Page images



their escape.

The whites were greatly distressed after this fight, for the Indians were reinforced, and harassed them until the 4 October, when they gave up the business and retired. General Newman, having thrown up a slight work, was able to prevent being entirely cut off, and at length retreated out of the country. The Indians did not give up the siege until they had been pretty severely cut up. The whites, by concealing themselves on the night of the 3d, made them believe they had abandoned their fort; and they came up to it in a body without apprehending danger; when on a sudden they received a most deadly fire, and immediately fled.

We shall close this chapter with some revolutionary and other matters. The Cherokees had engaged not to operate with the British, towards the close of the war; and what is very singular, all the time that the greatest successes attended the British arms, they strictly adhered to their engagement; and it was not until the fortune of war had changed, and the Americans had become masters of nearly all the country, that many of the ill-fated Indians, instigated, no doubt, by abandoned white desperadoes, fell upon the settlement called Ninety Six, killing many persons, and burning several houses. Upon this, General Pickens took the fie at the head of a band of mounted men, and in about five weeks following the 10 September, 1781,* finished this Cherokee war, in which 40 Indians were killed, 13 towns destroyed, and a great puinber of men, women and children taken prisoners. † A white man by the name of Waters was supposed to have been the prime mover of the Indians, who with a few of them fled through the Creek country into Florida, and made good

On 17 October, 12 chiefs and 200 warriors met General Pickens at Long Swamp Creek, and a treaty was concluded, by which Georgia acquired a large accession of territory. I

We have next to relate the bold exploits of a Creek warrior, of the ..ame Guristersigo. $ The British held possession of Savannah, in June, 1782, and General Wayne was sent there to watch their motions. On the 21 May, Colonel Brown marched out of Savannah to meet, according to appointment, a band of Indians under Emistessigo, or Guristersigo. But some difficulty among the Indians had delayed their march, and the movement of Brown was disastrous in the extreme. General Wayne, by a bold maneuvre, cut off his retreat, fell upon him at midnight, killed 40 of bis men, took 20 prisoners, and the rest escaped only under cover of darkness. In this fight Wayne would not permit a gun to be fired, and the execution was effected wholly with the sword and bayonet; the flints having been previously taken from the soldiers' guns.

Meanwhile, Emistessigo was traversing the whole transverse extent of Georgia, (strange as it may seem,) without being discovered, except by two boys, who were taken and killed. It was the 24 June, however, before he arrived in the neighborhood of General Wayne, who was encamped about five miles from Savannah. Wayne did not expect an attack, especially by Indians, and consequently was completely surprised. But being well seconded by his officers, and happily resorting to his favorite plan of fighting, extricated himself from imminent danger, and put the Indians to flight, after a hard-fought battle.

The plan adopted by the Indian chief, though simple, was wise ; but in its execution he lost some time, which was fatal to him. He captured two of Wayne's cannon, and while endeavoring to turn them upon the Americans, they had time to rally. And, as the sword and bayonet were only used by them, no chance was left the Indians to take advantage of position from the flashes of the guns of their adversaries. If Wayne merited censure for being taken thus unprepared, he deserved it quite as much for exposing himself in the fight beyond what prudence required; but more than all, for putting to death 12 prisoners who had been decoyed into his power, after the fight.

The severest part of the action was fought at the cannons. Emistessigo was oath to relinquish such valuable trophies, and he did it only with his lite. * Johnson's Life of Green, ii. 317.

| Lee's Memoirs, 382, 383. Jolinson's Life of Green, ii. 318. ♡ Lee. Dr. Holmes writes Emistessigo. Annals, ii. 310.


[Boox IV. Seventeen of his warriors fell by his side, besides his white guides. He received a spear and two bayonets in his body before he fell, and encouraged his warriors to the last. When he began to faint, he retired a few steps, and calmly laying himself down, breathed his last without a groan or struggle.

This chief was six feet three inches high, weighing about 220 pounds, bear. ing a manly and expressive countenance, and 30 years of age; and General Lee adds, “ Guristersigo died, as he had lived, the renowned warrior of the Overhill Creeks.” In this singular affair but 12 Americans were killed and wounded. Among the plunder taken from the Indians were 117 packhorses, laden with peltry. Exertions were made to capture those warriors that escaped from the attack on Wayne's camp, but so well did they understand tue country, that not one of them was taken.

Although not in the order of time, we will introduce here one of the earliest advocates for temperance that we have met with among the Indians. This person, though a Creek, was a descendant, by his own account, of the renowned Grangula. His name was Onughkallydawwy-grangulakopak. All we know of bis history, can be told in a few words, and but for one speech of bis which happened to be preserved, even his name we had never perhaps heard. That he lived in 1748, and was eminent for his good morals, except the speech, before mentioned, is all we know of him. As to the speech, which is so highly extolled, it has, like numerous others, we are of opinion, passed through too many hands to be considered by all who may meet with it as genuine; nevertheless, throwing aside all the unmeaning verbiage with which it is encumbered, an Indian speech might remain that would be read with pleasure. As it stands in the work before us,* its length excludes it from our pages, and we shall select but few sentences. It was delivered in a great council of the Creek nation, and taken down in short hand by some white present, and about four years after came into the hands of an agent of Sir William Johnson, thence into the hands of sundry others.

“FATHERS, BRETHREN, AND COUNTRYMEN.–We are met to deliberate. Upon what?-Upon no less a subject, than whether we shall, or shall not be a people !” “I do not stand up, O countrymen! to propose the plans of war, or to direct the sage experience of this assembly in the regulation of our alliances: your wisdom renders this unnecessary for me.”—“ The traitor, or rather the tyrant, I arraign before you, O Creeks! is no native of our soil; but rather a lurking miscreant, an emissary of the evil principle of darkness." "Tis that pernicious liquid, which our pretended whITE FRIENDS artfully introduced, and so plentifully pour in among us !”—“O, ye Creeks! when I thunder in your ears this denunciation; that if this cup of perdition continues to rule among us, with sway so intemperate, ye will cease to be a nation! Ye will have neither heads to direct, nor hands to protect you.—While this diubolical juice undermines all the powers of your bodies and minds, with inoffensive zeal, the warrior's enfeebled arm will draw the bow, or launch the spear in the day of battle. In the day of council, when national safety stands suspended on the lips of the hoary sachem, he will shake his head with uncollected spirits, and drivel the babblings of a second childhood.”

The above, though not a third of the speech, contains chief of all that was intended to be conveyed in several pages. A true Indian speech need not here be presented to show the difference of style between them ; but as we have a very good one, by the famous Creek chief, Big-WARRIOR, not elsewhere noticed, it shall be laid before the reader. It was delivered at the time Gen eral Jackson was treating with the Creeks, about the close of the last war with England, and was in reference, as will be seen, to the conditions demanded of the vanquished. And, although Big-warrior was the friend of the Americans, yet he now felt for his countrymen, and after saying many other things, concluded as follows:

“ The president, our father, advises us to honesty and fairness, and promises

* Sermons, &c., by Reverend Willian Smith.

sun. us.

that justice shall be done: I hope and trust it will be! I made this war, which has proved so fatal to my country, that the treaty entered into a lung time ago, with father WASHINGTON, might not be broken. To his friendly arm I hold fast. I will never break that bright chain of friendship we made together, and which bound us to stand to the U. States. He was a father to the Muscogee people; and not only to them, but all the people beneath the

His talk I now hold in my hand. There sits the agent he sent among

Never has he broken the treaty. He has lived with us a long time. He has seen our children born, who now have children. By his direction, cloth was wove, and clothes were made, and spread through our country ; but the RED Sticks came, and destroyed all ;-we have none now. Hard is our situation; and you ought to consider it. I state what all the nation knows: nothing will I keep secret.—There stands the little warrior.

While we were seeking to give satisfaction for the inurders that had been committed, he proved a mischief-maker; he went to the British on the lakes; he came back, and brought a package to the frontiers, which increased the murders here. This conduct has already made the war party to suffer greatly ; but, although almost destroyed, they will not yet open their eyes, but are still led away by the British at Pensacola. Not so with us. We were rational, and had our senses. We yet are so. In the war of the revolution, our father beyond the waters encouraged us to join him, and we did so. We had no sense then. The promises he made were never kept. We were young and foolish, and fought with him. The British can no more persuade us to do wrong. They have deceived us once, and can do it no more. You are two great people. If you go to war, we will have no concern in it; for we are not able to fight. We wish to be at peace with every nation. If they offer me arms, I will say to them, You put me in danger, to war against a people born in our own land. They shall never force us into danger. You shall never see that our chiefs are boys in council, who will be forced to do any thing. I talk thus, knowing that father WASHINGTON advised us never to interfere in wars. He told us that those in peace were the happiest people. He told us, that if an enemy attacked him, he had warriors enough, and did not wish his red children to help him. If the British advise us to any thing, I will tell you-not hide it. from you. If they say we must fight, I will tell them, No.”

He had previously spoken of the causes of the war, and of the sufferings it had brought upon them, but asked indulgence from compassion. The fine tract of country, now the state of Alabama, was argued for by Shelokta, another famous chief, who had large claims on the whites, but Jackson would not concede. This chief had rendered them the greatest services in the war, and appealed to Jackson's feelings, by portraying the dangers they had passed together, and his faithfulness to him in most trying scenes; but all availed nothing.

Big WARRIOR was a conspicuous chief for many years. In 1821, one of his nation undertook to accompany a Mr. Lucas as a guide, and killed him by the way. Complaint was immediately made to Big-warrior, who ordered him to be executed without delay. In 1824 he was the most noted among the opposers of the missionaries. In this it was thought he was influenced by the Indian agents, which opinion was perhaps strengthened from the fact that a sub-agent, Captain Walker, had married his daughter. He was head chief of the nation when General M’Intosh forfeited his life by breaking the law of the nation in selling a part of the Creek country. The troubles of his nation having brought him to Washington, at the head of a delegation, he fell sick and died there, 8 March, 1825.* He was a man of colossal stature, and proportionate physical powers; and it is said “his mind was as colossal as his body," and that he had done much towards improving the condition of his countrymen. He had a son named Tuskehenaha.

* Niles's Register, xxviii. 48.-By a passage in the report of a committee of congress on The Creek asfairs in 1827, it would seem that Big-warrior died as early as February.



[Bios IF



Grounds of ine Seminole War-Circumstances of those Indians misunderstoodJust

the lur-NEAMAThla deposed- TreatiesOf Me Creek-Payne's Landing--Council at Camp King-Is broken up by OsCEOLA-It is renered, and a party agree to emigrate-Osceola's oppositionIs seized and put in ironsFeiyns a submission and is released-Erecutes an agreement to comply with the demands of the whitesThe physical condition of the Indians.

Having, in a former chapter of this our fourth book, given many of the necessary particulars for a right understanding of the former Florida war, it will not be necessary here to repeat the same, and we shall, therefore, proceed at once to a notice of the grounds of the present war with the Indians in that region.

It bas been formerly said, that nearly all the Indian wars have the same origin; and, on attentively examining the subject, it will be found that the remark has much of truth in it. The Seminoles of Florida have been found quite different from what they had been supposed. Every body had considered them a mere outcast remnant, too much enfeebled by their proximity to the whites, to be in the least dreaded in a war. Indeed, such conclusion was in perfect accordance with the accounts which were circulated among intelligent people; but the truth seems to be, people have always been misinformed on the subject

, owing chiefly to the ignorance of their informers. Nor is it strange that misinformation should be circulated, when it is considered that the very agents who lived among them, and those who made treaties with them, could not give any satisfactory account as to their numbers or other circumstances. General Jackson, in 1817 and 18, made an easy matter of ravaging a part of Florida. His being opposed but by very few Indians, led to the belief that there were but few in the country. The war of 1814 was then too fresh in their recollections to suffer them to adventure too much, and the probability is, that but few could be prevailed upon to join in a war again so soon. Hence, one of two conclusions must now evidently be fixed upon,either that the Seminole Indians were much more numerous, 20 years ago, than what was supposed, or that they have increased very considerably within that time. For my part, I am convinced that both conclusions are correct.

When we are told, that at such a time, and such a place, commissioners of the United States government met a delegation of the principal chiefs of the Southern Indians, and made a treaty, the articles of which were satisfactory to the Indians, two or three queries present themselves for solution; as, by woat means have the chiefs been got together; what other chiefs and principal men are there belonging to such a nation, who did not participate in the business of the treaty. Anxious to effect their object, commissioners have sometimes practised unwarrantable means to obtain it; especially in encouraging sales of territory by a minority of chiefs, or gaining their consent to a removal by presents.

In the early part of the present war, the number of Seminole warriors was reckoned, by persons upon the spot, at 2000; but they have generally, since that period, been rated higher. But it is my opinion, that 2000 able men, led by such a chief as Osceola bas proved himself to be, are amply sufficient to do all that has been done on the part of the Indians in Florida, in 1835 and 6.

There can be but one opinion, among discerning people, of the justness of the present war, as it appears to me; nevertheless, however unjustly created, on the part of the whites, the most efficient measures should have been taken. in its earliest stages, for its suppression ; because, the sooner it is ended, the fewer will be the sacrifices of lives; to say nothing of the concomitant sufferings of individuals, and destructions of property. It has been frequently asked, what the executive and the congress of the nation have been about all this time! A few soldiers have been sent to Florida at a time; some have been cut off, and the services of others rendered abortive, by some childish bickerings among their officers about “precedency of rank.” But whose fault

« PreviousContinue »