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1811 hundred and fifty yards from the right flank, terminated in an abrup point. The two columns of infantry occupied the front and rear of his ground at the distance of about one hundred and fifty yards from east other on the left, and something more than half that distance on the right flank—these flanks were filled up, the first by two companies of mounted riflemen amounting to about one hundred and twenty mes. under the command of Major-General Wells, of the Kentucky militia, who served as a major; the other by Spencer's company of mounied riflemen, which amounted to eighty men. The front line was composed of one battalion of United States' infantry under the command of Major Floyd, flanked on the right by two companies of militia, and on the left by one company. The rear line was composed of a battalion of United States' troops under the command of Captain Baen, acting as major, and four companies of militia infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Decker. The regular troops of this line joined the mounted riflemen under General Wells on the left flank, and Colonel Decker's battalion formed an angle with Spencer's company on the left.
Two troops of Dragoons, amounting to in the aggregate about sixty men, were encamped in the rear of the left flank, and Captain Parke's troop, which was larger than the other two, in the rear of the front line. Our order of encampment varied little from that above described, excepting when some peculiarity of the ground made it necessary. For a night attack the order of encampment was the order of battle, and each man slept immediately opposite to his post in the line. In the for mation of my troops I used a single rank, or what is called Indian file because in Indian warfare, where there is no shock to resist, one rank is nearly as good as two, and in that kind of warfare the extension of line is of the first importance. Raw troops also maneuvre with much more facility in single than in double ranks. It was my constant custom to assemble all the field officers at my tent every evening by signal, to give them the watchword and their instructions for the night-those given for the night of the 6th were, that each corps which formed a part of the exterior line of the encampment, should hold its own ground until 18lieved. The dragoons were directed to parade dismounted in case of a night attack, with their pistols in their belts, and to act as a corps de reserve. The camp was defended by two captains' guards, consisting each of four non-commissioned officers and forty-two privates; and two subalterns' guards of twenty non-commissioned officers and privates. The whole under the command of a field officer of the day. The troops were regularly called up an hour before day, and made to continue under arms until it was quite light. On the morning of the 7th, I had risen at a quarter after four o'clock, and the signal for calling out the men would have been given in two minutes, when the attack commenced. It began on our lest flank-but a single gun was fired by the sentinels or
Battle of Tippecanoe.
by the guard in that direction, which made not the least resistance, but abandoned their officer and fled into camp, and the first notice which the troops of that flank had of the danger, was from the yells of the savages within a short distance of the line—but even under those circumstances the men were not wanting to themselves or to the occasion. Such of them as were awake, or were easily awakened, seized their arms and took their stations; others which were more tardy, had to contend with the enemy in the doors of their tents. The storm first fell upon Captain Barton's company of the 4th United States' regiment, and Captain Geiger's company of mounted riflemen, which formed the left angle of the rear line. The fire upon these was exceedingly severe, and they suffered considerably before relief could be brought to them.
Some few Indians passed into the encampment near the angle, and one 1 or two penetrated to some distance before they were killed. I believe ; all the other companies were under arms and tolerably formed before ! they were fired on. The morning was dark and cloudy; our fires af
forded a partial light, which if it gave us some opportunity of taking our positions, was still more advantageous to the enemy, affording them the means of taking a surer aim ; they were therefore extinguished as soon as possible. Under all these discouraging circumstances, the troops (19-20ths of whom had never been in action before) behaved in a manner that can never be too much applauded. They took their places without noise and with less confusion than could have been expected from veterans placed in a similar situation. As soon as I could mount my horse, I rode to the angle that was attacked—I found that Barton's company had suffered severely and the left of Geiger's entirely broken. I immediately ordered Cook's company and the late Capt. Wentworth's, under Lieut. Peters, to be brought up from the centre of the rear line, where the ground was much more defensible, and formed across the angle in support of Barton's and Geiger's. My attention was then engaged by a heavy firing upon the left of the front line, where were stationed the small company of United States' riflemen (then however armed with muskets) and the companies of Baen, Snelling, and Prescott of the 4th regiment. I found Major Daviess forming the dragoons in the rear of those companies, and understanding that the heaviest part of the enemy's fire proceeded from some trees about fifteen or twenty paces in front of those companies, I directed the major to dislodge them with a part of the dragoons. Unfortunately the major's gallantry determined him to execute the order with a smaller force than was sufficient, which enabled the enemy to avoid him in front and attack his flanks. The major was mortally wounded, and his party driven back. The Indians were however immediately and gallantly dislodged from their advantageous position, by Captain Snelling at the head of his company. In the course of a few minutes after the commencement of the attack,
1811. the fire extended along the left flank, the whole of the front, the right flank, and part of the rear line. Upon Spencer's mounted riflemen, and the right of Warwick's company, which was posted on the right of the rear line, it was excessively severe: Captain Spencer, and his first and second lieutenants, were killed, and Captain Warwick was mortally wounded—those companies however still bravely maintained their posts, but Spencer had suffered so severely, and having originally too much ground to occupy, I reinforced them with Robb’s company of riflemen, which had been driven, or by mistake ordered from their position on the left flank, towards the centre of the camp, and filled the vacancy that had been occupied by Robb with Prescott's company of the 4th United States' regiment. My great object was to keep the lines entire, to prevent the enemy from breaking into the camp until daylight, which should enable me to make a general and effectual charge. With this view, I had reinforced every part of the line that had suffered much ; and as soon as the approach of morning discovered itself, I withdrew from the front line, Snelling's, Posey's, (under Lieutenant Albright,) and Scott's, and from the rear line, Wilson's companies, and drew them up upon the left flank, and at the same time, I ordered Cook's and Baen's companies, the former from the rear, and the latter from the front line, to reinforce the right flank; foreseeing that at these points the enemy would make their last efforts. Major Wells, who commanded on the left flank, not knowing my intentions precisely, had taken the command of these companies, had charged the enemy before I had formed the body of dragoons with which I meant to support the infantry; a small detachment of these were, however, ready, and proved amply sufficient for the purpose. The Indians were driven by the infantry, at the point of the bayonet, and the dragoons pursued and forced them into a marsh, where they could not be followed. Captain Cook, and Lieutenant Larebee had, agreeably to my order, marched their companies to the right flank, had formed them under the fire of the enemy, and being then joined by the riflemen of that flank, had charged the Indians, killed a number, and put the rest to a precipitate flight. A favorable opportunity was here offered, to pursue the enemy with dragoons, but being engaged at that time on the other flank, I did not observe it, until it was too late.
I have thus, sir, given you the particulars of an action, which was certainly maintained with the greatest obstinacy and perseverance, by both parties. The Indians, manifested a ferocity uncommon, even with them to their savage fury our troops opposed that cool, and deliberate valor, which is characteristic of the Christian soldier.*
The Americans in this battle had not more than 700 efficient men,- non-commissioned officers and privates; † the Indians are
* American State Papers, v. 777.
+ Harrison in American State Papers, v. 778.
Battle of Tippecanoe.
believed to have had 800 to 1000 warriors.* The loss of the American army was 37 killed on the field, 25 mortally wounded, and 126 wounded,ł that of the Indians about 40 killed on the spot, the number of wounded being unknown. I
Governor Harrison, although very generally popular, had enemies, and after the battle of Tippecanoe they denounced him, 1st for suffering the Indians to point out his camping ground; 2d, for allowing himself to be surprised by his enemy; and 3d, because he sacrificed either Daviess or Owen, (accounts differed) by placing one or the other on a favorite white horse of his own, which caused the savages to make the rider an especial mark. To these charges elaborate replies have been made ; || we cannot do more than say, to the 1st, that although as Harrison relates, the Indians pointed out the creek upon which was the site of his encampment, his own officers found, examined, and approved that particular site, and other military men have since approved their selection: to the 2d the only reply needed is, that the facts were just as stated in the despatch we have quoted ;1 and to the 3d, that Daviess was killed on foot, and Owen on a horse not General Harrison's: the last story probably arose from the fact that Taylor, a fellow aid of Owen, was mounted on a horse of the Governor's; but Taylor was not killed, though the horse he rode was.**
The battle of Tippecanoe was fought upon the 7th of November, and upon the 4th of the following month Harrison writes that the frontiers never enjoyed more perfect repose; ff though it seems to be clear that the disposition to do mischief was by no means extinguished among the savages.ft
During this year two events took place, beside the battle of Tippecanoe, which make it especially noticeable in the history of the West; the one was, the building of the steamer New Orleans, the first boat built beyond the Alleghanies; the other was the series of Earthquakes which destroyed New Madrid, and affected
Dawson, 216.—Drake's Tecumseh, 152. Harrison estimated the savages at 600 at least.-- American State Papers, v. 778.
+ American State Papers, v. 779. Dawson, 216, | See especially Dawson, 204 to 250. § Taylor in Dawson, 208, 226.-McAfee. * Todd and Drake, 34 to 36.—Dawson, 212, 220, &c., 246, &c. ** Harrison in Todd and Drake 37. + American State Papers, v. 779.
#1 Dawson, 258 to 268.—Marshall, ii. 480, &c.—John Johnston of Piqua thinks the Indians might have been attached to the Americans.—(Cist's Miscellany, ii. 298.)
1811. the whole valley.–Of the latter event we give the following description from the pen of Dr. Hildreth : *
The centre of its violence was thought to be near the Little Prairie, twenty-five or thirty miles below New Madrid ; the vibrations from which were felt all over the valley of the Ohio, as high up as Pittsburgh. The first shock was felt in the night of the 16th of December, 1811, and was repeated at intervals, with decreasing violence, into February following. New Madrid, having suffered more than any other town on the Mississippi from its effects, was considered as situated near the focus from whence the undulations proceeded.
From an eye-witness, who was then about forty miles below that town, in a flat boat, on his way to New Orleans with a load of produce, and who narrated the scene to me, the agitation which convulsed the earth and the waters of the mighty Mississippi filled every living crezture with horror. The first shock look place in the night, while the boat was lying at the shore in company with several others. At this period there was danger apprehended from the southern Indians, it being soon after the battle of Tippecanoe, and for safety several boats kept in company, for mutual defence in case of an attack. In the middle of the night there was a terrible shock and jarring of the boats, so that the crews were all awakened and hurried on deck with their weapons of defence in their hands, thinking the Indians were rushing on board, The ducks, geese, swans, and various other aquatic birds, whose nomberless flocks were quietly resting in the eddies of the river, were thrown into the greatest tumult, and with loud screams expressed their alarm in accents of terror. The noise and commotion soon became hushed, and nothing could be discovered to excite apprehension, so that the boatmen concluded that the shock was occasioned by the falling in of a large mass of the bank of the river near them. As soon as it was light enough to distinguish objects, the crews were all up making ready to depart. Directly a loud roaring and hissing was heard, like the escape of steam from a boiler, accompanied by the most violent agitation of the shores and tremendous boiling up of the waters of the Mississippi in huge swells, rolling the waters below back on the descending stream, and tossing the boats about so violently that the men with difficulty could keep on their feet. The sandbars and points of the islands gave way, swallowed up in the tumultuous bosom of the river ; carrying down with them the cottonwood trees, cracking and crashing, tossing their arms to and fro, as if sensible of their danger, while they disappeared beneath the flood. The water of the river, which the day before
In Carey's Museum for April 1789, p. 363, in an account of the Great Earthquake of 1727.-On those of 1811, see also Senator Linn's letter in Wetmore's Missouri Gazetteer, (St. Louis, 1837,) 134 to 142.-Drake's Picture of Cincinnati.-Flint's Recollections