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The final capture by Gov. Tiffin, of ten boats loaded with stores, on the Muskingum, and four near Marietta, decided the fate of this scheme, and Burr was finally arrested and put on trial May 22, 1807.
The advancement of the settlement of the State was in no manner impeded, and towns sprang up, farms were laid out, and all other improvements inaugurated which tended to a permanent prosperity.
In 1808, Tecumseh left Greenville to join the Prophet on the banks of the Tippecanoe, a tributary of the Upper Wabash, on a tract of land granted herein by the Pottawatomiea.
The Indians were virtually by treaty allowed but a small proportion of land within the boundaries of the State, and were maintaining peaceful attitudes toward the whites, with exceptional border depredations, which were settled by mutual understanding.
Although the United States had gained independence, and was treating with England as with other foreign powers, the British persisted in violating the national rights of the United States, impressing American seamen into the British service, seizing American vessels engaged with France in trade, and otherwise violating the rights of an independent nation, at peace with the British power.
The mission upon which Henry was sent by the British, to create disturbance between the States, and thus broken, to weaken the strength of the General Government, added fuel to the fire, and united indignation cried for war.
British agents again bargained with the Indians of the Wabash and Maumee Valleys, desiring them to inaugurate another war upon the western sections and to make a desperate attack upon the settlements south of the lakes. The British agent at Malden negotiated in rifles, powder, ball, merchandise, lead, blankets and shirts. The Indians were inspired again with the hope that the whites would be driven back, and that all the country north of the Ohio would again revert to them.
The Canadians in league with the English, gave the savages unlimited quantities of whisky, which naturally aroused their fierce natures to acts of violence and blood. It is highly probable that the use of liquor was the main cause of the deterioration of the best traits of the Indian character, after the Revolution. Again, many unscrupulous men upon the frontier did not hesitate to commit the most merciless crimes against the Indians, such was the prejudice against them, and the courts invariably failed to indict them for these atrocities. This error on the part of the Americans served to influence the savages against them.
At this time, the scales of justice were distant over a hundred miles each from the other, uninhabited tracts frequently extending between them which were absolute wildernesses. The routes were in many cases difficult and circuitous.
As early as 1808, there was a mail communication for the people on the Lower Maumee, many days elapsing between the arrivals and departures of the same, however. Horace Gunn was the carrier. Benoni Adams brought the news from Cleveland to the same point, his trip requiring a fortnight. It must be remembered that this journey was mostly made on foot. The Black Swamp could not be traversed in any other manner.
THE WAR OF 1812.
The war of 1812 can be called a continuation of the Revolution, with all justice. Although rumors had reached Ohio, that active preparations were being made for general action, no official tidings had been sent to Hull, commander-in-chief of the Western forces.
The Secretary of War, instead of sending a special messenger directly to Hull, communicated with the post adjacent, depending upon a continuation of the news from that point. At the same time, advices were sent the British post at Malden and Detroit. Hull sent out a packet with official papers, stores, etc., the day previous to that on which the official intelligence arrived that an open rupture existed between the two powers, and this was of course captured.
The Western forces marched to Detroit and crossed over to Sandwich, preparatory to attacking Malden, a post most favorable for the transportation of stores, troops, etc. which was therefore considered valuable.
Peter Minard first gave the news to the settlers of the Maumee. He had heard from a Delaware chief, who assured him a general massacre was to take place in the valley. Maj. Spafford paid no heed to this "idle fear," until a few days thereafter a messenger came to his quarters, reporting a band of fifty Pottawatomies on the march to join the hostile tribes near Malden. They had plundered and burned Monclova, and had nearly reached the rapids.
The Major, with his family and settlers, immediately launched a barge on the river and were able to reach old Fort Miami just as the savages reached Maumee City. They could plainly witness the flames that devoured their old homes. They kept on their way in their miserable craft, until they reached Milan, where they learned that the entire country was in danger.
Although the Indians were defeated in the battle of Tippecanoe in the fall of 1811, they plotted vigorously with the English for the invasion of Ohio.
Gen. William Hull marched from the southwestern part of the State directly north, crossing the counties of Champaign, Logan, Hardin, Hancock and Wood, establishing military posts along the route and cutting a way through the wilderness of the unsettled portions. He crossed the Maumee on the 1st of July, and marched to Detroit.
Hull was evidently actuated in his succeeding disgraceful failures by two fears—lack of confidence in the ability of his troops, and the belief that they might desert him in action. He proclaimed freedom, and a necessity of submitting to the Canadians under existing circumstances. He held out inducements to the British regulars to desert their cause and essayed to pacify the savages, but he accomplished nothing beyond jeopardizing the American cause and disgracing his army. His men became restless. Col. Miller and Col. Cass were delighted when detailed on scouting expeditions, and did not hesitate to attack advancing squads of the enemy. At last, an attack was made on the Niagara frontier, and Hull speedily abandoned his project and collected his forces at Detroit.
Meantime, Col. Proctor had reached Malden, and quickly perceiving the advantage of a post at that point, whereby he could cut off supplies and starve Hull into subjection, he massed his forces about this section, captured Van Horn and his two hundred men, and withstood the attack of Miller, although he gained nothing by so doing. Again Hull displayed his weakness by recalling his forces from further molestations.
Gen. Brock, however, reached Malden on the 13th of August, 1812, and began war preparations.
Gen. Dearborn placed a force on the Niagara frontier, but an armistice was made with the British. Hull dispatched a third party under McArthur, to open communications to the Raisin River.
Gen. Brock appeared at Sandwich and began to erect batteries, which Hull would not allow to be molested. The result was, that on the 26th of August Detroit was surrendered to the enemy, and not a blow had been struck in its defense.
By this dastardly act, 1,400 brave men who had not been permitted to make a single effort to sustain the American cause, were surrendered to 300 English regulars, 400 Canadians and their Indian allies. Gen. Hull was, in consequence of this series of "mistakes," accused of treason and cowardice, and convicted of the latter. By the middle of August, the British had gained the control over most of the Northwestern Territory.
The appointment of William Henry Harrison to the position of commander in chief of the Western forces, was most opportune. He speedily raised a vigorous army, and advanced by three routes to the foot of the rapids.
Gen. Harrison commanded the right wing, and marched by the way of Upper Sandusky, where he located his depot of supplies. Gen. Tupper commanded the center, Fort McArthur, in Hardin County, being his base, while Gen. Winchester marched from Fort Defiance down the Maumee to the foot of the rapids.
A large force of British and Indians moved up the left bank of the Maumee toward Fort Wayne, and Gen. Harrison, to intercept them, marched to the confluence of the Auglaize with the Maumee.
Harrison was aware that the enemy would be also hemmed in by Winchester. The weather was rainy, and the prospects were that a most unfortunate season -was to follow the expected engagements. Harrison heard that Winchester had reached Fort Defiance, and that the Indians and British were retreating down the Maumee. He followed, and marched to Winchester's camp, where he arrived in season to quell a mutiny under command of Col. Allen, of the Kentucky troops
In January, 1813, Winchester had reached the rapids, where he received tidings that Frenchtown was menaced and exposed. Without orders, he sent a party to the rescue, which defeated the enemy. The weather was intensely cold, and the company lay within eighteen miles of Maiden, where the enemy was collected in full force, consequently re-enforcements must be dispatched immediately or the town again left to its fate.
Winchester then marched with a force of 259 men, and upon arriving at nightfall, insisted upon remaining on open ground, although warned repeatedly that this would be a most dangerous experiment.
In the morning, he was surprised by the enemy, massed directly before him, with a battery within three hundred yards of his camp, and a shower of bombs, balls and grape-shot falling among his exposed troops, and the yells of Indians reminding him of his fatal error. Lewis, who led the party out in the beginning and had apprehended the danger, bravely defended himself behind garden pickets. Winchester was defeated on the 22d of January, 1813, and the Indians were permitted to massacre the prisoners and the settlers.
Harrison fell back to the foot of the rapids. On the 1st of February, he began the construction of Fort Meigs. On the 27th of April, Proctor and Tecumseh attacked this fort, and laid siege with the full expectation of success. The stipulation was that Gen. Harrison was to be delivered to Tecumseh. While the balls and bombs were making havoc with the fort, the Indians were climbing trees and pouring a galling fire down upon the troops. Gen. Proctor invited Harrison to surrender, which was politely declined, with the assurance that the British General would have the opportunity to distinguish himself as a soldier before such a proceeding was enacted
Gen. Clay was descending the Maumee with 1,200 Kentuckians in flat boats. Orders went from Harrison that 800 men should land on the left bank, take and spike the British cannon, and then to enter the fort, from which soldiers were to issue to assist the re-enforcements.
Capt. Hamilton was to pilot Gen. Clay to the fort, cutting their way through. All succeeded, Col. Dudley taking the batteries and spiking the cannon. But his men, too much elated by their success, against orders, and against the repeated expostulations of Col. Dudley, insisted on pursuing the Indians. Col. Dudley would not desert them. This act proved their ruin. By a decoy, they were led into a defile which proved an ambush, and the men found themselves surrounded by savages, without means of escape.
A most frightful massacre began, and every man would have fallen had not Tecumseh sternly forbidden the cowardly carnage. One of his principal chiefs ignored this order, and the next instant the great warrior buried his hatchet in his head. The brave Col. Dudley was, however, tomahawked and scalped.
There were no immediate signs that the fort would be surrendered, and the siege was raised on the 9th of May. It was renewed on the 20th of July, and abandoned a few days later. The enemy decided this stronghold was invulnerable.
On the 1st of August, the enemy proceeded to Fort Stevenson, at Lower Sandusky, garrisoned by 150 men under Maj. Croghan. The fort had the use of but one piece of cannon. The enemy with Tecumseh's Indians numbered 3,300 strong, with six pieces of cannon.
Gen. Proctor again tendered the offer to surrender, adding that a refusal would only bring about a useless resistance, and a massacre by the Indians. The reply was, that before the fort went over to the British, not an American would be left to be massacred, as they should hold out to the last man. Proctor opened fire. The first movement was an assault upon the northwest angle of the fort, as if to make a breach and thus carry the works. The commandant strengthened that point by bags of sand, and during the night stealthily placing his one cannon in a concealed position, he filled it with slugs.
The following day, the fire again swept the northwest corner, and, evening approaching, a column of 350 men swept up within twenty yards of the walls. They were met by the musketry, which had little effect, and the ditch was soon filled with men. The next instant the hidden cannon, so placed as to sweep the ditch, suddenly began action, and the surprised assailants quickly recoiled, and the fort was saved, with the loss of only one man.
The next morning, the enemy had disappeared, evidently in haste, as guns, clothing and stores were left behind. They had lost over one hundred and fifty men by this useless attempt. Croghan had previously received orders to evacuate the fort from Gen. Harrison, and his determination to hold the position merited Harrison's reprimand and remand of commission. Such was the severity of military law. However, the rank of Colonel was immediately conferred upon him by the President, for his gallantry. The ladies of Chillicothe presented him with an elegant testimonial in the shape of a sword.
It was decided to make a naval warfare effectual in the recovery of the Northwestern Territory, and accordingly vessel-building began under Commodore Perry's supervision.
The British looked upon this proceeding with derision, fully intending to use these boats for their own purpose. They publicly proclaimed their intention.
By the 1st of August, 1813, Commodore Perry set sail a flotilla, the Lawrence and the Niagara, of twenty guns each, with smaller vessels following, some difficulty was encountered in launching the larger vessels, on account of the shallowness of the water.
Perry's first destination was Put-in-Bay, thirty miles from Malden, where the British fleet lay under the guns of the fort. On the 10th of September, the British fleet—exceeding the American by ten guns—under Commodore Barclay, appeared off Put-in-Bay, distant about ten miles. Perry immediately set sail. The wind shifting, the Americans had the advantage.
Perry hoisted the Union Jack. A general preparation was made for the conflict. An ominous silence settled over all as the fleets approached. A bugle sounded on the enemy's 'ship Detroit, and a furious fire was opened upon