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back part of the room. She had received three blows in the head with the tomahawk, one of which penetrated the brain. Her cranium was literally bare, that her fine head of hairs might be all saved. Across her lifeless body lay her lovely babe, smiling in death. It had been finished by a single blow, and was not mutilated. Low murmuring execrations were whispered, the tears of sympathy flowed from all but Murphy; he stood silent, with dry and glaring eyes, immovably fixed on the wife of his youth, and the pledges of their love. Dark and dreadful was the storm that gathered in his convulsed bosom. At length he took his murdered infant in his arms, and, with a high and desperate resolve, swore to be revenged or die, and sealed the vow with a kiss upon the cold cheek of the little innocent. How fearfully his vengeance was poured out upon the red man, the sequel will tell.
A rude grave was then prepared, lined with bark, in place of a coffin, and the mournful duties of sepulture closed the bloody scene. The children were placed in the arms of their mother, upon the bosom that had so often nourished them. To this day, that grave is moistened with the tears of visitors, who have been informed of their tragic end.
They then proceeded to the dwelling of Mr. Harper, and found it empty. His wife was an amiable young lady, only nineteen
years of age, with an infant at her breast. She had attempted to escape to the woods, and was overtaken a few rods from the house, where she and her babe had been massacred, and their bodies had subsequently been torn to pieces by wolves, or some carnivorous animal. This spectacle was more heart-rending than the other. The husband wrung his hands in anguis', as his friends deposited the scattered fragments beneath the clods of the valley.
He also made a firm resolve to drive the foe from the neighborhood, but it was not the maniac revenge of Murphy. His resolution was as determined, his purpose as fixed, but his designs were more expansive. A block-house was immediately erected, to which the surviving settlers all removed. This done, immediate measures were taken, to meet the attack that would probably be made speedily, to avenge the death of those Indians, who had been killed by the two prisoners. Murphy proceeded to Schoharie to obtain assistance from the fort, and Harper went to Albany, and obtained a captain's commission, authorizing him to organize a company from the contiguous settlements.
Colonel Hager, who commanded the fort at Schohatte, immediately accompanied Murphy, with ninety men, to Utstayantho. When in the narrows, about two miles east of that place, the advance guard retreated hastily, having met a large body of warriors, fresh painted, and advancing furiously. One of the guard, a brother of the colonel, had been so closely pursued, as to receive a wound in the shoulder with a tomahawk, when, turning suddenly around, he plunged his bayonet through the body of the Indian. Mr. Hager has pointed out the precise spot to me where it occurred, being at the junction of two small streams that empty into the lake.
The colonel quickly formed his men in order of battle. Waiting some time for the approach of the enemy, and hearing nothing from them, he despatched Murphy, with five men, to reconncitre their position, following, with the main body, about forty rods in the
rear. When within half a mile of the lake, as they passed out of the narrows, three of the enemy were seen, retreating, one of whom fell, beneath the unerring aim of the enraged Irishman. This was the signal for the colonel to rush on, and in a few minutes, he was engaged with the whole savage force. Murphy took his station behind a large pine tree, within twelve rods of the Indians, who lay in a ravine, directly below him. For a moment, they directed their whole fire to that point, and pierced the tree with more than fifty bullets, many of which I cut out, after I was old enough to use
In front, he discovered the very savage who had escaped from him and Harper, to Aquago. He raised his rifle to his face, called the red man by name -the call was heard by his antagonist, who gave a terrific whoop, and fell lifeless to the ground. At that moment a charge was ordered—with the force of an 'avalanche the men rushed on, and, in less than three minutes, the Indians took to flight. A part of them, with Brandt, fled down the Delaware, and a part down the Charlotte, a stream that empties into the Susquehanna. Four of Colonel Hager's men were killed, and about thirty of Brandt's allies.
Having left the fort in charge of a small force, the colonel prepared to return; and buried his dead in one common grave, on the peak of a round bluff near the lake, whose bones I aided in removing to a more proper place of repose, about forty years ago. The account of this battle, I had from Colonel Hager, as well as from several of his men.
In the mean time, Captain Harper was returning by the way of Cherry Valley, deemed the safest route. As he was crossing the bills west of the white settlements
on the Delaware, he came suddenly in contact with a party of fifteen Indians, who had been at the recent battle. To flee, he knew would probably be certain death; he therefore advanced boldly, gave them his hand, and succeeded in impressing them with the belief that he was their friend. Their leader he knew well, but fortunately was not recognised in turn. He learned from them the disasters of the battle at the lake, and found they were on their way to a white settlement on the Susquehanna, probably for the purpose of murder. He then shook hands with them, and hastened to a settlement a few miles distant, where a number of armed men were manufacturing maple sugar. Presuming that the savages would encamp at the foot of the hill, on the bank of Schenevas creek, the captain had no trouble in persuading the sugar makers to accompany him in pursuit of the company of savages he had met.
With two day's provision, they immediately set out in pursuit, and just before day, the next morning, gained the top of the hill above the Indian encampment, where the red men were all asleep. Captain Harper and his men descended, forded the creek, succeeded in taking away the guns of the enemy, without rousing them, and took the whole of them prisoners, and safely lodged them in a fort a few miles distant. Learning from them, that they had left a party of nineteen in the Charlotte valley, Captain Harper and his men determined to pursue them.
irsue them. They replenished their provisions, commenced their march, and, on the second day, struck a fresh Indian trail. They advanced rapidly, and, towards evening, heard the report of a gun some distance in front. They then halted to refresh themselves, and
wait until the savage foes should encamp for the night. Soon after dusk, the captain and his men advanced with great caution, and, in about an hour, discovered the fire of the encampment. Hours passed slowly on, and still several of the red men did not lie down. At last, all but one, seemed to be asleep. A slow and cautious advance was now commenced. Each man was instructed, in case the Indians were roused, to take his station behind a tree, and not to fire, until the enemy came near enough to be reached by the muzzle of the gun. They all examined the priming of their guns, and fixed their bayonets firmly. A deep silence pervaded the dense forest of hemlock and pine. Not a breeze was perceptible, not a leaf was moving on the
The moments were full of suspense and deep anxiety. The recent murder of his wife and babe, nerved the captain for the combat. Courage, fearless and strong, urged every man to death or victory.
They drew nearer and nearer. The quick ear of the wakeful savage soon caught the sound of their footsteps on the dry leaves. A piercing war whoop started his companions on their feet. They seized their arms, and stood ready for action. For a moment, no motion agitated the parties, but the beating heart, and the purple current, rushing through their veins with a tenfold velocity. At length the savages commenced a slow, cautious movement, towards the captain and his
They were between the fire and the avengers of blood, each of whom marked his victim. Sure and deadly was the aim. Twelve of the warriors fell at the first fire, and three were mortally wounded. The sugar makers advanced, and surrounded the survivors. A short and desperate conflict ensued-the nineteen