xt769p2w414p https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt769p2w414p/data/mets.xml Brackenridge, H. H. (Hugh Henry), 1748-1816 1867  books b9e85b7982009 English U. P. James : Cincinnati, Ohio Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Crawford, William, 1732-1782. Crawford s Indian Campaign, Ohio, 1782. Indian captivities. Indian atrocities. Narratives of the perils and sufferings of Dr. Knight and John Slover, among the Indians during the revolutionary war, with short memoirs of Col. Crawford & John Slover. And a letter from H. Brackinridge, on the rights of the Indians, etc. text Indian atrocities. Narratives of the perils and sufferings of Dr. Knight and John Slover, among the Indians during the revolutionary war, with short memoirs of Col. Crawford & John Slover. And a letter from H. Brackinridge, on the rights of the Indians, etc. 1867 2009 true xt769p2w414p section xt769p2w414p 

of the





during the


with shokt memoirs of




XT.  I  .  T-a-I/eies, PITBIjISHEE,.

{Reprinted from the Nashville edition of 1843,]


The first edition of these Narratives was printed in Pittsburgh, in 1782, in pamphlet form : a copy can hardly be procured now at any price. Another small edition was printed in Nashville in 1843, which has become exceedingly scarce. It is hoped this reprint may prove acceptable to all interested in tho early history of our country, and struggles of the Pioneers with the Indians.

Five hundred copies only, (letter press) are printed of this edition.


Cincinnati, O., 1867. 

The two following Narratives were transmitted for publication in September last, but shortly afterwards the letters from Sir Guy Carlton, to his Excellency, General Washington, informing that the Savages had received orders to desist from their incursions, gave reason to hope that there would be an end to their barbarities. For this reason it was not thought necessary to hold up to view what they had heretofore done. But as they still continue their murders on our frontier, these Narratives may be serviceable to induce our government to take some effectual steps to chastise and suppress them; as from hence they will see that the nature of an 

Mb. Baily :

Enclosed are two Narratives, one of Dr. Knight, who acted as Surgeon in the expedition under Col. Crawford, the other of John Slover. That of Dr. Knight was written by himself at my request; that of Slover was taken by myself from his mouth as he related it.

This man, from his childhood, lived amongst the Indians; though perfectly sensible and intelligent, yet he cannot write. The character of Dr. Knight is well known to be that of a good man, of strict veracity, of a calm and deliberate mind, and using no exaggeration in his account of any matter. 
   8 LETTER.

As a testimony in favor of the veracity of Slover, I thought proper to procure a certificate from the Clergyman to whose church he belongs, and which I give below.


" I do hereby certify that John Slover has been for many years a regular member of the church under my care, and is worthy of the highest credit.


Pittsburg, August 3, 1782. 


BOUT the latter end of the month of March or the beginning of April, of the present year, (1781) the western Indians began to make incursions upon the frontiers of Ohigan and Washington, Youghugany and Westmorlean comities, which has been their constant practice ever since the commencement of the present war between the United States and Great Britain.

In consequence of these predatory invasions, the principal officers of the above mentioned counties, namely : Colonels Williamson and Marshall, tried every method in their power to 2



set on foot an expedition against the Wyandot towns, which they could effect no other way than by giving all possible encouragement to volunteers. The plan proposed was as follows: Every man furnishing himself with a horse, a gun, and one month's provisions, should be exempt from two tours of militia duty. Likewise, that every one who had been plundered by the Indians, should, if the plunder could be found at their towns, have it again, proving it to be his property, and all horses lost on the expedition by unavoidable accident were to be replaced by horses taken in the enemy's country.

The time appointed for the rendezvous, or general meeting of the volunteers, was fixed to be on the 20th of May, and the place, the old Mingo town, on the west side of the river Ohio, about forty miles below Fort Pitt, by land; and I think about seventy-five by water.

Col. Crawford was solicited by the general voice of these western counties and districts to command the expedition. He accordingly set out as a volunteer, and came to Fort Pitt two days before the time appointed for the assembling of the men.   As there was no 
   DR. KNI0I1T.


Surgeon yet appointed to go with the expedition, Col. Crawford begged the favor of Gen. Irvin to permit me to accompany him, (my consent having been previously asked,) to which the General agreed, provided Col. Gibson did not object.

Having obtained permission of the Col., I left Fort Pitt on Tuesday, May 1st, and the next day about one in the afternoon, arrived at the Mingo bottom.

The volunteers had not all crossed the river until Friday morning, the 24th, they then distributed themselves into eighteen companies, choosing their captains by vote. There were chosen also, one Col. Commandant, four field and one brigadier Major. There were four hundred and sixty-five that voted.

We began our march on Saturday, May 25th, making almost a due West course, and on the fourth day reach the old Moravian town, upon the river Muskingum, about 60 miles from the river Chio. Some of the men having lost their horses on the night preceding, returned home.

Thursday the 28th in the evening, Major Brenton and Captain Bean, went some distance from camp to reconnoitre; having gone about 


one quarter of a mile they saw two Indians, upon whom they fired, and then retreated to camp. This was the first place in which we were discovered, as we understood afterwards.

On Thursday the 4th of June, which was the eleventh day of our march, about one o'clock we came to the spot where the town of Sandusky formerly stood; the inhabitants had moved 18 miles lower down the creek nearer the lower Sandusky; but as neither our guides or any who were with us had known any tiling of their removal, we began to conjecture, there were no Indian towns nearer than the lower Sandusky, which was at least forty miles distant.

However, after refreshing our horses we advanced on search of some of their settlements, but had scarcely got the distance of three or four miles from the old town when a number of our men expressed their desire to return, some of them alleging that they had only five days provisions; upon which the field Officers and Captains, determined in council, to proceed that afternoon and no longer. Previous to the calling of this council, a small party of light horse had been sent forward to reconnoitre.

I shall here remark by the way, that there 


are a great many extensive plains in that country. The woods in general grow very thin, and free from brush and underwood; so that light horsemen may advance a considerable distance before an army without being much exposed to the enemy.

Just as the council decided, an express returned from the above mentioned party of light horse with intelligence that they had been about three miles in front, and had seen a large body of Indians running towards them. In a short time we saw the rest of the light horse, who joined us, and having gone one mile further, met a number of Indians who had partly got possession of a piece of woods before us, whilst we were in the plains; but our men alighting from their horses and rushing into the woods, soon obliged them to abandon that place.

The enemy being by this time reinforced, flanked to the right, and part of them coming in nearer, quickly made the action more serious. The firing continued very warm on both sides from four o'clock until the dusk of the evening, each party maintaining their ground. Next morning, about six o'clock, their guns were discharged, at the distance 


of two or three hundred yards, which continued till day, doing little or no execution on either side.

The field officers then assembled and agreed, as the enemy were every moment increasing, and we had already a number of wounded, to retreat that night. The whole body was to form into three lines, keeping the wounded in the centre. We had four killed and twenty-three wounded, of the latter, seven very dangerously, on which account as many biers were got ready to carry them; most of the rest were slightly wounded and none so bad but they could ride on horseback. After dark the officers went on the out-posts and brought in all the men as expeditiously as they could. Just as the troops were about to form, several guns were fired by the enemy, upon which some of our men spoke out and said, our intention was discovered by the Indians who were firing alarm guns. Upon which some in front hurried off and the rest immediately followed, leaving the seven men that were dangerously wounded, some of whom however got. off on horseback, by means of some good friends, who waited for, and assisted them.

We had not got a quarter of a mile from 


the field of action when I heard Col. Crawford calling for his son, John Crawford, his son-in-law, Major Harrison, Major Rose and Wm. Crawford, his nephews, upon which I came up and told him I believed they were on before us. He asked was that the doctor ? I told him it was. He then replied they were not in front, and begged of me not to leave him. I promised him I would not

We then waited and continued calling for these men till the troops had passed us. The Colonel told me his horse had almost given out, that he could not keep up with the troops, and wished some of his best friends to remain with him. He then exclaimed against the militia for riding off in such an irregular manner, and leaving some of the wounded behind, contrary to his orders. Presently there came two men riding after us, one of them an old man, the other a lad. We enquired if they had seen any of the above persons ? They answered they had not.

By this time there was a very hot firing before us, and as we judged, near where our main body must have been. Our course was then nearly Southwest, but changing it, we went north about two miles, the two men remaining 


in company with us. Judging ourselves to be now out of the enemy's lines, we took a due East course, taking care to keep at the distance of fifteen or twenty yards apart, and directing ourselves by the North star.

The old man often lagged behind, and when this was the case, never failed to call for us to halt for him. When we were near the Sandusky creek he fell one hundred yards behind, and bawled out, as usual, for us to halt. While we were preparing to reprimand him for making a noise, I heard an Indian halloo, as I thought, one hundred and fifty yards from the man, and partly behind him. After this we did not hear the man call again, neither did he ever come up to us any more. It was now past midnight, and about daybreak Col. Crawford's and the young man's horses gave out, and they left them. We pursued our journey Eastward, and about two o'clock fell in with Capt. Biggs, who had carried Lieut. Ashley from the field of action, who had been dangerously wounded. We then went on about the space of an hour, when a heavy rain coming on, we concluded it was best to encamp, as we were encumbered with the wounded officer. We then barked four or five trees, made an encampment 


and a fire, and remained there all that night. Next morning we again prosecuted our journey, and having gone about three miles found a deer which had been recently killed. The meat was sliced from the bones and bundled up in the skin, with a tomahawk lying by it. We carried all with us, and in advancing about one mile further, espied the smoke of a fire. We then gave the wounded officer into the charge of the young man, directing him to stay behind whilst the Colonel, the Captain and myself walked up as cautiously as we could toward the fire. When we came to it, we concluded, from several circumstances, some of our people had encamped there the preceding night. We then went about roasting the venison, and when just about to march, observed one of our men coming upon our tracks. He seemed at first very shy, but having called to him, he came up and told us he was the person who had killed the deer-, but upon hearing us come up, was afraid of Indians, hid it in a thicket and made off. Upon this we gave him some bread and roasted venison, proceeded all together on our journey, and about two o'clock came upon the paths by which we had gone out.   Capt. Biggs and 


myself did not think it safe to keep the road, but the Colonel said the Indians would not follow the troops.farther than the plains, which we were then considerably past. As the wounded officer rode Capt. Biggs' horse, I lent the Captain mine. The Colonel and myself went about one hundred yards in front, the Captain and the wounded officer in the centre, and the two young men behind. After we had traveled about one mile and a half, several Indians started up within fifteen or twenty steps of the Colonel and me. As we at first discovered only three, I immediately got behind a large black oak, made ready my piece and raised it up to take sight, when the Colonel called to me twice not to fire, upon that one of the Indians ran up to the Colonel and took him by the hand.

They were Delaware Indians of the Winge-nim tribe. Captain Biggs fired amongst them but did no execution. They then told us to call these people and make them come there, else they would go and kill them, which the Colonel did, but they forgot us and escaped for that time. The Colonel and I were then taken to the Indian camp, which was about half a mile from the place where we were 


captured. On Sunday evening five Delawares who had posted themselves at some distance further on the road brought back to the camp, where we lay, Captain Biggs' and Lieutenant Ashley's scalps, with an Indian scalp which Captain Biggs had taken in the field of action; they also brought in Biggs' horse and mine, they told us the other two men got away from them.

Monday morning the tenth of June, we were paraded to march to Sandusky, about thirty-three miles distant; they had eleven prisoners of us and four scalps, the Indians being seventeen in number.

Col. Crawford was very desirous to see a certain Simon Girty, who lived with the Indians, and was on this account permitted to go to town the same night, with two warriors to guard him, having orders at the same time to pass by the place where the Col. had turned out his horse, that they might if possible, find him. The rest of us were taken as far as the old town which was within eight miles of the new.

Tuesday morning, the eleventh, Col. Crawford was brought out to us on purpose to be marched in with the other prisoners. I asked 

the Col. if he had seen Mr. Girty 1 He told me he had, and that Girty had promised to do every thing in his power for him, but that the Indians were very much enraged against the prisoners; particularly Captain Pipe one of the chiefs; he likewise told me that Girty had informed him that his son-in-law Col. Harrison and his nephew William Crawford, were made prisoners by the Shawanese, but had been pardoned. This Captain Pipe had come from the town about an hour before Col. Crawford, and had painted all the prisoner's faces black. As he was painting me he told me I should go to the Shawanese towns and see my friends., When the Col. arrived he painted him black also, told him he was glad to see him and that he would have him shaved when he came to see his friends at the Wyandot town. When we marched the Col. and I were kept back between Pipe and Wyngenim, the two Delaware chiefs, the other nine prisoners were sent forward with another party of Indians. As we went along we saw four of the prisoners lying 4 by the path tomahawked and scalped, some of them were at the distance of half a mile from each other. When we arrived within half a mile of the place where the Col. was 


executed, we overtook the five prisoners that remained alive; the Indians had caused them to sit down on the ground, as they did also the Col. and me at some distance from them. I was there given in charge to an Indian fellow to be taken to the Shawanese towns.

In the place where we were now made to sit down there was a number of squaws and boys, who fell on the five prisoners and tomahawked them. There was a certain John McKinly amongst the prisoners, formerly an officer in the 13th Virginia regiment, whose head an old squaw cut     off, and the Indians kicked it about upon the ground. The young Indian fellows came often where the Col. and I were, and dashed the scalps in our faces. We were then conducted along toward the place where the Col. was afterwards executed; when we came within about half a mile of it, Simon Girty met us, with several Indians on horseback; he spoke to the Col., but as I was about one hundred and fifty yards behind could not hear what passed between them.

Almost every Indian we met struck us either with sticks or their fists. Girty waited till I was brought up and asked, was that the doctor ?   I told him yes, and went toward him 


reaching out my hand, hut he bid me begone and called me a damned rascal, upon which the fellows who had me in charge pulled me along. Girty rode up after me and told me I was to go to the Shawanese towns.

When we went to the fire the Col. was stripped naked, ordered to sit down by the fire and then they beat him with sticks and their fists. Presently after I was treated in the same manner. They then tied a rope to the foot of a post about fifteen feet high, bound the Col's hands behind his back and fastened the rope to the ligature between his wrists. The rope was long enough for him to sit down or walk round the post once or twice and return the same way. The Col. then called to Girty and asked if they intended to burn him?   Girty answered, yes. The Col. said he would take it all patiently. Upon this Captain Pipe, a Delaware chief, made a speech to the Indians, viz.: about thirty or forty men, sixty or seventy squaws and boys.

When the speech was finished they all yelled a hideous and hearty assent to what had been said. The Indian men then took up their guns and shot powder into the Colonel's body, from his feet as far up as his neck.   I think not 


less than seventy loads were discharged upon his naked body. They then crowded about him, and to the best of my observation, cut off his ears; when the throng had dispersed a little I saw the blood running from both sides of his head in consequence thereof.

The fire was about six or seven yards from the post to which the Colonel was tied; it was made of small hickory poles, burnt quite through in the middle, each end of the poles remaining about six feet in length. Three or four Indians by turns would take up, individually, one of these burning pieces of wood and apply it to his naked body, already burnt black with the powder. These tormentors presented themselves on every side of him with the burning faggots and poles. Some of the squaws took broad boards, upon which they would carry a quantity of burning coals and hot embers and throw on him, so that in a short time he had nothing but coals of fire and hot ashes to walk upon.

In the midst of these extreme tortures, he called to Simon Girty and begged of him to shoot him; but Girty making no answer he called to him again. Girty then, by way of derision, told the Colonel he had no gun, at the 


same time turning about to an Indian who was behind him, laughed heartily, and by all his gestures seemed delighted at the horrid scene.

Girty then came up to me and bade me prepare for death. He said, however, I was not to die at that place, but to be burnt at the Shawanese towns. He swore by G   d I need not expect to escape death, but should suffer it in all its extremities.

He then observed, that some prisoners had given him to understand, that if our people had had him they would not hurt him; for his part, he said, he did not believe it, but desired to know my opinion of the matter, but being at that time in great anguish and distress for the torments the Colonel was suffering before my eyes, as well as the expectation of undergoing the same fate in two days, I made little or no answer. He expressed a great deal of ill will for Col. Gibson, and said he was one of his greatest enemies, and more to the same purpose, to all which I paid very little attention.

Col. Crawford at this period of his sufferings besought the Almighty to have mercy on his soul, spoke very low, and bore his torments 


with the most manly fortitude. He continued in all the extremities of pain for an hour and three-quarters or two hours longer, as near as I can judge, when at last, being almost exhausted, he lay down on his belly; they then scalped him and repeatedly threw the scalp in my face, telling me " that was my great captain." An old squaw (whose appearance every way answered the ideas people entertain of the Devil,) got a board, took a parcel of coals and ashes and laid them on his back and head, after he had been scalped, he then raised himself upon his feet and began to walk round the post; they next put a burning stick to him as usual, but he seemed more insensible of pain than before.

The Indian fellow who had me in charge, now took me away to Capt. Pipe's house, about three-quarters of a mile from the place of the Colonel's execution. I was bound all night, and thus prevented from seeing the last of the horrid spectacle. Next morning, being June 12 th, the Indian untied me, painted me black, and we set off for the Shawanese town, which he told me was somewhat less than forty miles from that place. We soon came to the spot where the Colonel had been burnt, as it was 3 


partly in our way; I saw his bones lying amongst the remains of the fire, almost burnt to ashes; I suppose after he was dead they had laid his body on the fire.

The Indian told me that was my Big Captain, and gave the scalp halloo. lie was on horseback and drove me before him.

I pretended to this Indian I was ignorant of the death I was to die at the Shawanese towns, assumed as cheerful a countenance as possible, and asked him if we were not to live together as brothers in one house when we should get to the town? He seemed well pleased, and said yes. He then asked me if I could make a wigwam?     I told him I could     he then seemed more friendly. We went that day as near as I can judge about 25 miles, the course partly Southwest.     The Indian told me we should next day come to the town, the sun being in such a direction, pointing nearly South. At night, when we went to rest, I attempted very often to untie myself but the Indian was extremely vigilant and scarcely ever shut his eyes that night. About daybreak he got up and untied me; he next began to mend up the fire, and as the gnats were troublesome I asked him if I should make a smoke behind him   he 


said yes. I then took the end of a dogwood fork which had been burnt down to about 18 inches long; it was the longest stick I could find, yet too small for the purpose I had in view; then I picked up another smaller stick and taking a coal of fire between them went behind him; then turning suddenly about, I struck him on the head with all the force I was master of; which so stunned him that he fell forward with both his hands into the fire, but seeing him recover and get up, I seized his gun while he ran off howling in a most fearful manner. I followed him with a determination to shoot him down, but pulling back the cock of the gun with too great violence, I believe I broke the main spring. I pursued him, however, about thirty yards, still endeavoring to fire the gun, but could not; then going back to the fire I took his blanket, a pair of new moccasins, his hoppes, powder horn, bullet bag, (together with the gun) and marched off, directing my course toward the five o'clock mark; about half an hour before sunset I came to the plains which I think are about sixteen miles wide. I laid me down in a thicket till dark, and then by the assistance of the north star made my way through them and got into 


the woods before morning. I proceeded on the next day, and about noon crossed the paths by which our troops had gone out; these paths are nearly East and West, but I went due North all that afternoon with a view to avoid the enemy.

In the evening I began to be very faint, and no wonder; I had been six days prisoner; the last two days of which I had eat nothing, and but very little the first three or four; there were wild gooseberries in abundance in the woods, but being unripe, required mastication, which at that time I was not able to perform on account of a blow received from an Indian on the jaw with the back of a tomahawk. There was a weed that grew plentifully in that place, the juice of which I knew to be grateful and nourishing; I gathered a bundle of the same, took up my lodging under a large spreading beech tree and having sucked plentifully of the juice, went to sleep. Next day, I made a due East course which I generally kept the rest of my journey. I often imagined my gun was only wood bound, and tried every method I could devise to unscrew the lock but never could effect it, having no knife nor any thing fitting for the purpose.   I had now the 
   DR. EN I OUT.


satisfaction to find my jaw began to mend, and in foui' or five days could chew any vegetable proper for nourishment, but finding my gun only a useless burden, left it in the wilderness. I had no apparatus for making fire to sleep by, so that I could get but little rest for the gnats and musketoes; there are likewise a great many swamps in the beech ridge, which occasioned me very often to lie wet; this ridge, through which I traveled, is about 20 miles broad, the ground in general very level and rich, free irom shrubs and brush; there are, however, very few springs, yet wells might easily be dug in all parts of the ridge; the timber on it is very lofty, but it is no easy matter to make a straight course through the same, the moss growing as high upon the South side of the trees as on the North. There are a great many white oaks, ash and hickory trees that grow among the beech timber; there are likewise some places on the ridge, perhaps for three or four continued miles where there is little or no beech, and in such spots, black, white oak, ash and hickory abound. Sugar trees grow there also to a very great bulk    the soil is remarkably good, the ground a little ascending and descending with some small 


rivulets and a few springs. When I got out of the beech ridge and nearer the river Muskingum, the lands were more broken but equally rich with those before mentioned, and abounding with brooks and springs of water; there are also several small creeks that empty into that river, the bed of which is more than a mile wide in many places; the woods consist of white and black oak, walnut, hickory and sugar tree in the greatest abundance. In all parts of the country through which I came the game was very plenty, that is to say, deer, turkies and pheasants; I likewise saw a great many vestiges of bears and some elks.

I crossed the river Muskingum about three or four miles below Fort Lawrence, and crossing all paths aimed for the Ohio river. All this time my food was gooseberries, young nettles, the juice of herbs, a few service berries, and some May apples, likewise two young blackbirds and a terrapin, which I devoured raw. When my food sat heavy on my stomach, I used to eat a little wild ginger which put all to rights.

I came upon the Ohio river about five miles below Fort Mcintosh, in the evening of the 
   DR. KNIGHT. 31

21st day after I had made my escape, and on the 22d about seven o'clock in the morning, being the fourth day of July, arrived safe, though very much fatigued, at the Fort.




OLONEL Crawford, was about 50 years of age, had been an old warrior against the savages. He distinguished himself early as a volunteer in the last war, and was taken notice of by Colonel [now general] Washington, who procured for him the commission of ensign. As a partisan he showed himself very active, and was greatly successful. He took several Indian towns, and did great service in scouting, patrolling and defending the frontiers. At the commencement of this war he raised a regiment in the back country by 


his own exertions. He had the commission of Colonel in the continental army, and acted bravely on several occasions in the years 1776, 1777, and at other times. He held his commission at the time he took command of the militia, in the aforesaid expedition against the Indians; most probably he had it with him when he was taken. He was a man of good judgment, singular good nature, and great humanity, and remarkable for his hospitality, few strangers coming to the western country, and not spending some da3's at the crossing of the Yohagany river, where he lived; no man therefore could be more regretted. 


HE circumstances that took place, previous to his being taken a prisoner by the Indians the first time, when he was only eight years old, as related by his older brother, Abraham. My father's residence was on New river, Virginia; the Indians came to my father's house, he being absent; we were a short distance from the house; on discovering the Indians there, the smaller children all ran to the bouse; while I turned my course through a meadow to a thick place of woods: when I came near the woods I turned my eyes and saw two Indians


pursuing me. I escaped, and they returned to the house. They took my mother, brother, and sisters prisoners, plundered the house, and took all they could cany; then they took up the line of march. But they had not gone far before my father came home, and seeing the devastation about the house, his family all gone, being well assured it was the work of the savages, it was too much for human nature to bear. He hallooed ; the Indians hearing him, they all stopped; two warriors went back with their guns, and in a short time my mother heard the report of a gun ; in a few minutes they returned with the horse and saddle my father was riding; my mother knew her husband was killed.

They then went on their journey towards the Indian towns, having nothing to eat but wild meats; through the fatigue of the journey, the two youngest children died in the wilderness.

Our mother was exchanged after a number of years, and returned, and lived with her children ; she shortly afterwards died.

John Slover died near Red Banks, Kentucky, at an advanced age, leaving seven children, some of whom are now living. 



WING in the last war been a prisoner amongst the Indians many years, and so being well acquainted with the country west of the Ohio, I was employed as a guide in the expedition under Co). William Crawford against the Indian towns on or near the river Sandusky. It will be unnecessary fur me to relate what is so well known, the circumstances and unfortunate events of that expedition; it will be sufficient to observe, that having on Tuesday the fourth of June, fought the enemy near Sandusky, we lay that night in our camp, and the next day fired on each


other at the distance of three hundred yards, doing little or no execution. In the evening of that day it was