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Title: Historic Highways of America (Vol. 8) - Military Roads of the Mississippi Basin
Author: Hulbert, Archer Butler, 1873-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Military Roads of the
  Mississippi Basin

  The Conquest of the Old Northwest


  _With Maps and Illustrations_






  PREFACE                                     11
   II. MIAMI VALLEY CAMPAIGNS                 72
  III. ST. CLAIR'S CAMPAIGN                  108
   IV. WAYNE AND FALLEN TIMBER               160
  APPENDIXES                                 219



        ROUTES                                                      21

        trace of the path to Kaskaskia; from the original
        in the British Museum)                                      35


        1796 (showing the region in which Wilkinson, Scott,
        Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne operated)                     117

        VALLEY, 1794 (from the original in the Library of
        Harvard University)                                        197


This volume treats of five of the early campaigns in the portion of
America known as the Mississippi Basin--Clark's campaigns against
Kaskaskia and Vincennes in 1778 and 1779; and Harmar's, St. Clair's, and
Wayne's campaigns against the northwestern Indians in 1790, 1791, and

Much as has been written concerning Clark's famous march through the
"drowned lands of the Wabash," the important question of his route has
been untouched, and the story from that standpoint untold. The history
of the campaign is here made subservient to a study of the route and to
an attempted identification of the various places, and a determination
of their present-day names. Four volumes of the Draper Manuscripts in
the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin give a vast
deal of information on this subject. They are referred to by the library

Turning to the study of Harmar's, St. Clair's, and Wayne's routes into
the Northwest, the author found a singular lack of detailed description
of these campaigns, and determined to combine with the study of the
military roadway a comparatively complete sketch of each campaign,
making use, in this case as in that of Clark's campaigns, of the Draper

A great debt of thanks is due to Mr. Reuben Gold Thwaites, Secretary of
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, for assistance and advice; to
Josiah Morrow of Lebanon, Ohio, the author is indebted for help in
determining portions of Harmar's route; and to Francis E. Wilson,
President of the Greenville Historical Society, many thanks are due for
help in questions concerning the pathway of the intrepid leader known to
the East as "Mad Anthony" Wayne, but remembered in the West as the
"Blacksnake" and the "Whirlwind," because he doubled his track like a
blacksnake and swept over his roads like a whirlwind.

                                                              A. B. H.

MARIETTA, OHIO, September 14, 1903.

Military Roads of the Mississippi Basin

The Conquest of the Old Northwest



On the twenty-fourth of June, 1778, George Rogers Clark, with about one
hundred and seventy-five patriot adventurers, left the little pioneer
settlement on Corn Island, in the Ohio River, opposite the present site
of Louisville, Kentucky, for the conquest of the British posts of
Kaskaskia and Vincennes in the "Illinois country."[1]

The boats running day and night, the party reached Clark's first
stopping-place, an island in the Ohio near the mouth of the Tennessee
River, in four days. Just below this island was the site of old Fort
Massac--now occupied by Metropolis, Massac County, Illinois--built
probably by a vanguard from Fort Duquesne, a generation before, when
the French clearly foresaw the end of their reign on the upper Ohio.
Here, almost a century before that, was the old trading-station of
Juchereau and the mission of Mermet--the subsequent "soul of the mission
of Kaskaskia," as Bancroft describes him. The situation was strategic on
two accounts: it was a site well out of the reach of the Ohio floods,
and it was near the mouths of both the Tennessee and Cumberland
Rivers--valleys known of old to the Shawanese and Cherokees. As a coign
of vantage for traders and missionaries, it had been of commanding
importance. It was, likewise, near the Ohio terminus of several old
buffalo routes across Illinois, roads which became connecting links
between Kaskaskia, on the river bearing that name near the Mississippi,
and the mission at Fort Massac. The old paths of the buffalo, long known
as hunting traces, offered the traveler from the Ohio to the old-time
metropolis of Illinois a short-cut by land, saving thrice the distance
by water, and obviated stemming the swift tides of the Mississippi. One
of the principal backbones of Illinois was threaded by these primeval
routes, and high ground between the vast cypress swamps and mist-crowned
drowned lands of Illinois was a boon to any traveler, especially that
first traveler, the bison. This high ground ran between Kaskaskia and
Shawneetown, on the Ohio River, the course becoming later a famous state
highway. Its earliest name was the "Kaskaskia Trace."

Clark's spies, sent out to Illinois a year before, undoubtedly advised
him to land at Fort Massac and, gaining from there this famous highway,
to pursue it to Kaskaskia. His plan of surprising the British post
necessitated his pursuing unexpected courses. It was well known that the
British watched the Mississippi well; therefore he chose the land route.
Here, at the mouth of the Tennessee, his men brought in a canoe full of
white traders who had recently been in Kaskaskia; certain of these were
engaged to guide Clark thither. The party dropped down to Massac Creek,
which enters the Ohio just above the site of the old fort, and in that
inlet secreted their flat-boats ready to begin their intrepid march of
one hundred and twenty miles across country.[2]

As this little company of eight or nine score adventurers drew around
their fires on Massac Creek, they little dreamed, we may be sure, of the
fame they were to gain from this plucky excursion into the prairies of
Illinois. It was impossible for them to lift their eyes above the
commonplaces of the journey and the possibilities of the coming
encounter, and see in true perspective what the capture of Illinois
meant to poor Kentucky. It is not less difficult for us to turn our eyes
from these general results, which were so brilliant, and get a clear
insight into the commonplaces of this memorable little campaign--to hear
the talk of the tired men about the fires as they cleaned the heavy
clods of mud from shoes and moccasins, examined their guns, viewed the
night, and then talked softly of the possibilities of the morrow, and
dreamed, in the ruddy firelight, of those at home. Of all companies of
famous campaigners on the Indian trails of America, this company was the
smallest and the most picturesque. Clark had but little over half the
force which Washington commanded at Fort Necessity in 1754.

Little Massac Creek is eleven miles in length but drains seventy square
miles of territory. This fact is a significant description of the nature
of the northern and central portions of Massac County. From the Cache
River a string of lakes extends in a southeast and then northeast
direction to Big Bay River, varying in width from one to four miles;
around the lakes lies a much greater area of cypress swamps and
treacherous "sloughs" altogether impassable. The water of these lakes
drains sometimes into the Cache and at other times into the Big
Bay--depending upon the stage of water in the Ohio.[3]

There were three routes from Fort Massac toward Kaskaskia; one, which
may well be called the Moccasin Gap route, circled to the eastward to
get around the lakes and swamps of Massac County; it passed eastward
into Pope County, where it struck the Kaskaskia-Shawneetown highway.
This route ran two and one-half miles west of Golconda, Pope County, and
on to Sulphur or Round Spring. From thence through Moccasin Gap, section
3, township 12, range 4E, Johnson County; thence it ran directly for the
prairie country to the northward. As noted, this route merged into the
famous old Kaskaskia and Shawneetown route across Illinois--what was
known as the Kaskaskia Trace--in Pope County. It was this course which
in earliest times had been blazed by the French as the safest common
highway between Kaskaskia and the trading and mission station (and later
fort) at Massac. The trees along the course were marked with the proper
number of miles by means of a hot iron, the figures then being painted
red. "Such I saw them," records Governor Reynolds, "in 1800. This road
made a great curve to the north to avoid the swamps and rough country on
the sources of the Cash [Cache] river, and also to obtain the prairie
country as soon as possible. This road ... was called the old Massac
road by the Americans."

Showing Routes of George Rogers Clark]

The second route circled the Massac County lakes to the westward,
cutting in between them and the canyons of the Cache River, near what is
familiarly known as Indian Point (section 33, township 13, range 3E,
Massac County), or one mile south of the northwest corner of Massac
County; thence, running north of northwest, it crossed the Little Cache
(Dutchman's Creek) one and one-half miles north of Forman. Thence the
route is up the east side of the Cache and through Buffalo Gap, section
25, township 11, range 2E, Johnson County, to the prairie land beyond.
The third route follows the second through Massac County.

It is important to note here that the Illinois of Clark's day--as is
partly true now--was composed of three kinds of land: swampy or
"drowned" lands, prairie land, and timber land. Being practically a
level country, the forests became as prominent landmarks as mountains
and hills are in rugged districts. Routes of travel clung to the
prairies; and camping-places, if water could be had in the neighborhood,
were always chosen on the edge of a forest where wood could be obtained.
Between wood and water, of course the latter was the greater necessity.
The prairie district in Illinois does not extend below Williamson
County, and famous Phelps Prairie in that county is the most southern in
the state.[4] Both routes from Fort Massac made straight, therefore, for
Phelps Prairie, in which the town of Bainbridge, Williamson County, now
stands. Here the two routes joined again; or, rather, the Buffalo Gap
route met, in Phelps Prairie, the Kaskaskia Trace, as the "Old Massac
Road" had met it in Pope County. The former point of intersection was on
the "Brooks place," section 9, township 9, range 2E, Williamson
County.[5] The Buffalo Gap route was known as the "middle trail;" the
third route northwest from Fort Massac pursued this path to a point on
the Cache above Indian Point; thence it swung westward, keeping far
south of the prairie land, passed near Carbondale, Williamson County,
and crossed the Big Muddy River at Murphysboro.[6] It was known as the
"western trail." Not touching the prairie land, it is plain that the
route could be used only in the driest of midsummer weather.

The evidence that Clark's guides took the middle trail is overwhelming;
the western trail was too wet and did not touch any prairie--this
utterly excludes that route from the list of possibilities. According to
Clark's _Memoir_, on the third day out the party reached a prairie where
the chief guide became confused; Clark's command to him was to discover
and take them into the hunter's road that led from the east into
Kaskaskia. There can be no doubt that this "hunter's road" which came
from the east was the Kaskaskia-Shawneetown trace, which the Old Massac
Road joined in Pope County, or that the middle trail was the one which
the party had been following; the junction of the middle trail on the
Brooks Place, above mentioned, is in Phelps Prairie and about a three
days' march from Fort Massac. The junction of the trail passing from
Fort Massac eastward of the Massac County lakes with the Kaskaskia and
Shawneetown trace is not more than a day's march from Fort Massac and is
not in a prairie. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Clark's brave
band stole northward on the middle trace, the Buffalo Gap route. Clark
would not have commanded his guide, under pain of death, to find the
Kaskaskia Trace if the party had been traversing that trace and had
merely missed the way. Every implication is that the Kaskaskia Trace was
the goal sought and not yet found.

The first day's march of about eighteen miles was a hard one, passing
over the winding trail which skirted the southern side of the marshes
that flanked the sloughs and lakes of Massac County, but finally leading
to the bluffs, near the Cache River, where, probably on Indian Point,
the first night's camp was pitched.[7]

The first taste of the swamps of Illinois was not discouraging, and on
the day after, June 29, the march was resumed. The route today was on
the top of the watershed between the Cache River on the left (west) and
Dutchman's Creek on the right. Buffalo Gap was passed today, a mile
south of the present Goreville, Johnson County. Camp was pitched this
night, after a twenty-mile march, probably at the spring two miles north
of the present Pulley's Mill. The route all day was along the buffalo
trail or hunter's road from which Buffalo Gap received its name.[8] This
gap, like Moccasin Gap to the eastward, was a famous portal to the
prairie country for the bison, Indian, and white man. Two old-time state
roads were built through these two gaps.[9]

Pushing forward from the spring near Pulley's Mill on the morning of
June 30, the Virginians ere long came into the prairie lands lying in
Williamson County. Phelps Prairie was reached first, the path entering
the southern portion of the prairie. Here it was that "John Saunders,
our principal guide, appeared confused, and we soon discovered that he
was totally lost." These Illinois prairies are almost treeless, save
near the water courses; the grass in the old days grew rank and high
and one could tell his course only, perhaps, by the stars, if the
pathways were obscured. The paths in these prairies are overgrown in the
summer time,[10] and it is probable that this is why Clark's guide,
attempting to find the Kaskaskia Trace, lost his bearings. The important
landmarks in these prairies were the forests which often bounded them
and in many instances extended into them. These extremities of the
forests were and are still known as "points," and many of them are yet
landmarks in Illinois history. A spring beside a point in a prairie made
an ideal camping-spot known to half a continent in the olden time.
Clark's campground in Phelps Prairie was, without doubt, at a spring
just west of Bainbridge.

Northward from Phelps Prairie two routes ran to Kaskaskia: a wet and a
dry route. The one which we may call the highland route led north
through Herrin's Prairie and swung around to the Mississippi by heading
such streams as Pipestone, Rattlesnake, and Galium, crossing the Big
Muddy River at Humphry's Ford, section 30, township 8, range 2E.[11]
This was the dry route, the preferable one the year round. Another
shorter course ran northwest and crossed many of the streams which the
highland route headed. There can be little doubt that Clark's guides
chose this latter course. By Clark's _Memoir_ we know it to have been a
dry season, and the shortest, and probably the least traveled, course
would best suit his plan of surprising Kaskaskia. The shortness of the
time (four days) in which the distance to Kaskaskia was covered from
Phelps Prairie almost precludes the possibility of his having used the
longer watershed route.

On the first day of July, then, the little army moved from near the
present Bainbridge along a well-known trail which crossed Crab Orchard
Creek at Greathouse Crossing[12] (section 2, township 9, range 1W)[13]
and the Big Muddy at Marshall's Shoals, section 6, township 9, range
1W, southwest of De Soto, Jackson County.[14] It is possible that camp,
on the night of July 1, was pitched at Greathouse Crossing; if so the
day's march was not a long one. From the Big Muddy the trail struck to
the watershed between the Beaucoup and its tributaries on the north and
the tributaries of the Big Muddy on the south, running near the present
Lenan in Jackson County. The course now was a watershed route from the
Big Muddy to the St. Mary River, and is marked today by the significant
names of such high altitude towns as Shiloh Hill, Teacup Knob, and Wine
Hill. Through these places an ancient highway has coursed from times to
which the memory of white men runneth not to the contrary. Water was
scarce on the highest grounds, but springs, here and there, were well
known, and at one of these, probably near Lenan (section 15, township 8,
range 3), the adventurers paused, on the night of September 2, and built
their evening fires.[15]

The end was now almost in sight; two days more and the immediate basin
of the Mississippi River would be reached, and the success or failure of
the daring raid be decided. It can be easily imagined that it was a
silent and eager body of men which, on September 3, strode forward over
the rolling hills of Randolph County on the old trail. Their excitement
must have been intense. The old trail from Lenan entered Randolph County
near the center of section 12, township 7, south of range 5W and passed
over Teacup Knob in section 5 and near the present Wine Hill P. O.
Pushing on over the hills, the St. Mary River was reached at the site of
what became the "Old State Ford," near Welge Station (formerly Bremen
Station) on the Wabash, Chester and Western Railroad--section 1,
township 7S., range 6W.[16] Here the last camp of the march was
pitched on the night of July 3--the "glorious Fourth" was to see the
little invading army lying quietly on the outskirts of quaint old

From the state ford on the St. Mary, the course was the highland route
running near Diamond Cross.[17] Here, on the watershed between the
tributaries of the St. Mary and the Kaskaskia, lay the worn Vincennes
Trace running northeast from Kaskaskia to the Wabash. It is probable
that Clark entered this highway before the Kaskaskia River was
reached.[18] And at the end of the journey awaited victory; Governor
Rochblave was completely surprised, and Kaskaskia was captured by the
perilous feat of actually marching up to it and taking possession of it
with the assumed arrogance of a powerful conqueror.

From the moment Kaskaskia was in Clark's hands he turned his attention
to Vincennes, and in July, through the coöperation of the French priest
Gibault, the inhabitants were induced to proclaim themselves American
subjects and to hoist an American flag. Captain Helm of Clark's little
army was posted at Vincennes with a guard, and Helm it was who was
captured in the fall by the British Lieutenant-governor Hamilton of
Detroit. The latter had pushed his difficult way up the Maumee and down
the Wabash to seize the revolted town.[19] Throughout the winter Clark
feared a swift advance from Vincennes; and, to save himself from being
captured by Hamilton, Clark desperately resolved to capture him. By
February 5 a new "grand army," of four companies, possibly one hundred
and sixty strong, well-armed, but without tents and horse, save a few
packhorses, departed from Kaskaskia on the desperate journey across the
swimming prairies and flooded rivers of Illinois for Vincennes.[20] Had
one man dropped from the ranks each mile, not one of the one hundred and
sixty would have reached the Wabash. Few expeditions in American history
have been recounted more than this; it is strange that the route of this
immortal little army has never been carefully considered--for the story
of the route is almost the whole story of the campaign.

THE PATH TO KASKASKIA [_From the original in the British Museum_]]

Crossing the Kaskaskia River February 5, 1779, Clark's army lay three
miles from Kaskaskia, for two days, "to tighten belts."[21] It is
impossible to determine how much was known of their path onward. To many
it had been well known for nearly a century--an old watershed prairie
route marked out by the buffalo and followed by missionaries--the Appian
Way of Illinois. The difficulty in studying this route, it should be
stated at once, arises from the fact that while Kaskaskia was formerly
the metropolis of western Illinois, the rise of St. Louis across the
Mississippi had the effect of altering previously traveled routes. What
has been ever known as the St. Louis Trace, coursing across Illinois
from Vincennes to the Mississippi, became in the nineteenth century what
the old Kaskaskia Trace had been in the eighteenth century, just as what
had been the "Old Massac Road" became known as the St. Louis-Shawneetown
Road. As a result, the later Kaskaskia travelers followed the St.
Louis Trace--much-traveled, broad, and hard--as far westward as Marion
County, and then turned due southwest to Kaskaskia. Therefore it is
necessary not to confound the ancient Kaskaskia trace to Vincennes with
the later Kaskaskia trace which was identical for some distance with the
more northerly St. Louis Trace.[22] At the same time it is easy to err
in separating the older and newer routes too widely in the attempt not
to confound them. The newer St. Louis Trace runs across from Indiana
(Vincennes) to Missouri (St. Louis) through the Illinois counties of
Lawrence, Richland, Clay, Marion, Clinton, and St. Clair. The course is
practically that of the old Mississippi and Ohio (now the Baltimore and
Ohio Southwestern) Railway. The route passed over the best course
between the points, as proved by the railway surveyors and engineers.
But many rivers blocked the way; the first of these from Vincennes was
the Embarras--so called, as in the case of many streams, because the
great floods left deposits of driftwood which seriously impeded
navigation. West of the Embarras came the petulant Little Wabash and the
Big Muddy, draining thousands of square miles of swamp and prairie, and,
in rainy seasons, uniting and spreading out five miles in width. West of
the tributaries of the Little Wabash come those of the Kaskaskia. A few
smaller Wabash and Mississippi tributaries, such as the Bonpas and St.
Mary are headed by this trans-Illinois route, but it was not, in one
sense, a watershed route, crossing the Embarras, Little Wabash, Fox,
Beaucoup, and Kaskaskia and their tributaries.

These streams flow southward. Kaskaskia lay some fifty miles south of
St. Louis and the later St. Louis Trace. The route of the more ancient
Kaskaskia Trace to Vincennes, therefore, ran some seventy-five miles in
a northeast direction; then, turning due east, it ran about one hundred
miles to the Wabash. For the first seventy-five miles it was a
watershed route, coursing along the highland prairies between Three
Mile, Plum, Crooked, Grand Point, and Raccoon Creeks--all tributaries of
the Kaskaskia River--on the west and north, and the heads of the St.
Mary, Beaucoup, and Big Muddy Rivers on the east and south. This
backbone line of prairie land runs straight northeast through Randolph
and Washington Counties, cutting into corners of Perry, Jefferson, and
Marion Counties. But here in Marion County the backbone, which had been
accommodatingly trending eastward, turned quickly to the north to avoid
the treacherous Little Wabash; at this point the old trace divided into
two courses both of which ran to Vincennes. One course, probably that
known later as the eastern half of the St. Louis Trace, passed through
the center of Clay, Richland, and Lawrence Counties, crossing both the
Little Wabash and Big Muddy a short distance above their junction, the
Embarras near Lawrence, and the Wabash at Vincennes. The other branch of
the Kaskaskia Trace passed through the northern portion of Wayne,
Edwards and Wabash Counties, crossing the Little Wabash and Fox some
two miles above their junction, the Bonpas River, near Bonpas, and the
Wabash, two miles above St. Francisville. From this ford the route led
up the eastern shore of the Wabash about nine miles to Vincennes. By any
route, at any time of year, the journey across Illinois was a hardship
no thinking man would undergo, save only on the most important mission;
in the winter season--with the Wabash a surging sea, the Little Wabash a
running lake, Crooked Creek treacherously straight, water frozen on the
prairies, the "points" of timber swampy morasses--all communication
landward was cut off, with the beavers and blue racers swimming for the
high ground.

In their right mind, Clark's adventurers would probably not have faced
the wilderness into which they strode on the morning of February 7 on
any private affair of life or death. Two magnetic influences drew them
on; these Americans had brought to Illinois the spirit of 1775, a breath
of a boasted freedom that was half license, in which the hot-headed
French exulted. Believing the Americophobite British, the inhabitants
of Kaskaskia had feared the barbarian Virginians more than any savages;
Clark made capital of this in securing Kaskaskia, and later, by the
kindness with which he treated the inhabitants and the freedom he gave
them, accomplished a moral victory as sweeping and as picturesque as his
military achievement. The proposed plan to carry to reconquered
Vincennes the blessings of liberty enjoyed at Kaskaskia under Virginian
rule appealed strongly to the impressionable _habitants_; to Clark's own
patriot soldiers the Vincennes campaign was the very acme of frontier
adventure. Again, the young, daring Clark--quiet, resourceful,
irrepressible--was a potent factor in pushing these men out on a journey
of such unparalleled hardship. True, it is difficult to look beyond the
later George Rogers Clark, of soiled reputation, to the cool, brave
youth of twenty-seven years who led these men through the prairies of
Illinois in 1779. To dim the brilliant lustre of such days as these was
a heavy--if not the heaviest--price to pay for indiscretions of later
years. Yet, as the records of this handful of men are studied, and
especially when the track of their memorable march is picked out and
followed, one can fancy the clear, bright picture of the Clark of 1779
and, happily, believe for the moment that there is no connection between
him and the later Clark whom the Spaniards knew. It is plain that the
French were charmed by the dashing Virginian and his Vincennes chimera.
The record Clark left of the expedition--written ere the grasshopper was
a burden or those were darkened who stood at the windows--clearly
implies that the expedition was launched with a levity that it is sure
all did not feel, though it may have been perfectly assumed; and as the
days passed we shall see that Clark hurried on in order to get his men
too far to turn back. His diplomatic endeavors, throughout those
marvelous fifteen days, to lure his men on, to lift their thoughts from
their sufferings and incite them to their almost superhuman tasks, are
perhaps without parallel in the history of marching armies in America.

Departing from the two days' camping-place, three miles from Kaskaskia,
the course, for almost the entire first day, lay through thick forests,
which have quite disappeared since that time, on the watershed between
the Kaskaskia tributaries on the northwest and those of the St. Mary on
the southeast.[23] Fortunately the journey at the outset was
comparatively easy; the weather was warm for the season, though rainy. A
good march was made on the seventh through the forests and out into
Lively Prairie, half a mile northeast of Salem, Randolph County, where
the course of the old trail is well known. Beyond this, Flat Prairie
opened the way toward the "Great Rib," as the French knew the ridge in
Grand Cote Prairie (_La Prairie de la Grande Côte_) on which the present
village of Coultersville, Randolph County, stands. The first night's
camp was pitched probably in Flat Prairie, between Salem and
Coultersville.[24] The authoritative record for this day's march, as of
all others, is the official Bowman's _Journal_:[25] "Made a good march
for about nine hours; the road very bad, with mud and water. Pitched our
camp in a square, baggage in the middle, every company to guard their
own squares." On the eighth the record continues: "Marched early through
the waters, which we now began to meet in those large and level plains,
where, from the flatness of the country, [water] rests a considerable
time before it drains off; notwithstanding which, our men were in great
spirits, though much fatigued." By the eighth it would seem the little
band had reached the lower plains in the northwest corner of Perry
County, two and a half miles northwest of Swanwick, where the headwaters
of the Big Muddy tributary of the Kaskaskia were crossed, and the
prairie south of Oakdale, Washington County, at which point Elkhorn
Creek was crossed at the famous "Meadow-in-the-Hole" of old French
days. This region was also known as _Corne de Cerf_, Elkhorn Prairie,
Elkhorn Point and Ayres Point.[26] Prairie, forest, and bottom land were
not far apart here. The "Meadow-in-the-Hole" was a singular little
meadow, fifty or sixty yards wide, located on a "dry branch" of the
Elkhorn and thirty feet lower than the surrounding forests--at what is
now Oakdale on the Elkhorn.[27] From the present Oakdale the pathway ran
from Elkhorn Prairie through Nashville Prairie, circling half a mile to
the north and northeast of Nashville, Washington County. Turning to the
east here, it coursed onward to a celebrated "point" of woods called
Grand Point, near the present Grand Point Creek, section 32, township 2,
south range 1W, two miles and a half northwest of Richview, Washington
County.[28] From thence it circled northeast through section 9 in Grand
Prairie Township, the extreme northwest township of Jefferson
County.[29] The second night's camp may have been pitched on Grand
Point Creek, near Richview; and that of the ninth on Raccoon Creek, near
Walnut Point, one mile north of Walnut Hill, Marion County. The old
trail from Grand Prairie, Jefferson County, entered Marion County at
section 32, Centralia Township, on the old Israel Jennings farm. Walnut
Hill was two miles north of due east from the Jennings farm, through
which, it may be added in passing, ran the later famous St.
Louis-Shawneetown road.[30] Bowman's record for the ninth and tenth
reads: "9th. Made another day's march. Fair part of the day. 10th.
Crossed the river of the Petit Fork upon trees that were felled for that
purpose, the water being so high there was no fording it. Still raining
and no tents. Encamped near the river. Stormy weather."

Here we have the first definite mention of a camping-place; the Petit
Fork was the Adams or Horse tributary of Skillet Creek--the first
tributary of the Little Wabash and Big Wabash the army encountered.[31]
The crossing-place was near Farrington, Jefferson County[32]--fifteen
short miles from Walnut Point and known in early days as Yellow
Bark.[33] The feat of felling trees across this rushing stream being
accomplished, the men crawled over and encamped on the eastern bank. A
picture of the army splashing along through the watery prairies would be
greatly prized today, but a picture of it creeping across Petit Fork on
felled tree-trunks would be of extraordinary interest; it is one of the
remarkable incidents of the heroic adventure.

Of these days the accounts of Clark furnish us almost no
information.[34] The incident of the Petit Fork was not sufficiently
notable to receive mention, for Clark wrote Mason: "The first
obstruction of any consequence that I met with was on the 13th [the
Little Wabash];" yet in his _Memoir_--written, it must be remembered, as
late as 1791--he describes the march to the Little Wabash as made
"through incredible difficulties, far surpassing anything that any of us
had ever experienced." The _Letter_ breathes the spirit of the youth,
for it was written in 1779; the _Memoir_ ever reads like an old man's
reminiscences. Clark's diplomacy in securing the loyalty of his men
through great discouragements indicates a high order of the best
qualities of a military commander. "My object now," he writes, "was to
keep the men in spirits." He allowed the men to kill game and hold
typical Indian feasts after the hard day's wet march. Before their
rousing fires, with venison and bear meat savoring the air, little
wonder the night brought partial forgetfulness of the day's fatigue. The
four companies took turns at being hosts; the company on duty each day
being supplied with horses on which to transport the game brought down.
And throughout every day's march Clark, and his equally courageous
officers, made light of all difficulties, and "putting on the woodsman,
shouting now and then and Running as much through the mud and water as
any of them. Thus, Insensibly, without a murmur, was those men led on
to the Banks of the Little Wabash which we reached on the 13th." The
spectacle, here presented, of officers inveigling soldiers forward, is
one of the most singular in the history of the West. We may well believe
Clark refers particularly to the two French companies which composed a
most important arm of his force--the Virginians, perhaps, not needing
equal inspiration to endeavor. The climax in Clark's diplomacy was
reached as he now approached the flood-tides of the raging Little

It is necessary here to emphasize that the army, turning eastward just
north of present Nashville, abandoned the watershed to which their path
had thus far held; the route now was nearly due east, across the
tributaries of the Little Wabash. Of these, Petit Fork (Adams tributary
of the Skillet) was the first to be encountered; it was passed with
great heroism on the tenth of February. On the eleventh the eastward
route was followed and the Saline River (Skillet Creek) was crossed.
Bowman's record reads: "11th. Crossed the Saline river. Nothing
extraordinary this day." The route between the Skillet and Little
Wabash may have been either one of the two courses mentioned, not over
five miles apart, and running parallel to each other. The northern
passed through the southern portion of Clay County, the southern through
the northern portion of Wayne. There were two encampments between the
Petit Fork and the Little Wabash; if the northern route was pursued,
these camps were near Xenia and Clay City in Wayne County; if the
southern route was followed, the camps were near Blue Point and Mount
Erie in Wayne County. Bowman's record for the twelfth is: "12th. Marched
across Cot plains;[35] saw and killed numbers of buffaloes. The road
very bad from the immense quantity of rain that had fallen. The men much
fatigued. Encamped on the edge of the woods. This plain or meadow being
fifteen or more miles across, it was late in the night before the
baggage and troops got together. Now twenty-[forty-] one miles from St.
Vincent. 13th. Arrived early at the two Wabashes. Although a league
asunder, they now made but one. We set to making a canoe." Clark's
records of the arrival at the Little Wabash read (from his _Memoir_):
"This place is called the two Little Wabashes; they are three miles
apart and from the Heights of the one to that of the other on the
opposite shores is five miles the whole under water gen^{ly} about three
feet Deep never under two and frequently four;" (from _Letter to Mason_)
"Arriving at the two Little Wabashes, although three miles asunder--they
now make but one--the flowed water between them being at least three
feet deep and in many places four. Being near five miles to the opposite
hills, the shallowest place, except about one hundred yards, was three
feet." So far as these records go, either the Clay or the Wayne County
route might have been that pursued. The long prairie of which Bowman
speaks would have been, on the Clay County route, "Twelve Mile Prairie"
situated between the present towns on the Baltimore and Ohio
Southwestern Railway, Xenia and Clay City; on the Wayne County route it
would have been "Long Prairie" lying between Blue Point and Mount Erie.
The "two Wabashes" on the Clay County route would have been the Little
Wabash River and the Big Muddy Creek. By the Wayne County route the two
Wabashes would have been the Little Wabash and Fox River.

The indefatigable Lyman C. Draper, after a large correspondence with
many of the best informed men in Illinois on the subject of the
crossing-place of the Little Wabash, came to the firm conclusion that
the two Wabashes were the Little Wabash and the Fox; the present writer
after studying that correspondence and visiting the ground in
question--which Mr. Draper did not find time to do--quite as firmly
believes that the crossing-place was above the junction of the Little
Wabash and Big Muddy Creek at the old McCauley's settlement--in the
southeast corner of section 21 of Clay County, range 8E, two miles east
of old Maysville, which was three-fourths of a mile south of the present
Clay City station on the Baltimore and Ohio Southwestern Railway. By
this upper route Clark would have been on higher ground before and after
crossing the Little Wabash. It is quite sure his party passed a salt
spring (see p. 66) and the only one in this region was on this upper
route. And finally, Bowman states that on the day after crossing the
Little Wabash the party crossed the Fox River. This could not have been
possible if the Little Wabash and Fox were crossed simultaneously. But
even a slight discussion of the question may well be relegated to an
appendix.[36] At either crossing-place, and the two are but a few miles
apart, a most desperate situation confronted the intrepid Clark and his
tired band of invaders.

"... I Viewed this Sheet of water for some time with Distrust," Clark
wrote in his _Memoir_, "but accusing myself of Doubting I amediately Set
to work without holding any consultation about it or suffering anybody
else to do so in my presence ordered a perogue amediately built and
acted as though crossing the water would be only a piece of
diversion.... My aneziety [anxiety] to cross this place continually
increased as I saw that it would at once fling us into a situation of
folorn hope as all Ideas of a Retreat would in some Measure be done away
that if the Men began after this was accomplished to think seriously of
what they had really suffered that they prefer^d Risking any seeming
difficulty that might probably turn out favourable than to attempt to
Retreat when they would be certain of Experiencing what they had already
felt and if the weather should but Freeze altogether impracticable,
except the Ice would bear them." The heroism of Clark's crossing of the
Little Wabash has been retold on a thousand pages but it has rarely been
suggested that he hurried into these dangers eagerly because they would
serve to thwart any hope of retreat. He not only "burned his bridges,"
but hastened impetuously across waters that could never be bridged, in
the hope that they would freeze and cut off all dreams of retreat. This
memoir, let it again be remarked, was written many years after the
event--after Clark saw his great feat somewhat in the light we see it
today. His letter to Mason, however, was written in the same year that
the march was made; if not so self-laudatory, it is as interesting as
the memoir, and perhaps more authentic. He thus described the crossing
in that document: "This [flood] would have been enough to have stopped
any set of men not in the same temper that we were. But in three days we
contrived to cross by building a large canoe, ferried across the two
channels; the rest of the way we waded, building scaffolds at each to
lodge our baggage on until the horses crossed to take them." Bowman's
record is that of the soldier: "14th. Finished the canoe and put her
into the river about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. 15th. Ferried across
the two Wabashes, it being then five miles in water to the opposite
hills, where we encamped. Still raining. Orders not to fire any guns for
the future, but in case of necessity."

When, near Olney, Clark's men crossed the Fox River on the 16th of
February, it is probable that they camped on what is now the St. Louis
Trace Road on one of the northeastern tributaries of the Fox. The day
after, an early start was made in order that the famed Embarras might be
reached before nightfall. It can well be believed that an intense,
hushed excitement prevailed. The success of the invasion must depend on
a swift surprise; it was probable that all would be lost if the approach
was discovered; for, the Wabash being out of banks, the enemy, doubtless
well supplied with boats, would have Clark's band at their mercy. The
provisions were fast giving out; surrender or starvation stared Clark in
the face if discovered. Accordingly, Commissary Kennedy with three
guides was sent forward "to cross the river Embarrass," Clark wrote in
his _Memoir_, "... and, if possible, to get some vessels in the vicinity
of the town [Vincennes], but principally if he could get some
information." "About an hour, by sun, we got near the river Embarras,"
Bowman wrote in his _Journal_; "Found the country all overflowed with
water." The Embarras was reached near Lawrenceville and the river was
descended a few miles--"Traveled till 8 o'clock in mud and water," wrote
Bowman--before a camping-spot was found.

On the morning of the eighteenth the morning gun at Fort Sackville
(Vincennes) was heard. The Wabash was reached at two o'clock in the
afternoon, but no boats could be found by the parties of searchers sent
out on rafts and in a canoe. Affairs were growing desperate, and the
"very quiet but hungry" men set to work building canoes. Messengers were
sent to hurry on "The Willing" but did not find her. "No provisions of
any sort," writes Bowman on the nineteenth, "now for two days. Hard
fortune!" On the twentieth, as work on the canoes advanced, a canoe
containing five Frenchmen from Vincennes was captured, and Clark learned
that he was not yet discovered. On the twenty-first the army began to be
ferried across the Wabash, "to a small hill called [Mammelle ?]." The
crossing-place cannot be determined with precision. It was below the
mouth of the Embarras, and not lower on the Wabash than a mile and a
half above St. Francisville. Several _mammelles_ (bluffs) lie on the
eastern bank of the Wabash here. One lies four and one-half miles below
the mouth of the Embarras. As the current was swift, the river broad,
and the point of embarkation somewhat below the mouth of the Embarras,
it is probable that the army landed further down the Wabash than has
usually been described.[37] A march of three miles northward was made by
the vanguard on the day it crossed, seemingly from the "lower" to the
"upper" _mammelle_--the "next hill of the same name," according to
Bowman. On the twenty-second another league was covered by exhausting
efforts, making in all six miles from the crossing-place. The camp this
night is definitely known to be a high, twenty-acre sugar orchard still
remembered as "Sugar Camp," three and one-half miles from Vincennes.
Clark was now at the lower end of the "Lower Prairie," and there were
two courses to Vincennes which lay on the rising ground across the three
miles of flooded prairie.[38] One, by way of the Grand Marais or swamp
in the middle of the prairie, was impassable; the other route, known as
the "two buttes route," was the difficult alternative. The first butte
was "Warrior's Island," a ten-acre hill heavily wooded, a mile and a
half from Sugar Camp and two miles from Vincennes. It could be and was
reached by the strong men wading breast high, drawing or paddling their
feebler comrades in the canoes. The second butte, "Bunker Hill," was not
on the direct line to Vincennes, but was a high point to the east on the
same plateau on which Vincennes stood. At one o'clock of the
twenty-third, the floundering army, half numb with cold and weak from
exposure, reached Warrior's Island. From here Clark sent his first
message, diplomatically directed to the inhabitants of Vincennes:

"GENTLEMEN--Being now within two miles of your village with my army,
determined to take your fort this night, and not being willing to
surprise you, I take this method to request such of you as are true
citizens, and willing to enjoy the liberty I bring you, to remain still
in your houses, and those, if any there be, who are friends to the king,
will instantly repair to the fort[39] and join the _Hair-buyer
General_,[40] and fight like men. And if any such as do not go to the
fort shall be discovered afterwards, they may depend on severe
punishment. On the contrary, those who are true friends to liberty may
depend on being well treated; and I once more request them to keep out
of the streets, for every one I find in arms on my arrival I shall treat
as an enemy."[41]

At eight o'clock that night the famished army waded to Bunker Hill, and
soon the outskirts of the town were invested, under fire of the fort. On
the twenty-fourth Hamilton surrendered, and the campaign, prosecuted
under difficulties which today cannot be justly described, ended in
complete triumph.


Nothing can impress one with the heroism of this march like a visit
to these low lands which are now proving of great value to horse and
cattle owners of northern Illinois as grazing grounds. Though my journey
over Clark's route was made at the driest and most favorable season of
the year, the mists, heavy as clouds, lay along the Bonpas, Fox, Little
Wabash, Big Muddy, and Skillet and between them, and a thunderstorm made
the modern road a veritable slough. From Vincennes to Xenia, the
Baltimore and Ohio Southwestern Railway is parallel with the old St.
Louis Trace which was Clark's route here.[42] But the student will find
the journey by the old trace, throwing its curling lengths along the
hills from Lawrenceville to Sumner, a most interesting though taxing
experience. At Sumner the trace drops into the bottom-lands where the
mists seem to lie forever and where little villages are perched upon
knolls of a few thousand feet in diameter, surrounded by swamps and
prairies that are now being drained and cultivated widely. Here the old
trace--for the ancient name clings to it--is helped along by dint of
corduroy bridges and stone and wooden culverts. Between Sumner and Olney
the corduroy bridges are frequent and exceedingly rough, particularly if
you are hurrying along at nightfall to gain the portals of a
comparatively comfortable inn at Olney. Westward the road ploughs its
way through the marshes and the mist to the little Big Muddy and across
to the Little Wabash about where the old trace ran. Here the fogs lie
heaviest, shutting off all view of the low-lying, bushy wastes. In
midsummer the fog and marshes warn the explorer away; what of this land
when the rivers are loosed by the winter floods and are streaming wildly
along the vast stretch of the stunted bush and vine? The scene presented
to Clark's Virginians and Frenchmen in February 1779 cannot by any means
be pictured by one to whom these swamps are unknown; to such as know
them, the picture, though probably imperfect, is one of horror. To row a
boat where the current is swift is fatiguing labor, and to walk in the
water, when each step may find one in a sink-hole and where the rank
grasses, growing from heavy tufts, hold one's feet as a cord, is all
that the strongest man can endure for even a short period. The little
spots of ground which here and there rise above the flood are covered
with driftwood and infested with snakes.

In midsummer the scene was more pleasant. "Beyond Ombra we enter a
Tartarian meadow," wrote Volney in 1804, "interspersed with clumps of
trees, but in general flat and naked, and windy and cold in winter. In
summer it is filled with tall and strong shrubs, which brush the legs of
the rider in his narrow path so much, that a journey out [to Kaskaskia]
and back will wear out a pair of boots. Water is scarce [for drinking],
and there is danger of being bewildered, as happened to one of my fellow
travellers, three years before, when, with two others, he roamed about
for seventeen days. Thunder, rain, gnats, and horse flies, are very
troublesome in summer."[43]

Of the journey from Vincennes to Kaskaskia in 1804 Volney gives the
following itinerary:

    "_Road from Fort Vincennes to Kaskaskias_
                                               MILES         HOURS
  To Ombra creek[44]                              9             2
  To Elm in the meadow                           13-1/2         3
  To Cat River[45]                               13-1/2         3
  To the Yoke[46]                                15             3
  To the Salt spring[47]                          6             1-1/2
  To the Slaves gibbet[48]                       15             3
  To Great Point[49]                             15             2-1/2
  To the Coffee-pot[50]                          12             2
  To the Yellow bark[51]                         15             3
  To Walnut Point[52]                            15             2-1/2
  Beyond this is a beaver dam,[53] destroyed.
    At a cross road you take the left, which
    is shortest. There is no water for
    eighteen miles, and you fall into the
    main road at Pointe aux Fesses.[54]
  To the [Beaver] Dam                             4-1/2         1
  To the three-thorned Acacia[55]                12             2
  To Pointe aux Fesses[56]                       15             3
  To the Meadow of the Hole[57]                  15             3
  To the Great Rib[58]                           15             3
  To Lepronier[59]                               12             2
  To Kas[kaskia]                                 18             4
  Totals[60]                                    220-1/2        43-1/2"

The junction of the old Kaskaskia Trace with the modern St. Louis Trace
was on the Isaac Elliott farm, one mile east of old Xenia, half a mile
north of the newer Xenia.[61] It was pointed out to the writer by Sandy
Alexander Nelms of Salem, Illinois, one of the very few remaining
old-time stage-drivers on the St. Louis Trace of the thirties, who was
born near this junction. He remembers portions of the old path very
well, though it has not, within his lifetime, been used as a highway.
Within the borders of the present Xenia the outline of the old trace is
exceedingly plain. The frontispiece of this volume is from a recent
photograph of this part of the road. Mr. Nelms informs the writer that
the old trace could, in early years, be followed by the camping-spots,
where blue-grass sprang up when the prairie-grass was killed out.[62]
Blue-grass on the Illinois routes, like the apple-trees on the old track
from Albany to the Mohawk in New York, was the first sign of coming
civilization. Mr. Nelms remembers with distinctness that in a corn-field
near the present Baltimore and Ohio Southwestern Railway depot at Xenia
the route of the old trace could be followed by the color of the earth
and heavier growth of corn. The general color of the field was black but
a wide strip of yellowish clay was the course of the old Kaskaskia
Trace--generations of travel over the narrow aisle in the old-time
forests having changed the nature of the soil. Here, it is said, the
crop of corn was distinctly heavier and better than elsewhere on the

Wherever this old trace may be found it speaks of Clark and Clark only.
All the story of its other days is forgotten for those hard fifteen
during which that daring youth drew his comrades "insensibly" onward,
amid jests and raillery, to the British stronghold from which thousands
of savages had been urged to war upon the feeble Kentucky stations.
Boone's Wilderness Road meant much, but if Fort Sackville and the other
Wabash Valley centers had been a trifle more potent than they were, it
would have become as overgrown as was Braddock's Road when Forbes
marched to Fort Duquesne three years after Braddock. The two posts at
the termini of the Vincennes Trace, and the dark councils of their
commanders, were a more serious menace to Kentucky's safety than all the
redskins north of the Ohio River. It was the British-fed, British-armed,
and British-led Indians that made possible the dream of a reconquest of

After George Rogers Clark led his men over that narrow, winding trace,
through flooded Grand Cote Prairie and over the raging Little and Great
Wabash, that danger of British conquest of Kentucky was practically
eliminated from the western situation.

The capture of Vincennes was the first chapter in the conquest of the
Old Northwest.



The various campaigns directed from Kentucky and western Pennsylvania
had, by 1779, comparatively freed what is now eastern and central Ohio
of red-men. Little by little they had been pushed in a northwesterly
direction until the headwaters of the Great and Little Miami and Scioto
were reached. Here on the backbone of Ohio, near the headwaters of the
St. Mary and Auglaize Rivers--a pleasant country which the Indians
always loved--the most heroic stand was yet to be made against the
encroaching white men.

The point of vantage was well chosen, as the bloody years of 1780-1795
proved. The forests were divided by large stretches of open land, which
were easily cultivated and exceedingly rich. To the northward flowed the
Auglaize River affording a highway to the great Maumee Valley and Lake
Erie. The St. Mary offered a roundabout water route to the same goal--a
goal fortified by the line of British forts on the Lakes. Here
encouragement of every description was to be had at all times--at the
price of steadily resisting and ravaging the advancing American frontier

The three rivers, the Scioto and the two Miamis, offered thoroughfare
from this vantage ground southward toward the Kentucky stations. The
important Indian towns were located on the upper waters of the Little
Miami, the Auglaize, and Maumee, with other villages on the portages
between these streams and in the lower valleys of the Auglaize and
Maumee. The largest Indian villages were the settlements at the
junctions of the Maumee and Auglaize and the St. Mary and St. Joseph.
The key of the region was the junction of the St. Mary with the St.
Joseph--four water avenues, leading east (Maumee), west (Wabash), south
(St. Mary), and north (St. Joseph), and each filled with Indian
clearings and villages.

The land was covered with a network of Indian trails running in every
direction, of which surprisingly little can be definitely stated.
Considering how numerous are the old-time maps which show the roads of
the red-men in eastern and central Ohio and in Kentucky, it is
remarkable that almost none give the routes in western Ohio and eastern
Indiana. By comparison of contemporaneous authorities it is certain
there were three important landward thoroughfares leading northward from
the Ohio River into the region here under view. In general terms, the
most easterly of these ascended the valley of the Little Miami; another
passed northward on the watershed between the two Miamis; the third ran
north from the present site of Cincinnati on the watershed to the west
of the Great Miami, with branches running into and up the river valley
itself. All of these routes led to the strategic portages which
connected the two Miamis and the Scioto with the St. Mary and Auglaize
tributaries of the Maumee.[63]

The unfortunate Bowman expedition of 1779[64] went up the Little Miami
to the Shawanese villages along that river. In the year following George
Rogers Clark waged his campaign against the celebrated Shawanese town of
Piqua on the Mad River tributary of the Little Miami, cutting a road for
his packhorses and mounted six-pounder on the east side of the Little
Miami.[65] Two years later Clark executed one of the most successful
campaigns yet made into the region north of the Ohio. Moving from near
the mouth of the Licking (the usual place of rendezvous of all the
Kentucky expeditions into Ohio) it is believed the expedition took the
central track between the Miamis, reaching the Great Miami near the site
of Dayton. From thence the route was up that river to the portage. "The
British trading-post," wrote Clark to the governor of Virginia,[66] "at
the head of the Miami and carrying-place to the waters of the lake
shared the same fate [as the towns Clark attacked in person] at the
hands of a party of one hundred and fifty horse, commanded by Colonel
Benjamin Logan." This post was, undoubtedly, historic Loramie's Store,
the trading-post on Loramie's Creek, Shelby County, Ohio, at the
southern end of the portage to the St. Mary River.

Thus after a number of years of fighting, the Kentuckians had at last
struck at the vital spot. This blow ended the Revolutionary warfare in
the West. The British having lost, some time ago, the war in the East,
had until now assisted the Indians in an attempt to retrieve the
situation by ousting the brave pioneers from the West. The presence of
the hero of Vincennes so far north as the portage to the St. Mary and
Auglaize was proof enough that their hope of conquest in the West was

But hope would not down, and much of the hard story to which these pages
are to be devoted would never have had a part in American history had
the British now, once for all, given up the design of countenancing the
Indians in an attempt to hem in and push back the frontiers of
expanding America. The contest until now, 1783, had been one solely of
retaliation on the part of the Kentuckians; by treaties, oft confirmed,
the Indians had given up all title and claim to the lands south of the
Ohio River. From 1785, when the treaty of Fort McIntosh was made with
the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa, and Ottawa nations, and 1786, when the
treaty of Fort Finney was made with the Shawanese, the United States
ceded to these Indians all the lands lying between the Muskingum and
Wabash Rivers north of a line drawn from Fort Laurens to the Miami-St.
Mary portage and thence to the mouth of River de la Panse on the Wabash.

The northern valley of the Ohio River, for a long distance into the
interior, now coming into the possession of the United States, the
inevitable struggle to hold it drew on apace. The tribes of the Miamis
nation, Twightwees or Miamis proper, Weas or Ouiatenons, Piankeshaws,
and Shockeys, on the upper Wabash, being troublesome, George Rogers
Clark moved northward from Vincennes with nearly a thousand troops in
the fall of 1786; but Clark's deportment was demoralizing and his
campaign was a practical failure. However, before starting on the Wabash
campaign, Clark had ordered Colonel Logan to strike again at the towns
at the head of the Great Miami. With four or five hundred mounted
riflemen Logan accomplished the task of destroying eight Indian villages
and taking several score of prisoners.

The foregoing details form a necessary introduction to the new era in
the West, heralded by the passage of the Ordinance of 1787 and the
forming of the government of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio River
at Marietta July 16, 1788. Until this time the question of western
defense had been a problem for Pennsylvania and Virginia to solve by
means of their frontier militia. Now the United States Government took
up the tangled problem, by empowering President Washington, on September
29, 1789, to call out the militia of the frontier states to repel the
incursions of the savages.

From the time of the organization of the Northwest Territory until 1790,
the Indians of the Maumee region steadily increased their marauding
expeditions, striking at every point along the Ohio River from the mouth
of the Scioto to the mouth of the Wabash. The Government was overwhelmed
with petitions and remonstrances from citizens of all classes in
Kentucky. Judge Innes addressed the Secretary of War from Kentucky: "I
have been intimately acquainted with this district from November
1783.... I can venture to say, that above 1500 souls have been killed
and taken in the district, and migrating to it; that upwards of 20,000
horses have been taken ... and other property ... carried off and
destroyed by these barbarians, to at least £15,000."[67]

The ringleaders of these marauding bands were the Miami tribes of the
upper Wabash and Miami Rivers, and Shawanese who dwelt with them. The
Delawares and Wyandots, who now, in 1789, signed the Treaty of Fort
Harmar (which only confirmed the previous treaties of Fort Stanwix and
Fort McIntosh) were not, at first, guilty of connivance; though soon
they joined the Indian confederacy regardless of their promises.

It is interesting to note at the outset that the savages to whom the
attention of the nation was now about to be attracted were styled,
generally, the "Northwestern Indians." The significance of this is that
now, when at last run to bay, the final campaigns in that long series of
conflicts begun by Washington and Braddock and Forbes on the heads of
the Ohio (1754-58), continued by Bouquet on the Muskingum (1764),
Dunmore on the Scioto (1774), Crawford on the Sandusky (1781), and Clark
on the Miami (1782), were to be fought to a triumphant conclusion in the
region of the Wabash. These savages were the same that had ever fought
the advancing fire-line of civilization--the Miamis, Delawares,
Shawanese, Wyandots, and their confederates. Driven westward for nearly
half a century, they made a final stand at the western extremity of Lake
Erie, almost under the guns of the British forts, and are known
collectively now in 1790 as the "Northwestern Indians." The story of our
actual conquest of the interior of America from the aboriginal
inhabitants is practically the story of the campaigns which resulted in
the acquisition successively of the Allegheny, Beaver, Muskingum,
Scioto, Miami, Maumee, and Wabash river valleys. Fallen Timber sealed
the doom of the Indian and ended a struggle begun at Fort Necessity in
1754. The conquest would not have taken one-half the time it did had the
Indian not become allied now to France and now to England, alliances
which introduced perplexing and delicate international questions which
prolonged the pitiful struggle.

On the sixth of October, 1789, President Washington, acting under the
new powers conferred upon him, addressed a communication to Governor St.
Clair requesting accurate information as to whether or not "the Wabash
and Illinois Indians are most inclined for war or peace."[68] If found
to favor the former course the governor was empowered "to call on the
lieutenants of the nearest counties of Virginia and Pennsylvania, for
such detachments of militia as you may judge proper, not exceeding,
however, one thousand from Virginia and five hundred from
Pennsylvania."[69] With the prophetic foresight which so frequently
marked Washington's estimate of the future he added: "As it may be of
high importance to obtain a precise and accurate knowledge of the
several waters which empty into the Ohio, on the northwest, and of those
which discharge themselves in the lakes Erie and Michigan, the length of
the portage between, and nature of the ground, an early and pointed
attention thereto is earnestly recommended."[70] Anthony Gamelin, a
trusty scout, was sent up the Wabash River to test the sentiments of the
Wabash and Miami Indians in April 1790; the gist of his report was that
the young men of the nations could not be restrained from war, that the
majority of the savages had "a bad heart." The influence of McKee and
Girty was in absolute authority.[71] "I now enclose the proceedings of
Mr. Gamelin," wrote Major Hamtramck to Governor St. Clair from
Vincennes, May 22, 1790, "by which your excellency can have no great
hopes of bringing the Indians to a peace with the United States."[72]
The reasons are thus stated by Governor St. Clair to the Secretary of
War: "The confidence these [Indians] have in their situation, the
vicinity of many other nations, either much under their influence, or
hostilely disposed towards the United States, and pernicious councils of
the British traders, joined to the immense booties obtained by their
depredations on the Ohio."[73]

By July 16 Governor St. Clair was ready to put in motion the campaign
which was voted by all concerned to be inevitable. There was a double
danger in further delay; the Indians were growing more bold each day,
and the people along the western frontier were beginning to distrust the
strength of the Government which, while claiming them, failed utterly to
protect them. Only a week before (July 7) Judge Innes wrote these
startling words to the Secretary of War: "I will, sir, be candid on
this subject.... The people say they have long groaned under their
misfortunes, they see no prospect of relief.... They begin to want faith
in the Government, and appear determined to revenge themselves: for this
purpose a meeting was lately held in this place, by a number of
respectable characters, to determine on the propriety of carrying on
three expeditions this fall."[74]

Accordingly by circular letters to the county lieutenants dated Fort
Washington, July 16, 1790, St. Clair called upon three hundred men from
Nelson, Lincoln, and Jefferson Counties, Virginia, to rendezvous at Fort
Steuben (Steubenville, Ohio) September 12; seven hundred men from
Madison, Mercer, Fayette, Bourbon, Woodford, and Mason Counties to
rendezvous at Fort Washington September 15; and five hundred men from
Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Allegheny Counties, Pennsylvania,
to rendezvous four miles below Wheeling on September 3. From this on
affairs moved swiftly. On July 14--the day before the circular letters
were sent off--General Harmar contracted with Elliott and Williams of
Kentucky for one hundred and eighty thousand rations of flour, two
hundred thousand rations of meat, eight hundred and sixty-eight horses
equipped, one horse-master general, eighteen horse-masters, one hundred
and thirty drivers, to be delivered at Fort Washington by October 1. On
August 23, Secretary of War Knox wrote Governor St. Clair that he had
ordered two tons of best rifle and musket powder, four tons of lead
bullets, cartridge paper, case shot for five and a half inch howitzers
and for three- and six-pounders to be hurried on from Philadelphia to
the Ohio River. A thousand dollars was forwarded to Fort Washington for
contingent expenses. Knox hurried a letter on to the governor of
Virginia asking him to use his influence to induce the veteran Kentucky
colonels Logan and Shelby to join the army at Fort Washington as
volunteers for "the accomplishment of the public good," and a letter to
Harmar requesting him to invite "those characters," and to treat them
with "the greatest cordiality." St. Clair wrote immediately to the
British commander at Detroit explaining candidly the nature of the
campaign now on foot, explicitly stating its object and asking that the
enemy should receive no assistance from British traders "from whose
instigation," he made bold to add, "there is good reason to believe,
much of the injuries committed by the savages has proceeded."

Everything considered, the young government responded nobly to the call
of its western citizens. This was its first war, and one has to know
only a little of the struggles for mere equipoise and maintenance since
the close of the Revolution to realize that a war at this time, of any
proportions, was a most trying and exhausting undertaking. This has
never been sufficiently emphasized. His first inauguration now two years
past, the labors of his new honors were already bearing heavily upon the
first president. If greater trials had ever been his portion, even in
the struggle for independence, they had in a measure been anticipated
and borne with a patience commensurate with the great interests at
stake. He had been able to manoeuver his armies from red-coat
generals' grasp, and the fretful complainings of the "times that tried
men's souls" were alternately hushed in the presence of gloom and
scattered in the hour of victory. But now the clash of personal interest
and state pride rose loud about the chief executive, and advisers, who
had once lost all thought of self in the common danger, now became
uncertain quantities in the struggle for personal advancement, and
bickered spitefully over matters of preferment and policy. The country
which Washington loved never needed his services more than now when
these untried problems of currency, debt, and policy--and now of
war--came rapidly to the front.

The President's call for militia was answered with too great alacrity. A
motley collection of Kentucky militia was assembling by the middle of
September, and those from Pennsylvania reached Fort Washington on the
twenty-fourth. The Kentuckians were formed into three battalions under
Majors Hall, M'Mullen, and Bay, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel
Trotter--under whom they were anxious to serve. The Pennsylvanians were
formed in one battalion under Lieutenant-colonel Trubley and Major Pond,
the whole commanded by Colonel John Hardin, subject to General Harmar's
orders. The regulars were formed in two battalions under Major John P.
Wyllys and Major John Doughty. The company of artillery, having three
pieces of ordnance, was under the command of Captain William Ferguson. A
battalion of flying militia or light mounted troops was commanded by
Major James Fontaine. The entire army numbered one thousand four hundred
and fifty-three, of which three hundred and twenty were regulars. The
"army" had assembled quickly; the stores had been forwarded to the place
of rendezvous with exceeding despatch and faithfulness. The army was
fatally weak in two particulars: many undisciplined old men and boys had
volunteered as substitutes; and the arms, furnished by the volunteers
themselves, were in lamentably poor condition. Taken all in all, with
the exception of armament, which was somewhat bettered at Fort
Washington, this first little American army that now began an invasion
of the Maumee Valley was in no better or no worse condition than the
ordinary militia forces formerly put into the field by Pennsylvania or

On the twenty-sixth of September the militia, eleven hundred strong,
under Colonel Hardin, set forth from Fort Washington, striking in a
northwesterly direction toward the valley of the Little Miami, on
General Clark's route of 1780. David H. Morris, making a slight error in
dates, leaves this account, which gives, as the first day's march of the
militia, four miles: "On the 29th of September, we took up our march for
the Maumee Villages, near where Fort Wayne now stands, and proceeded
four miles."[75]

Of the start from Fort Washington Thomas Irwin leaves record: "My Second
visit to Said Cincinnati was as a volunteer from Washington, Pa. on
Harmars Campaign about the first week in October 1790.... Fort
Washington was Built, not finished, in my absence. The Militia from
Kentucky and Pennsylvania Rendezvoused There at the same time Marched
from Thence for the Indian Towns Between the 10th and 15th of october
1790 on the Trace made By General Clark from Kentucky in october
1782[76] which crossed the river hill[77] north of Fort Washington
passed Mcmillins[78] Spring as it was afterwards Called Encamped at
reading until Harmar came up with the regular Troops."

At the beginning of the last century Harmar's route was easily traced
through Warren County, running north of Mason and west of Lebanon.[79]
On September 30 the regulars under General Harmar left Fort Washington,
by way of the same route, it would seem, as the militia. Captain
Armstrong's record for the day reads: "The army moved from Fort
Washington, at halfpast ten o'clock, A. M.,--marched about seven miles
N. E. course--hilly, rich land. Encamped on a branch of Mill creek."
How one can understand from this record that Harmar's route followed
what later became known as the "old Wayne Road" or "old Hamilton Road"
up Mill Creek Valley is beyond the ken of the present writer. Encamping
on the night of September 2 on Muddy Creek, Warren County, General
Harmar lay one mile south of the militia encampment.[80] On the day
following he moved through Hardin's camp, which was located a few miles
southwest of Lebanon, and rested one mile in advance on Turtle Creek.
Here the divisions of the army united, and here the line of march was
formed, according to Armstrong's journal, on September 3.

A. H. Dunlevy, a pioneer in this neighborhood west of Lebanon in 1798,
left record that near his home on the old route was the site of one of
Harmar's camps--possibly that of Colonel Hardin. A half acre was cleared
and several graves were then visible there. "The brush," he wrote, "was
piled in heaps around the camp. These brush heaps were decayed in 1798
but made fine harbors for snakes and as the warm sun of spring came out,
I think hundreds of them could be seen in an hour passing from one brush
heap to another. I used to amuse myself in watching their movements and
noting their peculiar colors. Every kind of snake seemed to nestle
together in those brush heaps."[81]

On the fourth the combined army moved in a northwesterly direction
through the Turtle Creek Valley and, continuing over the hilly region
northeast of Lebanon, crossed the Little Miami at what has long been
known as Fish-pot Ford about six miles northeast of Lebanon.[82] Moving
up the east bank of the river, camp was pitched one mile north of the
crossing-place on Cæsar's Creek.[83] The route the day following was up
the river on the famous war path toward the Indian Chillicothe and Piqua
towns in the valleys of that and the Mad River, along the general
alignment of the Little Miami Railroad. Marching ten miles, according to
Captain Armstrong, the army encamped "at five o'clock on Glade creek, a
very lively, clear stream."

On the sixth, the site of old Chillicothe was reached; "recrossed the
Little Miami," says Armstrong, "at half past one o'clock, halted one
hour, and encamped at four o'clock on a branch." Morris's account from
the thirtieth of September reads: "Thirtieth, we moved forward on the
old Indian trail leading to the old Chilcothie town, on the little
Miami, and after several days marching, arrived at the place where the
town once stood. Here we fired off our guns; and in the evening, having
recrossed the river, encamped about a mile above, near where James
Galloway now lives."

The old Indian trail ran from Chillicothe to Old Piqua across Mad River
Township, Clark County, where, five miles west of Springfield, Tecumseh
was born. After Clark's destruction of this village in 1780, its
inhabitants moved across to the Great Miami where New Piqua was built,
and which was destroyed by Clark in 1782. The path Harmar now followed
bore toward the northwest, taking him to the site of the later Piqua on
the Great Miami. Armstrong's journal reads: "7^{th}.... Passed through
several low praries, and crossed the Pickaway fork of Mad river....
Encamped on a small branch, one mile from the former. Our course the
first four miles north, then northwest.--Nine miles."

The Irwin MS., from the point of union of Harmar and Harding, reads:
"formed the Line of march there which was in Two Lines one on the right
and one on the Left of s^d Trace a strong front and Rear guard on Said
Trace the Baggage in the Center Passed near where the Town of Lebanon
Stands in Warren County west of Waynesville and Xenia Crossed Mad river
perhaps 10 miles from Dayton Struck the great Miami near the old Piqua
Towns that was Detroyed By s^d Gen^l. Clark Crossed the Miami some
Distance above Them."

For the journey between the two Miamis the Morris journal is perhaps
most definite: "On the day following, we crossed Mad river, and camped
near New Carlisle,[84] in Clark county, and within one mile of Epee
town, located precisely where Elnathan Cory now lives. This town gave
name to the creek on which it stood, now called Honey-creek.... Here we
killed 20 cows intended for beef.... The next day we crossed Indian
creek ... and same day crossed Lost Creek in Miami county.... On this
evening, we encamped at a spring, on the farm formerly owned by
Nathaniel Gerrard, and about two miles from the town of Troy. Gen.
Harmar gave to this spring, the name _Tea Spring_, as he and his
officers refreshed themselves there, on that beverage."

Armstrong's record for the eighth and ninth is: "The army moved at
halfpast nine o'clock. Passed over rich land, in some places a little
broken: passed several ponds, and through one small prarie, a N. W.
course.--Seven miles. 9th--The army moved at halfpast nine o'clock.
Passed through a level, rich country, well watered: course
N. W.,--halted halfpast four o'clock, two miles south of the Great
Miami.--Ten miles."

These commonplace records do not in any way represent the real state of
affairs; perhaps they suggest only the topics of conversation of the
vanguard of scouts and guides that led the army. The little band of
troops was now in the heart of the enemy's country. The face of the land
was covered with forests, broken here and there by patches of bush and
prairie. That the Indians knew of their advance, there was little doubt.
When, where, or how they would oppose that advance, no one knew. The
Great Miami was now reached and soon the strategic portage of the St.
Mary would be taken possession of. The course would then be down grade
to the Miami towns on the Maumee. Would the enemy rally here on the
watershed crest near the old French fort on the Loramie? Such
speculations as these occupied many more minds, it may confidently be
believed, than thoughts of the streams or prairies crossed. The records
left us tell only of the commonplaces, leaving the human element to the
imagination. Yet this can be better conceived if the route is correctly

On the tenth of September Harmar crossed the Great Miami River. "At the
crossing," wrote Armstrong, "there is a handsome high prairie on the
S. E. side." "On the following day," reads the Morris record, "we
crossed the big Miami, a little above the town of Piqua, near Manning's
old mill.... This evening we encamped not far from upper Piqua." This
agrees with the Irwin MS. previously quoted.

On the eleventh the army moved to and crossed Loramie's Creek, seven
miles from its camping-place of the preceding night (ten miles from the
camp near the Great Miami of September 9). Of the route from the Great
Miami onward, Irwin states: "Crossed Loirimous Creek a short Distance
from its mouth into the great Miami river had a pretty good Indian Trace
from there to what was Called the old french store or Trading house at
St marys had a good Trace from there to the Maumee towns." The Morris
record reads: "Next day, we took up our march for Lorrimiers, a French
trader at St. Marys--... We crossed Lorrimie creek on the next morning,
at a village that had been burned by Clark or Logan, some ten years
before. From here, we passed over the summit level for St. Marys, where
we encamped.... Having crossed St. Marys we encamped on its eastern

On September 12, by Armstrong's journal, the army "crossed a stream at
seven miles and a half running N. E. on which there are several old
camps, much deadened timber, which continues to the river Auglaize,
about a mile. Here has been a considerable village--some houses still
standing. This stream is a branch of the Omi [Maumee] river, and is
about twenty yards wide."

From this on the route was along the old trace which followed the St.
Mary, some distance to the northward of the immediate bank, to its
junction with the Maumee, where the army arrived on the seventeenth of
September, having accomplished the hard march of over one hundred and
sixty miles in eighteen days by the regulars and twenty by the militia.

On the thirteenth, "I think the 1^{st} or 2^d morning after we Left St
Marys," according to Mr. Irwin, "8 or 10 mounted men went out in Search
of some horses that had Been Lost or missing over night Started a Smart
young Indian without a gun in the open woods--Took him prisoner Brought
him into Camp ... he give Every information respecting the movements of
the Indians Stated they had Determined to move Their families and
property out of the Towns and Burn Them. Six hundred men was Detached or
Drafted from the army placed under the Command of Col. Hardin he Being
the 2^d in Command with orders to proceed as quick as possible to the
Towns. When We arrived found what the prisoner Stated was True 2 Indians
happened to Be under the Bank of the river when the army came up they
tried to Escape the Troops Discovered them and about 100 guns was
Discharged at them one was found Dead the Next Day in the Brush, The
Ballance of the army arriv'd at the Towns two Days after the first got
there I was with the rear."[86]

Signs that the Indians had retreated in a northwesterly direction being
discovered, General Harmar, on the eighteenth, ordered Colonel Trotter
of the militia to follow and attack them with a force of three hundred
men. The detachment was provided with three days rations. About one mile
from camp an Indian was pursued and killed. A little later a second
solitary Indian scout was killed--after wounding one of his assailants.
Trotter moved hither and thither with apparent aimlessness until
nightfall when he returned to camp--to Harmar's disgust. The militia in
camp had scattered in various directions searching for corn and other
plunder which the savages had buried. The gun fired to call these into
camp, Trotter affirmed, was thought to be an alarm signal for him to
return. The men under Trotter displayed no more military characteristics
than the prowling militia left at the encampment. Such men, it was sure,
would suffer at the hands of the fierce, watchful enemy, if ever their
turn should come.

It came on the very next day! It was now Colonel Hardin's turn to strike
a blow, and he was ordered out on the Indian path which ran northwest
toward the Kickapoo towns. Proceeding about eleven miles from camp (Fort
Wayne, Indiana) to near the point where the Goshen state road crosses
the Eel River, the keen scouter John Armstrong saw important "signs"
and heard an alarm gun in front. Hardin did not act on the advice and
made no disposition of his troops for battle. Soon after, Armstrong
discovered the fires of the Indian camp--but Hardin, scorning the enemy,
pushed straight on. The Indian commander--the famous Miami warrior,
Little Turtle--based his plans on just such recklessness. Deep in the
brush and grass on either side of the trail his dogs of war crouched
silent as cougars. The army had walked well into the trap before two
crimson streaks of fire flashed out in the very faces of the troopers.
The militia bolted at breakneck speed--some never stopping in their
flight until they reached the Ohio River. A small band of regulars under
Armstrong retired slightly and held their ground temporarily; then they
retreated to Harmar's camp. This savage stroke cost heavily, the Indians
killing almost an average of a white man apiece--the loss, about one
hundred, equalling, probably, the number of the waylaying savage force.
It was one of the bloodiest ambuscades in western history. Armstrong's
journal for the nineteenth reads: "Attacked about one hundred Indians
fifteen miles west of the Miami village; and from the dastardly conduct
of the militia, the troops were obliged to retreat. I lost one sergeant,
and twenty-one out of thirty men of my command. The Indians on this
occasion gained a complete victory--having killed, in the whole, near
one hundred men, which was about their number. Many of the militia threw
away their arms without firing a shot, ran through the federal troops
and threw them in disorder." Of the Indians Armstrong adds "they fought
and died hard."

When Hardin's troops returned, they found that Harmar had moved two
miles down the Maumee in the work of destroying the Indian villages and
crops. From this camp, an old Shawanese village, various companies were
sent out in different directions to finish the work of destroying the
Indian settlements. On the night of the twenty-first, when seven miles
distant from the Miami village, Colonel Hardin proposed to Harmar that
he be allowed his pick of the militia with which to return secretly upon
the Indians. It was believed, and spies no doubt so reported, that the
Indians had returned to their central villages at the junction of the
St. Mary and St. Joseph. Harmar acquiesced, feeling that another blow
would undoubtedly prevent the savages from following the army.

The force was composed of three hundred and forty militia, under Majors
Hall and McMullen, Major Fontaine's mounted militia, and sixty regulars
under Major Wyllys. The Miami town was reached after sunrise. Hardin's
plan was to surround secretly the village and make a simultaneous attack
from all sides. Major Hall's battalion was sent to cross the St. Mary
and hold themselves in readiness to attack from the rear when the main
body, which would cross the Maumee at the common ford, fell upon the
village in front. Hall's men wantonly fired on a fugitive Indian before
the signal for attack was given; to make matters worse the militia under
McMullen and Fontaine began pursuing the various parties of flying
redskins, leaving Major Wyllys and the regulars unsupported. The latter
crossed the Maumee, according to the fixed scheme, but were suddenly
assailed by an overpowering force led by Little Turtle and were
compelled to return with loss of many men, including Major Wyllys
himself. The militia then hastened back to the main army. Miserable as
had been the deportment of the militia, their muskets had done severe
execution, and Harmar had no fear now of an Indian attack--nor the
slightest remnant of confidence in any but the fragment of regular
troops left to him.

On the twenty-third the army took up the line of outward march for Fort
Washington and reached the Ohio on the fourth day of November, having
lost one hundred and eighty-three killed and thirty-one wounded. Major
Wyllys and Lieutenant Frothingham of the regulars, and Major Fontaine
and Captains Thorp, McMurtrey, and Scott, and Lieutenants Clark and
Rogers of the militia were the principal officers sacrificed.

On the other hand there is ground for partly agreeing with Irwin that
Harmar's campaign was not wholly a defeat. The Indian loss was as large
as the American--and this was a great deal accomplished. Few armies
before had entered the Indian land and not been followed by the Indians
on the return with distinct losses. Harmar's repeated though costly
operations on the Maumee had given the Indians all the battle they
wished; indeed it is not too much to say that they were stunned.



Harmar wrought wide destruction but of the kind that made the Indians of
the Maumee irrevocably and bitterly angry. The main boast of the
returning campaigners was that the enemy did not pursue them--which,
after all, was more significant than we can realize today. It
illustrates in a word the exact effect of the raid; the Indians were
dumbfounded at the arrival of a white army so far within their forests.
They knew as well as the whites that the punishment administered to the
frontiersmen was almost wholly due to the rash boldness of the latter,
who, rushing heedlessly after the scurrying savages, made ambuscades
possible. Yet Harmar's actual success was only in burning villages and
crops, and sending crowds of old men and women and children fleeing to
the swamps and forest fastnesses. Practically, it was the old story of
a score of Kentucky raids into the "Indian side" of the Ohio over again.
"You are the 'town-destroyer,'" was the cry of an old chieftain to
President Washington, "and when that name is heard our women look
quickly behind them and turn pale." But there was something more to be
done on the Maumee than to make squaws turn pale! That would not keep
back the murdering bands from the infant settlements along and below the

This became plain so suddenly that the shock was felt throughout the
East. In no way could the Northwestern Indians have struck home more
quickly than by perpetrating the terrible Big Bottom Massacre. The New
England colony which, led by Rufus Putnam, founded Marietta at the mouth
of the Muskingum had, by January 1790, expanded in all directions.[87]
One company of pioneers had ascended the Muskingum to Big Bottom, Morgan
County, Ohio. At dusk, on the second night in January, 1791, a band of
savages crossed the river at Silverheels Riffle above the unprotected
blockhouse, and entered the settlement feigning friendship. The pioneers
offered them a portion of the evening meal, when a sudden burst of flame
swept the room. Several whites fell straight forward into the fireplace
before which they were eating; others, to the number of fourteen, were
instantly put to death. But one blow was struck by the whites at Big
Bottom. The goodwife of the woodsman Meeks, uninjured by the first fire
that swept the cabin, took advantage of the cloud of smoke to seize a
broad-ax standing by the wall. As an Indian strode forward to the bloody
finale, the glittering blade sank deeply into his shoulder. It was but
one blow--but it was a token of a Nation's anger; it meant as much as
the blood-red battle-ax the departing murderers left beside the
smouldering ruins of Big Bottom blockhouse.

The message of that war-club sped eastward. The blow at the New England
colony was sure to attract unusual attention, and no doubt played an
important part in deciding the great question of the hour. This was a
question of war or peace. As in the year previous, so now in 1791 (as
well as in later times) there were many who opposed Indian warfare from
humanitarian principles. Suffice it to say these opponents of war did
not live on the Muskingum or Licking Rivers! Yet peace, for all
concerned, if it could be secured at an honorable price, was most
desirable, and the United States faced the question fairly and with
energy. As early as December, 1790, the famous Seneca chieftain
Cornplanter, being in Philadelphia, was urged not only to present the
exact feeling of the Government to the Six Nations in New York and on
the Allegheny, but was asked to visit the hostile western nations as a
peace messenger. The declaration of war by the savages at Big Bottom in
no wise deterred the United States from this purpose of obtaining peace
at the least price in blood and treasure. In March, 1791, Colonel Thomas
Proctor was sent to the Senecas to urge the young men of that tribe not
to take the war path, and then was ordered to go with Cornplanter to the
Maumee River. The task was dangerous and laborious, but Proctor pushed
his way through the forests of Pennsylvania and New York to the Senecas
who kept so well the western door of the "Long House of the Iroquois."
It was a fruitless mission. "The people at the setting sun are bad
people," said an old warrior to the intrepid herald; "you must look when
it is light in the morning until the setting sun, and you must reach
your neck over the land, and take all the light you can, to show the

The Senecas were right and the further Proctor "reached his neck out"
over the land the more plainly was this seen to be true. Gordon, the
British commander at Niagara, forbade him taking ship for the Maumee;
"the unfriendly denial," he wrote the Secretary of War, "puts a stop to
the further attempting to go to the Miamies." Another item in his letter
was of significance: Joseph Brant with forty warriors had gone westward
to the confederated tribes on an unknown mission.

In April, Colonel Timothy Pickering was also sent to the Senecas, and,
meeting them in convention at Painted Post, urged the chieftains to hold
back the young men from joining the hostile tribes. Governor St. Clair
likewise sent messages, especially to the western tribes urging that
hostile bands be withdrawn from the frontier ere the United States
should be compelled to bring heavy chastisement. But peace is sometimes
as costly, and more so, than war; such proved to be the case now. It was
early believed by the most farsighted that a crushing defeat of the
northwestern confederacy would be a great saving of blood. And so while
peaceful efforts were being forwarded as effectually as the situation of
the distant tribes and the hostility of English agents permitted,
warlike preparations were likewise being made. As the spring of 1791
opened, the frontiers were overrun with murderous bands and the cry from
the infant West to the central government could not be unheeded. "I most
earnestly implore the protection of government," wrote the brave Putnam
to Washington, "for myself and friends inhabiting these wilds of
America." The cry from Kentucky and the lower Ohio was equally piercing.

The plan of the United States at this juncture was wholly in keeping
with its dignity and its power. Failing in an attempt of
reconciliation, it was determined to throw into the Indian land several
raiding bands of horsemen "to demonstrate that they [the savages] were
within our reach, and lying at our mercy."[88] In case these strokes did
not awe the offenders, a grand campaign on an extensive scale was to be
inaugurated. Fearing the worst, though hopeful of the better,
preparations for all these movements were put on foot, to be
countermanded if peaceful measures sufficed. The attitude of the
Government at this serious crisis of its first Indian war must be judged
humane and generous. The Indians protested that they had never ceded an
inch of territory northwest of the Ohio; yet at four treaties supposed
representatives of all the nations concerned had received from American
commissioners payment for all lands now (1791) occupied or claimed by
the white men. In each case the nations had been formally invited to
each treaty; they now averred that only irresponsible chieftains had
signed these treaties. In a single instance it is possible to believe
that unscrupulous Indians might have so deceived the government
officials and wronged the Indians, but that this could have occurred on
three occasions was manifestly absurd. The Ohio Company purchase and the
Symmes purchase had been made, the pioneers had emigrated and settled
the lands. The Government had given no white man right to cross the
treaty line. Those settlements could not be uprooted without great
injustice. The war seemed, therefore, an imperative necessity, and the
Government had no honorable alternative if peace efforts failed. We have
had many dealings with the Indians since 1790, and it is of some comfort
to rest assured that our first Indian war was eminently just and right.

Unless otherwise ordered, Brigadier-general Scott of Kentucky was to
make a dash at the Indian villages on the upper Wabash in the early
summer. A little later General Wilkinson was scheduled to lead another
raiding band to the populous settlement on the Eel River, a northern
tributary of the Wabash. These swift strokes, it was hoped, would compel
the Indians to confer concerning peace. No rift in the dark war-clouds
occurred, despite the efforts of Knox and St. Clair to establish an
armistice, and Scott marched northward in May and Wilkinson in August.
Like similar raids, these two were successful failures. Villages and
crops were ruined and captives were taken. Many squaws "looked behind
them and turned pale" perhaps, but in effect they had an opposite
influence from that hoped: they undid whatever little good the efforts
to secure peace had accomplished. There was now utmost need for the
final "grand campaign."


[_Showing the region in which Wilkinson_, _Scott_, _Harmar_, _St.
Clair_, _and Wayne operated_]

The army of the United States now consisted of three or four hundred
soldiers--the First Regiment--distributed among the frontier forts on
the Ohio River. It was ordered that the depleted ranks of this regiment
be filled by recruits to be raised "from Maryland to New York
inclusive," and that a full Second Regiment be raised, one company from
South Carolina and one from Delaware and the remainder in the four New
England states.[89] The troops were to be mustered by companies, to
rendezvous at Fort Pitt. Governor Arthur St. Clair was created
Major-general and placed in command of the new army. Brigadier-general
Richard Butler was appointed second in command. The object of the
campaign was to establish a line of military posts from Fort Washington
on the Ohio to the Maumee, where, at the Miami village at the junction
of the St. Mary and St. Joseph, a strong fort was to be built, "for the
purpose of awing and curbing the Indians in that quarter, and as the
only preventative of future hostilities."[90] In present day terms the
army was to march from Cincinnati, Ohio, and erect a fort on the site of
Fort Wayne, Indiana. In every order the underlying theory of the
Government is plain--the one end sought was peace. "This [peace] is of
more value than millions of uncultivated acres," were the words of the
Secretary of War in St. Clair's instructions.[91] It was a war of
self-defense, not a war of conquest.

The business dragged at every point. In the hope that the Indians would
come to reason, Scott's raid was delayed a week at the start. Wilkinson,
who was to move northward June 10, did not march until August 1. The
continued anticipation of good results from these expeditions, which
would render the grand campaign unnecessary, tended to lessen the
energies of the preparations. General Butler was assigned the duty of
raising the recruits in the East--a discouraging task. The pay offered
did not equal an average day's wage. The campaign was not entirely
popular and promised innumerable hardships. Enlistments came in slowly,
and, in many instances, only the unfit and unworthy offered. As late as
April 28 the Secretary of War wrote General Butler: "None of the
companies of the Eastern States are yet nearly completed." As early as
May 12 he wrote St. Clair: "It will at least be the latter end of July,
or the beginning of August before your force shall be assembled."
Originally the army was to march from Fort Washington on July 10.

General St. Clair left Philadelphia March 28 for the Ohio, to
superintend affairs at the point of rendezvous. With "a degree of pain
and difficulty that cannot well be imagined," St. Clair, already a sick
man, pushed on to Pittsburg and Lexington, Kentucky, reaching Fort
Washington on the fifteenth of May. One week later (May 22) General
Butler reached Pittsburg, to receive the army and the stores and
ammunition and hurry all on to Fort Washington. But every rod became a
mile and every hundredweight a ton. It was not until the fifth of June
that the troops from the East reached Fort Pitt--eight hundred and
forty-two soldiers of the twelve hundred Secretary Knox had promised May
19. And yet, few as they were, no boats had been prepared to carry them
south, and indeed very few in which to transport the slowly accumulating
stores and ammunition. Contractor Duer and Quartermaster Samuel Hodgdon
seemingly believed that barges grew on the rich banks of the Ohio and
flat-boats were to be picked from the trees. The congestion of troops
and stores which now resulted at Pittsburg was quite as appalling as
the former scarcity of every needful thing. As rapidly as conditions
permitted, General Butler wrought a certain kind of order out of the
chaos, but not a kind that augured well for the future. That could
hardly have been expected. In one way or another various craft were
knocked together, filled, and set afloat in good hope of reaching Fort
Washington. June dragged by, and July. August found Butler and
Quartermaster-general Hodgdon still at Pittsburg, and it was not until
the twenty-sixth of that month that the last of the army began the
voyage southward--sixty precious days late.

On July 21 Secretary Knox wrote St. Clair at Fort Washington: "The
president is greatly anxious that the campaign be distinguished by
decisive measures." A letter of August 4 reads: "The president still
continues anxious that you should, at the earliest moment, commence your
operations;" and another under the date of September 1 reads: "[The
president] therefore enjoins you, by every principle that is sacred, to
stimulate your operations in the highest degree, and to move as rapidly
as the lateness of the season, and the nature of the case will possibly
admit." It is a matter of record that at the time this letter was
written neither General Butler or Quartermaster-general Hodgdon had so
much as reached the rendezvous. The latter's delay was never explained
and General Butler was utterly dependent upon quartermaster and
contractor. Butler was at last ordered to Fort Washington by Secretary
Knox in the following peremptory words, which implied neglect and
carelessness--a rebuke which was, perhaps, as undeserved as it was
sharp: "I have received your letter of the 18th instant, which has been
submitted to the President of the United States, and I am commanded to
inform you that he is by no means satisfied with the long detention of
the troops on the upper parts of the Ohio, which he considers
unnecessary and improper. And it is his opinion, unless the highest
exertions be made by all parts of the army, to repair the loss of the
season, that the expenses which have been made for the campaign, will be
altogether lost, and that the measures, from which so much has been
expected, will issue in disgrace."[92] However the quartermaster-general
had been ordered as early as June 9 to "consult Major General Butler
upon all objects of the preparations and as soon as possible repair to

Yet, had the army been assembled at Fort Washington July 15 instead of
September 5, there would have been no such thing as moving northward for
weeks. No sooner had the first of the troops reached St. Clair than it
was clear that he had made no mistake in hurrying to the point of
rendezvous. For instance the carriages of the guns used in Harmar's
campaign were ruined and had not been replaced. There was no corps of
artificers and drafting was resorted to in order to secure smiths,
carpenters, harness-makers, wheelwrights, etc. With the arrival of Major
Ferguson, June 20, it became clear that nearly all the ammunition had
yet to be properly prepared; a laboratory had to be built; the shells
had to be filled with powder, likewise the artillery cartridges, the
shells for howitzers and musket cartridges. Not only did enough of this
work have to be done for the immediate use of the army, but a sufficient
supply had to be prepared for each of the posts to be erected between
Fort Washington and the Maumee, and to supply the main fort on the
Maumee and its defenders until spring. The carriages of the guns that
arrived from Philadelphia were rendered useless and new ones had to be
made. Almost all arms which the troops brought to Fort Washington were
out of repair. An armory had to be built, and, says General St. Clair,
"so fast did the work of that kind increase upon our hands, that at one
time it appeared as if it would never be got through with."[94]

An indeterminate amount of powder shipped from Philadelphia was
practically ruined before it reached Fort Washington; one boatload was
entirely submerged on the way from Fort Pitt. The officers attempted to
keep this from the men but the news leaked out. "The powder was very
bad," records Ensign Pope of the militia, "I fired at a tree several
times and hit but seldom; it would not force the ball." Such of the
powder as was good stood little chance of remaining so in the wretched
tents that were palmed off on the quartermaster-general. Colonel
Mentgetz, inspector, is our authority for the fact that, with the
exception of two companies, the tents would not keep out rain at either
front or back. General Harmar said the flanks of the tents were of
Russian sheeting and the ends were of crocus or osnaburg and would not,
in his opinion, keep out rain. According to Major Zeigler the tents were
infamous and "many hundred dozen of cartridges were destroyed, and the
troops, not being kept dry were sick in great numbers."[95] The
packsaddles were too big--"big enough for elephants," said an officer;
the axes sent from Philadelphia were useless--"would bend up like a
dumpling," according to Major Zeigler. In fact Fort Washington was
transformed into a manufacturing city, and there was almost no kind of
work that was not done--though often the necessary tools had first to be
made. Two traveling forges had been sent west of which only the anvils
were missing!

It is not to be wondered that St. Clair, as General Harmar afterward
said, was often the first up in the morning and went the rounds of the
shops and laboratories greatly disturbed over the vast amount of work to
be done, the difficulty in the doing of it, and the ominous delay. For,
with the heat of the summer's end, the grass was fast withering, which
meant that feed for the horses must be transported--an item of great

The failure of the quartermaster-general to come forward, even when
ordered to do so, compelled St. Clair to bear the brunt of all the
results of mismanagement and delay. As noted, the delay of the
quartermaster was never explained. His very appointment occasioned an
outcry among officers who had known him; the soldiers laughed many of
his measures to scorn. One of his employees who arrived at Fort
Washington in charge of horses had, seemingly, no knowledge whatever of
frontier life. The horses were not provided with hopples or bells;
released from their long confinement in the barges they broke for the
woods and many were never again secured. St. Clair facetiously hinted
that their master would have had to wear a bell, had he gone to seek
them, in order to be secure from becoming lost. It was found later that
the horses had been fed, not from troughs, as ordered, but from the
sandy river beach, where their grain was strewn and much wasted, the
horses also injuring each other in an attempt to eat it.

But patience is exhausted before one half of the miserable story is
told. More than enough has been suggested to show the condition of the
"grand army" that had gathered and was now about to march northward. It
is almost needless to add that an eternal jealousy between militia and
regulars existed; that the troops were wretchedly clad; that nothing was
known of the country through which the march was to be made, and less
than nothing of the foe that was to be met and conquered. The camp of
the army (except artificers) was moved by St, Clair on August 7 six
miles northward from Fort Washington to Ludlow's Station,[96] where the
pasturage was better and where the troops were not under the influence
of the dramshops at the little settlement about the fort.

On the arrival of General Butler and Quartermaster Hodgdon, September 7,
a slight delay occurred through Butler's being appointed president of a
court-martial which General Harmar had demanded and by which he was
honorably acquitted. It was September 17 before the advance was begun
from Ludlow's Station northward.

When the army, twenty-three hundred strong, at last filed out from
Ludlow's Station, the plan seems to have been to build two forts between
Fort Washington and the proposed fort on the Maumee, the first at the
ford, twenty-three miles north, on the Great Miami, and the second about
the same distance in advance and twice as far from the Maumee.[97]

The army marched from Ludlow's Station under the command of General
Butler and reached the Miami September 17. St. Clair returned to Fort
Washington to hurry up the contractor's agents and muster in the militia
he had called from Kentucky. From September 17 to October 4 the army was
busy building a fort at "Camp Miami," which St. Clair named Fort

On October 3 Butler made the last preparations for the march, Fort
Hamilton being nearly completed. All the artillery cartridges (except
sixty rounds) were distributed, and one half of the stock of musket
cartridges. A body of contractor's stores was thrown across the Miami,
under cover, to join the army on its march.

Concerning the route and the road, little was known. At the outset of
the campaign St. Clair in his instructions was ordered "to appoint some
skillful person to make actual surveys of your march, to be corrected,
if the case will admit of it, by proper astronomical observations, and
of all posts you may occupy."[99] The first settlers in the Miami
purchase[100] had spread inland a few miles at this time; one
settlement, Ludlow's Station, was made five miles up Mill Creek and
another twelve miles up the Great Miami. Butler's route from Ludlow's
Station to the site of Fort Hamilton was undoubtedly already an open
trail that far. The day before he advanced from Fort Hamilton, Butler
wrote St. Clair: "I have just received a verbal report from Captain
Ginnon, the surveyor, who is returned. He has been seven miles, and says
the face of the country is level but very brushy, and in his opinion it
is impracticable for loaded horses to get on without a road.[101] Of
this I will be a better judge as I advance and try the present order of
march, &c. Should I find it impracticable to execute, I feel confident
that any directions that may be necessary to facilitate the movements
will meet your approval. The road is cut one and a-half miles to a good
stream of water and ground to encamp on. Five miles advanced of that is
a large creek, which is three feet deep at the place he crossed, but a
little below is a ford, ..."

On the fourth of October, with enough provisions to last a few days,
without its commander, who was at Fort Washington hurrying on three
hundred militia, the army under Butler crossed the Miami River and
entered the shadows of the Indian land. We have no definite record of
the first days' marches. It would not seem that more than five miles a
day were accomplished. The route was in alignment with the Eaton Road
between Hamilton and Eaton, Preble County. Four Mile (from Hamilton)
Creek--then known as Joseph's Creek--was crossed near the old "Fearnot
Mill," and the first encampment was made near what was afterward known
as Scott's tanyard on Seven Mile Creek--then called St. Clair's
Creek.[102] The line of march was up Seven Mile Creek, west of Eaton,
where the creek was forded. "The trace cannot now be definitely
located," wrote a Preble County annalist, a generation ago. "It was not
cut to as great width as most of the military roads, and the line has
been almost wholly obscured by the growth of the forest and the action
of the weather upon the soil."[103]

Narrow as the road here was, it was cut wider than St. Clair intended.
After the first day or two General Butler, as he suggested in his letter
of October 3, decided that St. Clair's tri-track plan of march was
impracticable, and gave orders that but one road should be cut, and that
the army march in a body.

On the seventh St. Clair came hurrying on from Fort Washington to join
his army. The militia had gone on on the fifth, but in bad temper.
Several deserted even upon arriving at Fort Washington. A sergeant and
twenty-five men deserted on the night of the third. A score of men
deserted from Fort Hamilton the night before the army marched. The
anxiety of the officers, and the herculean efforts to get the army into
fighting trim, had not created a very loyal spirit in the men who
marched. A little more chicanery and misjudgment and the entire army
would have mutinied. St. Clair, before mounting his horse, wrote Knox
that his troops amounted in all to twenty-three hundred. "I trust I
shall find them sufficient," he added. The words remind one of
Braddock's last letter to the British Ministry before leaving Fort
Cumberland for the death-trap on the Monongahela in 1755. Major Ebenezer
Denny traveled with St. Clair as aide-de-camp and has left us the
official account of the army's march. Denny was not anxious to serve.
"You must go," General Harmar declared, "some will escape and you may be
among the number."[104]

St. Clair and Denny reached Fort Hamilton on the seventh, and on the day
following pushed on after the army over the narrow course it had made;
this was running "north sixteen degrees." Four encampments were passed
and the militia, and St. Clair reached his army that evening. There was
full need of him. The army was making but five miles a day; and at that
disastrously slow pace the stores were not keeping up. Tonight (the
eighth) St. Clair wrote a stinging letter to Israel Ludlow. Instead of
having ninety thousand rations, as was promised, St. Clair had to write
"by day after tomorrow I shall not have an ounce unless some arrives....
If you found the transportation impracticable, you ought to have
informed me, that I might have taken means to have got supplies forward,
_or not have committed my army to the wilderness_.... No disappointment
should have happened which was in the power of money to prevent; and
money could certainly have prevented any here.... Want of drivers will
be no excuse to a starving army and a disappointed people."[105]

Another exceedingly unfortunate affair demanded St. Clair's attention,
in his opinion, that night. He had given carefully studied and explicit
orders by which the army should march. As noted, General Butler changed
the order of march as he threatened to do in his letter to St. Clair
from Fort Hamilton. The reasons for the change did not appeal to the
commander-in-chief; Butler was called to account for his action,
apologized, and stated his reasons. St. Clair had ordered that the army
march in three lines, contending that it was far more easy to cut three
roads, ten feet in width each, than to cut one road of thirty or forty.
St. Clair's method was that pursued by the wisest and most successful
generals--Forbes and Bouquet--in hewing the first roads across the
Alleghenies. "The quantity of timber," St. Clair records, "increases in
a surprising proportion, as the width of the road is increased;"[106]
the veteran conqueror of Fort Duquesne, General Forbes, wrote his
right-hand man Colonel Bouquet under the same circumstances, urging the
cutting of several paths, saying, "I don't mean here to cut down any
large trees, only to clear away the Brushwood and saplins...."[107]
Temporarily, St. Clair allowed Butler's alteration to stand, but
insisted that it should soon be corrected as the army pushed on.

The result was that Butler conceived an intense dislike for St. Clair.
The latter has placed it on record that, upon Butler's arrival at Fort
Washington, "he was soured and disgusted, and I suppose it was
occasioned by the fault that had been found with the detention of the
Troops up the river;"[108] Knox's rebuke, previously quoted, would make
plain the reason of any disinterest on the part of General Butler. St.
Clair's reproof here and now seemed to increase it; "from that moment,"
St. Clair said, "his coolness and distance increased, and he seldom came
near me. I was concerned at it, but as I had given no cause, I could
apply no cure."[109] As the half mutinous, because half fed, army
blundered on, it might seem that lack of provisions was its most serious
menace; yet it becomes pretty clear that the estrangement of Butler and
St. Clair was even more serious.

On the ninth of October, the army pushed on nine miles, and the horses
being tied up at night an eight o'clock start was achieved on the
morning of the tenth, but only eight miles were traversed. At two
o'clock on the afternoon of the eleventh the army drew out into the low
prairie land which lies six miles south of Fort Jefferson, Darke County,
Ohio, and halted for the night to search for a safe path through it. On
the day after, a party led by General Butler found a "deep-beaten"
Indian trail which skirted the lower levels "avoiding the wet land," and
this was followed for five and a half miles. There is no record that St.
Clair followed an Indian trail until near the center of Darke County.
The course heretofore had been run by the compass.[110]

From this night's encampment St. Clair rode forward a short mile and
chose the site for the next fort on the line from the Ohio River to the
Maumee. The spot chosen was near the present site of Fort Jefferson,
Ohio--latitude 50° 4['] 22[''] N. The work of erecting the new post was
undertaken with alacrity by many of the soldiers and officers--the
latter working in the mud with the men. Major Ferguson found the lack
of axes a serious handicap, there being but one ax to three
workmen.[111] Yet these discouragements were not as disheartening as the
continual dearth of provisions. This undermined discipline,
perseverance, loyalty, and honor. Desertions became more alarmingly
frequent, but men who were not fed could not work and would not march.
As half-rations, and those exceedingly poor, became the necessary order
of the day, the army slowly melted from under the discouraged St. Clair.
Every night found the army smaller and yet more discouraged.[112] In
vain St. Clair beseeched Hodgdon to hurry on provisions.[113] But the
contractor's horses were lacking and those to be had were unfit for the
heavy loads bound to them.

And here at Fort Jefferson another and more pitiful estrangement
between St. Clair and Butler occurred. While the fort was being erected,
the latter officer came to St. Clair's tent and, in view of the slow
advance of the army and the lateness of the season, asked St. Clair for
a thousand picked men with permission to hurry on by a forced march to
the Maumee and begin the erection of the fort there to be built. "I
received the proposal," records St. Clair, "with an astonishment that, I
doubt not, was depicted in my countenance, and, in truth, had liked to
have laughed in his face, which he probably discovered. I composed my
features, however, as well as I could, told him, though it did not
appear to me, at first view, as a feasible project, nevertheless, it
deserved to be considered; that I would consider it attentively, and
give him an answer in the morning, which I accordingly did, with great
gravity: and from that moment, his distance and reserve increased still
more sensibly."[114] Butler seems to have considered himself treated
with contempt in this instance. It cannot be supposed that such a brave
veteran officer as Butler could have asked a thing which it was out of
St. Clair's power to grant; yet from the records of the condition of
affairs it is difficult to see how St. Clair could have risked dividing
his army which, for the whole week following, was on half-rations, and
men deserting by twos and threes and even scores every night. Passing
the question--which in no way can be decided--of the propriety of
Butler's plan, the circumstance seems to have deeply embittered a brave
and good man with whom Fate had been dealing most unkindly since the
very beginning of the present campaign. As will be seen, it were a
kindness to Butler to believe that continued untoward fortune rendered
him mentally incapable of acting henceforward in a sane manner toward
General St. Clair.

Explorations were carried on throughout the twenty-third and the line of
march on the Indian trail, previously discovered, was renewed on the
twenty-fourth; the army stumbled helplessly on to Greenville Creek,
where the city of Greenville, Ohio, now stands. This small effort to
advance was more than the hungry army could endure and one whole dark
week was spent here waiting for provisions. The condition of army
discipline was probably indescribable. The Kentuckians, who formed the
large portion of the militia, were not afraid of the savages but the
lack of food completely demoralized them. On the last day of October a
large party numbering at least sixty deserted, and, hastening down the
roadway which the army had cut, threatened to seize the provision train
that was supposed to be slowly nearing the sorry army. The threat cast a
gloom over the army and St. Clair was compelled to order out the First
Regiment, not so much in pursuit of the deserters,[115] as for the
protection of the needed provisions. The army, weakened by the absence
of this regiment, marched on--following an Indian trail that ran north
from Greenville on the general alignment of the present Fort Recovery
Road. St. Clair states the direction of the path as "north 25°

Added to St. Clair's many discouragements and Butler's disaffection,
was physical ailment. The touch of gout experienced on the journey over
the Alleghenies did not leave him. In his meager _Journal_ he records on
October 24: "So ill this day that I had much difficulty in keeping with
the army."[117] November dawned wet and cold but on the first his
"friendly fit of gout" was growing better.

On the third of November the army made its last day's march--little
dreaming that it was the last or that just ahead lay the bloodiest
battlefield in American pioneer history. The Thomas Irwin manuscript,
previously quoted,[118] gives us a glimpse of the day that is of
singularly pathetic interest. "In the afternoon of the 3^d Something
Broke which Caused a general halt Nearly one hour the Day was Cold us
waggoners in front had a very handy way of making fire we made up a
Large fire Several of the officers Collected around to warm themselves
Gen^l St Clair was Brought and took a Seat he not Being able to walk
they Discoursed on Different Subjects one was where they thought we
were the general oppinion was that we had passed over the Dividing ridge
Between the Miamie waters and was then on the waters of St. Marys Col
Serjant Came up at the time Stated the advance gard had Chased 4 or 5
Indians from a fire out of a thicket & got part of a venison at it he
Likewise stated there had Been more Indians Seen that Day than any Day
previous The General observed that he Did not think the Indians was
watching the motions of the army with a view to attack them other than
Steal horses or Catch a person if they had a Chance We all Coincided [?]
in that oppinion." Poor St. Clair! Was ever a general more terribly
mistaken? Just beyond lay Little Turtle, now closing swiftly in on the
doomed army.

"The army moved about two miles," continues Irwin, "from there Halted to
Encamp at a good place But Scarce of Water an Express Came up from the
advance gard give information that they had arrived at a fine running
Stream of water and a good place to Encamp the army moved to S^d Creek
got there a Little after Sunset. it was Between 8 & 9 oclock Before the
army got fixed to Rest." Then follows the ominous sentence: "this was on
the 3^d of November 1791."

Happy it is that the bloody promontory to which St. Clair's army hobbled
late on that cold November night can forever bear the cheerful name
which another and more successful campaigner--whose soldiers were not
always half-famished--gave it. And still no thoughtful student can look
upon the slow-moving Little Wabash from the present site of Fort
Recovery, Ohio, without remembering that here Camp Destruction was
pitched before ever Fort Recovery was erected. A fine high plateau or
promontory thrusts itself out into the lower flats through which the
river curves. At its extreme point the river approaches on the left and
in front. On the right are extensive fields where the sunlight plays so
tenderly that it is difficult to picture the rank swamp which lay there
a century ago. Beyond the river, level flats extend half a mile and more
to the foothills beyond.

Major Denny had accompanied the advance guard and quartermaster to this
spot, and though "it was farther than could have been wished," word was
sent back to the army advising that the march be continued to that
point. It being "later than usual when the army reached the ground this
evening," records Denny, "and the men much fatigued prevented the
General from having some works of defense immediately erected." The army
camped in a hollow square on the summit of the promontory; General
Butler commanded the right and front and his troops under Majors Butler,
Clarke, and Patterson lay in two lines along the edge of the high ground
near the Wabash. The left was composed of the battalions under Bedinger
and Gaither, in the first line, and Lieutenant-colonel Darke's troops in
the second. "The army was Encamped in a hollow Square," says Irwin,
"allong the Bank of s^d Creek perhaps 50 yards Between the Lines so
that the rear Could go to the Creek for water." The militia was sent
forward across the Wabash and encamped about one-fourth of a mile in the
bottoms. The tired men fell to work gathering wood, and soon two rows
of fires were brightly blazing in the narrow avenue between the troops
of Butler on the left and Darke on the right. The rain had turned to
snow. Many of the exhausted men sank instantly to sleep.

As if half conscious of the doom hanging over the army, certain of the
officers were given to pondering on the number of Indians seen that day.
"Fresh signs," writes Denny, "... appeared today in several places;
parties of riflemen detached after them, but without success." The Irwin
MS. reads: "The advance gard Seen they Supposed about 30 Indians in the
Bottom on the other Side of s^d Creek [Wabash] when they arrived at it
in the Evening and had Seen Considerable Sign that Day." The premonition
of disaster intensified as the camp became quiet and the blazing fires
were brightly reflected in the light snow. Among certain officers the
premonition took shape, and it was determined to send out a party to
reconnoiter. Captain Butler at first resolved to lead the party, but
soon thought it improper to leave the camp. Accordingly, Colonel Gibson
went to Captain Slough of the first battalion of levies carrying a
raccoon in his hand; finding Slough, he invited him to his tent to see
"how to dress a racoon Indian fashion."[119] Captain Butler joined them,
and the three went to General Butler's tent where wine was served.
Slough agreed to go out with a party of volunteers, nominally to catch
"some of the rascals who might attempt to steal horses." It is plain,
whatever the officers may have given as a reason for the scouting
expedition, that Slough was sent to feel of the woods--to guard against
surprise. His line of men paraded in the firelight before Butler's tent
before stealing out beyond the lines. Passing Colonel Oldham's tent,
Slough stopped and informed that officer of the detachment and its
mission. Colonel Oldham "was lying down with his clothes on" and
"requested me not to go, as he was sure my party would be cut off, for,
says he, I expect the army will be attacked in the morning; I replied,
that as I had received my orders I must go."

Slough led his party through the militia camp and onward about a mile on
the Indian trail. Here they were divided, each party hiding on opposite
sides of the path. Soon a party of Indians passed each hiding company;
one company opened fire. It was not long before the men realized that
something extraordinary was on hand. A larger body of Indians soon came
near Slough's band on the left of the trace, paused, and coughed as if
to attract another volley, and then passed on. The scouting party came
together on the trail and agreed that an Indian army was advancing; a
hurried march to camp followed. On the way "every fifteen or twenty
yards we heard something moving in the woods on both sides of the path,
but could not see what it was," wrote Slough. It was a thrilling moment
when these men heard Little Turtle's quiet lines worming their way
through the underbrush--an army making so strange a noise in the night
that even frontiersmen could not recognize it. Yet an unrecognized sound
brought utmost alarm; "we pushed on," said Slough, "and gained the
militia camp as soon as possible."

Slough's first thought was to send word immediately to St. Clair. He
hurried to Colonel Oldham's tent. "I was just going to dress myself,"
says Oldham, "and go and inform the commander in chief about it; I will
thank you [Slough] to inform the general that I think the army will be
attacked in the morning."

Slough hastened to General Butler's tent, but, seeing no one but the
sentry, passed on to Colonel Gibson's tent. Here he aroused Gibson and
Doctor M'Croskey, and repeated his alarming story. He asked Gibson to go
with him to General Butler. Colonel Gibson was not dressed, and urged
Slough to go alone and arouse Butler. He obeyed, and as he returned to
General Butler's tent the latter walked out of it and went to the fire.
Calling Butler aside, that the sentry should not overhear the news, "I
told him what colonel Oldham had said, and that, if he thought proper, I
would go and make the report to general St. Clair. He stood some time,
and after a pause, thanked me for my attention and vigilance, and said,
as I must be fatigued I had better go and lie down. I went from him and
lay down...." It was five days before General St. Clair heard of
Slough's scouting episode of the night of November 3.[120]

All that Slough and Oldham suspected was true and more. All night long
the Indians crept around the army, ready for an attack at sunrise. The
army began stirring at an early hour; some there were, it is sure, who
anxiously awaited the dawn. The troops paraded under arms, as usual,
before sunrise. Ranks had just been broken when a scattering fire was
heard in the militia camp, and soon the Indian yell. The militia stood a
moment and then fell back to the river, crossed it, and were upon Major
Butler's and Clark's battalions, throwing the latter into a confusion
that was never remedied despite the energy of those officers. The
Indians were upon the heels of the militia, but were repulsed by the
fire of the first line. With well-timed accuracy the Indians charged the
opposite side of the square, where, too, they were at first repulsed.
The American army was now practically surrounded--the savages lying
hidden in the brush, forests, and high grass on the low ground which
surrounded the promontory on three sides and in front. The artillery was
placed at the center of the two sides of the square and here the battle
raged most fiercely. For some time, it would seem, the honors of the
conflict were evenly divided. But from the position of the two armies it
can readily be seen that the American fire was not so effective as that
of the savages whose firmness and audacity was unparalleled. From their
concealed position it required little marksmanship to pick men off
rapidly on the high ground just beyond and hidden only by a low-lying
cloud of smoke from their own guns. The officers, hurrying back and
forth, offered conspicuous targets. From St. Clair (who had to be
assisted to mount his horse) down, the officers were brave and
efficient. As St. Clair passed down one line, Butler passed up the
other. They never met, though St. Clair frequently asked for Butler as
the battle wore away.

At last it was agreed that things were going badly and that a bayonet
charge, only, would dislodge the enemy, who were rapidly cutting down
the efficient strength of the army--making particular havoc among the
officers. Colonel Darke was thereupon ordered to turn the left flank of
the enemy, which he accomplished with firmness and success--driving the
savages several hundred yards. Yet soon they swarmed back, not being
held where they were, and, in turn drove the troops backward. About the
cannon, which the Indians were taught to dread, the battle ebbed and
flowed bloodily. As fast as the gunners were shot down others took their
places. Now and again the red line swept up to the guns and the piles of
slain were scalped, amid the smoke, in the very face of the army. On the
left flank, too, the savages were beginning to overpower and gain the
summit of the promontory and enter the lines. They were charged fiercely
but after each charge there was a sudden dearth of officers, and the
lines returned very thin. The army was now attacked from every side,
though not until late in the long three hours of conflict did the
Indians take the initiative. Their settled plan was to get the troops in
range, lie low, make no noise save with their guns, retire when
assaulted, but follow back eagerly. Such tactics were all that were
necessary. As in Braddock's battle beside the Monongahela, so here, the
white army on higher ground in plain sight could not do such fatal
execution, by any means, as the Indian army strewn among the standing
and fallen trees, the brush and rank grasses of the lower ground, and on
the sloping sides of the promontory.

By nine o'clock the army had been exposed for three hours to the
merciless Indian fire. Hundreds had fallen; the ground was literally
covered with dead and dying. The only question was, Could the remainder
escape? The army was cut off from the road. Benjamin Van Cleve, a young
man, has left record of this memorable break for the road when order to
retreat was at last given: "I found," he says, "the troops pressing like
a drove of bullocks to the right. I saw an officer ... with six or eight
men start on a run a little to the left of where I was. I immediately
ran and fell in with them. In a short distance we were so suddenly among
the Indians, who were not apprised of our object, that they opened to
us and ran to the right and left without firing. I think about two
hundred of our men passed through them before they fired."[121] An
opening being made, the army poured heedlessly along. No order or
semblance of order existed, save in a remnant of Clark's command which
essayed to cover the rear. In the very rear, on a horse which could not
be pricked out of a walk, came St. Clair, unmindful of the bloody tumult
behind him where the old men and wounded were being killed.

This awful battle was a fitting close for such a campaign. In almost
every sense it was the greatest defeat suffered by white men on this
continent at the hands of aborigines. St. Clair's army numbered on the
eve of November 3 one thousand four hundred and eighty-six men and
eighty-six officers. Of these, eight hundred and ninety men and sixteen
officers were killed or wounded. The army poured back to Fort Jefferson
and then on to Fort Washington. The path hewn northward became, like
Braddock's Road, a route for the hordes of Indians toward the frontiers.
Their victory, so bloody, so overwhelming, gave confidence. Perhaps
never before nor afterward did any battlefield present a scene equal to
that Wabash slaughter field. The dying were tortured and the dead
frightfully mutilated. On the theory that the army sought to conquer the
Indian land, sand was crushed into the eyes of the dead in cruel
mockery. Several scores of women followed the army--though contemporary
records are singularly silent on this point.[122] Many of them, it is
sure, fell into the hands of the savages and the first white visitors to
the battleground found great stakes driven through many corpses.[123]

The two underlying causes for this terrible reverse of American arms
were the long delay in getting the army on its feet, properly supplied;
and the undisciplined condition of the troops. The immediate cause of
the defeat was, without question, the failure of all the officers who
knew of Captain Slough's discoveries on the night of November 3 to
communicate them to General St. Clair. Colonel Oldham ordered Slough to
St. Clair; he went only to General Butler who dismissed him without
acceding to his spoken request to be allowed to take the news to the
commander-in-chief. The words of the standard authority on St. Clair's
defeat are perhaps severe, but no new information has come in half a
century to give ground for altering them; Albach says: "The
circumstances under which the omission occurred, would favor an
inference that he [Butler] sacrificed the safety of the army to the
gratification of his animosity against St. Clair. The evidence given
before the committee of Congress is conclusive that he failed, at least
to perform his whole duty in the premises."[124] Butler's side of the
story could never be told; fatally wounded while heroically exhorting
his men, the poor man was carried to his marquee under an oak, by his
brother, Captain Edward Butler. Propped up on his mattress, a loaded
revolver placed in each hand, the old veteran was left to his fate. As
his friends left the tent by the rear, the Indians surged in at the

St. Clair's road northward was the main thoroughfare to Fort Hamilton
and Fort Jefferson from the Ohio and, though superseded by another route
soon built parallel to it, was ever of importance in the burst of
population from Pennsylvania and Kentucky into the Old Northwest. But
the soldiers of St. Clair's successor were too superstitious to follow
that ill-starred track. And, as Forbes came successfully to Fort
Duquesne over a new route built parallel to Braddock's, so the second
conqueror of the Old Northwest cut a new road parallel to St. Clair's.



The defeat of St. Clair's army cast a nation into gloom. As the terrible
tidings sped eastward a thousand frontier cabins were filled with
dismayed men, women, and children. The passion into which it is said the
patient Washington was thrown, upon hearing the melancholy story, was
typical of the feeling of a whole people. There could be no doubt, now,
what the future would bring forth; a deluge of raiding savages, such as
had never overrun the frontiers since Braddock's defeat in 1755, would
certainly come; the desperate cry, "White men shall not plant corn north
of the Ohio," would now ring out over the thin fringe of frightened
settlements on the Miami and Muskingum, and with that cry would come
frenzied raiders from whose tomahawks men would do well to escape death
and women be fortunate if they were quickly killed. From all the
western settlements in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania a cry, anxious
and often piteous, was hurried over the mountains to Philadelphia for
aid and protection.

The young government now faced a problem difficult in the extreme with
fine courage, fully conscious of its own dignity and its own latent
power. Within six weeks of St. Clair's annihilation, the Secretary of
War submitted a statement to Congress which summed up the situation
briefly and clearly. The former treaties with the Indians, the efforts
for peace, the sorry details of the campaign were all described.
Peaceful and warlike efforts, alike, had failed. So much for the past.
For the future, the plan was already formulated and ready for adoption
by Congress. First, the war must be brought to an end; if peace could be
secured without further resort to arms, well and good; "it is
submitted," read the Secretary's communication, "that every reasonable
expedient be again taken ... that the nature of the case, and a just
regard to the national reputation, will admit." Those in best position
to judge, however, were sure that the pride of victory was so strong
among the confederated nations that "it would be altogether improper to
expect any favorable result from such [peaceful] expedients," and
Congress was warned accordingly that it was "by an ample conviction of
superior force only, that the Indians can be brought to listen to the
dictates of peace on reasonable terms." It was properly insisted that
relinquishment of territory formerly ceded by the savages could not be
arranged "consistently with a proper regard to national reputation." The
plan included the organization of a new army, comprising three hundred
cavalry, three hundred artillerymen, and five regiments of infantry of
four thousand five hundred and sixty men. It was to be styled "The
Legion of the United States," and was to be divided into four
sub-legions of one thousand two hundred and eighty non-commissioned
officers and privates each. The mistakes of the past dictated the
necessity of having this force disciplined "according to the nature of
the service;" its ultimate object was to establish a strong post on the
present site of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

To secure a comprehensive grasp of the interesting campaign now
undertaken, it is necessary to keep in mind simultaneously three
situations: this new army, the moving companies of peace commissioners,
and that ragged pathway northward from Fort Washington with the little
stockade forts which guarded it. These varying phases will be treated
chronologically, at the risk of coherency, and the scattered threads
gathered much in the tangled order in which they were spun amid many
hopes and many fears.

One of the first important matters, in this as in previous campaigns,
was to retain the neutrality of the Six Nations. The efforts in the year
preceding had been approximately successful, though, according to his
biographer, Stone, Joseph Brant with a party of Mohawks was present at
St. Clair's defeat. As early as January 9, 1792, an express was hurried
off to the Reverend Samuel Kirtland, veteran missionary among the
Iroquois, informing him that Colonel Pickering had invited the
principal chiefs of the Six Nations to visit Washington. He was urged to
assist in securing their acquiescence, especially Joseph Brant's, and to
accompany them on the journey.

The next act of Secretary Knox is peculiarly significant and
interesting. Captain Peter Pond, a trader, and one William Steedman were
ordered to proceed westward to the hostile tribes on the Maumee,
feigning to be traders. "No doubt can exist," wrote Knox, "that our
strength and our resources are abundant to conquer, and even extirpate
the Indians.... But this is not our object. We wish to be at peace with
those Indians--to be their friends and protectors--to perpetuate them on
the land. The desire, therefore, that we have for peace, must not be
inconsistent with the national reputation. We cannot ask the Indians to
make peace with us, considering them as the aggressors: but they must
ask a peace of us. To persuade them to this effect is the object of your
mission. Insinuate, upon all favorable occasions, the humane disposition
of the United States; and, if you can by any means ripen their
judgement, so as to break forth openly [disclose yourselves], and
declare the readiness of the United States to receive, with open arms,
the Indians, ... do it.... You might persuade some of the most
influential chiefs to repair to our posts on the Ohio, and so, from post
to post, to this place."[126] Perhaps never in warfare were spies sent
amongst an enemy on so remarkable a mission.

In response to the Government's invitation, fifty Indian chieftains from
the Six Nations arrived in Philadelphia on March 13. They were treated
with utmost courtesy by the government officials and proper gifts
distributed. Among other benefits, fifteen hundred dollars a year was
promised by the United States to be spent encouraging education and
agriculture in the Iroquois land. The chief boon secured by this display
of hospitality and liberality was the promise that the Six Nations would
wholly abstain from war and would immediately send a delegation to the
western tribes to mediate between them and the United States, secure an
armistice, and make plans for a final treaty of peace. In this promise
the Government placed great hope. The Six Nations were the most
prominent of their race on the continent and their chieftains exerted an
influence equaled by none. Having received, in person, from the nation's
highest executive officers, protestations of friendliest nature, they
were the best emissaries that could possibly treat with the hostile
tribes on the Maumee on behalf of the Government.

Yet efforts to avert war did not stop here. By May it was determined to
send an envoy extraordinary to the Maumee, if the hazard could possibly
be accomplished. The Iroquois chiefs would, it was believed, keep their
solemn pledges, yet affairs of such a nature usually developed very
slowly among red-men and in the present crisis there was no time to be
lost. Accordingly a fitting personage was chosen by President Washington
to make the perilous attempt. His choice fell quickly on the brave
leader of the Ohio Company pioneers to Marietta--General Rufus Putnam.
Sufficient provision for his family in case of a disastrous termination
of his journey being promised by the Government, the quiet, bold pioneer
departed from his frontier home on May 22 for Fort Washington. His
instructions were explicit. He was first to assure the hostile nations
that the United States did not in the least desire any of the Indian's
land, but rather solemnly pledged itself to "guaranty all that remain,
and take the Indians under our protection." In turn the Indians were to
agree to a truce and call in all war-parties. The most prominent chiefs
were to be invited to Philadelphia to make a treaty; on his way westward
General Putnam was empowered to release all Indian prisoners retained at
Fort Washington and give the women presents to carry home with them in
token of the Government's pacific intentions.[127]

The frontier to which Putnam now came was in need of brave men and
strong. These had been long months since that dark November day when the
remains of St. Clair's shattered army poured back upon Fort Jefferson
and Fort Hamilton, Brigadier-general Wilkinson now commanded at Fort
Washington and with a firm hand was managing affairs on the firing-line.
His outposts, Forts Hamilton and Jefferson, were frequently surrounded
by Indian scouts sent down the narrow trace from Little Turtle's
cantonments on the Maumee, but no attack on these posts had yet been
made in force. Such an attack was frequently anticipated, and many
sudden calls to arms sounded now and again within the little garrisons
lost so far within the northern forests. The brave Captain John
Armstrong still commanded at Fort Hamilton, guarding the strategic ford
of the Great Miami and the narrow roadway toward Fort Jefferson and the
silent corpse-strewn battle-ground beyond. Wilkinson's principal duty
was to keep the garrisons of his three little forts alive and in heart,
and keep a watchful eye on the victorious enemy. In January, calling on
volunteers from the country about Cincinnati, Wilkinson organized a
little company to visit St. Clair's slaughter-ground. The snow was two
feet deep--a depth seldom if ever exceeded in southwestern Ohio.
Kentucky volunteers crossed the Ohio on ice above the mouth of the
Little Miami. Leaving Fort Washington January 25, the fatal field was
reached February 1. Such was the depth of snow that comparatively few
bodies could be found, save as here and there, on knolls and ridges, a
white mound of driven snow marked where a wolf had left a scalped and
mangled corpse. The winter of 1791-92 likewise witnessed the erection of
an intermediary post between Forts Hamilton and Jefferson, most
appropriately named Fort St. Clair. It was erected by a body of men
under command of Captain John S. Gano, under whom William Henry Harrison
served, half a mile west of the present site of Eaton, Preble County, at
St. Clair's Crossing of "Garrison Branch" of Seven Mile Creek.

As the spring of 1792 opened, and the forest roads became passable, it
was expected that the Indians, by a concerted movement, would attempt to
sweep the three forts north of the Ohio and make good their unjust claim
to possession of that northern shore.

Accordingly spies were kept well out on the trails for any sign of an
advancing army. Others were sent nearer the Indian's lair. On April 7
two messengers, Freeman and Gerrard, were sent from Fort Washington with
a speech to the hostile tribes, being ordered to follow Harmar's Trace
up the Little and Great Miamis. Three days later Wilkinson sent word to
Armstrong to order out a spy by way of St. Clair's road, who should
carefully study the route all the way to the Miami towns. Accordingly
one of the boldest men on the frontier, William May, was ordered to
"desert" to the enemy and, shaving his head and adopting their dress and
manner of living, to learn all that was being planned and done in the
red-men's camps. On May 12 Sergeant Reuben Reynolds was ordered to
"desert" from Fort St. Clair and also follow St. Clair's route to the
Maumee and reside with the Indians until a favorable opportunity to
return occurred. On May 20 Colonel Hardin and Captain Alexander Trueman
left Fort Washington for the Maumee, bearing an official message from
the Government, of similar tenor to that given to General Putnam. Thus
six men had preceded Putnam to the Maumee, and only two of them went
merely as spies--May and Reynolds. The fate of four of these men
dampened the ardor of the frontier people for peaceful efforts. Freeman,
Gerrard, Trueman, and Hardin were all murdered before reaching the
Maumee. Reynolds and May returned in safety later in the year.

General Putnam learned at Fort Washington of the fate of his
predecessors and determined not to throw life away uselessly. Favorable
messages having been received from the upper Wabash, he turned all his
efforts toward securing a meeting with the Wabash Indians in the fall of
the year at Vincennes, Indiana. No more attempts were made to reach the
Maumee over the "Bloody Way," as the Indians termed the route north from
Fort Washington. "The President of the United States must know well why
the blood is so deep in our paths," exclaimed a Shawanese chieftain,
"... he has sent messengers of peace on these bloody roads, who fell on
the way." A messenger was even now preparing to come this way to whom
bloody roads were not new and for whom they had no fear. Leaving the
Indian commissioners going slowly on their way to a conference with the
hostile tribes at "Auglaize"--the mouth of the Auglaize River where
Defiance, Ohio, now stands--and Putnam waiting for the Weas and
Kickapoos to assemble at Vincennes, let us look back to the gathering
"Legion of the United States" into whose ready hands the matter of peace
would go when the Indians got courage enough to throw off the mask.

It was one thing to plan an army on paper but a far more serious task to
raise and organize it. And first and foremost arose the trebly difficult
task of choosing a leader. The officers of Revolutionary days were fast
passing into old age, and as Washington looked about him to the comrades
of former years, there were few left capable of taking up the difficult
task that St. Clair laid down. A memorandum left by Washington indicates
the serious necessity of a wise choice and the nature of the possible
candidates. Lincoln was sober, honest, and brave, but infirm and past
the vigor of life; Baron Steuben, a stickler for tactics, was likewise
sober and brave and sensible, but a foreigner; Moultrie was brave and
had fought against the Cherokees, but Washington knew little of him;
McIntosh was considered honest and brave but was not well known and
consequently not popular, and was infirm; Wayne was "More active and
enterprising than Judicious and cautious. No oeconomist it is
feared:--open to flattery--vain--easily imposed upon and liable to be
drawn into scrapes. Too indulgent (the effect perhaps of some of the
causes just mentioned) to his Officers. Whether sober--or a little
addicted to the bottle I know not;" Weedon was not deficient of resource
and was of a convivial nature though not unduly so; Hand was sensible
and judicious and not intemperate; Scott was brave and "means well" but
not suited for extensive command, convivial; Huntington, sober,
sensible, discreet; Wilkinson, lively, sensible, pompous, and ambitious,
"whether sober or not I do not know;" Gist, activity and attention
doubtful, but of noble spirit; Irvine, sober, tolerably sensible,
prudent, an "oeconomist;" Morgan, fortunate and had met with _éclat_,
possibly intemperate, troubled with palpitation and illiterate; Williams
sensible though vain, in poor health; Putnam, (Rufus) strong-minded,
discreet, "nothing conspicuous in character ... known little out of his
own State and a narrow circle;" Pinckney, brave, honorable, erudite,
sensible and a stickler for tactics.[128]

No other officers are named as possible candidates for a position no one
could possibly desire. As the list stands, it forms a startling
refutation of the oft repeated saying that though drinking was common in
the old days it was not carried to excess. The problem with Washington
seems to have been, speaking mildly, to find a responsible man with a
clear head. His decision at first seems to have wavered between Lincoln
and Moultrie; under these men as major-generals, Wayne, Morgan, and
Wilkinson might serve as brigadiers. What may have induced the final
decision cannot be stated definitely, but the command was at last
offered to Brevet Major-general "Mad" Anthony Wayne and it was accepted.
Brevet Brigadier-generals Wilkinson and Thomas Posey were second in
active command. Major-general Scott was to command fifteen hundred
mounted Kentucky militia.

As with Washington, so with Wayne, the most serious task was to choose
his officers from the recruits which early in 1792 were hurried on to
Pittsburg to defend the frontier under the dashing hero of Stony
Point--Wayne's appointment having been well received everywhere save in
Virginia and Kentucky. If the army was to be disciplined "according to
the nature of the service"--Indian-fighting--Indian-fighters must do the
training. "We will be under the necessity," wrote Wayne to Knox from
Pittsburg, "of discharging many of the men--who never were--nor never
will be fit for service, they are at present a nuisance to the Legion &
a useless expense to the publick.... You may rest assured I will
carefully guard against improper appointments or recommendations--we
shall have some difficulty before we can purge the Legion of Characters
who never were fit for Officers."[129] Such administrative ability as
this was the very thing needed on the frontier; it drove from the
gathering army many useless characters and made possible the
encouragement and promotion of such valuable men as Lieutenant William
Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame), Eaton, and William Henry Harrison. The
fine spirit of Wayne infused courage throughout the frontier and made
men eager to serve and win promotion, though sometimes "without shoez or
shirts called upon to do the hardest duty & 7 mo. pay due--while they
have not money to buy a chew of tobacco."[130]

One of the most interesting manuscripts now extant of Wayne, his army,
its marches and battles, is preserved in the library of the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin. Its author was no less a personage than
Brigadier-general Thomas Posey, associated with General Wilkinson as
second in command of the army. General Posey's journal continually
emphasizes the human element in the scenes through which he passed, and
frequent side-lights from this hitherto unused source will be introduced
in this narrative.[131] Posey reached Pittsburg on August 2. "As we
passed through the upper part of Virginia," he leaves record of the
journey across the mountains, "the people would often say what a pitty,
such a likely parcel of young men were Going to be Slaughtered by the
indians as Gen^l St Clair's army was." One of the most striking
observations of Pittsburg was the ominous statement, "at least one half
of the People of Pittsburg are in mourning for Gen^l Richard Butler."
Throughout the summer the gathering troops remained at Pittsburg while
rigid examinations and drilling exercises were begun. On November 28 the
army moved down the Ohio to a distance of seven miles above Fort
McIntosh at the mouth of Beaver Creek and twenty-two miles below
Pittsburg; this place was accordingly named Legionville. Here, "out of
the reach of whisky, which baneful poison is prohibited from entering
this camp," as Wayne wrote the Secretary of War,[132] winter quarters
were established, houses for the soldiers being erected first and those
for officers afterward. Severe daily drilling was the order of the day
at Legionville, the result of which, though delayed, was sure.

While Wayne was whipping an army into shape on the upper Ohio two events
were on the tapis at opposite corners of the Black Forest of the West to
which the officials at Philadelphia were paying much heed. At Vincennes,
on the twentieth of September, Putnam was scheduled to meet the
delegates of the Wabash Nations for a treaty of peace, and early in
October the commissioners from the Six Nations were to meet the chiefs
of the disaffected northwestern tribes at the mouth of the Auglaize on
the broad Maumee. At Vincennes Putnam accomplished all that could have
been expected, and a treaty was signed by thirty-one Wabash chiefs on
September 27. The treaty, finally, was not ratified by the United
States Senate because of an objectionable clause which was not
compatible with the law of eminent domain.[133]

Where Defiance, Ohio, now stands, flanked by its two rivers, one of the
most unique conventions in our history assembled as the autumn winds
stirred the forests. From the east, Cornplanter and a stately retinue of
forty-eight chiefs of the Six Nations proceeded to "Au Glaize." From
even the far-away Canadian Nations emissaries arrived. When at last the
famous convention assembled, and the pipe passed from chieftain to
chieftain, two speakers, only, addressed the assembly. Red Jacket spoke
for the Senecas and the delegation from the Iroquois land. A Shawanese
chieftain, whose name was not recorded, answered on the part of the
hostile tribes. His words were a bold rebuke to the Six Nations for
maintaining friendship with the United States. "... although you
consider us your younger brothers," sneered the Shawanese, "your seats
are not at such a distance, but what we can see your conduct plainly;
these are the reasons why we consider you to speak from the outside of
your lips; for whenever you hear the voice of the United States, you
immediately take your packs and attend their councils.... We see plainly
folded under your arm the voice of the United States--wish you to unfold
it to us, that we may see it freely and consult on it." So saying he
threw a triple string of wampum across the fire to the Senecas rather
than handing it across in a friendly way. That Philadelphia conference
of last March did not please the western tribes.

In turn the Seneca sketched the story of the French and English
domination and of the birth of the United States, which, he said,
desired peace with the confederated Indians. The Shawanese repeated the
story of St. Clair's disaster of the year before and asserted that the
Indians claimed certain lands east of the Ohio and all lands west of
that river. Those to the eastward would be given up for proper
compensation. In reply to the Seneca's desire to bring about a treaty
with the hostile nations, the Shawanese replied: "Inform General
Washington we will treat with him, at the Rapids of Miami, next spring,
or at the time when the leaves are fully out.... We will lay the bloody
tomahawk aside, until we hear from the President of the United
States...."[134] Cornplanter returned eastward with his delegation and
the reports of the convention were hurried on to Philadelphia with the
ominous hint that no boundary would ever be consented to by the
northwestern Indians save only the Ohio River. The message as it spread
across the Alleghenies brought dark days and anxious nights to cabins on
the thin fringe of pioneer settlements from the Muskingum to the Miami.

As the winter winds came down from the north, two of the spies sent out
from Fort Washington came in from the forests--May from Niagara and
Reynolds from Montreal. Leaving Fort Hamilton, May crossed St. Clair's
battlefield; beyond, in Harmar's trail, he found Trueman and two other
men killed and scalped; captured, he was saved from death by Simon Girty
and sold to Matthew Elliott, in whose employ he labored on the lakes. In
numerous instances he identified scalps of friends, in particular that
of Colonel Hardin. In September Girty had gone on a raiding expedition
to "Fallentimber" between Forts St. Clair and Hamilton to capture
horses, saying that he would "do every mischief in his power" and "raise
hell to prevent a peace."[135] Reuben Reynolds, after varied
experiences, came down from Montreal through the Vermont forests to
Philadelphia, where his deposition was taken by Washington's secretary,
Lear, October 19. The Lake Superior Indians had joined the confederacy
and "they expected to have three thousand or three thousand five
hundred Indians in the field against the Americans."[136] May, with
equally exaggerated reports, affirmed that there were "3,600 warriors"
at the Auglaize River.[137] Not long after this Wayne entertained at his
camp at Legionville several of the chiefs of the Allegheny, Cornplanter,
New Arrow, Big Tree, and Guasutha. Pointing to the Ohio from where he
sat, one of them--according to Posey's journal--said: "My Heart & mind
is fixed on that River & may that water Continue to run & remain the
boundary of everlasting Peice, between the white & Red People on its
opposite shores."

Few who had been watching the western situation believed but that spring
would bring war. The Indians did not even keep the promised truce. Major
Adair, encamped beside the "Bloody Way" within sight of Fort St. Clair,
was murderously attacked by Indians early in the morning of November 6.
Six whites were killed and five wounded and a large number of packhorses
purloined. However few attacks such as this occurred along the
frontier. In March, President Washington appointed the commissioners who
were to treat with the Indians at the rapids of the Maumee "when the
leaves are fully out." Benjamin Lincoln, Beverly Randolph, and Timothy
Pickering were appointed, and received their commissions April 26.
General Lincoln left on the twenty-seventh with the baggage for Niagara
by way of the Mohawk Valley; Pickering and Randolph left Philadelphia by
way of the Susquehanna on April 30.

On the same day another delegation departed from the upper Ohio for the
West but not altogether on a peaceful mission; it was Wayne's army,
disciplined, hardened, and eager for the long-anticipated conflict. To
Wayne, war seemed inevitable; when informed that the commissioners were
to be sent to the Maumee according to agreement, he playfully expressed
a desire to be present "with 2500 of his commissioners in company, with
not a single Quaker among them!" Before leaving Legionville he had
ordered a number of color flags for the sub-legions of the Secretary of
War saying, with the confidence of a man who could not but win, "they
shall never be lost."

Thus the third army of the United States floated down the winding Ohio
in April, 1793. No other army on the Ohio, since the day Forbes's and
Bouquet's British regulars left Fort Pitt, could be compared with it in
discipline and trustworthiness. Harmar's and St. Clair's armies were
rabbles beside it. Yet there had been a great struggle to secure proper
subordination of officers and proper loyalty on the part of the rank and
file. Liberty meant license on the frontier, and here lay Wayne's
heaviest task and greatest victory. With a trained, sober army victory
was a matter of time only. However, the Government still looked for a
happy outcome of the convention at the rapids of the Maumee; and Wayne
was strictly ordered to make no hostile movement until the result of
that meeting was known. It was expected that, by August 1, the question
of war or peace would have been decided. Wayne landed, and encamped
about a mile below Fort Washington, where the high waters left only one
convenient spot, which was accordingly dubbed "Hobson's Choice." The
encampment extended to within four hundred yards of the village of
Cincinnati, according to the Posey journal. From this village and its
stock "of ardent spirit and caitiff wretches to dispose of it" Wayne was
anxious to be separated.

The summer passed slowly, and each day's tidings from the north was
awaited with such patience as could be mustered. Faithful drilling,
interrupted by fevers and influenza, was the order of the day, according
to General Posey's record. The number of challenges and duels suggests
something of the social order. On one occasion an officer challenged one
of his superiors who, in reply, had him arrested to obviate an
encounter. In June a premature report came that the peace commissioners
had failed in their mission. "We now have but one alternative left,"
wrote Posey, "and this is We must meet the Savage foe, The Emortal
Washington at the Head of our Government, and the Old hero Gen^l Wayne
and His well disciplined Legion, we have little to fear accept our god
and fear him in love." The summer wore on with little or no definite
tidings from the north. The troops were exercised daily and the
necessities of the possible campaign were pushed on up the line of forts
from the Ohio River to Fort Jefferson. Contractors and quartermasters
were kept busy supplying the comparatively large army. The army and the
nation waited for word from the rapids of the Maumee. What would that
word be?

As the leaves began to open, the emissaries of a hundred Indian nations
were threading the forests of the Old Northwest and Canada upon trails
converging on the western shore of Lake Erie. Roche de Bout,[138] as the
locality of the "Rapids of the Miami of the Lakes" was known, was on the
present site of Maumee City, Ohio. Great fields of Indian corn spread up
and down both sides of the broad valley; a score of vegetable plants
thrived amid the corn. In the same area probably no such amount of
ground was under cultivation by Indian squaws as in the Maumee Valley.
The spreading fields supported many villages and it was from these
important centers of Indian life that so many marauding parties
descended upon Kentucky, calling forth retaliating armies such as those
of Clark, Harmar, and St. Clair. And Harmar, only, had actually reached
this populous and fertile lair. Here the convention was to be held. The
United States commissioners had proceeded to Niagara where they were
entertained generously by Governor Simcoe at Navy Hall, a mile distant
from Fort Niagara, being advised that the delegates from the various
nations would undoubtedly be late arriving on the ground. On July 5,
Colonel Brant and fifty Indians arrived at Fort Erie from the Maumee to
meet and interview the American commissioners. This delegation alleged
that the warlike actions of General Wayne had prevented the meeting at
the rapids and inquired specifically whether or not the commissioners
were properly authorized to run a new boundary line. Before this
advanced deputation returned it was clear that the Indians would refuse
to recognize any treaty made since the famous Stanwix treaty of
1768.[139] By their instructions the commissioners[140] were ordered to
insist upon the boundaries established at the Treaty of Fort
Harmar.[141] From the beginning, despite the liberality of the offers of
the United States--trading-posts north of the Ludlow Line to be
evacuated and fifty thousand dollars to be paid to settle any
miscellaneous claims by Indians not benefited in previous
treaties--there was no hope of reconciliation. In fact there was no
agreement even among the "hostile" and the "peaceful" nations at Roche
de Bout. The delegates from the Six Nations did not agree with the
ill-disposed councils of the embittered Shawanese and Miami warriors and
were not advised of the final decision of the council. The American
commissioners were ever held off at arm's length. On the twenty-first of
July they reached the mouth of the Detroit River, and took quarters with
Captain Matthew Elliott. From this point communications passed to and
fro between the real convention at Roche de Bout and the Americans
fifty miles away. The last message from the Indians was sent August 13.
Its important paragraph read: "At our general council, held at the
Glaize last fall, we agreed to meet commissioners from the United
States, for the purpose of restoring peace, provided they consented to
acknowledge and confirm our boundary line to be the Ohio: and we
determined not to meet you, until you gave us satisfaction on that
point: that is the reason we have never met."[142] On the sixteenth day
of August the commissioners replied that the above message was a virtual
declaration of war, and declared that "impartial judges will not
attribute the continuance of the war to them."[143]

A glimpse into the council of Indians at the rapids is afforded us in
the deposition made by an unknown Pennsylvanian youth, who was captured
by Wea Indians in 1783 and who had lived among the Indians throughout
the ten years since that time. He attended the treaty. On the tenth of
July there were fourteen hundred Indians present; on the twentieth,
twenty-four hundred. Of these, eighteen hundred were warriors. It was
unanimously agreed that the Ohio should be made the boundary line and
that the Indians be paid for Kentucky. Simon Girty, Governor Simcoe's
aide-de-camp, a Lieutenant Silvy of the Fifth (British) Regiment, and
another British officer remained at Colonel McKee's house, which was
fifty yards distant from the council fire.

In the evenings the head chiefs, especially those of the Shawanese and
Delaware nations, met with Colonel McKee and his guests. "McKee always
promised that the King, their Father, would protect them & afford them
every thing they wanted in case they went to war.... Advise that they
ought not to make Peace upon any other terms than to make the Ohio the
boundary line. After the final decision, McKee furnished the savages
with arms, ammunition, scalping knives and Tomahawks even more than they
could use this winter." On the twenty-eighth of July the Indians
separated to reassemble "at au-Glaize twenty-four days from that time"
to watch Wayne and attack him if opportunity offered.[144]

Instantly a score of Indian runners were hurrying south and east to Knox
and Wayne with the secret code message to prepare for war.[145] The
exact date of Wayne's receipt of this message (sent from Niagara, August
23) is not recorded. It was two hours after midnight, September 24, when
the express thundered into Petersburg, Kentucky, with an order to
General Scott "to take the field with the Mounted Volunteers & to be at
Fort Jefferson By the first of October."[146] Hobson's Choice was the
scene of intense activity as September drew to a close, and by October 5
all was in readiness for the northward movement. Excluding invalids,
and garrisons to be left at the four forts on the line of march, Wayne
estimated his available force at twenty-six hundred regulars and three
hundred and sixty mounted volunteers. "... you may rest assured," Wayne
wrote Knox upon leaving Fort Washington, "that I will not commit the
legion [risk an engagement] unnecessarily; and unless more powerfully
supported ... I will content myself by taking a strong position advanced
of [Fort] Jefferson, and by exerting every power, endeavor to protect
the frontiers, and to secure the posts and army during the winter."[147]

Already the far-sighted Wayne had anticipated the matter of
road-building, an important department of a pioneer general's duty in
which he particularly excelled. As early as July 10, the American
commissioners to the hostile tribes wrote Secretary Knox that the Indian
scouts reported that Wayne "has cut and cleared a road, straight from
fort Washington, into the Indian country, in a direction that would
have missed fort Jefferson; but that, meeting with a large swamp, it
was, of necessity, turned to that fort, and then continued six miles
beyond it."[148] The very fact that when Wayne left Fort Washington,
October 7, he covered the seventy-five odd miles to the site of Fort
Greenville (Greenville, Ohio) in six days is proof enough that the
Indians' spies were well within the mark in saying that a road had been
built; more than that, packhorses had been wearing it deep into the
ground with heavy loads of food for mouths and guns, and large droves of
cattle had already rough-stamped Wayne's Trace from the Ohio to the
Stillwater. Faithful James O'Hara was quartermaster and Elliott and
Williams the contractors. Colonel Robert Elliott, a native of
Hagerstown, Pennsylvania, met his death at the hands of the savages at
the "bigg hill" near Fort Jefferson while engaged in hurrying on
provisions to the northern posts. "Mr Elliott had on a wig," records
General Posey in a strain of gloomy defiance, "the indians will not get
his skulp."

Mad Anthony Street, in Cincinnati, is the beginning of Wayne's Road
northward up Mill Creek Valley, thence running northwest to Fort
Hamilton on the watershed south of the head branches of the West Fork.
The route through Hamilton is given by Everts as across the sites of
Snider's paper-mill, Niles tool works, and Cape and Maxwell's
plant.[149] The old track crossed the Miami a few rods south of the
eastern end of the High Street bridge and from there circled around the
west end of what is locally known as the "Devil's Backbone" on what was
L. D. Campbell's peninsula but which is now an island. Wayne's first
camp was at Five Mile Spring, southeast of the village of Five Mile. The
old route passed over the present site of that village and kept on the
eastern side of Seven Mile Creek all the way to Fort St. Clair (Eaton,
Preble County). Two Mile, Four Mile, Seven Mile, and Nine Mile Creeks
were all so named from Wayne's crossing-places. Following up the valley
of Seven Mile about two miles, the old track leaves it near Nine Mile
Creek and turns due north, leaving Butler County in Wayne Township,
section 6. In Preble County the "south end" of Wayne's Trace has always
been used as a highway and known as "Wayne's Trace Road." The trace
passes through Washington Township east of Eaton, crossing the
Greenville Road on a bluff near a sycamore-tree on the east side of the
road. It crossed Banta's Fork at or near the "Forty-foot Pitch" and
ascended the high bank at a point on the east side of the present road.
The swamp which the Indian spies said had turned Wayne's route nearer
Fort Jefferson than was originally intended evidently lay in the
vicinity of Ithaca, Twin Township, Darke County. The first settler in
Brown Township, John Woodington, made his clearing beside Wayne's Trace
on the farm owned by William Herdman in section 28 on the Greenville
Pike. Through these parts the explorer will find the famous old track
partially marked out by the growths of young sycamores which sprang up
here when the forests were cut down. Many of the first settlers "saw on
the uncovered roots of trees, along the trace, the indisputable marks
of wagon wheels or of the heavy ordinance trains."[150]

1794 [_From the original in the library of Harvard University_]]

A happy interest attaches to an old route like Wayne's, from the very
fact that the labor spent in hewing it out and in transporting over it
vast quantities of provisions and ammunition was not expended in vain.
Wayne's Road, like Forbes's route across the Alleghenies, led to
victory; the dark winding tracks of the armies of Braddock and St. Clair
possess a romantic element that is fascinating in the extreme, but
wholly unsatisfactory. There is an inspiration in following the rough
tracks of men who won which is not found in the paths of men who, after
struggles perhaps more heroic because facing greater odds, failed. Wayne
was a thousand times better equipped for his campaign than was St.
Clair. Before his campaign, the savage war was not taken very seriously.
Now proper preparations had been made, approximately sufficient stores
accumulated, the official personnel sifted down; and as the "Legion of
the United States" went swiftly forward in the October sunlight of that
Indian summer, there was a sane consciousness of preparedness and power
which was all but victory. The Indians were quick to recognize and
describe, in their figurative way, the two chief characteristics of
Wayne as a frontier commander--he was both the "Black Snake" and the
"Whirlwind." When in motion, he swept through the forests like a
cyclone; the record of no pioneer army in America equals the marching
records of Wayne's Legion. It was a standing order that every march
should be under high pressure and that no break or interruption should
in any case delay the movement of the main body a single moment. This
impressed the savages tremendously; they had known no such army as
this--which advanced into their country almost as fast as others had run
out of it. Thus they talked of the "Whirlwind" around their northern
fires. Wayne, too, was a "Black Snake." He was as cunning as he was
impetuous. As will be seen, he built roads he never traversed, doubled
his track, and over and again completely outwitted the astonished Indian
spies that attempted, with sharp eyes in the brown leaves, to fathom
his purposes.

The lateness of the season prevented a more elaborate campaign than
Wayne had suggested to the Secretary of War. The army swept northward to
Greenville Creek and on the present site of Greenville, Ohio, erected
Fort Greenville--named by Wayne in honor of his dead friend General
Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary fame. By November 16, Posey records,
all the houses were completed and once more the drilling and
manoeuvering began. We have it under the hand of the same authority
that General Wayne affirmed that never in the Revolutionary War had he
commanded such well-drilled troops as these which spent the winter with
him buried deep in those Ohio forests. It is sure that a general never
needed well-drilled soldiers more; and no less sure that no troops
needed encouragement more than these. There were, however, the bright
sides to life even here. Though coffee was a dollar and brown sugar
seventy-five cents a pound, and whiskey five dollars a gallon, yet there
was good cheer and merrymaking. A battery was built for the officers to
play "fiver," of which the younger men became very fond. On one evening
the veteran General Scott entertained the officers in his apartments and
was drawn out to tell of pioneer Kentucky in whose battles he had
displayed so much courage and lost his three sons. "He told us how Col^o
Boon first discovered Kentucky," wrote Posey; "'Col^o Boon was a very
enterprizing, smart man,' said General Scott, 'but very whimsical.'"
There were frequent scouting expeditions in which the whole garrison was
interested. On one occasion Wells's audacious rangers fell upon three
Indians at their midday repast; one of the three in the pursuit was
compelled to leap into a creek and when he "came up" he was found to be
a white man, Christopher Miller. His life being saved, he renounced the
wild career, visited his aged parents in Kentucky, and then returned to
become one of Wayne's most successful spies. No doubt the soldiers
laughed at this transformation of a red into a white man, and perhaps
swore that if other Indians were dowsed equally well they would be found
to be equally white and to be wearing British uniforms!

There was one duty that fell now to Wayne that was not congenial. Posey
was one of the detachment which pushed forward in the December snow to
St. Clair's slaughter-ground and erected there the most advanced of the
chain of forts between the Ohio and Maumee. As the company neared the
spot, Captain Edward Butler touched Posey on the shoulder and said:
"When you reach the ground go to a large spreading oak which you cannot
fail to see. Under that oak my brother's marquee was pitched and there
you will find his bones which you can identify by a fracture of one
thigh bone."

"We went to the place," writes Posey, "and found part of his [General
Richard Butler's] bones, his skull and both thy bones, one we discovered
had been broken.... We collected all the bones and laid them in one
Pile, on every skul bone you might see the mark of the skulping knife a
round every skul bone." The pieces of guns--many barrels bent double by
fiendish Indians--were collected, and four cannon were discovered just
where an Indian prisoner had said they would be found. A strong fort
was built and very appropriately named Fort Recovery, Captain Alexander
Gibson commanding the garrison. On the sixth day, a portion of the party
returned to Fort Greenville. The erection of Fort Recovery was another
leap toward the Maumee and soon Indians began to arrive at Fort
Greenville bearing white flags and talking of an armistice and peace.
Wayne, obeying orders from the Secretary to end the war without another
campaign if possible, received the emissaries as though he believed
their lying rôle. Deceived by Wayne's attitude, one of the Allegheny
chiefs, Big Tree, committed suicide. He had sworn to kill three hostile
Indians to avenge the death of his "very dear friend" General Butler;
exasperated at the hint of peace he made way with himself.

The peace emissaries, and all talk of an armistice, faded with the
winter snows, and by early summer every plan for the crucial campaign
had been made both by the Indians and by Wayne. It was July before
Scott's fifteen hundred mounted volunteers arrived at Greenville.
Already one bloody skirmish had taken place near the walls of Fort
Recovery in which near a thousand Indians had participated. Large
quantities of stores had been forwarded to Greenville and Fort Recovery,
and the grand advance on the Maumee was on the eve of starting. Of this
campaign we have Lieutenant Boyer's official narrative,[151]
supplemented by the slight records of Posey and Lieutenant William
Clark, a brother of George Rogers Clark.[152]

At eight o'clock in the morning of July 28 Wayne with two thousand
regulars and fifteen hundred mounted volunteers set out for the Maumee
Valley from Fort Greenville. The route followed by St. Clair and used
during the winter by the Fort Recovery garrison was the course pursued,
and camp was pitched in the afternoon on Stillwater Creek after a
twelve-mile march. The next day the army was off before sunrise; we
"pushed forward without regard to bag or baggage," records Clark, "as if
not in search, but in actual pursuit of a flying & disorderly enemy."
Fort Recovery was reached at noon and the army camped a mile beyond. On
the day following the army crashed onward, following the winding stream
called a tributary of the "St. Mary's" by St. Clair, but which was in
fact the head of the Wabash. Clark says the stream was crossed "more
than a dozen times" and "Camp Beaver Swamp" was pitched where the stream
was found to be impassable, eleven miles from Fort Recovery. Much of the
journey today had been through wide prairies covered with nettles, the
water unfit to drink and mosquitoes, "larger than I ever saw," observed
Boyer. Today the road was opened as the army advanced and the route was
up the Wabash from the present village of Fort Recovery, Mercer County,

The construction of a bridge at Camp Beaver Swamp seventy yards in
length delayed the army one day but enabled the road-cutters to hew a
way through to the St. Mary River.[153] On August 1, the army pressed on
over the backbone of Ohio and down the northern slope into the basin of
the Maumee River, and encamped beside the famous little St. Mary River.
Today, emerging suddenly from the vast stretch of nettles and brush that
grew in the swampy district, the army suddenly drew out into a beautiful
level meadow, every corps of the army having the first view of all the
other divisions. This day Clark affirms that the army crossed the trace
followed by General Harmar in 1790 to the Miami village. Tonight the
army encamped by the St. Mary and on the morrow the erection of what was
first called Fort Randolph and later Fort Adams was begun.[154] This was
the seventh fortified post in the chain from the Ohio and was located on
the south bank of the St. Mary, four miles above Rockford (the old
Shane's Crossings), Mercer County, Ohio.

On the fourth the army hurried on about eleven miles to "a small, dirty
water," as Clark described it, "a branch of the Glaize [Auglaize]
River," where camp was fortified for the night. The day after, a march
of equal length "down the creek" to the camp described by Boyer as "Camp
forty-four miles in advance of Fort Recovery." Wayne's camps were each
proof against insult from the enemy, which accounts for his encamping
early each afternoon. On the afternoon of August 6, the army reached the
banks of the celebrated "Glaize," the Auglaize River. Here, according to
Posey, a stronger encampment than usual was built, named Fort Loramie.

As the Maumee was neared the feeling of the army was intense. While at
Fort Adams, Wayne had made feints at cutting two roads, one down the St.
Mary River and another northwest straight toward Roche de Bout. These
routes were both opened for some distance, that down the St. Mary at
least as far as the famous ford at Shane's Crossing--the present
Rockford.[155] That the Indian spies would report the building of these
roads, there was no doubt. But when on August 4 the swift advance was
renewed neither road was followed! A straight course northward into the
Auglaize Valley was taken--a route that could not have been pursued in
any but the driest weather. It ran northward from Fort Adams, probably
near the Fort Jennings of the War of 1812, situated on the left bank of
the Auglaize in the northwest part of Jennings Township, Putnam County,
Ohio. Thence the route was straight down the Auglaize in general
alignment with the present Defiance Road.

Wayne's tactics in road-building as he neared the enemy's villages is
perhaps quite unparalleled; indeed, as will be emphasized, this
remarkable campaign was not less impressive to the savages--these swift
plunges through the forests, the sudden pauses and the astonishing
feints--than was the battle which soon crushed the Indian confederacy.
At the same time the careful historian would greatly err should he not
give Wayne credit for obeying, even now, the earnest commands of his
superiors to secure an armistice and a peace without a battle. Secretary
Knox had, over and again, urged Wayne to secure peace without bloodshed
if possible. A battle in any case was hazardous; there were
possibilities of defeat; there were greater promises of a continuous war
even in case of an American victory. The British had displayed
characteristic arrogance in building a fort at Roche de Bout this very
spring, around which the Indian cohorts were probably gathering.
Complications with England were undoubtedly possible, if not entirely
probable. From Lieutenant Clark's journal it is clear that General
Wilkinson proposed, as soon as the Auglaize was reached, to make a dash
with a flying column upon the populous district at the junction of the
Auglaize with the Maumee. Wayne refused to consider the plan[156]--and
throughout the remainder of Clark's journal his words are well-nigh
abusive of General Wayne's whole management of the campaign.[157] The
dare-devil Wayne's caution at this strategic juncture of this important
campaign portrays an element of steadiness for which the hero of Stony
Point has perhaps never received sufficient credit.

On the eighth of August, after marching through five miles of
cornfields, where were "vegetables of every kind in abundance,"
according to Boyer, the tired Legion came in view of the Maumee, of
which they and a whole nation had heard so much. The spot of encampment
was the site of the present city of Defiance on the commanding point
between the rivers, and here in the three days succeeding, Fort Defiance
was erected. To the Indians the name of the spot was Grand Glaize.[158]
Wells's rangers reported that the Indian army was lying two miles above
the British fort, on the west bank of the Maumee. According to Posey,
Wayne on the eleventh despatched an old Indian to the hostile camp with
offers of peace; two days later an old squaw was posted off with a
similar message. Neither returned. On the sixteenth, the fort being
nearly completed, Major Hunt was left in command, and the grand advance
began. The route was down the left bank of the Maumee straight toward
the painted lines of Little Turtle's army. Christopher Miller--the
red-man made white by that plunge in the creek--met the army today with
a message from the chieftain White Eyes, Clark records, asking Wayne to
remain ten days at Grand Glaize, not erecting a fort, and the Indians
would perhaps treat with him. "This letter," Lieutenant Clark states,
"was generally considered as a challenge."[159]

Nineteen miles was made the first day (August 16) and twelve the day
following. As the road was "generally bad," as Boyer affirms, these
tremendous marches must be considered remarkable, for each camp was
heavily fortified and the enemy was just at hand. The spies in advance
were unceasing in their vigilance and activity; and on the eighteenth
poor May, who had lived with the Indians as a spy the preceding winter
at Wayne's command, was entrapped and captured, suffering a most cruel
death. This day the army encamped forty-one miles from Fort Defiance and
made a strong entrenchment which was named Fort Deposit. Here the heavy
baggage was stored that the troops might go into action unencumbered.

On the twentieth, at seven in the morning, the Legion advanced in
fighting order. The Indian army, its left wing lying on Presque Isle,
was stretched across the valley for two miles in a well-chosen position.
A tornado had swept the forest here and the mass of fallen trees offered
a particularly advantageous spot for the Indians' favorite method of
fighting. Such spots were very common in the old Black Forest of the
West and were generally known as "fallen timber" by the Indians and
pioneers;[160] in them cavalry was almost useless. Thus the mounted
volunteers, the Indians believed, would be debarred from the fight.

At eleven o'clock the advanced lines met. At the first burst of sudden
flame the American vanguard of volunteers was staggered, perhaps
surprised at the fire from an unseen enemy lying beneath the tangled
wind-rack of the forest. The guards on the right fell back through the
regulars commanded by Cook and Steele. The regulars were thrown into
confusion. It was fifteen minutes before order was restored but when
joined by the riflemen and legionary cavalry, a charge with trailed arms
was ordered and the savages were pricked out from their lairs with the
point of the bayonet. A heavy firing on the left announced that the
battle now was raging there, but only for a moment. The whole Indian
plan of battle was destroyed by the impetuous bayonet charges of troops
hard-drilled in the dull days at Legionville, Hobson's Choice, and in
the snows of Greenville. The redskins hid where a tornado had
passed--not expecting another more destructive than the first! For two
miles the scattering horde was pursued headlong through the forests. A
halt was ordered just within sight of the British fort, whose guns were
silent though menacing. The Indians poured on down the valley toward the
present site of Toledo and Lake Erie.

The battle of Fallen Timber was a decisive and important victory. The
Indians numbered about fifteen hundred; a considerable number of
advancing allies never reached the battle-ground. The rapid strides of
Wayne had forced the meeting unexpectedly. Those ten days the Indians
had requested for conference would have largely increased their
strength. The number killed and wounded on either side was
inconsiderable; forty Indians, only, were found on the two-mile field of
conflict. Twenty-six killed and eighty-seven wounded, was the Legion's
loss. Of the Kentuckians, who hardly got into the action on account of
the swift success of the Legion, seven privates were killed, and ten
privates and three officers were wounded.

Remaining three days on the battle-field, Wayne destroyed many acres of
corn and many Indian huts and then returned to Fort Defiance. Thence he
ascended the Maumee to the junction of the St. Mary and St.
Joseph--Harmar's battle ground--and built a fort which he permitted the
oldest officer (Posey?) to name "Fort Wayne in honor of the hero of
Stony Point." From Fort Wayne the army ascended the St. Mary to Fort
Adams, and thence passed to Loramie's, where a new Fort Loramie was
erected. The troops from there opened a new route across to Fort
Greenville. Here, in the following year, the awed and broken Indian
nations signed the Treaty of Fort Greenville which practically
reaffirmed the previous Treaty of Fort Harmar.

Viewed as a whole, Wayne's campaign is most interesting from the
standpoint of road-building. It was Wayne's advance which awed the
savages, not the battle of Fallen Timber. The army crashing northward
through the forests as though ever in the pursuit of a foe, the
impregnable forts that arose here and there, the strongly fortified
camps, the fleet and active scouting parties, the stern but even temper
of Wayne's exhortations for peace, and at last, the fierce bayonet
charge amid the prostrate trees, accomplished the very mission of the
hour. That winding line of a road from the Ohio to Roche de Bout, and
the five new forts that sprang up on it in 1793 and 1794, have left
their impress strongly upon western history. The Indians never forgot
the "Whirlwind," who was also a "Black Snake." Since that road was
built, the Indian race has never been a national menace. Bloody battles
there have been, but at no time has the expansion of the United States
been seriously jeopardized by Indian hostility.

Clark's conquest of Vincennes was now made good by the conquest of the
Maumee Valley; Harmar's reverses and St. Clair's annihilation were
avenged--the Old Northwest was won.




"... on the [24th] of June 1778 we left our Little Island and Run about
a mile up the River in order to gain the main Channel and shot the Falls
at the very moment of the sun being in a great Eclipse which caused
Various conjectures among the superstitious as I knew that spies were
kept on the River below the Towns of the Illinois I had resolved to
march part of the way by Land and of course left the whole of our
baggage, except as much as would equip us in the Indian mode. The whole
of our force, after leaving such as was Judged not competent to the
expected fatiegue, Consisted only of four companies, commanded by Captns
Jno. Montgomery, J. Bowman, L. Helm, and W. Harrod my force being so
small to what I expected owing to the various circumstances already
mentioned I found it necessary to alter my plans of operations, as post
St. Vincent at this time was a Town of considerable force consisting of
near four Hundred militia with an Indian Town adjoining and great
numbers continually in the Neighborhood, and in the scale of Indian
affairs of More Importance than any other. [I] had thought of attacking
it first but now found that I could by no means venture near it Resolved
to begin my career in the Illinois where there was more Inhabitants but
scattered in different Villages, and less danger of being immediately
overpowered by the Indians, and in case of necessity, [we could]
probably make our retreat good to the Spanish side of the Mississippi,
but if Successful here [we] might pave our way to the possession of Post
St. Vincent.... As I intended to leave the Ohio at Ft. Massiac 3 leagues
below the Tennessee I landed on Barritaria a small island in the mouth
of that River in order to prepare for the march ... having every thing
prepared we moved down to a little gul[ley] a small distance above
Massiac in which we concealed our Boats and set out a Northwest course,
nothing remarkable on this rout, the weather was favorable, in some
parts water scarce as well as game, of course we suffered drought and
Hunger but not [to] excess, on the third Day, John Saunders, our
principal guide, appeared confused we soon discovered that he was
totally lost without there was some other cause of his present conduct I
asked him various question, and from his answers I could scarcely
determine what to think of him, whether or not he was sensible that he
was lost the thought of which [?] or that he wished to deceive us the
cry of the whole Detachment was that he was a Traitor, he beged that he
might be suffered to go some distance into a plain that was in full view
to try to make some discovery whether or not he was right. I told him he
might but that I was suppitious [suspicious] of him from his conduct
that from the first of his being employed always said that he knew the
way well that there was now a different appearance that I saw the nature
of the Cuntry was such that a person once acquainted with it could not
in a short time forget it that a few men should go with him to prevent
his escape--and that if he did not discover and take us into _the
Hunters Road_ that lead from the East into Kaskaskia that he had
frequently described that I would have him Immediately put to death
which I was determined to have done, but after an Hour or two's search
he came to a place that he perfectly knew and we discovered that the
poor fellow had been as they call it bewildered. On the eavining of the
fourth of July we got with in a few miles of the Town."



Mr. Draper founds his conclusion that the "two Wabashes" were the Little
Wabash and the Fox wholly on present-day (1878-90) reports[163] of the
nature of the country at the Little Wabash above the mouth of the Fox
and above the mouth of the Big Muddy. The reports he received from
residents of the neighborhoods carry evidence that the ground between
the Little Wabash and Fox most nearly agrees with Clark's and Bowman's
descriptions of the crossing-place.[164] This is true, and is of
importance. But Clark's and Bowman's use of the word "heights" was
merely relative; Mr. Draper's correspondents speak of high grounds and
low grounds as the land lies today. With water but three or four feet
deep, a few acres of land might have been uncovered, though not
sufficiently elevated today to be termed a hill or even high ground.
There is a point on the Little --abash above the mouth of the Fox that
can be made to answer in a general way Clark's and Bowman's
descriptions--going on the doubtful supposition that their descriptions
were entirely accurate. In order to find a spot where Clark saw nearly
five miles of water before him, Mr. Draper suggests a point about two
miles above the mouth of the Fox, where there is a wide bottom on the
west of the Little --abash, another bottom between that stream and the
Fox, and another east of the Fox.[165] The possibility that the distance
was exaggerated by Clark (who said Vincennes was two hundred and forty
miles from Kaskaskia when it was not over one hundred and seventy-five)
is not considered. As a matter of fact, the whole plan of finding today
five miles of low ground from any point west of the Little --abash to
the east of either the Fox or the Big Muddy, is overthrown by Clark's
statement in the _Memoir_ that (on the western side of the Little
Wabash) "we formed a camp on a height which we found on the bank of the
river." Mr. Draper's objection to the Little Wabash and Big Muddy
crossing-place was because the high ground on the bank of the Little
Wabash (seemingly here referred to by Clark) prevented there being five
miles of low ground to the opposite side of the Big Muddy.[166] If Clark
and Bowman gave the distance of width of water correctly, the
crossing-place was two miles above the mouth of the Fox, and Clark's
statement of forming a camp on a height on the river bank is totally
inexplicable--for there is no height at this point to answer such a
description. If, by "nearly" five miles, Clark meant three miles,
misjudging distance on water inversely with the usual way, his camp
could have been on the immediate high bank of the Little Wabash above
the mouth of the Big Muddy.[167]

Certain other considerations have a tendency to influence the present
writer in believing that the crossing-place was here--above the mouth of
the Big Muddy. It was exceedingly wet from the day Clark left Kaskaskia;
even on the watersheds he found deep standing water. On reaching the
Petit Fork he found the rivers at flood-tide. By turning north to the
Clay County route he would strike the Little Wabash at a more northerly
point, and would almost completely head the deep little Bonpas which lay
between the Fox and the Big Wabash. The Clay County route was in one
sense, then, a watershed route, compared with the Wayne County route. It
is difficult to believe that Clark's guides would ignore this after
having been compelled to cross the Petit Fork on felled trees. Again, on
the second day out from the crossing-place of the Little Wabash, Bowman
records: "16th. Marched all day through rain and water; crossed Fox
river." If this entry is correct, of course the Little Wabash and Big
Muddy crossing-place is completely established. Mr. Draper, holding that
the Fox was crossed simultaneously with the Little Wabash on the
fifteenth, suggests that Bowman meant Bonpas for Fox.[168] Choosing
between possible errors, the present writer finds it easier to believe
that Bowman misjudged the width of water crossed on the fifteenth, than
that he called the Bonpas the Fox. For on the seventeenth the heads of
the Bonpas are specifically accounted for by Bowman as follows: "17th.
Marched early; crossed several runs, very deep." Mr. Draper does not
account for these, and it is difficult to do so if they were not the
heads of the Bonpas. For, if Clark crossed the Little Wabash just above
the mouth of the Fox, his route, after crossing the Bonpas, was
northeast, and would, without any sort of question, have been on
watersheds between little tributaries, first of the Bonpas, and then of
the Embarras. Again, by every account, it is sure Clark and Bowman
expected to strike the Embarras, and strike it at about seven or eight
miles due west from Vincennes. If, as Draper believed, they were
pursuing an old trail, which, it is well known,[169] ran from the
crossing-place of the Little Wabash two miles above the mouth of the
Fox to the Wabash just below the mouth of the Embarras, how can it be
explained that the army reached, or ever intended to reach, the Embarras
seven or eight miles above its mouth? The very name would warn them away
and it seems highly improbable that, if what was later known as the
southern route was traversed, the army would ever have seen the



"The next Day after the rear arrived a Detachment of 400 men was ordered
out under the Command of Col. Trotter of Kentucky with orders to
assertain what Course the Indians had went to Draw 2 Days provisions and
Be out over night I was a volunteer in S^d. Detachment There was about
25 Mounted men attached to the Same a short Distance after we crossed
the St Joseph River from where part of the Town stood fell in with 2
Indians Killed Both and Lost one man marched all Day after in good order
Seen considerable Signs Could not assertain which way They had gone The
Six pounders was Shot about Sun Set at the main Camp The Col Concluded
it was Done to Call the Command in we returned to Camp a short time
after Dark Lay out side of Camp all night had our own guards out, Turned
out next morning to perform the 2d Day under Command of Col Hardin went
a northwest Course from whence we Crossed s^d river after going 3 or 4
mile found a Large fresh Indian trail pursued it with all Speed in
Single file or in any way they Could get allong from front to the rear
was over half a mile The Indians retreated with a view to draw the front
into ambuscade which they Done Completely with Two fires Cut off the
front Entirely our Company being in front the first Day had to take the
rear the Second Day when the front was Cut off we formed a Line in the
rear Cols Hardin Hall and Major Fountain was all on horse Back halted
with us when we formed, The Indians pursued the front untill they Come
within one hundred yards Then halted we had But about 75 in our Company
had all treed in Line across the trace They Could see the officers on
horse Back with us we Stood in that situation untill near Dark Then
Covered the retreat got into Camp a short time after Dark I never could
assertain how many men we Lost in that Scrap a Captn Scott son of Gen or
governor Scott of Kentucky was killed in that Scrap our Troops was very
much scattered a Number Came in after Night as the Cannon was fired
Every hour through the Night at the main Camp perhaps there was 15 or 20
killed, perhaps more or Less The Commencement was one of the most
unexpected Surprises Ever any troops met with Two of us went out and
Examined their Encampment where their trace was first Discovered over 2
mile on this Side where the Battle was as there was there a general Halt
for a short time I would have Said there was 4 or 5 hundred Indians and
we had not Near as many Men that Day as was out the Day Before There was
Experienced officers along that ought to have known Better they was too
anxious on the pursuit the Troops should have Been marched in such a
Situation that no advantage Could have Been Taken of them as was the
Case the Day Before The army remained in Camp perhaps 2 Days making
ready to return to Fort Washington when the army moved from Camp perhaps
about the 10th or 12th of November 1790 four or five mounted men with
an officer placed themselves on a high Eminence so that they could see
over all the place where the Indian town Stood about two hours after the
army Cleared out the Indians Came in from Different Quarters to get
provision as they had Considerable hid under ground Said Spies remained
there untill Dark Came into Camp which was about 4 or 5 mile Informed
Harmar and the officers what Discoveries they had made a Detachment of 4
or 5 hundred men was Drafted from the Different Companies of s^d army
that Night to be on the ground Next morning by Day Light and to Be
placed under the Command of Col Hardin the plan of attack was made By
the officers previous to their march and was well Executed By the
officers and troops Engaged in the Same There was too few troops in said
Detachment for the number of the Enemy they had to Contend with if 200
men had arrived there about Sunrise they would have give the Enemy a
Complete Defeat They give them a pretty good Drubing as it was There was
about 60 regulars under the Command of Major ---- They fought well Done
great Execution Lost Their major and Lieutenant in the Battle. Col
Hardins post in The aforesaid plan was on The west side of The St.
Joseph river opposite to where The Indian town stood he was There in
good Time The other Troops Crossed the Maumee went right to where The
Town Stood The Indians was Encamped in and round where it stood Major
Fountain had the Command of The Light horse and mounted men he Charged
right in among The Enemy fired off his pistols and Drew his Sword Before
They Could recover The Shock George Adams informed them that he was Near
The Major at That Time That it appeared when The Enemy got over Their
surprise Ten or Twelve Indians Discharged Their guns at him The Major
kind of fell or hung on his horse They then Discharged Several Guns at
said Adams he received Several flesh wounds But recovered By this Time
The Militia and regulars Come up. The Indians fought with Desperation
was Drove from Their Encampment By The Militia and regulars Down The
Bank into the river which was perhaps 20 yards wide and perhaps 6
inches Deep Col Hardins men on The opposite Side which placed them
Between two fires The Indians charged on Hardins troops having no other
Chance to Escape Hardins troops give way and retreated the Same way They
went out and was not in That Battle any more. Some of the Troops
informed me That Major Fountain was Living when our Troops Drove the
Indians from The Battle ground. Major Mcmillin of Kentucky Collected The
Troops and Tarried on The Battle Ground untill They Indians had entirely
Disappeared and not one to Be Seen or heard I never understood what was
the Number of our Troops Killed by the Enemy on That Campaign Though it
was Considerable my oppinion is There was more Indians Killed in That
Battle Than was Killed when Gen^l --ayne defeated Them in 1794 if Harmar
had Sent out a Detachment of Six hundred men Next Day to Collected The
Dead and Buried Them and assertained how many of The Enemy was Killed I
think There would have Been no risk in it as The Indians was So
Completely Cut up on The Day of The Battle Such a move would have Been
an honor and Credit to that Campaign I can Never agree That Harmars
Campaing was a Defeated one."


[1] For a sketch of the position of this campaign in the Revolution, and
its leading details see _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vi, pp.

[2] Our principal source of information concerning the Kaskaskia
campaign is George Rogers Clark's _Memoir_, written probably in 1791,
the original of which is preserved in the Draper Manuscripts in the
library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Extracts of such
portions as refer to the march to Kaskaskia will be found in Appendix A.

[3] Page's _History of Massac County_, p. 35.

[4] _Draper MSS._, xxi J, fols. 40, 44.

[5] _Id._, fol. 51.

[6] _Id._, fol. 27.

[7] _Id._, fol. 76.

[8] _Id._, fol. 83; xxii, fol. 6.

[9] _Id._, xxii, fol. 5.

[10] _Id._, xxi, fol. 42; cf. p. 65.

[11] _Id._, xxi, fols. 40, 42. Probably the route of the later St.
Louis-Shawneetown trace; see p. 34.

[12] _Id._, xxii, fols. 11, 35.

[13] _Id._, xxii, fol. 35.

[14] _Id._, xxi, fols. 16, 27, 29, 51, 52; and xxii, fols. 30, 35.

[15] _Id._, xxii, fols. 30, 37. Cox's Creek was crossed twice, the east
fork in section 7, township 7, range 4, and the west fork in section 12,
township 7, range 5.

[16] _Id._, xxi, fols. 80, 81; xxii, fol. 37.

[17] _Id._, xxii, fol. 37.

[18] Clark approached Kaskaskia by the route and the ford over the
Kaskaskia River which he pursued on the Vincennes campaign in the
February following. (English's _Conquest of the Northwest_, vol. i, p.

[19] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vii, p. 168.

[20] A galley-batteau, armed with two four-pounders and four swivels,
and carrying forty-six men, under the command of Captain John Rogers,
left Kaskaskia February 4, for Vincennes by the river route. It was
named "The Willing."

[21] Probably at "a small branch about three miles from Kaskaskia"
mentioned by Clark in his letter to Mason (English's _Conquest of the
Northwest_, vol. i, p. 430).

[22] The map of Clark's route from Kaskaskia to Vincennes in the
standard work on his campaigns of 1778-79, English's _Conquest of the
Northwest_ (vol. i, pp. 290-291), gives only the later Kaskaskia trace
of the eighteenth century--the modern route which it is sure Clark did
not pursue.

[23] _Draper MSS._, xxv J, fol. 76. See map on page 21.

[24] It seems to the writer useless to spend time and space in
attempting to place exactly Clark's camping-spots. He has made several
exhaustive schedules of these camps and all the contradictions discussed
pro and con. At best, any outline of camps must be purest conjecture,
and therefore not authoritative or really valuable. In certain instances
the camping-spots are definitely fixed by contemporaneous records. Only
these will be definitely described in this record--the others being
placed more or less indefinitely.

[25] In possession of the Kentucky Historical Society; first published
in the _Louisville Literary News_, November 24, 1840; see English's
_Conquest of the Northwest_, vol. i, pp. 568-578, from which our
quotations are made.

[26] _Draper MSS._, xxv J, fols. 37, 57, 58, 77.

[27] _Id._, fol. 78.

[28] _Id._, fol. 77.

[29] _Id._

[30] _Id._

[31] _Id._, xxiv, fols. 6-8.

[32] _Id._, xxv, fol. 50.

[33] Volney's _A View of the Soil and Climate of the United States of
America_ (Brown's translation) 1808, pp. 339-341.

[34] These are the _Memoir_ and the _Letter to Mason_ previously

[35] No explanation of "Cot plains" was offered to Mr. Draper by his
Illinois correspondents. If the present writer be allowed a pure guess
it would be that "Cot" was the American spelling of the French _Quatre_,
"four;" "Cot plains" would then be a "Four Mile Prairie" east or
northeast of Skillet Creek. The Clay County route cut off a corner of
Romaine Prairie just here--which may have been known as "Four Mile
Prairie" in earliest days. It is not known that such was the case.

[36] See Appendix B.

[37] _Draper MSS._, xxv J, fol. 112. Clark's men marched two leagues
before reaching "Sugar Camp." Mr. English's map (_Conquest of the
Northwest_, vol. i, p. 313) and Bowman's _Journal_ are therefore utterly
at variance.

[38] _Draper MSS._, xxv J, fol. 91.

[39] The British Fort Sackville.

[40] Referring to the fact that Hamilton was accused of buying scalps of
Americans from the Indians. The shrewdness of this communication is
conspicuous, the result of the experiences at Kaskaskia.

[41] English's _Conquest of the Northwest_ vol. i, p. 572.

[42] The author bases his remarks wholly on the belief, it will be
observed, that Clark crossed the Little Wabash east of Clay City.

[43] See note 10.

[44] An interesting English version of Embarras--denoting the Creole
pronunciation. On Hutchins's old map of 1768 the Embarras is called the
"Troublesome River"--see map, p. 35.

[45] The western branch of the Bonpas, or the Fox?

[46] All efforts to find any locality bearing this name have failed.
Possibly it was a double bend of the Little Wabash, east of Clay City,
which may resemble an ox yoke. "Ox Bow" is not an uncommon name for such
reverse curves of rivers in several of our states.

[47] A well-known salt spring lies just west of the McCauley settlement
crossing of the Little Wabash.--_Draper MSS._, xxv J, fol. 25.

[48] Mr. Draper suggests that this may have been near Enterprise, Wayne
County, in keeping with the idea that the route here described was the
route that Clark followed. The most definite point known on Volney's
route west of the Embarras was the Salt Spring, above mentioned, and
this was on the more northerly route which crossed the Little Wabash
east of Clay City. Slaves Gibbet must therefore have been just east of

[49] Probably Harvey's Point, six or eight miles southeast of Salem.

[50] Skillet Creek.

[51] At the crossing of "Petit Fork"--Adams tributary of Skillet.

[52] Near Walnut Hill.

[53] Perhaps on head of Big Muddy in Grand Prairie.

[54] There seem to have been two old-time routes around Grand Prairie;
the points of junction seem to have been in Grand Prairie and Elkhorn
Prairie. Pointe aux Fesses is identified as Elkhorn Point, northeast of

[55] In Grand Prairie.

[56] See note 54.

[57] Oakdale.

[58] Coultersville.

[59] Northwest of Steel's Mills.

[60] Mr. Draper reduces these estimates to "probabilities," giving as
the total distance 156 miles (_Draper MSS._, xxv J, fol. 49).

[61] This point of junction is eighteen miles east of Salem, which is
given as the point of junction on Mr. English's map of Clark's
route.--_Conquest of the Northwest_, vol. i, pp. 290, 291. Salem is the
junction of the modern route from Kaskaskia with the St. Louis Trace.

[62] Additional testimony to the same effect is found in _Draper MSS._,
xxv J, fol. 76.

[63] Evans's _History of Scioto County and Pioneer Record of Southern
Ohio_ contains the best map of western Ohio extant.

[64] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vi, p. 166.

[65] Josiah Morrow, to whom the author is indebted for much help in the
study of Harmar's route, affirms that in the land records of Warren
County he has found reference to this as "Clark's old war-road."

[66] November 27, 1782.

[67] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 88.

[68] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 97.

[69] _Id._

[70] _Id._

[71] _Id._, pp. 93, 94; St. Clair to Knox, _Id._, p. 87.

[72] _Id._

[73] _Id._

[74] _Id._, p. 88.

[75] The authorities used in connection with Harmar's route and march
are: the Journal of Captain John Armstrong, of the Regulars (Dillon's
_History of Indiana_, pp. 245-248); Thomas Irwin's account of Harmar's
and St. Clair's campaigns, in the _Draper MSS._, iv U, fols. 3-17; Hugh
Scott's Narrative, _Id._, fol. 99, and David H. Morris's Narrative, in
the Troy (Ohio) _Times_ of January 29, 1840. Hereafter these will be
referred to by name only. Harmar's route out of Cincinnati is thus
described by J. G. Olden in his _Historical Sketches and Early
Reminiscences of Hamilton County, Ohio_: "Moved from Ft. Washington up
the little ravine that runs into Deer Creek near what is now the head of
Sycamore street, Cincinnati, thence through Mt. Auburn and along the
general course of what is now the Reading turnpike to the little stream
since known as Ross run where he encamped for the night in what is now
Section 4 Mill creek township near where Four Mile tavern was built. The
next day he moved, still on Clark's old trace, now Reading turnpike,
passing near where the school-house now stands in Reading, thence on to
the little run east of where Sharonville now is, where he encamped for
the [second] night."

[76] An error for 1780. As noted, three well-known expeditions had gone
northward from the present site of Cincinnati before Harmar's: Bowman in
1779, Clark in 1780, and Clark again in 1782. In 1782 Clark passed
northward on the watershed between the Miamis. It was therefore Clark's
route of 1780 which Harmar's militia followed.

[77] Mt. Auburn. Dr. Daniel Drake, writing in 1801, says: "Main street,
beyond Seventh, was a mere road nearly impassable in muddy weather
which, at the foot of the hills, divided into two, called the Hamilton
and the Mad-river road. The former took the course of the Brighton
House; the latter made a steep ascent over Mount Auburn."

Of a later road on Harmar's Trace we have this record: "1795 Road laid
out from Main Street, Cincinnati, northeast nearly on Harmar's trace
(six miles) to the road connecting Columbia and White's Station [Upper
Carthage]" (_History of Hamilton County_, p. 223).

[78] Lick Schoolhouse, Deerfield Township, Warren County?

[79] _History of Warren County_ (Chicago, 1882), p. 410.

[80] Josiah Morrow offers this correction for future editions of
Armstrong's _Journal_: "The printed journal of Armstrong's makes the
first ten miles of the third day in a northwest course. Even if this be
understood as meaning west of north, it would take the army to the west
of West Chester in Butler County. If we assume northwest to be an error
for northeast, 'the first five miles over a dry ridge to a lick' would
bring the army to the lick at Lick School-house in Deerfield township,
Warren county; and the next 'five miles through a low swampy country to
a branch of the waters of the Little Miami' would be over the swampy
land of early times in the vicinity of Mason, and there is a tradition
that the army stopped for a time on Little Muddy creek, on the farm
formerly owned by Joseph McClung, north of Mason."

[81] MSS. in possession of Josiah Morrow, Lebanon, Ohio.

[82] A western tributary of the Little Miami, down which Harmar is
supposed to have marched to Fish-pot Ford, was formerly known as
Harmar's Run.

[83] Armstrong's printed _Journal_ reads Sugar Creek for Cæsar's Creek.
Either this was an older name or the result of a typographical error. As
the name Cæsar comes from a negro who resided here with the Indians, it
is probable that, as Josiah Morrow assumes, "the soldier wrote Seezar or
Seizar, which the printer mistook for Sugar."

[84] A station on the Big Four Railway, twelve miles northeast of Troy.

[85] In General Wayne's campaign in 1794 a trace known as "Harmar's
Trace" was crossed just south of the St. Mary River in Mercer County
(see p. 207). If Harmar recrossed the St. Mary and proceeded south of
the river to "Shane's Crossing" (Rockford, Mercer County) this is the
only record of it.

[86] The Irwin MS. account of the operations of the army on the Maumee
is intensely vivid, and, though incomplete, should be preserved in
lasting form. It will be found in Appendix C.

[87] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. ix, ch. 2.

[88] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 129.

[89] _Id._, p. 171.

[90] _Id._, p. 172. This project was suggested by General St. Clair the
year previous, but was not countenanced by the Government. _American
State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 100.

[91] _Id._, p. 172.

[92] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 192.
Officers who had orders from Butler to march were, in some instances,
delayed nearly a week before they received the necessary provisions with
which to do so.--St. Clair's _Narrative of the Campaign against the
Indians_ (1812), p. 228.

[93] _Id._, p. 193.

[94] St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 12.

[95] _Id._, p. 207.

[96] Cummingsville--"six miles from the fort [Washington], along what is
now 'Mad Anthony Street.'"--_History of Hamilton County_, (Cleveland,
1881), p. 78.

[97] Knox to Washington, October 1, 1791, _American State Papers_, vol.
iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 244.

[98] The site of Fort Hamilton was in the present city of Hamilton,
Ohio, and was described in 1875 as located on the ground reaching from
Stable Street to the United Presbyterian Church, and stretching from the
Miami River eastward to the site of the Universalist Church.

[99] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 173.

[100] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. ix, ch. 2.

[101] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 245.
St. Clair had ordered Butler to proceed in three parallel paths each ten
feet in width.

[102] Everts's _Atlas of Butler County, Ohio_, p. 23.

[103] _History of Preble County, Ohio (1881)_, p. 19.

[104] _St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 252.

[105] _St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 247. This letter may have been
written at Fort Hamilton.

[106] St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 32. It is difficult to harmonize St.
Clair's own words concerning the width of the roadway with those of the
editor of _The St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 292, note.

[107] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. v, p. 144. Cf. Harmar's order
of march p. 96.

[108] St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 31.

[109] _Id_., p. 32.

[110] _The St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, pp. 251, 262.

[111] St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 210.

[112] _The St. Clair Papers_, pp. 254, 255.

[113] St. Clair wrote Hodgdon regarding supplies as follows: "Forty-five
thousand rations of provisions should move with the army; ... twice in
every ten days forty-five thousand rations should move from Fort
Washington to the next post, until three hundred and sixty thousand
rations were sent forward; ... forty-five thousand rations should again
move with the army from the first post to a second, and an equal number
twice in every ten days until the residue of the three hundred and sixty
thousand were carried forward, and so on from post to post, still moving
with forty-five thousand rations. They have failed entirely in enabling
me to move with forty-five thousand rations, and from the letter above
mentioned, the agent seems not to expect to move any beyond this place;
for he says: 'If you move from thence (meaning this place) shortly, and
take ten days' provisions with you, it will deprive us of the means to
transport what may be necessary after that is exhausted.' After, then,
that you know _exactly_ what the contractors can do as to
transportation, (for so far as they can do it, it is their business, and
must not be taken out of their hands) you will take your measures so, as
that, on the 27th instant, I may be able to move with three hundred
horse-loads of flour, and that one hundred and fifty horse-loads succeed
that every seven days; one hundred and fifty horses being sent back
every seven days. For whatever expense may attend the arrangement, this
shall be your warrant; and I am certain, from your personal character,
as well as from your zeal for the public good, that no unnecessary
expense will be incurred. It is to be observed, that our beef will be
expended about the 5th or 6th of next month. When I left Fort
Washington, the agent of the contractors informed me that he expected a
drove of cattle very soon; whether they are arrived or not I am not
informed. I have written to him on this occasion; but I request you to
inform yourself, and, if necessary, to make provision there also; and,
indeed, there is not a moment to lose about it, and to provide for any
deficiency. He writes me that the measures he has taken will give a
supply to the last of December or a month longer, but nothing must be
left to hazard."--_The St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, pp. 248-249.

[114] St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 33.

[115] _The St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 257.

[116] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 137.

[117] _Id._, p. 137.

[118] See p. 89.

[119] St. Clair's _Narrative_, pp. 213-219.

[120] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 138;
St. Clair's _Narrative_, p. 55.

[121] Albach's _Annals of the West_, p. 584.

[122] Atwater's _History of Ohio_, p. 142.

[123] Captain Robert Buntin to Governor St. Clair, February 13, 1792
(Dillon's _History of Indiana_, p. 283).

[124] _Annals of the West_, p. 590.

[125] MS. of Thos. Posey, _Draper MSS._, xvi U, vol. 3. Cf. page 203.

[126] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 227.

[127] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), pp.

[128] MSS. in the New York State Library in Washington's handwriting;
_Magazine of American History_, vol. iii (February, 1879), pp. 81-88.

[129] Wayne to Knox, October 5, 1792, _Draper MSS._, v U, fol. 21.

[130] _Id._, Armstrong to Wilkinson, September 13, 1792.

[131] Journal of Thomas Posey, _Draper MSS._, xvi U, vol. 3. Hereafter
this will be referred to merely by name.

[132] March 30, 1793.

[133] The fourth article was the objectionable one. It read: "The United
States solemnly guaranty to the Wabash, and Illinois nations, or tribes
of Indians, all the lands to which they have a just claim; and no part
shall ever be taken from them, but by a fair purchase, and to their
satisfaction. That the land originally belonged to the Indians; it is
theirs, and theirs only. That they have a right to sell, and a right to
refuse to sell. And that the United States will protect them in their
said just rights." _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs,
vol. i), p. 338. No citizen of the United States had or has a right to
refuse to sell land to the Government. Such a right could not be given
to an Indian tribe.

[134] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), pp.

[135] _Id._, p. 244.

[136] _Id._

[137] _Id._, p. 243.

[138] A standing rock in the Maumee River.

[139] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vi, pp. 21-23.

[140] _American State Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), pp.

[141] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. ix, ch. 2.

[142] _Id._, p. 356.

[143] _Id._, p. 375.

[144] Deposition of an unknown, but in Wayne's handwriting. _Draper
MSS._, v U, fol. 24.

[145] The following innocent sentence was to signify that war should
immediately begin: "Although we did not effect a peace, yet we hope that
good may hereafter arise from the mission." Wayne was provided with the
commissioners' signatures as a guard against forgery.--_American State
Papers_, vol. iv (Indian Affairs, vol. i), P. 359.

[146] Scott to Governor Shelby of Kentucky, "Petersburg 24th Sept 1793 2
oclock in the morning." _Draper MSS._, v U, fol. 25.

[147] Wayne to Knox, October 5, 1793. _American State Papers_, vol. iv
(Indian Affairs, vol. i), p. 361.

[148] _Id._, p. 351.

[149] _Atlas of Butler County, Ohio_ (1875), p. 23.

[150] _History of Preble County, Ohio_ (1881), p. 22.

[151] _A Journal of Wayne's Campaign._ Being an Authentic Daily Record
of the most Important Occurrences during the Campaign of Major General
Anthony Wayne, against the Northwestern Indians; Commencing on the 28th
day of July, and ending on the 2d day of November, 1794; including an
account of the great battle of August 20th. By Lieutenant Boyer
(Cincinnati, 1866).

[152] A copy of Clark's journal is in the _Draper MSS._ (v U, fols.
33-92). The original is owned by Mrs. A. J. Ballard of Louisville,

[153] Relics made from logs of this bridge, well preserved by their
position in swampy ground, are not uncommon in Mercer County.

[154] Posey refers to this fort only as Fort Adams; Clark mentions it
only as Fort Randolph. Boyer gives no name, referring to it as "the

[155] A venerable resident of Rockford, Mr. Bronson Roebuck, aged
eighty-one, informs the writer that the road from Fort Adams passed down
the north bank of the St. Mary through an Indian village, Old Town, on
the farm of Rouel Roebuck, about two miles east of Rockford, and
continued down the valley to the present site of Willshire; thence it
continued to Fort Wayne but at a further distance from the river.

[156] Just as St. Clair refused Butler's proposal at Fort Jefferson in
the campaign of 1791.

[157] "The scheme [of surprising the Indians] was proposed, and certain
success insured if attempted. Gen Wilkinson suggested the plan to the
Commander-in-Chief, but it was not his plan, nor perhaps his wish, to
embrace so probable a means for ending the war by compelling them to
peace. This was not the first occasion or opportunity which presented
itself to our observant General [Wilkinson] for some grand stroke of
enterprise, but the commander-in-chief rejected all and every of his
plans"--fol. 42. Clark's criticisms and objections fill his remaining
pages--fols. 42-50, 52, 57, 58, 59.

[158] _Glaize_ was from the French meaning "clay;" Auglaize River was
the "river of the clay banks."

[159] Clark adds, in thoroughly hostile tone, that Wayne would have
answered it but for the intervention of General Wilkinson.--Fol. 50.

[160] As mentioned in our narrative, p. 182, it was to a "fallen timber"
on the Bloody Way between Forts Hamilton and St. Clair that Girty with a
party of Indians went in the fall of 1792 on a raiding expedition. The
name is preserved, at least in one instance, in West Virginia in Fallen
Timber Run, Wetzel County. The modern spelling is "Fallen Timbers."

[161] See _ante_, page 18, note 2. The original of Clark's _Memoir_ is
found in the _Draper MSS._, xlvii J, fols. 1-128.

[162] See _ante_, page 53.

[163] _Draper MSS._, xxv J, fols. 14-60.

[164] _Id._, xxiv, fol. 9; xxv, fols. 14-20, 60.

[165] _Id._, fols. 14, 43.

[166] _Id._, xxiv, fol. 9.

[167] _Id._

[168] _Id._, fols. 49, 50.

[169] _Id._, xxiv, fol. 13.

[170] See _ante_, page 101, note 86. The extract here given is from
_Draper MSS._, iv U, fols. 3-17.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected except
for narratives and letters included in this text.

3. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the main text body.

4. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break.

5. Certain words use an oe ligature in the original.

6. Carat character (^) followed by a single letter or a set of letters
in curly brackets is indicative of subscript in the original book.

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