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head to the foot, and from the foot to the head of the parade ground.
At one time a Drummer of ours, whose name was Robert Mitchell, was in town (Carlisle,) and stole a shirt which belonged to a gentleman of some note in the place. Next day a search was made in the barracks, and the shirt was found in poor Bob's knapsack. Bob was immediately conveyed to the guard house. He was tried and sentenced to be whipped. In a few days thereafter we (musicians) were ordered out to the woods to collect “hickories” —rods 3, 4 and 5 feet in length. Sometimes we have cut and brought bundles of them on our shoulders tied up like sheaves of wheat. Upon our return to camp with our rods, the long roll was beat up, and the soldiers, amounting in number to about 500, were formed into two rows, leaving a space like a narrow lane between them. The soldiers were all faced inwards, that is, facing each other. We then carried our bundles along this lane and distributed them, each man pulled a rod out of our bundles. Boor Bob then had to strip off to the buff”-his coat, vest and shirt, and all ready, he had to run the gauntlet. He ran down, up and down again, which was three times through. Each time, each man struck him once or more on his bared back as he passed. The duty of all was to strike at him, and hard too, but some herhaps were not able to do more than touch him. Supposing 500 men to give three cuts each, would equal 1500 lashes. They cut the poor fellow so severely, that splinters' an inch long were pulled out of his back with pincers.After the splinters were pulled out, his back was washed with salt and water, this was a severe cure, but was of great service, notwithstanding its severity in its application.
There were many soldiers detected at times in a very merciful kind of fraud, that of cutting or nicking their rods so that when in the act of striking, they would fall back and often to pieces in their hands, and do no injury to the runner. Such as were at any time caught at
this, or in striking lightly, in order to not hurt the prisoner, were dealt with in a harsh manner, even to the receiving of (sometimes) a number of hard lashes themselves. It was highly necessary that a proper subordination should be established in every department of the army, and should all have refused to obey the orders, as to inflicting punishment, no punishment could have been inflicted, and consequently no subordination would have existed. That the punishments were more cruel, and greater in amount than necessary in many instances, I think I can safely assert. It was thought however, that the exigencies within the country demanded it. Very many good men sanctioned the course. The good and humane Washington himself had to double steel his heart sometimes against mercy, and forget to be merciful when darkness brooded over the destinies of the country, and examples had to be made in inflicting the summary punishment of death upon soldiers, who had set military law and discipline at naught or defiance.
Some time after Mitchell received his severe castigation, there were two soldiers (brothers) deserted, they were taken up and lodged in Carlisle jail. They were tried for desertion and condemned to death. Upon the day of their execution the troops were formed and marched out fully a mile from the barracks. The dead march was played from the time we left the barracks until we arrived at the gallows. They were both hung up at the same time, one died in about the usual time, but the other could not die, and in order to causc death, the sol. diers whose duty it was made to hang them, pulled his feet and legs until the rope was lengthened, and it was thought that the rope would have broken. Still, they could not cause him to die. The one already dead, they cut down and buried, but they left the other hanging. A guard was left at the gallows, and we then marched back to the barracks. The guard did not re
turn until it was near night, in consequence of his not ; having died until it was nearly sun-down. This was í one of the most painful sights that I ever witnessed.
It was about 10' oclock when he was swung off, and he had hung in a dying state until almost sun-down.
News having arrived at the War Department, that the Indians were butchering the inhabitants, up and along the Juniata river, and the valley of Qhish-a-quo-quillas,* in the more remote interior of Pennsylvania. A detachment of between three and four hundred men composed of the remains of several regiments at Carlisle barracks received marching orders.
To this detachment there were five Fifers and five Drummers attached, (myself among the former.) Our march was what was called a “forced march,” we haying to march night and day until we entered the “ wil. derness.” After several day's marching through the wilderness we arrived at a settlement. We halted one rainy day at an old waste-house and barn. Here we encamped. The day was quite a wet one. We were ordered to run or mould bullets and make cartridges. As soon as we had finished this job, we had to commence the march again, although it was raining heavy. This the officers were induced to do, in consequence of their having received intelligence that the Indians were murdering the whites not very far ahead of us. We had both flankers and scouters out, constantly. We at length came across the Indians, or rather they came across us. Notwithstanding all the precaution used in detaching flankers and scouters, the Indians would give us a shot (from their ambuscades) and a yell, and then be off unseen like snakes in the grass. They popped off one of my comrades, a Drummer, close behind where I was marching in front of the detachment. We made a halt long enough to bury him, or rather a portion of the detachment moved on in pursuit whilst this duty was performing. This done, we closed up again and pursued our march in the same regular manner as before. There were not any of the Indians killed at the time of their attacks upon us that I recollect of.
* Pronounced Kish-ah-ko-quillas.
After we arrived at the settlements, at the mouth of the valley of Qhish-a-quo-quillas, our scouters brought in some Indian scalps, and after we had ascended the valley some distance and formed our camp on the Qhisha-quo-quillas Creek, our scouting parties came in occasionally with a few scalps.
The Indians in the course of a few weeks, finding us too strong for them, retreated westward and left the settlers in the peaceful possession of that section of the country. We laid in the valley, from three to four weeks. Our loss at the hands of the enemy was but three men killed. Here I must state, that besides the narrow chance I ran when the Drummer was killed near to me upon the march, I ran a seemingly narrower chance for my life whilst we were encamped in the valley.
The officers would not allow any of the men to stroll to any distance outside of the camp. There were piquet guards stationed at the out posts, which were established at a short distance from the camp-guards. Being very fond of fishing, I would occasionally venture out some two or three hundred yards from the camp-line. Dividing my fish always with some of the officers made me somewhat of a privileged character, and they would suffer me to steal out when they would not suffer others to do so. They always cautioned me, however, by telling me to be upon the alert, and to “break” for the camp the moment I should hear, or behold any thing that might cause me to suspect that Indians were about.
I was busily engaged in fishing at the distance of two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards above the camp in Chish-a-quo-quillas creek, a stream something in size like (as near as I can remember) to the “ Yellow Breeches creek, in Cumberland county, Pa. I had caught some fish, among them some very handsome mountain trout, and fortunately happened to think that I was ven