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´╗┐Title: Tecumseh - A Chronicle of the Last Great Leader of His People; Vol. - 17 of Chronicles of Canada
Author: Raymond, Ethel T.
Language: English
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CHRONICLES OF CANADA
Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 17

TECUMSEH
A Chronicle of the last Great Leader of his People

By ETHEL T. RAYMOND
TORONTO, 1915



CONTENTS

I.    THE BOYHOOD OF TECUMSEH
II.   THE BAPTISM OF FIRE
III.  A LEADER AMONG HIS PEOPLE
IV.   THE PROPHET
V.    A GIFTED ORATOR
VI.   THE BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE
VII.  UNDER THE BRITISH FLAG
VIII. FIGHTING ON AMERICAN SOIL
IX.   THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE
X.    TECUMSEH'S LAST FIGHT
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE



CHAPTER I

THE BOYHOOD OF TECUMSEH

Three Indian figures stand out in bold relief on the background of
Canadian history--the figures of Pontiac, Brant, and Tecumseh. The
Ottawa chief Pontiac was the friend of the French, and, when the
French suffered defeat, he plotted and fought to drive the English
from the Indian country. Brant, the Mohawk, took the king's side
against the Americans in the War of Independence, and finally led
his defeated people to Canada that they might have homes on British
soil. And Tecumseh threw in his lot with the British in the War of
1812 and gave his life in their service. But, while Pontiac fought
for the French and Brant and Tecumseh for the British, it was for
the lost cause of their own people that all three were really
fighting; and it was for this that they spent themselves in vain.

Tecumseh, whose story we are to tell in this volume, sprang from
the Shawnees, an energetic and warlike tribe of Algonquian stock.
The Algonquins, whose tribal branches were scattered from Labrador
to the Rockies and from Hudson Bay to North Carolina, believed that
a deity presided over each of the four cardinal points of the
compass. Shawan was the guardian spirit of the South; and, as the
tribe to which Tecumseh belonged formerly lived south of the
other tribes, its members became known as Shawanoes, or
Shawnees--that is, Southerners.

Little is known of the history of the Shawnees, for they were
restless bands, greater wanderers even than the generality of
Indians, and their continual change of settlement baffles historical
research. Upon the southern shores of Lake Erie, on the banks of the
Ohio, and along the broad Mississippi, at different times they pitched
their tents. The name of the river Suwanee, or 'Swanee,' corrupted from
their own, marks their abode at one time in Georgia and Florida.

The Shawnees were originally divided into twelve clans, each clan
adopting as its totem a reptile, bird, or animal that at some time
had been regarded as a benign spirit. As a result of continual
wars and wandering, however, the twelve clans had dwindled to four.
Only the Mequachake, Chillicothe, Piqua, and Kiscopoke remained. In
the first of these, which conducted all tribal rites, the chiefship
was hereditary; in the other three it was the reward of merit.

To the Kiscopoke clan belonged Tecumseh's father, Puckeshinwau
('something that drops'). He had been elevated to the rank of chief
by his brother-warriors, and at the time of Tecumseh's birth was
a powerful leader among his people. The panther was the totem of
his clan. Tecumseh's mother, named Methoataske ('a turtle laying
eggs in the sand'), is said to have been noted for wisdom among
the women of her tribe, and her name shows that she belonged to
the clan having the turtle as its totem. After much wandering,
Puckeshinwau settled down in the Ohio country with his family and
the band that accompanied him in his migrations. It was in the old
Indian village of Piqua, about six miles south-west of the site of
the present city of Springfield, Ohio, and within sound of the
rushing waters of the Mad River, that he set up the wigwam in which,
in the year 1768, Tecumseh first opened his eyes. We are told that
a rich, wide plateau, gemmed with wild flowers, extended between
the village and the river, and that precipitous cliffs rose on one
side, while rolling hills crowned with tall trees completed the
circle of the village.

Tecumseh was the fourth child of a family of seven. His elders
were Cheeseekau, the eldest son, Tecumapease, the only daughter,
and Sauwaseekau; the younger children were Nehasumo, Laulewasikaw,
and Kumshakaw. The two last were twins; and twins were held
in superstitious awe by the Indians, who feared them as
possessed of occult power, and frequently put one or both to
death. In this instance no such fate befell the children.
Kumshakaw evinced none of the dreaded attributes, and lived
to a ripe old age, but Laulewasikaw, by his practice of magic
and claims of supernatural knowledge and power, as we shall
see later, bore out the ancient belief.

Tecumseh in his early days was left largely to the care of his
sister, Tecumapease. Thus between the two there arose a strong
attachment which lasted until Tecumseh's death. From the well-known
Indian practices in relation to the bringing up of young children
we can imagine how the days of his infancy were passed. When not
rolling on the ground, the child would be closely confined in his
curious cradle, a sack made from the skin of an animal and bound
to a thin, straight board, somewhat larger than his body. Great
care would be taken to keep straight the infant limbs, that their
symmetry might be preserved in later life. This was the first stage
in the making of an Indian stoic. Every part of the cradle was
symbolical. That the child's life might be preserved, the heart
of a tree was used for the cradle board. Along the wooden bow above
the child's head, which symbolized the sky, zigzag furrows were
cut to represent lightning, the power of which was designated by
suspended arrows. Through holes in the upper part of the board was
threaded a leather thong, or burden-strap, which Tecumapease passed
about her forehead when carrying the papoose on her back, or which
the mother fastened to the pommel of her saddle when making long
journeys. It served also to hang the cradle to the branch of a
tree, when the child swayed backwards and forwards with the motion
of the bough while the wind crooned him to sleep. The cradle would
sometimes be placed upright against a tree-trunk, so that Tecumseh's
eyes might follow Tecumapease as she helped to grind the corn in
a hollow stone or sift it through baskets; or, again, while she
mixed the meal into cakes, and carefully covered them with leaves
before baking them in the ashes.

Sometimes Tecumapease would carry Tecumseh on her back to where
Methoataske worked in the field with the other women of her tribe.
Like them, from bearing heavy burdens and doing the drudgery of
the camp, Tecumapease was strong and sturdy rather than graceful.
Her hair, black and glossy as a raven's wing, hung below her waist
in a heavy braid. The short, loose sleeves of her fringed leather
smock gave freedom to her strong brown arms. A belted skirt,
leggings, and embroidered moccasins completed her costume. On
special occasions, like other Indian women, she adorned herself
with a belt and collar of coloured wampum, weaving strands of it
into her hair; and sometimes a necklace of polished elk-teeth
gleamed on her dusky throat. When Tecumseh had learned the use of
his legs, he would romp about the camp with the other black-eyed
children of his tribe. He watched his father, Puckeshinwau, make
the flint arrow-head and split the wooden shaft to receive it, bind
it firmly with a thong, and tip the other end of the shaft with a
feather to wing it on its flight; and saw the men build the birch
canoe, so light that one man could shoulder it, yet strong enough
to carry a heavy load.

During Tecumseh's childhood the Indians north of the Ohio were in
a state of unrest. They had been subdued by Bouquet, [footnote:
See _The War Chief of the Ottawas_ in this Series.] but the leniency
of that humane leader, in merely exacting that they should return
their white prisoners and remain at peace, was looked on by the
tribes as a mark of weakness; and, while no open war broke out,
young warriors occasionally attacked traders and settlers. By the
Treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1768, the Six Nations had ceded to the
whites the land between the Ohio and the Tennessee. But this was
the common hunting-ground of all the tribes, and the Indians both
south and north of the Ohio resented the action of the Six Nations
and opposed the entrance of white settlers into this region. They
were encouraged in their opposition by the action of the British
government in proclaiming the territory west of the Alleghanies
Indian country and forbidding settlers to enter it. But the hardy
Virginians could not be kept out, and slowly but surely ever westward
the smoke of their woodland huts ascended, and the forests of what
are now Kentucky and Tennessee were falling beneath the axe of the
frontiersmen. Resentful of the encroachments of the Virginians on
their hunting-grounds, frequent war-parties of Shawnees, Delawares,
Mohicans, Cherokees, and Mingoes crossed the Ohio and crept stealthily
on some unguarded settlement, to slay and scalp the inhabitants
and carry off their horses and cattle. The chiefs disclaimed
responsibility for these raids, but in words which made the settlers
in a sense responsible for them.

   It was we [they said] who so kindly received Europeans on their
   first arrival into our own country. We took them by the hand
   and bade 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 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 which they also wanted, and because we were loath
   to part with it, as we saw they already had more than they had
   need of, they took it from us by force and drove us to a great
   distance from our homes.

At this time there was not community of interest or united action
among the colonies. Pennsylvania and Virginia each claimed authority
in the Indian country. The Pennsylvanians viewed the country from
a trading point of view; the Virginians viewed it as a field for
settlement. So bitter was the feud between the two colonies that
for a time civil strife was imminent. And while this family quarrel
was at its height, the Indian scalping raids grew in frequency and
violence; and the memory of the Pontiac War was still fresh in the
minds of the frontiersmen. Many Pennsylvanians in the west became
alarmed, and soon the passes of the Alleghanies were filled with
fugitive settlers returning to their former homes. The Virginians
of Kentucky were made of sterner stuff. Lord Dunmore, the royal
governor of Virginia, was ambitious for his colony, and determined
to make good by the sword Virginia's claim to the region of which
Fort Pitt was the centre; and, under leaders like the veteran
borderers, Michael Cresap and Daniel Boone, and the youthful and
audacious hunter and surveyor, George Rogers Clark, the Virginians
strengthened their fortified villages and led successful raids
against the tribes north of the Ohio.

For some time the Shawnees had been at peace, but in the latter
part of April 1774, when two Indians suspected of horse-stealing
were put to death near Wheeling, on the Ohio, they threatened war.
A little later a party of Virginians fired upon a band of Indians,
and killed several. Again, thirty-two white men, hitherto friends
of the Indians, set out to attack a hunting-party of warriors camped
on the Ohio. A friendly squaw warned them to return, as the Indians,
who were carousing, had vowed vengeance for the death of their
tribesmen. But the white men had determined to destroy the band;
and by the promise of more rum they enticed a number of the Indians
to cross the river to their camp, where they put all to death, with
the exception of one child, not even sparing the kindly counsellor.
Other Indians across the river, alarmed by the sound of shooting,
sent two canoes to the rescue, but the whites drawn up on shore
fired upon their occupants, killing twelve and wounding several
more. The Indians were further incensed by the murder of Bald Eagle,
a sachem of the Delawares, who was attacked and scalped while
returning from a visit to a fort at the mouth of the Great Kanawha,
and whose body, placed in an upright position in his canoe, was
found drifting down the Ohio by his enraged followers. Even Silver
Heels, a favourite Shawnee chief, barely escaped death. While
guiding some white settlers along unfamiliar trails on their way
to safety, he was severely wounded by the bullets of other whites
waiting for him in ambush.

Such deeds as these urged on the inevitable war, for which the
Indians now openly prepared. Even the mighty Mingo chief, Logan,
who had ever extended the hand of friendship to the white man, now
appeared with uplifted tomahawk to avenge the unprovoked murder of
his friends. Some eight hundred warriors were soon assembled,
thirsting to avenge these recent murders, and eager to establish
their right to the disputed territory. Logan, Elenipsico, Red Eagle,
and Puckeshinwau were to lead the Indians, with Cornstalk, 'the
mighty sachem of the Shawnee, and king of the northern confederacy,'
in supreme command.

So it happened that in 1774, when the eastern colonies were on the
verge of revolution, the west was in the throes of an Indian war.
When Lord Dunmore learned that the Shawnees had declared war, he
at once proceeded to raise in Virginia an army of fifteen hundred
men; and he instructed General Andrew Lewis to go to Kentucky and
recruit among the borderers there an army of the same numerical
strength, and march to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, where the
two armies would meet. Meanwhile Dunmore advanced to Fort Pitt;
but here he changed his plan, marched to the Scioto, and entrenched
his force not far from the Indian town of Old Chillicothe. [Footnote:
On Paint Creek, near the present city of Chillicothe, Ohio.]

The 9th of October found Lewis with his troops encamped at Point
Pleasant, where the Great Kanawha pours its waters into the Ohio,
when a messenger arrived with new orders directing him to cross
the Ohio and join Dunmore on the Scioto for an advance against the
Indian towns to the north. Next morning the camp was astir at
daybreak, and the soldiers were busily preparing for their intended
march, when a scout returned with news that, about a mile away, a
large body of Indians lay in ambush.

These were Cornstalk's warriors, who had arrived at the Great
Kanawha the night before. Advised by active scouts of every movement
of the enemy, Cornstalk's Shawnees, Delawares, Mingoes, and Ioways
had crossed the Ohio on the 9th and had lain all night ambushed in
the wet woods, impatiently awaiting the dawn. Shortly after sunrise
they perceived the Americans advancing to the attack in two
detachments, one at some distance from the Ohio, the other along
its bank. Presently Cornstalk gave the signal to attack both bodies
simultaneously, and the piercing war-cry resounded through the
forest as the Indians rushed upon the advancing foe. In the first
furious onset the Americans were beaten back, several of them being
killed and an officer fatally wounded. Cornstalk's commanding voice
rose high above the clash of arms, cheering on his followers; but
the Americans, reinforced from their camp, and fighting desperately,
finally drove the Indians from the field. Tecumseh's father,
Puckeshinwau, and others among the ablest warriors, had fallen in
the early onrush.

Cornstalk led his defeated warriors to the valley of the Scioto.
Here a council-fire was kindled and the chiefs gathered about it.
Into the middle of the circle stepped Cornstalk with gloomy
countenance but majestic bearing. Searching the faces of those he
had led through the long day of battle, he gave voice to the question
that was in the mind of all--'What is now our course?' The only
response was the crackling of the fire as its fitful light played
on the dusky warriors. 'The Long Knives are coming upon us by two
routes,' he continued. 'Shall we fight them--Yes or No?' The only
answer was the harsh, ominous cry of a night-bird. 'Shall we kill
all our women and children and then fight until we ourselves are
killed?' The chiefs still maintained a gloomy silence. Cornstalk
wheeled suddenly about; his tomahawk gleamed in the firelight and
then sank quivering into the war-post which stood in the midst.
'Since you are not inclined to fight, I will go and make peace!'
he exclaimed.

Runners bearing belts of white wampum were at once dispatched by
the Indians to inform Lord Dunmore, who was now encamped not far
from the Shawnee settlement, of their desire for peace. A conference
was arranged, only eighteen chiefs, with unarmed escorts, being
permitted to attend. Logan, although not averse to peace, had
refused to be present. But as the consent of such an influential
chief was necessary to any Indian treaty, Dunmore sent a special
messenger to him in the person of Colonel Gibson. Gibson met Logan
in the forest, and there Logan gave vent to his pent-up feelings
with passionate eloquence.

   I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's
   cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and
   naked and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long
   and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate
   of peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen
   pointed as they passed and said, 'Logan is the friend of white
   men. Colonel Cresap, [Footnote: Logan was mistaken:  Cresap was
   not the murderer. See Roosevelt's _Winning of the West_, part
   ii, p. 31.] the last spring and in cold blood and unprovoked,
   murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women
   and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins
   of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have
   sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance.
   For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not
   harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt
   fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is
   there to mourn for Logan? Not one.

Gibson recorded the words of Logan, and they were duly presented
to Dunmore. A treaty of peace was drawn up, by which the Indians
agreed to give up all white prisoners and stolen horses and to
surrender all claim to the land south of the Ohio.

The effect of Lord Dunmore's war was to make peace in the hinterland,
a matter of vast importance to the Americans on the eve of the
Revolution. Great Britain by the Quebec Act had placed the country
north of the Ohio and extending to the Mississippi under the
government of Canada. But Great Britain was soon too busy with the
war in the east to pay any attention to the west, and the hinterland
posts remained as they were, feebly guarded and, except for Detroit,
administered by French creoles. The Indians, it is true, were
friendly to the British, but the crushing defeat they had received
at the hands of Lewis and the humiliating terms they were forced
to make with Dunmore left them impotent. They once more began their
raids, but they were incapable of concerted action; and when in
1778 George Rogers Clark, with a feeble force of less than two
hundred men, advanced against the British posts at Kaskaskia and
Cahokia on the Mississippi and Vincennes on the Wabash, they were
unable to hinder his march. These posts fell into the hands of the
Americans, and the Indians, as we shall see, were doomed.

After the battle of Point Pleasant, Cheeseekau, Tecumseh's eldest
brother, led his father's warriors back to the village of Piqua,
where the disasters of the fight were recounted. Still covered with
the stains of battle, Cheeseekau related to his mother and his
awestruck brothers and sisters the manner of his brave father's
death. The dark shadow of mourning fell upon the survivors. Throughout
the village rose the wail of the death-song, Methoataske's voice
mingling in the dirge of the widows; and so a new and tragic scene
was imprinted upon the young Tecumseh's plastic mind.

A father's task now fell upon Cheeseekau, who took much pride in
instructing his younger brother in the art of war and in hunting,
and how to endure fatigue and to perform feats of agility and
daring. He gave him lessons in woodcraft and forest lore, showing
him how to snare the fish, to stalk the wary deer, to guide the
frail canoe through treacherous rapids, and, with tightly fastened
snow-shoe, to traverse the wintry waste. Tecumseh, of course, had
learned to swim almost as soon as he could walk; in running it is
said that he could easily out-distance his companions; while his
skill with the bow excited their admiration and envy. His greatest
delight, however, was to muster his playmates into rival bands for
mimic warfare.

The history of Tecumseh's nation was not recorded in cold print
between the covers of a book; it lived in the memories of the elders
and on the lips of orators and sachems. In impassioned language
and with graphic gesture the deeds of the past were conjured up
before the minds of the listeners. By the light of the camp-fire
the stripling heard, with kindling eye and throbbing pulse, the
tales of the heroic dead; and he early formed the ambition to become
a leader of his race. Some sachem would sadly sketch the smiling
scenes of health and happiness in the days before the pale-face
came to wrest from the Indians their land, the gift of the Great
Spirit. And as the boy listened to these stories of encroachment
and oppression, a fierce impulse fired his blood and bade him check
the advance of the whites and win back the land of which his people
had been robbed. Thus was moulded his life's high purpose; thus
was fanned that spark of eloquence which later burst into flame
and fired the hearts of his race, from Florida to the Great Lakes.



CHAPTER II

THE BAPTISM OF FIRE

The populous Indian village of Piqua on the Mad River had prospered
during six years of peace. The fertile plains about it had been
cultivated in the rude fashion of the Indian, and the corn now
stood ripening in the August sun with promise of an abundant harvest.
Amid such a scene Tecumseh and his young companions, tired of their
play, threw themselves down one evening to listen to the exciting
tales of the warriors who lounged smoking in the cool shade. The
women busied themselves about the camp-fires cooking the game just
brought in by the men. The voices of the Indian girls rose and
fell in monotonous song as with nimble fingers they deftly wove
the rushes into mats, while keeping a watchful eye upon the little
ones who played near by. The few years of peace had given the
inhabitants of Piqua a feeling of security, and they did not know
that the dark cloud of war even then overshadowed them.

The agents of the British commandant at Detroit had been busy among
the Indians seeking to enlist their aid against the revolutionists.
And in May of this year (1780) a party of six hundred warriors from
the country north of the Ohio, accompanied by a few Canadians, had
raided a number of villages in Kentucky, slain many settlers, and
carried off horses and prisoners. George Rogers Clark, now holding
the rank of colonel in the American army, was on a visit to Kentucky.
The frontiersmen rallied about him; and with a body of 970 crack
riflemen he crossed the Ohio and advanced on the town of Old
Chillicothe. The Indians there had been warned and the town was
deserted. The Americans burnt it to the ground and continued their
march to Piqua.

At this time there were in Piqua about two hundred warriors
and two British agents, Simon Girty and his brother, who had
fought under Dunmore against the Shawnees in 1774, and who
were now known to the Kentuckians as 'the white renegades.'
The appearance of Clark and his raiders on the outskirts of
the village took the inhabitants completely by surprise. At
the first note of alarm, the women, wild with terror, snatched
up their infants and fled shrieking to the woods. Tecumseh
and the older children followed, hastily gathering a few
treasured possessions. The warriors, awakening the forest
echoes with their defiant war-cries, took up their position
in an old fort which commanded the river. From the opposite
side the Kentucky rifle-men assailed the fort, which, in its
decayed and ruinous condition, offered but poor shelter. The
Indians quickly evacuated it, but not before several had been
killed. While the defenders were occupied by the attack from
across the river, a detachment of the enemy crept round through
the wood and suddenly emerged at the rear of the village. The
red men rushed to the defence of their wigwams, and kept the
enemy at bay for some time; but the whites being vastly superior
in number, the Indians were defeated with great loss, and the
whites applied the torch to the village.

At length, when the cry of battle and the sound of firing had
ceased, the women and children ventured to creep forth from their
forest shelter. The enemy had gone, but had left a scene of desolation
behind. The village was a heap of smoking ruins, and the corn in
the fields was laid waste. Bodies of dead warriors strewed the
ground, many of them lying stretched before their own wigwams,
which they had defended so bravely. A scene of smiling peace had
indeed been turned into one of deepest mourning. Content and
happiness had fled before the ruthless destroyer, and he had gone
forward to the next Indian village on his mission of destruction.

The impression made by this scene upon Tecumseh's youthful
mind was enduring. The youth gazed with awe at the dead warriors
and watched with childish wonder the preparations for burial.
The fallen defenders of Piqua might not have the customary
funeral dress, for such things had been destroyed by the fire,
but the survivors did what their resources permitted. About
the mat whereon each warrior lay were placed his tomahawk,
scalping-knife, and other weapons of war. By his side lay his
bow and arrow, wherewith to resume the chase with phantom
hunters in the Indian paradise. As darkness descended upon
the village the women stole out to mourn by the new-made
graves. During four nights they faithfully kept long vigil
until the lurid light of the funeral fires paled against the
brightening dawn. Then, after these last solemn tribal rites
had been performed, the Shawnees gathered together their few
remaining possessions and followed the trail, leading about
thirty miles in a north-westerly direction, to the Great Miami,
where they rebuilt their houses. [Footnote: See _Handbook of
American Indians_, vol. ii, p. 260.] A modern American city,
with its great mills and costly residences, preserves the
Shawnee name of Piqua, and marks the site where these poor
Indian fugitives set up their wigwams in the autumn of 1780.

The feud between the Indians and the whites continued with unabated
fury. Cheeseekau was now as noted a warrior as his father had been,
and became the leading spirit in many fierce frontier encounters.
At the camp-fire Tecumseh listened eagerly as his brother told his
thrilling tales. So persistent was Tecumseh's plea to be allowed
to go on the war-path that Cheeseekau promised to let him taste
real fighting in an attack on a party of whites encamped a few
miles south of Piqua. The youth, impatient for the fray, set out
bravely with Cheeseekau and his warriors, but when the actual
horrors of war, with its blood and confusion, burst upon him, he
fled from the field. It may be recalled that Frederick the Great,
when first under fire, did the same.

The time soon came when, according to Indian custom, Tecumseh must
undergo the solemn ordeal of initiation. He must establish his
personal relationship with the unseen world before taking rank as
a warrior in his tribe. For this purpose he must go into the
solitary woods or ascend some lonely mountain, where, by virtue of
fasting, he should receive supernatural help and a revelation of
the unknown. He entered alone into the green gloom of the forest.
Wild things at which he had been wont to draw his bow now peered
at him from the bushes and crossed his path unharmed. For many days
he saw the rising sun shine through the dewy woods and watched it
sink in splendour below the tree-tops. He slept the tired sleep of
youth, and woke refreshed to resume his sacred quest. One day,
weary with continual wandering and exhausted from persistent fasting,
he threw himself down where a little stream poured its waters into
a rocky basin. Lulled by the music of the waterfall, he fell asleep.
Then in a dream was revealed to him the unseen world. Suddenly,
out of a cluster of stars shot one, brighter than the rest, with
shining train. Its brilliance startled him from sleep. About him
were the familiar trees, and placid moonlight silvered the waterfall.
Across his passive mind flitted half-remembered tales of strange
monsters of the sky. The flaming meteor now assumed the crouching
shape of a panther about to spring on its prey; now that of a dragon
taking its flight across some midnight sky to seek the dark waters
of a lake, where it was condemned to dwell, lest it should set the
world on fire. Wooed by the slumberous music of the fall, sleep
once more closed the dreamer's heavy eyes. Scarcely had he crossed
the threshold of this unknown world when the bright symbol again
traced its path. So often did the strange messenger appear that he
accepted it as the radiant guardian of his destiny. When he returned
to his people they were filled with rejoicing that his dream had
been of things above, for this augured well. Henceforth they called
him 'the shooting star,' or, in their own soft tongue, 'Tecumtha.'

When the elaborate religious ceremonies customary to the initiation
of a warrior had been performed, Tecumseh's power of physical
endurance was put to a severe test. He presented himself for public
torture before the chiefs and warriors of his tribe. Sharp skewers
were thrust through the muscles of his back, and from these he was
suspended by thongs to a pole. Had he flinched or evinced any sign
of anguish during this painful ordeal, he would have been rejected
as unworthy to take his place among his tribesmen. With stoic
fortitude, however, he endured the torture, and when it was ended
took a warrior's rank among his people.

Tecumseh was not content with the narrow territory which satisfied
his tribesmen. He desired to explore regions far remote from the
hunting-grounds of the Shawnees. The same wandering instinct that
had led his father to the Ohio country awakened within him. His
fancy roamed beyond the familiar trails and peopled foreign regions
with strange tribes. By his eloquence he played upon the responsive
minds of his companions until they were fired with the same restless
spirit. A wandering life became the theme of general interest as
they smoked round the evening camp-fire. When finally fifty of the
boldest expressed a desire to go on such an expedition as Tecumseh
had planned, a party was organized. With due ceremony Cheeseekau
was appointed leader, to decide each day's journey and choose the
camping-ground; and he bore with him a tribal talisman to ensure
safety and success and to be consulted when they were uncertain as
to their course.

Along the well-worn trail Cheeseekau started forth, followed in
Indian file by his young adventurers, none more eager than Tecumseh.
The narrow path, worn smooth by the feet of runners, followed high
ground to avoid the dense brush, and led to points where the streams
were shallowest and most easily fordable. Every day soon after
sunrise the party was journeying through new regions which unfolded
beauties ever fresh. At sunset they pitched their tents, lighted
their fires, and gathered about them to discuss the day's adventures.
Thus they journeyed until they came to the waters of the Mississinewa,
in what is now northern Indiana. By its bank Cheeseekau chose a
favourable spot whereon to pitch the tents. Here they remained
until their interest in the surrounding country was exhausted.
Then they took a westward trail. Signs of Indian occupation were
everywhere visible. Where the path abruptly mounted a steep ascent,
a mound of pebbles would be heaped in the ravine. Each passer-by
had cast his tribute on the pile as an offering to good spirits
that they might lessen his fatigue in the toilsome climb. At last
they reached the broad Mississippi. By its waters the adventurous
band remained until the sun had made a complete course. Then they
took a southerly route through the Illinois country, where the
trail had been made by the countless hoofs of the bison, through
whose haunts it led. Presently the prairies stretched before them,
and they saw the skin-covered 'teepees' of the dwellers of the
plains. They joined a party of Mandans and soon were free to follow
with them the exciting chase of the buffalo. A hunting-party was
organized and a leader was chosen with due ceremony according to
tribal rites. Those engaging in this dangerous pastime were mounted.
They spread out so as to form a circle round the dense herd of
buffaloes. By this means an equal chance was ensured to each hunter.
Turn what way they would, the confused and struggling animals were
confronted by hunters with gun and bow. When the sport was at its
height misfortune befell Tecumseh. When an infuriated bull escaped
from the ring, Tecumseh rode after him in hot pursuit. But his
horse suddenly stumbled and threw him heavily to the ground. Those
nearest galloped to rescue him from the trampling hoofs of the
following herd, but they found him unable to rise, for his thigh
had been broken by the fall. He was borne back to camp, and there
was carefully tended. Everything known to the Indian doctor's art
was done to heal him, but owing to his mishap the band were forced
to prolong their stay at the hunting-place. When at last Tecumseh
was fit for the trail the party moved southward. After a time they
saw the smoke of distant camp-fires. Thereupon Cheeseekau halted
his men and dispatched two messengers with a packet of tobacco and
a belt of wampum to signify his friendly intent. The rest donned
their gala garments and painted their faces in readiness to receive
visitors. With the messengers came two Cherokees to conduct the Shawnees
to their settlement, where the chief warriors of the tribe welcomed
Cheeseekau and his braves. After the calumet had gone the rounds in
token of goodwill, the Cherokee chief explained that their hatchet was
raised against the white settlers, and that they were on the eve of
setting out on the war-path. This was good news for the Shawnees, who
promptly agreed to cast in their lot with the Cherokees.

While Tecumseh and his companions were making ready for war,
Cheeseekau withdrew to fast and thus to prepare himself to consult
worthily the sacred talisman of the tribe. The future was revealed
to him in a trance. He saw the Cherokees and his own band, brightly
painted for war, move forward to battle under the leadership of a
ghostly semblance of himself. Suddenly a musket rang out and a
bullet sped from the enemy's line. His wraith was struck full in
the forehead and fell to earth in the agony of death. On rejoining
his comrades he related his vision and foretold that in the battle
about to take place he should meet death. He said also, however,
that, if the Indians fought on, victory would crown their efforts.

Cheeseekau remained undaunted by his evil vision, and when the day
of battle arrived led his warriors forth as usual. Incited by the
Shawnees, the Cherokees fought stubbornly, and success seemed about
to be achieved. But at the hour foretold, in the thickest of the
fight, the fatal bullet found its mark, and Cheeseekau fell pierced
through the forehead. The second part of the prophecy was unheeded.
Deaf to Tecumseh's loud avenging cry, and heedless of his rallying
shout, the superstitious Indians fled in a panic.

Tecumseh felt keenly the death of his noble brother, who had guided
his youthful mind in all things, and deeply his followers mourned
the loss of their dauntless leader, who had directed them safely
through all their wanderings. Tecumseh was now chosen leader
unanimously. For nearly two years he and his comrades remained in
the south, taking an active part in many forays.

Exciting incidents were not lacking. For a time Tecumseh's band
dwelt near a cane thicket on the Tennessee, whither they had gone
in quest of booty. Here they were frequently attacked. On one
occasion, under cover of darkness, thirty whites stealthily surrounded
the Shawnees, thinking to take them by surprise. Tecumseh was
occupied in flaying the last of the day's quarry, when his quick
ear caught the sound of their approach. With a shrill war-cry he
summoned his sleeping band. Without pausing to consider the numbers
of the foe, he charged them fearlessly and his men followed him
impetuously. The enemy were routed by the furious attack, and the
Indians bore two scalps back to their camp in triumph. By such
exploits Tecumseh won great renown among the southern tribes as a
warrior. Unlike his followers, he cared little for plunder: his
ruling passion was the love of glory.

In the end the adventurers turned their faces homeward. They
travelled through West Virginia, crossed the Ohio near the mouth
of the Scioto, and visited the Indian villages scattered along that
river. And as the verdure of summer was changing into the tints of
autumn in the year 1790, they passed familiar scenes along the
Great Miami. Tecumseh, who had gone out as a follower of his brother
but was now leader, brought eight survivors back to Piqua, where
he was received with clamorous rejoicing.

Such apparently aimless wanderings were slowly but surely shaping
Tecumseh's life for future action. By his intercourse with the
various tribes, by learning their languages and customs, he had
gleaned knowledge which was later to be of the greatest use to him;
and his widespread reputation as a warrior was to count with telling
effect in that great plan and purpose of his life--the formation
of his Indian confederacy.



CHAPTER III

A LEADER AMONG HIS PEOPLE

After the feast of welcome at Piqua the villagers gathered round
the camp-fire and plied the adventurers with many questions. The
wanderers recounted the exciting exploits of their band and told
of Cheeseekau's summons to the spirit-world and of his brave death
on the distant battlefield. Then they in turn listened eagerly as
an old chief rose and dramatically related the important events
that had taken place in their absence. He told how General Harmar,
with three hundred troops of the Thirteen Fires and eleven hundred
Kentucky volunteers, had advanced into the Miami country and laid
waste all their cornfields; how he and his followers had watched
from a distant hill the soldiers at their work of destruction; and
how Colonel Hardin, spying them in the distance, had suddenly turned
and attacked them. With rapid gestures the chief described the
pretended flight of the Indians. He told how, when out of sight of
the enemy, they had divided their force and marched back some
distance on either side of their trail. Assuming a crouching attitude
and cunning mien, he pictured them as they crept back through the
tall grass towards the place where they waited for the enemy. Then
he recalled their loud, triumphant yells as they rushed upon the
foe. He snatched his tomahawk from his belt to go through the
movements of the Indians striking and cutting down the white men
on all sides, and told how the white leader escaped with but a
handful of his men. He depicted further victories of the Indians.
Colonel Hardin had returned with five hundred militia and sixty
regulars to take vengeance on his savage foes. The regulars remained
at the village, while the militia, bent on revenge, routed the few
Indians whom they found lurking about. But the Indians were not
really beaten. Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Little Turtle of
the Miamis concealed their assembled warriors in another ambush.
At the critical moment the Indians rushed from their ambuscade,
fell upon both regulars and militia, and pitilessly drove them ever
farther back.

Tecumseh had not long to wait for the time when he should again
embark on active service. In the autumn of 1791 news came that
Generals St Clair and Butler were advancing from the south with an
army of some fourteen hundred men. Tecumseh was placed in command
of a party of scouts to watch the movements of the enemy. On November
3 he discovered the American army encamped at the upper waters of
the Wabash about twenty miles north of Greenville. At once he
dispatched runners to tell the war chiefs Blue Jacket and Little
Turtle of the enemy's position. On the following morning the
Americans awoke to find their camp surrounded by whooping savages.
A frightful slaughter ensued. General Butler and many of the officers
were slain, together with nearly half the troops. The remainder
fled in disorder. General St Clair himself escaped on a pack-horse
after having had three horses killed under him in the battle.

The next winter, when the snow lay deep in the forest, Tecumseh,
while on a hunting expedition with ten warriors and a boy, made
his camp near Big Rock, not far from Piqua. One morning after
breakfast, as they sat about the fire smoking and discussing plans
for the day, they were suddenly assailed by a storm of bullets. A
party of whites, three times their number, under Robert McClelland,
had attacked them. Instantly the Indian war-cry rang out on the
clear, frosty air. Tecumseh called to the boy to run to shelter,
and he and his companions returned the fire of their assailants.
Black Turkey, one of the Indians, took to his heels and was running
away at full speed, but in obedience to Tecumseh's angry command
he halted and returned to join in the battle. On came the whites
with challenging shout, answered by defiant war-whoops. The
assaulting party was finally beaten back; and Tecumseh, with his
men, pursued them through the woods, driving them from every
sheltering tree and cover.

Shortly after this, Tecumseh, with a party of chiefs and warriors,
established his headquarters on a southern tributary of the Little
Miami. From this point they made frequent inroads upon the property
of white settlers, plundering flat-boats on the Ohio, and capturing
some of the finest horses belonging to Kentuckians. It was here
that Tecumseh had more than one encounter with Simon Kenton, the
well-known American pioneer. Hearing of the exploits of the marauders,
Kenton quickly mustered thirty-six men and set out to punish them.
He came upon the Indians at night, divided his force into three
detachments, and surrounded the encampment. That night Tecumseh
had flung himself down by the camp-fire. The flickering light threw
into fitful relief the bark tents of his sleeping companions. It
did not penetrate, however, the gloom where lurked the watchful
Americans. One of the Indians rose to stir the smouldering embers.
A rifle cracked sharply, and the warrior fell forward into the
fire. At the same moment a body of the Americans made a rush for
the camp. Tecumseh leaped up and called loudly to his companions.
He felled his first assailant with his war-club and dealt savage
blows to all within reach. A shower of bullets rained upon the
tents, but the Indians were now aroused and ready to return the
fire. Presently reinforcements came from the Indians of a nearby
camp who had heard the yelling and shooting; and the whites were
dispersed.

Tecumseh's next skirmish with Kenton was in 1793. He was
hunting in the Scioto valley with a few followers and
their families. Shortly before dawn, when it was supposed
that the Indians would not be on their guard, Kenton's
men surrounded the camp and cautiously closed in upon
it. The loud barking of a dog gave the alarm to the
Indians. When the whites charged, the Indians sought
shelter behind trees. Though Tecumseh was surrounded by
a superior force, he maintained his presence of mind. He
ordered some of his men to bring up the horses while he
and others defended the camp. In the end the Indians adroitly
managed to escape with their women and children. In the
engagement they had sustained a loss of but one warrior.

Two years passed in this desultory fighting, after the
defeat of St Clair's army, before the Americans made any
organized attempt to retrieve their fortunes. But in the
autumn of 1793 General Anthony Wayne marched into the
Indian country with a strong and thoroughly disciplined
army. He encamped for the winter at Greenville and built
several forts: one, which he erected at the place of St
Clair's disaster, he hopefully named Fort Recovery. In
the summer of 1794 the Indians watched three hundred
pack-horses laden with flour making their way towards
this fort, under the protection of an escort of ninety
riflemen and fifty dragoons. The savages hovered about,
but they found the force too strong to attack. Their
chance came later. By the time the escort was ready to
return, one thousand tribesmen had assembled. The Americans
had proceeded only about four hundred yards from the fort
when they found themselves surrounded. The dragoons
charged the Indians, but were repulsed with heavy loss.
Then they manoeuvred to regain the fort, but the Indian
forces cut them off. An American officer, with twenty
volunteers, now rushed from the fort to the assistance
of his comrades, and the Indians gave way before a
determined attack. The white men brought their wounded
off the field; and although two officers had been captured
by the Indians, they afterwards escaped to the fort. In
the fight twenty-two white men were killed and thirty
wounded. The Indians had suffered much greater loss. The
warriors rallied, however, and kept up an incessant fire
against the fort until a heavy fog fell and night closed
in. Then with flaring torches they sought their dead.
This made them an easy mark for the soldiers, who fired
on them from the fort. When daylight appeared eight or
ten more bodies were found lying near the walls.

In July the American army was reinforced by two thousand
Kentucky volunteers under Major-General Scott, and Wayne
was now ready to strike. He manoeuvred as though he
intended to attack the Miami villages to the south, but,
suddenly changing his course, he marched his troops
northward, straight into the Indian settlements on the
Au Glaize. At the mouth of this river, where it enters
the Maumee, he built Fort Defiance.

The Indians had followed Wayne's march down the Au Glaize,
hovering on the flanks of his army, and they were now
mustered some two thousand strong on the Maumee river.
From Fort Defiance Wayne sent them a final offer of peace; but,
without waiting for an answer, he marched his forces down
the Maumee and encamped at the foot of the rapids, about
fifteen miles from the site of the present city of Toledo.

The war chiefs of the Miami, Potawatomi, Delaware, Shawnee,
Chippewa, Ottawa, and Seneca tribes held a great council
to consider the proposal of peace sent them by the general
of the Long Knives. Little Turtle of the Miamis advised
peace. 'We have beaten the enemy twice,' said he. 'We
cannot expect the same good fortune always to attend us.
The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps.
The day and night are alike to him, and he has been ever
marching upon our villages, notwithstanding the watchfulness
of our young men. We have never been able to surprise him.
Think well of it,' he cautioned; 'there is something that
whispers to me it were well to listen to his offers of peace.'

Profound silence followed this speech. Then rose Blue
Jacket, the Shawnee, who commanded the entire Indian
forces. Blue Jacket strongly favoured battle; and his
counsel prevailed. The chiefs decided on war. A plan of
action was quickly formed. The Indian forces were to be
drawn up in three detachments within supporting distance
of each other behind the Fallen Timbers. This was a place
some distance up the river from Wayne's encampment, where
the forest had been levelled by a hurricane, the fallen
trees forming a natural barricade.

On August 20, 1794, shortly after daybreak, Wayne ordered
his troops to advance. He was still uncertain whether
the Indians were hostile or friendly. But before he had
proceeded far his soldiers were fired upon by a body of
red men secreted in the tall grass. In the battle which
followed Tecumseh led the Shawnees, and, with two of his
brothers, was in the advance-guard when the fighting
began. The Indians fought stubbornly, but to no purpose.
The American force of mounted volunteers advanced, while
the infantry with fixed bayonets drove the red men from
cover and compelled them to retreat. In the latter part
of the action Tecumseh lost the use of his gun by having,
in his excitement, rammed a bullet into it before putting
in powder. Falling back until he met another body of
Shawnees, he secured a fowling-piece, and then fought on
bravely until again forced to give ground. In spite of
his desperate efforts to rally his followers, the Indians
were beaten and were fleeing in disorder through the
woods. When night fell and the Indians stole back to bury
or hide their dead, Tecumseh gazed on the familiar
features, now fixed in death, of Sauwaseekau, his second
brother to fall in battle; and another battlefield, in
which Cheeseekau had in like manner beheld the silent
face of his father, arose before his mind. He remembered
his eldest brother's return from the battle, with tidings
that had burned into his very soul, while he was yet too
young to take up arms in defence of his race.

The Indian warriors were defeated and scattered, and the
Americans proceeded to lay waste their villages and
cornfields in the valley of the Au Glaize. The blow to
Indian power was irrevocable. On August 3 of the following
year, 1795, was concluded the Treaty of Greenville, by
which large tracts of Indian territory in what are now
the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan were
surrendered to the Americans. The treaty was signed by
Blue Jacket for the Shawnees, by Little Turtle for the
Miamis, and by chiefs representing the Wyandots, the
Delawares, the Ottawas, the Potawatomis, and other tribes.
Tecumseh, however, had refused to attend Wayne's council,
and when he heard from Blue Jacket of the terms of the
treaty, he disputed its validity. Indian land, he said, was
common property; all the chiefs had not been consulted, and
many of them would refuse to accept the loss of their lands.



CHAPTER IV

THE PROPHET

Tecumseh was now pondering a great plan. Year after year
he had seen his people pushed farther and farther back
from their streams and hunting-grounds. When he looked
into the future, he saw that the red race was doomed
unless a strong and united effort was made to check this
aggression. He did not at once take his followers into
his confidence, but meditated long on a plan to gather
the tribes into one great confederacy to oppose the
encroachments of the whites and to prevent the extermination
of the Indian race. Pontiac, that towering figure in
Indian speech and legend, was ever in his mind. Before
Tecumseh's birth Pontiac had formed an Indian confederation
against the English in America. But his was only a
temporary union of the Indians, while Tecumseh planned
to unite the tribes in a great and permanent empire.

To further his great plan of bringing about a confederation
of the tribes, Tecumseh resolved to take advantage of
the superstitions of the people. An Indian familiar with
the lore of his tribe believes himself to be continually
surrounded by spirits, of whose power he is in constant
dread. He sees them dimly in visions and recognizes them
in many signs and omens--in gliding snake, flying bird,
the lightning, the wind, the rustling of leaves, the
noise of the tempest, the roaring cataract, the sound of
thunder. To the hunter roaming through the forest the
trees take on weird shapes, and ghostly shadows lurk in
dark defiles. At twilight he sees gnomelike figures
dancing before him and anon swallowed up in the darkness;
again he sees them, holding their elfin revels on some
moonlit cliff. Thus it is that the Indian imagination
peoples the gloom of the ancient forests.

It has been mentioned that Tecumseh had a younger brother
named Laulewasikaw, who had been born a twin, and, in
consequence, would be supposed by the Indians to possess
supernatural power. One day, while Laulewasikaw was
smoking in his wigwam, his pipe dropped from his hand,
and he fell prone upon the ground. His body remained so
long without sign of life that his friends assembled to
administer the last rites for the dead. Suddenly, however,
he awoke from his deathlike trance, and announced to the
startled mourners that he had been transported to the
spirit-world, where marvellous things had been revealed
to him. After this he frequently retired to secret places
to hold converse with the Great Spirit, and from his
knowledge of the spirit-world he became an object of
reverence and awe to his fellow-tribesmen.

It thus came about that on the death of Pengashega, an
aged and influential prophet of the Shawnees, this brother
of Tecumseh, Laulewasikaw, or 'the Prophet,' was made
his successor. From his conical-shaped lodge, with its
stout poles bound about by skins of animals, the Prophet
gave forth his oracles. He was often consulted, and a
well-worn path soon marked the way to his abode. It was
believed that he could foretell the future, reveal the
haunts of animals of the chase, and inform anxious
inquirers about the fate of friends. He evaded impossible
requests skilfully, and by moderation in his pretensions
he was able to maintain the respect of his many suppliants.
He jealously guarded in his lodge a bowl credited with
miraculous powers, which he claimed the Great Spirit had
bestowed upon him. He had also a mystic torch, the gift,
as he said, of Manabozho, keeper of the sacred fire. He
had also singular belt made of beans, which he assured
his credulous followers had grown from his flesh and
would render invulnerable all who touched it. To widen
his influence the Prophet had this belt carried by Indian
runners far and wide.

Laulewasikaw, who had already many names, now wished to
be known as Tenskwatawa, 'the Open Door,' to intimate
that he was to be the deliverer of his people. Unlike
other Indian prophets, he preached to his followers after
the manner of the white missionaries. Upon him, as upon
Tecumseh, had descended the gift of oratory. But he lacked
Tecumseh's dignity. He was ugly, and had lost an eye. On
account of his dissolute habits he appeared much older
than his distinguished brother. In spite of his bad
character his persuasive eloquence gained the attention
of the Shawnees, and he flattered their pride by reminding
them of their ancient belief that they were the first
people created by the Master of Life and the greatest of
all his children. At Wapakoneta, on the Au Glaize, he
gathered about him Shawnees, Wyandots, Ottawas, and
Senecas, and announced himself as a bearer of new
revelations from the Master of Life. He claimed to have
been taken up into the spirit-world, and that there the
veil of the future had been lifted to him. He had seen
the suffering of evil-doers and also the happiness that
would reward those who heeded his words. Radical reform,
he declared, must be made in the manners of the red
people. They must eschew all habits learned from the
whites. Linen or woollen clothing must be replaced by
the old-time buckskin; the 'fire-stick' of the white man
must be abandoned and the bow and arrow must be used in
its stead; the flesh of sheep and bullocks must no longer
be eaten, but only that of deer and buffalo; bread should
no more be made of wheat, but of Indian corn. Every tool
and custom of the whites must be relinquished, and the
Indian must return to the ways taught by the Master of
Life. The Prophet exhorted the young to help the aged
and the infirm; he forbade Indian women to intermarry
with the whites, since the outcome would be inevitable
misery; he condemned the accursed fire-water, which had
caused such contention among the Indians, and threatened
with never-ending flames all those who should persist in
its use. He referred in glowing terms to the boundless
hunting-ground of the red men before the coming of the
whites, and contrasted it with their rapidly narrowing
territory. The Indians, he said, should hold all their
lands in common. Having outlined these reforms, he declared
that when the Indians had carried them out, they should
enjoy the long and peaceful lives of their ancestors and
regain their ancient happiness. To assure his hearers of
the divine character of his mission, he announced that
power had been given him to cure all diseases and to
arrest death as a result of sickness or on the battlefield.

Encouraged by the hope of regaining their lost liberty
and happiness, many flocked about the new prophet. The
Kickapoos and Delawares believed in him without reserve.
His stoutest opponents were some of his own people, who
resented the sudden rise to power and influence of one
hitherto regarded with disfavour as stupid and intemperate.
Shawnee chiefs, jealous of his position, made a plot to
overthrow him. But Tenskwatawa, as he was now called,
turned the tables upon them, and, accusing several of
his most outspoken enemies of witchcraft, caused them to
be put to death, with torture.

In 1806 the governor of Indiana Territory sent an envoy
to the Delawares to deliver the following message:

   The dark and thorny road you are now pursuing certainly
   will lead you to endless woe and misery. And who is
   this pretended prophet, who dares to speak in the name
   of the Great Creator? Examine him. Is he more virtuous
   than you are yourselves that he should be selected to
   convey to you the orders of your God? Demand of him
   some proof at least of 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 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.

In reply to this unexpected attack Tenskwatawa assured
his followers that he would give them convincing proof
of his being the true messenger of the Great Spirit, and
he boldly predicted that on a certain day he would draw
a veil of darkness over the sun. Many Indians assembled
to witness the test of his supernatural power. If it
succeeded, it would establish his position beyond doubt;
if it failed, the faith of his followers would be sadly
shaken. Scoffers pointed to the brightness of the summer
sun, and openly questioned the power of the Prophet to
dim its rays. Believers furtively watched the entrance
of the Prophet's lodge, which was decorated with strange
symbols. From it at the time appointed the familiar form
of the one-eyed wizard emerged, clad in his prophet's
robe with outspread raven's wings. At his appearance the
noonday brilliance of the sun began to wane. Sudden
silence fell upon the awestruck throng, and faces took
on a look of fear as the darkness deepened about them.
The Prophet's voice thrilled through the gloom. 'Did I
not prophesy truly? Behold, darkness has shrouded the
sun.' The apparent miracle convinced many unbelievers
and established the influence of Tenskwatawa more strongly
than ever. The Indians were completely deceived. The
achievement had, of course, a very simple explanation:
the Prophet had overheard some white missionaries predicting
an eclipse of the sun, and had used this information very
adroitly for his purpose.

In April 1807 some four hundred redskins had gathered
near Greenville, ready to do the Prophet's bidding.
Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh were invited by Captain Wells,
the Indian agent at Fort Wayne, to visit the fort with
a few chiefs, to learn the news contained in a recent
letter from the president of the Seventeen Fires. [Footnote:
The United States. Four new states had been added to the
original thirteen, making, in Indian terms, seventeen
council fires.] Tecumseh peremptorily commanded the
messenger to '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 anything to
communicate to me, he must come here; I shall expect him
in six days from this time.' At the time appointed the
messenger returned, bearing a copy of a letter from the
United States government, in which Tecumseh and his
followers were charged with still occupying land that had
passed out of their possession by the Treaty of Greenville.
Tecumseh vented his feelings in vehement speech.

   These lands are ours, and no one has the 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 know any... If my great father,
   the President of the Seventeen Fires, has anything
   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 American settlers saw with increasing anxiety the
unending stream of Indians on their way to the Prophet.
The strange garb of many of them denoted that they had
journeyed from distant regions. Runners continually passed
to and fro, bearing pipes and belts of wampum from tribe
to tribe. Council fires were frequently kindled. It was
commonly believed that this unwonted activity was due to
the secret plottings of British agents from Canada. By
the autumn of 1807 the Prophet had assembled near Greenville
about eight hundred Indians, many of whom were equipped
with new rifles.

On September 12 came two commissioners from the governor
of Ohio. These were received by the Indians in a friendly
manner, and a council was immediately called to hear
their message. The governor, the commissioners said,
desired to know why so many Indians were gathered on land
no longer theirs. He wished to remind the Indians of
their former relations with the Seventeen Fires, and of
the importance of remaining neutral in the event of war
with the British. After hearing the commissioners the
council adjourned until the following day, when Blue
Jacket, who was unanimously chosen to voice the sentiment
of his people, spoke 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: Shawnees, Wyandots,
   Potawatomis, Tawas, Chippewas, Winnepaus, Malominese,
   Malockese, Sacawgoes, 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 [the Indians] 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. No
   man was to pass it from either side. When the Americans
   came to settle over the line, they 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 British 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,
   [Footnote: He is referring to what happened in 1794
   at the Fallen Timbers. There was a British post on
   the Maumee not far from the scene of the battle. At
   this time, it will be remembered, Detroit and other
   western posts, which passed to the United States in
   1796, were still held by the British.] 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 Wyandot.

   Further, the Wyandot said, I speak to you, my little
   brother, the Shawnees 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 Prophet then arose and launched forth into one of
the lengthy harangues so familiar to his followers. Three
years ago, he said, he had been called upon by powers he
could not disobey to follow the course which had been
revealed to him by the Great Spirit. In accordance with
this divine guidance he had earnestly endeavoured ever
since to teach the Indians how to live sober, industrious,
and peaceful lives. He had been persecuted by chiefs of
his own tribe who had refused to listen to his preaching.
He had been driven from his own village. But the Great
Spirit had directed him to this place, which the Americans
now claimed as their own, Here he desired to remain, not
for the value of the land or the natural beauty of the
surroundings, but to obey the divine command, and by his
exemplary life to prove to the complete satisfaction of
the white people his genuine honesty of purpose. By this
adroit speech the Prophet succeeded in allaying suspicion,
and thus under the guise of peace and religion Tecumseh
was enabled to continue his preparations for war. When
the council had terminated, Tecumseh, Blue Jacket,
Roundhead, and Panther accompanied the messengers to
Chillicothe, then the capital of Ohio, and assured the
governor of their peaceful intentions towards the Americans.



CHAPTER V

A GIFTED ORATOR

Indian oratory, like that of most savage races, is poetical
and picturesque in thought and expression. It abounds in
imagery and is not without touches of pathos and humour.
The unlettered Indian has no rich store of written history
from which to draw his illustrations. He takes them from
Nature's ever-open book--the sheltered lake, the winding
stream, the storm-swept forest--and from the legendary
lore of his tribe. Tecumseh was one of the most renowned
of a race of orators. The stately Algonquian language
displayed its greatest beauty when spoken by him. His
eloquence flowed as freely as a mighty river, or again,
thundering like a cataract, it swept everything along on
its tempestuous tide. Tecumseh's speech can never reach
our ears; we cannot see the light flash from his hazel
eye or the smile play upon his bronzed cheek. We cannot
watch his graceful gestures. His personal presence we
may not feel; but behind his recorded words we are still
aware of living force and power. We can picture his manly
form in its simple attire, as he paces up and down,
dominating his hearers by his persuasive speech, convincing
their reason, controlling their judgement, compelling
their action. None knew the untaught and unteachable art
of oratory better than Tecumseh. Throughout his life it
ever played an important part, from his first outburst,
which was in defence of a helpless captive, until his
last appeal to the courage of a British general. Tecumseh
acquitted himself gallantly upon the field of battle,
where he was always conspicuous for his courage; but in
the council-chamber there were also battles to be fought,
in which words were weapons, and there Tecumseh was no
less conspicuous and successful.

After the arrival of the commissioners and Indian chiefs
at Chillicothe the governor summoned them to a great
council. Tecumseh was to speak on behalf of the red men.
Upon him was centred the attention of all. He spoke for
three hours, during which he held his listeners spellbound.
He assured them that it was far from his intention to
take up the hatchet against the pale-face, but that he
would sternly resist any trespass upon his people's
rights. Rapidly reviewing all the treaties between the
western tribes and the whites, he boldly denied the
validity of the Treaty of Greenville. At the same time,
he pleaded for conciliation and peace. His speech made
a great impression. The governor's fear of an uprising
at Greenville was allayed, and the militia, which had
been hastily summoned, were dismissed.

Tecumseh's oratory was called into play again in the
autumn of 1807, when the Americans were thrown into a
state of terror by the murder of a white man near the
site of the present town of Urbana. This deed of violence,
coupled with the constant increase of the Prophet's band
at Greenville, caused the wildest alarm among the settlers.
Tecumseh and his brother disclaimed all knowledge of the
murder, which had been committed by some wandering Indians,
and they agreed to attend a council at Springfield to
reassure the whites. The Indians who attended the council
were asked to lay aside their arms. Tecumseh haughtily
refused, thinking it unbecoming the dignity of a warrior
chief. When the request was repeated, the wily Indian
replied that his tomahawk was also his pipe and that he
might wish to smoke. Thereupon a gaunt American advanced
and offered Tecumseh his own pipe. Taking the earthen
bowl with its long stern into his fingers, Tecumseh eyed
it curiously; his gaze then travelled to the owner, who
stood half fearful of the result of this offer. Then with
an indignant gesture the chief tossed the pipe into the
bushes behind him. Nothing more was said about the tomahawk.

The council was held in the shade of spreading maples.
The chiefs and their warriors ranged themselves in a
semicircle on the grass. The pipe of peace slowly made
its round in token of goodwill. Several chiefs spoke in
turn, expressing the pacific intentions of the Indians.
Tecumseh referred to the recent murder, and denied that
it had been the act of any of the tribes under his
influence. He explained that the motive for the gathering
of so many red men at Greenville was purely religious,
and that all were friendly towards the whites. His wards
and manner again carried conviction, and the council
terminated peacefully.

The Americans, however, still continued to regard the
Prophet's settlement at Greenville as a real menace.
During the same autumn came another message to all the
tribes under the Prophet's influence from the governor
of the territory of Indiana, William Henry Harrison,
afterwards president of the United States, and an active
and successful leader of the Americans in the War of
1812. The message closed with these words:

   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 desire to have
   the impostor with them, they may carry him. Let him
   go to the lakes; he can hear the British more distinctly.

Tecumseh was absent from Greenville when this message
was received, and it fell to the Prophet to make a reply.
He was sorry, he said, that his father listened to the
advice of bad birds. He denied that the Indians had any
intercourse with the British, or that they desired anything
but peace and to hear the words of the Great Spirit.

Early in the spring of 1808 Tecumseh and the Prophet,
with their band of followers, left Greenville and set
out in a westerly direction, across what is now the state
of Indiana. Land had been granted to them by the Potawatomis
and Kickapoos on the banks of the Tippecanoe, near its
junction with the Wabash, and here they intended to make
a new town, which should be the headquarters of their
proposed confederacy. No more desirable spot could have
been chosen. It was almost central in relation to the
tribes they were endeavouring to bring together, and it
had convenient communication with Lake Erie by means of
the Wabash and Maumee rivers, and with Lake Michigan and
the Illinois country by way of the Tippecanoe and other
connecting waters. On one side an almost impenetrable
stretch of wilderness formed a natural defence. From
this position, also, Tecumseh was able to watch carefully
the country from which he wished to exclude white settlers.

The Prophet's influence soon extended Among the neighbouring
tribes, and the American authorities again became alarmed,
the more so as they learned that among his followers
warlike sports were now being practised along with
religious rites. To counteract the effect of such reports
the Prophet sent a message to Governor Harrison to say
that he had been misrepresented, and followed it up by
a personal visit along with a number of his followers,
to explain his attitude towards the Americans. The visit
lasted for a fortnight and frequent conferences took
place between Harrison and the Prophet. The governor also
questioned many of the Indians, but could learn nothing
from them derogatory to their leader. Desiring to know
to what extent the Prophet's teachings controlled his
followers, he tempted them with liquor, but they remained
true to their vow of total abstinence.

Before taking his leave Tenskwatawa thus addressed himself
to the governor:

   I told all the redskins, 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
   whisky; ... do not take up the tomahawk should it be
   offered by the British, or by the Long Knives; do not
   meddle with anything 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 for ever.

This harangue ended with the customary begging for
presents, after which the Prophet and his company took
their departure.

Meanwhile Governor Harrison was planning to take more
territory from the Indians and add it to the United
States. By a treaty with some of the tribes made at Fort
Wayne on September 30, 1809, he obtained a tract of about
three million acres, extending nearly one hundred miles
on each side of the Wabash. By this treaty the Indians
found that they were deprived of much of their best
hunting-ground. Their indignation rose to fighting pitch,
and many who had been holding back now accepted Tecumseh's
scheme of a great confederation by means of which they
might, with some hope of success, battle for their rights.
The powerful Wyandots, keepers of the great wampum belt
of tribal union, turned to the Prophet. Many of the lesser
tribes followed their example, and refused to recognize
the American claims to this newly ceded territory. For
lands acquired under various treaties, the Indians were
receiving from the Americans certain annuities in goods.
That year, when their annual portion of salt arrived at
Tippecanoe, the Indians refused to take it and drove the
boatmen away. They accused the Americans of deception,
demanding that the land should be given back, and that
no more should be taken without the unanimous consent of
all the tribes.

War between the British and the Americans now seemed
inevitable, and everything pointed to an alliance between
the British and the Indians of Tecumseh's confederacy.
British interests required that the confederacy should
not be weakened by premature outbreaks. Gifts of clothing,
food, and weapons were lavishly bestowed upon Tecumseh,
who was encouraged to unite the tribes, but not to declare
war until word came from Canada. 'My son,' said a British
agent, 'keep your eyes fixed on me; my tomahawk is now up;
be you ready, but do not strike until I give the signal.'

The governor of Indiana, desiring to learn the Prophet's
strength and, if possible, to avert war, sent the following
message to Tippecanoe:

   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. Do not 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; and 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 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 Canada.

To this the Prophet made no direct reply, but said
that Tecumseh, as his representative, would visit the
governor shortly.

True to this promise, early in August 1810, Tecumseh,
with four hundred warriors grotesquely painted for the
occasion, swept down the Wabash in canoes. Captain Lloyd,
then at Fort Knox, writes of their passing:

   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.

Tecumseh and his warriors encamped at Vincennes, the
capital at that time of the territory of Indiana, where
many had assembled for the council, which was fixed for
August 12. At the hour appointed Tecumseh, attended by
forty followers, proceeded to the governor's house. Seated
in state on the portico was the governor, surrounded by
judges of the Supreme Court, officers, and citizens.
About forty yards from the house Tecumseh halted abruptly.
An interpreter advanced with the request that the chief
and his warriors should take seats on the portico. To
this Tecumseh signified strong disapproval, saying that
he preferred a neighbouring grove. The governor objected
that there were no chairs there. 'The earth is my mother,
and on her bosom will I repose,' was the rejoinder. The
chief carried his point, and chairs for the governor and
his suite were removed to the grove.

Tecumseh put forth all the powers of his eloquence. He
traced the course of relations between the two races from
the time when only the moccasined foot of the red man
trod the wilderness. He depicted vividly the evils suffered
by his race since their first contact with the whites.
The ruthless destruction of his birthplace, the sufferings
of his childhood, the conflicts of his early manhood--all
these he passed over in rapid review. And he closed his
address by contending that the Treaty of Fort Wayne was
illegal, since it had not been agreed to by all the
tribes, who constituted a single nation and who had joint
ownership in the land. Governor Harrison in his reply
disputed Tecumseh's statement that all the Indians were
as one nation, using as his main argument the fact that
they spoke different tongues. He contended that if the
Miamis desired to sell their land, the Shawnees had no
right to interfere. On the following day he inquired
whether Tecumseh intended to prevent a survey of the
disputed land. The chief replied that it was the intention
of the united tribes to recognize the old boundary only,
and that, while he had no desire to provoke war, he would
oppose further aggression. If the Americans gave up this
land, he would serve them faithfully; if not, he would
cast in his lot with the British. The governor promised
to notify the president of Tecumseh's views, without
holding out much prospect of a decision to surrender the
land to its former owners.

'Well,' returned Tecumseh, 'as the great chief is to
decide the matter, I hope the Great Spirit will put enough
sense into his head to induce him to direct you 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, while you and I shall have to fight it out.'

In the following spring (1811), when the Americans were
distributing the annuity of salt to the Kickapoos and
Shawnees, the Prophet's Indians at Tippecanoe, on being
offered their share of five barrels, forcibly seized the
whole boat-load. This angered the Americans, who were
further incensed by the murder on the Missouri of four
white men by two Indians of the Potawatomi tribe. Tecumseh,
who was absent at the time either on a hunting expedition
or for the purpose of strengthening his confederation,
was summoned to Vincennes shortly after his return. He
arrived on July 27, attended by a party of three hundred
warriors. The governor referred to the recent seizure of
the salt by the Prophet's warriors and demanded an
explanation. Tecumseh replied that it was indeed difficult
to please the governor, since he seemed equally annoyed
if the salt were taken or rejected. When asked to deliver
up the Indians guilty of the murder, he replied that he
had no jurisdiction over them, since they were not of
his town. The white people, he said, were needlessly
alarmed at his active measures in uniting the northern
tribes; for he was but following the example which the
Seventeen Fires had set him when they joined the Fires
in one confederacy, and he boldly declared that he would
endeavour also to unite the various tribes of the south
with those of the north. The land question he hoped would
be left in abeyance until his return in the spring.



CHAPTER VI

THE BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE

Tecumseh was soon on his southern journey, with twenty
warriors to aid in the work which was now apparently
nearing completion. Inspired by patriotic zeal, he passed
from tribe to tribe, incessantly active. Through dismal
swamps and across wide plains he made his way, and in
his light canoe shot many a dangerous rapid. He laboured
diligently among the Indians to make them sensible of
their wrongs and induce them to sink their petty tribal
jealousies in a grand and noble patriotism. He braved
the dangers and difficulties of winter travel over the
crusted snow and through the white forests. From sunrise
to sunset he journeyed, passing from camp-fire to camp-fire,
binding together the scattered tribes by the fire and
force of his eloquence.

In Tecumseh's absence the Prophet reigned at Tippecanoe,
performing his mysterious rites, seeing visions, and
dreaming dreams. Indians from the most remote tribes were
drawn by tales of his miraculous deeds to this chosen
seat of the Great Spirit, the centre from which radiated
the Prophet's influence. The ever-increasing number of
red men there assembling was evidence also of the success
of Tecumseh's mission. The Americans had heard with
uneasiness his bold avowal before starting on his southern
journey, and their alarm was increased by the reports
from Harrison's spies, posted near the Prophet's town.

On August 7, 1811, the United States government demanded
the surrender of all Indians who were in any way connected
with the murder of American citizens, and threatened to
exterminate those tribes which raised the hatchet. In
response the Prophet promised to comply with the president's
demands, and reiterated his earnest desire to avert war.
But, in spite of such pacific protesting, the Indians
continued their acts of hostility. Some horses were
stolen, and the thieves were tracked to Tippecanoe. The
owners hastened thither to reclaim their property, and
on nearing the town were fired upon by Indians. Similar
incidents were common.

Harrison was well aware of the important and extensive
nature of the work in which Tecumseh was engaged, and
viewing with alarm the rapid growth of the confederation
on the western frontier, he resolved on action. The
destruction of Tippecanoe would be of the utmost strategic
importance, but, if such a drastic measure were determined
upon, it would have to be accomplished before Tecumseh's
return. On the other hand, the president's commands had
been to maintain peace. The governor reconciled the
two opposing courses of action by the thought that a
large army advancing upon the Indians might intimidate
them into submission. Failing that, the alternative
war became inevitable.

On October 5 Harrison set out from Vincennes with over
one thousand men. This army encamped for a brief period
on the Wabash, where the city of Terre Haute now stands,
and erected a fort which, in honour of the leader, was
named Fort Harrison. Leaving about one hundred men as a
guard, Harrison, with the remaining nine hundred, set
out for Tippecanoe on October 29. Two well-worn trails
made by the Prophet's disciples led along the Wabash,
one on either side of the river. Harrison chose that
along the eastern side, then forded the river and struck
the other trail. He safely crossed the dangerous pass at
Pine Creek, where fatal havoc had been wrought upon the
troops of General Harmar. Worn out by their tedious and
difficult march, the soldiers encamped on the evening of
November 5 within ten miles of the Prophet's headquarters.
Next morning they were early on the march; and, after
having gone about five miles, they sighted a party of
reconnoitring Indians, with whom they endeavoured to
communicate, but the red men ignored their advances and
assumed an unfriendly attitude. Within a mile and a half
of the town several of the officers impatiently urged an
immediate attack; but as the president's commands were
to keep peace as long as possible, Harrison decided to
send an officer with a small guard to arrange for a
conference. This overture, however, did not succeed; the
Indians were hostile, and even made an attempt to capture
the officer and his men. And Harrison then ordered his
army to advance upon the town.

Suddenly three Indians appeared, making their way directly
towards the army. The Prophet's chief counsellor, with
two interpreters, had come to demand the reason of this
warlike advance. Peace, they declared, was their one
desire. With much gesticulation they explained that
messages to that effect had been sent by certain chiefs,
who must have taken the other trail and so missed the
general of the Seventeen Fires. The governor agreed to
suspend hostilities in order that terms of peace might
be arranged in council on the following day, and then
set his men in motion towards Tippecanoe. This unlooked-for
action startled the Indians, who immediately assumed the
defensive. The governor, however, assured them that he
had no hostile intentions, and asked whether there was
a near-by stream by the side of which his troops might
encamp. He was directed to a creek about a mile distant
which ran through the prairie to the north of the town.
Thither the Americans at once proceeded, and finding it
a most desirable camping-ground, the soldiers were soon
busily engaged in pitching their tents and gathering
brushwood to make fires, for the November air was chill.
Although no attack was anticipated, Harrison arranged
his camp as if expecting battle, and posted around it a
thin line of sentries.

Darkness fell upon the two encampments. The weary soldiers
were sleeping on their arms; the Prophet and his counsellors
sat about their council fire, eager and alert, earnestly
discussing the situation. Tecumseh's parting injunction
had been to maintain peace at all hazards until his
return. But the Prophet saw himself surrounded by intrepid
warriors who would dare anything at his command, and his
ambition was sorely tempted. In point of numbers his
force was equal to that of the Americans, and the latter,
moreover, were without the protection of fortifications.
Visions of certain victory passed before his mind. He was
still smarting from Harrison's stinging message to the
tribes five years before, and not too well pleased with
Tecumseh's rising fame, which threatened to eclipse his
own. Moved by these thoughts, the Prophet yielded to the
counsel of his boldest warriors and decided upon battle.

Hurried preparations were then made to take the enemy by
surprise. There was no moon and the sky was clouded.
Nature herself apparently was aiding the Prophet's plans.
All being ready, he concocted some charmed fluid, over
which he muttered curious incantations. He assured his
credulous followers that half the enemy were mad and the
remainder dead; and he solemnly promised them that bullets
would glance harmlessly from their own bodies. The
superstitious Indians, thus excited to an intense pitch
of religious fanaticism, were prepared to dare anything.

Shortly before daylight on November 7 the whole Indian
force crept stealthily through the grass towards the
fires of Harrison's camp. The hush that precedes the dawn
was broken only by the soft patter of rain. A watchful
sentinel discerned in the dawning light the spectre-like
form of the foremost savage. He fired at once, and the
shot roused the sleeping camp. It told the Indians that
they were discovered, and with wild war-whoops they rushed
against the American position. The line of sentries was
quickly broken through; but the soldiers sprang to arms;
camp-fires were trodden out; and Indians and whites fought
furiously in the darkness. Perched on a safe eminence,
the Prophet looked down upon the fight, chanting his
war-song further to excite the savages, and rattling
deers' hoofs as signals for advance or retreat. Under
the influence of their fierce fanaticism the Indians
abandoned their usual practice of fighting from behind
cover, and braved the enemy in open conflict. In spite
of Tenskwatawa's prophecies, the American bullets wrought
deadly havoc among the warriors, who, seeing that they
had been deceived, began to waver. Finally, the Indians
gave way before a terrific charge and fled to the woods,
while the soldiers applied the torch to their village.

On the head of the Prophet fell the blame for this
disastrous reverse. 'You are a liar,' said a Winnebago
chief to his former spiritual adviser, 'for you told us
that the white people were all dead or crazy, when they
were in their right mind and fought like the devil.' The
Prophet vainly endeavoured to give reasons for the failure
of his prophecy; it was, he declared, all due to some
error in compounding his concoction; but the wizard's
rod was broken, his mysterious influence shattered. His
radiant visions of power had vanished in the smoke of
battle, and he slipped back into the oblivion from which
he had so suddenly sprung.

Meanwhile Tecumseh was pursuing his mission with
determination and vigour. After travelling many weary
miles, he turned again homeward, pleased with his success,
his thoughts soaring hopefully as he neared the little
town which owed its existence to him. But he arrived
there to find his headquarters demolished, his followers
disbanded, his brother humiliated. Hardest of all to bear
was the knowledge that his own brother, on whose
co-operation he had so firmly relied, had caused this
great disaster to his people. The Prophet's miserable
excuses so enraged him that he seized him by the hair
and shook him violently. Tecumseh mused upon his years
of patient and careful organization, and thought sorrowfully
of his town, so laboriously fortified, and peopled at
the cost of so many dangers risked and privations endured.
It was a blow almost too great to be borne. Should he accept it as
a total defeat and abandon his purpose? No!  The courageous chief,
as he stood amid the charred remains of Tippecanoe, resolved to
persevere in his struggle for the freedom of his race.

Tecumseh now informed the governor of his return and
expressed his willingness to visit the president of the
United States. Permission was granted him to go to
Washington, but it was stipulated that he must do so
unattended. This offended Tecumseh's pride and dignity.
He was the most powerful American Indian living, with
five thousand warriors at his command; holding in one
hand an alliance with Great Britain, and in the other an
alliance with the Indians of the south-west. Such was
the position he had reached, and he intended to maintain
it. Was so great a chief, ruler over a confederacy similar
to that of the white man, to visit the chief of the
Seventeen Fires without a retinue! No! He haughtily
refused to go to Washington under such conditions.

In the early spring of 1812 two settlers were put to
death near Fort Dearborn, several others near Fort Madison,
and a whole family was murdered near Vincennes. These
acts of violence threw the settlers into a panic. A
general Indian rising was feared; but at this critical
moment Tecumseh attended a grand council at Mississinewa,
on the Wabash, between Tippecanoe and Fort Wayne, and
succeeded in calming the excited fears of the Americans.
He was not yet prepared for open war. On this occasion,
in the course of his address, he said:

   Governor Harrison made war on my people in my absence;
   it was the will of the Great Spirit that he should do
   so. We hope it will please the Great Spirit that the
   white people may 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 your brothers present,
   that the unfortunate transaction that took place
   between the white people and a few of our men at our
   village has been settled between us and Governor
   Harrison; and I will further state, had I been at
   home, there would have been no blood shed at the time.

In speaking of the recent murders, Tecumseh said he
greatly regretted that the ill-will of the Americans
should be exercised upon his followers, when the
Potawatomis, over whom he had no power, alone were guilty.

To a message from the British agent Tecumseh replied:

   You tell us to retreat or turn to one side should the
   Long Knives come against us. Had I been at home in
   the late unfortunate affair [the attack on Tippecanoe]
   I should have done so, but those I left at home were
   (I cannot call them men) a poor set of people, and
   their scuffle with the Long Knives I compare to a
   struggle between little children, who only scratch each
   other's faces. The Kickapoos and Winnebagoes have since
   been at Post Vincennes and settled the matter amicably.

If Tecumseh regarded the Tippecanoe battle lightly, the
Americans considered it a serious event. It was magnified
into an important victory, and cited to rouse feelings
of enmity against Great Britain, whose agents were held
to be responsible for the conduct of the Indians. Occurring
at a crisis of affairs, it was made a strong argument
for a declaration of war against England.

When June came Tecumseh demanded ammunition from the
Indian agent at Fort Wayne. The agent presented many
reasons why the chief should now become friendly to the
Seventeen Fires. Tecumseh listened with indifference. He
then bitterly expressed his resentment at Governor
Harrison's advance in his absence, and maintained his
right to the lands the Americans had invaded, but he
still declared that he had no intention of taking up arms
against the United States. The agent refused the ammunition.
'My British father will not deny me; to him will I go,'
retorted Tecumseh.



CHAPTER VII

UNDER THE BRITISH FLAG

We now leave the Wabash for the Detroit, and the interior
of Indiana for the frontiers of Canada. Early in June
1812 Tecumseh, with a small band of chosen warriors, left
his wigwam and set out through the forest for the British
post at Amherstburg on the Canadian side of the Detroit
river, solemnly vowing not to bury the tomahawk until
the Long Knives were humbled. At Amherstburg he sought
out Colonel Matthew Elliott, the Canadian superintendent
of Indian Affairs, and formally pledged his allegiance
to the king of Great Britain. In front of Fort Malden at
Amherstburg, near the mouth of the Detroit river, lay
Bois Blanc Island, upon which several blockhouses had
been erected. This island was fixed upon as the headquarters
of the Indians, and here Tecumseh and his warriors encamped.

The fidelity of the great chief was put to the test even
before active hostilities began. A band of neutral Indians,
encamped at Brownstown, on the American side, opposite
Amherstburg, invited him to a council they were about to
hold. His decision was quickly made. He had cast in his
lot with the British and would not falter in his allegiance.
'No,' he replied to the runner that awaited his answer;
'I will suffer my bones to bleach upon this shore before
I engage in any council of neutrality.' He soon gave
proof of his sincerity by leading his intrepid little
band in one of the initial engagements of the war, an
engagement, as we shall learn, of the greatest importance
in this early stage of the conflict.

Tecumseh had taken his stand for the coming war: the flag of
Britain should be his flag, and her soldiers his comrades-in-arms.
To him, indeed, it was that Britain owed her Indian allies in the
War of 1812. Canadians and Indians stood side by side in face of
a common peril and were inspired by a common purpose. To Canada
defeat meant absorption in the United States and the loss of national
life; to the red men it meant expulsion from their homes and
hunting-grounds and the ultimate extinction of their race.

Long before the formal declaration of was by the United
States (June 18, 1812) the inevitable conflict had been
foreseen. The Democrats, then in power in the United
States, were determined to have it. To many Americans it
appeared as a necessary sequel to the Revolution, a second
War of Independence; to others it seemed a short and easy
means of adding to the United States that northern territory, the
inhabitants of which had refused the opportunity to join the Thirteen
Colonies in the War of the Revolution. But the causes of this
unhappy war are too complex and manifold to be discussed here.
[Footnote:  See _The War with the United States_ in this Series.]

Canada's position at the opening of hostilities was far from
reassuring. The population of all British North America was only
half a million of whites at most, as compared with about eight
million in the United States. Great Britain was engaged elsewhere
in a life-and-death struggle and could spare but few troops to
support the Canadian militia. Indeed, there were not fifteen hundred
British soldiers along the whole Canadian frontier; while, even
before the declaration of war, to Detroit alone had been dispatched
more than two thousand American troops. The Americans had, therefore,
reasonable grounds for confidence in the ultimate result,
notwithstanding a somewhat depleted treasury and the opposition of
a considerable party in the northern, especially the New England,
States. Canadians, however, loyally answered the call to arms, and
proved the truth of the words that 'a country defended by free men
enthusiastically devoted to the cause of their king and constitution
can never be conquered.' Canada, too, had a tower of strength in
Isaac Brock, a distinguished British soldier, who had seen active
service in the West Indies and in Holland, and had been with Nelson
at Copenhagen.

On July 11, 1812, General William Hull, commander of the American
army of the north-west, invaded Canada and occupied Sandwich, a
small town almost directly opposite Detroit. On the following day
he issued a proclamation with the intent of detaching Canadians
from their allegiance. In this proclamation he protested against
the employment of Indians as combatants, although the persistent
endeavours of the Americans to win the Indians over to their cause
must have been known to him. The words of the proclamation are as
follows:

   If the barbarous and savage policy of Great Britain
   be pursued, and the savages let loose to murder our
   citizens, and butcher our women and children, this
   war will be a war of extermination. The first stroke
   of the tomahawk, the first attempt with the
   scalping-knife, will be the signal for one indiscriminate
   scene of desolation! No white man found fighting by
   the side of an Indian will be taken prisoner; instant
   destruction will be his lot.

To this Brock replied:

   This inconsistent and unjustifiable threat of refusing
   quarter, for such a cause as being found in arms with
   a brother sufferer in defence of invaded rights, must
   be exercised with the certain assurance of retaliation,
   not only in the limited operation of war in this part
   of the King's Dominions, but in every quarter of the
   globe. For the national character of Britain is not
   less distinguished for humanity than strict retributive
   justice, which will consider the execution of this
   inhuman threat as deliberate murder, for which every
   subject of the offending power must make expiation.

Tecumseh, with the aid of the British agents, had assembled six
hundred warriors on Bois Blanc Island, and his scouts were soon
out watching the movements of the enemy in the surrounding country.
The only way of communication open to the Americans who were
advancing towards Detroit was along the west side of the Detroit
river by a road which passed through Brownstown from the river
Raisin. This road was kept under the strictest surveillance by the
Indians. On August 5 the scouts reported that Major Van Horne, with
two hundred cavalry of Hull's army, was on his way from Detroit to
meet Captain Brush, who was near the Raisin with a company of Ohio
volunteers, bringing official dispatches and provisions for Hull
at Sandwich. On receiving this news Tecumseh mustered seventy of
his boldest warriors at Brownstown and started through the woods
towards Detroit to meet Van Horne. About three miles out he secreted
his men on each side of the road and awaited the enemy. Apparently
Van Horne, little dreaming that a trap would be set for him, had
not sent out scouts; and as he marched down the road the quiet
forest gave no indication of the foe lurking on his flanks, until
Tecumseh and his band, suddenly springing from their ambuscade and
sounding the war-whoop, leaped upon his horsemen. The terrified
Americans thought the woods alive with Indians. Officers tried in
vain to rally their men, who turned and sought safety in flight,
while Tecumseh and his warriors followed in pursuit. A Parthian
shot from one of the Americans killed a young chief; this was
Tecumseh's only loss. The enemy lost about a hundred in killed,
wounded, and missing; and, what was of the greatest importance, a
packet, containing official dispatches from Hull to the secretary
of War and other papers, was captured. This was Tecumseh's first
engagement in the British cause.

The Indian leader knew that the majority of Indians would incline
towards the side which was first victorious. When, therefore, the
encouraging news was now received that the American fort on Mackinaw
Island had been captured, Tecumseh sent runners in all directions
to tell the Indians of his recent victory and of the fall of Fort
Mackinaw. He announced that British success was assured, and adroitly
added that, if they desired to share the plunder, they must
immediately join the conquerors. One of these light-footed messengers
reached the famous chief of the Potawatomis, Shaubena, as he was
about to start on a hunting expedition. The runner distributed
presents of bright-coloured beads and other ornaments among the
women of the tribe, and to Shaubena he delivered a belt of wampum
with Tecumseh's message. The hunting expedition was abandoned,
Shaubena with his warriors set out at once for Amherstburg, and
became Tecumseh's trusty aide, fighting henceforth by his side
until the hour of the great Shawnee's death.

Meanwhile General Hull had come to the conclusion that he could
not maintain his position on the soil of Canada. On the night of
August 7 he withdrew his troops from Sandwich and crossed the river
to Detroit. It was of the utmost importance, however, that he should
make a juncture with Captain Brush and reopen his communications
with the country beyond Lake Erie. To effect this object he sent
out a force of six hundred men under Colonel James Miller, with
cavalry and artillery. At this time Tecumseh was at Brownstown with
about two hundred warriors, and Major Muir of the British Army, in
command of about one hundred and sixty regulars and militia, was
also stationed there. On the morning of August 9 some Indians
emerged from the forest and reported that the American troops under
Miller were about eight miles distant, and, on account of the
difficulty of transporting the guns over the heavy roads, were
making but slow progress. It was evident that they could not reach
Brownstown before night, and Major Muir, after a hasty consultation
with Tecumseh, decided to meet the enemy at Maguaga, a small Indian
village between Brownstown and Detroit. The Indians in their scant
habiliments of war, their dark bodies grotesquely painted in varied
colours, strode silently by the side of the British soldiers. The
allies rapidly pushed their way along the muddy road, past the
scene of the recent attack, where carcasses of men and horses still
lay by the roadside. A halt was called within a quarter of a mile
of Maguaga, at a place favourable for an ambuscade, and preparations
were made for battle. The British took up a position behind a
slightly rising bit of ground. Tecumseh disposed his men in a
meadow, about six hundred yards in extent, which bordered the road
along which the Americans were advancing. The wild grass grew rank
and high and afforded sufficient concealment. The Indians threw
themselves down to await the enemy, and their example was followed
by the British. Tecumseh and his men, peering from their covert,
soon distinguished the main body of the enemy marching in two lines,
slowly and steadily. As they came within range a single shot rang
out--the signal for battle. The Indians fired one deadly volley,
and, with the blood-curdling cry that the Americans had learned to
dread, burst wildly from their hiding-place. The enemy replied with
a crackling fire and, as Tecumseh and his men sprang bravely forward,
followed it up with a bayonet charge.

The bright uniforms of the British now revealed their position,
and the action became general. Unknown to the regulars, a body of
Indians had been posted at the extremity of a neighbouring wood,
and; being subjected to a hot fire and unable to endure the hail
of bullets, they endeavoured to gain the British rear. Appearing
in this unexpected quarter they were mistaken for the foe, and as
they emerged from the wood were fired upon by their comrades-in-arms.
The red men in turn mistook the British for Americans and promptly
returned the fire, and for some time disorder and confusion reigned.
The loud remonstrances of the officers were lost in the din and
confusion of battle. Hard pressed in front and, as he imagined,
attacked in the rear, Major Muir ordered a retreat; he then reformed
his men on the crest of a hill to await the appearance of the enemy.
This position commanded a small bridge over which the American
artillery would have to pass. Here, about a quarter of a mile
distant from their former position, the British waited for a quarter
of an hour, after which, as the enemy did not reappear, Muir again
ordered a retreat. His communication with Tecumseh had been broken,
and, hearing sounds of firing from the woods to his left, he inferred
that the Americans were driving the Indians in that direction with
the object of reaching the road to cut him off from his boats. He
gained the shore of the river, however, without interference from
the enemy, found his boats intact, and pulled swiftly towards
Amherstburg.

Tecumseh and his warriors had borne the brunt of the battle and
displayed magnificent courage. After the firing of Muir's men had
ceased, they still fought stubbornly, in spite of the vast numerical
superiority of the enemy, and retreated slowly through the woods
in a westerly direction. Then, turning about, they succeeded in
regaining their canoes, and followed in the wake of the British.
The Americans were unaware of the extent of their success, and
fearing a renewed attack, they abandoned their march and retreated
to Detroit. And it was not until several days after this lively
encounter that they again attempted to reopen communications with
their army to the south.

Four uneventful days followed. The night of the 13th was calm and
cloudless. About Fort Malden sentries paced their ceaseless round.
Camp-fires glowed about the wigwams and blockhouses of Bois Blanc.
Tecumseh lay in the open, surrounded by his sleeping warriors.
Although it was past midnight, his sleepless eyes scanned the
heavens. The moon cast a shimmering path upon the water, in whose
depths myriads of stars were reflected. Even as Tecumseh gazed a
bright star sped like a golden arrow across the sky. He marked its
flight until it fell afar and seemed to cleave the dark depths of
the river. What did this fiery messenger portend? Again a youth,
he threaded his way through the gloom of the forest, seeking the
guiding spirit of his manhood, until a bright star fell across his
path. Then, in vivid memory, came the tortures of initiation. A
man, he journeyed in strange lands beneath a scorching sun, or felt
the biting winter blasts. Again his heart beat high with hope, only
to be cast down by the crushing defeat of his plans. But still,
upborne by almost superhuman strength, urged by some strange,
impelling power, he must battle for his race. The restless river,
as it fretted the sides of the little island placed so protectingly
against the Canadian shore, sang of battle, whose outcome none
might guess. Suddenly he was aroused from his waking dream by shouts
of joy and the booming of cannon from the decks of the _General
Hunter_, which lay at anchor in the river. It was a salute in honour
of the arrival of General Brock. A vigorous cheer announced his
appearance at Fort Malden. The Indians joined in the welcome and
fired off their muskets. A boat made its way towards the island,
and the warriors crowded about it as Colonel Elliott stepped ashore.
He gave them official information of Brock's arrival, and warned
the Indians to save their scanty ammunition. Notwithstanding the
lateness of the hour, Tecumseh with his attendant chiefs accompanied
Elliott back to the fort to meet the commander in whose hands he
had placed the fate of his people. Arrived at Amherstburg, Elliott
replied to the sentry's challenge, and they entered the fort. On
reaching the room in which Brock sat, they found him deeply engrossed
in the contents of the captured mail packets, which were strewn on
the table before him, for these told him that General Hull had lost
the confidence of his garrison at Detroit, and that dissensions
had destroyed all unity of purpose among the officers. The candlelight
streamed on his red-brown hair and shone on the gold-fringed epaulets
of his scarlet uniform. Elliott at once presented Tecumseh to Brock.
The latter raised his eyes to behold 'the king of the woods,' whose
very presence seemed to exhale the freedom of the forest.

One of the best pen-portraits extant of Tecumseh is by Captain Glegg,
who thus describes him upon this occasion of his presentation to Brock:

   Tecumseh was very prepossessing, his figure light and finely
   proportioned, his age I imagined to be about five-and-thirty,
   his height five feet nine or ten inches, his complexion light
   copper, his countenance oval, with bright hazel eyes beaming
   cheerfulness, energy and decision. Three small crowns or coronets
   were suspended from the lower cartilage of his aquiline nose,
   and a large silver medallion of George the Third, which I believe
   his ancestor had received from Lord Dorchester when governor-general
   of Canada, was attached to a mixed coloured wampum string which
   hung round his neck. His dress consisted of a plain, neat uniform,
   a tanned deer-skin jacket with long trousers of the same material,
   the seams of both being covered with neatly cut fringe, and he
   had on his feet leather moccasins much ornamented with work made
   from the dyed quills of the porcupine.

Tecumseh regarded Brock calmly, noting with admiration the athletic
form as it towered to its full height. Thus stood the two commanding
figures, both born to lead, alike bold in purpose and ready in
resource. With the same intuitive perception each trusted the other.
They were akin--both of the 'brotherhood that binds the brave of
all the earth.' The brown hand of Tecumseh met the strong white
hand of Brock in a warm clasp, the seal of a firm friendship. Brock
thanked Tecumseh for his salute of welcome, and like Colonel Elliott
mentioned the shortage of ammunition. With warm words of praise he
referred to the work of the warriors in the recent engagements,
commending Tecumseh's leadership and courage in the highest terms.
The chief listened with characteristic calm. Brock continued: 'I
have fought against the enemies of our great father, the king beyond
the great lake, and they have never seen my back. I am come here
to fight his enemies on this side the great lake, and now desire
with my soldiers to take lessons from you and your warriors, that
I may learn how to make war in these great forests.' After a pause
Tecumseh, turning round to his attendant chiefs, stretched out his
hand and exclaimed, 'Ho-o-o-e; this is a man!'

Brock was particularly pleased with the contents of the mail taken
at Brownstown. In striking contrast to Hull's high-sounding
proclamation, it revealed that general's real attitude of dejection.
Communication from the rear had been cut off; he feared starvation
and despaired of being able to withstand attack. The contents of
these dispatches prompted Brock to invade American territory without
delay. Rapidly he unfolded a daring plan against Fort Detroit, but
his officers shook their heads and strongly dissented. Not so
Tecumseh, who, as Brock sketched his scheme, had listened with
gleaming eye, and who now enthusiastically supported it. The
commander inquired as to the character of the country through which
they must pass to reach Detroit. For answer the chief unrolled a
piece of elm bark, which he held flat with four stones; and, drawing
his scalping-knife from its sheath, he traced with its point the
roads, ravines, groves, and streams. Brock intently followed the
blade of Tecumseh, beneath whose hand a fine military map rapidly
took shape. Was ever before Indian scalping-knife put to so good
a use!  This unexpected skill surprised and delighted Brock. When
the map was completed, clear in outline, intelligent in detail,
any misgivings he may have had vanished. In the face of all opposition
and dissent Brock resolved to attempt the capture of Detroit.
Thanking Tecumseh for his invaluable aid and promising to address
his followers at noon the next day, the commander retired for a
few hours of much-needed rest. Accompanied by his chiefs, the Indian
leader made his way back over the water to the little island. It
was now almost morning, and as he scanned the brightening sky he
wondered within himself whether it heralded a hopeful dawn for his
unhappy people.

At noon of that day one thousand Indians of various tribes assembled
beneath the trees about Fort Malden. After the customary opening
ceremonies Brock addressed them, telling them he had come across
the great salt lake (the Atlantic ocean), at the request of their
great father, to help them, and that with their assistance he would
drive the Americans from Fort Detroit. His words were greeted with
noisy approval. Tecumseh then replied that he was pleased that
'their father beyond the great salt lake had at last consented to
let his warriors come to the assistance of his red children, who
had never ceased to remain steadfast in their friendship and were
now all ready to shed their last drop of blood in their great
father's service.'

Seeing Tecumseh surrounded by his warriors, who, fiery and indomitable,
but unstable as water, were united by his leadership alone, Brock
realized the powerful personality of his new and valuable ally.
Here is an extract from one of Brock's letters written soon afterwards:

   Among the Indians whom I found at Amherstburg and who arrived
   from different parts of the country there were some extraordinary
   characters. He who most attracted my attention was a Shawnee
   chief--brother of the Prophet, who for the last two years has
   carried on, contrary to our remonstrance, an active war with
   the United States. A more sagacious or a more gallant warrior
   does not, I believe, exist. He was the admiration of every one
   who addressed him.

Preparations were rapidly made for a movement against Detroit, and
on the morning of the next day, August 15, the British and Indians
marched towards Sandwich. Brock sent Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell
and Captain Glegg to General Hull, under a flag of truce; demanding
the surrender of Detroit. Adroitly embodied in his dispatch were
the following words: 'You must be aware that the numerous bodies
of Indians who have attached themselves to my troops will be beyond
my control the moment the contest commences.' Hull replied that he
was prepared to meet any force at Brock's command; whereupon the
British batteries at Sandwich opened fire, which continued until
evening. Under cover of darkness Colonel Elliott and Tecumseh led
six hundred Indian warriors to the shore of the river on the night
of the 15th, where they silently launched their canoes and gained
the American side, prepared to protect the crossing of the main
army in the morning.

In the quiet early dawn 320 British regulars and 400 Canadian
militia were in readiness to embark; and, as sunrise coloured the
sky, a motley fleet pushed off from the Canadian shore. The war
vessel _Queen Charlotte_ and the batteries at Sandwich opened fire,
while the wooded shores re-echoed to the savage yells of 600 painted
braves. Brock stood erect in the foremost boat, which steered
towards Springwells, about four miles below Detroit, where Tecumseh
awaited his landing. Scarcely had Brock stepped ashore when a scout
rushed up with the news that a large body of American troops, who
had left the fort two days before for another attempt to reach the
army at the Raisin, were approaching from the rear, and were now
but a few miles distant. The attack must, therefore, be made at
once. The forces were rapidly formed in two columns, an advance
was sounded, and the allies pressed forward towards Fort Detroit.

That formidable stronghold bristled with cannon, which could be
trained on any part of the advancing army. Yet steadily forward
marched the British, while the Indians shouted their wild war-cry,
which doubtless struck terror to the heart of Hull. The gunners in
Detroit stood at their posts with lighted fuses, but the British and
Indians dauntlessly advanced till they could see the black, yawning
mouths of the guns, whose thunder each moment they thought to hear.

At some distance from the fort Brock and Tecumseh ascended an
elevated bit of ground to reconnoitre. Scarcely had they done so
when a messenger was seen speeding from the fort with a white flag.
Colonel Macdonell and Captain Glegg were sent to meet him. The news
they brought back was that Hull was prepared to surrender. The fire
from the batteries at Sandwich and from the _Queen Charlotte_, with
the bold advance of the British and the Indian war-cry, had done
their work. The commanders rode forward and took possession of the
fort. Hull's twenty-five hundred men became prisoners of war, and
all the armaments and stores, along with the territory of Michigan,
passed into the hands of the British. The Stars and Stripes were
lowered, and the Union Jack streamed out upon the breeze.

Tecumseh was elated and amazed at this bloodless victory over the
Long Knives. Shortly after the surrender of Detroit, he is reported
to have said to Brock:

   I have heard much of your fame and am happy again to shake by
   the hand a brave brother warrior. The Americans endeavoured to
   give us a mean opinion of British generals, but we have been
   witnesses of your valour. In crossing the river to attack the
   enemy, we observed you from a distance standing the whole time
   in an erect position, and when the boats reached the shore you
   were among the first who jumped on land. Your bold and sudden
   movements alarmed the enemy and compelled them to surrender to
   less than half their own force.

Brock, realizing the value of Tecumseh's services, honoured him
publicly. Removing his silken sash, he fastened it about the chief's
shoulders, presenting him at the same time with a pair of pistols.
Stoic though Tecumseh was, he could not conceal his pride and
gratification at Brock's gift. Next day, however, he appeared
without the sash; and when the British general sent to inquire the
reason, he explained that he had given it to Roundhead of the
Wyandots, an older and more valiant chief than himself.

In his general order from Detroit, August 17, Brock wrote:

   The conduct of the Indians, joined to that of the gallant and
   brave chiefs of their respective tribes, has since the commencement
   of the war been marked with acts of true heroism, and in nothing
   can they testify more strongly their love to the king, their
   great father, than by following the dictates of honour and
   humanity by which they have been hitherto actuated. Two
   fortifications have already been captured from the enemy without
   a drop of blood being shed by the hands of Indians. The instant
   the enemy submitted, his life became sacred.

That such was the case at Detroit was almost entirely due to the
dominating influence of Tecumseh over his followers.



CHAPTER VIII

FIGHTING ON AMERICAN SOIL

After Brock had accomplished his work at Detroit, he hastily returned
to the seat of government at York to make preparations for guarding
the Niagara frontier; and here we must take our leave of the great
soldier, for another writer in these Chronicles is to tell of his
subsequent movements, and of his glorious death on Queenston Heights.
Colonel Procter was left in command of the western forts, to which
Tecumseh was attached. Owing to an unfortunate armistice arranged
between the belligerent nations, the energetic Indian chief could
do nothing more than exert his powers in persuading many undecided
warriors to become Britain's allies. In this business he moved
through the Indian country between Lake Michigan and the Wabash,
daily increasing his forces.

In the meantime General Harrison, of whom we learned something in
a preceding chapter, was given command of the north-western army
of the United States. He was invested with wide authority, and
instructed, first of all, to provide for the defence of the western
frontiers and then to 'retake Detroit, with a view to the conquest
of Canada.' The first part of these instructions he proceeded to
carry out by raiding Indian villages and burning their cornfields.
Next he arranged his autumn campaign, which had in view the recapture
of Detroit and, if possible, the capture of Fort Malden and the
invasion of Canada. His troops occupied Fort Defiance, on the
Maumee, as a base of supplies, and Sandusky, on the south shore of
Lake Erie, as an observation post. Before much could be done,
however, the autumn waned, and Harrison, with seventeen hundred
men, encamped for the winter on the right bank of the Maumee, at
the foot of the rapids, near the place where Wayne had fought the
battle of the Fallen Timbers sixteen years before.

In January 1813 Major Reynolds, of the British forces on the Detroit,
marched into Frenchtown with fifty soldiers and two hundred Indians.
Frenchtown stood on the site of the present city of Monroe (Mich.)
on the river Raisin, about midway between Detroit and Harrison's
camp on the Maumee. On the 18th scouts reported the approach of an
American force of some five hundred and fifty regulars and Kentucky
volunteers. Reynolds made a judicious disposition of his men to
meet this superior force, but the enemy fell suddenly upon him,
driving him back about a mile. When the British had gained the
shelter of a wood their three-pounder did effective work, causing
the enemy considerable loss, and a continuous fire from militia
and Indians held the Americans in check for a time. But the contest
was hopeless, and Reynolds retreated to Brownstown, about eighteen
miles distant, having lost one militiaman and three Indians, and
having killed twelve Americans and wounded fifty-five. The American
captain made no attempt to pursue the British, but established
himself at Frenchtown, and two days later General Winchester marched
in with a large body of American troops.

During the night of the 18th word of Reynolds's repulse was brought
to Procter, who, with unaccustomed alacrity, hastened from Amherstburg
with all his available force, leaving but a few men to guard the
fort. Early on the morning of the 20th he led five hundred militia
and regulars and eight hundred Indians across the frozen waters of
the Detroit river. The troops were soon winding their way along
the road on the western shore. At nightfall they encamped in the
open about five miles from the enemy, and lighted huge fires to
protect themselves from the bitter winter cold. Before daybreak of
the 21st they were again on the march and sighted the American camp
while all was darkness and silence. No outpost guarded the slumbering
encampment, and the British approached unchallenged. They had
brought three three-pounders with them, and these were swiftly but
silently placed in commanding positions. The line for attack was
being formed when the musket-shot of a sentinel rang out through
the crisp air, and was immediately followed by the roar from a
three-pounder, which startled the sleeping camp into activity. Thus
the British lost some of the advantage of a surprise attack. Instead
of making a rapid advance and bayonet charge, or an attack upon
the surrounding parapet, from which the enemy wrought such havoc
later, Procter ordered the three-pounders to be brought into action,
and while this was being done, the Americans had seized their arms
and prepared for a stubborn defence.

Procter attacked with the regulars in the centre and the militia
and Indians on the flanks. The American centre fought from behind
defences, and their fire caused great havoc in the ranks of the
regulars, where the fire was hottest and the loss most severe.
After the fight had continued for upwards of an hour, the Indians
decided the issue. Outflanking the enemy on each side, they gained
the rear, and fiercely assailed and drove in the enemy's right,
which gave way and fled in terror to the farther side of the river
Raisin, seeking shelter in the woods. The Indians followed across
the ice in swift pursuit, eager for slaughter. The blood-stained
snow and the bodies of those overtaken marked the direction of
their flight for almost two miles. Only a few prisoners were
captured, but among them were Colonel Lewis, General Winchester,
and his son, a lad of sixteen years of age. So complete had been
the surprise of the American camp that when Winchester was led into
the British lines he was clothed only in his night-shirt.

The American left and centre, however, still held out stubbornly,
fighting desperately through fear of falling into the hands of the
Indians and sharing a fate similar to that of their comrades. On
learning that the conflict was still in progress, Winchester
pencilled an order to the commanding officer to surrender, in order
to prevent further loss of life. The command was immediately obeyed,
and the action ceased. A number of the Americans made good their
escape to Harrison's camp on the Maumee, where Fort Meigs was
erected immediately afterwards. 'The zeal and courage of the Indian
department were never more conspicuous than on this occasion,'
wrote Procter, 'and the Indian warriors fought with great bravery.'
Tecumseh himself was not present at the battle of Frenchtown, as
he was busy seeking recruits among the Indian allies of the British.
The leader of the Indians on that occasion was Roundhead of the
Wyandots.

Learning that Harrison had reorganized his army and brought up
artillery and stores to strengthen his position at Fort Meigs,
Procter decided to attack the American general in force. Harrison,
as we have seen, had about 1700 men and expected an equal reinforcement
under General Green Clay. Procter, now a brigadier-general, embarked
at Amherstburg with 1,000 white troops and all available artillery.
Tecumseh, who had returned to headquarters, led his Indians overland.
The result of his mission among the tribes now manifested itself.
As he advanced, his force was greatly augmented, many warriors
joining him at the mouth of the Maumee, until at last he commanded
not fewer than 1,200 men. The British forces reached the vicinity
of Fort Meigs on April 28, and went into camp opposite the fort;
but heavy rains delayed operations until the 1st of May. Procter
erected a battery a short distance above his camp; another battery
was soon added:  but the fire from both proving ineffective, a
third was established across the river just below Fort Meigs.

The expected American reinforcements reached the head of the rapids,
and on the night of May 4 a messenger from Harrison made his way
through the British lines to Clay, instructing him to land eight
hundred men on the left bank of the Maumee to carry the British
batteries there, and spike the guns, afterwards crossing to the
fort. The remainder of the troops were to land on the right side
of the river and make their way through the Indians to the fort.
According to orders, Colonel Dudley landed with the specified force,
rushed the batteries, which were manned only by a few gunners, and
spiked the guns. The main body of British were at the camp a mile
and a half distant. But, contrary to orders, Dudley did not return
immediately to his boats and cross to the fort; instead, he left
the greater part of his men at the batteries under Major Shelby
and set off with the rest in pursuit of some Indians.

The routed artillerymen, reaching the British camp, made known the
loss of guns, and Tecumseh led his warriors to retake them through
a downpour of rain. Dudley and the smaller body that accompanied
him were drawn into an ambuscade and annihilated, Dudley himself
falling beneath the tomahawk; while the larger force left in
possession of the captured batteries was assailed by Major Muir,
with fewer than two hundred men, and put to rout. The Americans
fled for refuge to the woods, only to be confronted there by the
Indians. Thus caught between two fires, they were utterly destroyed.

Clay's force of 450 men had landed on the opposite side of the
river, where they were attacked by the Indians. But they were soon
reinforced by a detachment sent from the fort to meet them, whereupon
they turned upon the British position, captured one gun, and took
prisoner forty of the 41st regiment. The remainder of the British
at this point, strengthened by a small detachment of militia and
Indians, advanced and retook the battery, and the Americans were
driven back into the fort.

A white flag now fluttered from the walls of Fort Meigs. Harrison
proposed an exchange of prisoners, in the hope that during the
delay caused by these proceedings he would be able to get much-needed
baggage, stores, and ammunition into the fort. But the boats
containing his supplies were captured by the Indians, who took
childish pleasure in their rich plunder. When the prisoners had
been exchanged Harrison again opened fire, and the contest continued
until the 9th with little result.

Unaccustomed to this prolonged warfare and weary of fighting, the
greater part of the Indians now returned to their villages to
celebrate their recent victory; but Tecumseh, although his force,
so laboriously brought together, had dwindled to fewer than twenty
warriors, remained with the British. The militia also grew restless
and discontented and desired to return to their homes, to attend
to the spring seeding of their fields. Under these conditions
Procter was obliged to abandon the siege of Fort Meigs and withdraw
his forces.

During this affair an event occurred which illustrates the marvellous
power of Tecumseh's personality. While some of the American prisoners
were being conducted to the boats, they were savagely attacked by
a band of strange Indians. These warriors, who had taken no part
in the engagement, greatly outnumbered the guard. Forty of the
prisoners had already been put to death before a messenger set off
at full speed to Tecumseh with news of this horrible outrage. The
Indian leader rode rapidly towards the scene of the massacre, which
was then at its height. Throwing himself from his horse, he grasped
the two nearest savages and hurled them violently to the ground.
Brandishing his tomahawk, he rushed among the Indians, and in a
voice of thunder forbade them to touch another prisoner. The massacre
ceased instantly, and, awed by Tecumseh's presence and threatening
manner, the savages disappeared into the woods.

Towards the latter part of July Tecumseh persuaded Procter to make
another attempt to take Fort Meigs. After much deliberation the
British general finally started up the Maumee with a force of four
hundred white soldiers and about three hundred Indians. He took
with him also several six-pounders. The troops disembarked on the
right bank not far from the fort. Tecumseh, fertile in strategy,
had devised a plan by which he hoped to lure the garrison from the
fort. His scouts had apprised him that Harrison with a large force
was at Sandusky, about sixty miles distant. The chief proposed that
the Indians should gain the road which led from Sandusky to Fort
Meigs and that a sham battle should be enacted there to deceive
the garrison, who would naturally suppose that some of Harrison's
force, coming to the fort, were being attacked. They would hasten
to the assistance of their comrades, and the British would fall
upon them in the rear, while a strong force assailed the fort. The
plan met with Procter's approval, and the Indians proceeded to
carry it out. Heavy firing was soon heard, and it became so animated
that even some of Procter's men believed that a real engagement
was in progress. But the garrison made no response, and the mock
battle, which lasted about an hour, was finally terminated by a
heavy downpour of rain.

Tecumseh's plan for the capture of Fort Meigs had miscarried, but
he still hoped for victory. He induced Procter to make an attack
upon Fort Stephenson (now Fremont in the state of Ohio), about ten
miles from the mouth of the Sandusky river. On July 28 the British
troops embarked with artillery and stores and entered Sandusky Bay.
Most of the Indians marched through the woods between the Sandusky
and the Maumee. On August 1 Procter, having ascended the river,
demanded the surrender of Fort Stephenson from Major Croghan, the
officer in command. The garrison consisted of only one hundred
and sixty men, and they had but one gun; yet Croghan refused to
surrender. Procter then landed his men and opened fire on the
north-west angle of the fort; but his guns were light, and the
cannonade, which continued for thirty hours, had but little effect.

Fort Stephenson was built on the edge of a deep ravine filled with
brushwood. Before the main building was a ditch, the sides of which
were crowned with palisades. About four o'clock in the afternoon
Procter ordered an assault. He divided his men into two parties,
one to attack the fort from the north-west, the other to assail
the southern side. Armed with axes, which, however, were so blunt
as to be almost useless, the men of the first party broke through
the outer palisades and gained the ditch. Here they found further
advance impossible, as they had no scaling-ladders. In this position
they were raked by a deadly fire of musketry from the fort. The
men at the southern side were not so severely pressed; but after
two hours' hard fighting the British were forced to withdraw, having
suffered a loss of about one hundred killed and wounded. Under
cover of darkness Procter and his men regained their boats and
returned to Amherstburg. Greatly disheartened at these repeated
failures, Tecumseh and his warriors marched overland to the head
of Lake Erie and again went into camp on Bois Blanc Island.



CHAPTER IX

THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE

The hope of the British now centred in their fleet, which commanded
Lake Erie. It was known that Harrison was anxious to regain Detroit
and invade Canada, but he could do nothing until the control of
the lake had been won. Towards this object the Americans now bent
their energies, sparing no expense in their effort to equip a lake
fleet superior to that of the British. Several new ships were
building in the port of Presqu'isle (now Erie), Pennsylvania, under
the direction of Captain Oliver Perry, the young officer in command
on Lake Erie. At length nine American vessels were fitted
out--_Lawrence_, twenty guns; _Niagara_, twenty guns; _Caledonia_,
three guns; _Ariel_, four guns; _Scorpion_, two guns; _Somers_,
two guns; _Trippe_, one gun; _Porcupine_, one gun; _Tigress_, one
gun. These boats were commanded by able officers and were manned
chiefly by experienced seamen taken from the crews of frigates
which were blockaded in the seaports.

Opposed to this fleet Canada had on Lake Erie a squadron consisting
of six vessels--_Queen Charlotte_, seventeen guns; _Lady Prevost_,
thirteen guns; _Hunter_, ten guns; _Little Belt_, three guns;
_Chippewa_, one gun; _Detroit_, still on the stocks at Amherstburg,
nineteen guns. Captain Robert Barclay, one of Nelson's heroes at
Trafalgar, was in command. Like the great admiral under whom he
served, he had lost an arm in naval conflict, which gained for him
the Indian title of 'our father with the one arm.'

The American ships had been in readiness since the early part of
July, but were blockaded in Presqu'isle. There were but seven feet
of water on the bar at the entrance to the harbour, which made it
impossible for the larger ships to sail out with their heavy armament
on board and in face of a fire from the British ships. Barclay,
assured of his mastery of the situation, frequently visited places
along the coast in search of provisions. The enemy, who maintained
constant and careful watch, took advantage of his absence on one
of these occasions and skilfully slipped their vessels over the
bar. Barclay, on returning, saw with dismay that the American fleet
had escaped from Presqu'isle, and, realizing that the control of
the lake had passed from his hands, he directed his course towards
Amherstburg to hasten the completion of the _Detroit_.

Starvation threatened the garrison at Amherstburg. Indians swarmed
about the fort, their numbers seeming to increase as the food supply
diminished. Barclay writes, 'There was not a day's flour in the
store and the squadron was on half allowance of many things,' and
'it was necessary to fight the enemy to enable us to get supplies
of every description.' Immediate battle was inevitable, and on the
efforts of the navy hung a momentous issue. Should it fail, supplies
from Niagara would be cut off and Harrison's forces, which were
stationed in readiness for this opportunity, would march in and
crush Procter's command.

From Bois Blanc Island Tecumseh and his warriors followed with
interest the manoeuvres of the American ships. They watched with
wonder the spreading sails, which in the morning sun looked like
a flock of huge white sea-gulls. Naval warfare was new to many of
the Indians, and they gazed in silent awe as the ships sailed
towards Amherstburg. Tecumseh, who closely followed their movements,
assured the Indians crowded about him on the beach that these
vessels with their proud white sails would soon be destroyed by
'their father with the one arm.' But there were no signs of immediate
battle, and Tecumseh grew impatient. Launching his canoe, he paddled
over to Amherstburg to discover the reason of delay. 'A few days
since you were boasting that you commanded the waters; why do you
not go out and meet the Americans?' he demanded of Procter. 'See,
yonder they are waiting for you and daring you to meet them.'
Procter assured Tecumseh that the delay would not be long; the
British were waiting for the completion of the _Detroit_. The chief
returned to the island to inform his warriors that the big canoes
of their great fathers were not yet ready and that the destruction
of the American fleet must be delayed a few days.

Barclay remained in Amherstburg to hasten the completion of the
Detroit, his largest vessel. But, at length, as further delay was
dangerous, she had to be launched as she was, in a rough and
imperfect condition. In default of other guns, she was armed with
long battering pieces taken from the ramparts of the fort. Every
calibre of gun was used, and so incomplete was her equipment that
her cannon had to be discharged by flashing pistols at the touch-holes.

Long and vainly had Barclay waited for the arrival of the promised
seamen from Lake Ontario, with whom he hoped to man his ships. His
insistent appeal and final remonstrance were treated with indifference.
There were but fifty experienced seamen in the British ships, the
remainder of the crews consisting of two hundred and forty soldiers
and eighty Canadian volunteer sailors, who had no proper training
in seamanship and gunnery. While Barclay was obliged to enter the
contest with his fleet thus wretchedly equipped, Perry had a force
of over five hundred men, hardy frontiersmen and experienced
soldiers, and a sufficiency of trained seamen to work his squadron
in any weather or circumstance. On the night of September 9 the
British commander ran up his flag, weighed anchor, and set sail,
hoping to encounter early next morning the American fleet, which
lay thirty or more miles distant at Put-in-Bay.

The grey curtain of morning mist rolled up from Lake Erie, where
the British fleet stood out in battle array. A light breeze rippled
the surface of the lake and filled the swelling sails. Barclay took
advantage of the favourable wind and bore towards the American
vessels, which were lying among a cluster of islands. He put forth
every effort to reach them before they could sail clear of the
islands to form their line. But the wind was so light that they
had got away from their cramped quarters before Barclay could come
near them.

The enemy's fleet now bore towards the British, Perry leading in
his flagship the _Lawrence_. From his mast-head flew a flag with
the motto, 'Don't give up the ship'--the dying words of Captain
James Lawrence of the _Chesapeake_, after whom the vessel was named.
The British fleet, compactly formed and under easy sail, awaited
the enemy's approach. Captain Barclay in his flagship _Detroit_
headed towards the south-west. The _Chippewa_, _Hunter_, _Queen
Charlotte_, _Lady Prevost_, and _Little Belt_, in close column,
followed in his wake. The breeze, still light, veered to the
north-east, giving the Americans the weather gauge.

About noon the action began. The roar of the _Detroit's_ twenty-four
pounder, reverberating over the lake, told the anxious watchers on
land that the battle had begun. The first shot fell short, but
the second struck the decks of the _Lawrence_, dealing death and
destruction. Perry's _Scorpion_ now opened fire with her long
thirty-two, and the _Lawrence_ with her long twelves and her
carronades. As soon as the two flagships were engaged, the battle
was taken up by the _Scorpion_, _Ariel_, and _Caledonia_ opposed
to the _Chippewa_, _Queen Charlotte_, and _Hunter_.

For over two hours Barclay engaged Perry, until brace and bowline
of the _Lawrence_ had been shot away. The American flagship's hull
was rent by shot and shell and every gun on her fighting side
dismounted. The condition of the Detroit was equally perilous.
Masts and rigging were cut to pieces and her decks torn and splintered
from the heavy fire of the _Lawrence_. Captain Barclay's remaining
arm had been disabled in the early part of the action, and, weak
from his wounds, he had been carried below. But the valiant crew,
inspired by the courage and determination of their officers,
stubbornly continued the fight.

Perry's ship being reduced to a wreck, that gallant young commander,
still undaunted, determined to abandon her. Hauling down his flag,
he bade four stout seamen row him to the _Niagara_. The little boat
sped swiftly on her way; all about her the water was churned to
foam by shot and shell. Those on the flagship anxiously watched
the dangerous passage, and broke into cheers as their commander
reached the Niagara's deck in safety and ran up his flag on that
ship. The _Lawrence_ now struck to the _Detroit_, but the latter's
small boats had been so damaged by the enemy's fire that they were
not seaworthy, The British, therefore, were unable to take possession
of their prize before the action recommenced.

A fresh breeze sprang up, and the fortunes of the fight changed.
The Americans still had the advantage of the wind, for Perry was
able to choose both position and distance, while Barclay's ships
became unmanageable for lack of proper seamen. The American fleet
was now drawn up in line. The _Niagara_ bore up to pierce the
British line. Passing between the _Lady Prevost_, _Little Belt_,
and _Chippewa_ on the port side and the _Detroit_, _Queen Charlotte_,
and _Hunter_ upon the starboard, she fired heavy broadsides both
ways. The Detroit, anticipating the manoeuvre, attempted to wear,
but in so doing ran foul of the _Queen Charlotte_. In this helpless
condition the two British ships remained for some time. Perry,
promptly availing himself of this accident, bore down upon the
distressed vessels, pouring in broadside after broadside with deadly
effect. The _Detroit_ had already received rough treatment in combat
with the _Lawrence_; and the smaller vessels now also made her a
target, the _Somers_, _Porcupine_, _Tigress_, and _Caledonia_,
which had closed up in the rear, keeping up a deadly fire astern.

Never in any naval action was the loss greater in proportion to
the number of men engaged. The encounter had been so severe that
every officer on the _Detroit_ was either killed or wounded.
Barclay's thigh was badly shattered and he had also been severely
wounded in the shoulder. So deadly had been the fire from the
American guns that three-fourths of his men were disabled. Without
officers to direct or men to fight, resistance was no longer
possible. All that perseverance and courage could do had been done.
The brave Barclay was compelled to yield at last to a superior
force and to double the weight of metal. The two ships so helplessly
entangled were the first to strike their colours, and their example
was followed by the _Hunter_ and _Lady Prevost_. The _Little Belt_
and the _Chippewa_ endeavoured to escape, and led the _Trippe_ and
_Scorpion_ a lively chase before they were eventually captured.

Cooper in his naval history remarks:

   Stress was laid at the time on the fact that a portion of the
   British crews were Provincials, but the history of this continent
   is filled with instances which went to increase the renown of
   the mother country without obtaining any credit for it. The
   hardy frontier men of the American lakes are as able to endure
   fatigue, as ready to engage and as constant in battle as the
   seamen of any marine in the world. They merely require good
   leaders, and this the English appear to have possessed in Captain
   Barclay and his assistants.

It was three o'clock in the afternoon when the flag of the _Detroit_
was lowered, and Captain Barclay with his officers, amidst the dead
and dying who cumbered her decks, gave up their swords to Perry on
the _Niagara_. The American commander could not but feel the greatest
admiration for his courageous opponent. Courteous as he was brave,
Perry begged the British officers to retain their swords.

For three hours the cannon had thundered over Lake Erie on that
fateful day, but, after the opening encounter, the manoeuvres of
the ships were lost to those on shore in the heavy clouds of smoke
that hung over the water. When these had cleared away, a scene
was revealed that contrasted sadly with that disclosed by the
lifting of the morning mist. Crippled and dismantled, the brave
ships, whose sails had swelled so proudly in the morning breeze,
now made their way towards Put-in-Bay.

The Indians, marvelling at the roar of the guns, watched intently
the heavy smoke of battle drifting over the lake. When the thunder
had ceased and the sky was clear they eagerly inquired as to the
result of the fight; and Tecumseh demanded the reason for the
vessels sailing in the direction of the American shore. Procter,
fearing that the news of defeat might cause the chief and his
warriors to desert, craftily explained that his vessels had beaten
the Americans, but had gone to refit and would return in a few
days. But Tecumseh's keen eyes soon detected signs on land which
aroused his suspicions, for hasty preparations were being made for
retreat. He was indignant at what seemed to him the cowardice of
Procter, and demanded to be heard in the name of all his warriors.
At a council of war held on September 18 the great orator delivered
his last powerful speech. With flashing eye and rapid gesture he
thundered forth to Procter:

   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 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 favour of our British
   father, we were then told not to be in a hurry--that he had
   not yet determined to fight the Americans.

   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 certainly
   would get us back our lands, 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 that 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 you 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 the one arm.' Our ships have gone
   one way, and we are much astonished to see our father tying up
   everything 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 your 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 its 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 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 it would
   again be the case, but instead of closing the gates we now see
   our British father preparing to march out of his garrison.

   Father, you have the arms and ammunition which our great father
   sent for his red children. If you intend to retreat, 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.

This challenging, straightforward, and heroic speech failed to move
Procter. He stubbornly refused to make a stand at Amherstburg,
which, indeed, would have been fatal. Tecumseh, however, accused
him of cowardice, contrasting his conduct with that of the courageous
Barclay, and expressed his own fixed determination to remain and
meet the enemy.



CHAPTER X

TECUMSEH'S LAST FIGHT

Tecumseh felt that the great purpose of his life was
about to fail. He had been champion not only of the rights
of the Indians, but of their very existence as a nation.
Dear to his heart was the freedom of his people, and to
achieve this had been his sole ambition. All the powers
with which he had been endowed--his superb physical
strength, his keen intellect, his powerful oratory--had
been used to this one end. But now the cause for which
he had fought so heroically in the face of frequent
disaster seemed about to be overthrown by Procter's
weakness and irresolution. Tecumseh was born to command,
and his proud spirit, naturally intolerant of control,
chafed at following the dictates of a leader who had
deceived him. The Indians had lost faith in Procter.
There were daily desertions, and Tecumseh bitterly
meditated following the example of other chiefs. But his
courageous spirit revolted at the thought of retreat: to
fly before the enemy without striking a blow seemed to
him the action not of warriors but of cowards.

Procter pointed out that the fort, which had been dismantled
to equip the _Detroit_, was open to attack from the river;
that the hospital was filled with sick soldiers; and that
starvation stared the British in the face. But the argument
which weighed most with Tecumseh was that they would be
able to find along the river Thames a place much better
suited for battle. And at last the Indian leader reconciled
his mind to the thought of retreat.

The troops were soon busily engaged in loading the baggage.
Part was stowed in boats to be sent inland by way of the
Detroit river, Lake St Clair, and the Thames; the remainder
was placed in heavy wagons to be taken overland. The
women and children, among whom were the general's wife
and his sick daughter, were sent on ahead, the squaws
trudging along bearing their papooses on their backs.
The troops set fire to the shipyards, fortifications,
and public buildings on September 24, and marched out
leaving Amherstburg a mass of flames. Tecumseh seemed sad
and oppressed; and as he gazed at the rolling clouds of smoke
he said to Blue Jacket: 'We are now going to follow the
British, and I feel well assured we shall never return.'

Procter halted at Sandwich, where he was joined by the
garrison of Detroit, now also abandoned by the British,
its fortifications and public buildings having been
destroyed. On the morning of the 27th the column moved
out of Sandwich. The lumbering wagons, encumbered with
much heavy and unnecessary baggage, made slow progress.
Procter's energy had vanished, and he displayed none of
the forethought that a commander should have in the
performance of his duty. He took no precaution to guard
the supply-boats; his men were indifferently fed, and no
care was taken for their safety. Even the bridges, which
should have been cut down to hamper the progress of the
enemy in pursuit, were left standing.

Three days after Procter's flight from Amherstburg Harrison
landed below the town from Perry's vessels an army about
five thousand strong. Finding Fort Malden a smoking ruin,
and no enemy there, he pressed on to Sandwich, with his
bands playing _Yankee Doodle_, and encamped. Two days
later he was joined by Colonel Johnson with fifteen
hundred cavalry, and on the same day (September 29) a
flotilla under Perry sailed up the river and stood off
Detroit. After taking possession of Detroit, Harrison
resolved to hasten in pursuit of the British. On October
2 he left Sandwich with four thousand men, sending his
baggage by water under the protection of three gunboats
which Perry had provided. Thus unencumbered, his troops
marched rapidly. On the morning of the 3rd they overtook and
captured a small cavalry picket of the British; and keeping
in motion throughout the day, they encamped that night not
far below the place known as Dolsen's, on the south side of
the Thames river, about six miles below Chatham.

The main body of the British had left Dolsen's just a
day in advance of the enemy, having travelled only
forty-five miles in five days. All along the route Tecumseh
had persistently urged that a stand should be made.
Procter had promised that this should be done, first at
one place, then at another; but each time he had made
some excuse. At length, when they came to the site of
the present city of Chatham, where McGregor's Creek falls
into the Thames, Tecumseh pointed out to Procter the
natural advantages of the ground and appealed to him to
prepare for battle. The general approved of making a
stand at this point, and declared that the British would
either defeat Harrison here or leave their bones on the
field of conflict. After the leaders had completed their
survey of the proposed battle-ground, Tecumseh gazed
musingly at the swiftly flowing waters. 'When I look at
those two streams,' he said, 'they remind me of the Wabash
and the Tippecanoe.' A gentler light shone in the warrior's
eyes; his thoughts were far away among the scenes of his
Indian village--the village that he had hoped to make
the centre of a great confederacy of red men.

Meanwhile the main body of the British troops were at
Dolsen's, where they had arrived on the 1st of October.
Leaving his troops at their camp, and Tecumseh and his
Indians at Chatham, Procter set out with a guard to escort
his wife and daughter to Moraviantown, a village of the
Delaware Indians, twenty odd miles farther up the river.
He was still absent on October 3, when scouts returned
with news of the capture of the cavalry picket. Procter
had left no orders; and Warburton, the officer in command,
was at a loss what action to take. After consulting with
Tecumseh, who had come down from Chatham, he ordered a
retreat for two miles up the river; there the troops
formed up, fully expecting attack. But as the enemy failed
to appear, they proceeded to Chatham. Tecumseh desired
the troops to halt and encamp with his Indians on the
opposite side of the river. Warburton, however, desired
to continue the retreat. But Tecumseh would not yield,
and Warburton ordered his men across the stream, where
the entire force camped for the night. Next morning,
before the troops had breakfasted, scouts rushed into
the camp bringing word of the rapid advance of the enemy.
Immediately Warburton ordered his men to march, not
allowing them time even to take food. About six miles up
from Chatham Procter joined the army and took command. The
retreat continued until nightfall, when the troops encamped
about five miles below Moraviantown, on the north bank of
the Thames, where the village of Thamesville now stands.

But Tecumseh and his band had not accompanied the retreating
party; and when Harrison reached McGregor's Creek at
Chatham, he found his progress checked. The bridge there
had been destroyed, and Tecumseh with his warriors disputed
the passage. Harrison, thinking he was opposed by the
whole British force, marshalled his army and brought up
his artillery. After a slight skirmish, in which Tecumseh
was wounded in the arm, the Indians were forced to fall
back. A second bridge was similarly contested, with a
like result. Then Tecumseh and his Indians retreated and
joined Procter's forces near Moraviantown, while the
Americans pushed eagerly forward. Drifting down-stream
were seen several British boats, which had been deserted
by their occupants and set on fire.

The morning of the 5th found Harrison near Arnold's Mills,
where he overtook and captured two gunboats and some
bateaux laden with supplies and ammunition. A few of the
occupants escaped and fled overland towards the British
camp. Harrison's men then crossed the Thames, some of
them in boats and canoes and others on horseback. By noon
the entire American army had reached the opposite shore,
where, farther up, the British were bivouacked, only a
short march distant.

On the morning of the same day, while the soldiers were
waiting for their rations to be meted out, the fugitives
from Arnold's Mills arrived at Procter's camp and informed
him of the capture of the gunboats and of Harrison's near
approach. Tecumseh was sitting on a moss-covered log,
smoking and discussing the situation with Shaubena and
a few of his chief warriors, when a messenger summoned
the Indian leader to the general's headquarters. He
returned after a short absence, with clouded brow and
thoughtful mien, and silently resumed his pipe. One of the
chiefs finally asked, 'Father, what are we to do? shall we
fight the Americans?' 'Yes, my son,' slowly replied
Tecumseh. 'We will be in their smoke before sunset.'

The dark shadow of his fate stole across Tecumseh's
consciousness. He had the same strange presentiment of
death as his brother Cheeseekau, but he entered upon his
last battle just as fearlessly. 'Brother warriors,' he
said to those about him, 'we are now about to enter into
an engagement from which I shall never come out. My body
will remain upon the field of battle.' His followers
gazed at their leader in superstitious awe, as if they
were listening to a prediction that must inevitably be
fulfilled. He removed his sword, and presented it to the
Potawatomi chief Shaubena, saying, 'When my son becomes
a noted warrior, give him this.'

Again the troops, tired and hungry, were ordered to march
without being permitted to eat their morning meal. They
now numbered less than four hundred, without counting
the Indians. Many were sick; all were worn out with
marching and much disheartened. Retreat has a depressing
effect upon the best of soldiers, but in this instance
the troops, in addition, had lost faith in their leader and
entertained only slight hope of victory. The boats that
carried their ammunition had been taken--all they had
left was what their pouches contained. Five of their cannon
were at a ford behind Moraviantown, and the one remaining
gun--a six-pounder--was useless for lack of ammunition.

The British took up their position about two miles below
the village of Moraviantown, across the travelled road
which lay along the Thames some two hundred yards from
its banks. Their left flank was protected by the river
and their right by a cedar swamp. By about one o'clock
the troops were drawn up in order of battle between the
swamp and the river. A double line was formed extending
across the road into the heart of a beech wood, the second
line about two hundred yards to the rear of the first.
The six-pounder mounted guard on the road, threatening,
but useless. Procter, on a fleet charger and surrounded
by his staff, had taken up his position far back on the
road, as if prepared for flight.

Tecumseh had sagaciously disposed his thousand warriors
behind the swamp on the right of the British lines; and,
when all was in readiness, the Indian leader visited
Procter and, expressing his approval of the arrangement
of the forces, passed down the British line. All eyes
followed admiringly the familiar figure in its tanned
buckskin. In his belt was his silver-mounted tomahawk,
and his knife in its leathern case. About his head a
handkerchief was rolled like a turban, and surmounted by
a white feather. He addressed each officer in Shawnee,
accompanying his speech with expressive gestures. Whatever
doubts were in his mind, he maintained the dignity of a
warrior to the end, and endeavoured to instil courage
into the hearts of those about him. 'Father, have a big
heart,' were his last words to Procter. He then joined
his warriors and awaited the attack.

Clear and distinct sounded the American bugles through
the autumn wood, and in a few moments the enemy came into
view. As soon as Harrison caught sight of the British
formation he halted his troops, and spurred his horse
forward to consult with Colonel Johnson, one of his
cavalry leaders. It was quickly decided to break through
the British line with cavalry. Only one cavalry battalion,
however, could manoeuvre between the river and the swamp;
but Johnson was to lead another in person across the
swamp against the Indians. The order to charge was given,
and the American horsemen swept towards the British
position. A loud musketry volley rang out along the first
scarlet line, and the cavalry advance was checked for
the moment. Horses reared and plunged, and many of the
riders were thrown from their saddles. The British
delivered a second volley before the Americans recovered
from their confusion. But then, through the white, whirling
smoke, sounded the thunder of trampling hoofs. With
resistless force the American horsemen dashed against
the opposing ranks and fired their pistols with telling
effect. The first line of the British scattered in headlong
flight, seeking shelter behind the reserves. The second
line stood firm and delivered a steady fire; but the men
of the first line were thrown into such disorder by the
sudden attack that they could not be rallied. The Americans
followed up their first charge and pressed hard upon the
exhausted British, for whom there was now no alternative
but to surrender. Those not killed were taken prisoners,
with the exception of about fifty who effected their
escape through the woods. Procter and his staff had taken
flight at the first sight of the enemy.

Behind the swamp, where the Indians were posted, the
battle went no more favourably. Tecumseh and his warriors
had lain silent in their covert until Johnson's cavalry
had advanced well within range. Then the leader's loud
war-cry rang out as the signal for battle. The enemy
shouted a derisive challenge, and the Indians replied
with a well-directed volley. So destructive was the fire
of the Indians that the front line of the Americans was
annihilated. The horses were struggling in the swamp,
and Johnson, himself wounded, ordered some of the horsemen
to dismount, hoping to draw their foe out of cover, while
he and a few of the boldest soldiers led the attack.
Tecumseh's keen eye singled out the American leader. He
rushed through his warriors to strike him down. Johnson
levelled his pistol. Like lightning Tecumseh's tomahawk
gleamed above his head. But before it could whirl on its
deadly flight, there was a flash and a report. Johnson,
weakened by the wound he had already received, but still
clutching the smoking weapon, reeled from his saddle.
Tecumseh's tomahawk dropped harmless to the earth, and
the noblest of red patriots, the greatest and truest of
Indian allies, fell shot through the breast. The Indians
lost heart and fled into the depths of the forest, leaving
many of their bravest warriors dead on the field.

Sunset faded into darkness. The body of Tecumseh lay on
the battlefield in the light of the American camp-fires.
Like spectres his faithful followers stole swiftly through
the wood and bore it away. On the dead face still lingered
the impress of the proud spirit which had animated it in
life. But silent was the war-cry that had urged his
followers to battle; stilled was the silver eloquence
that had won them to his purpose.

Tecumseh was no more; but his memory was cherished by
the race for whose freedom he had so valiantly fought.
In the light of the camp-fire his courageous deeds were
long extolled by warriors and handed down by the sachems
of his people. Many an ambitious brave felt his heart
leap as he listened--like Tecumseh when as a boy he drank
in the stories of the heroic deeds of his ancestors.

The white men respected Tecumseh as the Indians revered
Brock. But how different the obsequies of the two heroes!
For Brock flags floated at half-mast. He was borne to
the grave to the sound of martial music, followed by a
sorrowing multitude. His valour was the theme of orators.
A stately monument perpetuates his memory and attracts
pilgrims to his burial-place. The red hero fell fighting
for the same flag-fighting on, though deserted by a
British general in the hour of direst need. But no flag
drooped her crimson folds for him. A few followers buried
him stealthily by the light of a flickering torch. No
funeral oration was uttered as he was lowered to his last
resting-place. Night silently spread her pall; softly
the autumn leaves covered the spot, and the wind chanted
a mournful requiem over his lonely grave. No towering
column directs the traveller to Tecumseh's burial-place;
not even an Indian totem-post marks the spot. The red
man's secret is jealously guarded and to no white man
has it ever been revealed.



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

The principal books dealing with Tecumseh are Drake's
_Life of Tecumseh_, Eggleston's _Tecumseh and the Shawnee
Prophet_, and _The Story of Tecumseh_, by Norman S. Gurd.
The last mentioned is a vividly written, interesting book.

The following general books on the Indians contain short
sketches of, or reference to, the subject of this story:
Thatcher's _Indian Biography_; Drake's _Indians of North
America_; Hodge's _Handbook of American Indians_; White's
_Handbook of Indians of Canada_ (based on Hodge); Roosevelt's
_Winning of the West_; Trumbull's _Indian Wars_; Brownell's
_The Indian Races of North and South America_; and Tupper's
_Life and Correspondence of Sir Isaac Brock_.

All works dealing with the War of 1812 contain matter
essential to the student of the career of Tecumseh. Chief
among these are: David Thompson's _War of 1812_;
Richardson's _War of 1812_ (the edition edited by A. C.
Casselman (1902) contains many valuable notes); Coffin's
_1812: The War end its Moral; a Canadian Chronicle_;
Auchinleck's _History of the War_; Hannay's _War of 1812_;
Lucas's _Canadian War of 1812_; Roosevelt's _Naval War
of 1812_; and Adams's _History of the United States during
the Administration of Jefferson and Madison_.

The life and character of Tecumseh have formed the subject
of three somewhat ambitious poems: Richardson's _Tecumseh_;
Jones's _Tecumseh_, a tragedy in five acts; and Mair's
_Tecumseh_, a drama.


END





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