disturbed the peace of
their settlement, and finally led to their removal from the valley.
Occasional difficulties of a transient nature, had arisen between the
Delawares and the Shawanoes at Wyoming. An unkind feeling, produced by
trifling local causes, had grown up between the two tribes. At length a
childish dispute about the possession of a harmless grasshopper,
brought on a bloody battle; and a final separation of the two parties
soon followed. One day, while most of the Delaware men were absent on a
hunting excursion, the women of that tribe went out to gather wild
fruits on the margin of the river, below their village. Here they met a
number of Shawanoe women and their children, who had crossed the stream
in their canoes, and were similarly engaged. One of the Shawanoe
children having caught a large grasshopper, a dispute arose with some
of the Delaware children, in regard to the possession of it. In this
quarrel, as was natural, the mothers soon became involved. The Delaware
women contended for the possession of the grasshopper on the ground
that the Shawanoes possessed no privileges on that side of the river. A
resort to violence ensued, and the Shawanoe women being in the
minority, were speedily driven to their canoes, and compelled to seek
safety by flight to their own bank of the stream. Here the matter
rested until the return of the hunters, when the Shawanoes, in order to
avenge the indignity offered to their women, armed themselves for
battle. When they attempted to cross the river, they found the
Delawares duly prepared to receive them and oppose their landing. The
battle commenced while the Shawanoes were still in their canoes, but
they at length effected a landing, which was followed by a general and
destructive engagement. The Shawanoes having lost a number of their
warriors before reaching the shore, were too much weakened to sustain
the battle for any length of time. After the loss of nearly one half
their party, they were compelled to fly to their own side of the river.
Many of the Delawares were killed. Shortly after this disastrous
contest, the Shawanoes quietly abandoned their village, and removed
westward to the banks of the Ohio.[A]

[Footnote A: Chapman]

After the Shawanoes of Pennsylvania had fallen back upon the waters of
the Ohio, they spread themselves from the Alleghenies as far westward
as the Big Miami. One of their villages was seventeen miles below
Pittsburg: it was called Log's Town, and was visited by Croghan, in
1765. Another, named Lowertown, also visited by the same traveler,
stood just below the mouth of the Scioto. It was subsequently carried
away by a great flood in that river, which overflowed the site of the
town, and compelled the Indians to escape in their canoes. They
afterwards built a new town on the opposite side of the river, but soon
abandoned it, and removed to the plains of the Scioto and Paint creek,
where they established themselves, on the north fork of the latter
stream. They had also several other villages of considerable size in
the Miami valley. One was "Chillicothe," standing near the mouth of
Massie's creek, three miles north of Xenia. Another, called Piqua, and
memorable as the birth place of TECUMSEH, the subject of our present
narrative, stands upon the north-west side of Mad river, about seven
miles below Springfield, in Clark county. Both of these villages were
destroyed in 1780, by an expedition from Kentucky, under the command of
general George Rogers Clark.

After the peace of 1763, the Miamis having removed from the Big Miami
river, a body of Shawanoes established themselves at Lower and Upper
Piqua, in Miami county, which places, being near together, became their
great head-quarters in Ohio. Here they remained until driven off by the
Kentuckians; when they crossed over to the St. Mary's and to
Wapakanotta. The Upper Piqua is said to have contained, at one period,
near four thousand Shawanoes.[A]

[Footnote A: John Johnston.]

From the geographical location of the Shawanoes, it will be perceived
that they were placed under circumstances which enabled them, with
great facility, to annoy the early settlements in Kentucky; and to
attack the emigrants descending the Ohio. In this fierce border war,
which was waged upon the whites for a number of years, and oftentimes
with extreme cruelty, the Delawares, Wyandots, Mingoes and Miamis,
united: the Shawanoes, however, were by far the most warlike and

The Shawanoes were originally divided into twelve tribes or bands, each
of which was sub-divided into families, known as the Eagle, the Turtle,
the Panther, &c., these animals constituting their _totems_. Of these
twelve, the names of but four tribes are preserved, the rest having
become extinct, or incorporated with them. They are, 1st. the
Mequachake,--2d. the Chillicothe,--3d. the Kiskapocoke,--4th. the
Piqua. When in council, one of these tribes is assigned to each of the
four sides of the council-house, and during the continuance of the
deliberations, the tribes retain their respective places. They claim to
have the power of distinguishing, at sight, to which tribe an
individual belongs; but to the casual observer, there are no visible
shades of difference. In each of the four tribes, except the
Mequachake, the chiefs owe their authority to merit, but in the last
named, the office is hereditary. Of the origin of the Piqua tribe, the
following tradition has been recited:[A] "In ancient times, the
Shawanoes had occasion to build a large fire, and after it was burned
down, a great puffing and blowing was heard, when up rose a man from
the ashes!--hence the name Piqua, which means a man coming out of the
ashes." Mequachake, signifies a perfect man. To this tribe the
priesthood is confided. The members, or rather certain individuals of
it, are alone permitted to perform the sacrifices and other religious
ceremonies of the tribe.[B] The division of the tribe into bands or
totems, is not peculiar to the Shawanoes, but is common to several
other nations. One of the leading causes of its institution, was the
prohibition of marriage between those related in a remote degree of
consanguinity. Individuals are not at liberty to change their totems,
or disregard the restraint imposed by it on intermarriages. It is
stated in Tanner's narrative, that the Indians hold it to be criminal
for a man to marry a woman whose totem is the same as his own; and they
relate instances where young men, for a violation of this rule, have
been put to death by their nearest relatives. Loskiel, in his history
of the Moravian missions, says, the Delawares and Iroquois never marry
near relatives. According to their own account, the Indian nations were
divided into tribes for the sole purpose, that no one might, either
through temptation or mistake, marry a near relation, which is now
scarcely possible, for whoever intends to marry must take a person of a
different totem. Another reason for the institution of these totems,
may be found in their influence on the social relations of the tribe,
in softening private revenge, and preserving peace. Gallatin, on the
information derived from a former Indian agent[C] among the Creeks,
says, "according to the ancient custom, if an offence was committed by
one or another member of the same clan, the compensation to be made, on
account of the injury, was regulated in an amicable way by the other
members of the clan. Murder was rarely expiated in any other way than
by the death of the murderer; the nearest male relative of the deceased
was the executioner; but this being done, as under the authority of the
clan, there was no further retaliation. If the injury was committed by
some one of another clan, it was not the injured party, but the clan to
which he belonged, that asked for reparation. This was rarely refused
by the clan of the offender; but in case of refusal, the injured clan
had a right to do itself justice, either by killing the offender, in
case of murder, or inflicting some other punishment for lesser
offences. This species of private war, was, by the Creeks, called, 'to
take up the sticks;' because, the punishment generally consisted in
beating the offender. At the time of the annual corn-feast, the sticks
were laid down, and could not be again taken up for the same offence.
But it seems that originally there had been a superiority among some of
the clans. That of the Wind, had the right to take up the sticks four
times, that of the Bear twice, for the same offence; whilst those of
the Tiger, of the Wolf, of the Bird, of the Root, and of two more whose
names I do not know, could raise them but once. It is obvious that the
object of the unknown legislation, was to prevent or soften the effects
of private revenge, by transferring the power and duty from the blood
relatives to a more impartial body. The father and his brothers, by the
same mother, never could belong to the same clan, as their son or
nephew, whilst the perpetual changes, arising from intermarriages with
women of a different clan, prevented their degenerating into distinct
tribes; and checked the natural tendency towards a subdivision of the
nation into independent communities. The institution may be considered
as the foundation of the internal policy, and the basis of the social
state of the Indians."

[Footnote A: Stephen Ruddell's manuscript account of the Shawanoes, in
possession of the author.]

[Footnote B: John Johnston.]

[Footnote C: Mitchell.]

One mode of ascertaining the origin of the Indian tribes, and of
determining their relation to each other, as well as to other races of
mankind, is the study of their language. This has, at different times,
engaged the attention of several able philologists, who have done much
to analyze the Indian languages, and to arrange in systematic order,
the numerous dialects of this erratic people. The results of the
investigation of one[A] of the most learned and profound of these
individuals, may be summed up in the three following propositions:

1. "That the American languages in general, are rich in words and in
grammatical forms, and that in their complicated construction, the
greatest order, method and regularity prevail.

2. "That these complicated forms, which I call _poly synthetic,_ appear
to exist in all those languages, from Greenland to Cape Horn.

3. "That these forms appear to differ essentially from those of the
ancient and modern languages of the old hemisphere."

[Footnote A: Mr. Duponceau.]

In a late learned dissertation[A] on this subject, it is stated that in
nearly the whole territory contained in the United States, and in
British and Russian America, there are only eight great families, each
speaking a distinct language, subdivided in many instances, into a
number of dialects belonging to the same stock. These are the Eskimaux,
the Athapascas (or Cheppeyans,) the Black Feet, the Sioux, the
Algonkin-Lenape, the Iroquois, the Cherokee, and the Mobilian or
Chahta-Muskhog. The Shawanoes belong to the Algonkin-Lenape family, and
speak a dialect of that language. It bears a strong affinity to the
Mohican and the Chippeway, but more especially the Kickapoo. Valuable
vocabularies of the Shawanoe language have been given by Johnston and
by Gallatin in their contributions to the American Antiquarian Society,
which may be consulted by those disposed to prosecute the study of this

[Footnote A: Mr. Gallatin.]

The Shawanoes have been known since the first discovery of this
country, as a restless, wandering people, averse to the pursuits of
agriculture, prone to war and the chase. They have, within that period,
successively occupied the southern shore of lake Erie, the banks of the
Ohio and Mississippi, portions of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee,
Kentucky, and eastern Pennsylvania; then again the plains of Ohio, and
now the small remnant of them that remains, are established west of
Missouri and Arkansas. They have been involved in numerous bloody wars
with other tribes; and for near half a century, resisted with a bold,
ferocious spirit, and an indomitable hatred, the progress of the white
settlements in Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and especially Kentucky.
The Shawanoes have declined more rapidly in numbers[A] than any other
tribe of Indians known to the whites. This has been, and we suppose
justly, attributed to their wandering habits and their continual wars.
Although one of their villages is said once to have contained four
thousand souls, their present number does not exceed eighteen hundred.
They have ever been considered a courageous, powerful and faithless
race; who hare claimed for themselves a pre-eminence not only over
other tribes, but also over the whites.[B] Their views in regard to
this superiority were briefly set forth by one of their chiefs at a
convention held at fort Wayne, in 1803.

[Footnote A: John Johnston.]

[Footnote B: General Harrison considers the Shawanoes, Delawares and
Miamis, as much superior to the other tribes of the west.]

"The Master of Life," said he, "who was himself an Indian, made the
Shawanoes before any other of the human race; and they sprang from his
brain: he gave them all the knowledge he himself possessed, and placed
them upon the great island, and all the other red people are descended
from the Shawanoes. After he had made the Shawanoes, he made the French
and English out of his breast, the Dutch out of his feet, and the
long-knives out of his hands. All these inferior races of men he made
white and placed them beyond the stinking lake.[A]

"The Shawanoes for many ages continued to be masters of the continent,
using the knowledge they had received from the Great Spirit in such a
manner as to be pleasing to him, and to secure their own happiness. In
a great length of time, however, they became corrupt, and the Master of
Life told them that he would take away from them the knowledge which
they possessed, and give it to the white people, to be restored, when
by a return to good principles they would deserve it. Many ages after
that, they saw something white approaching their shores; at first they
took it for a great bird, but they soon found it to be a monstrous
canoe filled with the very people who had got the knowledge which
belonged to the Shawanoes. After these white people landed, they were
not content with having the knowledge which belonged to the Shawanoes,
but they usurped their lands also; they pretended, indeed, to have
purchased these lands; but the very goods they gave for them, were more
the property of the Indians than the white people, because the
knowledge which enabled them to manufacture these goods actually
belonged to the Shawanoes: but these things will soon have an end. The
Master of Life is about to restore to the Shawanoes both their
knowledge and their rights, and he will trample the long knives under
his feet."

[Footnote A: Atlantic Ocean.]

It has been already stated that, for a series of years, the several
tribes of Indians residing in the territory now forming the state of
Ohio, made violent opposition to the settlement of the whites, west of
the Alleghanies. Among the most formidable of these were the Shawanoes.
The emigrants, whether male or female, old or young, were every where
met by the torch, the tomahawk and the scalping-knife. The war-cry of
the savage was echoed from shore to shore of the beautiful Ohio, whose
waters were but too often reddened with the blood of women and
children. Many of those who escaped the perils of the river, and had
reared their log-cabins amid the cane-brakes of Kentucky, were doomed
to encounter the same ruthless foe, and fell victims to the same
unrelenting cruelty. While the feelings are shocked at these dreadful
scenes of blood and carnage, and the Indian character rises in hideous
deformity before the mind, it is not to be forgotten that there are
many mitigating circumstances to be pleaded in behalf of the
aborigines. They were an ignorant people, educated alone for war,
without the lights of civilization, without the attributes of mercy
shed abroad by the spirit of christianity. They were contending for
their homes and their hunting grounds--the tombs of their
forefathers--the graves of their children. They saw the gradual, but
certain, encroachments of the whites upon their lands; and they had the
sagacity to perceive, that unless this mighty wave of emigration was
arrested, it would overwhelm them. They fought as savage nature will
fight, with unflinching courage and unrelenting cruelty. But it was not
alone this encroachment upon their lands, which roused their savage
passions. The wanton aggressions of the whites oftentimes provoked the
fearful retaliation of the red-man. The policy of the United States
towards the Indians has generally been of a pacific and benevolent
character; but, in carrying out that policy, there have been many
signal and inexcusable failures. The laws enacted by congress for the
protection of the rights of the Indians, and to promote their comfort
and civilization, have, in a great variety of cases, remained a dead
letter upon the statute book. The agents of the government have often
proved unfaithful, and have looked much more to their own pecuniary
interests, than to the honest execution of the public trusts confided
to them. Nor is this all. There has ever been found upon the western
frontiers, a band of unprincipled men who have set at defiance the laws
of the United States, debauched the Indians with ardent spirits,
cheated them of their property, and then committed upon them
aggressions marked with all the cruelty and wanton bloodshed which have
distinguished the career of the savage. The history of these
aggressions would fill a volume. It is only necessary to recall to the
mind of the reader, the horrible murder of the Conestoga Indians, in
December 1763, by some Pennsylvanians; the dark tragedy enacted on the
banks of he Muskingum, at a later period, when the Moravian Indians, at
the three villages of Schoenbrun, Salem, and Gnadenhuetten, were first
disarmed and then deliberately tomahawked by Williamson and his
associates; the unprovoked murder of the family of Logan; the
assassination of Bald Eagle, of the gallant and high-souled Cornstalk,
and his son Elinipsico: we need but recall these, from the long
catalogue of similar cases, to satisfy every candid mind, that rapine,
cruelty and a thirst for human blood are not peculiarly the attributes
of the American Indian.

But there are still other causes which have aroused and kept in
activity, the warlike passions of the Indians. They have been
successively subjected to English, Dutch, French and Spanish influence.
The agents of these different powers, as well as the emigrants from
them, either from interest or a spirit of mischievous hostility, have
repeatedly prompted the Indians to arm themselves against the United
States. The great principle of the Indian wars, for the last seventy
years, has been the preservation of their lands. On this, the French,
English and Spanish have in turn excited them to active resistance
against the expanding settlements of the whites. It was on the
principle of recovering their lands, that the French were their allies
between the commencement of hostilities with the colonies, in 1754, and
the peace of 1762; and subsequently kept up an excitement among them
until the beginning of the revolution. From this period, the English
took the place of the French, and instigated them in a similar manner.
Their views and feelings on this point, may be gathered from their own

"It was we," say the Delawares, Mohicans and their kindred tribes, "who
so kindly received the Europeans on their first arrival into our own
country. We took them by the hand and bid them welcome to sit down by
our side, and live with us as brothers; but how did they requite our
kindness? They at first asked only for a little land, on which to raise
bread for their families, and pasture for their cattle, which we freely
gave them. They saw the game in the woods, which the Great Spirit had
given us for our subsistence, and they wanted it too. They penetrated
into the woods in quest of game, they discovered spots of land they
also wanted, and because we were loth to part with it, as we saw they
had already more than they had need of, they took it from us by force,
and drove us to a great distance from our homes."[A]

[Footnote A: Heckewelder's historical account of the Indians.]

It is matter of history, that for a period of near seventy years after
it was planted, the colony of William Penn lived in peace and harmony
with the neighboring Indians, among whom were bands of the warlike
Shawanoes. It was an observation of this venerable and worthy man, when
speaking of the Indians, that "if you do not abuse them, but let them
have justice, you will win them, when there is such a knowledge of good
and evil." His kind treatment to them was repaid by friendly offices,
both to himself and his followers. The Indians became indeed the
benefactors of the colonists. When the latter were scattered in 1682,
and without shelter or food, they were kind and attentive, and treated
them as brothers.[A]

[Footnote A: Clarkson's Life of Penn.]

Proud, in his History of Pennsylvania, when explaining the aversion of
the Indians to christianity, attributes it to the character and conduct
of the whites residing near or among them, "many of whom were of the
lowest rank and least informed of mankind, who flowed in from Germany,
Ireland and the jails of Great Britain, or who had fled from the better
inhabited parts of the colony, to escape from justice." The proceedings
of the assembly of Pennsylvania show that, as early as 1722, an Indian
was barbarously killed by some whites, within the limits of the
province. The assembly proposed some measures for the governor's
consideration in regard to the affair; and mentioned the repeated
requests of the Indians, that strong liquors should not be carried nor
sold among them. In a treatise published in London, in 1759, on the
cause of the then existing difficulties between the Indians and the
colonists, we find this paragraph. "It would be too shocking to
describe the conduct and behavior of the traders, when among the
Indians; and endless to enumerate the abuses the Indians received and
bore from them, for a series of years. Suffice it to say, that several
of the tribes were, at last, weary of bearing; and, as these traders
were the persons who were, in some part, the representatives of the
English among the Indians, and by whom they were to judge of our
manners and religion, they conceived such invincible prejudices against
both, particularly our holy religion, that when Mr. Sargeant, a
gentleman in New England, took a journey in 1741, to the Shawanoes and
some other tribes living on the Susquehanna, and offered to instruct
them in the christian religion, they rejected his offer with disdain.
They reproached Christianity. They told him the traders would lie and
cheat." In 1744, governor Thomas, in a message to the assembly of
Pennsylvania, says, "I cannot but be apprehensive that the Indian
trade, as it is now carried on, will involve us in some fatal quarrel
with the Indians. Our traders, in defiance of the laws, carry
spirituous liquors among them, and take advantage of their inordinate
appetite for it, to cheat them of their skins, and their wampum, which
is their money." In 1753 governor Hamilton appointed Richard Peters,
Isaac Norris and Benjamin Franklin, to hold a treaty with the Indians
at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In the report of these commissioners they
say: "But in justice to these Indians, and the promises we made them,
we cannot close our report, without taking notice, that the quantity of
strong liquors sold to these Indians, in the places of their residence,
and during their hunting season, have increased to an inconceivable
degree, so as to keep these poor creatures continually under the force
of liquors, that they are thereby become dissolute, enfeebled and
indolent when sober; and untractable and mischievous in their liquor,
always quarreling, and often murdering one another." Some of the chiefs
at this treaty said, "these wicked whisky-sellers, when they have once
got the Indians in liquor, make them sell their very clothes from their
backs. In short, if this practice is continued, we must be inevitably
ruined; we most earnestly, therefore, beseech you to remedy it."[A]

[Footnote A: Proud's History of Pennsylvania.]

This brief sketch of the early intercourse between the colonists and
the aborigines of this country, is not over-drawn, nor is it at all
inapplicable to the period which has elapsed since the formation of the
federal government. With an insatiable cupidity and a wanton disregard
of justice, have the lands and property of the Indians been sought by
citizens of the United States. The great agent of success in this
unholy business, has been ardent spirits, by means of which their
savage reason has been overthrown, and their bad passions called into
action. The class of reckless and desperate characters, described by
Proud, have hung upon the western frontiers, for the purpose of preying
upon the Indians. If government itself be not to blame, for want of
good faith towards this miserable race, is it not highly culpable for
not having, by the strong arm of physical power, enforced the salutary
laws, which from time to time, have been enacted for their protection?
Impartial posterity will, we apprehend, answer this question in the

The Shawanoes engaged in the war between the French and English, which
commenced in 1755, and was terminated by the peace of 10th February,
1763. In this contest they took sides with the former, and rendered
them essential service. They committed many depredations on the
frontier settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The peace of 1763,
between France and England, did not terminate the Indian war against
the colonies. The Indians were displeased with the provisions of this
treaty, especially that which ceded the provinces of Canada to Great
Britain. This dissatisfaction was increased when the British government
began to build forts on the Susquehanna, and to repair or erect those
of Bedford, Ligonier, Pittsburg, Detroit, Presque Isle, St. Joseph and
Michilimakinac. By this movement the Indians found themselves
surrounded, on two sides, by a cordon of forts, and were threatened
with an extension of them into the very heart of their country. They
had now to choose whether they would remove to the north and west,
negociate with the British government for the possession of their own
land, or take up arms for its defence. They chose the last alternative;
and, a war of extermination against the English residents in the
western country, and even those on the Susquehanna, was agreed upon and
speedily commenced. Many of the British traders living among the
Indians were murdered; the forts of Presque Isle, St. Joseph and
Mackinac, were taken, with a general slaughter of their garrisons;
while the forts of Bedford, Ligonier, Niagara, Detroit and Pitt, were
barely preserved from falling into their hands. The contest was
continued with resolute and daring spirit, and with much destruction of
life and property, until December, 1764, when the war was brought to a
close by a treaty at the German Flats, made between Sir William
Johnston and the hostile Indians. Soon after the conclusion of this
peace the Shawanoes became involved in a war with the Cherokees, which
continued until 1768, when, pressed hard by the united force of the
former tribe and the Delawares, the southern Indians solicited and
obtained a peace.[A] For the ensuing six years, the Shawanoes remained
quiet, living on amicable terms with the whites on the frontiers: in
April, 1774, however, hostilities between these parties were renewed.

[Footnote A: Thatcher's Indian Biography.]

It is not our purpose in the present sketch of this tribe, to present a
detail of all their conflicts with the whites; but the "Dunmore war,"
(as it is generally called,) of 1774, having been mainly prosecuted by
Shawanoes, one of their distinguished chiefs having commanded in the
battle of Point Pleasant, and another, Puckecheno, (the father of
Tecumseh,) having fallen in this engagement, would seem to render a
full account of the border feuds of this year, not out of place in the
present narrative.

In the latter part of April, 1774, a report that the Indians had stolen
some horses, from the vicinity of Wheeling, alarmed the whites who were
making settlements on the Ohio below that place. For greater safety
they immediately assembled on Wheeling creek, and learning that two
Indians were with some traders above the town, they went up the river,
and without stopping to enquire as to their guilt, deliberately put
them to death. On the afternoon of the same day, they found a party of
Indians on the Ohio, below Wheeling creek, on whom they fired, and
killed several. The Indians returned the fire and wounded one of the
assailing party. It is admitted by all the authorities on this subject,
that the two Indians killed above Wheeling, were shot by men under the
command of colonel Michael Cresap. Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes on
Virginia, states that the second attack, in which one of Logan's family
is alleged to have been killed, was also headed by Cresap; and, in this
he is sustained by Doddridge, Heckewelder and others; but it is denied
by Jacob. "Pursuing these examples," says Mr. Jefferson, "Daniel
Greathouse and one Tomlinson, who lived on the opposite side of the
river from the Indians, and were in habits of friendship with them,
collected at the house of Polk, on Cross creek, about sixteen miles
from Baker's bottom, a party of thirty-two men. Their object was to
attack a hunting party of Indians, consisting of men, women and
children, at the mouth of Yellow creek, some distance above Wheeling.
They proceeded, and when arrived near Baker's bottom they concealed
themselves, and Greathouse crossed the river to the Indian camp. Being
among them as a friend, he counted them and found them too strong for
an open attack with his force. While here, he was cautioned by one of
the women not to stay, for that the Indian men were drinking; and
having heard of Cresap's murder of their relatives at Grave creek, were
angry; and she pressed him in a friendly manner to go home; whereupon,
after inviting them to come over and drink, he returned to Baker's,
which was a tavern, and desired that when any of them should come to
his house, he would give them as much rum as they could drink. When
this plot was ripe, and a sufficient number of them had collected at
Baker's and become intoxicated, he and his party fell on them and
massacred the whole except a little girl, whom they preserved as a
prisoner. Among them was the very woman who had saved his life by
pressing him to retire from the drunken wrath of her friends, when he
was playing the spy in their camp at Yellow creek. Either she herself
or some other one of the murdered women was the sister of Logan; there
were others of his relations who fell at the same time. The party on
the opposite side of the river, upon hearing the report of the guns,
became alarmed for their friends at Baker's house, immediately manned
two canoes and sent them over. They were met by a fire from
Greathouse's party, as they approached the shore, which killed some,
wounded others, and obliged the remainder to return. Baker subsequently
stated, that six or eight were wounded and twelve killed."

The settlers along the frontier, satisfied that the Indians would
retaliate upon them, for these unprovoked aggressions, either returned
to the interior of the country, or gathered in forts, and made
preparation for resistance. The assembly of the colony of Virginia
being then in session, an express was sent to the seat of government,
announcing the commencement of hostilities with the Indians, and asking
assistance. In the month of May, the excitement among the Indians was
still further increased by the murder of the Delaware sachem, "Bald
Eagle," and the wounding of "Silver Heels," a popular chief of the
Shawanoe tribe. Bald Eagle was an aged, harmless man, who was in the
habit of visiting the whites on the most friendly terms. At the period
of his death, he was returning alone, in his canoe, from a visit to the
fort at the mouth of the Kanawha. The individual who committed the
murder, having scalped him, placed the body in a sitting posture in the
canoe and suffered it to float down the stream, in which condition it
was found by the Indians. Silver Heels was returning from Albany to the
Ohio, having been to that city as the voluntary escort of some white
traders, who were fleeing from the frontiers. He was fired upon and
dangerously wounded while crossing Big Beaver in a canoe. Such were
some of the causes which called into action the vindictive feelings of
the Indians.

The distinguished Mingo chief, Logan, was roused to action by the
murder of his relatives at Yellow creek; and in the course of the
summer, led some war parties against the whites, and destroyed several
families. The Earl of Dunmore, then governor of the colony of Virginia,
made arrangements for a campaign against the Indians, but it was not
until September, that his forces were brought into the field. He
ordered three regiments to be raised west of the Blue Ridge, the
command of which was given to general Andrew Lewis. A similar army was
assembled from the interior, the command of which the Earl assumed in
person. The mouth of the Great Kanawha was the point at which two
divisions of the army were to meet; from whence, under the command of
governor Dunmore, they were to march against the Indian towns on the
north side of the Ohio. General Lewis' division amounted to eleven
hundred men, most of whom were accustomed to danger, and with their
officers, familiar with the modes of Indian warfare. On the eleventh of
September, general Lewis moved from his camp, in the vicinity of
Lewisburg, and after a march of nineteen days, traversing a wilderness
through the distance of one hundred and sixty-five-miles, he reached
the mouth of the Kanawha, and made an encampment at that point. Here he
waited several days for the arrival of governor Dunmore, who, with the
division under his command, was to have met him at this place.
Disappointed in not hearing from Dunmore, general Lewis despatched some
scouts, over land to Pittsburg, to obtain intelligence of him. On the
ninth of October, and before the return of these scouts, an express
from Dunmore arrived in camp, with information that he had changed his
plan of operations; and intended to march directly against the Indian
towns on the Scioto; and directing general Lewis to cross the Ohio and
join him. Preparations were making to obey this order, when, about
sunrise, on the morning of the tenth, a large body of Indians was
discovered within a mile of the camp. Two detachments were ordered out
by general Lewis, to meet the enemy, one under the command of colonel
Charles Lewis, the other under colonel Fleming. The former marched to
the right, some distance from the Ohio, the latter to the left, on the
bank of that stream. Colonel Lewis had not proceeded half a mile from
the camp, when, soon after sunrise, his front line was vigorously
attacked by the united tribes of the Shawanoes, Delawares, Mingoes,
Ioways, and some others, in number between eight hundred and one
thousand. At the commencement of the attack, colonel Lewis received a
wound, which in the course of a few hours proved fatal: several of his
men were killed at the same time, and his division was forced to fall
back. In about a minute after the attack upon Lewis, the enemy engaged
the front of the other division, on the bank of the Ohio, and in a
short time, colonel Fleming, the leader of it, was severely wounded,
and compelled to retire to the camp. Colonel Lewis' division having now
been reinforced from the camp, pressed upon the Indians until they had
fallen back in a line with Fleming's division. During this time, it
being now twelve o'clock, the action continued with unabated severity.
The close underwood, the ravines and fallen trees, favored the Indians;
and while the bravest of their warriors fought from behind these
coverts, others were throwing their dead into the Ohio, and carrying
off their wounded. In their slow retreat, the Indians, about one
o'clock, gained a very advantageous position, from which it appeared to
our officers so difficult to dislodge them, that it was deemed
advisable to maintain the line as then formed, which was about a mile
and a quarter in length. In this position, the action was continued,
with more or less severity, until sundown, when, night coming on, the
Indians effected a safe retreat.[A]

[Footnote A: Official Report, xii. vol., Niles Register.]

McClung, in his valuable Sketches of Western Adventure, in describing
this sanguinary battle, speaks of the Indians fighting from behind a
breastwork; Stone, in his Life of Brant, says the Indians were forced
to avail themselves of a rude breastwork of logs and brushwood, which
they had taken the precaution to construct for the occasion. There must
be some mistake in regard to this breastwork, as it is evident from the
circumstances of the case, that the Indians could not, before the
battle, have erected one so near the camp without discovery; and after
the action commenced, it was too fiercely prosecuted for a rampart of
this kind to have been thrown up.

In regard to the number killed on either side, there is no very certain
information. Doddridge, in his Notes on the Indian wars, places the
number of whites killed in this action at seventy-five, and the wounded
at one hundred and forty. Campbell, in his History of Virginia, says
the number of whites who were killed was upwards of fifty, and that
ninety were wounded, which is probably near the truth. The Indian force
engaged in this action has been estimated by different writers, at from
eight hundred to fifteen hundred men. It is probable that the number
did not exceed eight hundred. They were led on by some bold and warlike
chiefs, among them Cornstalk, Logan, Elenipsico, Red Eagle, and
Packishenoah, the last of whom was killed. Cornstalk, the chief in
command, was conspicuous for his bravery, and animated his followers in
tones which rose above the clash of arms; and when a retreat became
necessary, conducted it so successfully and with so much delay, as to
give his men an opportunity of bearing off all their wounded and many
of the killed, whose bodies were thrown into the river. The loss of the
Indians was never ascertained. One of the historians already quoted,
speaks of it as "comparatively trifling." The character of our troops,
many of whom were experienced woods-men, familiar with Indian fighting,
the long continuance of the action--from the rising to the going down
of the sun--the equality in numbers and position of the contending
parties, the known usage of the Indians in hiding their dead and
carrying off the wounded, the number of killed found on the battle
ground the following day, and the severe loss of the Virginians, all
forbid the idea that the loss of the enemy could have been trifling.
The Ohio and Kanawha rivers afforded them opportunities for concealing
their dead, while the plan of retreat,--alternately giving ground and
renewing the attack,--was no doubt adopted for the purpose of gaining
time to remove the wounded across the Ohio. It is fair to assume that
the loss of the Indians was not far short of that sustained by the

All circumstances considered, this battle may be ranked among the most
memorable, and well contested, that has been fought on this continent.
The leaders, on either side, were experienced and able, the soldiers
skilful and brave. The victorious party, if either could be so called,
had as little to boast of as the vanquished. It was alike creditable to
the Anglo-Saxon and the aboriginal arms.

After the Indians had recrossed the Ohio, they marched to the valley of
the Scioto, and encamped on the east side of that stream, about eight
miles north of where Chillicothe now stands. Here a council was held to
decide upon their future movements. Cornstalk, although true to the
interests of the Shawanoes, was the friend of peace, and had been
opposed to making the attack on the troops of general Lewis. Being
overruled, he entered into the action determined to do his duty. He now
rose in the council and demanded, "_What shall we do now? The Long
Knives are coming upon us by two routes. Shall we turn out and fight
them_?" No reply being made to his questions, he continued, "shall we
kill all our women and children, and then fight until we are all killed
ourselves?" The chiefs were still silent. Cornstalk turned round, and
striking his tomahawk into the war-post standing in the midst of the
council, said with his characteristic energy of manner, "_Since you are
not inclined to fight, I will go and make peace_."

In the meantime the earl of Dunmore, having procured boats at fort
Pitt, descended the river to Wheeling, where the army halted for a few
days, and then proceeded down the river in about one hundred canoes, a
few keel boats and perogues, to the mouth of Hockhocking, and from
thence over land, until the army had got within a few miles of the
Shawanoe camp. Here the army halted, and made a breastwork of fallen
trees, and entrenchments of such extent as to include about twelve
acres of ground, with an enclosure in the centre containing about one
acre. This was the citadel, which contained the markees of the earl and
his superior officers.[A] Before the army of Dunmore had reached this
point, he had been met by messengers from the Indians suing for peace.
General Lewis, in the meantime, did not remain inactive. The day after
the battle he proceeded to bury his dead, and to throw up a rude
entrenchment around his camp, and appoint a guard for the protection of
the sick and wounded. On the succeeding day he crossed the Ohio with
his army, and commenced his march through a trackless desert, for the
Shawanoe towns on the Scioto. Governor Dunmore, having determined to
make peace with the Indians, sent an express to general Lewis, ordering
him to retreat across the Ohio. The order was disregarded, and the
march continued until the governor in person, met the general and
peremptorily repeated it. General Lewis and his troops, burning with a
desire of avenging the Indian massacres, and the loss of their brave
companions in the late battle, reluctantly obeyed the command of
Dunmore; and turned their faces homewards. When the governor and his
officers had returned to their camp, on the following day, the treaty
with the Indians was opened. For fear of treachery, only eighteen
Indians were permitted to attend their chiefs within the encampment,
and they were required to leave their arms behind them. The conference
was commenced by Cornstalk, in a long, bold and spirited speech, in
which the white people were charged with being the authors of the war,
by their aggressions upon the Indians at Captina and Yellow creek.
Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief, refused to attend, although willing
to make peace. His influence with the Indians made it important to
secure his concurrence in the proposed treaty. Dunmore sent a special
messenger, (colonel John Gibson,) to him. They met alone in the woods,
where Logan delivered to him his celebrated speech. Colonel Gibson
wrote it down, returned to Dunmore's camp, read the speech in the
council, and the terms of the peace were then agreed on. What those
terms were, is not fully known. No copy of the treaty can now be found,
although diligent enquiry has been made for it. Burk, in his History of
Virginia, says, that the peace was on "condition that the lands on
_this side of the Ohio_ should be for ever ceded to the whites; that
their prisoners should be delivered up, and that four hostages should
be immediately given for the faithful performance of these conditions."
Campbell, in his History of Virginia, says, the Indians "agreed to give
up their lands on this side of the Ohio, and set at liberty their
prisoners." Butler, in his History of Kentucky, remarks that, "such a
treaty appears at this day, to be utterly beyond the advantages which
could have been claimed from Dunmore's expedition?" This is undoubtedly
a reasonable conclusion. The statement in Doddridge, that "on our part
we obtained at the treaty a cessation of hostilities and a surrender of
prisoners, and nothing more," is most probably the true version of the
terms of this peace. If an important grant of land had been obtained by
this treaty, copies of it would have been preserved in the public
archives, and references in subsequent treaties, would have been made
to it; but such seems not to have been the case. The conclusion most
be, that it was only a treaty for the cessation of hostilities and the
surrender of prisoners.

[Footnote A: Doddridge's Indian Wars.]

There have been various speculations as to the causes which induced
governor Dunmore to order the retreat of the army under general Lewis,
before the treaty was concluded. However desirous of a peace, the
presence of an additional force would only have rendered that result
more certain. It was believed by some of the officers of the army, and
the opinion has been held by several writers since, that after governor
Dunmore started on this expedition, he was advised of the strong
probability of a war between Great Britain and her colonies; and that
all his subsequent measures were shaped with a reference to making the
Indians the allies of England in the expected contest. On this
supposition, his conduct in not joining general Lewis at the mouth of
the Kanawha, in risking his own detachment in the enemy's country, and
in positively forbidding the other wing of the army from uniting with
his, at camp Charlotte, has been explained. There are certainly
plausible grounds for believing that governor Dunmore at this time, had
more at heart the interests of Great Britain than of the colonies.

Soon after the conclusion of this war, the Shawanoes, with other tribes
of the north-western Indians, took part with England in the war with
the colonies; nor did the peace of 1783 put an end to these
hostilities. The settlement of the valley of the Ohio by the whites,
was boldly and perseveringly resisted; nor was the tomahawk buried by
the Indians, until after the decisive battle at the rapids of the Miami
of the lakes, on the 20th of August, 1794. The proximity of the
Shawanoe towns to the Ohio river--the great highway of emigration to
the west--and the facility with which the infant settlements in
Kentucky could be reached, rendered this warlike tribe an annoying and
dangerous neighbor. Led on by some daring chiefs; fighting for their
favorite hunting-grounds, and stimulated to action by British agents,
the Shawanoes, for a series of years, pressed sorely upon the new
settlements; and are supposed to have caused the destruction of more
property and a greater number of lives, than all the other tribes of
the north-west united. They participated in most of the predatory
excursions into Kentucky. They were present at the celebrated attack on
Bryant's station; they fought with their characteristic bravery in the
battle of the Blue Licks, and participated in colonel Byrd's hostile
excursion up Licking river, and the destruction of Martin's and
Riddle's stations. In turn, they were compelled to stand on the
defensive, and to encounter the gallant Kentuckians on the north side
of the Ohio. Bowman's expedition in 1779, to the waters of Mad river;
Clark's in 1780 and 1782, and Logan's in 1786, to the same point;
Edwards' in 1787, to the head waters of the Big Miami; and Todd's in
1788, into the Scioto valley--not to name several minor ones--were
chiefly directed against the Shawanoes; and resulted in the destruction
of two or three of their principal villages, but not without a fierce
and bloody resistance. The Shawanoes were likewise found in hostility
to the United States, in the campaigns of Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne.
They united in the treaty of Greenville, in 1795; and with the
exception of a few who fought at Tippecanoe, remained at peace with
this government until the war with Great Britain, in 1812, in which a
considerable body of them became the allies of the latter power. Some
of the tribe, however, remained neutral in that contest, and others
joined the United States, and continued faithful until the peace of


In the campaign of general Harmar, in the year 1790, Blue Jacket--an
influential Shawanoe chief--was associated with the Miami chief, Little
Turtle, in the command of the Indians. In the battle of the 20th of
August 1794, when the combined army of the Indians was defeated by
general Wayne, Blue Jacket had the chief control. The flight previous
to the battle, while the Indians were posted at Presque Isle, a council
was held, composed of chiefs from the Miamis, Potawatimies, Delawares,
Shawanoes, Chippewas, Ottawas and Senecas--the seven nations engaged in
the action. They decided against the proposition to attack general
Wayne that night in his encampment. The expediency of meeting him the
next day then came up for consideration. Little Turtle was opposed to
this measure, but being warmly supported by Blue Jacket, it was finally
agreed upon. The former was strongly inclined to peace, and decidedly
opposed to risking a battle under the circumstances in which the
Indians were then placed. "We have beaten the enemy," said he, "twice,
under separate commanders. We cannot expect the same good fortune
always to attend us. The Americans are now led by a chief who never
sleeps. The night and the day are alike to him; and, during all the
time that he has been marching upon our villages, notwithstanding the
watchfulness of our young men, we have never been able to surprise him.
Think well of it. There is something whispers me, it would be prudent
to listen to his offers of peace." The councils of Blue Jacket,
however, prevailed over the better judgment of Little Turtle. The
battle was fought and the Indians defeated.

In the month of October following this defeat, Blue Jacket concurred in
the expediency of sueing for peace, and at the head of a deputation of
chiefs, was about to bear a flag to general Wayne, then at Greenville,
when the mission was arrested by foreign influence. Governor Simcoe,
colonel McKee and the Mohawk chief, captain John Brant, having in
charge one hundred and fifty Mohawks and Messasagoes, arrived at the
rapids of the Maumee, and invited the chiefs of the combined army to
meet them at the mouth of the Detroit river, on the 10th of October. To
this Blue Jacket assented, for the purpose of hearing what the British
officers had to propose. Governor Simcoe urged the Indians to retain
their hostile attitude towards the United States. In referring to the
encroachments of the people of this country on the Indian lands, he
said, "Children: I am still of the opinion that the Ohio is your right
and title. I have given orders to the commandant of fort Miami to fire
on the Americans whenever they make their appearance again. I will go
down to Quebec, and lay your grievances before the great man. From
thence they will be forwarded to the king, your father. Next spring you
will know the result of every thing what you and I will do." He urged
the Indians to obtain a cessation of hostilities, until the following
spring, when the English would be ready to attack the Americans, and by
driving them back across the Ohio, restore their lands to the
Indians.[A] These counsels delayed the conclusion of peace until the
following summer.

[Footnote A: Amer. State Papers, vol. 5, p. 529. Stone's Life of Brant,
vol. 2, p.392.]

Blue Jacket was present at the treaty of Greenville in 1795, and
conducted himself with moderation and dignity. Upon his arrival at that
place, in excuse for not having met general Wayne at an earlier period,
he said, "Brother, when I came here last winter, I did not mean to
deceive you. What I promised you I did intend to perform. My wish to
conclude a firm peace with you being sincere, my uneasiness has been
great that my people have not come forward so soon as you could wish,
or might expect. But you must not be discouraged by these unfavorable
appearances. Some of our chiefs and warriors are here; more will arrive
in a few days. You must not, however, expect to see a great number.
Yet, notwithstanding, our nation will be well represented. Our hearts
are open and void of deceit."

On the second day of the council, Blue Jacket made a remark, showing
the relation subsisting between the Shawanoes and some other tribes, to
which allusion has been made already.

"Brothers: I hope you will not take amiss my changing my seat in this
council. You all know the Wyandots are our uncles, and the Delawares
our grandfathers, and that the Shawanoes are the elder brothers of the
other nations present. It is, therefore, proper that I should sit next
my grandfathers and uncles. I hope, younger brothers, you are all
satisfied with what your uncles said yesterday, and that I have done
every thing in my power to advise and support you."

At the conclusion of the treaty Blue Jacket rose and said:

"Elder Brother, and you, my brothers, present: you see me now present
myself as a war-chief to lay down that commission, and place myself in
the rear of my village chiefs, who for the future will command me.
Remember, brother's, you have all buried your war hatchet. Your
brothers, the Shawanoes, now do the same good act. We must think of war
no more.

"Elder Brother: you see now all the chiefs and warriors around you,
have joined in the good work of peace, which is now accomplished. We
now request you to inform our elder brother, general Washington, of it;
and of the cheerful unanimity which has marked their determination. We
wish you to enquire of him if it would be agreeable that two chiefs
from each nation should pay him a visit, and take him by the hand; for
your younger brothers have a strong desire to see that great man and to
enjoy the pleasure of conversing with him."

We are indebted to major Galloway of Xenia, for the following anecdote
of this chief:

"In the spring of 1800, Blue Jacket and another chief, whose name I
have forgotten, boarded for several weeks at my father's, in Green
county, at the expense of a company of Kentuckians, who engaged Blue
Jacket, for a valuable consideration, to show them a great silver mine,
which tradition said was known to the Indians, as existing on Red
river, one of the head branches of the Kentucky. A Mr. Jonathan Flack,
agent of this company, had previously spent several months among the
Shawanoes, at their towns and hunting camps, in order to induce this
chief to show this great treasure. At the time agreed on, ten or twelve
of the company came from Kentucky to meet Blue Jacket at my father's,
where a day or two was spent in settling the terms upon which he would
accompany them; the crafty chief taking his own time to deliberate on
the offers made him, and rising in his demands in proportion to their
growing eagerness to possess the knowledge which was to bring untold
wealth to all the company. At length the bargain was made; horses,
goods and money were given as presents, and the two chiefs with their
squaws, were escorted in triumph to Kentucky, where they were feasted
and caressed in the most flattering manner, and all their wants
anticipated and liberally supplied. In due time and with all possible
secrecy, they visited the region where this great mine was said to be
emboweled in the earth. Here the wily Shawanoe spent some time in
seclusion, in order to humble himself by fastings, purifications and
_pow-wowings_, with a view to propitiate the Great Spirit; and to get
His permission to disclose the grand secret of the mine. An equivocal
answer was all the response that was given to him in his dreams; and,
after many days of fruitless toil and careful research, the mine, the
great object so devoutly sought and wished for, could not be found. The
cunning Blue Jacket, however, extricated himself with much address from
the anticipated vengeance of the disappointed worshippers of Plutus, by
charging his want of success to his eyes, which were dimmed by reason
of his old age; and by promising to send his son on his return home,
whose eyes were young and good, and who knew the desired spot and would
show it. The son, however, never visited the scene of his father's
failure; and thus ended the adventures of the celebrated mining company
of Kentucky."


Among the celebrated chiefs of the Shawanoes, Black Hoof is entitled to
a high rank. He was born in Florida, and at the period of the removal
of a portion of that tribe to Ohio and Pennsylvania, was old enough to
recollect having bathed in the salt water. He was present with others
of his tribe, at the defeat of Braddock, near Pittsburg, in 1755, and
was engaged in all the wars in Ohio from that time until the treaty of
Greenville, in 1795. Such was the sagacity of Black Hoof in planning
his military expeditions, and such the energy with which he executed
them, that he won the confidence of his whole nation, and was never at
a loss for _braves_ to fight under his banner. "He was known far and
wide, as the great Shawanoe warrior, whose cunning, sagacity and
experience were only equalled by the fierce and desperate bravery with
which he carried into operation his military plans. Like the other
Shawanoe chiefs, he was the inveterate foe of the white man, and held
that no peace should be made, nor any negotiation attempted, except on
the condition that the whites should repass the mountains, and leave
the great plains of the west to the sole occupancy of the native

"He was the orator of his tribe during the greater part of his long
life, and was an excellent speaker. The venerable colonel Johnston of
Piqua, to whom we are indebted for much valuable information, describes
him as the most graceful Indian he had ever seen, and as possessing the
most natural and happy faculty of expressing his ideas. He was well
versed in the traditions of his people; no one understood better their
peculiar relations to the whites, whose settlements were gradually
encroaching on them, or could detail with more minuteness the wrongs
with which his nation was afflicted. But although a stern and
uncompromising opposition to the whites had marked his policy through a
series of forty years, and nerved his arm in a hundred battles, he
became at length convinced of the madness of an ineffectual struggle
against a vastly superior and hourly increasing foe. No sooner had he
satisfied himself of this truth, than he acted upon it with the
decision which formed a prominent trait in his character. The temporary
success of the Indians in several engagements previous to the campaign
of general Wayne, had kept alive their expiring hopes; but their signal
defeat by that gallant officer, convinced the more reflecting of their
leaders of the desperate character of the conflict. Black Hoof was
among those who decided upon making terms with the victorious American
commander; and having signed the treaty of 1795, at Greenville, he
continued faithful to his stipulations during the remainder of his
life. From that day he ceased to be the enemy of the white man; and as
he was not one who could act a negative part, he became the firm ally
and friend of those against whom his tomahawk had been so long raised
in vindictive animosity. He was their friend, not from sympathy or
conviction, but in obedience to a necessity which left no middle
course, and under a belief that submission alone could save his tribe
from destruction; and having adopted this policy, his sagacity and
sense of honor, alike forbade a recurrence either to open war or secret

"Black Hoof was the principal chief of the Shawanoe nation, and
possessed all the influence and authority which are usually attached to
that office, at the period when Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet
commenced their hostile operations against the United States. Tecumseh
had never been reconciled to the whites. As sagacious and as brave as
Black Hoof, and resembling him in all the better traits of savage
character, he differed widely from that respectable chief in his
political opinions. They were both patriotic in the proper sense of the
word, and earnestly desired to preserve the remnant of their tribe from
the destruction that threatened the whole Indian race. Black Hoof,
whose long and victorious career as a warrior placed his courage far
above suspicion, submitted to what he believed inevitable, and
endeavoured to evade the effects of the storm by bending beneath its
fury; while Tecumseh, a younger man, an influential warrior, but not a
chief, with motives equally public spirited, was, no doubt,
unconsciously biassed by personal ambition, and suffered his hatred to
the white man to master every other feeling and consideration. The one
was a leader of ripened fame, who had reached the highest place in his
nation, and could afford to retire from the active scenes of warfare;
the other was a candidate for higher honors than he had yet achieved;
and both might have been actuated by a common impulse of rivalry, which
induced them to espouse different opinions in opposition to each

[Footnote A: History of the Indian Tribes of N. America.]

When Tecumseh and the Prophet embarked in their scheme for the recovery
of the lands as far south as the Ohio river, it became their interest
as well as policy to enlist Black Hoof in the enterprise; and every
effort which the genius of the one and the cunning of the other, could
devise, was brought to bear upon him. But Black Hoof continued faithful
to the treaty which he had signed at Greenville, in 1795, and by
prudence and influence kept the greater part of his tribe from joining
the standard of Tecumseh or engaging on the side of the British in the
late war with England. In that contest he became the ally of the United
States, and although he took no active part in it, he exerted a very
salutary influence over his tribe. In January, 1813, he visited general
Tapper's camp, at fort McArthur, and while there, about ten o'clock one
night, when sitting by the fire in company with the general and several
other officers, some one fired a pistol through a hole in the wall of
the hut, and shot Black Hoof in the face: the ball entered the cheek,
glanced against the bone, and finally lodged in his neck: he fell, and
for some time was supposed to be dead, but revived, and afterwards
recovered from this severe wound. The most prompt and diligent enquiry
as to the author of this cruel and dastardly act, failed to lead to his
detection. No doubt was entertained that this attempt at assassination
was made by a white man, stimulated perhaps by no better excuse than
the memory of some actual or ideal wrong, inflicted on some of his own
race by an unknown hand of kindred colour with that of his intended

[Footnote A: James Galloway.]

Black Hoof was opposed to polygamy, and to the practice of burning
prisoners. He is reported to have lived forty years with one wife, and
to have reared a numerous family of children, who both loved and
esteemed him. His disposition was cheerful, and his conversation
sprightly and agreeable. In stature he was small, being not more than
five feet eight inches in height. He was favored with good health, and
unimpaired eye sight to the period of his death, which occurred at
Wapakonatta, in the year 1831, at the age of one hundred and ten years.


The reader of these pages is already familiar with the name of
Cornstalk, "the mighty Cornstalk, sachem of the Shawanoes, and king of
the Northern Confederacy." His conduct in the memorable battle of Point
Pleasant establishes his fame as an able and gallant warrior. He
carried into that action the skill of an accomplished general, and the
heroism of a dauntless brave. Neither a thirst for blood, nor the love
of renown, ever prompted him to arms. He was the open advocate for
honorable peace--the avowed and devoted friend of the whites. But he
loved his own people and the hunting grounds in which they roamed; and,
when his country's wrongs demanded redress, he became the "thunderbolt
of war," and avenged the aggressions upon his tribe with energy and
power. He fought, however, that peace might reign; and, after the
battle in which he so highly distinguished himself, was the first among
his associated chiefs to propose a cessation of hostilities. While he
mourned over the inevitable doom of the Indians, he had the sagacity to
perceive that all efforts to avert it, were not only useless, but, in
the end, reacted upon them with withering influence.

He has been justly called a great and a good man. He was the zealous
friend of the Moravian missions; and warmly encouraged every effort to
ameliorate the moral and physical condition of his people. "His noble
bearing," says Mr. Withers, "his generous and disinterested attachment
to the colonies, when the thunder of British cannon was reverberating
through the land, his anxiety to preserve the frontier of Virginia from
desolation and death, (the object of his visit to Point Pleasant,) all
conspired to win for him the esteem and respect of others; while the
untimely and perfidious manner of his death, caused a deep and lasting
regret to pervade the bosoms even of those who were enemies to his
nation; and excited the just indignation of all towards his inhuman and
barbarous murderers." The strong native powers of his mind had been
more enriched by observation, travel and intercourse with the whites,
than is usual among the Indian chiefs. He was familiarly acquainted
with the topography and geography of the north-west, even beyond the
Mississippi river, and possessed an accurate knowledge of the various
treaties between the whites and the Indian tribes of this region, and
the relative rights of each party.

At the treaty with Dunmore, he made a speech alike creditable to his
love of country and his sense of justice. He pourtrayed, in living
colors, the wrongs inflicted upon the Indians by the colonists, and
placed in strong contrast the former and present condition of his
nation, the one being happy and prosperous, the other degraded and
oppressed. He spoke in a strain of manly boldness of the repeated
perfidy of the white people; and especially, of the unblushing
dishonesty of the traders; and, finally concluded by proposing as one
of the fundamental provisions of the treaty, that no commerce with the
Indians should be carried on for individual profit, but that honest men
should be sent among them by their white brother, with such things as
they needed, to be exchanged, at a fair price, for their skins and
furs: and still further, that no "fire-water," of any kind, should be
introduced among them, inasmuch as it depraved his people and
stimulated them to aggressions upon their white brethren.

As an orator, the fame of Cornstalk stands high. Colonel Benjamin
Wilson, an officer in Dunmore's campaign, in 1774, who was present at
the interview (at camp Charlotte) between the chiefs and the governor,
in speaking of Cornstalk, says, "when he arose, he was in no wise
confused or daunted, but spoke in a distinct and audible voice, without
stammering or repetition, and with peculiar emphasis. His looks, while
addressing Dunmore, were truly grand and majestic, yet graceful and
attractive. I have heard the first orators in Virginia,--Patrick Henry
and Richard Henry Lee,--but never have I heard one whose powers of
delivery surpassed those of Cornstalk."

The treaty at camp Charlotte did not bring much repose to the frontier.
In the course of the two years succeeding it, new difficulties arose
between the Indians and the inhabitants of western Virginia. Early in
the spring of 1777, several tribes joined in an offensive alliance
against the latter. Cornstalk exerted all his influence to arrest it,
but in vain. Sincerely desirous of averting war, he resolved to
communicate this condition of affairs to the Virginians, in the hope
that they might dissipate the impending war-cloud. This information he
determined to give in person. Taking with him Red Hawk, and one other
Indian, he went secretly to the fort at Point Pleasant, with a flag of
peace, and presented himself to the commander of that post. After
stating to him the object of the mission, and fully explaining the
situation of the confederate tribes and their contemplated attack upon
the whites, he remarked, in regard to his own, "the current sets (with
the Indians,) so strong against the Americans, in consequence of the
agency of the British, that they (the Shawanoes) will float with it, I
fear, in spite of all my exertions." No sooner had this information
been given to the commander, captain Matthew Arbuckle, than he decided,
in violation of all good faith, to detain the two chiefs as hostages,
to prevent the meditated attack on the settlements. This he did; and
immediately gave information to the executive of Virginia, who ordered
additional troops to the frontier. In the mean time, the officers in
the fort held frequent conversations with Cornstalk, whose intelligence
equally surprised and pleased them. He took pleasure in giving them
minute descriptions of his country, its rivers, prairies and lakes, its
game and other productions. One day, as he was drawing a rude map on
the floor, for the gratification of those present, a call was heard
from the opposite shore of the Ohio, which he at once recognized as the
voice of his favorite son, Elenipsico, a noble minded youth, who had
fought by his father's side in the battle of Point Pleasant. At the
request of Cornstalk, Elenipsico crossed over the river, and joined him
in the fort, where they had an affectionate and touching meeting. The
son had become uneasy at his father's long absence; and regardless of
danger, had visited this place in search of him. It happened on the
following day that two white men, belonging to the fort, crossed over
the Kanawha, upon a hunting excursion; as they were returning to their
boat, they were fired upon by some Indians in ambush, and one of the
hunters, named Gilmore, was killed, the other making his escape. The
news of this murder having reached the fort, a party of captain Hall's
men crossed the river and brought in the body of Gilmore; whereupon the
cry was raised, "let us go and kill the Indians in the fort." An
infuriated gang, with captain Hall at their head, instantly started,
and in despite of all remonstrance, and the most solemn assurances that
the murderers of Gilmore had no connection whatever with the imprisoned
chiefs, they persisted in their cruel and bloody purpose, swearing,
with guns in their hands, that they would shoot any one who attempted
to oppose them. In the mean time, the interpreter's wife, who had been
a captive among the Indians, and had a feeling of regard for Cornstalk
and his companions, perceiving their danger, ran to the cabin to tell
them of it; and to let them know that Hall and his party charged
Elenipsico with having brought with him the Indians who had killed
Gilmore. This, however, the youthful chief denied most positively,
asserting that he came unattended by any one, and for the single
purpose of learning the fate of his father. At this time captain Hall
and his followers, in despite of the remonstance and command of captain
Arbuckle, were approaching the cabin of the prisoners. For a moment,
Elenipsico manifested some agitation. His father spoke and encouraged
him to be calm, saying, "my son, the Great Spirit has seen fit that we
should die together, and has sent you here to that end. It is his will,
and let us submit; it is all for the best;" and turning round to meet
the assassins at the door, was shot with seven bullets, and expired
without a groan. The momentary agitation of Elenipsico passed off, and
keeping his seat, he met his death with stern and heroic apathy. Red
Hawk manifested less resolution, and made a fruitless effort to conceal
himself in the chimney of the cabin. He was discovered and instantly
shot. The fourth Indian was then slowly and cruelly put to death. Thus
terminated this dark and fearful tragedy--leaving a foul blot on the
page of history, which all the waters of the beautiful Ohio, on whose
banks it was perpetrated, can never wash out, and the remembrance of
which will long outlive the heroic and hapless nation which gave birth
to the noble Cornstalk.


generally known as


In September, 1786, captain Benjamin Logan, of Kentucky, led an
expedition of mounted men from that state against the Shawanoes, on the
north side of the Ohio, and destroyed the Machachac towns on the waters
of Mad river. Most of the warriors happened to be absent from the
villages when the invading army reached them. About thirty persons were
captured, chiefly women and children. After the slight resistance which
was made by the Indians had ceased, captain Logan's men were both
annoyed and endangered by some arrows, shot among them by an invisible
but not unpractised hand. After considerable search, in the tall grass
around the camp, an Indian youth was discovered, who with his bow and a
quiver of arrows, had concealed himself in a position from which he
could successfully throw his darts against the enemy: that intrepid boy
was Logan, the subject of the present biographical sketch. He likewise
was made prisoner, and with the others carried to Kentucky. The
commander of the expedition was so much pleased with the bold conduct
of this boy, that upon returning home, he made him a member of his own
family, in which he resided some years, until at length, at a council
for the exchange of prisoners, held on the bank of the Ohio, opposite
to Maysville, between some Shawanoe chiefs and a deputation of citizens
from Kentucky, our young hero was permitted to return to his native
land. He was ever afterwards known by the name of Logan.

Of the family of this distinguished individual, we have been enabled to
glean but few particulars. In M'Afee's History of the Late War, and in
Butler's History of Kentucky, he is represented to have been the son of
Tecumseh's sister: this is manifestly an error; there was no
relationship between them, either by blood or marriage.

Logan was a member of the Machachac tribe of the Shawanoes, and was
elevated to the rank of a civil chief on account of his many estimable
qualities, both intellectual and moral. He was a married man, and left
behind him a wife and several children--requesting on his death bed
that they might be sent into Kentucky, and placed under the patronage
of his friend, colonel Hardin, who had married the daughter of his
early patron, captain Logan. This, however, was not done, owing to
objections interposed by the wife. The personal appearance of Logan was
remarkably good, being six feet in height, finely formed and weighing
near two hundred pounds.

From the period of his residence in Kentucky, to that of his death,
Logan was the unwavering friend of the United States. He was
extensively and favorably known on the frontier of Ohio, and the
Indiana territory; and, immediately after the declaration of war
against England in 1812, he joined the American service. He acted as
one of the guides of general Hull's army to Detroit; and, prior to the
actual investment of fort Wayne,--an account of which will be presently
given--he was employed by the Indian agent at Piqua, on an important
and delicate mission. The Indians around fort Wayne were giving
indications of a disposition to abandon their neutrality. This rendered
it expedient that the women and children then at that point, should be
removed within the inhabited portions of Ohio. John Johnston, the
Indian agent at Piqua, knowing Logan intimately, and having great
confidence in his judgment as well as his fidelity, selected him to
perform this duty. He was accordingly furnished with a letter to the
commandant of that fort, in which assurances were given, that the
persons about to be removed might confidently rely upon the discretion
and enterprise of Logan. He proceeded on his mission, and executed it
successfully: bringing into Piqua--near one hundred miles distant from
fort Wayne--twenty-five women and children; the former, without an
exception, bearing testimony to the uniform delicacy and kindness with
which he treated them. Deeply impressed with the dangerous
responsibility of the office he had assumed, he is said not to have
slept from the time the party left fort Wayne, until it reached Piqua.

We next hear of Logan, in connection with the memorable siege of fort
Wayne. This post, which was erected in 1794, stood at the junction of
the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's rivers, and, although not within the
limits of Ohio, its preservation was all-important to the peace and
safety of our north-western frontier. Having been built of wood, it
was, in 1812, a pile of combustible matter. Immediately after the
surrender of general Hull, in August, 1812, the Indians, to the number
of four or five hundred, closely invested this place. The garrison at
that time, including every description of persons, amounted to less
than one hundred persons, of whom not more than sixty or seventy were
capable of performing military duty. These were commanded by captain
Rhea, an officer who, from several causes, was but ill qualified for
the Station. His lieutenants were Philip Ostrander and Daniel Curtis,
both of whom, throughout the siege, discharged their duty in a gallant

At the time of the investment of this place, there was a considerable
body of Ohio troops in the neighborhood of Piqua. These had been
ordered out by governor Meigs, for the relief of Detroit; but, upon
hearing of the surrender of that place, their course was directed
towards fort Wayne. They were, however, almost in a state of
disorganization, and manifested but little ardor in entering upon this
new duty. Perceiving this state of things, and aware that the fort was
in imminent danger, a young man, now major William Oliver, of
Cincinnati, determined upon making an effort to reach the garrison.
Young Oliver was a resident of fort Wayne, and was on his return from a
visit to Cincinnati when, at Piqua, he learned that the place was
besieged. He immediately joined a rifle company of the Ohio militia;
but seeing the tardy movements of the troops, in advancing to the
relief of the fort, he resolved in the first place to return with all
possible expedition, to Cincinnati, for the purpose of inducing colonel
Wells, of the 17th U.S. infantry, to march his regiment to the relief
of the fort; and, in the second place, to make an effort to reach it in
person, that the garrison might be encouraged to hold out until
reinforcements should arrive. When Oliver arrived in Cincinnati, he
found that general Harrison had just crossed the Ohio, from Kentucky,
and assumed the command of the troops composing the north-western army.
He called upon the general, stated the condition of things on the
frontier, and avowed his intention of passing into the fort in advance
of the reinforcements. The general informed him that the troops then at
Cincinnati would be put in motion that day, and marched with all
practicable expedition to the invested point. This was on the 27th of
August; on the 31st Oliver overtook the Ohio militia at the St. Mary's
river. Here he learned that Adrian and Shane, two experienced scouts,
had been sent in the direction of fort Wayne, and had returned with
information that the hostile Indians were in great force on the route
to that place. On the next day, general Thomas Worthington, of
Chillicothe, who was then on the frontier as Indian commissioner,
seeing the great importance of communicating with the garrison,
determined to unite with Oliver in the attempt to reach it. These two
enterprising individuals induced sixty-eight of the Ohio troops and
sixteen Shawanoe Indians, among whom was Logan, to accompany them. They
marched eighteen miles that day, and camped for the night at Shane's

Next morning they again moved forward, but in the course of the day,
some thirty-six of their party abandoned the hazardous enterprise, and
returned to the main army. The remainder pursued their route, and
encamped that evening within twenty-four miles of fort Wayne. As the
party was not strong enough in its present condition to encounter the
besieging enemy, general Worthington was very reluctantly induced to
remain at this point, while Oliver, with Logan, captain Johnny and
Brighthorn, should make an effort to reach the fort. Being well armed
and mounted, they started at daybreak next morning upon this daring
adventure. Proceeding with great caution, they came within five miles
of the fort, before they observed any fresh Indian signs. At this point
the keen eye of Logan discovered the cunning strategy of the enemy: for
the purpose of concealing their bodies, they had dug holes on either
side of the road, alternately, at such distances as to secure them from
their own fire: these were intended for night watching, in order to cut
off all communication with the fort. Here the party deemed it advisable
to leave the main road, and strike across the country to the Maumee
river, which was reached in safety at a point one and a half miles
below the fort. Having tied their horses in a thicket, the party
proceeded cautiously on foot, to ascertain whether our troops or the
Indians were in possession of the fort. Having satisfied themselves on
this point, they returned, remounted their horses, and taking the main
road, moved rapidly to the fort. Upon reaching the gate of the
esplanade, they found it locked, and were thus compelled to pass down
the river bank, and then ascend it at the northern gate. They were
favored in doing so by the withdrawal of the hostile Indians from this
point, in carrying out a plan, then on the point of consummation, for
taking the fort by an ingenious stratagem. For several days previous to
this time, the hostile chiefs under a flag of truce, had been holding
intercourse with the garrison; and had, it is supposed, discovered the
unsoldier-like condition of the commander. They had accordingly
arranged their warriors in a semicircle, on the west and south sides of
the fort, and at no great distance from it. Five of the chiefs, under
pretence of treating with the officers of the garrison, were to pass
into the fort, and when in council were to assassinate the subaltern
officers with pistols and knives, concealed under their blankets; and
then to seize captain Rhea, who, in his trepidation, and under a
promise of personal safety, would, they anticipated, order the gates of
the fort to be thrown open for the admission of the besiegers. The
plan, thus arranged, was in the act of being carried into execution at
the moment when Oliver and his companions reached the gate. In speaking
of the opportune approach of this party, lieutenant Curtis says, "the
safe arrival of Mr. Oliver at that particular juncture, may justly be
considered most miraculous. One hour sooner or one later, would no
doubt have been inevitable destruction both to himself and escort: the
parties of Indians who had been detached to guard the roads and passes
in different directions, having all at that moment been called in, to
aid in carrying the fort. It is generally believed by those acquainted
with the circumstances, that not one hour, for eight days and nights
preceding or following the hour in which Mr. Oliver arrived, would have
afforded an opportunity of any probable safety." Winnemac, Five Medals,
and three other hostile chiefs, bearing the flag under which they were
to gain admittance to the fort to carry out their treacherous
intentions, were surprised by suddenly meeting at the gate, Oliver and
his companions. Coming from different directions and screened by the
angles of the fort, the parties were not visible to each other until
both were near the gate. On meeting, they shook hands, but it was
apparent that Winnemac was greatly disconcerted; he immediately wheeled
and returned to his camp, satisfied that this accession of strength to
the garrison--the forerunner, in all probability, of a much larger
force--had defeated his scheme. The others of his party entered the
fort, and remained some little time, during which they were given to
understand that Logan and his two Indian companions were to remain with
the garrison. Oliver, in the mean time, having written a hasty letter,
describing the condition of the fort, to general Worthington; and the
Indians being equipped with new rifles from the public stores, they
prepared to leave the fort without delay. Fortunately their movements
were not observed by the enemy, until they had actually started from
the garrison gate. They now put spurs to their horses and dashed off at
full speed. The hostile Indians were instantly in motion to intercept
them; the race was a severe and perilous one, but Logan and his
companions cleared the enemy's line in safety, and this accomplished,
his loud shout of triumph rose high in the air, and fell like music
upon the ears of the beleaguered garrison. The party reached general
Worthington's camp early the next morning, and delivered Oliver's
letter to him. Notwithstanding the perilous condition of the garrison,
however, the Ohio troops delayed moving for its relief, until they were
overtaken by general Harrison, who, with his reinforcements, was unable
to reach the fort until the twelfth. In the mean time the Indians kept
up an incessant firing, day and night, upon the fort, killing on one
occasion, two of the garrison who passed out of the gate on police
duty. Several times the buildings of the fort were set on fire by the
burning arrows which were shot upon them, but by the vigilance of the
garrison in extinguishing the flames, a general conflagration was
prevented. Some days after the arrival of Oliver, the Indians appeared
to be making preparations for some uncommon movement, and one
afternoon, just before night-fall, succeeded in getting possession of
one of the trading houses standing near the fort. From this point they
demanded a surrender of the garrison, under a promise of protection;
and with a threat of extermination if they were compelled to carry the
fort by storm: they alleged, further, that they had just been
reinforced by a large number of warriors, some pieces of British
cannon, and artillerists to man them. Their demand being promptly
refused, they immediately closed in upon the fort, yelling hideously,
firing their guns and also a couple of cannon. Every man in the fort
capable of doing duty, now stood at his post, having several stands of
loaded arms by his side. They were directed by the acting lieutenant,
Curtis,[A] not to fire until the Indians had approached within
twenty-five paces of the fort: the fire was at length opened upon the
entire Indian lines, and in a manner so destructive, that in twenty
minutes the enemy retreated with the loss of eighteen of their
warriors, killed. It was discovered, subsequently, that the cannon used
on this occasion by the Indians, had been made of wood by some British
traders who were with them; one of the pieces burst upon the first, and
the other on the second, fire.

[Footnote A: Captain Rhea, by common consent, was suspended for
incapacity, and lieutenant Ostrander was on the sick list.]

The day before general Harrison reached this place, the Indians
concentrated at a swamp, five miles south of the fort, for the purpose
of giving him battle; but after reconnoitering his force, and finding
it too strong for them, they fell back, passing by the fort in great
disorder, in the hope, it is supposed, of drawing out the garrison,
under a belief that they, (the Indians,) had been defeated by general
Harrison's army. To promote this idea, they had, while lying at the
swamp, kindled extensive fires, that the rising volume of smoke might
be mistaken for that which usually overhangs the field of battle. This
device proving unavailing, the Indians, after a vigorous investment,
running through more than twenty days, withdrew forever from the siege
of fort Wayne.

The enterprise of young Oliver, just related, reflected the highest
credit on his bravery and patriotism: being wholly voluntary on his
part, the moral heroism of the act was only surpassed by its fortunate
results; as it prevented, in all probability, the fall of an important
frontier post, and saved its garrison from the tomahawk and scalping
knife. So hazardous was the effort deemed, indeed, that experienced
frontier's-men endeavored to dissuade him from the undertaking; and
even Logan considered it one of great peril; but when once resolved
upon, he gallantly incurred the hazard of the deed, and showed himself
worthy of the trust reposed in him.

In November of this year, general Harrison directed Logan to take a
small party of his tribe, and reconnoitre the country in the direction
of the Rapids of the Maumee. When near this point, they were met by a
body of the enemy, superior to their own in number, and compelled to
retreat. Logan, captain Johnny and Bright-horn, who composed the party,
effected their escape, to the left wing of the army, then under the
command of general Winchester, who was duly informed of the
circumstances of their adventure. An officer of the Kentucky troops,
general P., the second in command, without the slightest ground for
such a charge, accused Logan of infidelity to our cause, and of giving
intelligence to the enemy. Indignant at this foul accusation, the noble
chief at once resolved to meet it in a manner that would leave no doubt
as to his faithfulness to the United States. He called on his friend
Oliver, and having told him of the imputation that had been cast upon
his reputation, said that he would start from the camp next morning,
and either leave his body bleaching in the woods, or return with such
trophies from the enemy, as would relieve his character from the
suspicion that had been wantonly cast upon it by an American officer.

Accordingly, on the morning of the 22d he started down the Maumee,
attended by his two faithful companions, captain Johnny and
Bright-horn. About noon, having stopped for the purpose of taking rest,
they were suddenly surprised by a party of seven of the enemy, amongst
whom were young Elliott, a half-breed, holding a commission in the
British service, and the celebrated Potawatamie chief, Winnemac. Logan
made no resistance, but with great presence of mind, extending his hand
to Winnemac, who was an old acquaintance, proceeded to inform him, that
he and his two companions, tired of the American service, were just
leaving general Winchester's army, for the purpose of joining the
British. Winnemac, being familiar with Indian strategy, was not
satisfied with this declaration, but proceeded to disarm Logan and his
comrades, and placing his party around them, so as to prevent their
escape, started for the British camp at the foot of the Rapids. In the
course of the afternoon, Logan's address was such as to inspire
confidence in his sincerity, and induce Winnemac to restore to him and
his companions their arms. Logan now formed the plan of attacking his
captors on the first favorable opportunity; and whilst marching along,
succeeded in communicating the substance of it to captain Johnny and
Bright-horn. Their guns being already loaded, they had little further
preparation to make, than to put bullets into their mouths, to
facilitate the reloading of their arms. In carrying on this process,
captain Johnny, as he afterwards related, fearing that the man marching
by his side had observed the operation, adroitly did away the
impression by remarking, "me chaw heap tobac."

The evening being now at hand, the British Indians determined to encamp
on the bank of Turkeyfoot creek, about twenty miles from fort
Winchester. Confiding in the idea that Logan had really deserted the
American service, a part of his captors rambled around the place of
their encampment, in search of blackhaws. They were no sooner out of
sight, than Logan gave the signal of attack upon those who remained
behind; they fired and two of the enemy fell dead--the third, being
only wounded, required a second shot to despatch him; and in the mean
time, the remainder of the party, who were near by, returned the fire,
and all of them "treed." There being four of the enemy, and only three
of Logan's party, the latter could not watch all the movements of their
antagonists. Thus circumstanced, and during an active fight, the fourth
man of the enemy passed round until Logan was uncovered by his tree,
and shot him through the body. By this time Logan's party had wounded
two of the surviving four, which caused them to fall back. Taking
advantage of this state of things, captain Johnny mounted Logan--now
suffering the pain of a mortal wound--and Bright-horn--also wounded--on
two of the enemy's horses, and started them for Winchester's camp,
which they reached about midnight. Captain Johnny, having already
secured the scalp of Winnemac, followed immediately on foot, and gained
the same point early on the following morning. It was subsequently
ascertained that the two Indians of the British party, who were last
wounded, died of their wounds, making in all five out of the seven, who
were slain by Logan and his companions.

When the news of this gallant affair had spread through the camp, and
especially after it was known that Logan was mortally wounded, it
created a deep and mournful sensation. No one, it is believed, more
deeply regretted the fatal catastrophe, than the author of the charge
upon Logan's integrity, which had led to this unhappy result.

Logan's popularity was very great; indeed he was almost universally
esteemed in the army, for his fidelity to our cause, his unquestioned
bravery, and the nobleness of his nature. He lived two or three days
after reaching the camp, but in extreme bodily agony; he was buried by
the officers of the army, at fort Winchester, with the honors of war.
Previous to his death, he related the particulars of this fatal
enterprise to his friend Oliver, declaring to him that he prized his
honor more than life; and, having now vindicated his reputation from
the imputation cast upon it, he died satisfied. In the course of this
interview, and while writhing with pain, he was observed to smile; upon
being questioned as to the cause, he replied, that when he recalled to
his mind the manner in which captain Johnny took off the scalp of
Winnemac, while at the same time dexterously watching the movements of
the enemy, he could not refrain from laughing--an incident in savage
life, which shows the "ruling passion strong in death." It would
perhaps be difficult in the history of savage warfare, to point out an
enterprise the execution of which reflects higher credit upon the
address and daring conduct of its authors, than this does upon Logan
and his two companions. Indeed a spirit even less indomitable, a sense
of honor less acute, and a patriotic devotion to a good cause less
active, than were manifested by this gallant chieftain of the woods,
might, under other circumstances, have well conferred immortality upon
his name.

The Shawanoe nation has produced a number of distinguished individuals,
besides those who have been noticed in this brief sketch of that
people. The plan of our work does not permit a more extended
enumeration of them. When a full and faithful history of this tribe
shall be written, it will be found, we think, that no tribe of
aborigines on this continent, has given birth to so many men,
remarkable for their talents, energy of character, and military
prowess, as the Shawanoe.

Under a treaty held at the rapids of the Miami of the lakes, in 1817,
by Duncan McArthur and Lewis Cass, commissioners on the part of the
United States, for extinguishing Indian titles to lands in Ohio, the
Shawanoes ceded to the government the principal portion of their lands
within the limits of this state. After this period they resided
principally on the reserve made by them at and around Wapakanotta, on
the Auglaize river. Here the greater part of them remained, until
within a few years past, when, yielding to the pressing appeals of the
government, they sold their reserved lands to the United States, and
removed west of the Mississippi.

For a number of years prior to their final departure from Ohio, the
society of Friends, with their characteristic philanthropy towards the
Indians, maintained a mission at Wapakanotta, for the purpose of giving
instruction to the Shawanoe children, and inducing the adults to turn
their attention to agricultural pursuits. Notwithstanding the wandering
and warlike character of this tribe, such was the success attending
this effort of active benevolence, that the Friends composing the
Yearly Meetings of Baltimore, Ohio and Indiana, still continue a
similar agency among the Shawanoes, although they are now the occupants
of the territory lying beyond the distant Arkansas.

Whether the new position west of the Mississippi, in which the Indian
tribes have been placed, will tend to promote their civilization,
arrest their deterioration in morals, or their decline in numbers, we
think extremely problematical. Should such, however, be the happy
result, it may be anticipated that the tribe which has produced a
Logan, a Cornstalk and a Tecumseh, will be among the first to rise
above the moral degradation in which it is shrouded, and foremost to
exhibit the renovating influences of Christian civilization.



  Parentage of Tecumseh--his sister Tecumapease--his brothers
  Cheeseekau, Sauweeseekau, Nehasseemo, Tenskwautawa or the Prophet,
  and Kumskaukau.

There are not wanting authorities for the assertion that both the
Anglo-Saxon and Creek blood ran in the veins of TECUMSEH.[A] It has
been stated that his paternal grandfather was a white man, and that his
mother was a Creek. The better opinion, however, seems to be, that he
was wholly a Shawanoe. On this point we have the concurrent authority
of John Johnston, late Indian agent at Piqua; and of Stephen Ruddell,
formerly of Kentucky, who for near twenty years was a prisoner among
the Shawanoes. They both possessed ample opportunities for ascertaining
the fact, and unite in asserting that Puckeshinwa, the father of
Tecumseh, was a member of the Kiscopoke, and Methoataske, the mother,
of the Turtle tribe of the Shawanoe nation.

[Footnote A: The Indian orthography of this name is Tecumthà, but the
public have been so long under a different impression, that no attempt
has been made in this work to restore the original reading.]

The parents of Tecumseh removed from Florida to the north side of the
Ohio, about the middle of the eighteenth century. The father rose to
the rank of a chief, and fell in the celebrated battle of the Kanawha,
in 1774, leaving six sons and one daughter. Of these, one or two were
born at the south, the others within what now constitutes the state of
Ohio. They will be briefly noticed in the order of their birth.

Cheeseekau, the eldest, is represented to have taken great pains with
his brother Tecumseh, laboring not only to make him a distinguished
warrior, but to instil into his mind a love of truth, and a contempt
for every thing mean and sordid. Cheeseekau fought by the side of his
father in the battle of Kanawha; and, some years afterwards, led a
small band of Shawanoes on a predatory expedition to the south,
Tecumseh being one of the party. While there, they joined some
Cherokees, in an attack upon a fort, garrisoned by white men. A day or
two before the attack, Cheeseekau made a speech to his followers, and
predicted that at such an hour, on a certain morning, they would reach
the fort, and that he should be shot in the forehead and killed; but
that the fort would be taken, if the party persevered in the assault,
which he urged them to do. An effort was made by his followers to
induce him to turn back, but he refused. The attack took place at the
time predicted, and Cheeseekau fell. His last words expressed the joy
he felt at dying in battle; he did not wish, he said, to be buried at
home, like an old woman, but preferred that the fowls of the air should
pick his bones. The fall of their leader created a panic among the
assaulting party, and they suddenly retreated.[A]

[Footnote A: Stephen Ruddell's manuscript narrative.]

Tecumapease, known also by the name of Menewaulakoosee, was a sister
worthy of her distinguished brother Tecumseh, with whom, up to the
period of his death, she was a great favorite. Sensible, kind hearted,
and uniformly exemplary in her conduct, she obtained and exercised a
remarkable degree of influence over the females of her tribe. She was
united in marriage to a _brave_, called Wasegoboah, (stand firm,) who
fell in the battle of the Thames, fighting courageously by the side of
his brother-in-law, Tecumseh. In 1814, Tecumapease visited Quebec, in
company with some other members of her tribe, from whence, after the
close of the war between this country and England, she returned to the
neighborhood of Detroit, where, not long afterwards, she died. Tecumseh
is represented to have entertained for her a warm affection, and to
have treated her, uniformly, with respect. He was in the habit of
making her many valuable presents.

Sauwaseekau, is supposed to have been born while his parents were
removing from the south to the Ohio. Concerning him few particulars
have been preserved. He stood well as a warrior, and was killed in
battle during Wayne's campaign in 1794.

The fourth child, TECUMSEH, or the Shooting Star, is the subject of
this biography.

Of the fifth, Nehaseemo, no information has been obtained.

The two remaining children, Laulewasikaw, called after he became a
prophet Tenskwautawa, and Kumskaukau, were twins. Such is understood to
have been the statement of the former, in giving the family pedigree.
Other authorities[A] say that Tecumseh, Laulewasikaw, and Kumskaukau
were all three born at the same time. The last named lived to be an old
man, and died without distinction.

[Footnote A: John Johnston and Anthony Shane.]

Laulewasikaw, as will appear in the course of this work, lived to
attain an extraordinary degree of notoriety. He became, under the
influence of his brother Tecumseh, a powerful agent in arousing the
superstitious feelings of the north-western Indians, in that memorable
period of their history, between the year 1805, and the battle of
Tippecanoe, in 1811, which dissolved, in a great measure, the charm by
which he had successfully played upon their passions and excited them
to action. The character and prophetical career of this individual will
necessarily be fully displayed in the progress of this work. There is,
however, one trait of his character which may be appropriately
mentioned in this place--his disposition to boast, not only of his own
standing and importance, but also of the rank and respectability of the
family to which he belonged. As an instance of this peculiarity, and of
his tact in telling a plausible tale, the following narration may be
cited. It is an ingenious mixture of truth and fiction; and was written
down by the gentleman to whom it was related by Laulewasikaw. The
language is that of the individual to whom the narrative was made.

"His paternal grandfather, (according to his statement of the family
pedigree) was a Creek, who, at a period which is not defined in the
manuscript before us, went to one of the southern cities, either
Savannah or Charleston, to hold a council with the English governor,
whose daughter was present at some of the interviews. This young lady
had conceived a violent admiration for the Indian character; and,
having determined to bestow herself upon some 'warlike lord' of the
forest, she took this occasion to communicate her partiality to her
father. The next morning, in the council, the governor enquired of the
Indians which of them was the most expert hunter; and the grandfather
of Tecumseh, then a young and handsome man, who sat modestly in a
retired part of the room, was pointed out to him. When the council
broke up for the day, the governor asked his daughter if she was really
so partial to the Indians, as to prefer selecting a husband from them,
and finding that she persisted in this singular predilection, he
directed her attention to the young Creek warrior, for whom, at first
sight, she avowed a decided attachment. On the following morning the
governor announced to the Creeks that his daughter was disposed to
marry one of their number; and, having pointed out the individual,
added, that his own consent would be given. The chiefs at first very
naturally doubted whether the governor was in earnest; but upon
assuring them that he was sincere, they advised the young man to
embrace the lady and her offer. He was not so ungallant as to refuse;
and having consented to the fortune that was thus buckled on him, was
immediately taken to another apartment, where he was disrobed of his
Indian costume by a train of black servants, washed, and clad in a new
suit, and the marriage ceremony was immediately performed.

"At the close of the council the Creeks returned home, but the young
hunter remained with his wife. He amused himself in hunting, in which
he was very successful, and was accustomed to take a couple of black
servants with him, who seldom failed to bring in large quantities of
game. He lived among the whites until his wife had borne him two
daughters and a son. Upon the birth of the latter, the governor went to
see his grandson, and was so well pleased, that he called his friends
together, and caused thirty guns to be fired. When the boy was seven or
eight years old his father died, and the governor took charge of the
child, who was often visited by the Creeks. At the age of ten or
twelve, he was permitted to accompany the Indians to their nation,
where he spent some time; and two years after, he again made a long
visit to the Creeks, who then, with a few Shawanoes, lived on a river
called Pauseekoalaakee, and began to adopt their dress and customs.
They gave him an Indian name, Puckeshinwau, which means _something that
drops_; and after learning their language, he became so much attached
to the Indian life, that when the governor sent for him he refused to

Such is the pleasant and artful story, narrated with solemn gravity by
Laulewasikaw, to emblazon the family pedigree by connecting it with the
governor of one of the provinces: and here, for the present, we take
our leave of the "Open Door."

The band of Shawanoes with whom Puckeshinwau and his family emigrated
to the Ohio, established themselves, in the first place, in the valley
of the Scioto, from whence they subsequently removed to the waters of
Mad River, one of the tributaries of the Great Miami. After the death
of Puckeshinwau, his wife Methoataaskee, returned to the south, where
she died at an advanced age, among the Cherokees. She belonged to the
Turtle tribe of the Shawanoes, and her name signifies, _a turtle laying
eggs in the sand_. That she was a respectable woman, is the testimony
of those who knew her personally: that she was naturally a superior
one, may be fairly inferred from the character of at least a part of
her children.

With this brief account of an aboriginal family, highly reputable in
itself, but on which the name of Tecumseh has conferred no small degree
of distinction, we now proceed to the immediate subject of this memoir.


  Birth place of Tecumseh--destruction of the Piqua village--early
  habits of Tecumseh--his first battle--effort to abolish the burning
  of prisoners--visits the Cherokees in the south--engages in several
  battles--returns to Ohio in the autumn of 1790.

Some diversity of opinion has prevailed as to the birth place of
Tecumseh. It is generally supposed, and indeed is stated by several
historians to have been in the Scioto valley, near the place where
Chillicothe now stands. Such, however, is not the fact. He was born in
the valley of the Miamis, on the bank of Mad River, a few miles below
Springfield, and within the limits of Clark county. Of this there is
the most satisfactory evidence. In the year 1805, when the Indians were
assembling at Greenville, as it was feared with some hostile intention
against the frontiers, the governor of Ohio sent Duncan McArthur and
Thomas Worthington to that place, to ascertain the object and
disposition of these Indians. Tecumseh and three other chiefs agreed to
return with these messengers to Chillicothe, then the seat of
government, for the purpose of holding a "talk" with the governor.
General McArthur, in a letter to the author of this work, under date of
19th November, 1821, says, "When on the way from Greenville to
Chillicothe, Tecumseh pointed out to us the place where he was born. It
was in an old Shawanoe town, on the north-west side of Mad River, about
six miles below Springfield." This fact is corroborated by Stephen
Ruddell, the early and intimate associate of Tecumseh, who states that
he was "born in the neighborhood of 'old Chillicothe,' in the year
1768." The "old Chillicothe" here spoken of was a Shawanoe village,
situated on Massie's creek, three miles north of where Xenia now
stands, and about ten or twelve miles south of the village pointed out
by Tecumseh, to general McArthur, as the spot of his nativity. This
village was the ancient Piqua of the Shawanoes, and occupied the site
on which a small town called West Boston has since been built. The
principal part of Piqua stood upon a plain, rising fifteen or twenty
feet above the river. On the south, between the village and Mad River,
there was an extensive prairie--on the north-east some bold cliffs,
terminating near the river--on the west and south-west, level timbered
land; while on the opposite side of the stream, another prairie, of
varying width, stretched back to the high grounds. The river sweeping
by in a graceful bend--the precipitous rocky cliffs--the undulating
hills with their towering trees--the prairies garnished with tall grass
and brilliant flowers--combined to render the situation of Piqua both
beautiful and picturesque.

At the period of its destruction, Piqua was quite populous. There was a
rude log fort within its limits, surrounded by pickets. It was,
however, sacked and burnt on the 8th of August, 1780, by an army of one
thousand men from Kentucky, after a severe and well conducted battle
with the Indians who inhabited it. All the improvements of the Indians,
including more than two hundred acres of corn and other vegetables,
then growing in their fields, were laid waste and destroyed. The town
was never afterwards rebuilt by the Shawanoes. Its inhabitants removed
to the Great Miami river, and erected another town which they called
Piqua, after the one that had just been destroyed; and in defence of
which they had fought with the skill and valor characteristic of their

[Footnote A: For this sketch of Piqua, the author is chiefly indebted
to his venerable friend, Major James Galloway, of Xenia, Ohio.]

The birth of Tecumseh has been placed by some writers in the year 1771.
Ruddell states that it occurred in 1768, three years earlier, and this,
we think, is probably the true period. His early boyhood gave promise
of the renown of his maturer years. After the death of his father,
which occurred when he was in his sixth year, he was placed under the
charge of his oldest brother, Cheeseekau, who taught him to hunt, led
him to battle, and labored zealously to imbue his mind with a love for
truth, generosity, and the practice of those cardinal Indian virtues,
courage in battle and fortitude in suffering. From his boyhood,
Tecumseh seems to have had a passion for war. His pastimes, like those
of Napoleon, were generally in the sham-battle field. He was the leader
of his companions in all their sports, and was accustomed to divide
them into parties, one of which he always headed, for the purpose of
fighting mimic battles, in which he usually distinguished himself by
his activity, strength and skill.[A] His dexterity in the use of the
bow and arrow exceeded that of all the other Indian boys of his tribe,
by whom he was loved and respected, and over whom he exercised
unbounded influence. He was generally surrounded by a set of companions
who were ready to stand or fall by his side.[B] It is stated that the
first battle in which he was engaged, occurred on Mad River, near where
Dayton stands, between a party of Kentuckians, commanded by colonel
Benjamin Logan, and some Shawanoes. At this time Tecumseh was very
young, and joined the expedition under the care of his brother, who was
wounded at the first fire. It is related by some Indian chiefs that
Tecumseh, at the commencement of the action, became frightened and
ran.[C] This may be true, but it is the only instance in which he was
ever known to shrink from danger, or to loose that presence of mind for
which he was ever afterwards remarkably distinguished.

[Footnote A: Stephen Ruddell's MS. account.]

[Footnote B: Anthony Shane.]

[Footnote C: A similar statement is made in regard to the first battle
of the celebrated Red Jacket.]

The next action in which Tecumseh participated, and in which he
manifested signal prowess, was an attack made by the Indians upon some
flat boats, descending the Ohio, above Limestone, now Maysville. The
year in which it occurred is not stated, but Tecumseh was not probably
more than sixteen or seventeen years of age. The boats were captured,
and all the persons belonging to them killed, except one, who was taken
prisoner, and afterwards burnt. Tecumseh was a silent spectator of the
scene, having never witnessed the burning of a prisoner before. After
it was over, he expressed in strong terms, his abhorrence of the act,
and it was finally concluded by the party that they would never burn
any more prisoners;[A] and to this resolution, he himself, and the
party also, it is believed, ever afterwards scrupulously adhered. It is
not less creditable to the humanity than to the genius of Tecumseh,
that he should have taken this noble stand, and by the force and
eloquence of his appeal, have brought his companions to the same
resolution. He was then but a boy, yet he had the independence to
attack a cherished custom of his tribe, and the power of argument to
convince them, against all their preconceived notions of right and the
rules of warfare, that the custom should be abolished. That his effort
to put a stop to this cruel and revolting rite, was not prompted by any
temporary expediency, but was the result of a humane disposition, and a
right sense of justice, is abundantly shown by his conduct towards
prisoners in after life.

[Footnote A: Stephen Ruddell.]

The boats were owned by traders. The number of whites killed in the
engagement has not been ascertained. In the attack upon them, Tecumseh
not only behaved with great courage, but even left in the back ground
some of the oldest and bravest warriors of the party. From this time
his reputation as a brave, and his influence over other minds, rose
rapidly among the tribe to which he belonged.

About the year 1787, Cheeseekau and Tecumseh, with a party of
Kiscopokes, one of the tribes of the Shawanoe nation, moved westward on
a hunting and predatory expedition. They made a stand for some months
on the waters of the Mississinnaway, and then crossed over to the
Mississippi, opposite the mouth of Apple creek, where they encamped and
remained for eight or nine months. From thence they proceeded towards
the Cherokee country. On their route, while opposite fort Massac, they
engaged in a buffalo chase, during which Tecumseh was thrown from his
horse, and had his thigh broken.[A] This accident detained them for
some months at the place where it occurred. So soon as he had
recovered, the party, headed by Cheeseekau, proceeded on their way to
the country of the Cherokees, who were then at hostilities with the
whites. With that fondness for adventure and love of war, which have
ever marked the Shawanoe character, they immediately offered assistance
to their brethren of the south, which being accepted, they joined in
the contest.

[Footnote A: Shane thinks both thighs were broken, Ruddell says but

The engagement in which they participated was an attack upon a fort,
the name and position of which were not known to our informant. The
Indians, it is well known are always superstitious, and from the fact
of Cheeseekau, having foretold his death, its occurrence disheartened
them, and in despite of the influence of Tecumseh and the Cherokee
leaders, who rose above the superstition of their comrades, the attack
was given up, and a sudden retreat followed.

Tecumseh, who had left the banks of the Miami in quest of adventures,
and for the purpose of winning renown as a warrior, told the party that
he was determined not to return to his native land, until he had
achieved some act worthy of being recounted. He accordingly selected
eight or ten men and proceeded to the nearest settlement, attacked a
house, killed all the men in it, and took the women and children
prisoners. He did not immediately retreat, but engaged in some other
similar adventures. During this expedition he was three times attacked
in the night in his encampment; but owing to his good judgment in the
choice of his camping ground, and his habitual watchfulness when in an
enemy's country, no advantage was gained over him. On one occasion,
while encamped in the edge of a cane-brake on the waters of the
Tennessee, he was assaulted by a party of whites, about thirty in
number. Tecumseh had not lain down, but was engaged at the moment of
the attack, in dressing some meat. He instantly sprang to his feet, and
ordering his small party to follow him, rushed upon his foes with
perfect fearlessness; and, having killed two, put the whole party to
flight, he losing none of his own men.

Tecumseh and his party remained at the south nearly two years,
traversing that region of country, visiting the different tribes of
Indians, and engaging in the border forays which at that period were
constantly occurring between the whites and the native possessors of
the soil. He now determined to return home, and accordingly set out
with eight of his party. They passed through western Virginia, crossed
the Ohio near the mouth of the Scioto, and visiting the Machichac towns
on the head waters of Mad River, from thence proceeded to the Auglaize,
which they reached in the fall of 1790, shortly after the defeat of
general Harmar, having been absent from Ohio upwards of three years.


  Tecumseh attacked near Big Rock by some whites under Robert
  M'Clelland--severe battle with some Kentuckians on the East Fork of
  the Little Miami--attack upon Tecumseh in 1793, on the waters of
  Paint creek--Tecumseh present at the attack on fort Recovery in
  1794--participates in the battle of the Rapids of the Maumee, in

From the period of his return, until August of the following year,
1791, Tecumseh spent his time in hunting. In the autumn of this year,
when information reached the Indians, that general St. Clair and his
army were preparing to march from fort Washington, into their country,
this chief headed a small party of spies, who went out for the purpose
of watching the movements of the invading force.[A] While lying on
Nettle creek, a small stream which empties into the Great Miami,
general St. Clair and his army passed out through Greenville to the
head waters of the Wabash, where he was defeated. Tecumseh, of course,
had no personal participation in this engagement, so creditable to the
valor of the Indians, and so disastrous to the arms and renown of the
United States.

[Footnote A: Stephen Ruddell.]

In December, 1792, Tecumseh, with ten other warriors and a boy, were
encamped near Big Rock, between Loramie's creek and Piqua, for the
purpose of hunting. Early one morning, while the party were seated
round the fire, engaged in smoking, they were fired upon by a company
of whites near treble their number. Tecumseh raised the war-whoop, upon
which the Indians sprang to their arms, and promptly returned the fire.
He then directed the boy to run, and in turning round a moment
afterwards, perceived that one of his men. Black Turkey, was running
also. He had already retreated to the distance of one hundred yards;
yet such was his fear of Tecumseh, he instantly obeyed the order to
return, indignantly given him, and joined in the battle. Two of the
whites were killed--one of them by Tecumseh--before they retreated.
While pursuing them Tecumseh broke the trigger of his rifle, which
induced him to give up the chase, or probably more of the whites would
have fallen. They were commanded by Robert M'Clelland. Tecumseh lost
none of his men; two of them, however, were wounded, one of whom was
Black Turkey.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

In the month of March, 1792, some horses were stolen by the Indians,
from the settlements in Mason county, Kentucky. A party of whites to
the number of thirty-six, was immediately raised for the purpose of
pursuing them. It embraced Kenton, Whiteman, M'Intire, Downing,
Washburn, Calvin and several other experienced woodsmen. The first
named, Simon Kenton, a distinguished Indian fighter, was placed in
command. The trail of the Indians being taken, it was found they had
crossed the Ohio just below the mouth of Lee's creek, which was reached
by the pursuing party towards evening. Having prepared rafts, they
crossed the Ohio that night, and encamped. Early next morning the trail
was again taken and pursued, on a north course, all day, the weather
being bad and the ground wet. On the ensuing morning twelve of the men
were unable to continue the pursuit, and were permitted to return. The
remainder followed the trail until eleven o'clock, A.M., when a bell
was heard, which they supposed indicated their approach to the Indian
camp. A halt was called, and all useless baggage and clothing laid
aside. Whiteman and two others were sent ahead as spies, in different
directions, each being followed by a detachment of the party. After
moving forward some distance, it was found that the bell was
approaching them. They halted and soon perceived a solitary Indian
riding towards them. When within one hundred and fifty yards, he was
fired at and killed. Kenton directed the spies to proceed, being now
satisfied that the camp of the Indians was near at hand. They pushed on
rapidly, and after going about four miles, found the Indians encamped,
on the south-east side of the east fork of the Little Miami, a few
miles above the place where the town of Williamsburg has since been
built. The indications of a considerable body of Indians were so
strong, that the expediency of an attack at that hour of the day was
doubted by Kenton. A hurried council was held, in which it was
determined to retire, if it could be done without discovery, and lie
concealed until night, and then assault the camp. This plan was carried
into execution. Two of the spies were left to watch the Indians, and
ascertain whether the pursuing party had been discovered. The others
retreated for some distance and took a commanding position on a ridge.
The spies watched until night, and then reported to their commander,
that they had not been discovered by the enemy. The men being wet and
cold, they were now marched down into a hollow, where they kindled
fires, dried their clothes, and put their rifles in order. The party
was then divided into three detachments,--Kenton commanding the right,
M'Intire the centre, and Downing the left. By agreement, the three
divisions were to move towards the camp, simultaneously, and when they
had approached as near as possible, without giving an alarm, were to be
guided in the commencement of the attack, by the fire from Kenton's
party. When Downing and his detachment had approached close to the
camp, an Indian rose upon his feet, and began to stir up the fire,
which was but dimly burning. Fearing a discovery, Downing's party
instantly shot him down. This was followed by a general fire from the
three detachments, upon the Indians who were sleeping under some
marquees and bark tents, close upon the margin of the stream. But
unfortunately, as it proved in the sequel, Kenton's party had taken
"Boone," as their watch-word. This name happening to be as familiar to
the enemy as themselves, led to some confusion in the course of the
engagement. When fired upon, the Indians instead of retreating across
the stream as had been anticipated, boldly stood to their arms,
returned the fire of the assailants and rushed upon them. They were
reinforced moreover from a camp on the opposite side of the river,[A]
which until then, had been unperceived by the whites. In a few minutes
the Indians and the Kentuckians were blended with each other, and the
cry of "Boone," and "Che Boone," arose simultaneously from each party.

[Footnote A: M'Donald, in his interesting "Biographical Sketches," of
some of the western pioneers, says this "second line of tents" was on
the lower bottom of the creek and not on the opposite side of it.]

It was after midnight when the attack was made, and there being no
moon, it was very dark. Kenton perceiving that his men were likely to
be overpowered, ordered a retreat after the attack had lasted for a few
minutes; this was continued through the remainder of the night and part
of the next day, the Indians pursuing them, but without killing more
than one of the retreating party. The Kentuckians lost but two men,
Alexander McIntire and John Barr.[A] The loss of the Indians was much
greater, according to the statements of some prisoners, who, after the
peace of 1795, were released and returned to Kentucky. They related
that fourteen Indians were killed, and seventeen wounded. They stated
further, that there were in the camp about one hundred warriors, among
them several chiefs of note, including Tecumseh, Battise, Black Snake,
Wolf and Chinskau; and that the party had been formed for the purpose
of annoying the settlements in Kentucky, and attacking boats descending
the Ohio river. Kenton and his party were three days in reaching
Limestone, during two of which they were without food, and destitute of
sufficient clothing to protect them from the cold winds and rains of
March. The foregoing particulars of this expedition are taken from the
manuscript narrative of general Benjamin Whiteman, one of the early and
gallant pioneers to Kentucky, now a resident of Green county, Ohio.

[Footnote A: The father of the late Major William Barr, for many years
a citizen of Cincinnati.]

The statements of Anthony Shane and of Stephen Ruddell, touching this
action, vary in some particulars from that which has been given above,
and also from the narrative in McDonald's Sketches. The principal
difference relates to the number of Indians in the engagement, and the
loss sustained by them. They report but two killed, and that the Indian
force was less than that of the whites. Ruddell states that at the
commencement of the attack, Tecumseh was lying by the fire, outside of
the tents. When the first gun was heard he sprang to his feet, and
calling upon Sinnamatha[A] to follow his example and charge, he rushed
forward, and killed one of the whites[B] with his war-club. The other
Indians, raising the war-whoop, seized their arms, and rushing upon
Kenton and his party, compelled them, after a severe contest of a few
minutes, to retreat. One of the Indians, in the midst of the
engagement, fell into the river, and in the effort to get out of the
water, made so much noise, that it created a belief on the minds of the
whites that a reinforcement was crossing the stream to aid Tecumseh.
This is supposed to have hastened the order from Kenton, for his men to
retreat. The afternoon prior to the battle, one of Kenton's men, by the
name of McIntire, succeeded in catching an Indian horse, which he tied
in the rear of the camp; and, when a retreat was ordered, he mounted
and rode off. Early in the morning, Tecumseh and four of his men set
off in pursuit of the retreating party. Having fallen upon the trail of
McIntire, they pursued it for some distance, and at length overtook
him. He had struck a fire and was cooking some meat. When McIntire
discovered his pursuers, he instantly fled at full speed. Tecumseh and
two others followed, and were fast gaining on him, when he turned and
raised his gun. Two of the Indians, who happened to be in advance of
Tecumseh, sprung behind trees, but he rushed upon McIntire and made him
prisoner. He was tied and taken back to the battle ground. Upon
reaching it, Tecumseh deemed it prudent to draw off his men, lest the
whites should rally and renew the attack. He requested some of the
Indians to catch the horses, but they, hesitating, he undertook to do
it himself, assisted by one of the party. When he returned to camp with
the horses, he found that his men had killed McIntire. At this act of
cruelty to a prisoner, he was exceedingly indignant; declaring that it
was a cowardly act to kill a man when tied and a prisoner. The conduct
of Tecumseh in this engagement, and in the events of the following
morning, is creditable alike to his courage and humanity. Resolutely
brave in battle, his arm was never uplifted against a prisoner, nor did
he suffer violence to be inflicted upon a captive, without promptly
rebuking it.

[Footnote A: Or Big Fish, the name by which Stephen Ruddell, then
fighting with Tecumseh, was called.]

[Footnote B: John Barr, referred to in a preceding note.]

McDonald, in speaking of this action, says:

"The celebrated Tecumseh commanded the Indians. His cautious and
fearless intrepidity made him a host wherever he went. In military
tactics, night attacks are not allowable, except in cases like this,
when the assailing party are far inferior in numbers. Sometimes in
night attacks, panics and confusion are created in the attacked party,
which may render them a prey to inferior numbers. Kenton trusted to
something like this on the present occasion, but was disappointed; for
when Tecumseh was present, his influence over the minds of his
followers infused that confidence in his tact and intrepidity, that
they could only be defeated by force of numbers."

Some time in the spring of 1793, Tecumseh and a few of his followers,
while hunting in the Scioto valley on the waters of Paint creek, were
unexpectedly attacked by a party of white men from Mason county,
Kentucky. The circumstances which led to this skirmish were the
following. Early in the spring of this year, an express reached the
settlement in Mason, that some stations had been attacked and captured
on Slate creek, in Bath county, Kentucky, and that the Indians were
returning with their prisoners to Ohio. A party of thirty-three men was
immediately raised to cut off their retreat. These were divided into
three companies, of ten men each;--Simon Kenton commanding one,--Baker
another, and James Ward the third. The whole party crossed the Ohio
river at Limestone, and aimed to strike the Scioto above the mouth of
Paint creek. After crossing this latter stream, 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 a
little examination disclosed to them that they were in the immediate
vicinity of an Indian encampment. Their horses were promptly taken back
some distance and tied, to prevent an alarm. A council was
held,--captain Baker offered to go and reconnoitre, which being agreed
to, he took one of his company and made the examination. He found the
Indians encamped on the bank of the creek, their horses being 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; and then to make an attack in the following manner. Captain
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 occupy
the ground in the rear; and captain Kenton one side, while the river
presented a barrier on the fourth, thus guarding against a retreat of
the Indians. It was further agreed that the attack was not to commence
until there was light enough to shoot with accuracy. Before Kenton and
Ward had reached the positions 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 towards
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,
whether from design or accident is unknown. The Indians sent back the
battle cry, retreated a few paces, and treed. It was still too dark to
fire with precision, but 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 their men to the rear of the
Kentuckians for the horses; and when they had been taken to the front,
which was accomplished without discovery, the Indians mounted and
effected their escape, carrying with them John Ward, the only one of
their party who was shot. This individual, a white man, had been
captured when three-years old, on Jackson, one of the tributaries of
James river, in Virginia. He had been raised by the Indians, among whom
he had married, and reared several children. He was the brother of
James Ward, one of the leaders of this expedition, and died of his
wound a few days after the engagement, as was subsequently ascertained.
No Indian was killed in this skirmish, and but one of the Kentuckians,
Jacob Jones, a member of Baker's detachment. No pursuit of the Indians
was made from this point, nor did they prove to be the same party who
had been engaged in the attack upon the Slate creek station.[A]

[Footnote A: For the foregoing details of this little expedition, the
author is indebted to captain James Ward, of Mason county, Kentucky,
who commanded one of the detachments on this occasion.]

In McDonald's Sketches, it is stated that "three Indians were killed in
this action; and that when fired upon by their assailants, they dashed
through the creek, and scattered through the woods, like a flock of
young partridges."

On these points, the worthy author of the "Sketches" has undoubtedly
been misinformed. The Indians lost but one man, John Ward; and after
having treed, maintained their ground until they had adroitly obtained
possession of their horses, and then succeeded in making their escape,
carrying off not only the wounded man, but also the women and children
who were with them when attacked. This we learn from authorities before
us, on which reliance may be placed.[A] By one of these, it appears
that there were but six or seven warriors in the party; and, that when
the attack was made, Tecumseh called out to them that the women and
children must be defended, and it was owing to his firmness and
influence that the assailants were kept at bay until the horses of his
party were secured, and the necessary arrangements made for a hasty

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane. Stephen Ruddell.]

After this engagement, it is not known that Tecumseh was a party to any
warlike movement, until the summer of the following year. He returned
to the waters of the Miami, and spent his time in hunting, for which he
had a great fondness, and in which he was generally more successful
than any other member of his tribe.

After general Wayne assumed the command of the north-western army, he
caused a fort to be built on the spot where the unfortunate defeat of
his predecessor, general Arthur St. Clair, had occurred. This fort was
named Recovery.

In the summer of 1794, an attack was made upon it by a numerous body of
Indians, among whom was Tecumseh. They were accompanied by a British
officer, and some artillerists, furnished with fixed ammunition, suited
to the calibre of some field pieces which the Indians had taken from
general St. Clair, at the time of his defeat.[A] In referring to this
attack and the movements of general Wayne, Withers, in his "Chronicles
of Border Warfare," says:

"Before the troops marched from fort Washington, it was deemed
advisable to have an abundant supply of provisions in the different
forts in advance of this, as well for the support of their respective
garrisons, as for the subsistence of the general army, in the event of
its being driven into them, by untoward circumstances. With this view,
three hundred pack horses, laden with flour, were sent on to fort
Recovery; and as it was known that considerable bodies of the enemy
were constantly hovering about the forts, and awaiting opportunities of
cutting off any detachments from the main army, major McMahon, with
ninety riflemen under captain Hartshorn, and fifty dragoons under
captain Taylor, was ordered on as an escort. This force was so large as
to discourage the savages from making an attack, until they should
unite their several war parties, and before this could be effected,
major McMahon reached the place of his destination.

"On the 30th of July, as the escort was about leaving fort Recovery, it
was attacked by a body of one thousand Indians, in the immediate
vicinity of the fort. Captain Hartshorn had advanced only three or four
hundred yards, at the head of the riflemen, when he was unexpectedly
beset on every side. With the most consummate bravery and good conduct,
he maintained the unequal conflict, until major McMahon, placing
himself at the head of the cavalry, charged upon the enemy, and was
repulsed with considerable loss. Major McMahon, captain Taylor and
cornet Torrey fell, upon the first onset, and many of the privates were
killed or wounded. The whole savage force being now brought to press on
captain Hartshorn, that brave officer was forced to try and regain the
fort; but the enemy interposed its strength to prevent this movement.
Lieutenant Drake and ensign Dodd, with twenty volunteers, marched from
the fort, and forcing a passage through a column of the enemy, at the
point of the bayonet, joined the rifle corps at the instant that
captain Hartshorn received a shot which broke his thigh. Lieutenant
Craig being killed, and lieutenant Marks taken prisoner, lieutenant
Drake conducted the retreat; and while endeavoring for an instant to
hold the enemy in check, so as to enable the soldiers to bring off
their wounded captain, himself received a shot in the groin, and the
retreat was resumed, leaving captain Hartshorn on the field.

"When the remnant of the troops came within the walls of the fort,
lieutenant Michael, who had been detached at an early period of the
battle by captain Hartshorn to the flank of the enemy, was found to be
missing, and was given up as lost; but while his friends were deploring
his unfortunate fate, he and lieutenant Marks, who had been taken
prisoner, were seen rushing through the enemy from opposite directions,
towards the fort. They gained it safely, notwithstanding they were
actively pursued, and many shots fired at them. Lieutenant Marks had
got off by knocking down the Indian who held him prisoner; and
lieutenant Michael had lost all of his party but three men."

[Footnote A: For this fact see general Harrison's Address on the 50th
Anniversary of the first settlement of Ohio.]

The official letter of general Wayne giving an account of this action,
places the loss of the whites at twenty-two killed and thirty wounded.
"The enemy," continues the report, "were soon repulsed with great
slaughter, but immediately rallied and reiterated the attack, keeping
up a very heavy and constant fire, at a more respectable distance, for
the remainder of the day, which was answered with spirit and effect by
the garrison, and that part of major McMahon's command that had
regained the fort. The savages were employed during the night (which
was dark and foggy,) in carrying off their dead by torchlight, which
occasionally drew a fire from the garrison. They nevertheless succeeded
so well, that there were but eight or ten bodies left on the field, and
those close under the influence of the fire from the fort. The enemy
again renewed the attack on the morning of the first inst., but were
ultimately compelled to retreat with loss and disgrace from that very
field, where they had upon a former occasion, been proudly victorious."

Tecumseh fought in the decisive battle between the American troops
under general Wayne, and the combined Indian forces, which occurred on
the 20th of August, 1794, near the rapids of the Miami of the lakes. It
is not known whether he attended the council, the evening previous to
the engagement, in which the advice of Little Turtle, the Miami chief,
was overruled by the influence of the Shawanoe chief, Blue Jacket. The
former was opposed to giving battle on the following day; the latter in
favor of it. As a _brave_ of distinction, Tecumseh took the command of
a party of Shawanoes in the engagement, but had no participation in the
plan of the attack, or the mode of carrying it into execution. At the
commencement of the action, he was in the advance guard with two of his
brothers. After fighting for some time, in attempting to load his
rifle, he put in a bullet before the powder, and was thus unable to use
his gun. Being at this moment pressed in front by some infantry, he
fell back with his party until they met another detachment of Indians.
Tecumseh urged them to stand fast and fight, saying if any one would
lend him a gun, he would show them how to do it. A fowling-piece was
handed to him, with which he fought for some time, until the Indians
were again compelled to give ground. While falling back, he met another
party of Shawanoes, and although the whites were pressing on them, he
rallied the Indians, and induced them to make a stand in a thicket.
When the infantry pressed close upon them, and had discharged their
muskets into the bushes, Tecumseh and his party returned their fire,
and then retreated, until they had joined the main body of the Indians
below the rapids of the Miami.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

In this memorable action, which gave victory to the American arms, and
humbled the north-western Indians, William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh
were for the first time opposed to each other in battle. They were both
young, and indeed nearly the same age, and both displayed that courage
and gallantry which ever afterwards signalized their brilliant and
eventful lives.


  Tecumseh's skill as a hunter--declines attending the treaty of
  Greenville in 1795--in 1796 removed to Great Miami--in 1798 joined a
  party of Delawares on White river, Indiana--in 1799 attended a
  council between the whites and Indians near Urbana--another at
  Chillicothe in 1803--makes an able speech--removes with the Prophet
  to Greenville, in 1805--the latter commences prophecying--causes the
  death of Teteboxti, Patterson, Coltes, and Joshua--governor
  Harrison's speech to the Prophet to arrest these murderers--effort of
  Wells, the U.S. Indian agent, to prevent Tecumseh and the Prophet
  from assembling the Indians at Greenville--Tecumseh's speech in
  reply--he attends a council at Chillicothe--speech on that
  occasion--council at Springfield--Tecumseh principal speaker and

In the spring of the year 1795, Tecumseh was established on Deer creek,
near where Urbana now stands, and engaged in his favorite amusement of
hunting. This was more as a pastime than a matter of business. The love
of property was not a distinguishing trait of his character; on the
contrary, his generosity was proverbial among his tribe. If he
accumulated furs, they, or the goods which he received in return for
them, were dispensed with a liberal hand. He loved hunting because it
was a manly exercise, fit for a _brave_; and, for the additional
reason, that it gave him the means of furnishing the aged and infirm
with wholesome and nourishing food. The skill of Tecumseh in the chase
has already been adverted to. While residing on Deer creek, an incident
occurred which greatly enhanced his reputation as a hunter. One of his
brothers, and several other Shawanoes of his own age, proposed to bet
with him, that they could each kill as many deer, in the space of three
days, as he could. Tecumseh promptly accepted the overture. The parties
took to the woods, and at the end of the stipulated time, returned with
the evidences of their success. None of the party, except Tecumseh, had
more than twelve deer skins; he brought in upwards of thirty--near
three times as many as any of his competitors. From this time he was
generally conceded to be the greatest hunter in the Shawanoe nation.

In the course of the summer of this year, 1795, he commenced raising a
party of his own, and began to style himself a chief. He did not attend
the treaty of Greenville, held by general Wayne, on the 3d of August,
1795, with the hostile Indians, but after its conclusion, Blue Jacket
paid him a visit on Deer creek, and communicated to him the terms on
which peace had been concluded.

Tecumseh remained at this place until the spring of 1796, when he
removed with his party to the Great Miami, near to Piqua, where they
raised a crop of corn. In the autumn he again changed his place of
residence, and went over to the head branches of White Water, west of
the Miami, where he and his party spent the winter; and in the spring
and summer of 1797, raised another crop of corn.

In the year 1798, the Delawares, then residing in part, on White river,
Indiana, invited Tecumseh and his followers, to remove to that
neighborhood. Having accepted this invitation, and made the removal, he
continued his head quarters in the vicinity of that nation for several
years, occupied in the ordinary pursuits of the hunter-life--gradually
extending his influence among the Indians, and adding to the number of
his party.

In 1799, there was a council held about six miles north of the place
where Urbana now stands, between the Indians and some of the principal
settlers on Mad River, for the adjustment of difficulties which had
grown up between these parties. Tecumseh, with other Shawanoe chiefs,
attended this council. He appears to have been the most conspicuous
orator of the conference, and made a speech on the occasion, which was
much admired for its force and eloquence. The interpreter, Dechouset,
said that he found it very difficult to translate the lofty flights of
Tecumseh, although he was as well acquainted with the Shawanoe
language, as with the French, which was his mother tongue.[A]

[Footnote A: James Galloway, of Xenia.]

We next hear of Tecumseh, under circumstances which show the confidence
reposed in him by the white settlers on the frontier.

In the month of April, 1803, Thomas Herrod, living sixteen miles
north-west of Chillicothe, was shot, tomahawked, and scalped, near his
own house. The Indians were suspected of having committed this deed; a
wanton and cruel retaliation was made upon one of them, (guiltless no
doubt of that particular crime,) and the settlement in the Scioto
valley and north-west of it, was thrown into a state of much
excitement. The Indians fled in one direction and the whites in
another. For the purpose of ascertaining the facts in the case, and
preventing further hostilities, several patriotic citizens of
Chillicothe mounted their horses, and rode into the Indian country,
where they found Tecumseh and a body of Indians. They disavowed all
knowledge of the murder of Herrod, and stated, explicitly, that they
were peaceably inclined, and disposed to adhere to the treaty of
Greenville. Tecumseh finally agreed to return with the deputation from
Chillicothe, that he might in person, give similar assurances to the
people of that place. He did so, and a day was fixed on, when he should
make an address upon the subject. A white man, raised among the
Indians, acted as interpreter. Governor Tiffin opened the conference.
"When Tecumseh rose to speak," says an eyewitness, "as he cast his gaze
over the vast multitude, which the interesting occasion had drawn
together, he appeared one of the most dignified men I ever beheld.
While this orator of nature was speaking, the vast crowd preserved the
most profound silence. From the confident manner in which he spoke of
the intention of the Indians to adhere to the treaty of Greenville, and
live in peace and friendship with their white brethren, he dispelled,
as if by magic, the apprehensions of the whites--the settlers returned
to their deserted farms, and business generally was resumed throughout
that region."[A] This incident is of value, in forming an estimate of
the character of this chief: it exhibits the confidence reposed in him
by he white inhabitants on the frontier. The declaration of no other
Indian could thus have dissipated the fears of a border war, which then
pervaded the settlement.

[Footnote A: Colonel John M'Donald.]

Some time during this year, a stout Kentuckian came to Ohio, for the
purpose of exploring the lands on Mad River, and lodged one night at
the house of captain Abner Barrett, residing on the head waters of Buck
creek. In the course of the evening, he learned with apparent alarm,
that there were some Indians encamped within a short distance of the
house. Shortly after hearing this unwelcome intelligence, the door of
captain Barrett's dwelling was suddenly opened, and Tecumseh entered
with his usual stately air: he paused in silence, and looked around,
until at length his eye was fixed upon the stranger, who was
manifesting symptoms of alarm, and did not venture to look the stern
savage in the face. Tecumseh turned to his host, and pointing to the
agitated Kentuckian, exclaimed, "a big baby! a big baby!" He then
stepped up to him, and gently slapping him on the shoulder several
times, repeated with a contemptuous manner, the phrase "big baby! big
baby!" to the great alarm of the astonished man, and to the amusement
of all present.[A]

[Footnote A: James Galloway.]

In the early part of the year 1805, a portion of the Shawanoe nation,
residing at the Tawa towns on the headwaters of the Auglaize river,
wishing to re-assemble their scattered people, sent a deputation to
Tecumseh and his party, (then living on White river,) and also to a
body of the same tribe upon the Mississiniway, another tributary of the
Wabash, inviting them to remove to the Tawa towns, and join their
brethren at that place. To this proposition both parties assented; and
the two bands met at Greenville, on their way thither. There, through
the influence of Laulewasikaw, they concluded to establish themselves;
and accordingly the project of going to the Auglaize was abandoned.
Very soon afterwards, Laulewasikaw assumed the office of a prophet; and
forthwith commenced that career of cunning and pretended sorcery, which
enabled him to sway the Indian mind in a wonderful degree, and win for
himself a name on the page of history. A concise notice of his
prophetical achievements is subjoined. While it serves to display his
individual character and endowments, it also presents an interesting
and instructive phase of aboriginal character.

It happened about this time that an old Shawanoe, named Penagashega, or
the Change of Feathers, who had for some years been engaged in the
respectable calling of a prophet, fell sick and died. Laulewasikaw, who
had marked the old man's influence with the Indians, adroitly caught up
the mantle of the dying prophet, and assumed his sacred office. He
changed his name from Laulewasikaw, to Tenskwautawau,[A] meaning the
Open Door, because he undertook to point out to the Indians the new
modes of life which they should pursue. In the month of November, of
this year, he assembled a considerable number of Shawanoes, Wyandots,
Ottaways and Senecas, at Wapakonatta, on the Auglaize river, when he
unfolded to them the new character with which he was clothed, and made
his first public effort in that career of religious imposition, which,
in a few years, was felt by the remote tribes of the upper lakes, and
on the broad plains which stretch beyond the Mississippi. At this time
nothing, it is believed, was said by him in regard to the grand
confederacy of the tribes, for the recovery of their lands, which
shortly afterwards became an object of ambition with his brother; and,
in the furtherance of which he successfully exerted his power and
influence, as a prophet. In this assemblage he declaimed against
witchcraft, which many of the Indians practised and still more
believed. He pronounced that those who continued bewitched, or exerted
their arts on others, would never go to heaven nor see the Great
Spirit. He next took up the subject of drunkenness, against which he
harangued with great force; and, as appeared subsequently, with much
success. He told them that since he had become a prophet, he went up
into the clouds; that the first place he came to was the dwelling of
the Devil, and that all who had died drunkards were there, with flames
issuing out of their mouths. He acknowledged that he had himself been a
drunkard, but that this awful scene had reformed him. Such was the
effect of his preaching against this pernicious vice, that many of his
followers became alarmed, and ceased to drink the "fire-water," a name
by which whiskey is significantly called among the Indians. He
likewise, declaimed against the custom of Indian women intermarrying
with white men, and denounced it as one of the causes of their
unhappiness. Among other doctrines of his new code, he insisted on a
community of property--a very comfortable regulation for those, who
like himself, were too indolent to labor for the acquisition of it. A
more salutary and rational precept, and one which he enforced with
considerable energy, was the duty of the young, at all times and under
all circumstances, to support, cherish and respect the aged and infirm.
He declaimed with vehemence against all innovations in the original
dress and habits of the Indians--dwelt upon the high claims of the
Shawanoes to superiority over other tribes, and promised to all his
followers, who would believe his doctrines and practice his precepts,
the comforts and happiness which their forefathers enjoyed before they
were debased by their connection with the whites. And finally
proclaimed, with much solemnity, that he had received power from the
Great Spirit, to cure all diseases, to confound his enemies, and stay
the arm of death, in sickness, or on the battle field.

[Footnote A: In the remaining pages of this work this person will be
called the Prophet, the name by which he is most generally known.]

Such is the superstitious credulity of the Indians, that this crafty
impostor not only succeeded for a time, in correcting many of the vices
of his followers, but likewise influenced them to the perpetration of
outrages upon each other, shocking to humanity. If an individual, and
especially a chief, was supposed to be hostile to his plans, or doubted
the validity of his claim to the character of a prophet, he was
denounced as a witch, and the loss of reputation, if not of life,
speedily followed. Among the first of his victims were several
Delawares,--Tatepocoshe (more generally known as Teteboxti,) Patterson,
his nephew, Coltos, an old woman, and an aged man called Joshua. These
were successively marked by the Prophet, and doomed to be burnt alive.
The tragedy was commenced with the old woman. The Indians roasted her
slowly over a fire for four days, calling upon her frequently to
deliver up her charm and medicine bag. Just as she was dying, she
exclaimed that her grandson, who was then out hunting, had it in his
possession. Messengers were sent in pursuit of him, and when found he
was tied and brought into camp. He acknowledged that on one occasion he
had borrowed the charm of his grandmother, by means of which he had
flown through the air, over Kentucky, to the banks of the Mississippi,
and back again, between twilight and bed-time; but he insisted that he
had returned the charm to its owner; and after some consultation, he
was set at liberty. The following day, a council was held over the case
of the venerable chief Tatepocoshe, he being present. His death was
decided upon after full deliberation; and, arrayed in his finest
apparel, he calmly assisted in building his own funeral pile, fully
aware that there was no escape from the judgment that had been passed
upon him. The respect due to his whitened locks, induced his
executioners to treat him with mercy. He was deliberately tomahawked by
a young man, and his body was then placed upon the blazing faggots and
consumed. The next day, the old preacher Joshua, met a similar fate.
The wife of Tatepocoshe, and his nephew Billy Patterson, were then
brought into the council house, and seated side by side. The latter had
led an irreproachable life, and died like a Christian, singing and
praying amid the flames which destroyed his body. While preparations
were making for the immolation of Tatepocoshe's wife, her brother, a
youth of twenty years of age, suddenly started up, took her by the
hand, and to the amazement of the council, led her out of the house. He
soon returned, and exclaiming, "the devil has come among us, (alluding
to the Prophet) and we are killing each other," he reseated himself in
the midst of the crowd. This bold step checked the wild frenzy of the
Indians, put an end to these cruel scenes, and for a time greatly
impaired the impostor's influence among the Delawares.

The benevolent policy of the governor of Indiana Territory (William
Henry Harrison,) towards the Indian tribes, had given him much
influence over them. Early in the year 1806, and so soon as he had
heard of the movements of the Prophet, and the delusion of the
Delawares in regard to witchcraft, he sent a special messenger to them
with the following speech. Had it reached them a little earlier, it
would probably have saved the life of the aged Tatepocoshe.

"My Children:--My heart is filled with grief, and my eyes are dissolved
in tears, at the news which has reached me. You have been celebrated
for your wisdom above all the tribes of red people who inhabit this
great island. Your fame as warriors has extended to the remotest
nations, and the wisdom of your chiefs has gained for you the
appellation of grandfathers, from all the neighboring tribes. From what
cause, then, does it proceed, that you have departed from the wise
counsels of your fathers, and covered yourselves with guilt? My
children, tread back the steps you have taken, and endeavor to regain
the straight road which you have abandoned. The dark, crooked and
thorny one which you are now pursuing, will certainly lead to endless
woe and misery. But who is this pretended prophet, who dares to speak
in the name of the Great Creator? Examine him. Is he more wise or
virtuous than you are yourselves, that he should be selected to convey
to you the orders of your God? Demand of him some proofs at least, of
his being the messenger of the Deity. If God has really employed him,
he has doubtless authorized him to perform miracles, that he may be
known and received as a prophet. If he is really a prophet, ask of him
to cause the sun to stand still--the moon to alter its course--the
rivers to cease to flow--or the dead to rise from their graves. If he
does these things, you may then believe that he has been sent from God.
He tells you that the Great Spirit commands you to punish with death
those who deal in magic; and that he is authorized to point them out.
Wretched delusion! Is then the Master of Life obliged to employ mortal
man to punish those who offend him? Has he not the thunder and all the
powers of nature at his command?--and could he not sweep away from the
earth a whole nation with one motion of his arm? My children: do not
believe that the great and good Creator of mankind has directed you to
destroy your own flesh; and do not doubt but that if you pursue this
abominable wickedness, his vengeance will overtake and crush you.

"The above is addressed to you in the name of the Seventeen Fires. I
now speak to you from myself, as a friend who wishes nothing more
sincerely than to see you prosperous and happy. Clear your eyes, I
beseech you, from the mist which surrounds them. No longer be imposed
upon by the arts of an impostor. Drive him from your town, and let
peace and harmony once more prevail amongst you. Let your poor old men
and women sleep in quietness, and banish from their minds the dreadful
idea of being burnt alive by their own friends and countrymen. I charge
you to stop your bloody career; and if you value the friendship of your
great father, the President--if you wish to preserve the good opinion
of the Seventeen Fires, let me hear by the return of the bearer, that
you have determined to follow my advice."[A]

[Footnote A: Quoted from Dawson's Historical Narrative of the civil and
military services of William Henry Harrison.]

Among the Miamis, the Prophet was less successful in establishing an
influence than with the Delawares; while over the Kickapoos he gained,
for a time, a remarkable ascendency,--greater, indeed, than he ever
established in his own tribe. Most of the Shawanoe chiefs were opposed
to him, and even complained to the agent at fort Wayne, that his
conduct was creating difficulties among the Indians.

We have met with no evidence that Tecumseh favored the destruction of
the Delawares, whose unhappy fate has been detailed. On the contrary,
it is stated by a credible authority,[A] that he was opposed to it.

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

Throughout the year 1806, the brothers remained at Greenville, and were
visited by many Indians from different tribes, not a few of whom became
their followers. The Prophet dreamed many wonderful dreams; and claimed
to have had many supernatural revelations made to him. The great
eclipse of the sun which occurred in the summer of this year, a
knowledge of which he had by some means attained, enabled him to carry
conviction to the minds of many of his ignorant followers, that he was
really the earthly agent of the Great Spirit. He boldly announced to
the unbelievers, that on a certain day, he would give them proof of his
supernatural powers, by bringing darkness over the sun. When the day
and hour of the eclipse arrived, and the earth, even at mid day, was
shrouded in the gloom of twilight, the Prophet, standing in the midst
of his party, significantly pointed to the heavens, and cried out, "did
I not prophecy truly? Behold! darkness has shrouded the sun!" It may
readily be supposed that this striking phenomenon, thus adroitly used,
produced a strong impression on the Indians, and greatly increased
their belief in the sacred character of their Prophet.

In April, 1807, Tecumseh and his brother had assembled at Greenville
about four hundred Indians, most of them highly excited by religious
fanaticism; and ready, it was feared, for any enterprise on which these
brothers might be disposed to lead them. Considerable apprehension was
entertained for the safety of the frontiers, and several fruitless
efforts were made to ascertain the ulterior objects of the leaders.
William Wells, then Indian agent at fort Wayne, despatched Anthony
Shane, a half-blood Shawanoe, with a communication to Tecumseh and the
Prophet, requesting them and two other of their chiefs, to visit him at
fort Wayne, that he might read to them a letter which he had just
received from their great father, the President of the United States.

A council being called, Shane made known the object of his mission.
Tecumseh, without consulting with those around him, immediately arose
and said to the messenger, "go back to fort Wayne, and tell captain
Wells, that my fire is kindled on the spot appointed by the Great
Spirit above; and, if he has any thing to communicate to me, _he_ must
come _here_:--I shall expect him in six days from this time." With this
laconic, but dignified reply, the conference ended. The agent at fort
Wayne declined waiting on Tecumseh, in person, but on the appointed
day, sent Shane back to Greenville, with a copy of the President's
communication, contained in a letter from the Secretary at War; the
substance of which was, that Tecumseh and his party being established
within the limits of the governor's purchase from the Indians, they
were desired to remove to some point beyond the boundaries agreed upon
by the treaty of Greenville; and, in case of their compliance, the
government would afford them assistance, until they were properly
established at their new post. A second council was assembled, and the
communication fully interpreted to those present. Tecumseh felt
indignant that captain Wells had not visited him in person. He arose
deeply excited, and turning to his followers, addressed them in a long,
glowing and impassioned speech, in which he dwelt upon the injuries the
Indians had received from the whites, and especially the continued
encroachments of the latter upon the lands of the red men: "These
lands," said he in conclusion, "are ours: no one has a right to remove
us, because we were the first owners; the Great Spirit above has
appointed this place for us, on which to light our fires, and here we
will remain. As to boundaries, the Great Spirit above knows no
boundaries, nor will his red people acknowledge any."

Of this speech no copy has been preserved. Shane speaks of it as a
masterpiece of Indian eloquence--bold, argumentative and powerful. It
was delivered with great vehemence, and deep indignant feeling. After a
moment's pause, Tecumseh turned to the messenger and said, with that
stately indifference of manner, which he could so gracefully assume
when in council, "if my great father, the President of the Seventeen
Fires, has any thing more to say to me, he must send a man of note as
his messenger. I will hold no further intercourse with captain Wells."

The Prophet, who seldom lost an opportunity of vaunting himself before
his followers, then rose, and addressing captain Shane, said, "why does
not the President send to us the greatest man in his nation? I can talk
to him--I can bring darkness between him and me--nay more, I can bring
the sun under my feet, and what white man can do this?" With this
self-glorification, the council terminated.

The excitement continued to increase, and at the close of May, it was
estimated by the agent at fort Wayne, that not less than fifteen
hundred Indians, had within a short time, passed and repassed that
fort, in making visits to the Prophet. Many of these were from distant
points on the lakes. Councils were assembled, runners with pipes and
belts of wampum, went from tribe to tribe, and strong evidence of some
uncommon movement among the Indians became quite apparent. The British
agents were active in fomenting this excitement, and in extending the
influence of Tecumseh and his brother, whose ulterior objects were
carefully concealed from the agents of the United States, and such
Indian chiefs as were known to be friendly to our government.

In the month of August, on the testimony of several persons familiar
with Indian affairs, then residing in the north-western portions of the
state, the Indians at fort Wayne and at Greenville, who were supposed
to be under the influence of the Prophet, amounted to between seven and
eight hundred, most of them equipped with new rifles. These facts being
communicated to the governor of Ohio, he directed his attention to the
subject, and, in the early part of September, despatched Thomas
Worthington and Duncan McArthur, to Greenville, for the purpose of
holding a conference with the Prophet and Tecumseh, and ascertaining
the object of their assembling so large a body of Indians, within the
limits of the cession of land made by them at the treaty of 1795. These
commissioners left Chillicothe on the 8th of September, and reached
Greenville on the 12th, where they were courteously received by the
Indians. They were fortunate in securing the services of Stephen
Ruddell, as their interpreter, who had resided for seventeen years
among the Indians, and was familiar with the Shawanoe language. On the
day of their arrival, the commissioners were invited to a general
council of the Indians, at which the letter of the governor was read,
and interpreted to the Shawanoes, Potawatamies and Chippewas. This was
followed by an address from the commissioners, referring to the past
relations between the United States and the Indians, the policy pursued
towards the latter by Great Britain, and the importance of their
remaining neutral, in case of a war between that country and the United
States. On the following day, Blue Jacket, who, it was announced, had
been authorized by all the Indians present, to speak for them, replied
to the commissioners as follows:

"Brethren--We are seated who heard you yesterday. You will get a true
relation, as far as we and our connections can give it, who are as
follows: Shawanoes, Wyandots, Potawatamies, Tawas, Chippewas,
Winnepaus, Malominese, Malockese, Secawgoes, and one more from the
north of the Chippewas. _Brethren_--you see all these men sitting
before you, who now speak to you.

"About eleven days ago we had a council, at which the tribe of
Wyandots, (the elder brother of the red people) spoke and said God had
kindled a fire and all sat around it. In this council we talked over
the treaties with the French and the Americans. The Wyandot said, the
French formerly marked a line along the Alleghany mountains, southerly,
to Charleston, (S.C.) No man was to pass it from either side. When the
Americans came to settle over the line, the English told the Indians to
unite and drive off the French, until the war came on between the
British and the Americans, when it was told them that king George, by
his officers, directed them to unite and drive the Americans back.

"After the treaty of peace between the English and Americans, the
summer before Wayne's army came out, the English held a council with
the Indians, and told them if they would turn out and unite as one man,
they might surround the Americans like deer in a ring of fire and
destroy them all. The Wyandot spoke further in the council. We see,
said he, there is like to be war between the English and our white
brethren, the Americans. Let us unite and consider the sufferings we
have undergone, from interfering in the wars of the English. They have
often promised to help us, and at last, when we could not withstand the
army that came against us, and went to the English fort for refuge, the
English told us, 'I cannot let you in; you are painted too much, my
children.' It was then we saw the British dealt treacherously with us.
We now see them going to war again. We do not know what they are going
to fight for. Let us, my brethren, not interfere, was the speech of the

"Further, the Wyandot said, I speak to you, my little brother, the
Shawanoes at Greenville, and to you, our little brothers all around.
You appear to be at Greenville to serve the _Supreme Ruler_ of the
universe. Now send forth your speeches to all our brethren far around
us, and let us unite to seek for that which shall be for our eternal
welfare, and unite ourselves in a band of perpetual brotherhood. These,
brethren, are the sentiments of all the men who sit around you: they
all adhere to what the elder brother, the Wyandot, has said, and these
are their sentiments. It is not that they are afraid of their white
brethren, but that they desire peace and harmony, and not that their
white brethren could put them to great necessity, for their former arms
were bows and arrows, by which they got their living."

The commissioners made some explanations in reply, when they were told
that the Prophet would assign the reasons why the Indians had settled
at Greenville. "He then proceeded to inform us," says the report, "that
about three years since, he became convinced of the error of his ways,
and that he would be destroyed from the face of the earth, if he did
not amend them; that it was soon after made known to him what he should
do to be right; that from that time he constantly preached to his red
brethren the miserable situation they were in by nature, and endeavored
to convince them that they must change their lives, live honestly, and
be just in all their dealings, kind towards one another, and their
white brethren: affectionate towards their families, put away lying and
slandering, and serve the Great Spirit in the way he had pointed out;
never think of war again; that at first the Lord did not give them the
tomahawk to go to war with one another. His red brethren, the chiefs of
the Shawanoes at Tawa town, would not listen to him, but persecuted
him. This produced a division in the nation; those who adhered to him,
separated themselves from their brethren at Tawa town, removed with and
settled where he now was, and where he had constantly preached the
above doctrines to all the strangers who came to see them. They did not
remove to this place because it was a pretty place, or very valuable,
for it was neither; but because it was revealed to him that the place
was a proper one to establish his doctrines; that he meant to adhere to
them while he lived; they were not his own, nor were they taught him by
man, but by the Supreme Ruler of the universe; that his future life
should prove to his white brethren the sincerity of his professions. He
then told us that six chiefs should go with us to Chillicothe."

The commissioners left Greenville entirely convinced of the sincerity
of the Prophet in his declaration of pacific intentions towards the
United States.[A] Four chiefs, Tecumseh, Blue Jacket, Sti-agh-ta, (or
Roundhead) and Panther, accompanied them to the seat of government, for
the purpose of holding a conference with the governor; and giving him
assurances that the Indians were not assembling at Greenville for the
purpose of making war upon the frontiers. These chiefs remained about a
week in Chillicothe, in the course of which a public council was held
between them and the governor. Stephen Ruddell acted as the
interpreter. Tecumseh was the principal speaker; and in the course of
the conference, made a speech which occupied three hours in the

[Footnote A: See Report of Commissioners to governor Kirker, 22d Sept.
1807, published in the United States Gazette, for that year.]

His great object was to prove the nullity of the treaties under which
the whites claimed the country north and west of the Ohio. He seemed to
have a familiar knowledge of all the treaties made with the western
tribes; reviewed them in their order, and with the most intense
bitterness and scorn, denounced them as null and void. This speech is
described by one[A] who heard it, as possessing all the characteristics
of a high effort of oratory. The utterance of the speaker was rapid and
vehement; his manner bold and commanding; his gestures impassioned,
quick and violent, and his countenance indicating that there was
something more in his mind, struggling for utterance, than he deemed it
prudent to express. While he fearlessly denied the validity of these
_pretended_ treaties, and openly avowed his intention to resist the
further extension of the white settlements upon the Indian lands, he
disclaimed all intention of making war upon the United States. The
result was, a conviction on the part of the governor, that no immediate
danger was to be apprehended from the Indians, at Greenville and fort
Wayne; and, as a consequence, the militia which had been called into
service were ordered to be disbanded, and the chiefs returned to their
head quarters.

[Footnote A: John A. Fulton, formerly mayor of Chillicothe,
communicated by general James T. Worthington.]

In the autumn of this year, a white man by the name of Myers, was
killed a few miles west of where the town of Urbana now stands, by some
straggling Indians. This murder, taken in connection with the
assemblage of the Indians under Tecumseh and the Prophet, created a
great alarm on the frontier, and actually induced many families to
remove back to Kentucky, from whence they had emigrated. A demand was
made by the whites upon these two brothers for the Indians who had
committed the murder. They denied that it was done by their party, or
with their knowledge, and declared that they did not even know who the
murderers were. The alarm continued, and some companies of militia were
called out. It was finally agreed, that a council should be held on the
subject in Springfield, for the purpose of quieting the settlements.
General Whiteman, major Moore, captain Ward and one or two others,
acted as commissioners on the part of the whites. Two parties of
Indians attended the council; one from the north, in charge of
McPherson; the other, consisting of sixty or seventy, came from the
neighborhood of fort Wayne, under the charge of Tecumseh. Roundhead,
Blackfish, and several other chiefs, were also present. There was no
friendly feeling between these two parties, and each was willing that
the blame of the murder should be fixed upon the other. The party under
McPherson, in compliance with the wishes of the commissioners, left
their arms a few miles from Springfield. Tecumseh and his party refused
to attend the council, unless permitted to retain their arms. After the
conference was opened, it being held in a maple grove, a little north
of where Werden's hotel now stands, the commissioners, fearing some
violence, made another effort to induce Tecumseh to lay aside his arms.
This he again refused, saying, in reply, that his tomahawk was also his
pipe, and that he might wish to use it in that capacity before their
business was closed. At this moment, a tall, lank-sided Pennsylvanian,
who was standing among the spectators, and who, perhaps, had no love
for the shining tomahawk of the self-willed chief, cautiously
approached, and handed him an old, long stemmed, dirty looking earthen
pipe, intimating, that if Tecumseh would deliver up the fearful
tomahawk, he might smoke the aforesaid pipe. The chief took it between
his thumb and finger, held it up, looked at it for a moment, then at
the owner, who was gradually receding from the point of danger, and
immediately threw it, with an indignant sneer, over his head, into the
bushes. The commissioners yielded the point, and proceeded to business.

After a full and patient enquiry into the facts of the case, it
appeared that the murder of Myers, was the act of an individual, and
not justly chargeable upon either party of the Indians. Several
speeches were made by the chiefs, but Tecumseh was the principal
speaker. He gave a full explanation of the views of the Prophet and
himself, in calling around them a band of Indians--disavowed all
hostile intentions towards the United States, and denied that he or
those under his control had committed any aggressions upon the whites.
His manner, when speaking, was animated, fluent and rapid, and made a
strong impression upon those present. The council terminated. In the
course of it, the two hostile parties became reconciled to each other,
and quiet was restored to the frontier.

The Indians remained in Springfield for three days, and on several
occasions amused themselves by engaging in various games and other
athletic exercises, in which Tecumseh generally proved himself
victorious. His strength, and power of muscular action, were remarkably
great, and in the opinion of those who attended the council,
corresponded with the high order of his moral and intellectual

[Footnote A: Dr. Hunt.]


  Governor Harrison's address to the Shawanoe chiefs at Greenville--the
  Prophet's reply--his influence felt among the remote tribes--he is
  visited in 1808 by great numbers of Indians--Tecumseh and the Prophet
  remove to Tippecanoe--the latter sends a speech to governor
  Harrison--makes him a visit at Vincennes.

The alarm caused by the assembling of the Indians at Greenville, still
continuing, governor Harrison, in the autumn of this year, sent to the
head chiefs of the Shawanoe tribe, by John Conner, one of our Indian
agents, the following address:--

"My Children--Listen to me, I speak in the name of your father, the
great chief of the Seventeen Fires.

"My children, it is now twelve years since the tomahawk, which you had
raised by the advice of your father, the king of Great Britain, was
buried at Greenville, in the presence of that great warrior, general

"My children, you then promised, and the Great Spirit heard it, that
you would in future live in peace and friendship with your brothers,
the Americans. You made a treaty with your father, and one that
contained a number of good things, equally beneficial to all the tribes
of red people, who were parties to it.

"My children, you promised in that treaty to acknowledge no other
father than the chief of the Seventeen Fires; and never to listen to
the proposition of any foreign nation. You promised never to lift up
the tomahawk against any of your father's children, and to give him
notice of any other tribe that intended it: your father also promised
to do something for you, particularly to deliver to you, every year, a
certain quantity of goods; to prevent any white man from settling on
your lands without your consent, or to do you any personal injury. He
promised to run a line between your land and his, so that you might
know your own; and you were to be permitted to live and hunt upon your
father's land, as long as you behaved yourselves well. My children,
which of these articles has your father broken? You know that he has
observed them all with the utmost good faith. But, my children, have
you done so? Have you not always had your ears open to receive bad
advice from the white people beyond the lakes?

"My children, let us look back to times that are past. It has been a
long time since you called the king of Great Britain, father. You know
that it is the duty of a father to watch over his children, to give
them good advice, and to do every thing in his power to make them
happy. What has this father of yours done for you, during the long time
that you have looked up to him for protection and advice? Are you wiser
and happier than you were before you knew him; or is your nation
stronger or more respectable? No, my children, he took you by the hand
when you were a powerful tribe; you held him fast, supposing he was
your friend, and he conducted you through paths filled with thorns and
briers, which tore your flesh and shed your blood. Your strength was
exhausted, and you could no longer follow him. Did he stay by you in
your distress, and assist and comfort you? No, he led you into danger,
and then abandoned you. He saw your blood flowing and he would give you
no bandage to tie up your wounds. This was the conduct of the man who
called himself your father. The Great Spirit opened your eyes; you
heard the voice of the chief of the Seventeen Fires, speaking the words
of peace. He called to you to follow him; you came to him, and he once
more put you on the right way, on the broad smooth road that would have
led to happiness. But the voice of your deceiver is again heard; and
forgetful of your former sufferings, you are again listening to him.

"My children, shut your ears, and mind him not, or he will lead you to
ruin and misery.

"My children, I have heard bad news. The sacred spot where the great
council fire was kindled, around which the Seventeen Fires and ten
tribes of their children, smoked the pipe of peace--that very spot
where the Great Spirit saw his red and white children encircle
themselves with the chain of friendship--that place has been selected
for dark and bloody councils.

"My children, this business must be stopped. You have called in a
number of men from the most distant tribes, to listen to a fool, who
speaks not the words of the Great Spirit, but those of the devil, and
of the British agents. My children, your conduct has much alarmed the
white settlers near you. They desire that you will send away those
people, and if they wish to have the impostor with them, they can carry
him. Let him go to the lakes; he can hear the British more distinctly."

At the time of the delivery of this speech, the head chiefs of the
Shawanoes were absent from Greenville. The Prophet, after listening
patiently to it, requested the interpreter to write down the following
answer, which was transmitted to the governor.

"Father,--I am very sorry that you listen to the advice of bad birds.
You have impeached me with having correspondence with the British; and
with calling and sending for the Indians from the most distant part of
the country, 'to listen to a fool that speaks not the words of the
Great Spirit, but the words of the devil.' Father, those impeachments I
deny, and say they are not true. I never had a word with the British,
and I never sent for any Indians. They came here themselves to listen,
and hear the words of the Great Spirit.

"Father, I wish you would not listen any more to the voice of bad
birds; and you may rest assured that it is the least of our idea to
make disturbance, and we will rather try to stop any such proceedings
than to encourage them."

The appeal of the governor, as may be inferred from the evasive and
cunning answer of the Prophet, produced no change in his measures, nor
did it arrest the spread of the fanaticism among the Indians which his
incantations had set afloat. The happiness of the Indians was the great
idea which Tecumseh and his brother promulgated among their followers
as being the object of their labors. This was to be attained by leading
more virtuous lives, by retaining their lands, and in simply doing what
the government of the United States had frequently urged upon them,
effecting an extended and friendly union of the different tribes. These
plausible reasons, backed by the superstitious belief of the Indians in
the inspired character of the Prophet, and the insidious efforts of the
British agents, in fomenting discontent among them, were sufficient to
keep alive the excitement, and even extend the circle of its influence.
Thus ended the year 1807.

The reader may learn the extraordinary success of the Prophet in
spreading his influence among the remote tribes, by a reference to the
narrative of Mr. John Tanner. This man had been taken captive in Boone
county, Kentucky, when a boy; had been raised by the Indians, and was
at this time, living among the Ojibbeways, who reside far up the lakes.

News reached that remote tribe that a great man had arisen among the
Shawanoes, who had been favored by a revelation of the mind and will of
the Great Spirit. The messenger bearing this information to them,
seemed deeply penetrated with the sacred character of his mission. Upon
his arrival among them, he announced himself after a mysterious
silence, as the forerunner of the great Prophet, who was shortly to
shake hands with the Ojibbeways, and explain to them more fully his
inspired character, and the new mode of life and conduct which they
were hereafter to pursue. He then gravely repeated to them the
Prophet's system of morals; and in a very solemn manner, enjoined its
observance. So strong was the impression made upon the principal men of
the Ojibbeways, that a time was appointed and a lodge prepared for the
public espousal of these doctrines. When the Indians were assembled in
the new lodge, "we saw something," says Mr. Tanner, "carefully
concealed under a blanket, in figure and dimensions bearing some
resemblance to a man. This was accompanied by two young men, who, it
was understood, attended constantly upon it, made its bed at night, as
for a man, and slept near it. But while we remained, no one went near
to it, or raised the blanket which was spread over its unknown
contents. Four strings of mouldy and discolored beads were all the
visible insignia of this important mission.

"After a long harangue, in which the prominent features of the new
revelation were stated, and urged upon the attention of all, the four
strings of beads, which we were told were made of the flesh of the
Prophet, were carried with, much solemnity, to each man in the lodge,
and he was expected to take hold of each string at the top, and draw
them gently through his hand: This was called shaking hands with the
Prophet, and was considered as solemnly engaging to obey his
injunctions, and accept of his mission as from the Supreme. All the
Indians who touched the beads had previously killed their dogs; they
gave up their medicine bags, and showed a disposition to comply with
all that should be required of them."

The excitement among the Ojibbeways continued for some time; they
assembled in groups, their faces wearing an aspect of gloom and
anxiety, while the active sunk into indolence, and the spirit of the
bravest warriors was subdued. The influence of the Prophet, says Mr.
Tanner, "was very sensibly and painfully felt by the remotest
Ojibbeways of whom I had any knowledge: but it was not the common
impression among them, that his doctrines had any tendency to unite
them in the accomplishment of any human purpose. For two or three years
drunkenness was much less frequent than formerly; war was less thought
of; and the entire aspect of things among them was changed by the
influence of this mission. But in time these new impressions were
obliterated; medicine-bags, flints and steels, the use of which had
been forbidden, were brought into use; dogs were reared, women and
children beaten as before; and the Shawanoe Prophet was despised."

With the beginning of the year 1808, great numbers of Indians came down
from the lakes, on a visit to the Prophet, where they remained until
their means of subsistence were exhausted. The governor of Indiana,
with the prudence and humanity which marked his administration,
directed the agent at fort Wayne, to supply them with provisions from
the public stores at that place. This was done, and from his
intercourse with them he came to the conclusion that they had no
hostile designs against the United States. About this time, Tecumseh
made a visit to the Mississinaway towns, the immediate object of which
could not be clearly ascertained. That it was connected with the grand
scheme in which he was engaged, is probable from the fact that the
Indians of that region agreed to meet him and the Prophet on the
Wabash, in the following June, to which place he had at this time
resolved to move his party. Mr. Jouett, one of the United States'
Indian agents, apprehended that this meeting would result in some
hostile action against the frontiers; and, as a means of preventing it,
and putting an end to the influence of the Prophet, recommended to the
governor that he should be seized and confined. The proposition,
however, was not entertained.

In the spring of this year, 1808, Tecumseh and the Prophet removed to a
tract of land granted them by the Potawatamies and Kickapoos, on
Tippecanoe, one of the tributaries of the Wabash river. They had not
been long at their new residence before it became apparent that the
Prophet had established a strong influence over the minds of the
surrounding Indians, and there was much reason for believing that his
views were hostile to the United States. The governor still confided in
the fidelity of the Delawares and the Miamis; but he apprehended, that
although disbelievers in the Prophet's divine mission, they might be
turned from the line of duty from a fear of his temporal power. When he
had established himself upon the banks of the Tippecanoe, the Prophet
drew around him a body of northern Indians, principally from the
Potawatamies, Ottowas and Chippewas. To this, the Miamis and Delawares
had strong objections; and a deputation of the latter was sent to the
Prophet on the subject. He refused to see them himself, but Tecumseh
met them; and after a solemn conference, they returned to their tribe
with increased apprehensions of the combination at Tippecanoe, which
was now uniting warlike sports with the performance of religious
duties.[A] The Delawares decided in council to arrest the progress of
this rising power, but in vain. Strong in the moral force with which
they were armed, the two brothers were not to be driven from their
purpose of planting the banner of union, which they were now holding
out to the tribes, upon the waters of the Wabash. The sacred office
which the Prophet had impiously assumed, enabled him to sway many
minds, and in doing so, he was effectively sustained by the personal
presence, tact and sagacity of his brother. From his youth, Tecumseh
had been noted for the influence which he exercised over those by whom
he was surrounded. Hence, when the chiefs of the Miamis and Delawares,
who were disbelievers in the Prophet's holy character, set out to
prevent his removal to the Wabash, Tecumseh boldly met them, and turned
them from their purpose. This was done at a moment when the number of
the Prophet's followers was greatly reduced, as we gather from the
statement of the agent, John Conner, who in the month of June, of this
year, visited his settlement on the Wabash to reclaim some horses which
had been stolen from the whites. At this time, the Prophet had not more
than forty of his own tribe with him; and less than a hundred from
others, principally Potawatamies, Chippewas, Ottawas and Winebagoes.
The Prophet announced his intention of making a visit to governor
Harrison, for the purpose of explaining his conduct, and procuring a
supply of provisions for his followers. This, he insisted, could not be
consistently withheld from him, as the white people had always
encouraged him to preach the word of God to the Indians: and in this
holy work he was now engaged.

[Footnote A: Governor Harrison's Correspondence with the War

Some time in the month of July, the governor received a speech from the
Prophet, sent to Vincennes by a special messenger. It was cautious,
artful and pacific in its character. It deprecated in strong terms the
misrepresentations which had been circulated in regard to the ulterior
objects of the Prophet and his brother as to the whites; and renewed
the promise of an early visit. This visit was made in the month
following, and was continued for two weeks, during which time he and
the governor had frequent interviews. In these, the Prophet, with his
characteristic plausibility, denied that his course was the result of
British influence. His sole object, he alleged, was a benevolent one
towards his red brethren; to reclaim them from the degrading vices to
which they were addicted, and induce them to cultivate a spirit of
peace and friendship, not only with the white people, but their kindred
tribes. To this sacred office, he insisted, with much earnestness, he
had been specially called by the Great Spirit. That he might the more
successfully enforce the sincerity of his views upon the mind of the
governor, he took occasion several times during the visit, to address
the Indians who had accompanied him to Vincennes, and dwelt upon the
great evils resulting to them from wars, and the use of ardent spirits.
It was apparent to the governor that the Prophet was a man of decided
talents, of great tact, and admirably qualified to play successfully,
the part he had assumed. In order to test the extent of his influence
over his followers, the governor held conversations with them, and
several times offered them whiskey, which they invariably refused.
Looking to that amelioration of the condition of the Indians, which had
long engaged his attention, the governor began to hope that the
Prophet's power over them might be turned to advantage; and that the
cause of humanity would be benefited by sustaining rather than trying
to weaken the influence of the preacher. This impression was much
strengthened by the following speech which the Prophet delivered to
him, before the close of the visit.

"Father:--It is three years since I first began with that system of
religion which I now practice. The white people and some of the Indians
were against me; but I had no other intention but to introduce among
the Indians, those good principles of religion which the white people
profess. I was spoken badly of by the white people, who reproached me
with misleading the Indians; but I defy them to say that I did any
thing amiss.

"Father, I was told that you intended to hang me. When I heard this, I
intended to remember it, and tell my father, when I went to see him,
and relate to him the truth.

"I heard, when I settled on the Wabash, that my father, the governor,
had declared that all the land between Vincennes and fort Wayne, was
the property of the Seventeen Fires. I also heard that you wanted to
know, my father, whether I was God or man; and that you said if I was
the former, I should not steal horses. I heard this from Mr. Wells, but
I believed it originated with himself.

"The Great Spirit told me to tell the Indians that he had made them,
and made the world--that he had placed them on it to do good, and not

"I told all the red skins, that the way they were in was not good, and
that they ought to abandon it.

"That we ought to consider ourselves as one man; but we ought to live
agreeably to our several customs, the red people after their mode, and
the white people after theirs; particularly, that they should not drink
whiskey; that it was not made for them, but the white people, who alone
knew how to use it; and that it is the cause of all the mischiefs which
the Indians suffer; and that they must always follow the directions of
the Great Spirit, and we must listen to him, as it was he that made us:
determine to listen to nothing that is bad: do not take up the
tomahawk, should it be offered by the British, or by the long knives:
do not meddle with any thing that does not belong to you, but mind your
own business, and cultivate the ground, that your women and your
children may have enough to live on.

"I now inform you, that it is our intention to live in peace with our
father and his people forever.

"My father, I have informed you what we mean to do, and I call the
Great Spirit to witness the truth of my declaration. The religion which
I have established for the last three years, has been attended to by
the different tribes of Indians in this part of the world. Those
Indians were once different people; they are now but one: they are all
determined to practice what I have communicated to them, that has come
immediately from the Great Spirit through me.

"Brother, I speak to you as a warrior. You are one. But let us lay
aside this character, and attend to the care of our children, that they
may live in comfort and peace. We desire that you will join us for the
preservation of both red and white people. Formerly, when we lived in
ignorance, we were foolish; but now, since we listen to the voice of
the Great Spirit, we are happy.

"I have listened to what you have said to us. You have promised to
assist us: I now request you, in behalf of all the red people, to use
your exertions to prevent the sale of liquor to us. We are all well
pleased to hear you say that you will endeavor to promote our
happiness. We give you every assurance that we will follow the dictates
of the Great Spirit.

"We are all well pleased with the attention that you have showed us;
also with the good intentions of our father, the President. If you give
us a few articles, such as needles, flints, hoes, powder, &c., we will
take the animals that afford us meat, with powder and ball."

Governor Harrison, if not deceived by the plausible pretences and
apparently candid declarations of the Prophet, was left in doubt,
whether he was really meditating hostile movements against the United
States, or only laboring, with the energy of an enthusiast, in the good
work of promoting the welfare of the Indians. Having received a supply
of provisions, the Prophet and his followers, at the end of a
fortnight, took leave of the governor and returned to their head
quarters, on the banks of the Tippecanoe.


  Tecumseh visits the Wyandots--governor Harrison's letter about the
  Prophet to the Secretary at War--British influence over the
  Indians--Tecumseh burns governor Harrison's letter to the
  chiefs--great alarm in Indiana, in consequence of the assemblage of
  the Indians at Tippecanoe--death of Leatherlips, a Wyandot chief on a
  charge of witchcraft.

During the autumn of this year, 1808, nothing material occurred with
the Prophet and his brother, calculated to throw light upon their
conduct. The former continued his efforts to induce the Indians to
forsake their vicious habits. The latter was occupied in visiting the
neighboring tribes, and quietly strengthening his own and the Prophet's
influence over them. Early in the succeeding year, Tecumseh attended a
council of Indians, at Sandusky, when he endeavored to prevail upon the
Wyandots and Senecas to remove and join his establishment at
Tippecanoe. Among other reasons presented in favor of this removal, he
stated that the country on the Tippecanoe was better than that occupied
by these tribes; that it was remote from the whites, and that in it
they would have more game and be happier than where they now resided.
In this mission he appears not to have been successful. The Crane, an
old chief of the Wyandot tribe, replied, that he feared he, Tecumseh,
was working for no good purpose at Tippecanoe; that they would wait a
few years, and then, if they found their red brethren at that place
contented and happy, they would probably join them.[A] In this visit to
Sandusky, Tecumseh was accompanied by captain Lewis, a Shawanoe chief
of some note, who then engaged to go with him to the Creeks and
Cherokees, on a mission which he was contemplating, and which was
subsequently accomplished. Lewis, however, did not finally make the
visit, but permitted Jim Blue Jacket to make the tour in his place.

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

In April of the year 1809, the agent of the United States at fort
Wayne, informed governor Harrison, that it had been reported to him
that the Chippewas, Potawatamies and Ottawas, were deserting the
standard of the Prophet, because they had been required to take up arms
against the whites, and to unite in an effort to exterminate all the
inhabitants of Vincennes, and those living on the Ohio, between its
mouth and Cincinnati--it being the order of the Great Spirit; and that
their own destruction would be the consequence of a refusal. The agent
did not think, however, that hostilities were likely to ensue, as he
was informed there were not more than one hundred warriors remaining
with the Prophet. The governor, however, had information from other
sources, that although there might be but that number of warriors at
the Prophet's village, there were, within fifty miles of his
head-quarters, four or five times that number, who were devoted to him
and to his cause. Under these circumstances, he decided to organize
forthwith, under previous orders from the War department, two companies
of volunteer militia, and with them to garrison fort Knox--a post about
two miles from Vincennes--then the general depot of arms and
ammunition, for the use of the neighboring militia. The agent at fort
Wayne was accordingly directed by the governor to require the Delaware,
Miami and Potawatamie tribes, to prevent any hostile parties of Indians
from passing through their respective territories. This they were bound
to do, by a stipulation in the treaty of Greenville. But no hostile
movements, (if any had been meditated,) were made by the Prophet, and
before the close of the month of May, most of his warriors had
dispersed, and all apprehension of an attack from the Indians was

In the month of July, in reply to a letter from the Secretary of War,
on the subject of the defence of the north-western frontier, governor
Harrison, in reference to the Prophet, says:

"The Shawanoe Prophet and about forty followers, arrived here about a
week ago. He denies most strenuously, any participation in the late
combination to attack our settlements, which he says was entirely
confined to the tribes of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers; and he
claims the merit of having prevailed upon them to relinquish their

"I must confess that my suspicions of his guilt have been rather
strengthened than diminished at every interview I have had with him
since his arrival. He acknowledges that he received an invitation to
war against us, from the British, last fall; and that he was apprised
of the intention of the Sacs and Foxes, &c. early in the spring, and
was warmly solicited to join in their league. But he could give no
satisfactory explanation of his neglecting to communicate to me,
circumstances so extremely interesting to us; and towards which I had a
few months before directed his attention, and received a solemn
assurance of his cheerful compliance with the injunctions I had
impressed upon him.

"The result of all my enquiries on the subject is, that the late
combination was produced by British intrigue and influence, in
anticipation of war between them and the United States. It was,
however, premature and ill-judged, and the event sufficiently manifests
a great decline in their influence, or in the talents and address, with
which they have been accustomed to manage their Indian relations.

"The warlike and well armed tribes of the Potawatamies, Ottawas,
Chippewas, Delawares, and Miamis, I believe, neither had, nor would
have, joined in the combination; and although the Kickapoos, whose
warriors are better them those of any other tribe, the remnant of the
Wyandots excepted, are much under the influence of the Prophet, I am
persuaded that they were never made acquainted with his intentions, if
these were really hostile to the United States."

In the latter part of the year 1809, under instructions from the
President of the United States, governor Harrison deemed the period a
favorable one to extinguish the Indian title to the lands on the east
of the Wabash, and adjoining south on the lines established by the
former treaties of fort Wayne and Grousland. A council was accordingly
held, in the latter part of September, at fort Wayne, with the Miami,
Eel river, Delaware and Potawatamie tribes, which resulted in the
purchase of the land above mentioned. A separate treaty was made with
the Kickapoos, who confirmed the grants made at the above treaty, and
also ceded another tract. In making these treaties, governor Harrison
invited all those Indians to be present, who were considered as having
any title to the lands embraced within them.

Throughout the remainder of the year 1809, things remained quiet with
Tecumseh and the Prophet. The number of their followers was again on
the increase; and, although no overt acts of hostility against the
frontier settlements were committed, there was a prevalent suspicion in
that quarter, that the Indians entertained sinister designs towards the
whites. The events of the early part of the year 1810, were such as to
leave little doubt of the hostile intentions of the brothers. In the
latter part of April, governor Harrison was informed, upon credible
authority, that the Prophet was really instigating the Indians to acts
of hostility against the United States; and that he had under his
immediate control about four hundred warriors, chiefly composed of
Kickapoos and Winnebagoes, but embracing also some Shawanoes,
Potawatamies, Chippewas, and Ottawas. The traders among them attributed
this hostile feeling to British influence. That the followers of the
Prophet had received a supply of powder and ball from the English
agents, was generally admitted. They refused to buy ammunition from our
traders, alleging that they were plentifully supplied from a quarter
where it cost them nothing. About the middle of May, it was ascertained
that the number of warriors with the Prophet, amounted to more than six
hundred men, and there were reasons to apprehend that his influence had
kindled a hostile feeling among several of the tribes to the west and
north of his head quarters. A meeting of Indians having been appointed
to take place about this time, on the St. Joseph's river, governor
Harrison made an appeal to them through the Delawares, in which he
forcibly pointed out the unhappy results that would certainly follow
any attack upon the United States; and cautioned the friendly tribes,
upon the dangers to which they would be subjected, in consequence of
the difficulty of discriminating between friends and enemies, in case a
war should occur. In July the governor was authorized by the Secretary
of War, to take such steps as he might deem necessary for the
protection of the frontier; and, at the same time was informed that
some troops had been ordered to Vincennes to keep in check the hostile
Indians of that quarter.

Fresh apprehensions were now felt for the safety of the frontiers. The
Prophet, it appears, had gained over to his cause the Wyandot tribe,
whose councils had always exerted a strong influence among the Indians.
To this tribe had been committed the preservation of the Great Belt,
the symbol of union among the tribes in their late war with the United
States; and also the original duplicate of the Greenville treaty of
1795. The Prophet sent a deputation to the Wyandots requesting
permission to examine the provisions of that treaty, and artfully
expressing his astonishment that they, who had ever directed the
councils of the Indians, and who were alike renowned for their talents
and bravery, should remain passive, and see the lands of the red men
usurped by a part of that race. The Wyandots, pleased with these
flattering speeches, replied, that they had carefully preserved the
former symbol of union among the tribes; but it had remained so long in
their hands without being called for, they supposed it was forgotten.
They further replied, that weary of their present situation, they felt
desirous of seeing all the tribes united in one great confederacy: that
they would join such a union, and labor to arrest the encroachments of
the whites upon their lands, and if possible recover those which had
been unjustly taken from them. This reply of the Wyandots was exactly
suited to the objects of the Prophet; and he lost no time in sending
his heralds with it, in every direction. The Wyandots soon afterwards
made a visit to Tippecanoe; and in passing thither, had a conference
with some of the Miami chiefs, to whom they showed the great belt, and
charged them with having joined the whites in opposition to their red
brethren. The Miamis at length concluded to join in a visit to the
Prophet, and also invited the Weas to join with them.

About this time, the governor was informed by an aged Piankishaw,
friendly to the United States, that the Prophet had actually formed a
plan for destroying the citizens of Vincennes by a general massacre;
and that he boasted that he would walk in the footsteps of the great
Pontiac. From another source the governor learned that there were
probably three hundred Indians within thirty miles of the Prophet's
quarters; and that although their proceedings were conducted with great
secrecy, it had been discovered that they were determined to stop the
United States' surveyors from running any lines west of the Wabash.
Other evidences of approaching hostilities were not wanting. The
Prophet, and the Kickapoos who were at his village, refused to accept
the salt which had been sent up to them as a part of their annuities,
and after it had been put upon the shore, the carriers were not only
required to replace it in their boat, but whilst doing so, were treated
with rudeness, and ordered to take the salt back to Vincennes. They
were Frenchmen, or in all probability they would have been treated
still more harshly.[A]

[Footnote A: Governor Harrison's letters to the War Department.]

In the early part of July, governor Harrison received a letter from
John Johnston, Indian agent at fort Wayne, in which he says:

"A person just arrived, who it appears has lost himself in his route to
Vincennes, affords me an opportunity of announcing to you my return to
this fort. I was delayed on my journey in attending to the
transportation of the public goods; and on my arrival in the state of
Ohio, I had learned that the Prophet's brother had lately been at work
among the Shawanoes, on the Auglaize; and, among other things, had
burned your letter delivered to the chiefs at this place last fall. I
accordingly took Wapakonetta in my route home, assembled the chiefs,
and demanded the reason why they had suffered such an improper act to
be committed at their door. They disavowed all agency in the
transaction, and their entire disapprobation of the Prophet's conduct;
and concurring circumstances satisfied me that they were sincere. The
white persons at the town informed me that not one of the chiefs would
go into council with the Prophet's brother, and that it was a preacher
named Riddle, who took the letter to have it interpreted, and that the
brother of the Prophet took it from his hand, and threw it into the
fire, declaring, that if governor Harrison were there, he would serve
_him_ so. He told the Indians that the white people and the government
were deceiving them, and that for his part, he never would believe
them, or put any confidence in them; that he never would be quiet until
he effected his purpose; and that if he was dead, _the cause_ would not
die with him. He urged the Indians to move off to the Mississippi with
him, saying, that there he would assemble his forces. All his arguments
seemed to be bottomed on the prospect of hostilities against our
people. He made no impression on the Shawanoes, and went away much
dissatisfied at their not coming into his views. I consider them among
our best friends. I indirectly encouraged their emigration westward,
and told them their annuity should follow them. They appear determined
to remain, and are much attached to the town and the improvements,
which are considerable."

Notwithstanding the Prophet appears in all these recent transactions,
to be the prominent individual, it is certain that a greater one was
behind the scene. In the junction of the Wyandots with the Prophet, may
be seen the result of Tecumseh's visit to that tribe, in the previous
year, at Sandusky, an account of which has been already given. In
regard to the salt annuity, the Prophet knew not what course to pursue,
until he had consulted with his brother. Tecumseh, burning the
governor's letter, and the threat, that if he were present he should
meet the same fate, were acts in keeping with his bold character, and
well calculated to maintain his ascendancy among the Indians. While the
Prophet was nominally the head of the new party, and undoubtedly
exercised much influence by means of his supposed supernatural power,
he was but an agent, controlled and directed by a master spirit, whose
energy, address and ceaseless activity, were all directed to the
accomplishment of the grand plan to which he had solemnly devoted his

The information which flowed in upon governor Harrison, from different
quarters, relative to the movements of Tecumseh and the Prophet, and
the number of their followers, were such as to induce him to make the
most active preparations to meet the impending storm. A meeting of the
citizens of Vincennes was held on the subject, two companies of militia
were called into active service, and the rest were directed to hold
themselves in readiness for the field. Alarm-posts were established,
and other measures adopted, especially for the preservation of
Vincennes, which appeared to have been fixed upon as the first point of

Toward the close of June, Winnemac, at the head of a deputation of
Potawatamies, visited the governor at Vincennes, for the purpose of
informing him of the decision of a council, held at the St. Joseph's of
lake Michigan, which had been attended by all the tribes of that
quarter, and by a delegation from the Delawares. This deputation was
present for the purpose of dissuading the Indians from joining the
Prophet. The duty appears to have been faithfully performed by them.
They protested in strong terms, against the schemes of the Prophet and
his brother, and induced, it is believed, these tribes to give up all
idea of joining them. Winnemac was directed to inform the governor, of
the determination to which they had come, and also, to lay before him
the plans of the Prophet. According to the information before the
council, Detroit, St. Louis, fort Wayne, Chicago and Vincennes, were
all to be surprised. Efforts were making to persuade the tribes
residing on the Mississippi, to unite in the confederacy. It further
appeared, that the followers of the Prophet, drawn as they were from
all the tribes, embraced but few, if any of the peace chiefs, while not
a few of the war chiefs, or the leaders of small parties, were
enrolling themselves under his standard. Winnemac stated to the
governor, that the Prophet had actually suggested to his young men, the
expediency of murdering all the leading chiefs of the surrounding
tribes, on the plea that their own hands would never be untied until
this was done. They, he said, were the men who sold their lands, and
invited the encroachments of the whites.

About the period of Winnemac's visit, an Indian belonging to the Iowa
tribe, told general Harrison, that two years before, a British agent
visited the Prophet, and delivered a message to him. The object was to
induce the Prophet to persevere in uniting the tribes against the
United States, but not to make any hostile movement, until the signal
was given him by the British authorities. From this Iowa, and others of
his tribe, the governor ascertained that the Prophet had been
soliciting them and other tribes on the Mississippi to join the
confederacy. To these the Prophet stated, in his plausible manner, that
the Americans were ceaselessly and silently invading the Indians, until
those who had suffered most, had resolved to be driven back no farther;
and that it was the duty of the remote tribes upon whose lands the
march of civilization had not yet pressed, to assist those who had
already lost theirs, or in turn a corresponding calamity would follow
upon them. This, the Prophet declared, he was directed by the Great
Spirit of the Indians to tell them, adding, that this Great Spirit
would utterly destroy them, if they ventured to doubt the words of his
chosen Prophet.[A]

[Footnote A: General Harrison's official correspondence--Dawson's
Historical Narrative.]

On the first of June, a Wyandot chief, called Leatherlips, paid the
forfeit of his life on a charge of witchcraft. General Harrison
entertained the opinion that his death was the result of the Prophet's
command, and that the party who acted as executioners went directly
from Tippecanoe, to the banks of the Scioto, where the tragedy was
enacted. Leatherlips was found encamped upon that stream, twelve miles
above Columbus. The six Wyandots who put him to death, were headed, it
is supposed, by the chief Roundhead. An effort was made by some white
men who were present to save the life of the accused, but without
success. A council of two or three hours took place: the accusing party
spoke with warmth and bitterness of feeling: Leatherlips was calm and
dispassionate in his replies. The sentence of death, which had been
previously passed upon him, was reaffirmed. "The prisoner then walked
slowly to his camp, partook of a dinner of jerked venison, washed and
arrayed himself in his best apparel, and afterwards painted his face.
His dress was very rich--his hair gray, and his whole appearance
graceful and commanding." When the hour for the execution had arrived,
Leatherlips shook hands in silence with the spectators. "He then turned
from his wigwam, and with a voice of surpassing strength and melody
commenced the chant of the death song. He was followed closely by the
Wyandot warriors, all timing with their slow and measured march, the
music of his wild and melancholy dirge. The white men were likewise all
silent followers in that strange procession. At the distance of seventy
or eighty yards from the camp, they came to a shallow grave, which,
unknown to the white men, had been previously prepared by the Indians.
Here the old man knelt down, and in an elevated but solemn tone of
voice, addressed his prayer to the Great Spirit. As soon as he had
finished, the captain of the Indians knelt beside him, and prayed in a
similar manner. Their prayers of course were spoken in the Wyandot
tongue. * * * * After a few moments delay, the prisoner again sank
down upon his knees and prayed as he had done before. When he had
ceased, he still continued in a kneeling position. All the rifles
belonging to the party had been left at the wigwam. There was not a
weapon of any kind to be seen at the place of execution, and the
spectators were consequently unable to form any conjecture as to the
mode of procedure, which the executioners had determined on, for the
fulfilment of their purpose. Suddenly one of the warriors drew from
beneath the skirts of his capote, a keen, bright tomahawk--walked
rapidly up behind the chieftain--brandished the weapon on high, for a
single moment, and then struck with his whole strength. The blow
descended directly upon the crown of the head, and the victim
immediately fell prostrate. After he had lain awhile in the agonies of
death, the Indian captain directed the attention of the white men to
the drops of sweat which were gathering upon his neck and face;
remarked with much apparent exultation, that it was conclusive proof of
the sufferer's guilt. Again the executioner advanced, and with the same
weapon, inflicted two or three additional and heavy blows. As soon as
life was entirely extinct, the body was hastily buried, with all its
apparel and decorations; and the assemblage dispersed."[A]

[Footnote A: Mr. Otway Curry, in the Hesperian for May, 1838.]

One of Mr. Heckewelder's correspondents, as quoted in his Historical
Account of the Indian Nations, makes Tarhe, better known by the name of
Crane, the leader of this party. This has been denied; and, the
letter[A] of general Harrison on the subject, proves quite conclusively
that this celebrated chief had nothing to do with the execution of
Leatherlips. Mr. Heckewelder's correspondent concurs in the opinion
that the original order for the death of this old man, was issued from
the head quarters of the Prophet and his brother.

[Footnote A: Published in the Hesperian for July, 1838.]


  Governor Harrison makes another effort to ascertain the designs of
  Tecumseh and the Prophet--Tecumseh visits the governor at Vincennes,
  attended by four hundred warriors--a council is held--Tecumseh
  becomes deeply excited, and charges governor Harrison with
  falsehood--council broken up in disorder--renewed the next day.

For the purpose of ascertaining more fully the designs of the Prophet
and his brother, governor Harrison now despatched two confidential
agents to their head quarters at Tippecanoe. One of these agents, Mr.
Dubois, was kindly received by the Prophet. He stated to him that he
had been sent by governor Harrison to ascertain the reason of his
hostile preparations, and of his enmity to the United States; that his
conduct had created so much alarm, that warriors both in Kentucky and
Indiana were arming for service, and that a detachment of regular
troops was then actually on its way to Vincennes: that he was further
authorized by the governor to say, that these preparations were only
for defence; that no attempt would be made against him, until _his_
intention to commence hostilities could be doubted no longer. The
Prophet denied that he intended to make war, and declared that on this
point he had been unjustly accused: that it was by the express commands
of the Great Spirit that he had fixed himself there; and that he was
ordered to assemble the Indians at that spot. When urged by the agent
to state the grounds of his complaints against the United States, he
replied, the Indians had been cheated of their lands; that no sale was
valid unless sanctioned by all the tribes. He was assured that the
government would listen to any complaints he might have to urge; and
that it was expedient for him to go to Vincennes and see governor
Harrison on the subject. This he declined doing, giving as a reason,
that on his former visit to him, he had been badly treated. Mr. Dubois
met at the Prophet's town with some Kickapoos, with whom he was
acquainted. They seemed to regret having joined the Prophet, and
admitted that they had long suspected that it was his wish to go to war
with the United States. War was undoubtedly his intention, but whether
against the United States or the Osage nation, they were unable to say
with certainty. Mr. Dubois, on this trip, visited the Wea and Eel river
tribes, and found them apprehensive that war would ensue, and that they
would find themselves involved in it.

The letter of general Harrison to the Secretary of War, detailing the
results of this mission, concludes with the following remarks upon the
principles long and stoutly contended for by Tecumseh, that the Indian
lands were the common property of all the tribes, and could not be sold
without the consent of all.

"The subject of allowing the Indians of this country to consider all
their lands as common property, has been frequently and largely
discussed, in my communications with your predecessor, and in a
personal interview with the late President. The treaties made by me
last fall were concluded on principles as liberal towards the Indians,
as my knowledge of the views and opinions of the government would
allow. For although great latitude of discretion has always been given
to me, I knew that the opinion of Mr. Jefferson on the subject went so
far as to assert a claim of the United States, as lords paramount, to
the lands of all extinguished or decayed tribes, to the exclusion of
all recent settlers. Upon this principle, the Miami nation are the only
rightful claimants of all the unpurchased lands from the Ohio to the
Illinois and Mississippi rivers. But, sir, the President may rest
assured that the complaint of injury, with regard to the sale of lands,
is a mere pretence suggested to the Prophet by British partisans and

Early in July, some of the Prophet's followers descended the Wabash to
a point below Terre Haute, and stole several horses. A few days
afterwards, governor Harrison ascertained from a party of Indians who
were on a visit to Vincennes, that the Sacs and Foxes had taken up the
hatchet, and declared themselves ready to act with the Prophet,
whenever it should be required. It was further stated, that a Miami
chief, who had just returned from his annual visit to Malden, after
receiving his usual stipend of goods, was addressed by the British
agent, Elliot, in these words: "My son, keep your eyes fixed on me--my
tomahawk is now up--be you ready, but do not strike till I give the

About the same time, the governor, in the hope of staying the movements
of the Prophet, or at least of ascertaining the amount of his forces,
forwarded to him by a confidential interpreter, the following speech:

"William Henry Harrison, governor and commander-in-chief of the
territory of Indiana, to the Shawanoe chief, and the Indians assembled
at Tippecanoe:

"Notwithstanding the improper language which you have used towards me,
I will endeavor to open your eyes to your true interests.
Notwithstanding what white bad men have told you, I am not your
personal enemy. You ought to know this from the manner in which I
received and treated you, on your visit to this place.

"Although I must say, that you are an enemy to the Seventeen Fires, and
that you have used the greatest exertions with other tribes to lead
them astray. In this, you have been in some measure successful; as I am
told they are ready to raise the tomahawk against their father; yet
their father, notwithstanding his anger at their folly, is full of
goodness, and is always ready to receive into his arms those of his
children who are willing to repent, acknowledge their fault, and ask
for his forgiveness.

"There is yet but little harm done, which may be easily repaired. The
chain of friendship which united the whites with the Indians, may be
renewed, and be as strong as ever. A great deal of that work depends on
you--the destiny of those who are under your direction, depends upon
the choice you may make of the two roads which are before you. The one
is large, open and pleasant, and leads to peace, security and
happiness; the other, on the contrary, is narrow and crooked, and leads
to misery and ruin. Don't deceive yourselves; do not believe that all
the nations of Indians united, are able to resist the force of the
Seventeen Fires. I know your warriors are brave, but ours are not less
so; but what can a few brave warriors do, against the innumerable
warriors of the Seventeen Fires? Our blue coats are more numerous than
you can count; our hunters are like the leaves of the forest, or the
grains of sand on the Wabash.

"Do not think that the red coats can protect you; they are not able to
protect themselves. They do not think of going to war with us. If they
did, you would in a few moons see our flag wave over all the forts of

"What reason have you to complain of the Seventeen Fires? have they
taken any thing from you--have they ever violated the treaties made
with the red men? You say that they purchased lands from them who had
no right to sell them: show that this is true, and the land will be
instantly restored. Show us the rightful owners of those lands which
have been purchased--let them present themselves. The ears of your
father will be opened to your complaints, and if the lands have been
purchased of those who did not own them, they will be restored to the
rightful owners. I have full power to arrange this business; but if you
would rather carry your complaints before your great father, the
President, you shall be indulged. I will immediately take means to send
you with those chiefs which you may choose, to the city where your
father lives. Every thing necessary shall be prepared for your journey,
and means taken for your safe return."

Tecumseh was present when the interpreter delivered this speech. The
Prophet made no reply to it, but promised to send one by his brother,
who intended, in a few weeks, to make a visit to governor Harrison. In
conversation, however, with the interpreter, the Prophet strongly
disavowed the idea that he had any hostile intentions; but at the same
time declared, that it would not be practicable long to maintain peace
with the United States, unless the government would recognize the
principle, that the lands were the common property of _all_ the
Indians; and cease to make any further settlement to the north and
west. "The Great Spirit" continued he, "gave this great island to his
red children; he placed the whites on the other side of the big water;
they were not contented with their own, but came to take ours from us.
They have driven us from the sea to the lakes: we can go no further.
They have taken upon them to say, this tract belongs to the Miamis,
this to the Delawares, and so on; but the Great Spirit intended it as
the common property of us all. Our father tells us, that we have no
business upon the Wabash, the land belongs to other tribes; but the
Great Spirit ordered us to come here, and here we will stay." He
expressed himself, in the course of the conversation, gratified with
the speech which the governor had sent him; saying, he recollected to
have seen him, when a very young man, sitting by the side of general

Some of the Indians, then at the Prophet's town, appeared to be alarmed
at the arrival of the interpreter, and professed themselves
dissatisfied with the conduct of their leaders. Tecumseh told him, that
in making his promised visit to the governor, he should bring with him
about thirty of his principal warriors; and as the young men were fond
of attending on such occasions, the whole number might probably be one
hundred. The Prophet added, that the governor might expect to see a
still larger number than that named by his brother.

Upon the return of the interpreter to Vincennes, the governor, not
wishing to be burthened with so large a body of Indians, despatched a
messenger to Tecumseh, requesting that he would bring with him but a
few of his followers. This request, however, was wholly disregarded;
and on the 12th of August, the chief, attended by four hundred
warriors, fully armed with tomahawks and war-clubs, descended the
Wabash to Vincennes, for the purpose of holding the proposed
conference. From a family letter written by captain Floyd, then
commanding at fort Knox, three miles above Vincennes, under date of
14th of August, 1810, the following extract is made, referring to this
visit of the chieftain and his war-like retinue.

"Nothing new has transpired since my last letter to you, except that
the Shawanoe Indians have come; they passed this garrison, which is
three miles above Vincennes, on Sunday last, in eighty canoes; they
were all painted in the most terrific manner: they were stopped at the
garrison by me, for a short time: I examined their canoes and found
them well prepared for war, in case of an attack. They were headed by
the brother of the Prophet, (Tecumseh) who, perhaps, is one of the
finest looking men I ever saw--about six feet high, straight, with
large, fine features, and altogether a daring, bold looking fellow. The
governor's council with them will commence to-morrow morning. He has
directed me to attend."

Governor Harrison had made arrangements for holding the council on the
portico of his own house, which had been fitted up with seats for the
occasion. Here, on the morning of the fifteenth, he awaited the arrival
of the chief, being attended by the judges of the Supreme Court, some
officers of the army, a sergeant and twelve men, from fort Knox, and a
large number of citizens. At the appointed hour Tecumseh, supported by
forty of his principal warriors, made his appearance, the remainder of
his followers being encamped in the village and its environs. When the
chief had approached within thirty or forty yards of the house, he
suddenly stopped, as if awaiting some advances from the governor. An
interpreter was sent requesting him and his followers to take seats on
the portico. To this Tecumseh objected--he did not think the place a
suitable one for holding the conference, but preferred that it should
take place in a grove of trees,--to which he pointed,--standing a short
distance from the house. The governor said he had no objection to the
grove, except that there were no seats in it for their accommodation.
Tecumseh replied, that constituted no objection to the grove, the earth
being the most suitable place for the Indians, who loved to repose upon
the bosom of their mother. The governor yielded the point, and the
benches and chairs having been removed to the spot, the conference was
begun, the Indians being seated on the grass.

Tecumseh opened the meeting by stating, at length, his objections to
the treaty of fort Wayne, made by governor Harrison in the previous
year; and in the course of his speech, boldly avowed the principle of
his party to be, that of resistance to every cession of land, unless
made by all the tribes, who, he contended, formed but one nation. He
admitted that he had threatened to kill the chiefs who signed the
treaty of fort Wayne; and that it was his fixed determination not to
permit the _village_ chiefs, in future, to manage their affairs, but to
place the power with which _they_ had been heretofore invested, in the
hands of the war chiefs. The Americans, he said, had driven the Indians
from the sea coast, and would soon push them into the lakes; and, while
he disclaimed all intention of making war upon the United States, he
declared it to be his unalterable resolution to take a stand, and
resolutely oppose the further intrusion of the whites upon the Indian
lands. He concluded, by making a brief but impassioned recital of the
various wrongs and aggressions inflicted by the white men upon the
Indians, from the commencement of the Revolutionary war down to the
period of that council; all of which was calculated to arouse and
inflame the minds of such of his followers as were present.

The governor rose in reply, and in examining the right of Tecumseh and
his party to make objections to the treaty of fort Wayne, took occasion
to say, that the Indians were not one nation, having a common property
in the lands. The Miamis, he contended, were the real owners of the
tract on the Wabash, ceded by the late treaty, and the Shawanoes had no
right to interfere in the case; that upon the arrival of the whites on
this continent, they had found the Miamis in possession of this land,
the Shawanoes being then residents of Georgia, from which they had been
driven by the Creeks, and that it was ridiculous to assert that the red
men constituted but one nation; for, if such had been the intention of
the Great Spirit, he would not have put different tongues in their
heads, but have taught them all to speak the same language.

The governor having taken his seat, the interpreter commenced
explaining the speech to Tecumseh, who, after listening to a portion of
it, sprung to his feet and began to speak with great vehemence of

The governor was surprised at his violent gestures, but as he did not
understand him, thought he was making some explanation, and suffered
his attention to be drawn towards Winnemac, a friendly Indian lying on
the grass before him, who was renewing the priming of his pistol, which
he had kept concealed from the other Indians, but in full view of the
governor. His attention, however, was again directed towards Tecumseh,
by hearing general Gibson, who was intimately acquainted with the
Shawanoe language, say to lieutenant Jennings, "those fellows intend
mischief; you had better bring up the guard." At that moment, the
followers of Tecumseh seized their tomahawks and war clubs, and sprung
upon their feet, their eyes turned upon the governor. As soon as he
could disengage himself from the armed chair in which he sat, he rose,
drew a small sword which he had by his side, and stood on the
defensive. Captain G.R. Floyd, of the army, who stood near him, drew a
dirk, and the chief Winnemac cocked his pistol. The citizens present,
were more numerous than the Indians, but were unarmed; some of them
procured clubs and brick-bats, and also stood on the defensive. The
Rev. Mr. Winans, of the Methodist church, ran to the governor's house,
got a gun, and posted himself at the door to defend the family. During
this singular scene, no one spoke, until the guard came running up, and
appearing to be in the act of firing, the governor ordered them not to
do so. He then demanded of the interpreter, an explanation of what had
happened, who replied that Tecumseh had interrupted him, declaring that
all the governor had said was _false_; and that he and the Seventeen
Fires had cheated and imposed on the Indians.[A]

[Footnote A: Dawson's Historical Narrative.]

The governor then told Tecumseh that he was a bad man, and that he
would hold no further communication with him; that as he had come to
Vincennes under the protection of a council-fire, he might return in
safety, but that he must immediately leave the village. Here the
council terminated. During the night, two companies of militia were
brought in from the country, and that belonging to the town was also
embodied. Next morning Tecumseh requested the governor to afford him an
opportunity of explaining his conduct on the previous day--declaring,
that he did not intend to attack the governor, and that he had acted
under the advice of some of the white people. The governor consented to
another interview, it being understood that each party should have the
same armed force as on the previous day. On this occasion, the
deportment of Tecumseh was respectful and dignified. He again denied
having had any intention to make an attack upon the governor, and
declared that he had been stimulated to the course he had taken, by two
white men, who assured him that one half of the citizens were opposed
to the governor, and willing to restore the land in question; that the
governor would soon be put out of office, and a good man sent to fill
his place, who would give up the land to the Indians. When asked by the
governor whether he intended to resist the survey of these lands,
Tecumseh replied that he and his followers were resolutely determined
to insist upon the old boundary. When he had taken his seat, chiefs
from the Wyandots, Kickapoos, Potawatamies, Ottawas, and Winnebagoes,
spoke in succession, and distinctly avowed that they had entered into
the Shawanoe confederacy, and were determined to support the principles
laid down by their leader. The governor, in conclusion, stated that he
would make known to the President, the claims of Tecumseh and his
party, to the land in question; but that he was satisfied the
government would never admit that the lands on the Wabash were the
property of any other tribes than those who occupied them, when the
white people first arrived in America; and, as the title to these lands
had been derived by purchase from those tribes, he might rest assured
that the right of the United States would be sustained by the sword.
Here the council adjourned.

On the following day, governor Harrison visited Tecumseh in his camp,
attended only by the interpreter, and was very politely received. A
long conversation ensued, in which Tecumseh again declared that his
intentions were really such as he had avowed them to be in the council;
that the policy which the United States pursued, of purchasing lands
from the Indians, he viewed as a mighty water, ready to overflow his
people; and that the confederacy which he was forming among the tribes
to prevent any individual tribe from selling without the consent of the
others, was the dam he was erecting to resist this mighty water. He
stated further, that he should be reluctantly drawn into a war with the
United States; and that if he, the governor, would induce the President
to give up the lands lately purchased, and agree never to make another
treaty without the consent of all the tribes, he would be their
faithful ally and assist them in the war, which he knew was about to
take place with England; that he preferred being the ally of the
Seventeen Fires, but if they did not comply with his request, he would
be compelled to unite with the British. The governor replied, that he
would make known his views to the President, but that there was no
probability of their being agreed to. "Well," said Tecumseh, "as the
great chief is to determine the matter, I hope the Great Spirit will
put sense enough into his head to induce him to give up this land: it
is true, he is so far off he will not be injured by the war; he may sit
still in his town and drink his wine, whilst you and I will have to
fight it out." This prophecy, it will be seen, was literally fulfilled;
and the great chieftain who uttered it, attested that fulfilment with
his blood. The governor, in conclusion, proposed to Tecumseh, that in
the event of hostilities between the Indians and the United States, he
should use his influence to put an end to the cruel mode of warfare
which the Indians were accustomed to wage upon women and children, or
upon prisoners. To this he cheerfully assented; and, it is due to the
memory of Tecumseh to add, that he faithfully kept his promise down to
the period of his death.[A]

[Footnote A: In Marshall's History of Kentucky, vol. 2. p. 482, there
is a speech quoted as having been delivered by Tecumseh at this
council. We are authorised, on the best authority, to say that it is a
sheer fabrication. No such speech was delivered by him at the council.]

Whether in this council Tecumseh really meditated treachery or only
intended to intimidate the governor, must remain a matter of
conjecture. If the former, his force of four hundred well armed
warriors was sufficient to have murdered the inhabitants and sacked the
town, which at that time did not contain more than one thousand
persons, including women and children. When in the progress of the
conference, he and his forty followers sprung to their arms, there
would have been, in all probability, a corresponding movement with the
remainder of his warriors encamped in and around the village, had he
seriously contemplated an, attack upon the governor and the
inhabitants. But this does not appear to have been the case. It is
probable, therefore, that Tecumseh, in visiting Vincennes with so large
a body of followers, expected to make a strong impression upon the
whites as to the extent of his influence among the Indians, and the
strength of his party. His movement in the council may have been
concerted for the purpose of intimidating the governor; but the more
probable supposition is, that in the excitement of the moment, produced
by the speech of the governor, he lost his self-possession, and
involuntarily placed his hand upon his war-club, in which movement he
was followed by the warriors around him, without any previous intention
of proceeding to extremities. Whatever may have been the fact, the bold
chieftain found in governor Harrison a firmness of purpose and an
intrepidity of manner which must have convinced him that nothing was to
be gained by an effort at intimidation, however daring.

Soon after the close of this memorable council, governor Harrison made
arrangements for the survey of the land purchased at the treaty of fort
Wayne, under the protection of a detachment of soldiers. About the same
time, "a young Iowa chief, whom the governor had employed to go to the
Prophet's town to gain information, reported, on his return; that he
had been told by an old Winnebago chief, who was his relation, that the
great Belt which had been sent round to all the tribes, for the purpose
of uniting them, was returned; and he mentioned a considerable number
who had acceded to the confederacy, the object of which was 'to confine
the great water and prevent it from overflowing them.' That the belt
since its return had been sent to the British agent, who danced for joy
at seeing so many tribes had joined against the United States. That the
Prophet had sent a speech to his confedrates not to be discouraged at
the apparent defection of some of the tribes near him; for that it was
all a sham, intended to deceive the white people; that these tribes
hated the Seventeen Fires; and that though they gave them sweet words,
they were like grass plucked up by the roots, they would soon wither
and come to nothing. The old Winnebago chief told him with tears in his
eyes, that he himself and all the village chiefs, had been divested of
their power, and that everything was managed by the warriors, who
breathed nothing but war against the United States.[A]"

[Footnote A: Dawson's Historical Narrative.]

Governor Harrison, in his address to the legislature of Indiana, in the
month of November of this year, refers to the difficulties with the
Indians at Tippecanoe; and bears testimony to the fact, that the
Prophet and Tecumseh were instigated to assume a hostile attitude
towards the United States, by British influence. He says,

"It is with regret that I have to inform you that the harmony and good
understanding which it is so much our interest to cultivate with our
neighbors, the aborigines, have for some time past experienced
considerable interruption, and that we have indeed been threatened with
hostilities, by a combination formed under the auspices of a bold
adventurer, who pretends to act under the immediate inspiration of the
Deity. His character as a Prophet would not, however, have given him
any very dangerous influence, if he had not been assisted by the
intrigues and advice of foreign agents, and other disaffected persons,
who have for many years omitted no opportunity of counteracting the
measures of the government with regard to the Indians, and filling
their naturally jealous minds with suspicions of the justice and
integrity of our views towards them."

That our government was sincerely desirous of preserving peace with
these disaffected Indians, appears from the following extract of a
letter from the Secretary of War, to governor Harrison, written in the
autumn of this year. "It has occurred to me," said the Secretary, "that
the surest means of securing good behavior from this conspicuous
personage and his brother, [the Prophet and Tecumseh] would be to make
them prisoners; but at this time, more particularly, it is desirable
that peace with all the Indian tribes should be preserved; and I am
instructed by the President to express to your excellency his
expectations and confidence, that in all your arrangements, this may be
considered, (as I am confident it ever has been) a primary object with

During the autumn, a Kickapoo chief visited Vincennes, and informed the
governor that the pacific professions of the Prophet and Tecumseh were
not to be relied on,--that their ultimate designs were hostile to the
United States. At the same time governor Clark, of Missouri, forwarded
to the governor of Indiana information that the Prophet had sent belts
to the tribes west of the Mississippi, inviting them to join in a war
against the United States; and, stating that he would commence the
contest by an attack on Vincennes. Governor Clark further said, that
the Sacs had at length joined the Tippecanoe confederacy, and that a
party of them had gone to Maiden for arms and ammunition. The Indian
interpreter, at Chicago, also stated to governor Harrison, that the
tribes in that quarter were disaffected towards the United States, and
seemed determined upon war. One of the surveyors, engaged to run the
lines of the new purchase, was driven off the lands by a party of the
Wea tribe, who took two of his men prisoners: thus closed the year


  Alarm on the frontier continues--a Muskoe Indian killed at
  Vincennes--governor Harrison sends a pacific speech to Tecumseh and
  the Prophet--the former replies to it--in July Tecumseh visits
  governor Harrison at Vincennes--disavows any intention of making war
  upon the whites--explains his object in forming a union among the
  tribes--governor Harrison's opinion of Tecumseh and the
  Prophet--murder of the Deaf Chief--Tecumseh visits the southern

The spring of 1811 brought with it no abatement of these border
difficulties. Early in the season, governor Harrison sent a boat up the
Wabash, loaded with salt for the Indians,--that article constituting a
part of their annuity. Five barrels were to be left with the Prophet,
for the Kickapoos and Shawanoes. Upon the arrival of the boat at
Tippecanoe, the Prophet called a council, by which it was decided to
seize the whole of the salt, which was promptly done--word being sent
back to the governor, not to be angry at this measure, as the Prophet
had two thousand men to feed; and, had not received any salt for two
years past. There were at this time about six hundred men at
Tippecanoe; and, Tecumseh, who had been absent for some time, on a
visit to the lakes, was expected daily, with large reinforcements. From
appearances, it seemed probable that an attack was meditated on
Vincennes by these brothers, with a force of eight hundred or one
thousand warriors; a number far greater than the governor could
collect, even if he embodied all the militia for some miles around that
place. He accordingly wrote to the Secretary of War, recommending that
the 4th regiment of U.S. troops, then at Pittsburg, under the command
of colonel Boyd, should be ordered to Vincennes; at the same time
asking for authority to act offensively against the Indians, so soon as
it was found that the intentions of their leaders were decidedly
hostile towards the United States.

Under date of June 6th, governor Harrison, in a letter to the war
department, expresses the opinion that the disposition of the Indians
is far from being pacific. Wells, the agent at fort Wayne, had visited
the Prophet's town, relative to some stolen horses, and certain
Potawatamies who had committed the murders on the Mississippi. Four of
the horses were recovered, but Tecumseh disclaimed all agency in taking
them, although he acknowledged that it was done by some of his party.
Tecumseh openly avowed to the agent his resolute determination to
resist the further encroachments of the white people. In this letter
the governor remarks, "I wish I could say the Indians were treated with
justice and propriety on all occasions by our citizens; but it is far
otherwise. They are often abused and maltreated; and it is very rare
that they obtain any satisfaction for the most unprovoked wrongs." He
proceeds to relate the circumstance of a Muskoe Indian having been
killed by an Italian innkeeper, in Vincennes, without any just cause.
The murderer, under the orders of the governor, was apprehended, tried,
but acquitted by the jury almost without deliberation. About the same
time, within twenty miles of Vincennes, two Weas were badly wounded by
a white man without the smallest provocation. Such aggressions tended
greatly to exasperate the Indians, and to prevent them from delivering
up such of their people as committed offences against the citizens of
the United States. Such was the fact with the Delawares, upon a demand
from the governor for White Turkey, who had robbed the house of a Mr.
Vawter. The chiefs refused to surrender him, declaring that they would
never deliver up another man until some of the whites were punished,
who had murdered their people. They, however, punished White Turkey
themselves, by putting him to death.

On the 24th of June, soon after the return of Tecumseh from his visit
to the Iroquois and Wyandots, for the purpose of increasing his
confederacy, governor Harrison transmitted to him and the Prophet,
together with the other chiefs at Tippecanoe, the following speech:

"Brothers,--Listen to me. I speak to you about matters of importance,
both to the white people and yourselves; open your ears, therefore, and
attend to what I shall say.

"Brothers, this is the third year that all the white people in this
country have been alarmed at your proceedings; you threaten us with
war, you invite all the tribes to the north and west of you to join
against us.

"Brothers, your warriors who have lately been here, deny this; but I
have received the information from every direction; the tribes on the
Mississippi have sent me word that you intended to murder me, and then
to commence a war upon our people. I have also received the speech you
sent to the Potawatamies and others, to join you for that purpose; but
if I had no other evidence of your hostility to us, your seizing the
salt I lately sent up the Wabash, is sufficient.

"Brothers, our citizens are alarmed, and my warriors are preparing
themselves; not to strike you, but to defend themselves and their women
and children. You shall not surprise us as you expect to do; you are
about to undertake a very rash act; as a friend, I advise you to
consider well of it; a little reflection may save us a great deal of
trouble and prevent much mischief; it is not yet too late.

"Brothers, what can be the inducement for you to undertake an
enterprise when there is so little probability of success; do you
really think that the handful of men that you have about you, are able
to contend with the Seventeen Fires, or even that the whole of the
tribes united, could contend against the Kentucky Fire alone?

"Brothers, I am myself of the long knife fire; as soon as they hear my
voice, you will see them pouring forth their swarms of hunting shirt
men, as numerous as the musquetoes on the shores of the Wabash;
brothers, take care of their stings.

"Brothers, it is not our wish to hurt you: if we did, we certainly have
power to do it; look at the number of our warriors to the east of you,
above and below the Great Miami,--to the south, on both sides of the
Ohio, and below you also. You are brave men; but what could you do
against such a multitude?--but we wish you to live in peace and

"Brothers, the citizens of this country are alarmed; they must be
satisfied that you have no design to do them mischief, or they will not
lay aside their arms. You have also insulted the government of the
United States by seizing the salt that was intended for other tribes;
satisfaction must be given for that also.

"Brothers, you talk of coming to see me, attended by all your young
men; this, however, must not be so; if your intentions are good, you
have no need to bring but a few of your young men with you. I must be
plain with you; I will not suffer you to come into our settlements with
such a force.

"Brothers, if you wish to satisfy us that your intentions are good,
follow the advice that I have given you before; that is, that one or
both of you should visit the President of the United States, and lay
your grievances before him. He will treat you well, will listen to what
you say, and if you can show him that you have been injured, you will
receive justice. If you will follow my advice in this respect, it will
convince the citizens of this country and myself that you have no
design to attack them.

"Brothers, with respect to the lands that were purchased last fall, I
can enter into no negotiations with you on that subject; the affair is
in the hands of the President, if you wish to go and see him, I will
supply you with the means.

"Brothers, the person who delivers this, is one of my war officers; he
is a man in whom I have entire confidence: whatever he says to you,
although it may not be contained in this paper, you may believe comes
from me.

"My friend Tecumseh! the bearer is a good man and a brave warrior; I
hope you will treat him well; you are yourself a warrior, and all such
should have esteem for each other."

Tecumseh to the governor of Indiana, in reply:

"Brother, I give you a few words until I will be with you myself.

"Brother, at Vincennes, I wish you to listen to me whilst I send you a
few words, and I hope they will ease your heart; I know you look on
your young men and young women and children with pity, to see them so
much alarmed.

"Brother, I wish you now to examine what you have from me; I hope that
it will be a satisfaction to you, if your intentions are like mine, to
wash away all these bad stories that have been circulated. I will be
with you myself in eighteen days from this day.

"Brother, we cannot say what will become of us, as the Great Spirit has
the management of us all at his will. I may be there before the time,
and may not be there until the day. I hope that when we come together,
all these bad tales will be settled; by this I hope your young men,
women and children, will be easy. I wish you, brother, to let them know
when I come to Vincennes and see you, all will be settled in peace and

"Brother, these are only a few words to let you know that I will be
with you myself, and when I am with you I can inform you better.

"Brother, if I find that I can be with you in less time than eighteen
days, I will send one of my young men before me, to let you know what
time I will be with you."

On the second of July, governor Harrison received information from the
executive of Illinois, that several murders had been committed in that
territory; and that there were good grounds for believing these crimes
had been perpetrated by a party of Shawanoes. The governor had been
previously informed that it was the design of the Prophet to commence
hostilities in Illinois, in order to cover his main object--the attack
on Vincennes. Both territories were in a state of great alarm; and the
Secretary of War was officially notified, that if the general
government did not take measures to protect the inhabitants, they were
determined to protect themselves.

In a letter under date of Vincennes, 10th July, 1811, governor Harrison
writes as follows to the Secretary of War.

"Captain Wilson, the officer whom I sent to the Prophet's town,
returned on Sunday last. He was well received, and treated with
particular friendship by Tecumseh. He obtained, however, no
satisfaction. The only answer given was, that in eighteen days Tecumseh
would pay me a visit for the purpose of explaining his conduct. Upon
being told that I would not suffer him to come with so large a force,
he promised to bring with him a few men only. I shall not, however,
depend upon this promise, but shall have the river well watched by a
party of scouts after the descent of the chief, lest he should be
followed by his warriors. I do not think that this will be the case.
The detection of the hostile designs of an Indian is generally (for
that time) to defeat them. The hopes of an expedition, conducted
through many hundred miles of toil and difficulty, are abandoned
frequently, upon the slightest suspicion; their painful steps retraced,
and a more favorable moment expected. With them the surprise of an
enemy bestows more eclat upon a warrior than the most brilliant success
obtained by other means. Tecumseh has taken for his model the
celebrated Pontiac, and I am persuaded he will bear a favorable
comparison, in every respect, with that far famed warrior. If it is his
object to begin with the surprise of this place, it is impossible that
a more favorable situation could have been chosen, than the one he
occupies: it is just so far off as to be removed from immediate
observation, and yet so near as to enable him to strike us, when the
water is high, in twenty-four hours, and even when it is low, their
light canoes will come fully as fast as the journey could be performed
on horseback. The situation is in other respects admirable for the
purposes for which he has chosen it. It is nearly central with regard
to the tribes which he wishes to unite. The water communication with
lake Erie, by means of the Wabash and Miami--with lake Michigan and the
Illinois, by the Tippecanoe, is a great convenience. It is immediately
in the centre of the back line of that fine country which he wishes to
prevent us from settling--and above all, he has immediately in his rear
a country that has been but little explored, consisting principally of
barren thickets, interspersed with swamps and lakes, into which our
cavalry could not penetrate, and our infantry, only by slow, laborious

The promised visit of Tecumseh took place in the latter part of July.
He reached Vincennes on the 27th, attended by about three hundred of
his party, of whom thirty were women and children. The council was
opened on the 30th, in an arbor erected for the purpose, and at the
appointed time the chief made his appearance, attended by about one
hundred and seventy warriors, without guns, but all of them having
knives and tomahawks, or war clubs, and some armed with bows and
arrows. The governor, in opening the council, made reference to the
late murders in Illinois, and the alarm which the appearance of
Tecumseh, with so large an armed force, had created among the people on
the Wabash. He further informed Tecumseh that, whilst he listened to
whatever himself or any of the chiefs had to say in regard to the late
purchase of land, he would enter into no negociation on that subject,
as it was now in the hands of the President. The governor, after
telling Tecumseh that he was at liberty to visit the President, and
hear his decision from his own mouth, adverted to the late seizure of
the salt, and demanded an explanation of it. In reply, the chief
admitted the seizure, but said he was not at home, either this spring
or the year before, when the salt boats arrived; that it seemed
impossible to please the governor: last year he was angry, because the
salt was refused, and this year equally so, because it was taken. The
council was then adjourned until the following day. When it was again
opened, a Wea chief made a long speech, giving the history of all the
treaties which had been made by the governor and the Indian tribes; and
concluded with the remark, that he had been told that the Miami chiefs
had been forced by the Potawatamies to accede to the treaty of fort
Wayne; and that it would be proper to institute enquiries to find out
the person who had held the tomahawk over their heads, and punish him.
This statement was immediately contradicted by the governor, and also
by the Miami chiefs who were present. Anxious to bring the conference
to a close, the governor then told Tecumseh that by delivering up the
two Potawatamies who had murdered the four white men on the Missouri,
last fall, he would at once attest the sincerity of his professions of
friendship to the United States, and his desire to preserve peace. His
reply was evasive, but developed very clearly his designs. After much
trouble and difficulty he had induced, he said, all the northern tribes
to unite, and place themselves under his direction; that the white
people were unnecessarily alarmed at his measures, which really meant
nothing but peace; that the United States had set him the example of
forming a strict union amongst all the Fires that compose their
confederacy; that the Indians did not complain of it, nor should his
white brothers complain of him for doing the same thing in regard to
the Indian tribes; that so soon as the council was over, he was to set
out on a visit to the southern tribes, to prevail upon them to unite
with those of the north. As to the murderers, they were not at his
town, and if they were, he could not deliver them up; that they ought
to be forgiven, as well as those who had committed some murders in
Illinois; that he had set the whites an example of the forgiveness of
injuries which they ought to follow. In reply to an enquiry on the
subject, he said he hoped no attempt would be made to settle the new
purchase, before his return next spring; that a great number of Indians
were coming to settle at Tippecanoe in the autumn, and they would need
that tract as a hunting ground, and if they did no further injury, they
might kill the cattle and hogs of the white people, which would create
disturbances; that he wished every thing to remain in its present
situation until his return, when he would visit the President, and
settle all difficulties with him. The governor made a brief reply,
saying, that the moon which they beheld (it was then night) would
sooner fall to the earth, than the President would suffer his people to
be murdered with impunity; and that he would put his warriors in
petticoats, sooner than he would give up a country which he had fairly
acquired from the rightful owners. Here the council terminated. In a
day or two afterwards, attended by twenty warriors, Tecumseh set off
for the south, on a visit to the Creeks and Choctaws. The governor was
at a loss to determine the object of Tecumseh, in taking with him to
Vincennes, so large a body of his followers. The spies said that he
intended to demand a retrocession of the late purchase, and if it was
not obtained, to seize some of the chiefs who were active in making the
treaty, in presence of the governor, and put them to death; and in case
of his interference, to have subjected him to the same fate. Many of
the neutral Indians entertained the opinion that he meditated an attack
upon Vincennes. If such was the case, his plan was probably changed by
observing the vigilance of governor Harrison and the display of seven
or eight hundred men under arms. It is questionable, however, we think,
whether Tecumseh really meditated violence at this time. He probably
wished to impress the whites with an idea of his strength, and at the
same time gratify his ambition of moving, as a great chieftain, at the
head of a numerous retinue of warriors.

The day after the close of this council, the governor wrote to the War
Department. The following is a part of his communication.

"My letter of yesterday will inform you of the arrival and departure of
Tecumseh from this place, and of the route which he has taken. There
can be no doubt his object is to excite the southern Indians to war
against us. His mother was of the Creek nation, and he builds much upon
that circumstance towards forwarding his views. I do not think there is
any danger of further hostility until he returns: and his absence
affords a most favorable opportunity for breaking up his confederacy,
and I have some expectations of being able to accomplish it without a
recourse to actual hostility. Tecumseh assigned the next spring as the
period of his return. I am informed, however, that he will be back in
three months. There is a Potawatamie chief here, who says he was
present when the message from the British agent was delivered to the
Prophet, telling him that the time had arrived for taking up arms, and
inviting him to send a party to Malden, to receive the necessary
supplies. This man is one of the few who preserve their independence.

"The implicit obedience and respect which the followers of Tecumseh pay
to him, is really astonishing, and more than any other circumstance
bespeaks him one of those uncommon geniuses which spring up
occasionally to produce revolutions, and overturn the established order
of things. If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he
would, perhaps, be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory
Mexico or Peru. No difficulties deter him. For four years he has been
in constant motion. You see him to-day on the Wabash, and in a short
time hear of him on the shores of lake Erie or Michigan, or on the
banks of the Mississippi; and wherever he goes he makes an impression
favorable to his purposes. He is now upon the last round to put a
finishing stroke to his work. I hope, however, before his return that
that part of the fabric which he considered complete, will be
demolished, and even its foundations rooted up. Although the greater
part of his followers are attached to him from principle and affection,
there are many others who follow him through fear; and he was scarcely
a mile from town, before they indulged in the most virulent invectives
against him. The Prophet is impudent and audacious, but is deficient in
judgment, talents and firmness."

The following anecdote illustrates the coolness and self-possession of
Tecumseh, not less than the implicit obedience that was paid to his
commands by his followers.

A Potawatamie, called the Deaf Chief, was present at the late council.
After it was closed, he stated to the governor, that had he been called
upon during the conference he would have confronted Tecumseh, when he
denied that his intentions towards the United States were hostile. This
declaration having been repeated to Tecumseh, he calmly intimated to
the Prophet, that upon their return to Tippecanoe, the Deaf Chief must
be disposed of. A friend of the latter informed him of his danger, but
the chief, not at all intimidated, returned to his camp, put on his
war-dress, and equipping himself with his rifle, tomahawk and scalping
knife, returned and presented himself before Tecumseh, who was then in
company with Mr. Baron, the governor's interpreter. The Deaf Chief
there reproached Tecumseh for having ordered him to be killed,
declaring that it was an act unworthy of a warrior. "But here I am
now," said he, "come and kill me." Tecumseh making no answer, the
Potawatamie heaped upon him every term of abuse and contumely, and
finally charged him with being the slave of the red-coats, (the
British.) Tecumseh, perfectly unmoved, made no reply, but continued his
conversation with Mr. Baron, until the Deaf Chief, wearied with the
effort to provoke his antagonist to action, returned to his camp. There
is some reason for believing that the Prophet did not disobey his
orders: the Deaf Chief was never seen again at Vincennes.

Of the result of the mission of Tecumseh to the southern tribes, we
have no detailed information. Hodgson, who subsequently travelled
through this country, in his "Letters from North America," says:

"Our host told me that he was living with his Indian wife among the
Creeks, when the celebrated Indian warrior Tecumseh, came more than one
thousand miles, from the borders of Canada, to induce the lower Creeks,
to promise to take up the hatchet in behalf of the British, against the
Americans, and the upper Creeks whenever he should require it: that he
was present at the midnight convocation of the chiefs, which was held
on that occasion, and which terminated after a most impressive speech
from Tecumseh with a unanimous determination to take up the hatchet
whenever he should call upon them. This was at least a year before the
declaration of the last war."

In the "History of the Tribes of North America," there is an
interesting notice of this visit of Tecumseh.

"The following remarkable circumstance may serve to illustrate the
penetration, decision and boldness of this warrior chief. He had been
south, to Florida, and succeeded in instigating the Seminoles in
particular, and portions of other tribes, to unite in the war on the
side of the British. He gave out that a vessel, on a certain day,
commanded by red-coats, would be off Florida, filled with guns and
ammunition, and supplies for the use of the Indians. That no mistake
might happen in regard to the day on which the Indians were to strike,
he prepared bundles of sticks, each bundle containing the number of
sticks corresponding to the number of days that were to intervene
between the day on which they were received, and the day of the general
onset. The Indian practice is to throw away a stick every morning; they
make, therefore, no mistake in the time. These sticks Tecumseh caused
to be painted red. It was from this circumstance that in the former
Seminole war, these Indians were called 'Red Sticks.' In all this
business of mustering the tribes, he used great caution; he supposed
enquiry would be made as to the object of his visit; that his plans
might not be suspected, he directed the Indians to reply to any
questions that might be asked about him, by saying, that he had
counselled them to cultivate the ground, abstain from ardent spirits,
and live in peace with the white people. On his return from Florida, he
went among the Creeks in Alabama, urging them to unite with the
Seminoles. Arriving at Tuckhabatchee, a Creek town on the Tallapoosa
river, he made his way to the lodge of the chief called the Big
Warrior. He explained his object, delivered his war-talk, presented a
bundle of sticks, gave a piece of wampum and a hatchet; all which the
Big Warrior took. When Tecumseh, reading the intentions and spirit of
the Big Warrior, looked him in the eye, and pointing his finger towards
his face, said: 'Your blood is white: you have taken my talk, and the
sticks, and the wampum, and the hatchet, but you do not mean to fight:
I know the reason: you do not believe the Great Spirit has sent me: you
shall know: I leave Tuckhabatchee directly, and shall go straight to
Detroit: when I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot,
and shake down every house in Tuckhabatchee.' So saying, he turned and
left the Big Warrior in utter amazement, at both his manner and his
threat, and pursued his journey. The Indians were struck no less with
his conduct than was the Big Warrior, and began to dread the arrival of
the day when the threatened calamity would befal them. They met often
and talked over this matter, and counted the days carefully, to know
the time when Tecumseh would reach Detroit. The morning they had fixed
upon, as the period of his arrival, at last came. A mighty rumbling was
heard--the Indians all ran out of their houses--the earth began to
shake; when at last, sure enough, every house in Tuckhabatchee was
shaken down! The exclamation was in every mouth, 'Tecumseh has got to
Detroit!' The effect was electrical. The message he had delivered to
the Big Warrior was believed, and many of the Indians took their rifles
and prepared for the war.

"The reader will not be surprised to learn, that an earthquake had
produced all this; but he will be, doubtless, that it should happen on
the very day on which Tecumseh arrived at Detroit; and, in exact
fulfilment of his threat. It was the famous earthquake of New Madrid,
on the Mississippi. We received the foregoing from the lips of the
Indians, when we were at Tuckhabatchee, in 1827, and near the residence
of the Big Warrior. The anecdote may therefore be relied on. Tecumseh's
object, doubtless was, on seeing that he had failed, by the usual
appeal to the passions, and hopes, and war spirit of the Indians, to
alarm their fears, little dreaming, himself, that on the day named, his
threat would be executed with such punctuality and terrible fidelity."


  Governor Harrison applies to the War Department for troops to
  maintain peace on the frontiers--battle of Tippecanoe on the 7th of
  November--its influence on the Prophet and his followers.

The late council at Vincennes having failed in producing any
satisfactory results, and Tecumseh having gone to the south for the
avowed purpose of extending his confederacy, the alarm among the
inhabitants of Indiana continued to increase. Public meetings were
held, and memorials forwarded to the President, invoking protection,
and requesting the removal of the Indians from the Prophet's town; the
memorialists being "fully convinced that the formation of this
combination, headed by the Shawanoe Prophet, was a British scheme, and
that the agents of that power were constantly exciting the Indians to
hostility against the United States." The President accordingly placed
the 4th regiment U.S. infantry, commanded by colonel Boyd, and a
company of riflemen, at the disposal of governor Harrison. The
Secretary of War, under date of 20th October, 1811, in a letter to him,
says: "I have been particularly instructed by the President to
communicate to your excellency, his earnest desire that peace may, if
possible, be preserved with the Indians; and that to this end, every
proper means may be adopted. By this, it is not intended that murder or
robberies committed by them, should not meet with the punishment due to
those crimes; that the settlements should be unprotected, or that any
hostile combination should avail itself of success, in consequence of a
neglect to provide the means of resisting and defeating it; or that the
banditti under the Prophet should not be attacked and vanquished,
provided such a measure should be rendered absolutely necessary.
Circumstances conspire, at this particular juncture, to render it
peculiarly desirable that hostilities of any kind, or to any degree,
not indispensably required, should be avoided."

On the seventh of August the governor informed the secretary that he
should call, in a peremptory manner, on all the tribes, to deliver up
such of their people as had been concerned in the murder of our
citizens; that from the Miamis he should require an absolute disavowal
of all connection with the Prophet; and that to all the tribes he would
repeat the declaration, that the United States have manifested through
a series of years, the utmost justice and generosity towards their
Indian neighbors; and have not only fulfilled all the engagements which
they entered into with them, but have spent considerable sums to
civilize them and promote their happiness; but if, under those
circumstances, any tribe should dare to take up the tomahawk against
their fathers, they must not expect the same lenity that had been shown
them at the close of the former war, but that they would either be
exterminated or driven beyond the Mississippi.

In furtherance of this plan, the governor forwarded speeches to the
different tribes, and instructed the Indian agents to use all possible
means to recall them to a sense of duty. He also wrote to the governors
of Illinois and Missouri, on the subject of the border difficulties, in
the hope that a general and simultaneous effort might avert an appeal
to arms.

In the month of September, the Prophet sent assurances to governor
Harrison of his pacific intentions, and that his demands should be
complied with; but about the same time some horses were stolen in the
neighborhood of his town, and the whites who went in pursuit of them
were fired upon by the Indians. Early in October the governor moved,
with a considerable body of troops, towards the Prophet's town, with
the expectation that a show of hostile measures would bring about an
accommodation with the Indians of that place. On the 10th of October,
one of the sentinels around his camp was fired on by the Indians, and
severely wounded. About the same time the Prophet sent a messenger to
the chiefs of the Delaware tribe, who were friendly to the United
States, requiring, them to say whether they would or would not join him
in the war against them; that he had taken up the tomahawk and would
not lay it down but with his life, unless their wrongs were redressed.
The Delaware chiefs immediately visited the Prophet, for the purpose of
dissuading him from commencing hostilities. Under these circumstances
there seemed to be no alternative for governor Harrison, but to break
up the Prophet's establishment. On the 27th, the Delaware chiefs
returned to the camp of the governor, and reported that the Prophet
would not listen to their council, and had grossly insulted them. While
at the Prophet's town, the Indians who had wounded the sentinel,
returned. They were Shawanoes and near friends of the Prophet; who was
daily practising certain pretended rites, by means of which he played
upon the superstitious feelings of his followers, and kept them in a
state of feverish excitement. On the 29th, a body of twenty-four Miami
chiefs were sent by governor Harrison, to make another effort with the
Prophet. They were instructed, to require that the Winnebagoes,
Potawatamies and Kickapoos, should leave him and return to their
respective tribes; that all the stolen horses in their possession
should be delivered up; that the murderers of the whites should either
be surrendered or satisfactory proof offered that they were not under
his control. These chiefs, however, did not return, and there is reason
to believe that they were induced to join the confederacy at

On the 5th of November, 1811, governor Harrison, with about nine
hundred effective troops, composed of two hundred and fifty of the 4th
regiment U.S. infantry, one hundred and thirty volunteers, and a body
of militia, encamped within ten miles of the Prophet's town. On the
next day, when the army was within five miles of the village,
reconnoitering parties of the Indians were seen, but they refused to
hold any conversation with the interpreters sent forward by the
governor to open a communication with them. When within a mile and a
half of the town a halt was made, for the purpose of encamping for the
night. Several of the field officers urged the governor to make an
immediate assault on the village; but this he declined, as his
instructions from the President were positive, not to attack the
Indians, as long as there was a probability of their complying with the
demands of government. Upon ascertaining, however, that the ground
continued favorable for the disposition of his troops, quite up to the
town, he determined to approach still nearer to it. In the mean time,
captain Dubois, with an interpreter, was sent forward to ascertain
whether the Prophet would comply with the terms proposed by the
governor. The Indians, however, would make no reply to these enquiries,
but endeavored to cut off the messengers from the army. When this fact
was reported to the governor, he determined to consider the Indians as
enemies, and at once march upon their town. He had proceeded but a
short distance, however, before he was met by three Indians, one of
them a principal counsellor to the Prophet, who stated that they were
sent to know why the army was marching upon their town--that the
Prophet was desirous of avoiding hostilities--that he had sent a
pacific message to governor Harrison by the Miami and Potawatamie
chiefs, but that those chiefs had unfortunately gone down on the south
side of the Wabash, and had thus failed to meet him. Accordingly, a
suspension of hostilities was agreed upon, and the terms of peace were
to be settled on the following morning by the governor and the chiefs.
In moving the army towards the Wabash, to encamp for the night, the
Indians became again alarmed, supposing that an attack was about to be
made on the town, notwithstanding the armistice which had just been
concluded. They accordingly began to prepare for defence, and some of
them sallied out, calling upon the advanced corps, to halt. The
governor immediately rode forward, and assured the Indians that it was
not his intention to attack them, but that he was only in search of a
suitable piece of ground on which to encamp his troops. He enquired if
there was any other water convenient besides that which the river
afforded; and an Indian, with whom he was well acquainted, answered,
that the creek which had been crossed two miles back, ran through the
prairie to the north of the village. A halt was then ordered, and
majors Piatt, Clark and Taylor, were sent to examine this creek, as
well as the river above the town, to ascertain the correctness of the
information, and decide on the best ground for an encampment. In the
course of half an hour, the two latter reported that they had found on
the creek; every thing that could be desirable in an encampment--an
elevated spot, nearly surrounded by an open prairie, with water
convenient, and a sufficiency of wood for fuel.[A] The army was now
marched to this spot, and encamped "on a dry piece of ground, which
rose about ten feet above the level of a marshy prairie in front
towards the town; and, about twice as high above a similar prairie in
the rear; through which, near the foot of the hill, ran a small stream
clothed with willows and brush-wood. On the left of the encampment,
this bench of land became wider; on the right, it gradually narrowed,
and terminated in an abrupt point, about one hundred and fifty yards
from the right bank."[B]

[Footnote A: M'Afee's History of the Late War.]

[Footnote B: Ibid.]

The encampment was about three-fourths of a mile from the Prophet's
town; and orders were given, in the event of a night attack, for each
corps to maintain its position, at all hazards, until relieved or
further orders were given to it. The whole army was kept during the
night, in the military position which is called, lying on their arms.
The regular troops lay in their tents, with their accoutrements on, and
their arms by their sides. The militia had no tents, but slept with
their clothes and pouches on, and their guns under them, to keep them
dry. The order of the encampment was the order of battle, for a night
attack; and as every man slept opposite to his post in the line, there
was nothing for the troops to do, in case of an assault, but to rise
and take their position a few steps in the rear of the fires around
which they had reposed. The guard of the night consisted of two
captain's commands of forty-two men, and four non-commissioned officers
each; and two subaltern's guards of twenty men and non-commissioned
officers each--the whole amounting to about one hundred and thirty men,
under the command of a field officer of the day. The night was dark and
cloudy, and after midnight there was a drizzling rain. It was not
anticipated by the governor or his officers, that an attack would be
made during the night: it was supposed that if the Indians had intended
to act offensively, it would have been done on the march of the army,
where situations presented themselves that would have given the Indians
a great advantage. Indeed, within three miles of the town, the army had
passed over ground so broken and unfavorable to its march, that the
position of the troops was necessarily changed, several times, in the
course of a mile. The enemy, moreover, had fortified their town with
care and great labor, as if they intended to act alone on the
defensive. It was a favorite spot with the Indians, having long been
the scene of those mysterious rites, performed by their Prophet, and by
which they had been taught to believe that it was impregnable to the
assaults of the white man.

At four o'clock in the morning of the 7th, governor Harrison, according
to his practice, had risen, preparatory to the calling up the troops;
and was engaged, while drawing on his boots by the fire, in
conversation with general Wells, colonel Owen, and majors Taylor and
Hurst. The orderly-drum had been roused for the purpose of giving the
signal for the troops to turn out, when the attack of the Indians
suddenly commenced upon the left flank of the camp. The whole army was
instantly on its feet; the camp-fires were extinguished; the governor
mounted his horse and proceeded to the point of attack. Several of the
companies had taken their places in the line within forty seconds from
the report of the first gun; and the whole of the troops were prepared
for action in the course of two minutes; a fact as creditable to their
own activity and bravery, as to the skill and energy of their officers.
The battle soon became general, and was maintained on both sides with
signal and even desperate valor. The Indians advanced and retreated by
the aid of a rattling noise, made with deer hoofs, and persevered in
their treacherous attack with an apparent determination to conquer or
die upon the spot. The battle raged with unabated fury and mutual
slaughter, until daylight, when a gallant and successful charge by our
troops, drove the enemy into the swamp, and put an end to the conflict.

Prior to the assault, the Prophet had given assurances to his
followers, that in the coming contest, the Great Spirit would render
the arms of the Americans unavailing; that their bullets would fall
harmless at the feet of the Indians; that the latter should have light
in abundance, while the former would be involved in thick darkness.
Availing himself of the privilege conferred by his peculiar office,
and, perhaps, unwilling in his own person to attest at once the rival
powers of a sham prophecy and a real American bullet, he prudently took
a position on an adjacent eminence; and, when the action began, he
entered upon the performance of certain mystic rites, at the same time
singing a war-song. In the course of the engagement, he was informed
that his men were falling: he told them to fight on,--it would soon be
as he had predicted; and then, in louder and wilder strains, his
inspiring battle-song was heard commingling with the sharp crack of the
rifle and the shrill war-whoop of his brave but deluded followers.

Throughout the action, the Indians manifested more boldness and
perseverance than had, perhaps, ever been exhibited by them on any
former occasion. This was owing, it is supposd, to the influence of the
Prophet, who by the aid of his incantations had inspired them with a
belief that they would certainly overcome their enemy: the supposition,
likewise, that they had taken the governor's army by surprise,
doubtless contributed to the desperate character of their assaults.
They were commanded by some daring chiefs, and although their spiritual
leader was not actually in the battle, he did much to encourage his
followers in their gallant attack. Of the force of the Indians engaged,
there is no certain account. The ordinary number at the Prophet's town
during the preceding summer, was four hundred and fifty; but a few days
before the action, they had been joined by all the Kickapoos of the
prairie, and by several bands of the Potawatamies, from the Illinois
river, and the St. Joseph's of lake Michigan. Their number on the night
of the engagement was probably between eight hundred and one thousand.
Some of the Indians who were in the action, subsequently informed the
agent at fort Wayne, that there were more than a thousand warriors in
the battle, and that the number of wounded was unusually great. In the
precipitation of their retreat, they left thirty-eight on the field;
some were buried during the engagement in their town, others no doubt
died subsequently of their wounds. The whole number of their killed,
was probably not less than fifty.

Of the army under governor Harrison, thirty-five were killed in the
action, and twenty-five died subsequently of their wounds: the total
number of killed and wounded was one hundred and eighty-eight. Among
the former were the lamented colonel Abraham Owen and major Joseph
Hamilton Davies, of Kentucky.

Both officers and men behaved with much coolness and
bravery,--qualities which, in an eminent degree, marked the conduct of
governor Harrison throughout the engagement. The peril to which he was
subjected may be inferred from the fact that a ball passed through his
stock, slightly bruising his neck; another struck his saddle, and
glancing hit his thigh; and a third wounded the horse on which he was

Peace on the frontiers was one of the happy results of this severe and
brilliant action. The tribes which had already joined in the
confederacy were dismayed; and those which had remained neutral now
decided against it.


  Tecumseh returns from the south--proposes to visit the President, but
  declines, because not permitted to go to Washington at the head of a
  party--attends a council at fort Wayne--proceeds to Malden and joins
  the British--governor Harrison's letter to the War Department
  relative to the north-west tribes.

During the two succeeding days, the victorious army remained in camp,
for the purpose of burying the dead and taking care of the wounded. In
the mean time, colonel Wells, with the mounted riflemen, visited the
Prophet's town, and found it deserted by all the Indians except one,
whose leg had been broken in the action. The houses were mostly burnt,
and the corn around the village destroyed. On the ninth the army
commenced its return to Vincennes, having broken up or committed to the
flames all their unnecessary baggage, in order that the wagons might be
used for the transportation of the wounded.

The defeated Indians were greatly exasperated with the Prophet: they
reproached him in bitter terms for the calamity he had brought upon
them, and accused him of the murder of their friends who had fallen in
the action. It seems, that after pronouncing some incantations over a
certain composition, which he had prepared on the night preceding the
action, he assured his followers, that by the power of his art, half of
the invading army was already dead, and the other half in a state of
distraction; and that the Indians would have little to do but rush into
their camp, and complete the work of destruction with their tomahawks.
"You are a liar," said one of the surviving Winnebagoes to him, after
the action, "for you told us that the white people were dead or crazy,
when they were all in their senses and fought like the devil." The
Prophet appeared dejected, and sought to excuse himself on the plea
that the virtue of his composition had been lost by a circumstance of
which he had no knowledge until after the battle was over. His sacred
character, however, was so far forfeited, that the Indians actually
bound him with cords, and threatened to put him to death. After leaving
the Prophet's town, they marched about twenty miles and encamped on the
bank of Wild Cat creek.

In a letter to the war department, dated fourth of December, governor
Harrison writes:

"I have the honor to inform you that two principal chiefs of the
Kickapoos of the prairie, arrived here, bearing a flag, on the evening
before last. The account which they give of the late confederacy under
the Prophet, is as follows: The Prophet, with his Shawanoes, is at a
small Huron village, about twelve miles from his former residence, on
this side of the Wabash, where also were twelve or fifteen Hurons. The
Kickapoos are encamped near the Tippecanoe, the Potawatamies have
scattered and gone to different villages of that tribe. The Winnebagoes
had all set out on their return to their own country, excepting one
chief and nine men, who remained at their former villages. The Prophet
had sent a messenger to the Kickapoos of the prairie to request that he
might be permitted to retire to their town. This was positively
refused, and a warning sent to him not to come there. These chiefs say
that the whole of the tribes who lost warriors in the late action,
attribute their misfortune to the Prophet alone; that they constantly
reproach him with their misfortunes, and threaten him with death; that
they are all desirous of making their peace with the United States, and
will send deputations to me for that purpose, as soon as they are
informed that they will be well received. They further say, that the
Prophet's followers were fully impressed with a belief that they could
defeat us with ease; that it was their intention to have attacked us at
fort Harrison, if we had gone no higher; that Racoon creek was then
fixed on, and finally Pine creek, and that the latter would probably
have been the place, if the usual route had not been abandoned, and a
crossing made higher up; that the attack made on our sentinels at fort
Harrison was intended to shut the door against accommodation; that the
Winnebagoes had forty warriors killed in the action, and the Kickapoos
eleven, and ten wounded. They have never heard how many of the
Potawatamies and other tribes were killed."

With the battle of Tippecanoe, the Prophet lost his popularity and
power among the Indians. His magic wand was broken, and the mysterious
charm by means of which he had for years, played upon the superstitious
minds of this wild people, scattered through a vast extent of country,
was dissipated forever. It was not alone to the character of his
prophetic office that he was indebted for his influence over his
followers. The position which he maintained in regard to the Indian
lands, and the encroachments of the white people upon their hunting
grounds, increased his popularity, which was likewise greatly
strengthened by the respect and deference with which the politic
Tecumseh--the master spirit of his day--uniformly treated him. He had,
moreover, nimble wit, quickness of apprehension, much cunning and a
captivating eloquence of speech. These qualities fitted him for playing
his part with great success; and sustaining for a series of years, the
character of one inspired by the Great Spirit. He was, however, rash,
presumptuous and deficient in judgment. And no sooner was he left
without the sagacious counsel and positive control of Tecumseh, than he
foolishly annihilated his own power, and suddenly crashed the grand
confederacy upon which he and his brother had expended years of labor,
and in the organization of which they had incurred much personal peril
and endured great privation.

Tecumseh returned from the south through Missouri, visited the tribes
on the Des Moins, and crossing the head waters of the Illinois, reached
the Wabash a few days after the disastrous battle of Tippecanoe. It is
believed that he made a strong impression upon all the tribes visited
by him in his extended mission; and that he had laid the foundation of
numerous accessions to his confederacy. He reached the banks of the
Tippecanoe, just in time to witness the dispersion of his followers,
the disgrace of his brother, and the final overthrow of the great
object of his ambition, a union of all the Indian tribes against the
United States: and all this, the result of a disregard to his positive
commands. His mortification was extreme; and it is related on good
authority, that when he first met the Prophet, he reproached him in
bitter terms for having departed from his instructions to preserve
peace with the United States at all hazards. The attempt of the Prophet
to palliate his own conduct, excited the haughty chieftain still more,
and seizing him by the hair and shaking him violently, he threatened to
take his life.

During the ensuing winter, there was peace on the frontiers. In the
month of January, 1812, Little Turtle, the celebrated Miami chief,
wrote to governor Harrison, that all the Prophet's followers had left
him, except two camps of his own tribe, and that Tecumseh had just
joined him with only eight men; from which he concluded there was no
present danger to be apprehended from them. Shortly afterwards,
Tecumseh sent a message to governor Harrison informing him of his
return from the south; and that he was now ready to make the promised
visit to the President. The governor replied, giving his permission for
Tecumseh to go to Washington, but not as the leader of any party of
Indians. The chieftain, who had been accustomed to make his visits to
Vincennes, attended by three or four hundred warriors, all completely
armed, did not choose to present himself to his great father, the
President, shorn of his power and without his retinue. The visit was
declined, and here terminated the intercourse between him and governor

Early in March, the peace of the frontiers was again disturbed by
Indian depredations; and in the course of this and the following month,
several families were murdered on the Wabash and Ohio rivers. On the
15th of May, there was a grand council held at Mississiniway, which was
attended by twelve tribes of Indians. They all professed to be in favor
of peace, and condemned the disturbances which had occurred between the
Indians and the settlers, since the battle of Tippecanoe. Tecumseh was
present at this council and spoke several times. He defied any living
creature to say that he had ever advised any one, directly or
indirectly, to make war upon the whites: it had constantly been his
misfortune, he said, to have his views misrepresented to his white
brethren, and this had been done by pretended chiefs of the
Potawatamies, who had been in the habit of selling land to the white
people, which did not belong to them. "Governor Harrison," he
continued, "made war on my people in my absence: it was the will of God
that he should do so. We hope it will please God that the white people
will let us live in peace. We will not disturb them, neither have we
done it, except when they came to our village with the intention of
destroying us. We are happy to state to our brothers present, that the
unfortunate transaction that took place between the white people and a
few of our young men at our village, has been settled between us and
governor Harrison; and I will further state, that had I been at home,
there would have been no bloodshed at that time."

In the month of June, following this council, Tecumseh made a visit to
fort Wayne, and sought an interview with the Indian agent at that
place. Misfortune had not subdued his haughty spirit nor silenced the
fearless expression of his feelings and opinions. He still maintained
the justice of his position in regard to the ownership of the Indian
lands, disavowed any intention of making war upon the United States,
and reproached governor Harrison for having marched against his people
during his absence. The agent made a long speech to him, presenting
reasons why he should now become the friend and ally of the United
States. To this harangue, Tecumseh listened with frigid indifference,
made a few general remarks in reply, and then with a haughty air, left
the council-house, and took his departure for Malden, where he joined
the British standard.

In taking leave of that part of our subject which relates to the
confederacy of Tecumseh and the Prophet, and the principle on which it
was established, we quote, as relevant to the case, and as an
interesting piece of general history, the following letter from
governor Harrison to the Secretary of War:

_"Cincinnati, March 22_, 1814.

"Sir,--The tribes of Indians on this frontier and east of the
Mississippi, with whom the United States have been connected by treaty,
are the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanoes, Miamis, Potawatamies, Ottawas,
Chippewas, Piankashaws, Kaskaskias and Sacs. All but the two last were
in the confederacy which carried on the former Indian war against the
United States, that was terminated by the treaty of Greenville. The
Kaskaskias were parties to the treaty, but they had not been in the
war. The Wyandots are admitted by the others to be the leading tribe.
They hold the grand _calumet_ which unites them and kindles the council
fire. This tribe is nearly equally divided between the _Crane_, at
Sandusky, who is the grand sachem of the nation, and Walk-in-the-Water,
at Brownstown, near Detroit. They claim the lands bounded by the
settlements of this state, southwardly and eastwardly; and by lake
Erie, the Miami river, and the claim of the Shawanoes upon the
Auglaize, a branch of the latter. They also claim the lands they live
on near Detroit, but I am ignorant to what extent.

"The Wyandots of Sahdusky have adhered to us through the war. Their
chief, the Crane, is a venerable, intelligent and upright man. Within
the tract of land claimed by the Wyandots, a number of Senecas are
settled. They broke off from their own tribe six or eight years ago,
but received a part of the annuity granted that tribe by the United
States, by sending a deputation for it to Buffalo. The claim of the
Wyandots to the lands they occupy, is not disputed, that I know of, by
any other tribe. Their residence on it, however, is not of long
standing, and the country was certainly once the property of the

"Passing westwardly from the Wyandots, we meet with the Shawanoe
settlement at Stony creek, a branch of the Great Miami, and at
Wapauckanata, on the Auglaize. These settlements were made immediately
after the treaty of Greenville, and with the consent of the Miamis,
whom I consider the real owners of these lands. The chiefs of this band
of Shawanoes, Blackhoof, Wolf and Lewis, are attached to us from
principle as well as interest--they are all honest men.

"The Miamis have their principal settlement at the forks of the Wabash,
thirty miles from fort Wayne; and at Mississinaway, thirty miles lower
down. A band of them under the name of Weas, have resided on the
Wabash, sixty miles above Vincennes; and another under the Turtle on
Eel river, a branch of the Wabash, twenty miles north-west of fort
Wayne. By an artifice of Little Turtle, these three bands were passed
on general Wayne as distinct tribes, and an annuity granted to each.
The Eel river and Weas, however, to this day call themselves Miamis,
and are recognized as such by the Mississinaway band. The Miamis,
Maumees or Tewicktowes, are the undoubted proprietors of all that
beautiful country which is watered by the Wabash and its branches; and
there is as little doubt that their claim extended at least as far east
as the Scioto. They have no tradition of removing from any other
quarter of the country; whereas all the neighboring tribes, the
Piankishaws excepted, who are a branch of the Miamis, are either
intruders upon them, or have been permitted to settle in their country.
The Wyandots emigrated first from lake Ontario, and subsequently from
lake Huron--the Delawares from Pennsylvania and Maryland--the Shawanoes
from Georgia--the Kickapoos and Potawatamies from the country between
lake Michigan and the Mississippi--and the Ottawas and Chippewas from
the peninsula formed by lakes Michigan, Huron and St Clair, and the
strait connecting the latter with Erie. The claims of the Miamis were
bounded on the north and west by those of the Illinois confederacy,
consisting originally of five tribes, called Kaskaskias, Cahokias,
Peorians, Michiganians, and Temorais, speaking the Miami language, and
no doubt branches of that nation.

"When I was first appointed governor of Indiana territory, these once
powerful tribes were reduced to about thirty warriors, of whom
twenty-five were Kaskaskias, four Peorians, and a single Michiganian.
There was an individual lately alive at St. Louis, who saw the
enumeration made of them by the Jesuits in the year 1745, making the
number of their warriors four thousand. A furious war between them and
the Sacs and Kickapoos, reduced them to that miserable remnant, which
had taken refuge amongst the white people of the towns of Kaskaskias
and St. Genevieve. The Kickapoos had fixed their principal village at
Peoria, upon the south bank of the Illinois river, while the Sacs
remained masters of the country to the north.

"During the war of our Revolution, the Miamis had invited the Kickapoos
into their country to assist them against the whites, and a
considerable village was formed by that tribe on Vermillion river, near
its junction with the Wabash. After the treaty of Greenville, the
Delawares had, with the approbation of the Miamis, removed from the
mouth of the Auglaize to the head waters of White river, a large branch
of the Wabash--and the Potawatamies, without their consent, had formed
two villages upon the latter river, one at Tippecanoe, and the other at
Chippoy, twenty-five miles below.

"The Piankishaws lived in the neighborhood of Vincennes, which was
their ancient village, and claimed the lands to the mouth of the
Wabash, and to the north and west as far as the Kaskaskias claimed.
Such was the situation of the tribes, when I received instructions from
President Jefferson, shortly after his first election, to make efforts
for extinguishing the Indian claims upon the Ohio, below the mouth of
the Kentucky river, and to such other tracts as were necessary to
connect and consolidate our settlements. It was at once determined,
that the community of interests in the lands amongst the Indian tribes,
which seemed to be recognized by the treaty of Greenville, should be
objected to; and that each individual tribe should be protected in
every claim that should appear to be founded in reason and justice. But
it was also determined, that as a measure of policy and liberality,
such tribes as lived upon any tract of land which it would be desirable
to purchase, should receive a portion of the compensation, although the
title might be exclusively in another tribe. Upon this principle the
Delawares, Shawanoes, Potawatamies, and Kickapoos, were admitted as
parties to several of the treaties. Care was taken, however, to place
the title to such tracts as might be desirable to purchase hereafter,
upon a footing that would facilitate the procuring of them, by getting
the tribes who had no claim themselves, and who might probably
interfere, to recognize the titles of those who were ascertained to
possess them.

"This was particularly the case with regard to the lands watered by the
Wabash, which were declared to be the property of the Miamis, with the
exception of the tract occupied by the Delawares on White river, which
was to be considered the joint property of them and the Miamis. This
arrangement was very much disliked by Tecumseh, and the banditti that
he had assembled at Tippecanoe. He complained loudly, as well of the
sales that had been made, as of the principle of considering a
particular tribe as the exclusive proprietors of any part of the
country, which he said the Great Spirit had given to all his red
children. Besides the disaffected amongst the neighboring tribes, he
had brought together a considerable number of Winnebagoes and
Folsovoins, from the neighborhood of Green Bay, Sacs from the
Mississippi, and some Ottawas and Chippewas from Abercrosh on lake
Michigan. These people were better pleased with the climate and country
of the Wabash, than with that they had left.

"The Miamis resisted the pretensions of Tecumseh and his followers for
some time; but a system of terror was adopted, and the young men were
seduced by eternally placing before them a picture of labor, and
restriction as to hunting, to which the system adopted would inevitably
lead. The Potawatamies and other tribes inhabiting the Illinois river
and south of lake Michigan, had been for a long time approaching
gradually towards the Wabash. Their country, which was never abundantly
stocked with game, was latterly almost exhausted of it. The fertile
regions of the Wabash still afforded it. It was represented, that the
progressive settlements of the whites upon that river, would soon
deprive them of their only resource, and indeed would force the Indians
of that river upon them who were already half starved.

"It is a fact, that for many years the current of emigration, as to the
tribes east of the Mississippi, has been from north to south. This is
owing to two causes; the diminution of those animals from which the
Indians procure their support; and the pressure of the two great
tribes, the Chippewas and Sioux, to the north and west. So long ago as
the treaty of Greenville, the Potawatamies gave notice to the Miamis,
that they intended to settle upon the Wabash. They made no pretensions
to the country, and their only excuse for the intended aggression was,
that they were 'tired of eating fish and wanted meat.' It has already
been observed that the Sacs had extended themselves to the Illinois
river, and that the settlements of the Kickapoos at the Peorias was of
modern date. Previously to the commencement of the present war, a
considerable number had joined their brethren on the Wabash. The Tawas
from the Des Moins river, have twice made attempts to get a footing

       *       *       *       *       *

"The question of the title to the lands south of the Wabash, has been
thoroughly examined; every opportunity was afforded to Tecumseh and his
party to exhibit their pretensions, and they were found to rest upon no
other basis than that of their being the common property of all the
Indians. The Potawatamies and Kickapoos have unequivocally acknowledged
the Miami and Delaware titles."


  Tecumseh participates in the battle of Brownstown--commands the
  Indians in the action near Maguaga--present at Hull's
  surrender--general Brock presents him his military sash--attack on
  Chicago brought about by Tecumseh.

On the 18th of June, 1812, the congress of the United States made a
formal declaration of war against Great Britain. This gave a new aspect
to affairs on the north-western frontier; and at the first commencement
of hostilities between these two powers, Tecumseh was in the field,
prepared for the conflict. In the month of July, when general Hull
crossed over from Detroit into Canada, this chief, with a party of
thirty Potawatamies and Shawanoes, was at Malden. About the same time
there was an assemblage at Brownstown, opposite to Malden, of those
Indians who were inclined to neutrality in the war. A deputation was
sent to the latter place, inviting Tecumseh to attend this council.
"No," said he, indignantly, "I have taken sides with the King, my
father, and I will suffer my bones to bleach upon this shore, before I
will recross that stream to join in any council of neutrality." In a
few days he gave evidence of the sincerity of this declaration, by
personally commanding the Indians in the first action that ensued after
the declaration of war.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

Early in August, general Hull, then in Detroit, was notified by express
that a company of Ohio volunteers, under the command of captain Henry
Brush, with provisions for the army, were near the river Raisin, and
needed an escort, as it had been ascertained that some British and a
considerable body of Indians, under the command of Tecumseh, had
crossed from Malden to Brownstown, with a view to intercept this
convoy. General Hull, after some delay, gave a reluctant consent to the
colonels of the Ohio militia, that a detachment of troops might march
to the relief of colonel Brush. Major Van Horne, with a small body of
men, started as an escort to the mail, with orders to join captain
Brush at the river Raisin. He set off on the fourth of August, marching
that evening as far as the river De Corce. On the next day, captain
McCullough of the spies, was killed by some Indians. In the course of
the succeeding one, near Brownstown, the detachment under major Van
Horne was suddenly attacked by the Indians, who were lying in ambush.
Apprehensive of being surrounded and entirely cut off, the major
ordered a retreat, which was continued to the river De Corce, the enemy
pursuing them to that point. Our loss was seventeen killed, besides
several wounded, who were left behind. Among the former were captains
Ulry, Gilchrist, Boersler, lieutenant Pents, and ensign Ruby. The loss
of so many officers resulted from their attempts to rally the men. The
loss of the enemy was supposed to be equal to that sustained by major
Van Horne. There were about forty British soldiers and seventy Indians
in this engagement, the latter being commanded by Tecumseh in person.

After general Hull had ingloriously retreated from Canada, he detached
colonel Miller, with majors Van Horne and Morrison, and a body of
troops, amounting to six hundred, to make a second effort to reach
captain Brush. They were attended by some artillerists with one six
pounder and a howitzer. The detachment marched from Detroit on the
eighth, and in the afternoon of the ninth the front guard, commanded by
captain Snelling, was fired upon by a line of British and Indians,
about two miles below the village of Maguaga. At the moment of the
attack, the main body was marching in two lines, and captain Snelling
maintained his position in a gallant manner, until the line was formed
and marched to the ground he occupied, where the whole, except the rear
guard, was brought into action. The British were entrenched behind a
breast-work of logs, with the Indians on the left covered by a thick
wood. Colonel Miller ordered his whole line to advance, and when within
a short distance of the enemy, fired upon them, and immediately
followed it up by a charge with fixed bayonets, when the whole British
line and the Indians commenced a retreat. They were vigorously pursued
for near two miles. The Indians on the left were commanded by Tecumseh,
and fought with great bravery, but were forced to retreat. Our loss in
this severe and well fought action was ten killed and thirty-two
wounded of the regular troops, and eight killed and twenty-eight
wounded of the Ohio and Michigan militia. The full extent of the force
of the enemy is not known. There were four hundred regulars and
Canadian militia, under command of major Muir, and a considerable body
of Indians under Tecumseh. Forty of the latter were found dead on the
field: fifteen of the British regulars were killed and wounded, and
four taken prisoners. The loss of the Canadian militia and volunteers,
was never ascertained, but is supposed, from the position which they
occupied in the action, to have been considerable. Both major Muir and
Tecumseh were wounded. The bravery and good conduct of the latter, in
this engagement, are supposed to have led to his being shortly
afterwards appointed a brigadier general, in the service of the British

When Detroit was captured, on the 16th of August, Tecumseh was at the
head of the Indians. After the surrender, general Brock requested him
not to allow his men to ill-treat the prisoners, to which he replied,
"no! I despise them too much to meddle with them."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of the Indians, by S.G. Drake.]

"Tecumseh was an excellent judge of position; and not only knew, but
could point out the localities of the whole country through which he
passed. His facility of communicating the information he had acquired,
was thus displayed before a concourse of spectators. Previously to
general Brock's crossing over to Detroit, he asked him what sort of a
country he should have to pass through, in case of his proceeding
farther. Tecumseh, taking a roll of elm bark, and extending it on the
ground by means of four stones, drew forth his scalping knife, and with
the point presently etched upon the bark a plan of the country, its
hills, rivers, woods, morasses and roads; a plan which, if not as neat,
was for the purpose required, fully as intelligible as if Arrowsmith
himself had prepared it. Pleased with this unexpected talent in
Tecumseh, also by his having, with his characteristic boldness, induced
the Indians, not of his immediate party, to cross the Detroit, prior to
the embarkation of the regulars and militia, general Brock, as soon as
the business was over, publicly took off his sash, and placed it round
the body of the chief. Tecumseh received the honor with evident
gratification; but was next day seen without his sash. General Brock
fearing something had displeased the Indian, sent his interpreter for
an explanation. The latter soon returned with an account, that
Tecumseh, not wishing to wear such a mark of distinction, when an
older, and as he said, abler warrior than himself, was present, had
transferred the sash to the Wyandot chief, Roundhead."[A]

[Footnote A: James' Military Occurrences of the Late War.]

On the 15th of August, the garrison of Chicago, situated in the
south-western bend of lake Michigan,--consisting of about seventy men,
with some women and children,--were attacked by a large body of
Indians, who had been lying around the fort for some time, professing
neutrality. The whole were either murdered or taken prisoners. The
garrison, under the direction of captains Heald and Wells, having
destroyed the fort and distributed the public stores among the Indians,
was about to retreat towards fort Wayne. As the Indians around Chicago
had not yet taken sides in the war, the garrison would probably have
escaped, had not Tecumseh, immediately after the attack upon major
Vanhorn, at Brownstown, sent a runner to these Indians, claiming the
victory over that officer; and conveying to them information that
general Hull had returned to Detroit; and that there was every prospect
of success over him. This intelligence reached the Indians the night
previous the evacuation of Chicago, and led them at once, as Tecumseh
had anticipated, to become the allies of the British army.

At the period of colonel Campbell's expedition against the
Mississinaway towns, in the month of December, Tecumseh was in that
neighborhood, with about six hundred Indians, whose services he had
engaged as allies of Great Britian. He was not in the battle of the
river Raisin on the 22d of January. Had he been present on that
occasion, the known magnanimity of his character, justifies the belief
that the horrible massacre of prisoners, which followed that action,
would not have taken place. Not only the savages, but their savage
leaders, Proctor and Elliott, would have been held in check, by a chief
who, however daring and dreadful in the hour of battle, was never known
to ill-treat or murder a prisoner.


  Siege of fort Meigs--Tecumseh commands the Indians--acts with
  intrepidity--rescues the American prisoners from the tomahawk and
  scalping knife, after Dudley's defeat--reported agreement between
  Proctor and Tecumseh, that general Harrison, if taken prisoner,
  should be delivered to the latter to be burned.

Fort Meigs, situated on the south-east side of the Miami of the lakes,
and at the foot of the rapids of that stream, was an octagonal
enclosure, with eight block houses, picketed with timber, and
surrounded by ditches. It was two thousand five hundred yards in
circumference, and required, to garrison it with efficiency, about two
thousand men. It was constructed under the immediate superintendence of
colonel E. D. Wood, of the corps of engineers, one of the most
scientific and gallant officers of the late war. This post, which was
established in the spring of 1813, was important not only for the
protection of the frontiers, but as the depot for the artillery,
military stores and provisions, necessary for the prosecution of the
ensuing campaign. These circumstances could not fail to attract the
attention of the enemy; and the commander of the American army was not
disappointed in supposing that fort Meigs would be the first point of
attack, upon the opening of the spring, by the combined forces of
Proctor and Tecumseh.

In the latter part of March, intelligence reached this post that
Proctor had issued a general order for assembling the Canadian militia
at Sandwich, on the 7th of April, to unite in an expedition against
fort Meigs. This information gave a fresh impulse to the efforts then
making to render the fort, which was still in an unfinished state, as
strong as possible. On the 8th of April, colonel Ball arrived with two
hundred dragoons; and on the 12th general Harrison reached the fort
with three hundred men from the posts on the Auglaize and St. Mary's.
Vigorous preparations were now made for the anticipated siege. On the
19th, a scouting party returned from the river Raisin, with three
Frenchmen, who stated that the British were still making arrangements
for an attack on this post; and were assembling a very large Indian
force. They informed general Harrison that Tecumseh and the Prophet had
reached Sandwich, with about six hundred Indians, collected in the
country between lake Michigan and the Wabash. This intelligence removed
the apprehension entertained by the general, that the Indians intended
to fall upon the posts in his rear, while Proctor should attack fort
Meigs. On the 26th, the advance of the enemy was discovered at the
mouth of the bay; and on the 28th, the British and Indian forces were
found to be within a few miles of the fort. At this time, only a part
of the troops destined for the defence of the place, had arrived; but
the remainder, under the command of general Green Clay, of Kentucky,
were daily expected. So soon as the fort was actually invested by the
Indians, an express was sent by the commander-in-chief, to inform
general Clay of the fact, and direct his subsequent movements. This
dangerous enterprise--for the Indians were already in considerable
numbers around the fort--was undertaken and successfully executed by
captain William Oliver,[A] a gallant young officer belonging to the
commissary's department, who, to a familiar acquaintance with the
geography of the country, united much knowledge of Indian warfare.
Attended by a white man and a Delaware Indian, Oliver traversed the
country to fort Findlay, thence to fort Amanda, and finally met with
general Clay at fort Winchester, on the 2d of May, and communicated to
him general Harrison's instructions.

[Footnote A: Now Major William Oliver, of Cincinnati. It is but an act
of justice to this gentleman to state that, for the voluntary
performance of this service, he refused all pecuniary compensation.
General Harrison subsequently, in a letter to major Oliver, in relation
to this service, says, "To prevent the possibility of these orders
coming to the knowledge of the enemy, they could not be committed to
writing, but must be communicated verbally, by a confidential officer.
The selection of one suited to the performance of this important trust
was a matter of no little difficulty. To the qualities of undoubted
patriotism, moral firmness, as well as active courage, sagacity and
prudence, it was necessary that he should unite a thorough knowledge of
the country through which the troops were to pass, and of all the
localities of the position upon which they were advancing. Without the
latter, the possession of the former would be useless, and the absence
of either of the former might render the latter not only useless, but
in the highest degree mischievous. Although there was no coincidence
between the performance of this duty and those which appertained to the
department of the staff in which you held an appointment, [the
commissariat] I did not long hesitate in fixing on you for this

Soon after Oliver had started on this enterprise, the gunboats of the
enemy approached the site of old fort Miami, on the opposite side of
the river, about two miles below fort Meigs. In the course of the
ensuing night they commenced the erection of three batteries, opposite
the fort on a high bank, about three hundred yards from the river, the
intermediate space of ground being open and partly covered with water.
Two of them were gun batteries, with four embrasures, and were situated
higher up the river than the fort; the third was a bomb battery, placed
a short distance below. Early the next morning, a fire was opened upon
them from the fort, which, to some extent, impeded the progress of the
works. On the morning of the 30th, the enemy, under a heavy and
somewhat fatal fire from the guns of the fort, raised and adjusted
their cannon, while at the same time, a number of boats filled with
Indians were seen crossing to the south-eastern side of the river.

On the morning of the first of May, the British batteries were
completed; and about ten o'clock, the enemy appeared to be adjusting
their guns on certain objects in the fort. "By this time our troops had
completed a grand traverse, about twelve feet high, upon a base of
twenty feet, three hundred yards long, on the most elevated ground
through the middle of the camp, calculated to ward off the shot of the
enemy's batteries. Orders were given for all the tents in front to be
instantly removed into its rear, which was effected in a few minutes,
and that beautiful prospect of cannonading and bombarding our lines,
which but a few moments before had excited the skill and energy of the
British engineer, was now entirely fled; and in its place nothing was
to be seen but an immense shield of earth, which entirely obscured the
whole army. Not a tent nor a single person was to be seen. Those canvas
houses, which had concealed the growth of the traverse from the view of
the enemy, were now protected and hid in their turn. The prospect of
_smoking us out,_ was now at best but very faint. But as neither
general Proctor nor his officers were yet convinced of the folly and
futility of their laborious preparations, their batteries were opened,
and five days were spent in arduous cannonading and bombarding, to
bring them to this salutary conviction. A tremendous cannonading was
kept up all the rest of the day, and shells were thrown until 11
o'clock at night. Very little damage, however, was done in the camp;
one or two were killed, and three or four wounded; among the latter was
major Amos Stoddard, of the first regiment of artillery, a survivor of
the revolution, and an officer of much merit. He was wounded slightly
with a piece of shell, and about ten days afterwards died with the

"The fire of the enemy was returned from the fort with one eighteen
pounder with some effect, though but sparingly, for the stock of
eighteen pound shot was but small, there being but three hundred and
sixty of that size in the fort when the siege commenced; and about the
same number for the twelve pounders."[A]

[Footnote A: M'Affee.]

Throughout the whole of the second day the firing was continued with
great spirit, but without doing much damage on either side. General
Harrison, in anticipation of a transfer of the enemy's guns to the
other side of the river, and the establishment of batteries to play
upon the centre or flanks of the camp, had directed the construction of
works calculated to resist such an attack; and they were in a state of
considerable forwardness on the morning of the third, when, from the
bushes on the left of the fort, three field pieces and a howitzer were
suddenly opened upon the camp by the enemy. The fire was returned with
such effect, that general Proctor was soon compelled to change his
position. His batteries were again opened on the camp from another
point, but without doing much injury. On the fourth, the fire of the
enemy was renewed, but with less energy than on the previous days, the
result, it is supposed, of a belief that their efforts to reduce the
fort would fail. General Harrison was waiting the arrival of general
Clay with his reinforcements. Late in the night of the fourth, captain
Oliver, accompanied by majors David Trimble and ---- Taylor, with
fifteen Ohio militia, having left general Clay above the rapids,
started in a boat for the fort, that the commanding general, by knowing
the position of the reinforcements, might form his plans for the
ensuing day. The effort to reach the fort under the existing
circumstances was extremely dangerous. Captain Leslie Combs had already
attempted it, and failed. He had been sent by colonel Dudley, upon his
arrival at Defiance, to inform general Harrison of the fact. With five
men, the captain approached within a mile of the fort, when he was
attacked by the Indians, and compelled to retreat after a gallant
resistance, in which nearly all his companions were killed. When Oliver
drew near the fort, the night was extremely dark, and he was only
enabled to discover the spot by the spreading branches of a solitary
oak tree, standing within the fortification. The boat was fired upon by
the sentinels of the fort, but on their being hailed by captain Oliver,
no further alarm was given. After landing and wading over a ravine
filled with water, the party groped their way to one of the gates, and
were admitted. Tecumseh and his Indians were extremely vigilant, and,
at night, usually came close to the ramparts for the purpose of
annoying our troops, as opportunity might offer. So soon as general
Harrison had received the information brought by captain Oliver and his
companions, he made his arrangements for the ensuing day. Captain
Hamilton, attended by a subaltern, was immediately despatched up the
river in a canoe with orders to general Clay. The captain met him at
daylight five miles above the fort, the boats conveying the
reinforcements having been delayed by the darkness of the night.
Captain Hamilton delivered the following order to general Clay. "You
must detach about eight hundred men from your brigade, and land them at
a point I will show you about a mile or a mile and a half above camp
Meigs. I will then conduct the detachment to the British batteries on
the left bank of the river. The batteries must be taken, the cannon
spiked, and the carriages cut down; and the troops must then return to
their boats and cross over to the fort. The balance of your men must
land on the fort-side of the river, opposite the first landing, and
fight their way into the fort through the Indians. The route they must
take will be pointed out by a subaltern officer how with me, who will
land the canoe on the right bank of the river to point out the landing
for the boats."[A] As soon as these orders were received by general
Clay, who was in the thirteenth boat from the front, he directed
captain Hamilton to go to colonel Dudley, with orders to take the
twelve front boats and execute the plan of the commanding general on
the left bank of the river; and to post the subaltern with the canoe on
the right bank, at the point where the remainder of the reinforcement
was directed to land. It was the design of general Harrison while the
troops under Dudley were destroying the enemy's batteries on the
north-west side of the river, and general Clay was fighting the Indians
above the fort on the south-east side, to send out a detachment to take
and spike the British guns on the south side.

[Footnote A: M'Affee.]

General Clay ordered the five remaining boats to fall behind the one
occupied by him; but in attempting to do so, they were driven on shore,
and thus thrown half a mile into the rear. The general kept close to
the right bank, intending to land opposite to the detachment under
Dudley, but finding no guide there, and the Indians having commenced a
brisk fire on his boat, he attempted to cross to the detachment. The
current, however, was so swift, that it soon carried him too far down
for that project; he therefore turned back, and landed on the right
bank further down. Captain Peter Dudley, with a part of his company,
was in this boat, making in the whole upwards of fifty men, who now
marched into camp without loss, amidst a shower of grape from the
British batteries and the fire of some Indians. The boat with their
baggage and four sick soldiers, was left, as the general supposed, in
the care of two men who met him at his landing, and by whom he expected
she would be brought down under the guns of the fort. In a few minutes,
however, she fell into the hands of the Indians. The attempt which he
had made to cross the river, induced colonel Boswell, with the rear
boats, to land on the opposite side; but as soon as captain Hamilton
discovered the error under which he was acting, he instructed him to
cross over and fight his way into camp. When he arrived at the south
side, he was annoyed on landing by the Indians; and as soon as his men
were on shore, he formed them and returned the fire of the enemy; at
the same time he was directed by captain Shaw, from the commanding
general, to march in open order, through the plain, to the fort. As
there was now a large body of Indians on his flank, general Harrison
determined to send out a reinforcement from the garrison to enable him
to beat them. Accordingly, Alexander's brigade, a part of Johnson's
battalion, and the companies of captains Nearing and Dudley, were
ordered to prepare for this duty. When the Kentuckians reached the
gates of the fort, these troops were ready to join them. Having formed
in order--colonel Boswell being on the right,--they marched against the
Indians, who were superior to them in numbers, and at the point of the
bayonet, forced them into the woods to the distance of half a mile or
more. Such was the ardor of our troops, in the pursuit, that it was
difficult, especially for the Kentucky officers, to induce their men to

General Harrison had now taken a position on one of the batteries of
the fort, that he might see the various movements which at this moment
claimed his attention. He soon perceived a detachment of British and
Indians passing along the edge of the woods, with a view to reach the
left and rear of the corps under Boswell: he forthwith despatched his
volunteer aid, John T. Johnston, to recall the troops under Boswell
from the pursuit. Johnston's horse having been killed before he
delivered this order, it was repeated through major Graham, and a
retreat was commenced: the Indians promptly rallied and boldly pursued
them for some distance, killing and wounding a number of our troops. So
soon as the commanding general perceived that colonel Dudley and his
detachment had reached the batteries on the northern bank of the river,
and entered successfully upon the execution of the duty assigned them,
he ordered colonel John Miller of the regulars to make a sortie from
the fort, against the batteries which the enemy had erected on the
south side of the river. The detachment assigned to colonel Miller,
amounted to about three hundred and fifty men, composed of the
companies and parts of companies of captains Langham, Croghan,
Bradford, Nearing, Elliott, and lieutenants Gwynne and Campbell of the
regular troops; the volunteers of Alexander's battalion; and captain
Sebree's company of Kentucky militia. Colonel Miller and his men
charged upon, the enemy, and drove them from their position; spiked the
cannon at their batteries, and secured forty-one prisoners. The force
of the enemy, thus driven and defeated, consisted of two hundred
British regulars, one hundred and fifty Canadians and about five
hundred Indians, under the immediate command of Tecumseh, in all more
than double the force of the detachment under colonel Miller. In this
sortie, captain Sebree's company of militia, was particularly
distinguished. With the intrepid bravery and reckless ardor for which
the Kentucky troops are noted, they plunged into the thickest ranks of
the enemy, and were for a time surrounded by the Indians, who gallantly
pressed upon them; but they maintained their ground, until lieutenant
Gwynne,[A] of the 19th regiment, perceiving their imminent peril,
boldly charged upon the Indians, with a portion of captain Elliott's
company, and released captain Sebree and his men from their dangerous
situation. Had the force of colonel Miller been something stronger, he
would probably have captured the whole of the enemy, then on the south
side of the river. The British and Indians suffered severely, being
finally driven back and thrown into confusion. As colonel Miller
commenced his return to the fort, the enemy rallied and pressed with
great bravery upon his rear, until he arrived near the breast-works. A
considerable number of our soldiers were left dead on the field, and
several officers were wounded.

[Footnote A: Major David Gwynne, now of Cincinnati.]

Colonel Dudley's movements on the north side of the river, are now to
be noticed. A landing was effected by his detachment, which was
immediately marched off, through an open plain, to a hill clothed with
timber. Here the troops were formed into three columns, colonel Dudley
placing himself at the head of the right, major Shelby leading the
left, and captain Morrison, acting as major, the centre. The distance
from the place where the detachment was formed in order, to the point
to be attacked, was near two miles. The batteries were engaged in
cannonading camp Meigs, when the column led by major Shelby, being a
few hundred yards in advance of the others, rushed at full speed upon
those having charge of the guns, and carried them without the loss of a
single man. When the British flag was cut down, the garrison of fort
Meigs shouted for joy. The grand object of the enterprise having been
achieved, the general, who was watching the movements of the
detachment, made signs to them to retreat to their boats; but to his
great surprise, and in express disobedience of the orders transmitted
through colonel Hamilton, our troops remained at the batteries, quietly
looking around, without spiking the cannon, cutting down the carriages
or destroying the magazines. This delay proved fatal to them. The
general, alarmed for their safety, now offered a very high reward to
any individual who would bear fresh orders to colonel Dudley and his
men, to return to their boats and cross over the river to the fort. The
service was undertaken by lieutenant Campbell. "About the time when the
batteries were taken a body of Indians, lying in ambush, had fired on a
party of spies under captain Combs, who had marched down on the extreme
left of the detachment. Presently colonel Dudley gave orders to
reinforce the spies, and the greater part of the right and centre
columns rushed into the woods in confusion, with their colonel among
them--to fight the Indians, whom they routed and pursued near two
miles. The left column remained in possession of the batteries, till
the fugitive artillerists returned with a reinforcement from the main
British camp, and attacked them. Some of them were then made prisoners,
others fled to the boats, and a part, who were rallied by the exertions
of their major, marched to the aid of colonel Dudley. The Indians had
also been reinforced, and the confusion in which major Shelby found the
men under Dudley, was so great as to amount to a cessation of
resistance; while the savages, skulking around them, continued the work
of destruction in safety. At last a retreat commenced in disorder, but
the greater part of the men were captured by the Indians, or
surrendered to the British at the batteries. The gallant but
unfortunate colonel Dudley, after being wounded, was overtaken and
despatched with the tomahawk. The number of those who escaped and got
into the fort, out of the whole detachment, was considerably below two
hundred. Had the orders which colonel Dudley received, been duly
regarded, or a proper degree of judgment exercised on the occasion, the
day would certainly have been an important one for the country, and a
glorious one for the army. Every thing might have been accomplished
agreeably to the wishes and intentions of the general, with the loss of
but few men. When the approach of the detachment under Dudley was
reported to Proctor, he supposed it to be the main force of the
American army, from which he was apprehensive that he might sustain a
total defeat: he therefore recalled a large portion of his British and
Indians from the opposite shore. They did not arrive, however, in time
to partake in the contest on the north side."[A]

[Footnote A: M'Affee.]

After the fighting had ceased on the fifth, the British general sent a
flag to the fort by major Chambers, and his introduction to general
Harrison was succeeded by the following significant dialogue:

"_Major Chambers._ General Proctor has directed me to demand the
surrender of this post. He wishes to spare the effusion of blood.

"_General Harrison._ The demand, under present circumstances, is a most
extraordinary one. As general Proctor did not send me a summons to
surrender on his first arrival, I had supposed that he believed me
determined to do my duty. His present message indicates an opinion of
me that I am at a loss to account for.

"_Major Chambers._ General Proctor could never think of saying anything
to wound your feelings, sir. The character of general Harrison, as an
officer, is well known. General Proctor's force is very respectable,
and there is with him a larger body of Indians than has ever before
been embodied.

"_General Harrison._ I believe I have a very correct idea of general
Proctor's force; it is not such as to create the least apprehension for
the result of the contest, whatever shape he may be pleased hereafter
to give it. Assure the general, however, that he will never have this
post _surrendered_ to him upon any terms. Should it fall into his
hands, it will be in a manner calculated to do him more honor, and to
give him larger claims upon the gratitude of his government than any
capitulation could possibly do."

The siege was continued, but without any very active efforts against
the fort, until the morning of the 9th of May, when the enemy retreated
down the bay, leaving behind them a quantity of cannon balls, and other
valuable articles.

The force under general Proctor amounted, as nearly as could be
ascertained, to six hundred regulars, eight hundred Canadian militia,
and about eighteen hundred Indians. The number of troops under general
Harrison, including those which arrived on the morning of the fifth,
under general Clay, was about twelve hundred in all. The number fit for
duty did not, perhaps, equal eleven hundred.

The number of the American troops killed and massacred on the north
side of the river, was upwards of seventy. One hundred and eighty-nine
were wounded, and eighty-one killed, in the two sorties from the fort.
The loss of the British and Indians, in killed and wounded, could never
be satisfactorily ascertained. That it was very considerable, there can
be no doubt.

The enemy brought against fort Meigs a combined army of near three
thousand men, under Proctor, Elliott and Tecumseh, and prepared, by a
train of artillery, for vigorous operations. These were prosecuted with
skill and energy. The Indians, led on by the daring Tecumseh, fought
with uncommon bravery, and contributed largely to swell the list of our
killed and wounded. It is said, that the sagacious leader of the Indian
forces did not enter upon this siege with any strong hopes of ultimate
success; but having embarked in it, he stood manfully in the post of
danger, and took an active, if not a leading part, in planning and
executing the various movements which were made against the fort. The
spirit with which these were prosecuted may be in part inferred from
the fact, that during the first five days of the siege, the enemy fired
upon the fort with their cannon, fifteen hundred times,[A] many of
their balls and bombs being red-hot, and directed specially at the two
block houses containing the ammunition. These shots made no decided
impression upon the picketing of the fort, but killed or wounded about
eighty of the garrison.

[Footnote A: Brown's History of the Late War.]

It has been already stated that the distinguished leader of the
Indians, in this assault upon camp Meigs, entered upon it with no
sanguine hopes of success. His associate, general Proctor, however, is
said to have entertained a different opinion, and flattered himself and
his troops with the prospect of splendid success and rich rewards. In
case of the reduction of the fort and the capture of its garrison, the
British general intended to assign the Michigan territory to the
Prophet and his followers, as a compensation for their services; and
general Harrison was to have been delivered into the hands of Tecumseh,
to be disposed of at the pleasure of that chief.[A]

[Footnote A: M'Affee.]

One of the public journals of the day[A] states that this proposition
originated with Proctor, and was held out as an inducement to Tecumseh,
to join in the siege. General Harrison subsequently understood, that in
case he had fallen into Proctor's hands, he was to have been delivered
to Tecumseh, to be treated as that warrior might think proper: and in a
note to Dawson's Historical Narrative, the author of that work says,
"There is no doubt that when Proctor made the arrangement for the
attack on fort Meigs with Tecumseh, the latter insisted and the former
agreed, that general Harrison and all who fought at Tippecanoe, should
be given up to the Indians to be burned. Major Ball of the dragoons
ascertained this fact from prisoners, deserters and Indians, all of
whom agreed to its truth." Whatever may have been the actual agreement
between Proctor and Tecumseh in regard to general Harrison and those
who fought with him at Tippecanoe, it is hardly credible that this
chief had any intention of participating in an outrage of this kind,
upon the prisoners. Tecumseh may possibly have made such an arrangement
with Proctor, and announced it to the Indians, for the purpose of
exciting them to activity and perseverance, in carrying on the siege;
but that this chief seriously meditated any such outrage, either
against general Harrison or his associates, is not to be credited but
on the best authority. It will be recollected that Tecumseh, when but a
youth, succeeded by his personal influence, in putting an end to the
custom of burning prisoners, then common among a branch of the
Shawanoes. In 1810, at a conference with general Harrison, in
Vincennes, he made an agreement that prisoners and women and children,
in the event of hostilities between the whites and the Indians, should
be protected; and there is no evidence that this compact was ever
violated by him; or indeed, that through the whole course of his
eventful life, he ever committed violence upon a prisoner, or suffered
others to do so without promptly interfering for the captive. To
suppose, then, that he really intended to permit general Harrison, or
those who fought with him on the Wabash, to be burned, would have been
at variance with the whole tenor of his life; and particularly with his
manly and magnanimous conduct at the close of the assault upon fort

[Footnote A: The Chillicothe Fredonian.]

The prisoners captured on the fifth, were, taken down to Proctor's
head-quarters and confined in fort Miami, where the Indians were
permitted to amuse, themselves by firing at the crowd, or at any
particular individual. Those whose taste led them to inflict a more
cruel and savage death, led their victims to the gateway, where, under
the eye of general Proctor and his officers, they were coolly
tomahawked and scalped. Upwards of twenty prisoners were thus, in the
course of two hours, massacred in cold blood, by those to whom they had
voluntarily surrendered. At the same time, the chiefs of the different
tribe were holding a council to determine the fate of the remaining
captives, when Tecumseh and colonel Elliott came down from the
batteries to the scene of carnage.

A detailed account of the noble conduct of the former in regard to
these captives is contained in the following extract from a letter,[A]
upon the accuracy of which reliance may be placed. The writer, after
contrasting the brave and humane Tecumseh with the cruel and reckless
Proctor, says:

"The most unfortunate event of that contest, I presume you will admit
to have been the defeat of colonel Dudley. I will give you a statement
made to me by a British officer who was present. He states, that when
colonel Dudley landed his troops, Tecumseh, the brave but unfortunate
commander, was on the south side of the river, annoying the American
garrison with his Indians; and that Proctor, with a part of his troops
and a few Indians, remained on the opposite side at the batteries.
Dudley attacked him, and pursued him two miles. During this time,
Harrison had sent out a detachment to engage Tecumseh; and that the
contest with him continued a considerable length of time, before he was
informed of what was doing on the opposite side. He immediately
retreated, swam over the river and fell in the rear of Dudley, and
attacked him with great fury. Being thus surrounded and their commander
killed, the troops marched up to the British line and surrendered.
Shortly afterwards, commenced the scene of horrors which I dare say is
yet fresh in your memory; but I shall recall it to your recollection
for reasons I will hereafter state. They (the American troops) were
huddled together in an old British garrison, with the Indians around
them, selecting such as their fancy dictated, to glut their savage
thirst for murder. And although they had surrendered themselves
prisoners of war, yet, in violation of the customs of war, the inhuman
Proctor did not yield them the least protection, nor attempt to screen
them from the tomahawk of the Indians. Whilst this blood-thirsty
carnage was raging, a thundering voice was heard in the rear, in the
Indian tongue, when, turning round, he saw Tecumseh coming with all the
rapidity his horse could carry him, until he drew near to where two
Indians had an American, and were in the act of killing him. He sprang
from his horse, caught one by the throat and the other by the breast,
and threw them to the ground; drawing his tomahawk and scalping knife,
he ran in between the Americans and Indians, brandishing them with the
fury of a mad man, and daring any one of the hundreds that surrounded
him, to attempt to murder another American. They all appeared
confounded, and immediately desisted. His mind appeared rent with
passion, and he exclaimed almost with tears in his eyes, 'Oh! what will
become of my Indians.' He then demanded in an authoritative tone, where
Proctor was; but casting his eye upon him at a small distance, sternly
enquired why he had not put a stop to the inhuman massacre. 'Sir,' said
Proctor, 'your Indians cannot be commanded.' 'Begone' retorted
Tecumseh, with the greatest disdain, 'you are unfit to command; go and
put on petticoats.'"

[Footnote A: This letter is from Mr. Wm. G. Ewing, formerly of Piqua,
O., and is addressed, under date of May 2d, 1818, to John H. James,
Esq. now of Urbana.]

This was not the only occasion on which Tecumseh openly manifested the
contempt which he felt for the character and conduct of general
Proctor. Among other instances, it is stated by an officer of the
United States' army, in a letter, under date of 28th September,
1813,[A] that in a conversation between these two commanders of the
allied British army, Tecumseh said to Proctor, "I conquer to save, and
you to murder;"--an expression founded in truth, and worthy of the
magnanimous hero from whose lips it fell.

[Footnote A: Niles' Register.]

There is another incident connected with the defeat of Dudley, which
justice to the character of Tecumseh requires should be recorded.
Shortly after he had put a stop to the horrid massacre of the
prisoners, his attention was called to a small group of Indians
occupied in looking at some object in their midst. Colonel Elliott
observed to him, "Yonder are four of your nation who have been taken
prisoners; you may take charge of them, and dispose of them as you
think proper." Tecumseh walked up to the crowd, where he found four
Shawanoes, two brothers by the name of Perry, Big Jim, and the Soldier.
"Friends," said he, "colonel Elliott has placed you under my charge,
and I will send you back to your nation with a talk to our people." He
accordingly took them on with the army as far as the river Raisin, from
which point their return home would be less dangerous, and then
appointed two of his followers to accompany them, with some friendly
messages to the chiefs of the Shawanoe nation. They were thus
discharged under their parole, not to fight against the British during
the war.


  Tecumseh present at the second attack on fort Meigs--his stratagem of
  a sham-battle to draw out general Clay--is posted in the Black swamp
  with two thousand warriors at the time of the attack on fort
  Stephenson--from thence passes by land to Malden--compels general
  Proctor to release an American prisoner--threatens to desert the
  British cause--urges an attack upon the American fleet--opposes
  Proctor's retreat from Malden--delivers a speech to him on that

After abandoning the siege of fort Meigs, general Proctor and Tecumseh
returned to Malden, where the Canadian militia were disbanded, and the
Indians, who had not already left the army, for their respective
villages, were stationed at different cantonments. The Chippewas
preferred going home; the Potawatamies were placed six miles up the
river Rouge; the Miamis and Wyandots at Brownstown and up the Detroit
river, as far as Maguaga. They were successively employed by the
British commander as scouts, a party being sent regularly, once a week,
to reconnoiter fort Meigs, and other points in that vicinity. They
planted no corn and hunted but little, being regularly supplied with
provisions from Detroit and Malden.

Early in July, the allies of the British again made their appearance in
the vicinity of fort Meigs. Dickson, an influential Scotch trader among
the Indians, having returned from the north-west with a large body of
savages, general Proctor was urged to renew the attack on the fort, and
it was accordingly done.

Late on the evening of the 20th of July, the garrison discovered the
boats of the British army ascending the river. On the following morning
general Clay, now in command of this post, despatched a picket guard of
ten men to a point three hundred yards below the fort, where it was
surprised by the Indians, and seven of the party either killed or
captured. The combined army of British and Indians, were soon
afterwards encamped on the north side of the river, below the old
British fort Miami. For a short time, the Indians took a position in
the woods, in the rear of the fort, from which they occasionally fired
upon the garrison, but without doing any injury. In the night, captain
William Oliver, accompanied by captain M'Cune, was sent express to
general Harrison, then at Lower Sandusky, with information that fort
Meigs was again invested; and, that the united force of the enemy did
not fall far short of five thousand men. The general directed captain
M'Cune to return to the fort, with information to the commander, that
so soon as the necessary troops could be assembled, he would march to
his relief. The general doubted, however, whether any serious attack
was meditated against the place. He believed, and the result showed the
accuracy of his judgment, that the enemy was making a feint at the
Rapids, to call his attention in that direction, while Lower Sandusky
or Cleveland, would be the real point of assault. On the 23d Tecumseh,
with about eight hundred Indians, passed up the river, with the
intention, as general Clay supposed, of attacking fort Winchester: this
movement, as was subsequently ascertained, being also intended to
deceive the commander of the fort. On the 25th the enemy removed to the
south side of the river, and encamped behind a point of woods which
partly concealed them from the view of the garrison. This, taken in
connection with other circumstances, led general Clay to think that an
effort would be made to carry the post by assault. Early on the morning
of the 26th captain M'Cune reached the fort in safety. In the afternoon
of that day, the enemy practised a well devised stratagem for the
purpose of drawing general Clay and his troops from their fastness. On
the Sandusky road, just before night, a heavy firing of rifles and
muskets was heard: the Indian yell broke upon the ear, and the savages
were seen attacking with great impetuosity a column of men, who were
soon thrown into confusion; they, however, rallied, and in turn the
Indians gave way. The idea flew through the fort that general Harrison
was approaching with a body of reinforcements; and the troops under
general Clay seized their arms, and with nearly all the officers in the
garrison, demanded to be led to the support of their friends. General
Clay was unable to explain the firing, but wisely concluded, from the
information received in the morning by captain M'Cune, that there could
be no reinforcements in the neighborhood of the fort. He had the
prudent firmness to resist the earnest importunity of his officers and
men, to be led to the scene of action. The enemy finding that the
garrison could not be drawn out, and a heavy shower of rain beginning
to fall, terminated their sham-battle. It was subsequently ascertained
that this was a stratagem, devised by Tecumseh, for the purpose of
decoying out a part of the force under general Clay, which was to have
been attacked and cut off by the Indians; while the British troops were
to carry the fort by storm. But for the opportune arrival of the
express in the morning of this day, and the cool judgment of the
commander, there is great reason to suppose that this admirably planned
manoeuvre would have succeeded; which must have resulted in the total
destruction of the garrison, the combined force of the enemy, then
investing fort Meigs, being about five thousand in number, while the
troops under general Clay were but a few hundred strong. The enemy
remained around the fort but one day after the failure of this
ingenious stratagem, and on the 28th embarked with their stores, and
proceeded down the lake.

As had been anticipated by general Harrison, immediately after the
siege was raised, the British troops sailed round into Sandusky bay,
while a portion of the Indians marched across the land, to aid in the
meditated attack upon fort Stephenson, at lower Sandusky. Tecumseh, in
the mean time, with about two thousand warriors, took a position in the
great swamp, between that point and fort Meigs, ready to encounter any
reinforcement that might have been started to the relief of general
Clay, to fall upon the camp at Seneca, or upon Upper Sandusky,
according to circumstances. The gallant defence of fort Stephenson by
captain Croghan, put a sudden stop to the offensive operations of the
army under Proctor and Tecumseh; and very shortly afterwards
transferred the scene of action to a new theatre on the Canada shore,
where these commanders were, in turn, thrown upon the defensive.

Immediately after the signal defeat of general Proctor at fort
Stephenson, he returned with the British troops to Malden by water,
while Tecumseh and his followers passed over land round the head of
lake Erie and joined him at that point. At this time, an incident
occurred which illustrates the character of Tecumseh, while it shows
the contumely with which he was accustomed to treat general Proctor,
who did not dare to disobey him. A citizen of the United States,
captain Le Croix, had fallen into the hands of Proctor, and was
secreted on board one of the British vessels, until he could be sent
down to Montreal. Tecumseh had a particular regard for captain Le
Croix, and suspected that he had been captured. He called upon general
Proctor, and in a peremptory manner demanded if he knew any thing of
his friend. He even ordered the British general to tell him the
_truth_, adding, "If I ever detect you in a falsehood, I, with my
Indians, will immediately abandon you." The general was obliged to
acknowledge that Le Croix was in confinement. Tecumseh, in a very
imperious tone, insisted upon his immediate release. General Proctor
wrote a line stating, that the "king of the woods" desired the release
of captain Le Croix, and that he must be set at liberty; which was done
without delay.[A]

[Footnote A: Alden Collection.]

Discouraged by the want of success, and having lost all confidence in
general Proctor, Tecumseh now seriously meditated a withdrawal from the
contest. He assembled the Shawanoes, Wyandots and Ottawas, who were
under his command, and declared his intention to them. He told them,
that at the time they took up the tomahawk and agreed to join their
father, the king, they were promised plenty of white men to fight with
them; "but the number is not now greater," said he, "than at the
commencement of the war; and we are treated by them like the dogs of
snipe hunters; we are always sent ahead to _start the game_: it is
better that we should return to our country, and let the Americans come
on and fight the British." To this proposition his followers agreed;
but the Sioux and Chippewas, discovering his intention, went to him and
insisted that inasmuch as he had first united with the British, and had
been instrumental in bringing their tribes into the alliance, he ought
not to leave them; and through their influence he was finally induced
to remain.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

Tecumseh was on the island of Bois Blanc, in the Detroit river, when
commodore Perry made the first display of his fleet before Malden. He
appeared much pleased at the appearance of these vessels, and assured
the Indians by whom he was surrounded, that the British fleet would
soon destroy them. The Indians hastened to the shore to witness the
contest, but the harbour of Malden presented no evidence that commodore
Barclay intended to meet the American commander. Tecumseh launched his
canoe, and crossed over to Malden to make enquiries on the subject. He
called on general Proctor, and adverting to the apparent unwillingness
of commodore Barclay to attack the American fleet, he said "a few days
since, you were boasting that you commanded the waters--why do you not
go out and meet the Americans? See yonder, they are waiting for you,
and daring you to meet them: you must and shall send out your fleet and
fight them." Upon his return to the island, he stated to the Indians,
with apparent chagrin, that "the big canoes of their great father were
not yet ready, and that the destruction of the Americans must be
delayed for a few days."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

When the battle was finally fought, it was witnessed by the Indians
from the shore. On the day succeeding the engagement, general Proctor
said to Tecumseh, "my fleet has whipped the Americans, but the vessels
being much injured, have gone into Put-in Bay to refit, and will be
here in a few days." This deception, however, upon the Indians, was not
of long duration. The sagacious eye of Tecumseh soon perceived
indications of a retreat from Malden, and he promptly enquired into the
matter. General Proctor informed him that he was only going to send
their valuable property up the Thames, where it would meet a
reinforcement, and be safe. Tecumseh, however, was not to be deceived
by this shallow device; and remonstrated most urgently against a
retreat. He finally demanded, in the name of all the Indians under his
command, to be heard by the general, and, on the 18th of September,
delivered to him, as the representative of their great father, the
king, the following speech:

"Father, listen to your children! you have them now all before you.

"The war before this, our British father gave the hatchet to his red
children, when our old 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 the hand without our knowledge; and we are afraid that our
father will do so again at this time.

"Summer before last, when I came forward with my red brethren and was
ready to take up the hatchet in favor of our British father, we were
told not to be in a hurry, that he had not yet determined to fight the

"Listen! when war was declared, our father stood up and gave us the
tomahawk, and told us that he was then ready to strike the Americans;
that he wanted our assistance, and that he would certainly get our
lands back, which the Americans had taken from us.

"Listen! you told us at that time, to bring forward our families to
this place, and we did so; and you promised to take care of them, and
they should want for nothing, while the men would go and fight the
enemy; that we need not trouble ourselves about the enemy's garrisons;
that we knew nothing about them, and that our father would attend to
that part of the business. You also told your red children that you
would take good care of your garrison here, which made our hearts glad.

"Listen! when we were last at the Rapids, it is true we gave you little
assistance. It is hard to fight people who live like ground-hogs.

"Father, listen! our fleet has gone out; we know they have fought; we
have heard the great guns; but we know nothing of what has happened to
our father with one arm.[A] Our ships have gone one way, and we are
much astonished to see our father tying up every thing and preparing to
run away the other, without letting his red children know what his
intentions are. You always told us to remain here and take care of our
lands; it made our hearts glad to hear that was your wish. Our great
father, the king, is the head, and you represent him. You always told
us you would never draw your foot off British ground; but now, father,
we see that you are drawing back, and we are sorry to see our father
doing so without seeing the enemy. We must compare our father's conduct
to a fat dog, that carries his tail on its back, but when affrighted,
drops it between its legs and runs off.

"Father, listen! the Americans have not yet defeated us by land;
neither are we sure that they have done so by water; _we, therefore,
wish to remain here and fight our enemy, should they make their
appearance._ If they defeat us, we will then retreat with our father.

"At the battle of the Rapids, last war, the Americans certainly
defeated us; and when we returned to our father's fort at that place,
the gates were shut against us. We were afraid that it would now be the
case; but instead of that, we now see our British father preparing to
march out of his garrison.

"Father, you have got the arms and ammunition which our great father
sent for his red children. If you have an idea of going away, give them
to us, and you may go and welcome, for us. Our lives are in the hands
of the Great Spirit. We are determined to defend our lands, and if it
be his will, we wish to leave our bones upon them."

[Footnote A: Commodore Barclay, who had lost an arm in some previous

General Proctor, in disregarding the advice of Tecumseh, lost his only
opportunity of making an effective resistance to the American army. Had
the troops under general Harrison been attacked by the British and
Indians at the moment of their landing on the Canada shore, the result
might have been far different from that which was shortly afterwards
witnessed on the banks of the Thames. Of the authenticity of this able
speech, there is no doubt. It has been the cause of some surprise that
it should have been preserved by general Proctor, and translated into
English, especially as it speaks of the commander of the allied army in
terms the most disrespectful. We are enabled to state, on the authority
of John Chambers, Esq. of Washington, Kentucky, who was one of the aids
of general Harrison in the campaign of 1813, that the speech as given
above, is truly translated; and was actually delivered to general
Proctor under the circumstances above related. When the battle of the
Thames had been fought, the British commander sought safety in flight.
He was pursued by colonels Wood, Chambers, and Todd, and three or four
privates. He escaped, but his baggage was captured. Colonel Chambers
was present when his port-folio was opened, and among the papers, a
translation of this speech was found. In remarking upon the fact
subsequently, to some of the British officers, they stated to colonel
Chambers that the speech was undoubtedly genuine; and that general
Proctor had ordered it to be translated and exhibited to his officers,
for the purpose of showing them the insolence with which he was treated
by Tecumseh, and the necessity he was under of submitting to every
species of indignity from him, to prevent that chief from withdrawing
his forces from the contest or turning his army against the British


  Retreat of the combined British and Indian army to the river
  Thames--skirmish at Chatham with the troops under general
  Harrison--Tecumseh slightly wounded in the arm--battle on the Thames
  on the 5th of October--Tecumseh's death.

Shortly after the delivery of the speech quoted in the foregoing
chapter, a considerable body of Indians abandoned general Proctor, and
crossed the strait to the American shore. Tecumseh himself again
manifested a disposition to take his final leave of the British
service. Embittered by the perfidy of Proctor, his men suffering from
want of clothes and provisions, with the prospect of a disgraceful
flight before them, he was strongly inclined to withdraw with his
followers; and leave the American general to chastise in a summary
manner those who had so repeatedly deceived him and his Indian
followers. The Sioux and Chippewas, however, again objected to this
course. _They_ could not, they said, withdraw, and there was no other
leader but Tecumseh, in whom they placed confidence: they insisted that
he was the person who had originally induced them to join the British,
and that he ought not to desert them in the present extremity.
Tecumseh, in reply to this remonstrance remarked, that the battlefield
had no terrors for him; he feared not death, and if they insisted upon
it, he would remain with them.

General Proctor now proposed to the Indians to remove their women and
children to McGee's, opposite the river Rouge, where they would be
furnished with their winter's clothing and the necessary supplies of
food. To this proposition, Tecumseh yielded a reluctant assent;
doubting, as he did, the truth of the statement. When they were about
to start, he observed to young Jim Blue-Jacket, "we are now going to
follow the British, and I feel well assured, that we shall never
return." When they arrived at McGee's, Tecumseh found that there were
no stores provided for them, as had been represented. Proctor made
excuses; and again pledged himself to the Indians, that if they would
go with him to the Thames, they would there find an abundance of every
thing needful to supply their wants; besides a reinforcement of British
troops, and a fort ready for their reception.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

The retreat was continued towards the Thames. On the second of October,
when the army had reached Dalson's farm, Proctor and Tecumseh, attended
by a small guard, returned to examine the ground at a place called
Chatham, where a deep, unfordable creek falls into the Thames. They
were riding together in a gig, and after making the necessary
examination, the ground was approved of; and general Proctor remarked,
upon that spot they would either defeat general Harrison or there lay
their bones. With this determination Tecumseh was highly pleased, and
said, "it was a good place, and when he should look at the two streams,
they would remind him of the Wabash and the Tippecanoe." Perhaps no
better position could have been chosen for meeting the American army
than this place presented. The allied force of British and Indians, had
they made a stand upon it, would have been protected in front by a deep
unfordable stream, while their right flank would have been covered by
the Thames, and their left by a swamp. But general Proctor changed his
mind; and leaving Tecumseh with a body of Indians to defend the passage
of the stream, moved forward with the main army. Tecumseh made a prompt
and judicious arrangement of his forces; but it is said that his
Indians, in the skirmish which ensued, did not sustain their previous
reputation as warriors. It is probable, however, that their leader did
not intend to make any decided resistance to the American troops at
this point, not being willing that general Proctor and his army should
escape a meeting with the enemy. In this action Tecumseh was slightly
wounded in the arm by a ball. General Harrison, in his official report
of this affair, says:

"Below a place called Chatham, and four miles above Dalson's, is the
third unfordable branch of the Thames: the bridge over its mouth had
been taken up by the Indians, as well as that at M'Gregor's mills, one
mile above--several hundred of the Indians remained to dispute our
passage, and upon the arrival of the advanced guard, commenced a heavy
fire from the opposite bank of the creek, as well as that of the river.
Believing that the whole force of the enemy was there, I halted 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 these pieces soon drove off the Indians, and enabled us in two
hours to repair the bridge and cross the troops. Colonel Johnson's
mounted regiment being upon the right of the army, had seized the
remains of the bridge at the mills, under a heavy fire from the
Indians. Our loss upon 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 extinguished by our troops
and the arms saved."

Tecumseh and his party overtook they main army near the Moravian towns,
situated on the north side of the Thames. Here he resolved that he
would retreat no further; and the ground being favorable for forming
the line of battle, he communicated his determination to general
Proctor, and compelled him, as there is every reason for believing, to
put an end to his retreat, and prepare for meeting the pursuing army.
After the Indians were posted in the swamp, in the position occupied by
them during the battle, Tecumseh remarked to the chiefs by whom he was
surrounded, "brother warriors! we are now about to enter into an
engagement from which I shall never come out--my body will remain on
the field of battle." He then unbuckled his sword, and placing it in
the hands of one of them, said, "when my son becomes a noted warrior,
and able to wield a sword, give this to him." He then laid aside his
British military dress, and took his place in the line, clothed only in
the ordinary deer-skin hunting shirt.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane, and colonel Baubee of the British army.]

The position selected by the enemy was eminently judicious. The British
troops, amounting to eight or nine hundred, were posted with their left
upon the river, which was unfordable at that point; their right
extended to and across a swamp, and united them with the Indians, under
Tecumseh, amounting to near eighteen hundred. The British artillery was
placed in the road along the margin of the river, near to the left of
their line. At from two to three hundred yards from the river, a swamp
extends nearly parallel to it, the intermediate ground being dry. This
position of the enemy, with his flank protected on the left by the
river and on the right by the swamp, filled with Indians, being such as
to prevent the wings from being turned, general Harrison made
arrangements to concentrate his forces against the British line. The
first division, under major general Henry, was formed in three lines at
one hundred yards from each other; the front line consisting of
Trotter's brigade, the second of Chiles', and the reserve of King's
brigade. These lines were in front of, and parallel to, the British
troops. The second division, under major general Desha, composed of
Allen's and Caldwell's brigades, was formed _en potence_, or at right
angles to the first division. Governor Shelby, as senior major general
of the Kentucky troops, was posted at this crotchet, formed between the
first and second divisions. Colonel Simrall's regiment of light
infantry was formed in reserve, obliquely to the first division, and
covering the rear of the front division; and, after much reflection as
to the disposition to be made of colonel Johnson's mounted troops, they
were directed, as soon as the front line advanced, to take ground to
the left, and forming upon that flank, to endeavor to turn the right of
the Indians. A detachment of regular troops, of the 26th United States
infantry, under colonel Paul, occupied the space between the road and
the river, for the purpose of seizing the enemy's artillery; and,
simultaneously with this movement, forty friendly Indians were to pass
under the bank of the stream to the rear of the British line, and by
their fire and war-cry, induce the enemy to think their own Indians
were turning against them. At the same time, colonel Wood had been
instructed to make preparations for using the enemy's artillery, and to
rake their own line by a flank fire. By refusing the left or second
division, the Indians were kept _in the air_, that is, in a position in
which they would be useless. It will be seen, as the commander
anticipated, that they waited in their position the advance of the
second division, while the British left was contending with the
American right. Johnson's corps consisted of nine hundred men, and the
five brigades under governor Shelby amounted to near eighteen hundred,
in all, not exceeding two thousand seven hundred men.

In the midst of these arrangements, and just as the order was about to
be given to the front line to advance, at the head of which general
Harrison had placed himself with his staff, colonel Wood approached him
with intelligence, that having reconnoitered the enemy, he had
ascertained the singular fact, that the British lines, instead of the
usual close order, were drawn up at _open order_. This fact at once
induced general Harrison to adopt the novel expedient of charging the
British lines with Johnson's mounted regiment. "I was within a few feet
of him," says the gallant colonel John O'Fallon, "when the report of
colonel Wood was made, and he instantly remarked, that he would make a
novel movement by ordering colonel Johnson's mounted regiment to charge
the British line of regulars, which, thus drawn up, contrary to the
habits and usages of that description of troops, always accustomed to
_the touch_, could be easily penetrated and thrown into confusion, by a
spirited charge of colonel Johnson's regiment." This determination was
presently made known to the colonel, who was directed to draw up his
regiment in close column, with its right fifty yards from the
road--that it might be partially protected by the trees from the
artillery--its left upon the swamp, and to charge at full speed upon
the enemy.

At this juncture, general Harrison, with his aids-de-camp, attended
likewise by general Cass and commodore Perry, advanced from the right
of the front line of infantry, to the right of the front column of
mounted troops, led by colonel James Johnson. The general, personally,
gave the direction for the charge to be made. "When the right battalion
of the mounted men received the first fire of the British, the horses
in the front column recoiled; another fire was given by the enemy, but
our column getting in motion, broke through the enemy with irresistible
force. In one minute the contest was over. The British officers seeing
no prospect of reducing their disordered ranks to order, and seeing the
advance of the infantry, and our mounted men wheeling upon them and
pouring in a destructive fire, immediately surrendered."[A]

[Footnote A: Official Despatch.]

Colonel Richard M. Johnson, by the extension of his line, was brought
in contact with the Indians, upon whom he gallantly charged, but was
unfortunately severely wounded by the first fire of the enemy, and was
immediately taken off the field, not, however, it has been stated,
until he had despatched an Indian by a pistol shot. The fire of the
Indians having made some impression upon Johnson's men, and upon the
left of Trotter's brigade, general Harrison despatched an order to
governor Shelby to bring up Simrall's regiment to reinforce the point
pressed by the Indians; and then the general passed to the left, to
superintend the operations in that quarter. The governor, however, had
anticipated the wishes of his commander, being in the act of leading up
the regiment, when the order reached him. He and the general met near
the crochet, where after a severe contest of several minutes, the
battle finally ceased. The particulars of the charge made by colonel
Johnson on the Indians, are thus given by an intelligent officer[A] of
his corps. In a letter to the late governor Wickliffe of Kentucky,
under date of Frankfort, September 7, 1840, he says:

"I was at the head or right of my company, on horseback, waiting
orders, at about fifty or sixty yards from the line of the enemy.
Colonel Johnson rode up and explained to me the mode of attack, and
said in substance, 'captain Davidson, I am directed by general Harrison
to charge and break through the Indian line, and form in the rear. My
brother James will charge in like manner through the British line at
the same time. The sound of the trumpet will be the signal for the
charge.' In a few minutes the trumpet sounded, and the word 'charge'
was given by colonel Johnson. The colonel charged within a few paces of
me. We struck the Indian line obliquely, and when we approached within
ten or fifteen yards of their line, the Indians poured in a heavy fire
upon us, killing ten or fifteen of our men and several horses, and
wounded colonel Johnson very severely. He immediately retired. Doctor
Theobald, of Lexington, (I think) aided him off."

[Footnote A: Captain James Davidson, of Kentucky.--See Cincinnati

The loss of the Americans in this battle was about twenty killed and
between thirty and forty wounded. The British had eighteen killed and
twenty-six wounded. The Indians left on the ground between fifty and
sixty killed; and, estimating the usual proportion for the wounded, it
was probably more than double that number.

The British official account of this action is not before us. In a
general order under date of Montreal, November 21, 1813, the adjutant
general of the English forces, bears testimony to the good conduct of
the Indian warriors, who gallantly maintained the conflict under the
brave chief Tecumseh. This tribute to the Indians and their leader is
well merited. Had general Proctor and his troops fought with the same
valor that marked the conduct of Tecumseh and his men, the results of
the day would have been far more creditable to the British arms. It has
already been stated that Tecumseh entered this battle with a strong
conviction on his mind that he should not survive it. Further flight he
deemed disgraceful, while the hope of victory in the impending action,
was feeble and distant. He, however, heroically resolved to achieve the
latter or die in the effort. With this determination, he took his stand
among his followers, raised the war-cry and boldly met the enemy. From
the commencement of the attack on the Indian line, his voice was
distinctly heard by his followers, animating them to deeds worthy of
the race to which they belonged. When that well known voice was heard
no longer above the din of arms, the battle ceased. The British troops
having already surrendered, and the gallant leader of the Indians
having fallen, they gave up the contest and fled. A short distance from
where Tecumseh fell, the body of his friend and brother-in-law,
Wasegoboah, was found. They had often fought side by side, and now, in
front of their men, bravely battling the enemy, they side by side
closed their mortal career.[A]

[Footnote A: Anthony Shane.]

James, a British historian,[A] in his account of the battle of the
Thames, makes the following remarks upon the character and personal
appearance of Tecumseh.

"Thus fell the Indian warrior Tecumseh, in the 44th year of his age. He
was of the Shawanoe tribe, five feet ten inches high, and with more
than the usual stoutness, possessed all the agility and perseverance of
the Indian character. His carriage was dignified, his eye penetrating,
his countenance, which even in death, betrayed the indications of a
lofty spirit, rather of the sterner cast. Had he not possessed a
certain austerity of manners, he could never have controlled the
wayward passions of those who followed him to battle. He was of a
silent habit; but when his eloquence became roused into action by the
reiterated encroachments of the Americans, his strong intellect could
supply him with a flow of oratory that enabled him, as he governed in
the field, so to prescribe in the council. Those who consider that in
all territorial questions, the ablest diplomatists of the United States
are sent to negociate with the Indians, will readily appreciate the
loss sustained by the latter in the death of their champion. * * * *
Such a man was the unlettered savage, Tecumseh, and such a man have the
Indians lost forever. He has left a son, who, when his father fell, was
about seventeen years old, and fought by his side. The prince regent,
in 1814, out of respect to the memory of the old, sent out as a present
to the young, Tecumseh, a handsome sword. Unfortunately, however, for
the Indian cause and country, faint are the prospects that Tecumseh the
son, will ever equal, in wisdom or prowess, Tecumseh the father."

[Footnote A: Military Occurrences of the Late War.]

Mr. James (p. 295,) asserts, that Tecumseh was not only scalped, but
that his body was actually _flayed_, and the skin converted into
razor-straps by the Kentuckians. We fear there is too much truth in
this statement. It is confirmed by the testimony of several American
officers and privates, who were in the battle of the Thames. It is
painful to make an admission of this kind, but truth forbids the
suppression of a fact, when fairly established, however revolting to
the feelings of humanity, or degrading to a people. That there was any
general participation of our troops in this inhuman and revolting deed,
is not for a moment to be supposed. That it was the act of a few vulgar
and brutish individuals, is, we think, just as certain, as that the
great mass of the army were shocked at its perpetration. It is to be
regretted that the names of the persons who committed this outrage have
not been preserved, that their conduct on this occasion might have been
held up to universal condemnation.


  Critical examination of the question "who killed Tecumseh?"--colonel
  R. M. Johnson's claim considered.

Tecumseh was a determined and subtle enemy of the United States, and
during the palmy days of his bold career, wielded an influence over the
north-western Indians which belonged to no other chief. His death was
consequently an important circumstance in relation to the peace and
safety of the frontiers. But whether he fell by a pistol shot from a
field officer, or a rifle ball from a private soldier, however
interesting as a matter of personal history, is certainly not one of
national importance. Nevertheless, the question by whose hands he fell,
has engaged public attention to some considerable extent ever since the
memorable battle of the Thames. Its discussion has not been confined to
the immediate friends of the several aspirants for the honor of having
slain this distinguished warrior; it has enlivened the political
canvass, and the halls of legislation; occupied the columns of journals
and magazines, and filled no inconsiderable space on the pages of
American and British histories. Under such circumstances, and as
directly connected with the present biography, a fair presentation of
all the testimony bearing on the case will now be attempted. It may at
least gratify the public curiosity, if it do not definitively settle
the long pending question in relation to the actual _slayer of

M'Affee, in his History of the Late War, says, Tecumseh "was found
among the dead, at the point where colonel Johnson had charged upon the
enemy, in person, and it is generally believed, that this celebrated
chief fell by the hand of the colonel. It is certain that the latter
killed the Indian with his pistol, who shot him through his hand, at
the very spot where Tecumseh lay; but another dead body lay at the same
place, and Mr. King, a soldier in captain Davidson's company, had the
honor of killing one of them."

Brown, in his history of the same war, says, that "colonel Johnson,
after receiving four wounds, perceived the daring Tecumseh commanding
and attempting to rally his savage force; when he instantly put his
horse towards him, and was shot by Tecumseh in the hand, as he
approached him. Tecumseh advanced with a drawn weapon, a sword or
tomahawk, at which instant the colonel, having reserved his fire, shot
his ferocious antagonist dead at his feet; and that too, at the moment
he was almost fainting with the loss of blood and the anguish of five

The statement of Shawbeneh, a Potawatamie chief, lately published in
the "Chicago Democrat," goes to prove that Tecumseh was wounded in the
neck; and telling his warriors that he must die, rushed forward to kill
colonel Johnson. Shawbeneh saw him fall, having been shot by the
colonel, just as his arm had reached the necessary height to strike the
fatal blow. Shawbeneh says that colonel Johnson was riding a large
white horse, with occasionally a jet black spot. He further states that
Tecumseh's body was not mutilated by the American troops.

The testimony of another Potawatamie chief, Chamblee, as furnished us
by captain Robert Anderson, of the U.S. army, is to this effect:

He saw Tecumseh engaged in a personal rencontre with a soldier armed
with a musket; that the latter made a thrust at the chief, who caught
the bayonet under his arm, where he held it, and was in the act of
striking his opponent with his tomahawk, when a horseman rode up, and
shot Tecumseh dead with a pistol. The horseman had a red feather,
(plume) in his hat, and was mounted on a spotted or red-roan horse; he
further says, that he saw the body of Tecumseh a day or two after the
battle, and that it was not mutilated.

In a work entitled "History of the Indian Tribes of North America,"
there is the following note:

"A Potawatamie chief was thus questioned: Were you at the battle of the
Thames? Yes. Did you know Tecumseh? Yes. Were you near him in the
fight? Yes. Did you see him fall? Yes. Who shot him? Don't know. Did
you see the man that shot him? Yes. What sort of looking man was he?
Short, thick man. What color was the horse he rode? Most white. How do
you know this man shot Tecumseh? I saw the man ride up--saw his horse
get tangled in some bushes--when the horse was most still, I saw
Tecumseh level his rifle at the man and shoot--the man shook on his
horse--soon the horse got out of the bushes, and the man spurred him
up--horse came slow--Tecumseh right before him--man's left hand hung
down--just as he got near, Tecumseh lifted his tomahawk and was going
to throw it, when the man shot him with a short gun (pistol)--Tecumseh
fell dead and we all ran."

Mr. Garrett Wall, of Kentucky, who participated in the battle of the
Thames, says:

" ---- The men by this time had collected in groups; and it was remarked
that colonel R. M. Johnson was dead, but I contradicted the report;
also, that the great Indian commander, Tecumseh, was slain; I asked by
what authority? I was told that Anthony Shane, who had known him from a
small boy, said so, and had seen him among the slain. In a short time I
saw Shane with a small group of men, walking towards a dead Indian; as
he approached the body, I asked him if he knew that Indian. He said it
was, in his opinion, Tecumseh; but he could tell better if the blood
was taken from his face. I examined the Indian. He was shot in the left
side of the breast with several balls or buck shot, all entering near
and above the left nipple. There was also a wound in his head, too
small for a rifle ball to make."

Atwater, in his History of Ohio, remarks, that two Winnebago chiefs,
Four-Legs and Carymaunee, told him, that Tecumseh, at the commencement
of the battle of the Thames, lay with his warriors in a thicket of
underbrush on the left of the American army, and that they were, at no
period of the battle, out of their covert--that no officer was seen
between them and the American troops--that Tecumseh fell the very first
fire of the Kentucky dragoons, pierced by thirty bullets, and was
carried four or five miles into the thick woods and there buried by the
warriors, who told the story of his fate.

In 1838, a writer in the Baltimore American published Black Hawk's
account of the fall of Tecumseh. It is as follows:

" ---- Shortly after this, the Indian spies came in and gave word of the
near approach of the Americans. Tecumseh immediately posted his men in
the edge of a swamp, which flanked the British line, placing himself at
their head. I was a little to his right with a small party of Sauks. It
was not long before the Americans made their appearance; they did not
perceive us at first, hid as we were by the undergrowth, but we soon
let them know where we were, by pouring in one or two vollies as they
were forming into line to oppose the British. They faltered a little;
but very soon we perceived a large body of horse (colonel Johnson's
regiment of mounted Kentuckians) preparing to charge upon us in the
swamp. They came bravely on; yet we never stirred until they were so
close that we could see the flints in their guns, when Tecumseh,
springing to his feet, gave the Shawanoe war-cry, and discharged his
rifle. This was the signal for us to commence the battle, but it did
not last long; the Americans answered the shout, returning our fire,
and at the first discharge of their guns, I saw Tecumseh stagger
forwards over a fallen tree, near which he was standing, letting his
rifle drop at his feet. As soon as the Indians discovered that he was
killed, a sudden fear came over them, and thinking the Great Spirit was
angry, they fought no longer, and were quickly put to flight. That
night we returned to bury our dead; and search for the body of
Tecumseh. He was found lying where he had first fallen; a bullet had
struck him above the hip, and his skull had been broken by the butt end
of the gun of some soldier, who had found him, perhaps, when life was
not yet quite gone. With the exception of these wounds, his body was
untouched: lying near him was a large fine looking Potawatamie, who had
been killed, decked off in his plumes and war-paint, whom the Americans
no doubt had taken for Tecumseh for he was scalped and every particle
of skin flayed from his body. Tecumseh himself had no ornaments about,
his person, save a British medal. During the night, we buried our dead,
and brought off the body of Tecumseh, although we were in sight of the
fires of the American camp."

James, a British historian,[A] after describing the battle of the
Thames, remarks:

"It seems extraordinary that general Harrison should have omitted to
mention in his letter, the death of a chief, whose fall contributed so
largely to break down the Indian spirit, and to give peace and security
to the whole north-western frontier of the United States. Tecumseh,
although he had received a musket ball in the left arm, was still
seeking the hottest of the fire, when he encountered colonel Richard M.
Johnson, member of congress from Kentucky. Just as the chief, having
discharged his rifle, was rushing forward with his tomahawk, he
received a ball in the head from the colonel's pistol. Thus fell the
Indian warrior, Tecumseh, in the forty-fourth year of his age. * * * *
The body of Tecumseh was recognized, not only by the British officers,
who were prisoners, but by commodore Perry, and several American

[Footnote A; "Military Occurrences of the Late War between Great
Britain and the United States, by William James, 2 vols. London,

This writer adds, that Tecumseh was scalped and his body flayed by the

In Butler's History of Kentucky, there is a letter from the reverend
Obediah B. Brown, of Washington city, then a clerk in the general
post-office, under date of 18th September, 1834, in which the writer
says, in substance:

That colonel Johnson, while leading the advance upon the left wing of
the Indians, saw an Indian commander, who appeared to be a rallying
point for his savage companions, and whose costume indicated the
superiority of his rank; that colonel Johnson, sitting upon his horse,
covered with wounds and very feint with the loss of blood, and having a
pistol in his right hand loaded with a ball and three buck-shot,
thought that the fate of the battle depended upon killing this
formidable chief, and he accordingly rode round a fallen tree for this
purpose; that the chief, perceiving his approach, levelled his rifle
and shot the colonel in the left hand; that the colonel continued to
advance upon him, and at the moment when the Indian was raising his
tomahawk, shot him dead with his pistol; that this deed spread
consternation among the savages, and with hideous yells, they began
from that point their retreat; that as soon as the battle ended, the
Indian killed by colonel Johnson was recognized as Tecumseh; and before
the colonel had so far recovered from the effects of his wounds as to
be able to speak, word ran through the army that he had killed
Tecumseh; and finally, that a medal was taken from the body which was
known to have been presented to this chief by the British government.
Mr. Brown further states, that a conversation which he had with Anthony
Shane, some years since, strengthened his belief that Tecumseh fell by
the hand of colonel Johnson; that Shane told him he went, after the
battle, to the spot where it was reported the colonel had killed an
Indian, and there he saw the dead body of Tecumseh, and that he must
have been killed by a horseman, as a ball and three buck-shot had
entered the breast and passed downwards; that he could not be mistaken
as to the body of Tecumseh, as he had a remarkable scar upon his thigh,
which, upon examination, was found as he had described it.

By recurring to the foregoing statements, it will be seen that eight
Indians have borne testimony in relation to the death of Tecumseh. Of
these, four assert that he was killed by the first fire from the
American line; and four that he fell by the hands of a horseman, some
time after the commencement of the action. One of these witnesses
states that Tecumseh was shot in the neck; another, that he was hit
above or in the eyes; two others that he was killed by a ball in the
hip; and again two others, that he was pierced by thirty bullets on the
first fire of our troops. Three of these witnesses testify that the
body of the fallen chief was mutilated by taking the skin from off the
thigh, and three that it was not. One of them saw the body the day
after the action, lying on the battle ground; a second bears witness
that it was buried on the spot the night of the battle; and a third,
that it was carried four or five miles into the woods, and there
interred. A further examination of the testimony will show that these
eight witnesses concur but in one single point,--that Tecumseh was
killed in the battle of the Thames. As to the nature of his wounds, the
mutilation of his body, the time when, the spot where, and by whose
hands, he fell, these various statements are wholly irreconcilable with
each other, and leave the main question involved in additional doubt
and obscurity.

As the claim of colonel Johnson to the honor of having killed Tecumseh,
has been recently and earnestly urged upon the public consideration, we
propose, even at the risk of some repetition, to examine in detail the
testimony which bears upon this point.

It will be recollected that the Potawatamie chief, whose narrative is
quoted from the "History of the Indian Tribes of North America,"
testifies that Tecumseh met his death by a wound above or in the eyes;
and, that upon his fall the Indians ran. If these statements be true,
Tecumseh could not have been killed by colonel Johnson, as will be
satisfactorily established in the course of this examination.

Shawbeneh, another Potawatamie chief, states that Tecumseh was mortally
wounded in the neck, before he rushed upon the individual who killed
him. All the other witnesses, except one, say that Tecumseh remained
stationary, and that the horseman who fired the fatal shot, advanced
upon him.

Chamblee, the third Potawatamie who testifies in the case, states that
Tecumseh was engaged in a personal conflict with a soldier armed with a
musket, when a horseman, on a spotted horse, rode up and shot him dead
with a pistol. This account is not sustained by any other witness.

Captain M'Affee, who belonged to the mounted regiment, and who has
written a history of the late war, says, it is _generally believed that
Tecumseh fell by the hand of colonel Johnson_; but the historian
candidly admits that there was another dead Indian at the spot where
Tecumseh lay, and that Mr. King, of captain Davidson's company, killed
one of them. It May be questioned whether there is or ever has been any
_general belief_,--whatever vague reports may have been
circulated,--that colonel Johnson killed this chief; but even if such
were the case, it does not by any means establish the allegation.

Brown, another historian of the late war, says, in general terms, that
Tecumseh advanced upon the colonel with a sword or tomahawk, and that
the colonel shot him dead. Tecumseh wore no sword in that action, nor
did he advance upon colonel Johnson. Mr. Brown cites no authorities for
his loose and general statements.

Garrett Wall testifies that he went to the spot where he was told
colonel Johnson had fought, and there questioned Anthony Shane about
the dead Indian before them. Shane remarked that he could tell better
whether it was Tecumseh, if the blood was washed from the face. It does
not appear that this was done, nor that Shane became satisfied as to
the identity of the dead Indian. Mr. Wall infers that Tecumseh fell by
a shot from colonel Johnson, because it was so reported, and because
they both led their warriors to the charge, and the desire of victory
brought them together. Mr. Wall cites no evidence to prove that the
body over which Shane was doubting, fell by the colonel--a link in the
chain of testimony, altogether important in making out his case.

The Rev. Obediah B. Brown, however, at Washington, is by far the most
precise in his statements, of all the witnesses. But it is proper,
before entering upon the examination of his testimony, to state that he
was not at the battle of the Thames; and that his letter, in regard to
Tecumseh's death, was written in 1834, more than twenty years after the
action was fought, and upon the eve of a political campaign, in which
his friend, colonel Johnson, was an aspirant for a high and honorable
office. Mr. Brown, it is further proper to add, derived his information
from "several persons," but he has inadvertently omitted the names of
all but one.

He commences by saying, that colonel Johnson saw an Indian known to be
a chief by his costume. Now it has been already shown that Tecumseh
entered the action dressed in the plain deer-skin garb of his tribe,
having nothing about him which would indicate his rank. The colonel
thought, continues Mr. B., that the fate of the day depended upon the
fall of this chief. The question might be asked whether the thoughts of
colonel Johnson, at this particular juncture, became known to the
witness by a logical process of ratiocination, or by a direct personal
communication from his distinguished friend? He states further, that
the colonel rode up within a few feet of the chief, received his fire,
and then shot him dead with his pistol. This act, says the witness,
caused the savages to retreat in consternation: now, the fact is well
established, that the Indians, at this very point, fought bravely for
twenty or twenty-five minutes after colonel Johnson was compelled, by
his wounds, to leave the scene of action: it is further stated by Mr.
B. that before the colonel was so far recovered from his wounds, as to
be able to speak, it ran through the army that he had killed Tecumseh.
Mr. Wall, who was in the action, says, that after colonel Johnson had
retired from the contest, and was lifted from his horse, he said to
those around him, "my brave men, the battle continues, leave me, and do
not return until you bring me an account of the victory." Thus it would
seem that the colonel, within a few minutes after receiving his last
wound, was giving orders to his men, and in the mean time, according to
Mr. B., "word ran through the army that he had killed Tecumseh." This
is more remarkable, when it is recollected, that the only person,
except the commanding general, who could identify the fallen chief, was
Anthony Shane, and he was in a different part of the field, (on the
bank of the Thames) and did not visit this part of the line until the
action was entirely over! The witness further states, that no other
chief of high rank was killed in this part of the line, but Tecumseh.
Anthony Shane says that Tecumseh's brother-in-law, and principal chief,
Wasegoboah, was killed ten or fifteen steps from where Tecumseh fell.
Black Hawk also testifies, that near Tecumseh, there was lying a large,
fine looking Potawatamie, decked off in his plumes and war-paint, whom
the Americans mistook for Tecumseh. Mr. B. says that a medal was taken
from the body of the Indian killed by colonel Johnson, which was known
to have been presented by the British government to Tecumseh. Where is
the authority for this? When Shane was examining the body, and so much
in doubt whether it was Tecumseh as to require the blood to be washed
from the face, before he could decide with certainty, where was this
medal, which of itself would have settled the question of identity? It
is singular, that neither Shane nor Wall speaks of a medal. Mr. B. says
that Tecumseh was killed by a ball and three buckshot, fired by a
horseman, and as colonel Johnson was the only person in that part of
the battle who fought on horseback, his pistols being loaded with a
ball and three buckshot, settles the question, that the colonel killed
Tecumseh. Again, the question may be asked, how Mr. B. knows the fact
as to the manner in which these pistols were loaded? And if they were
so loaded, who can say whether the chief was killed by this shot, the
wound in the eyes, that in the neck, or the one in the hip? But again;
colonel Johnson was not the only person who fought on horseback in this
part of the battle. He led a "forlorn hope" of twenty men, all mounted;
while on his left was Davidson's company of one hundred and forty men,
also on horseback. Mr. Wall, who was one of the "forlorn hope," says,
"the fighting became very severe, each party mingling with the other."
Finally, Mr. B. closes his testimony with the remark, that it was well
known and acknowledged, by the British and Indians, at the time, that
Tecumseh received his death from the hand of colonel Johnson, as
appears by James' History of the Late War. It is stated by the
historian here cited, that colonel Johnson shot Tecumseh in the
head--that the body was recognized not only by the British officers who
were prisoners, but by commodore Perry and several other American
officers: Mr. James also expresses his surprise that general Harrison
should have omitted, in his official letter to the War Department, to
mention the death of this chief. Now, we have the authority of several
American officers, of high rank, for stating, that these British
officers were not, on the evening of the day on which the action was
fought, in that part of the line where Tecumseh fell; and that early on
the ensuing morning, they were taken to a house two miles below the
battle ground, and from thence to Detroit, without returning to the
scene of their defeat, Mr. James is, therefore, incorrect on this
point, as he certainly is, in saying that commodore Perry and other
American officers recognized the body of Tecumseh. The commodore had
never seen this chief prior to the afternoon of the battle in which he
fell. General Harrison, it is believed, was the only American officer
in the engagement, who had a personal knowledge of Tecumseh. The day
after the battle, the general, attended by several of his officers,
visited the battle ground. The body of the Indian, supposed to be that
of Tecumseh, was pointed out to him, but owing to its swollen
condition, he was unable to say whether it was Tecumseh, or a
Potawatamie chief, who usually visited Vincennes in company with him:
he felt confident it was one of the two, but further than this could
not pronounce with certainty. Mr. James and Anthony Shane are Mr.
Brown's chief witnesses. The first states that Tecumseh was shot with a
musket ball in the arm, and finally killed by a ball in the head from
colonel Johnson's pistol: the second testifies that he fell by a ball
and three buckshot which entered his left breast, and that he was
wounded in no other part: the former says that Tecumseh's body was
literally flayed--the latter, that only a small piece of skin was cut
from one of his thighs.[A] It remains for Mr. Brown to reconcile these
glaring discrepancies in the testimony of his own witnesses. If this
dissection of Mr. Brown's elaborated letter, presents him more in the
light of the partizan advocate than that of the faithful historian, we
are not responsible for it; and if he has failed to establish the fact
that colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh, he must probably look for the
reason of that failure in the weakness of his claims, rather than in
any lack of zeal in advocating the colonel's cause.

[Footnote A: See James Military Occurrences, and Anthony Shane's

Our analysis of the testimony which has at different times been brought
before the public, tending to establish the supposition that Tecumseh
fell by the hands of colonel Johnson, is now closed; and we think it
will be admitted, in reviewing the case, that the claims of the colonel
have not been satisfactorily established, either by direct or
circumstantial evidence. But we have further testimony to offer on this

It is proved by a number of witnesses, and among them several who are
relied upon to establish the fact, that colonel Johnson killed
Tecumseh, that upon the fall of this chief, the action ceased and the
Indians fled.

Even the reverend Mr. Brown admits such to have been the case. Now, we
propose to show that colonel Johnson was wounded and retired from the
scene of action at its commencement; and that the contest lasted for
twenty or thirty minutes afterwards. As to the first point, captain
Davidson, who was by the side of colonel Johnson, says, "We struck the
Indian line obliquely, and when we approached within ten or fifteen
yards of their line, the Indians poured in a heavy fire upon us,
killing ten or fifteen of our men and several horses, and wounding
colonel Johnson very severely. He immediately retired."[A] Colonel
Ambrose Dudley says, "As I passed to the left, near the crochet, after
the firing had ceased on the right, I met colonel R.M. Johnson passing
diagonally from the swamp towards the line of infantry, and spoke with
him. He said he was badly wounded, his gray mare bleeding profusely in
several places. The battle continued with the Indians on the left. The
infantry, with some of colonel R. M. Johnson's troops mixed up
promiscuously with them, continued the battle for half an hour after
colonel Johnson was disabled and had ceased to command his men."[B]
Doctor S. Theobald, of Lexington, Kentucky, one of the surgeons to the
mounted regiment, says, "colonel Johnson was wounded in the onset of
the battle. I had the honor to compose one of his 'forlorn hope,' and
followed him in the charge. It is impossible, under such circumstances,
to estimate time with precision; but I know the period was a very brief
one from the firing of the first guns, which indeed was tremendously
heavy, till colonel Johnson approached me covered with wounds, but
still mounted. I think he said to me, I am severely wounded, which way
shall I go? That I replied, follow me, which he did: and I conducted
him directly across the swamp, on the margin of which we had charged,
and to the point where doctor Mitchell, surgeon-general of Shelby's
corps, was stationed. Some one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards
in the rear, colonel Johnson was taken from his horse. He appeared
faint and much exhausted. I asked him if he would have water, to which
he answered, yes. I cast about immediately for some, but there was none
at hand, nor any thing that I could see to bring it in, better than a
common funnel, which I saw lying on the ground, and which I seized and
ran to the river, (Thames) a distance probably of one hundred yards or
more; and closing the extremity of the funnel with my finger, made use
of it as a cup, from which I gave him drink. In a few minutes after
this, Garret Wall, who also composed one of the 'forlorn hope,' and was
thrown from his horse in the charge, came and solicited me to return
with him to the ground on which we had charged, to aid him in
recovering his lost saddle-bags. I assented. We crossed the narrow
swamp, to which I have before alluded, and had not progressed far,
before we came to the body of one of our men who had been killed, and
who I recognized as Mansfield, of captain Stucker's company: a little
further, that of Scott, of Coleman's company; and progressing some
forty or fifty steps (it may have been more,) in advance of that, we
found our venerable and brave old comrade, colonel Whitley, who was
also of the 'forlorn hope.' Near him, in a moment, I well remember to
have noticed, with a feeling and exclamation of exultation, the body of
an Indian; and some twenty or thirty steps in advance of this, another
Indian, which last was afterwards designated as the body of Tecumseh. I
distinctly recollect, that as we returned to make this search, the
firing was still kept up some distance off on our left"[C]

[Footnote A: Cincinnati Republican, 30th September, 1840]

[Footnote B: See Cincinnati Republican, 30th September, 1840. ]

[Footnote C: Dr. Theobald's letter, dated 27th November, 1840, in
possession of the author of this work.]

Testimony on these points might be multiplied, but could add nothing to
the force of that which is here cited. The letter of Dr. Theobald is
conclusive as to the time when colonel Johnson was wounded, and the
period during which the action continued after he retired from the
battle ground. It seems the colonel was disabled at the beginning of
the action with the Indians, and immediately rode from the field; that
the action lasted for near half an hour; that Tecumseh fell at or near
the close of it; and that he could not, therefore, have fallen by the
hand of colonel Johnson. Whether the leader of the "forlorn hope" can
claim the credit of having actually killed an Indian chief on this
memorable day, is not the immediate question before us: that he acted
with dauntless bravery, in promptly charging the Indian line, during
the brief period which he remained unwounded, is universally admitted;
but that he is entitled to the honor, (if such it may be called,) of
having personally slain the gifted "king of the woods," will not be so
readily conceded.

James, the British historian, from whose "Military Occurrences" we have
already quoted, having charged general Harrison with designedly
omitting, in his official report, all reference to the death of
Tecumseh, leaves the inference to be drawn by the reader, that the
omission was prompted by a feeling of envy towards colonel Johnson, who
had done the deed. It is due to the cause of truth, not less than to
the reputation of the American commander, that this charge should be
impartially examined. It is true, that the official account of the
battle of the Thames does not mention the death of Tecumseh, and the
propriety of this omission will be sufficiently obvious from the
following narrative.

General Harrison and Anthony Shane, so far as it is known, were the
only persons in the American army who were personally acquainted with
Tecumseh. It is possible that some of the friendly Indians, commanded
by Shane, may have known him; but it does not appear that any of them
undertook to identify the body after the battle was over. Shane was
under the impression, on the evening of the action, that he had found
the body of Tecumseh among the slain; but, as Mr. Wall testifies,
expressed himself with caution. General Harrison himself was not, on
the following day, enabled to identify with certainty the body of this
chief, as appears from the testimony of a member of the general's
military family, which we here quote, as having a direct bearing on the
question under consideration:

"I am authorised," says colonel Charles S. Todd,[A] "by several
officers of general Harrison's staff, who were in the battle of the
Thames, to state most unequivocally their belief, that the general
neither knew nor could have known the fact of the death of Tecumseh, at
the date of his letter to the war department. It was the uncertainty
which prevailed, as to the fact of Tecumseh's being killed, that
prevented any notice of it in his report. On the next day after the
battle, general Harrison, in company with commodore Perry and other
officers, examined the body of an Indian supposed to be Tecumseh; but
from its swollen and mutilated condition, he was unable to decide
whether it was that chief or a Potawatamie who usually visited him at
Vincennes, in company with Tecumseh; and I repeat most unhesitatingly,
that neither commodore Perry nor any officer in the American army,
excepting general Harrison, had ever seen Tecumseh previously to the
battle; and even though he had recognized the body which he examined to
be that of the celebrated chief, it was manifestly impossible that he
could have known whether he was killed by Johnson's corps, or by that
part of the infantry which participated in the action. No official or
other satisfactory report of his death, was made to him by those
engaged on that part of the battle ground where he fell. It was not
until after the return of the army to Detroit, and after the date of
general Harrison's despatches,[B] that it was ascertained from the
enemy, that Tecumseh was _certainly_ killed; and even then the opinion
of the army was divided as to the person by whose hands he fell. Some
claimed the credit of it for colonel Whitley, some for colonel Johnson;
but others, constituting a majority, including governor Shelby,
entertained the opinion that he fell by a shot from David King, a
private in captain Davidson's company, from Lincoln county, Kentucky.
In this state of the case, even had the fact of Tecumseh's death been
fully ascertained, at the date of general Harrison's letter, it would
have been manifestly unjust, not to say impracticable, for the
commander-in-chief to have expressed an opinion as to the particular
individual to whose personal prowess his death was to be

[Footnote A: One of the aids of general Harrison, and inspector-general
of the United States army, during the late war.]

[Footnote B: Early on the 7th, general Harrison left the army under the
command of governor Shelby, and returned to Detroit. His report of the
battle, was dated on the 9th. The army did not reach Sandwich, opposite
Detroit, until the 10th.]

[Footnote C: See Louisville Journal.]

In taking leave of this branch of our subject, it may be remarked, that
the strong terms of approbation in which general Harrison, in his
official account of the battle of the Thames, speaks of the bravery and
bearing of colonel Johnson in the conflict, should have shielded him
from the suspicion that any unkind feeling towards that officer was
allowed to sway his judgment in the preparation of his report.

We now proceed to give some testimony in favor of other individuals,
whose friends have claimed for them the credit of having slain
Tecumseh. It has been already stated, that before our army left the
field of battle, it was reported and believed by many of the troops,
that colonel Whitley, of Johnson's corps of mounted men, had killed the
Indian commander in the action of the Thames. The only testimony, in
confirmation of this report, which has fallen under our observation, is
contained in the two following communications. The first is a letter
from Mr. Abraham Scribner, now of Greenville, Ohio, under date of
September 8th, 1840. The writer says--"I had never seen Tecumseh, until
the body was shown to me on the battle ground on the river Thames: by
whose hand he fell must always be a matter of uncertainty. My own
opinion was, the day after the battle, and is yet, that Tecumseh fell
by a ball from the rifle of colonel Whitley, an old Indian fighter: two
balls passed through colonel Whitley's head, at the moment that
Tecumseh fell; he (colonel Whitley,) was seen to take aim at the Indian
said to be Tecumseh, and his rifle was found empty."

The second is from colonel Ambrose Dudley, of Cincinnati, under date of
24th February, 1841, and is in the following words:

"The morning after the battle of the Thames, in company with several
other persons, I walked over the ground, to see the bodies of those who
had been slain in the engagement. After passing from the river a
considerable distance, and the latter part of the way along what was
termed a swamp, viewing the slain of the British army, we came to a
place where some half a dozen persons were standing, and three dead
Indians were lying close together. One of the spectators remarked, that
he had witnessed that part of the engagement which led to the death of
these three Indians and two of our troops, whose bodies had been
removed the evening before for burial. He proceeded to point out the
position of the slain as they lay upon the ground, with that of our
men. He said old colonel Whitley rode up to the body of a tree, which
lay before him, and behind which lay an Indian: he (the Indian,)
attempted to fire, but from some cause did not succeed, and then
Whitley instantly shot him. This Indian was recognized by one of the
persons present as Tecumseh: the next Indian was pointed out as having
killed Whitley; then the position of another of our troops who killed
that Indian, and the Indian who killed him, with the position of the
man who shot the third Indian--making three Indians and two Americans
who had fallen on a very small space of ground. From the manner of the
narrator, and the facts related at the time, I did not doubt the truth
of his statement, nor have I ever had any reason to doubt it since. The
Indian pointed out as Tecumseh, was wearing a bandage over a wound in
the arm, and as it was known that Tecumseh had been slightly wounded in
the arm the day before, while defending the passage of a creek, my
conviction was strengthened by this circumstance, that the body before
us was that of Tecumseh."

The reader will decide for himself how far this testimony sustains the
plea that has been raised for colonel Whitley. It is certainly clear
and to the point, and presents a plausible case in support of his

Mr. David King is the other individual to whom reference has been made
as entitled to the credit of having killed the great Shawanoe chief. He
was a private in captain James Davidson's company of mounted men,
belonging to Johnson's corps. The statement given below in support of
King's claim, was written by the editor of the Frankfort (Ky.)
Commentator, and published in that journal in 1831. It is given on the
authority of captain Davidson and his brother, two highly respectable
citizens of Kentucky, both of whom belonged to colonel Johnson's
mounted regiment, and were in the battle of the Thames. We have omitted
the first part of this statement as irrelevant to the point in issue.

"While these things were acting in this part of the field, and towards
the close of the action, which did not last long--for though much was
done, it was done quickly--when the enemy was somewhat thinned and
considerably scattered, and our men were scattered amongst them, Clark,
one of the men mentioned above, suddenly called out to his comrade,
David King, to 'take care of the Indian that was near to him.' The
warrior turned upon Clark; at the same instant, King fired at him with
Whitley's gun, and lodged the two balls which he knew it was loaded
with, in the chieftain's breast--for when Whitley fell, King threw away
his own gun, and took the better one and the powder horn of the old
Indian fighter. The Indian droped upon King's fire:--'Whoop--by G----'
exclaimed King, 'he was every inch a soldier. I have killed one d----d
yellow bugger,' and passed on. Giles saw this occurrence as well as
Clark, and so did Von Treece--they were all together. From the
commencement of the fight, the voice of an Indian commander had been
distinctly heard and observed by our soldiers. About this time it
ceased, and was heard no more: _Tecumseh was dead._ Presently a cry of
'_how! how!_' was raised among the Indians; upon which they turned and
fled, pursued by our soldiers.

"Upon the return of the volunteers from the pursuit, King proposed to
Sam Davidson, his friend and relative, and to other comrades, to go
round with him by the spot where he had killed the Indian, because he
wanted to get his fine leggins. They had noticed a particular tree and
a log, near to which the Indian fell. They found the tree without
difficulty, but the body was not discovered quite so readily; but King
insisted that it must be somewhere thereabouts. Sam Davidson first
discovered it. It was lying behind a tree, face downward. '_Here he
is_,' said Davidson, 'but I see no wound upon him.' '_Roll him over_,'
said King, 'and if it is my Indian, you will find two bullet holes in
his left breast.' It was done; and there were the two bullet holes, an
inch apart, just below the left pap--the same, no doubt, where King's
balls had entered. The Indian, from his dress, was evidently a chief.
His fanciful leggins, (King's main object in hunting out the body,) his
party-colored worsted sash, his pistols, his two dirks, all his dress
and equipments, were the _undisputed_ spoils of King. He kept one of
the dirks, the sash, and moccasins for himself; the rest he distributed
as presents among his messmates.

"Now, _it was this very Indian_, which was afterwards identified by
those who had known him, as TECUMSEH--_this and no other_."

This testimony, coming as it does from a highly respectable quarter,
would seem to be conclusive in favor of the claim of King. It contains,
however, statements which, if true, greatly weaken its force; and,
indeed, in our opinion, dissipate at once the idea that the Indian
killed by King was Tecumseh. The narrative states that "the Indian,
from his dress, was evidently a chief. His fanciful leggins, his
party-colored worsted sash, his pistols, his two dirks, all his dress
and equipments, were the undisputed spoils of King." Now, if there be
any one fact connected with the fall of Tecumseh which is fully and
fairly established upon unimpeachable authority, it is, that he entered
the battle of the Thames, dressed in the ordinary deerskin garb of his
tribe. There was nothing in his clothes, arms or ornaments, indicating
him to have been a chief. On this point the testimony of Anthony Shane
is explicit; and his statement is confirmed by colonel Baubee of the
British army, who was familiarly acquainted with Tecumseh. This
officer, the morning after the action, stated to one of the aids of
general Harrison, that he saw Tecumseh just before the battle
commenced, and that he was clothed in his usual plain deer-skin dress,
and in that garb took his position in the Indian line, where he
heroically met his fate. The testimony in favor of Mr. King's claim,
while it proves very satisfactorily that he killed an Indian, is
equally conclusive, we think, in establishing the fact that that Indian
was not the renowned Tecumseh.

With the statement of one other person, upon this vexed question, we
shall take our final leave of it. Major William Oliver, of Cincinnati,
in a communication to the author, under date of 23d December, 1840,

"In 1819, I lodged with Anthony Shane, at what was then called 'the
Second Crossing of the St. Mary's.' I had known Shane intimately for a
long time, indeed, from my first settlement at fort Wayne, in 1806. In
speaking of the battle of the Thames, and the fall of Tecumseh, he
said, the most authentic information he had obtained upon this point,
was from two brothers of his wife, who were in the battle, and near the
person of Tecumseh when he fell. They stated, in positive terms, that
Tecumseh was shot by a private of the Kentucky troops; and Shane seemed
so well satisfied with the truth of their statement, that he informed
me it was entitled to belief."

To John Johnston, of Piqua, late Indian agent, and others, Shane, at
this early period, expressed the opinion that Tecumseh did not fall by
the hands of the commander of the mounted regiment. The reader of this
volume will recollect, that long subsequent to the period when these
opinions were expressed, and upon the eve of a political campaign, in
which colonel R.M. Johnson was a candidate for a high and honorable
office, Anthony Shane is represented by the reverend O.B. Brown, as
having stated to him his belief, that Tecumseh did meet his death by a
shot from the colonel. Shane, who, we believe, is now deceased,
sustained, through life, a character for integrity. Whether, in his
latter years, his memory had failed him, by which he was led to express
these contradictory opinions, or whether Mr. Brown misunderstood the
import of his language, when talking upon this matter, we shall not
undertake to decide. The reader who feels an interest in the point at
issue will settle the question for himself, whether, under the peculiar
circumstances of the case, the early or late declarations of Shane were
the genuine expression of his belief on this subject.


  Mr. Jefferson's opinion of the Prophet--brief sketch of his
  character--anecdotes of Tecumseh--a review of the great principles of
  his plan of union among the tribes--general summary of his life and

Mr. Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams,[A] says: "The Wabash Prophet
is more rogue than fool, if to be a rogue is not the greatest of all
follies. He rose to notice while I was in the administration, and
became, of course, a proper subject for me. The inquiry was made with
diligence. His declared object was the reformation of his red brethren,
and their return to their pristine manner of living. He pretended to be
in constant communication with the Great Spirit; that he was instructed
by Him to make known to the Indians that they were created by Him
distinct from the whites, of different natures, for different purposes,
and placed under different circumstances, adapted to their nature and
destinies; that they must return from all the ways of the whites to the
habits and opinions of their forefathers; they must not eat the flesh
of hogs, of bullocks, of sheep, &c., the deer and buffalo having been
created for their food; they must not make bread of wheat, but of
Indian corn; they must not wear linen nor woollen, but dress like their
fathers, in the skins and furs of animals; they must not drink ardent
spirits; and I do not remember whether he extended his inhibitions to
the gun and gunpowder, in favor of the bow and arrow. I concluded, from
all this, that he was a visionary, enveloped in their antiquities, and
vainly endeavoring to lead back his brethren to the fancied beatitudes
of their golden age. I thought there was little danger of his making
many proselytes from the habits and comforts they had learned from the
whites, to the hardships and privations of savagism, and no great harm
if he did. We let him go on, therefore, unmolested. But his followers
increased until the British thought him worth corrupting, and found him
corruptible. I suppose his views were then changed; but his proceedings
in consequence of them, were after I left the administration, and are,
therefore, unknown to me; nor have I ever been informed what were the
particular acts on his part, which produced an actual commencement of
hostilities on ours. I have no doubt, however, that his subsequent
proceedings are but a chapter apart, like that of Henry and Lord
Liverpool, in the book of the Kings of England."

[Footnote A: Jefferson's Correspondence, vol. 10. p. 171.]

Mr. Jefferson's account of the Prophet's "budget of reform," is correct
as far as it goes: it embraced, however, many other matters, looking to
the amelioration of savage life. Whatever may have been his original
object, in the promulgation of his new code of ethics, there is enough,
we think, in the character and conduct of this individual to warrant
the opinion, that he was really desirous of doing good to his race;
and, that with many foibles, and some positive vices, he was not
destitute of benevolent and generous feelings. That in assuming the
character of a prophet, he had, in connection with his brother,
ulterior objects in view, is not to be doubted. It so happened, that
the adoption of his doctrines was calculated to promote harmony among
the tribes; and this was the very foundation of the grand confederacy,
to which he and Tecumseh were zealously devoting the energies of their

After the premature and, to the Indians, disastrous battle of
Tippecanoe, the Prophet began to fall into obscurity. The result of
that action materially diminished the wide spread influence which he
had attained over his countrymen. The incantations, by means of which
he had played upon their imaginations, and swayed their conduct, lost
their potency. The inspired messenger of the Great Spirit, as he openly
proclaimed himself, had boldly promised his followers an easy victory
over their enemies. A battle was fought--the Indians were defeated--and
the gory form of many a gallant, but credulous "brave," attested that
the renowned Prophet had lost, amid the carnage of that nocturnal
conflict, his office and his power.

At the time when this battle was fought, Tecumseh was on a mission to
the southern Indians, with the view of extending his warlike
confederacy. He had left instructions with the Prophet, to avoid any
hostile collision with the whites; and from the deference which the
latter usually paid to the wishes of the former, it is not probable
that the battle would have occurred, had not extraneous influence been
brought to bear upon the leader. The reason assigned by the Prophet to
his brother, for this attack upon the army under general Harrison, is
not known; but some of the Indians who were in this engagement,
subsequently stated that the Winnebagoes forced on the battle contrary
to the wishes of the Prophet. This is not improbable; yet, admitting it
to be true, if he had taken a bold and decided stand against the
measure, it might, in all probability, have been prevented. The
influence of the Prophet, however, even at this time, was manifestly on
the wane, and some of his followers were beginning to leave his camp.
He doubtless felt that it was necessary to do something to sustain
himself: a signal victory over the whites would accomplish this end;
and hence he consented the more readily, to the wishes of the
Winnebagoes, that an attack should be made, in the hope that it would
prove successful.

Within a few months after this battle, war was declared against England
by the United States. Tecumseh and the Prophet, discouraged in regard
to their union of the tribes, decided on joining the British standard.
The love of fighting, however, was not a remarkable trait of the
Prophet's character. He won no military laurels during the continuance
of that war; and although in the vicinity of the Moravian town on the
5th of October, 1813, he did not choose to participate in the action at
the Thames. After the return of peace, he resided in the neighborhood
of Malden for some time, and finally returned to Ohio: from whence,
with a band of Shawanoes, he removed west of the Mississippi, where he
resided until the period of his death, which occurred in the year 1834.
It is stated, in a foreign periodical,[A] that the British government
allowed him a pension from the year 1813, to the close of his life.

[Footnote A: The United Service Journal--London.]

In forming an estimate of the Prophet's character, it seems unjust to
hold him responsible for all the numerous aggressions which were
committed by his followers upon the property and persons of the whites.
His first proselytes were from the most worthless and vicious portion
of the tribes from which they were drawn. "The young men especially,
who gathered about him, like the young men who brought on the war of
King Philip, were wrought up until the master spirit himself, lost his
control over them; and to make the matter worse, most of them were of
such a character in the first instance, that horse stealing and house
breaking were as easy to them as breathing. Like the refugees of
Romulus, they were outcasts, vagabonds and criminals; in a great degree
brought together by the novelty of the preacher's reputation, by
curiosity to hear his doctrines, by the fascination of extreme
credulity, by restlessness, by resentment against the whites, and by
poverty and unpopularity at home."[A] To preserve an influence over
such a body of men, to use them successfully as propagandists of his
new doctrines, and, at the same time, prevent their aggressions upon
the whites, who were oftentimes themselves the aggressors, required no
small degree of talent; and called into activity the utmost powers of
the Prophet's mind. In addition to these adverse circumstances, he had
to encounter the opposition of all the influential chiefs in the
surrounding tribes; and a still more formidable adversary in the
poverty and extreme want of provisions, which, on several occasions,
threatened the total disruption of his party, and undoubtedly led to
many of the thefts and murders on the frontiers, of which loud and
frequent complaints were made by the agents of the United States. In a
word, difficulties of various kinds were constantly recurring, which
required the most ceaseless vigilance and the shrewdest sagacity on the
part of the two brothers to obviate or overcome. The Prophet had a
clear head, if not an honest heart; courteous and insinuating in his
address, with a quick wit and a fluent tongue, he seldom came out of
any conference without rising in the estimation of those who composed
it. He was no warrior, and from the fact of his never having engaged in
a battle, the presumption has been raised that he was wanting in
physical courage. With that of cowardice, the charge of cruelty has
been associated, from the cold-blooded and deliberate manner in which
he put to death several of those who were suspected of having exercised
an influence adverse to his plans, or calculated to lessen the value of
the inspired character which he had assumed. Finally, it may be said of
him, that he was a vain, loquacious and cunning man, of indolent habits
and doubtful principles. Plausible but deceitful, prone to deal in the
marvellous, quick of apprehension, affluent in pretexts, winning and
eloquent, if not powerful in debate, the Prophet was peculiarly fitted
to play the impostor, and to excite into strong action, the credulous
fanaticism of the stern race to which he belonged. Few men, in any age
of the world, have risen more rapidly into extended notoriety; wielded,
for the time being, a more extraordinary degree of moral influence, or
sunk more suddenly into obscurity, than the Prophet.

[Footnote A: North American Review.]

TECUMSEH was near six feet in stature, with a compact, muscular frame,
capable of great physical endurance. His head was of a moderate size,
with a forehead full and high; his nose slightly aquiline, teeth large
and regular, eyes black, penetrating and overhung with heavy arched
brows, which increased the uniformly grave and severe expression of his
countenance. He is represented by those who knew him, to have been a
remarkably fine looking man, always plain but neat in his dress, and of
a commanding personal presence. His portrait, it is believed, was never
painted, owing probably to his strong prejudices against the whites.

In the private and social life of Tecumseh there were many things
worthy of notice. He was opposed, on principle, to polygamy, a practice
almost universal among his countrymen. He was married but once; and
this union, which took place at the age of twenty-eight, is said to
have been more in compliance with the wishes of others than in
obedience to the unbiassed impulse of his feelings or the dictates of
his judgment. Mamate, his wife, was older than himself, and possessed
few personal or mental qualities calculated to excite admiration. A
son, called Pugeshashenwa, (a panther in the act of seizing its prey,)
was the only fruit of this union. The mother died soon after his birth,
and he was left to the care of his aunt, Tecumapease.[A] This son is
now residing with the Shawanoes west of the Mississippi, but is not
distinguished for talents, or renowned as a warrior. The British
government, however, since the death of Tecumseh, has recognized its
obligations to the father by the extension of an annual stipend to the

[Footnote A: Recollections of John Johnston, and Anthony Shane.]

From his boyhood, Tecumseh was remarkable for temperance and the
strictest integrity. He was hospitable, generous and humane; and these
traits were acknowledged in his character long before he rose to
distinction, or had conceived the project of that union of the tribes,
on which the energies of his manhood were fruitlessly expended. He was,
says an intelligent Shawanoe, who had known him from childhood, kind
and attentive to the aged and infirm, looking personally to their
comfort, repairing their frail wigwams when winter approached, giving
them skins for moccasins and clothing, and sharing with them the
choicest game which the woods and the seasons afforded. Nor were these
acts of kindness bestowed exclusively on those of rank or reputation.
On the contrary, he made it his business to search out the humblest
objects of charity, and in a quick, unostentatious manner, relieve
their wants.

The moral and intellectual qualities of Tecumseh place him above the
age and the race in which his lot was cast. "From the earliest period
of his life," says Mr. Johnston, the late Indian agent at Piqua,
"Tecumseh was distinguished for virtue, for a strict adherence to
truth, honor, and integrity. He was sober[A] and abstemious, never
indulging in the use of liquor nor eating to excess." Another
respectable individual,[B] who resided for near twenty years as a
prisoner among the Shawanoes, and part of that time in the family of
Tecumseh, writes to us, "I know of no _peculiarity_ about him that
gained him popularity. His talents, rectitude of deportment, and
friendly disposition, commanded the respect and regard of all about
him. In short, I consider him a very great as well as a very good man,
who, had he enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education, would have
done honor to any age or any nation."

[Footnote A: Major James Galloway, of Xenia, states, that on one
occasion, while Tecumseh was quite young, he saw him intoxicated. This
is the only aberration of the kind, which we have heard charged upon

[Footnote B: Mr. Stephen Ruddell.]

Tecumseh had, however, no education, beyond that which the traditions
of his race, and his own power of observation and reflection, afforded
him. He rarely mingled with the whites, and very seldom attempted to
speak their language, of which his knowledge was extremely limited and

When Burns, the poet, was suddenly transferred from his plough in
Ayrshire to the polished circles of Edinburg, his ease of manner, and
nice observance of the rules of good-breeding, excited much surprise,
and became the theme of frequent conversation. The same thing has been
remarked of Tecumseh: whether seated at the tables of generals McArthur
and Worthington, as he was during the council at Chillicothe in 1807,
or brought in contact with British officers of the highest rank, his
manners were entirely free from vulgarity and coarseness: he was
uniformly self-possessed, and with the tact and ease of deportment
which marked the poet of the heart, and which are falsely supposed to
be the result of civilization and refinement only, he readily
accommodated himself to the novelties of his new position, and seemed
more amused than annoyed by them.

The humanity of his character has been already portrayed in the pages
of this work. His early efforts to abolish the practice of burning
prisoners--then common among the Indians--and the merciful protection
which he otherwise invariably showed to captives, whether taken by
himself or his companions, need no commendation at our hands. Rising
above the prejudices and customs of his people, even when those
prejudices and customs were tacitly sanctioned by the officers and
agents of Great Britain, Tecumseh was never known to offer violence to
prisoners, nor to permit it in others. So strong was his sense of
honor, and so sensitive his feelings of humanity, on this point, that
even frontier women and children, throughout the wide space in which
his character was known, felt secure from the tomahawk of the hostile
Indians, if Tecumseh was in the camp. A striking instance of this
confidence is presented in the following anecdote. The British and
Indians were encamped near the river Raisin; and while holding a talk
within eighty or one hundred yards of Mrs. Ruland's house, some Sauks
and Winnebagoes entered her dwelling, and began to plunder it. She
immediately sent her little daughter, eight or nine years old,
requesting Tecumseh to come to her assistance. The child ran to the
council house, and pulling Tecumseh (who was then speaking) by the
skirt of his hunting-shirt, said to him, "Come to our house--there are
bad Indians there." Without waiting to close his speech, the chief
started for the house in a fast walk. On entering, he was met by two or
three Indians dragging a trunk towards the door: he seized his tomahawk
and levelled one of them at a blow: they prepared for resistance, but
no sooner did they hear the cry, "dogs! I am Tecumseh!" than under the
flash of his indignant eye, they fled from the house: and "you," said
Tecumseh, turning to some British officers, "are _worse_ than dogs, to
break your faith with prisoners." The officers expressed their regrets
to Mrs. Ruland, and offered to place a guard around the house: this she
declined, observing, that so long as that man, pointing to Tecumseh,
was near them, she felt safe.[A]

[Footnote A: On the authority of colonel John Ruland.]

Tecumseh entertained a high and proper sense of personal character--was
equally bold in defending his own conduct, and condemning that which
was reprehensible in others. In 1811, he abandoned his intention of
visiting the President, because he was not permitted to march to
Washington at the head of a party of his warriors. As an officer in the
British army, he never lost sight of the dignity of his rank, nor
suffered any act of injustice towards those under his command to pass
without resenting it. On one occasion, while the combined British and
Indian forces were quartered at Malden, there was a scarcity of
provisions, the commissary's department being supplied with salt beef
only, which was issued to the British soldiers, while horse flesh was
given to the Indians. Upon learning this fact, Tecumseh promptly called
on general Proctor, remonstrated against the injustice of the measure,
and complained, indignantly, of the insult thus offered to himself and
his men. The British general appeared indifferent to what was said;
whereupon, the chief struck the hilt of Proctor's sword with his hand,
then touched the handle of his own tomahawk, and sternly remarked, "You
are Proctor--I am Tecumseh;" intimating, that if justice was not done
to the Indians, the affair must be settled by a personal rencontre
between the two commanders. General Proctor prudently yielded the

[Footnote A: On the authority of the Rev. Wm. H. Raper.]

But few of the numerous speeches made by Tecumseh have been preserved.
Tradition speaks in exalted terms of several efforts of this kind, of
which no record was made. All bore evidence of the high order of his
intellectual powers. They were uniformly forcible, sententious and
argumentative; always dignified, frequently impassioned and powerful.
He indulged neither in sophism nor circumlocution, but with bold and
manly frankness, gave utterance to his honest opinions. Mr. Ruddell,
who knew him long and intimately, says, that "he was naturally
eloquent, very fluent, graceful in his gestures, but not in the habit
of using many; that there was neither vehemence nor violence in his
style of delivery, but that his eloquence always made a strong
impression on his hearers." Dr. Hunt, of Clark county, Ohio, has
remarked, that the first time he heard Henry Clay make a speech, his
manner reminded him, very forcibly, of that of Tecumseh, in the council
at Springfield, in the year 1807, on which occasion he made one of his
happiest efforts.

Our present minister to France, Mr. Cass, has said, with his usual
discrimination, that "the character of Tecumseh, in whatever light it
may be viewed, must be regarded as remarkable in the highest degree.
That he proved himself worthy of his rank as a general officer in the
army of his Britannic majesty, or even of his reputation as a great
warrior among all the Indians of the north-west, is, indeed, a small
title to distinction. Bravery is a savage virtue, and the Shawanoes are
a brave people: too many of the American nation have ascertained this
fact by experience. His oratory speaks more for his genius. It was the
utterance of a great mind roused by the strongest motives of which
human nature is susceptible; and developing a power and a labor of
reason, which commanded the admiration of the civilized, as justly as
the confidence and pride of the savage." There was one subject, far
better calculated than all others, to call forth his intellectual
energies, and exhibit the peculiar fascination of his oratory. "When he
spoke to his brethren on the glorious theme that animated all his
actions, his fine countenance lighted up, his firm and erect frame
swelled with deep emotion, which his own stern dignity could scarcely
repress; every feature and gesture had its meaning, and language flowed
tumultuously and swiftly, from the fountains of his soul."

Another writer, Judge Hall, long resident in the west, and devoted to
the study of aboriginal history, has thus summed up the character of
this chief:

"At this period the celebrated Tecumseh appeared upon the scene. He was
called the Napoleon of the west; and so far as that title was deserved
by splendid genius, unwavering courage, untiring perseverance, boldness
of conception and promptitude of action, it was fairly bestowed upon
this accomplished savage. He rose from obscurity to the command of a
tribe to which he was alien by birth. He was, by turns, the orator, the
warrior and the politician; and in each of these capacities, towered
above all with whom he came in contact. As is often the case with great
minds, one master passion filled his heart, prompted all his designs,
and gave to his life its character. This was hatred to the whites, and,
like Hannibal, he had sworn that it should be perpetual. He entertained
the same vast project of uniting the scattered tribes of the west into
one grand confederacy, which had been acted on by King Philip and
Little Turtle. He wished to extinguish all distinctions of tribe and
language, to bury all feuds, and to combine the power and the
prejudices of all, in defence of the rights and possessions of the
whole, as the aboriginal occupants of the country."

It may be truly said, that what Hannibal was to the Romans, Tecumseh
became to the people of the United States. From his boyhood to the hour
when he fell, nobly battling for the rights of his people, he fostered
an invincible hatred to the whites. On one occasion, he was heard to
declare, that he could not look upon the face of a white man, without
feeling the flesh crawl upon his bones. This hatred was not confined,
however, to the Americans. Circumstances made him the ally of the
British, and induced him to fight under their standard, but he neither
loved nor respected them. He well understood their policy; they could
not deceive his sagacious mind; he knew that their professions of
regard for the Indians were hollow, and that when instigating him and
his people to hostilities against the United States, the agents of
Britain had far less anxiety about the rights of the Indians, than the
injuries which, through their instrumentality, might be inflicted upon
the rising republic. This feeling towards the whites, and especially to
the people of the United States, had a deeper foundation than mere
prejudice or self-interest. Tecumseh was a patriot, and his love of
country made him a statesman and a warrior. He saw his race driven from
their native land, and scattered like withered leaves in an autumnal
blast; he beheld their morals debased, their independence destroyed,
their means of subsistence cut off, new and strange customs introduced,
diseases multiplied, ruin and desolation around and among them; he
looked for the cause of these evils and believed he had found it in the
flood of white immigration which, having surmounted the towering
Alleghenies, was spreading itself over the hunting grounds of Kentucky,
and along the banks of the Scioto, the Miami and the Wabash, whose
waters, from time immemorial, had reflected the smoke of the rude but
populous villages of his ancestors. As a statesman, he studied the
subject, and, having satisfied himself that justice was on the side of
his countrymen, he tasked the powers of his expansive mind, to find a
remedy for the mighty evil which threatened their total extermination.

The original, natural right of the Indians to the occupancy and
possession of their lands, has been recognized by the laws of congress,
and solemnly sanctioned by the highest judicial tribunal of the United
States. On this principle, there is no disagreement between our
government and the Indian nations by whom this country was originally

[Footnote A: 6 Wheaton's Reports, 515.]

In the acquisition of these lands, however, our government has held
that its title was perfect when it had purchased of the tribe in actual
possession. It seems, indeed, to have gone farther and admitted, that a
tribe might acquire lands by conquest which it did not occupy, as in
the case of the Iroquois, and sell the same to us; and, that the title
thus acquired, would be valid. Thus we have recognized the principles
of international law as operative between the Indians and us on this
particular point, while on some others, as in not _allowing_ them to
sell to individuals, and giving them tracts used as hunting grounds by
other tribes beyond the Mississippi, we have treated them as savage
hordes, not sufficiently advanced in civilization to be admitted into
the family of nations. Our claim to forbid their selling to
individuals, and our guarantying to tribes who would not sell to us in
our corporate capacity, portions of country occupied as hunting
grounds, by more distant tribes, can only be based on the right of
discovery, taken in connection with a right conferred by our superior
civilization; and seems never in fact to have been fully acknowledged
by them. It was not, at least, admitted by Tecumseh. His doctrine seems
to have been that we acquired no rights over the Indians or their
country either by discovery or superior civilization; and that the
possession and jurisdiction can only be obtained by conquest or
negociation. In regard to the latter, he held that purchase from a
single tribe, although at the time sojourners on the lands sold, was
not valid as it respected other tribes. That no particular portion of
the country belonged to the tribe then within its limits--though in
reference to other tribes, its title was perfect; that is, possession
excluded other tribes, and would exclude them forever; but did not
confer on the tribe having it, the right to sell the soil to us; for
that was the common property of all the tribes who were near enough to
occupy or hunt upon it, in the event of its being at any time vacated,
and could only be vacated by _the consent of the whole_. As a
conclusion from these premises, he insisted that certain sales made in
the west were invalid, and protested against new ones on any other than
his own principles.

It must be acknowledged that these views have much plausibility, not to
grant to them any higher merit. If the Indians had been in a nomadic
instead of a hunter state, and in summer had driven their flocks to the
Allegheny mountains--in winter to the banks of the Wabash and Tennessee
rivers, it could scarcely be denied that each tribe would have had an
interest in the whole region between, and as much right as any other
tribe to be heard on a question of sale. The Indians were not
shepherds, wandering _with_ their flocks of sheep and cattle in quest
of new pastures, but hunters, roaming after deer and bison, and
changing their location, as the pursuit from year to year, or from age
to age, might require. We do not perceive a difference in principle in
the two cases; and while we admit the difficulty of acquiring their
territory on the plan of Tecumseh, we feel bound also to admit, that as
far as its preservation to themselves was concerned, his was the only
effective method.

In its support he displayed in council the sound and logical eloquence
for which he was distinguished--in war the prowess which raised him
into the highest rank of Indian heroes.

At what period of his life he first resolved upon making an effort to
stop the progress of the whites west of the mountains, is not certainly
known. It was probably several years anterior to the open avowal of his
plan of union, which occurred in 1805 or '6. The work before him was
herculean in character, and beset with difficulties on every side; but
these only quickened into more tireless activity his genius and his
patriotic resolution. To unite the tribes as he proposed, prejudices
must be overcome, their original manners and customs re-established,
the use of ardent spirits utterly abandoned, and finally, all
intercourse with the whites cut off. Here was a field for the display
of the highest moral and intellectual powers. He had already gained the
reputation of a brave and sagacious warrior, a cool headed, upright and
wise counsellor. He was neither a war nor a peace chief, and yet he
wielded the power and influence of both. The time had now arrived for
action. To win savage attention, some bold and striking movement was
necessary. He imparted his plan to his brother, a smart, cunning and
pliable fellow, who adroitly and quickly prepared himself for the part
he was appointed to play, in this great drama of savage life. Tecumseh
well understood, that excessive superstition is every where a prominent
trait in the Indian character, and readily availed himself of it.
Suddenly, his brother begins to dream dreams, and see visions, he is an
inspired Prophet, favored with a divine commission from the Great
Spirit; the power of life and death is placed in his hands; he is the
appointed agent for preserving the property and lands of the Indians,
and for restoring them to their original, happy condition. He commences
his sacred work; the public mind is aroused; unbelief gradually gives
way; credulity and wild fanaticism begin to spread in circles, widening
and deepening until the fame of the Prophet, and the divine character
of his mission, have reached the frozen shores of the lakes, and
overrun the broad plains which stretch far beyond the Mississippi.
Pilgrims from remote tribes, seek, with fear and trembling, the
head-quarters of the mighty Prophet. Proselytes are multiplied, and his
followers increase in number. Even Tecumseh becomes a believer, and,
seizing upon the golden opportunity, he mingles with the pilgrims, wins
them by his address, and, on their return, sends a knowledge of his
plan of concert and union to the most distant tribes. And now commenced
those bodily and mental labors of Tecumseh, which were never
intermitted for the space of five years. During the whole of this
period, we have seen that his life was one of ceaseless activity. He
traveled, he argued, he commanded: to-day, his persuasive voice was
listened to by the Wyandots, on the plains of Sandusky--to-morrow, his
commands were issued on the banks of the Wabash--anon, he was paddling
his bark canoe across the Mississippi; now, boldly confronting the
governor of Indiana territory in the council-house at Viacennes, and
now carrying his banner of union among the Creeks and Cherokees of the
south. He was neither intoxicated by success, nor discouraged by
failure; and, but for the desperate conflict at Tippecanoe, would have
established the most formidable and extended combination of Indians,
that has ever been witnessed on this continent That he could have been
successful in arresting the progress of the whites, or in making the
Ohio river the boundary between them and the Indians of the north-west,
even if that battle had not been fought, is not to be supposed. The
ultimate failure of his plan was inevitable from the circumstances of
the case. The wonder is not that he did not succeed, but that he was
enabled to accomplish so much. His genius should neither be tested by
the magnitude of his scheme, nor the failure in its execution, but by
the extraordinary success that crowned his patriotic labors. These
labors were suddenly terminated in the hour when the prospect of
perfecting the grand confederacy was brightest. By the battle of
Tippecanoe--fought in violation of his positive commands and during his
absence to the south,--the great object of his ambition was frustrated,
the golden bowl was broken at the fountain; that ardent enthusiasm
which for years had sustained him, in the hour of peril and privation,
was extinguished. His efforts were paralyzed, but not his hostility to
the United States. He joined the standard of their enemy, and fought
beneath it with his wonted skill and heroism. At length the contest on
the Thames was at hand. Indignant at the want of courage or military
skill, which prompted the commander of the British forces to shrink
from meeting the American army on the shore of lake Erie, he sternly
refused to retreat beyond the Moravian towns. There, at the head of his
warriors, he took his stand, resolved, as he solemnly declared, to be
victorious, or leave his body upon the field of battle, a prey to the
wolf and the vulture. The result has been told. The Thames is
consecrated forever, by the bones of the illustrious Shawanoe
statesman, warrior and patriot, which repose upon its bank.

In whatever aspect the genius and character of Tecumseh may be viewed,
they present the evidence of his having been a remarkable man; and, to
repeat the language of a distinguished statesman and general, who knew
him long and intimately, who has often met him in the council and on
the field of battle, we may venture to pronounce him, one of those
uncommon geniuses which spring up occasionally to produce revolutions,
and overturn the established order of things; and, who, but for the
power of the United States, would, perhaps, have been the founder of an
empire which would have rivalled that of Mexico or Peru.




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The style of Printing done on their Power Presses can be seen by
examining Judge M'Lean's Reports, Howard's Reports, Cincinnati in 1841,
and the Life of Tecumseh;--the Eclectic Series of School Books, and
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8vo. with many plates, and the Political Text-book, a small 32mo.,
published by J.A. James &, Co.;--the Farmer and Gardener, the Texian
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