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Gore, whose arm was shattered early in the action, being intercepted in an attempt to retreat the way he had marched up, secreted himself in a thick covert of bushes and briars near the road, on the descending bank. Indians ran past him, their attention directed to those who were flying through the flats. One stood very near, gazed a moment, drew up his rifle and fired. Raising a yell, he rushed forward, probably to scalp his victim.
At the river near the Island, the scene was exceedingly distressing. A few swam over and escaped. Closely pressed, many were killed in the river. Sergeant Jeremiah Bigford, a very active man, was pursued by an Indian into the stream with a spear; Bigford faced him, struck the spear from his hand, and seizing him by the neck, dashed him under his feet, where he would have drowned, but another savage rushed forward to his aid, and ran his spear through Bigford's breast, who fell dead, and floated away. A month afterwards his body was found seven or eight miles below, much decayed, but was recognized by a silver broach he wore, which, with a piece of the shirt with the spear hole, was preserved by bis family for many years. One of the fugitives by the name of Pensil sought security by hiding in a cluster of willows on the island. Seeing his tory brother come up, and recognize him, he threw himself at his feet, begged for protection, and proffered to serve him for life, if he would save him. Mighty well !” was the taunting reply.
“ You d-d rebel,” and instantly shot him dead. It was a dreadful hour; men seemed transformed into demons. The worst passions raged with wild and desolating fury. All the sweet charities of life seemed extinguished. Lieutenant Shoemaker, one of the most generous and benevolent-hearted men, whose wealth enabled him to dispense charity and do good, which was a delight to him, fled to the river, when Windecker, who had often fed at his board, and drank of his cup, came to the brink. “ Come out, come out,” said he,“ You know I will protect you." How could he doubt it? Windecker reached out his left hand, as if to lead him, much exhausted, ashore, and dashed his tomahawk into the head of his benefactor, who fell back, and floated away
Many prisoners were lured to shore by promise of quarter, and then butchered. The accurate Indian marksmen, sure of their prey, had coolly singled out. officers, and broke the thigh bone, it is supposed, as so many are found perforated, so as effectually to disable, but leaving the victim alive for torture. Capt. Bidlack was thrown
alive on the burning logs of the fort, held down with pitch forks, and there tortured till he expired. Prisoners taken under solemn promise of quarter, were gathered together, and placed in circles. Sixteen or eighteen were arranged round one large stone, since known as the bloody rock. Surrounded by a body of Indians, queen Esther, a fury in the form of a woman, assumed the office of executioner with death maul, or tomahawk, for she used the one with both hands, or took up the other with one, and passing round the circle with words, as if singing, or counting with a cadence, she would dash out the brains, or sink the tomahawk into the head of a prisoner. A number had fallen. Her rage increased with indulgence. Seeing there was no hope, Łebbeus, Hammond, and Joseph Elliott, with a sudden spring shook off the Indians who held them, and fled for the thicket : . Rifles cracked! Indians yelled! Tomahawks flew! but they escaped, the pursuers soon returning to their death sports. The mangled bodies of fourteen or fifteen were afterwards found round the rock where they had fallen, scalped, and shockingly mangled. Nine more were found in a similar circle some distance above.
Young Searles, aged sixteen, fled, accompanied by William, the son of Asahel Buck, aged fourteen. Searles, almost exhausted, heard a person cry, "stop--you shall have quarter-we wont hurt you." Looking round, and almost inclined to surrender, he saw Buck stop, and yield himself: that moment a tomahawk struck him to the earth dead. Renewing his leap, from desperation, Searle escaped. “See,” said one of the flying Yankees, who was pursued by a powerful Indian, and nearly exhausted. Richard Inman drew up his rifle, and the Indian dropped dead.* Samuel Carey, a young man of nineteen, had crossed the river at the island, where he was met by the Indians, who were already on the beach. At first they threatened him with death, placing a knife to his bowels, as if they meant to rip him open; but he was spared, and taken to the Indian country. With a single other exception, he was the only person made prisoner in the battle, whose life was not sacrificed.
While this scene of suffering and woe was in progress, night threw her kindly mantle over the field, and darkness arrested the pursuit. Lieut. Gore, who had lain still, now heard the tread of men, and their voices in conversation. It has been a sore day for
* That shot was revenged on the family, as will be seen in the sequel.
the Yankees.” “ It has indeed—blood enough has been shed.” So far he heard, and they passed on. He supposed it to be Col. J. Butler, and one of his officers.
Mr. Hollenback, who had swam the river, and so escaped, brought the anticipated tidings to Wilkesbarre, and having learned the position of Capt. Spalding, saddled his horse, and rode all night to apprise him of the state of affairs at Wyoming.
Col. Zebulon Butler repaired to the Wilkesbarre Fort, and cast himself exhausted on the ground. Col. Denison took up his quarters at Forty Fort, gathered the few soldiers who had come in-placed sentinels, and took all the precautions in his power, dictated by prudence, to guard against surprise, and save the women and children. The night throughout the Valley was one of inexpressible anguish and despair.
Although darkness had put an end to the pursuit, and most of the prisoners had been barbarously butchered, some who were supposed to be special objects of hate, were selected for slower torture, and the execution of more savage vengeance. It may be some unguarded word-perhaps the refusal, in gone-by years, of whiskey to an importunate Indian; some fancied, or real wrong; or, it is thought by some, to satiate the revenge of Indians who had lost relations in the fight: whatever may have been the motive, the vast depths of hell, boiling with demoniac passions, never could have devised or executed such horrid tortures, as many of the Connecticut prisoners were that night doomed to endure.
On the river bank, on the Pittston side, Capt. Blanchard, Esq., Whitaker, and Ishmael Bennet, attracted by fires among trees, on the opposite shore, took their station and witnessed the process of torture. Several naked men, in the midst of flames, were driven round a stake; their groans and screams were most piteous, while the shouts and yells of the Savages, who danced round, urging the victims on with their spears, were too horrible to be endured. They were powerless to help or avenge, and withdrew, heartsick from a view of their horrid orgies-glad that they did not know who were the sufferers. This was more than a mile above Wintermoot's. On the battle ground, the work of torture lasted till vengeance, satiated and weary, dropped the knife and torch, from exhaustion. Col. John Butler, much agitated, as the peculiar affluvium of burning human flesh came to his nostrils, said, in the hearing of Mr. Ingersoll, “ “It is not in my power to help it.” In the morning, the
battle field was strewed with limbs, and bodies torn apart, mangled and partially consumed.
About one hundred and sixty of the Connecticut people were killed that day, and one hundred and forty escaped. The loss of the enemy was never known. “Early the next morning,” says Mr. Ingersoll, “ all the shovels and pickaxes that could be mustered were taken out, and their dead buried in the swamp. Probably from forty to eighty fell.
The transactions of the next day must be reserved for another letter.
1778.—Morning of the Fourths—Consternation and Flight-Incidents of Suffering—Mr.
Hollenback meets the starving Fugitives with bread-Pittston Forts surrender-Negotiations—Capitulation of Forty Fort— *Note, Queen Estler)–(* Vote, Brant)-Sergeant Boyd shot-Incidents-Col. John Butler withdraws from the Valley-His characterJohn Gardiner, The Indians that remain give up the Valley to fire, plunder and devastation-Murder of Hickman, wife and child -Murder of Leach and St. John-Murder of John Abbott and Isaac Williams-Murder of Keys and Hock sey-Swetland and Blanchard carried away prisoners-Col. Zebulon Butler returns with Capt. Spalding's Company to the Valley-Col. Hartley joins Col. Butler-Expedition to West Branch and Sheshequin-Remains of the slaughtered people buried-List of slain--Several interesting matters--Col. Hartley's Command withdrawn--Return of Savages-- Indian murders--William Jameson--John Perkins--Wm. Jackson and Mr. Lester--Capt. Carr and Philip Goss—Robert Alexander and Amos Parker-- The Utley family murdered—Isaac Inman murdered-Nathan Kingsley killed--Frances Slocum carried into captivity-Jonathan Slocum and Isaac Tripp murdered--The lost Sister - Thomas Neill, the generous Irishman-- Terms of Capitulation, and official Papers, from British archives.
On the evening of the third of July, Capt. John Franklin arrived at Forty Fort, with the Huntington and Salem company, consisting of about thirty-five men; a most welcome reinforcement to Col. Denison, as they gave steadiness to the broken remnant of the army who had escaped. A consultation was held, at which it was concluded to send to Wilkesbarre for the cannon, to cause the whole settlement to concentrate at Forty Fort, the largest in the Valley, and defend themselves to the last extremity. A messenger, despatched on the morning of the fourth, hastily returned, and reported that the proposed measure was impracticable, for fugitives were flying in every direction to the wilderness, and all was confusion, consternation and horror. The only hope of safety seemed to be in flight. The several passages through the swamp were thronged. Few having been throughtful enough to take provisions, the greater part were destitute. On the old warrior's path, there were in one company, about one hundred women and children, with but a single man, Jonathan