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cannon were mounted. Convenient arrangements were made for the sick, and the fort left in charge of Capt. Shreive, of the second Jersey regiment, having two hundred and fifty men under his command.
On the 26th of August, having passed beyond the river mountains, and attained a comparatively open country, the army took up their line of march in this order.
Gen. Hand's brigade, in front, in eight columns.
Gen. Poor's brigade on the right, in eight columns, flanked by a strong body of light troops.
Gen. Maxwell's brigade on the left, in eight columns, flanked by light troops.
Gen. Clinton's brigade, in eight columns, in the rear.
Col. Proctor's artillery in the centre, flanked on the right and left by double files of pack-horses, which separated his command from Poor, and Maxwell's brigades.
The only important stand made by the enemy was below Newtown, eighteen miles above Tioga Point, on the Tioga, (or Chemung) river. Col. John Butler, Capt. Walter Butler, (his son,) the two Johnsons, Grey, and McDonald, commanded the British and Tories. Brandt, (Thayendenegea, the terrible,) was at the head of the combined Indian warriors of the Six Nations. Their numbers have been variously estimated, from fifteen hundred to two thousand fighting
On the north side of the Tioga river, where there is a bend forming almost a right angle, on a steep gravelly bank, the enemy had thrown up a breast-work, extending nearly half a mile in length, north towards the hills, and here preparations were carefully made for a decisive battle. Their right and rear were guarded by the stream, their left only exposed; but on the neighboring heights on their left flank, strong bodies of their sharp-shooters were stationed. To mask their works, pine shrubs had been cut, and stuck up in front, as if still growing. The road ran to the foot of the gravel hill, on which they had fortified, then turning to the right, following a small brook in a line parallel with the breast-work, so that, had the army marched on without discovering their position, the whole left would have been exposed to a raking fire on the flank. Some skir
* It has been stated, that there were but two hundred whites present. This seems very improbable. Butler and Johnson had more than that number at Wyoming. So many Canadian and refugee officers could hardly have been in command of less than four or five hundred men.
mishing had previously taken place, and several men had fallen. Fortunately Major Parr, in advance with his riflemen, discovered the Indian line of defence, and gave immediate notice to the advancing columns. Gen. Hand forthwith formed the light infantry in the wood, about eighty rods from the enemy, and waited until the other columns should come up.
Gen. Sullivan promptly gave orders to Gen. Poor, to scale the hills on his right, rouse the Indians from their lurking places, who, he did not doubt, were there in force, at the bayonet's point, and pressing on with spirit, giving them no time to shelter themselves behind trees, and then to fall on the left flank and rear of the enemy. Proctor, with his artillery, took up a position to render his shot and shells most effective, and played with great vivacity. Parr, with the whole rifle corps, was actively engaged. Spalding and Franklin with the Wyoming troops were in the thickest of the fight. General Hand led his light infantry to the assault with the greatest gallantry. Clinton and Maxwell were held in impatient, though prudent, reserve. The enemy contested the ground with determined resolution, until the active and decisive movement of Poor cleared the hills, and unveiled their flank to his now descending and impetuous attack, when they fled with precipitation. The true Indian character was now exhibited. Cunning in expedient-patient under every privation in advancing on an enemy-impetuous and terrible in attack-overbearing, insolent and cruel in victory—so, when defeated, broken spirited, (like the tiger when he has missed his prey,) cowering almost into cowardice, for a time no power can rally them. The victory was decisive. No serious attempt was afterwards made to check the advance of the army. About thirty men fell in the battle. How many of the Indians, could not be known; as it is felt to be, among them, a most sacred duty to carry off their dead, and conceal the number of the slain. Capt. Franklin, of the Wyoming volunteers, received a ball in his shoulder, and several from his, Spalding's and Schott's companies, were wounded.
Not a moment of delay was allowed. Being now in the Indian country, hundreds of fields, teeming with corn, beans, and other vegetables, were laid waste with rigid severity. Every house, hut,
, and wigwam, was consumed. Cultivated in rude Indian fashion for centuries, orchards abounded, and near a town, between the Seneca and Cayuga lakes, there were fifteen hundred peach trees, bending under ripe, and ripening fruit; all were cut down. The besom of destruction swept, if with regret and pity, still with firm hand,
through all their fair fields and fertile plains. Deeply were they made to drink of the bitter chalice they had so often forced remorselessly to the lips of the frontier settlers within their reach. Some idea of the extent of country inhabited by the Indians, the number of their towns, and the great quantity of produce to be destroyed, may be formed, when it is stated that an army of four thousand men were employed, without a day's (except indispensable) remission, from the 29th of August, until the 28th of September, in accomplishing the work of destruction. The furthest northwest extent of General Sullivan's advance, was to Genesee castle, at the large flats on the beautiful river of that name. Two or three incidents that occurred on the march have too much interest to be omitted. At Kanadia, on the 5th of September, Mr. Luke Swetland, one of the most respectable citizens of Wyoming, who had been taken prisoner the year previous, was relieved from captivity. At Canandaigua, on the 7th, a white child was found, indeed an orphan, without knowledge of its parents. We regret our inability to record its fate. A few days after, a woman who had been taken at Wyoming, came into the army, with a child in her arms of seven or eight months old. Her name we have not been able to learn. One old squaw, too old to be removed, was the only human being belonging to the enemy left by them, so totally was their country deserted. But a most melancholy occurrence demands a more particular narration.
On the 13th of September, Lieut. Boyd of the rifle corps, was directed to take five or six men, with a friendly Indian as a guide, and to advance towards the Genesee to reconnoiter. Numbers volunteering, he marched out at the head of twenty-four men; too few if battle was intended; too many if secresy and celerity were prime requisites of the enterprise. Striking Little castle, on the Genesee river, he surprised, killed and scalped two Indians. On his return, Boyd was surrounded by a strong detachment of the enemy, who killed fourteen of his men, and took him and a soldier prisoners ; eight men only escaping. The next day the army accelerated their march, with the hope of releasing Lieut. Boyd. On arriving at the Genesee Castle, his remains and those of the other prisoner were found, surrounded by all the horrid evidences of savage barbarity. The torture fires were yet burning. Flaming pine knots had been thrust into their flesh, their finger nails pulled out, their tongues cut off, and their heads severed from their bodies. It is said that Boyd was brought before Col. Butler, who examined him, Boyd being on one knee, a warrior on each side firmly grasping his arms, a third at his
back, with tomakawk raised. What a scene for a limner! “ How many men has Sullivan? “I cannot tell you, sir.” How is the army divided and disposed ?” “I cannot give you any information, sir." “ Boyd, life is sweet, you had better answer me.” “ Duty forbids, and I would not if life depended on the word—but Col. Butler, I know the issue, my doom is fixed.” Another version of the affair omits the interview, and relates that Boyd was stabbed in the abdomen, an intestine drawn out and tied to a tree, around which the sufferer was driven. Both may be true. That a prisoner should be taken before Butler for examination is quite probable.
“While Sullivan" (we copy Marshall) “ laid waste the county on the Susquehanna, another expedition under Col. Brodhead was carried on from Pittsburg up the Alleghany, against the Mingo, Munsey, and Seneca tribes. At the head of between six and seven hundred men, he advanced two hundred miles up the river, and destroyed the villages and cornfields on its head branches. Here too the Indians were unable to resist the invading army. After one unsuccessful skirmish, they abandoned their villages to a destruction that was inevitable, and sought for personal safety in the woods.”
The army withdrew to Tioga point on the 29th September, and in the evening Capt. Shreeve gave an entertainment to the officers, in the best style in his power, the pleasure of which was heightened by learning the particulars of the surprise and capture of Stony Point by the gallant Wayne.
General Sullivan gave his troops three days of rest, and Oct. 4th marched to Standing Stone bottom. On the 5th the whole army, including the New York brigade, under General Clinton, except those who took charge of the pack-horses, embarked on board the boats, and were wafted, with hearts elate, down that chrystal stream, cheered alternately by songs and music; for rigid discipline was, on an occasion so joyous, temporarily relaxed.
Col. Zebulon Butler at Wyoming, having been apprised of their approach, welcomed them with a salute, and on the 8th, gave an entertainment, more sumptuous and profuse than the Valley had ever before witnessed. Venison and wild turkey smoked upon the board, and Gen. Sullivan, in fine spirits, imparted animation to the feast. Delaying only until the 10th, the army marched, and arrived at Easton on the 15th. On the 17th of October, a day of thanksgiving was held, and a sernion preached by the Rev. Dr. Evans, of Gen. Poor's brigade, when the several detachments of the victorious little
army separated, taking up new positions assigned by his Excellency the Commander in Chief.
Throughout the whole campaign, the conduct of Gen. Sullivan was distinguished by courage, energy and skill. Unfortunately, soon after taking the command at Wyoming, in general orders, he animadverted with severity upon the Board of War, who had resisted what they deemed unreasonable demands for provisions, forage, stores, and means of transportation. Sept. 1st, 1779, in the Continental Congress, “a letter was read, dated August 31st, from the Board of War, enclosing a copy of general orders issued to the troops under his command, by Major Gen. John Sullivan, reflecting upon the Board, and representing that the characters of the Board are made free with in Gen. Sullivan's army, who, being under a deception, censure the Board with great bitterness; and, thereupon, request Congress to appoint a committee to examine into their conduct, &c."
October 141h.—On motion of Mr. Gerry : “ Resolved, That the thanks of Congress be given to his Excellency General Washington, for directing, and to Major-General Sullivan, and the brave officers and soldiers under his command, for effectually conducting an important expedition, against such of the Indian nations, as encouraged by the counsels, and conducted by the officers of his Britannic Majesty, had perfidiously waged an unprovoked and cruel war against these United States; laid waste many of their defenceless towns, and with savage barbarity slaughtered the inhabitants thereof."
A second resolution proposes to set apart a day of general thanksgiving, which shows the importance attached to Sullivan's eminent success.
Still the voice of censure from the Board of War, and their partizans in Congress, was reiterated and loud.
On the 13th of November, a letter was read from General Sullivan, dated the 9th, "requesting leave, on account of ill health, to retire from the service.” Whereupon a motion was made by Mr. Gerry, " that th: resignation of Major-General Sullivan be not accepted, but that he have leave to retire from the service, as long as he shall judge it expedient for the recovery of his health.” This motion, instead of being adopted, was referred to a committee, on whose report to Congress, on the 30th November, “ Resolved, That Congress have a just sense of the services and abilities of Major-Generaj Sullivan, and greatly regret the indisposition which deprives them of so gallant an officer ; that as General Sullivan's health will not permit his continuance in the American army, his resignation be accepted."