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the most horrible acts of cruelty and brutality upon the bodies of the living and the dead Americans who fell into their hands. Believing that the whites, for many years, made war merely to acquire land, the Indians crammed clay and sand into the eyes, and down the throats, of the dying and the dead. The field of action was visited by Brigadier General James Wilkinson, at the head of a small detachment of mounted militia, on the 1st of February, 1792, about three months after the battle. In a letter, dated “Fort Washington, 13th February, 1792," written by Captain Robert Buntin, and addressed to Governor St. Clair, this expedition of Wilkinson is noticed as follows: “I went with General Wilkinson to the field of action to recover the artillery carriages, which he was informed remained there, and to bury the dead. His little army for this excursion was composed of about one hundred and fifty regulars, and one hundred and thirty-one volunteer militia on horseback. He has a good talent for pleasing the people: there is no person in whom they have more confidence: none more capable to lead them on. It appears as if he made the Indian mode of warfare his study since he first came to this country. I think him highly worthy your friendship, from his attachment to your person and interest.
“ The regulars left Fort Washington, as an escort to provisions for Fort Jefferson, on the 24th ultimo- the snow about ten inches deep- and we marched next morning with the volunteers. The sledges which transported the forage delayed us so much that we did not get to Fort Jefferson until the 30th, about twelve o'clock. The General was much longer in getting to this place than he expected; and in order to expedite the business and avoid expense, he ordered the regulars to return to Fort Washington. This morning, [30th,] the wind from the southward, with a constant fall of snow, rain, and hail, and a frost the following night, made the breaking of the road very difficult: though the front was changed every fifteen or twenty minutes, the road was marked with the horses' blood from the hardness of the crust on the snow. We left Fort Jefferson, about nine o'clock on the 31st, with the volunteers,
and arrived within eight miles of the field of battle that evening, and next day we arrived at the ground about ten o'clock. The scene was truly melancholy. In my opinion those unfortunate men who fell into the enemy's hands, with life, were used with the greatest torture— having their limbs torn off; and the women have been treated with the most indecent cruelty, having stakes, as thick as a person's arm, drove through their bodies. The first, I observed when burying the dead; and the latter was discovered by Colonel Sargent and Doctor Brown. We found three whole carriages; the other five were so much damaged that they were rendered useless. By the General's orders pitts were dug in different places, and all the dead bodies that were exposed to view, or could be conveniently found (the snow being very deep) were buried. During this time, there was sundry parties detached, some for our safety, and others in examining the course of the creek; and some distance in advance of the ground occupied by the militia, they found a large camp, not less than three quarters of a mile long, which was supposed to be that of the Indians the night before the action. We remained on the field that night, and next morning fixed geared horses to the carriages, and moved for Fort Jefferson. * As there is little reason to believe that the enemy have carried off the cannon, it is the received opinion that they are either buried, or thrown into the creek, and I think the latter the most probable; but, as it was frozen over with a thick ice, and that covered with a deep snow, it was impossible to make a search, with any prospect of success. In a former part of this letter I have mentioned the camp occupied by the enemy the night before the action: had Colonel Oldham been able to have complied with your orders on that evening, things at this day might have worn a different as
The defeat of the expedition under the command of St. Clair disappointed the expectations of the General Government of the United States, alarmed the inhabitants of the western districts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and checked, for a short period, the tide of emigration which had been flowing from the eastern and middle states into the territory northwest of the Ohio. The principal causes of the failure of the expedition were, the mismanagement of the Quartermaster's Department, the unfavorable season at which the army marched to attack the Indians, and the want of discipline in the troops. The failure of the expedition cannot justly be imputed to the conduct of the commander in chief, at any time before or during the battle. St. Clair, however, resigned the office of Major General; and Anthony Wayne, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and a distinguished officer of the Revolutionary War, was appointed to fill his place. This officer, then in the fortyseventh year of his age, was intelligent, courageous, cautious, , and energetic; and with him, in command, were associated Brigadier Generals James Wilkinson and Thomas Posey, who, as officers in the Revolutionary War, had acquired fair military reputation. Early in 1792, provisions were made by the General Government for re-organizing the military establishment of the United States, so that the army should consist of five thousand one hundred and twenty non-commissioned officers, privates and musicians; and it was determined that an adequate part of this force, which was called the Legion of the United States, should be raised as soon as possible, and placed upon the western frontiers, under the command of Major General Wayne, and disciplined according to the nature of the service, in order to meet, with a prospect of success, the greatest probable combination of the hostile Indians. In the early part of the month of June, 1792, Wayne arrived at Pittsburgh, which was the place appointed for the rendezvous of the new recruits. Many of the most experienced officers having been slain in the defeats of Harmar and St. Clair, and others having resigned their commissions, the duties of Wayne became arduous and full of perplexity. Several of the officers under his command, and nearly all the private soldiers were ignorant of military tactics, and without discipline; but, in the words of a credible writer,* “ by the salutary measures adopted to introduce order and discipline, the army soon began to assume its proper character. The troops were daily exercised in all the evolutions necessary to render them efficient soldiers, and more especially in those manæuvres proper in a campaign against savages. Firing at a mark was constantly practised , and rewards given to the best marksmen. To inspire emulation, the riflemen and the infantry strove to excel, and the men soon attained to an accuracy that gave them confidence in their own prowess. On the artillery the General impressed the importance of that arm of the service. The dragoons he taught to rely on the broadsword, as all important to victory. The riflemen were made to see how much success must depend on their coolness, quickness, and accuracy; while the infantry were led to place entire confidence in the bayonet, as the cer-. tain and irresistible weapon before which the savages could not stand. The men were instructed to charge in open order; each to rely on himself, and to prepare for a personal contest with the enemy."
On the 28th of November, 1792, the army left Pittsburgh, and moved down the Ohio about twenty-two miles, to a point which was named Legionville, where it remained until the 30th of April, 1793, when it moved in boats down the river to Fort Washington; and encamped near that fort at a place which was called “Hobson's Choice.” At this place the main army was kept until the 7th of October, 1793: on the 23d of October the effective force under the command of Wayne amounted to about three thousand six hundred and thirty men. In addition to this force, a small number of friendly Indians, principally from the south, were engaged as auxiliaries in the service of the United States. Among these Indians there were about sixty Choctaws, under the command of a chief who was called General Humming Bird. In a report which was laid before the President of the United States, on the 26th of December, 1791, the Secretary of War said, “ The expediency of employing the Indians in alliance with us, against the hostile Indians, cannot be doubted. It has been shown before, how difficult, and even impracticable, it will probably be to restrain the young men of the friendly tribes from action, and that if
we do not employ them, they will be employed against us. The justice of engaging them would depend on the justice of the war. If the war be just on our part, it will certainly bear the test of examination, to use the same sort of means in our defence, as are used against us. The subscriber, therefore, submits it as his opinion, that it would be proper to employ judiciously, as to time and circumstances, as many of the friendly Indians as may be obtained, not exceeding one thousand in number."
From the early part of the year 1792 to the 16th of August, 1793, while Major General Wayne was recruiting and organizing his army, the government of the United States continued to make efforts to establish treaties of peace and friendship with the hostile tribes of the northwestern territory. In order to effect this object, and to acquire information of the movements and designs of the Indians, messengers with speeches, commissioners invested with powers to make treaties, and spies with secret instructions, were almost constantly employed, by the government and its officers. The messengers and the commissioners were instructed to assure the Indians “in the strongest and most explicit terms, that the United States renounced all claim to any Indian land which had not been ceded by fair treaties, made with the Indian nations ;"* and, for the purpose of informing the Indians of the extent of the claims of the United States, the commissioners were furnished with copies of the following treaties: 1.- A copy of the treaty of Fort Stanwix, made on the 22d of October, 1784. 2.- A copy of the treaty of Fort McIntosh, made on the 21st of January, 1785. 3.—A copy of the treaty made at the mouth of the Great Miami river, on the 31st of January, 1786. 4.- Copies of the treaties made at Fort Harmar, on the 9th of January, 1789. To promote the object of the commissioners and the messengers, Wayne was instructed, in April, 1792, to issue a proclamation informing the people of the frontiers of the proposed attempts to conclude a treaty of peace, and prohibiting all offensive movements
*Instructions from the Secretary of War to General Rufus Putnam, 22d May, 1792.