1812.

CAPTAIN WELLS ARRIVES AT THE FORT.

867

and soon as the commander left the fort, they took command of the block houses, opened the port holes and pointed the loaded cannon so as to command the whole council. This, probably, caused a postponement of their horrid designs.

The captain informed the council of his intentions to distribute the next day, among them, all the goods in the storehouse, with the ammunition and provisions. He requested the Pottawattamies to furnish him an escort to Fort "Wayne, promising them a liberal reward upon their arrival there, in addition to the liberal presents they were now to receive. The Indians were profuse in their professions of good will and friendship, assented to all he proposed, and promised all he desired. The result shows the true character of the Indians. No act of kindness, nor offer of reward, could assuage their thirst for blood.

Mr. Kinzie, who understood well the Indian character, and their designs, waited on the commander, in the hope of opening his eyes to the appalling danger. He told him tbe Indians had been secretly hostile to the Americans for a long time; that since the battle of Tippecanoe he had dispatched orders to all his traders, to furnish no ammunition to them, and pointed out the wretched policy of Captain Heald, of furnishing the enemy with arms and ammunition to destroy the Americans. This argument opened the eyes of the commander, who was struck with the impolicy, and resolved to destroy the ammunition and liquor.

The next day, (13th,) the goods, consisting of blankets, cloths, paints, &c, were distributed, but at night the ammunition was thrown into an old well, and the casks of alcohol, including a large quantity belonging to Mr. Kinzie, was taken through the sally-port, their heads knocked in, and the contents poured into the river. The Indians, ever watchful and suspicious, stealthily crept around, and soon found out the loss of their loved " fire-water."

On the 14th, Captain "Wells departed with fifteen friendly Miamies. He was a brave man, had resided among the Indians from boyhood, and knew well their character aud habits. He had heard at Fort "Wayne, of the order of General Hull to evacuate Fort Dearborn, and knowing the hostile intentions of the Pottawattamies, he had made a rapid march through the wilderness, to prevent, if possible, the exposure of his sister, Mrs. Heald, the officers and garrison, to certain destruction. But he came too late ! The ammunition had been destroyed, and on the provisions the enemy was rioting. His only alternative was to hasten their departure, and every preparation was made for the march of the troops next morning.