Page images
PDF
EPUB

130

STEUBEN'S LABORS; NAVAL OPERATIONS.

forces in the South.* At this time Up to this time the naval operathe army was not compelled to tions of the United States had been undergo the sufferings experienced at rather desultory and without any imValley Forge, for though they were portant result. The number of vessels lodged in huts similar to those of the were small and of very inferior fightpreceding year, they were more com- ing qualities, so that there was little fortably clothed than previously hope of being able to cope with the through the generosity of the French. powerful British navy. Yet, in many Furthermore, the supplies came in ways the little American navy was an more rapidly, animal food being efficient force in furthering the cause brought in chiefly from the New Eng- of the country chiefly because of land States, where no British force agility. These vessels would dart was present to interrupt.

in and out of a fleet of British merWhile the army was in winter chantmen and capture such vessels quarters a more systematic and as they thought were richly laden, thorough discipline was introduced before the British ships of the line through the exertions of Baron could interfere. During 1776 more Steuben, who had been appointed in than 300 English vessels had been spector-general in place of Conway. taken by the American cruisers, and He prepared a system of tactics which during the next year, notwithstandwas soon put into practice. The diffi- ing the fact that the British mainculties confronting Steuben were tained 70 ships of the line on the enormous, and he found it difficult to American coast alone, 467 merchantreduce the discordant evolutions of men were lost, some of which were of the troops from different States into immense value. On the other hand, uniformity and efficiency in the field.t the American shipping met with many At this time also a change was made disasters, and not only a large numin the management of the medical ber of mere

ledical ber of merchantmen, but also several department of the army, the directing of the privateers fell into the hands and purveying business of the mili

of the British.* In 1778, after the tary hospital being placed in the

conclusion of the treaty with France, hands of different officers, whereas

Congress devoted much time and they had previously been under the direction of the same person. This 329-332, 337; Stillé, Wayne and the Pennsylvania was due chiefly to the efforts of Dr. Line, pp. 129–130.

* Fiske says that prior to the French alliance Rush.

more than 600 British vessels had been captured

by the Americans while 900 American ships were * Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, pp. 457- taken by the British cruisers. American Revolu. 458; Livingston, Life of Putnam, p. 383; Kapp, tion, vol. ii., pp. 118-119. See also Fisher, Strug. Life of Kalb, pp. 162–165.

gle for American Independence, vol. i., chap. † Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. xxxiv., and authorities cited.

EXPLOITS OF BIDDLE, JONES, BARRY, AND TALBOT.

131

thought to the creation of a navy. conflict for seven hours and finally. Several vessels were construcied in escaping on shore with his crew.* France, others were bought, and a Captain Silas Talbot likewise disconsiderable number were built in tinguished himself in October by America. In this year, therefore, the making another well-planned and outlook for successful naval opera- successful attack upon a British vestions was particularly bright. Early sel off Rhode Island. At this time in the year, Captain Nicholas Biddle, the schooner Pigot, being stationed at in the Randolph, a 36, engaged the the mouth of the Sekonet River, had British ship Yarmouth, a 64, but after effectually broken up foreign comtwenty minutes of severe fighting, the merce and had cut off all supplies and Randolph blew up and Captain Biddle reinforcements for that part of the and the entire crew perished, with the colony. Talbot obtained the consent exception of four men who were of General Sullivan to attempt the rescued a few days later from a piece capture of the vessel. In this project of the wreckage.* During the year Talbot was successful, and the Pigot Paul Jones made his appearance was carried off in triumph by the along the English coast and com. Continental forces. A month later pletely terrorized all the seaport Talbot received a complimentary lettowns of that country.t Captain ter from the President of Congress John Barry distinguished himself in and was presented with a commission an action off the coast of Maine with as lieutenant-colonel in the United two English vessels, sustaining the States Army.t.

CHAPTER XXIII.

1776-1779. BORDER WARS: WYOMING: EXPEDITIONS OF CLARK AND SULLIVAN. Cherokee war - The massacre of Wyoming – Slaughter of Colonel Baylor's regiment — Pulaski's corps

attacked — Effect of these atrocities — Congress resolves upon retaliatory expeditions - Massacre of Cherry Valley – George Rogers Clark in the Northwest — Kaskaskia and Vincennes taken — Sullivan's expedition against the Six Nations — Other expeditions.

While the East was thus being del- British were successful in their efforts uged with blood, the West was under to foment a war spirit among the going no less severe trials. The Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws and

* Bancroft, vol. y., p. 222; McCrady, South Car. olina in the Revolution, pp. 233-235.

+ See Cooper, Naval History, vol. i., pp. 87– 90. See also the various lives of Jones, and Par. ton, Life of Franklin, vol. ii., pp. 335–343.

* Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. ii., p. 641.

+ See Mr. Tuckerman's Life of Commodore Tal. bot, pp. 52–64; Richman, Rhode Island, pp. 233– 235; S. Talbot, Capture of Pigot Galley, in Rhode Island Historical Society MSS., vol. iii., no. 671.

132

INDIAN ATTACKS ON WATAUGA SETTLEMENTS.

Chickasaws, to which tribes numer- bands of Indians spread all over the ous agents had been sent. The subse- country, wrapping the back country quent ravages of the Indians mad- settlements from the Holston to the dened the American frontiersmen Tugelou, from northwestern Georgia and changed their resentment against to southwestern Virginia, in all the the British king into a deadly and last- horrors of savage warfare.* The Waing hatred.* These Indian forays re- tauga people had been warned of the acted unfavorably on the Loyalist attack, and the majority sought safety cause, for the Indians were too intent in their wooden forts or stations, but upon plunder and rapine to distin- some delayed their departure and were guish between Whig and Tory, and as slain as they fled or else captured, pera result large numbers of the latter haps to die by torture. The Indians were driven into the patriot ranks.t now laid waste the fields and burned The British agents showed poor gen- the homesteads for miles around, eralship in inciting the uprising so soon transforming a prosperous comearly, for as yet the British troops in munity into a desolate waste and rethe South were few in number, and ducing the settlers to poverty. Rather the Americans were unhampered in than remain idle up in the fort while thcir operations against the Indians. the Indians safely committed these

The Cherokee villages lay in that depredations, the pioneers on July 20, cluster of mountains which marks the to the number of 170, marched out toending of the present boundaries of ward Island Flats. After dispersing Georgia and the Carolinas. These a small detachment of Indians, they provinces lay to the east and south- had begun the journey homeward east of them, while to the north in the when a large body of Indians attacked valley of the upper Tennessce lay the their rear, but were decisively devillages of the Watauga pioneers, and feated with great loss, including their still further north, the Virginia out- chief Dragging Canoe. The Ameriposts. The Watauga settlements were can loss was four slightly wounded. + certain to suffer as they were in close On the same day the Watarga fort, proximity to the Cherokees. Early in garrisoned by 40 or 30 men under the summer of 1776, these Indians Robertson and Sevier, was attacked gave unmistakable signs of preparing by a large force, but the Indians could for war — shining guns, making moc- only maintain an irregular sicge for

ins, etc. Tlie ravages began in about three weeks, at the end of which June, though the main attack was de- they retired, fearing the approach of ferred until July, when the various rescuing partics of frontiersmen. Of

* Roosevelt, Winning of the TF cst, vcl. i., p. 279. 1 American Archives, 5th series, vol. i., p. 610. # American Archives, 5th series, vol. i., p.1ll.

* Roosevelt, Tinning of the West, vol. i., pp. 282–283.

Ibid, pp. 286–290.

ATTACKS ON CAROLINA AND GEORGIA FRONTIERS.

133

e

the garrison but few were killed or than 1,100 militia and he began the captured

advance toward the Indians. With a Early in June the settlements party of 300 horsemen, he attempted along the western borders of the Caro- to surprise and capture Cameron, linas and Georgia had been attacked. who lay at Oconoree Creek, beyond the A small party of Georgians had at Cherokee town of Eseneka, but was tempted to capture the British agent, ambushed and compelled to retreat Cameron, but the Cherokees surprised with a loss of 5 mortally and 13 sethe party, killing some and capturing verely wounded. He succeeded in others.* The Southern colonies de- burning a number of houses, however, termined upon an immediate revenge together with some 6,000 bushels of before the British could interpose.t corn. He then returned to camp and The Cherokees .came down the the next day resumed the march, on Catawba into North Carolina and the way destroying all the lower Ininflicted great damage upon the back dian towns, including Seconee, Keodistrict settlements, but General Grif- wee, Ostatay, Chehokee, Eustustie, fith Rutherford raised a frontier levy Sugaw Town and Brass Town. Leavand soon relieved the beleaguered ing a garrison of 600 men at Eseneka, settlements. The small band of In- which was renamed Fort Rutledge, dians who invaded Georgia were re- Williamson returned home.* pulsed by Colonel Samuel Jack with The Carolinas and Virginia then a force of 200 rangers; and not only united for action. Each State sent a were the Indians expelled, but two or column of 2,000 men, and the Carolina three of their villages were de- troops were launched against the stroyed. I

middle and valley sections, while the The party of Indians invading Virginia troops went against the South Carolina was led by Cameron Overhill towns. On September 1, himself. The frontiersmen were 1776, Rutherford left the head of the commanded by Colonel Andrew Wil- Catawba with 2,400 North Carolina liamson, who with 40 mcn took station troops, passed over the Blue Ridge at at Picken's Fort, July 3. At about Swananoa Gap, crossed the French this time Lyndley's Fort on Rayborn Broad at the Warrior's Ford, and Creek was attacked by 200 Indians then pushed on through the mounand Tories, who were beaten back tains to the middle towns. With 900 with some loss. By the end of July picked men, he next set out to the Williamson's force numbered more valley towns along the Hiawassee,

but missed his way in the mountains * YcCall, History of Georgia, p. 76.

thus fortunately escaping an ambush † American Archives, 4th series, vol. vi., p. 1228. - and on September 18 returned to

Roosevelt, Winning of the West, vol. i., pp. 294–295.

* Ibid, pp. 296–299.

134

RETALIATORY EXPEDITIONS; WYOMING.

wel

assacre

the middle towns at Canucca, where he comities of war. As a part of their met Williamson with the South Caro- campaign to make the war odious to lina troops.* Williamson then passed the Americans, the British launched on through Noewee Pass and fell into the savage hordes against the fronthe ambush which had been prepared tiers, where all manner of outrages for Rutherford. After suffering a were committed. Among the most loss of 17 killed and 29 wounded, atrocious and saddest of these events Williamson with great difficulty extri- were the massacres at Wyoming and cated himself from this perilous situa- Cherry Valley. Dr. Thacher, in his tion. Rutherford then joined Wil- Military Journal (pp. 140–143), gives liamson and the combined forces laid an excellent account of the massacre waste all the valley towns and re- of Wyoming.* This place, located on turned home without serious loss.t the eastern branch of the Susque

Meanwhile, on October 1, the Vir- hanna River, consisted of eight townginia forces, including some North ships, containing about 1,000 families. Carolina troops, in all 2,000 strong, The settlement was in a flourishing under command of Colonel William condition and was surrounded by Christian, had started from Great large farms devoted chiefly to the proIsland on the Holston and pressed duction of grain, hemp, fruit, etc. forward until they reached the Big While the greater part of the 11 Island on the French Broad, where itants were ! the Indians were encamped. When the ardently espoused the American latter learned of the strength of the cause, still there were a considerable Virginia forces, they precipitatedly number who clung to the British side. fled, but Christian pursued and early As a result, animosities arose to an in November reached their towns, astonishing height, the closest conwhere he remained two weeks, devas. nections being severed. A number of tating the country for miles around. the inhabitants in a spirit of reThe Indians then agreed to peace, and venge abandoned their plantations after burning the town of Tuskega, and united with the Indian allies of Christian led his forces homeward.t the British, instigating and assisting

It will be remembered that the them in their barbarous work of royal peace commissioners had been slaughter and death, even among relaunsuccessful in their mission. Con- tives and close friends. The adsidering the Americans as incorri- herents of the American cause had regible rebels, the British took little ceived intelligence that the Indians pains to accord to them the ordinary * See also Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 279-280; Fiske,

American Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 82-90; W. L. * Ibid, pp. 300-301.

Stone. The Poetry and Hisiory of Wyoming (3d Ibid, pp. 301-303.

ed., 1871); Miner, Histo;'y of Wyoming; Lossing, # Ibid, pp. 303–306.

Field-Book of the Rerolution, vol. i., pp. 340–362.

« PreviousContinue »